Epson LabelWorks LW-300 Label Maker
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278 of 281 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2013
This review applies to the Epson LabelWorks LW-300 and LW-400 label printers.

The Epson LW-300 and LW-400 printers are very similar in capability. The primary differences are enumerated below:

1. The LW-300 supports tape widths up to 1/2" while the LW-400 supports tape widths up to 3/4".

2. The LW-300 can store up to 30 labels while the LW-400 can store up to 50 labels.

3. The LW-300 can print up to 2 lines per label while the LW-400 can print up to 4 lines per label.

4. The LW-300 takes 6 AAA batteries while the LW-400 takes 6 AA batteries (batteries not included with either printer).

Both of these printers offer 14 different fonts in 10 different styles and both have more than 300 special characters that can be printed. They each also offer a variety of "frames" that can be set to print around the selected text.

The biggest difference, however, between the two printers is that the LW-400 can create special formats. It can create flag labels for cables, wrapped labels for cables and, of great importance to some users, it can print barcodes in 8 different formats. When printing barcodes, the LW-400 is also smart enough to recognize if you don't have a sufficient number of digits entered for that particular barcode format; it won't let you print the barcode until you have entered the proper number of digits.

Both machines are easy to set up. Once they are out of the box, you'll be printing labels in 2 or 3 minutes. Changing tape is easy on both units and both accept the same wide variety of tape media (bearing in mind that the LW-300 is limited to a maximum tape width of 1/2").

Having said all that -- and even though I'm impressed by the printing capabilities of both of these units -- I am disappointed in the print quality. Both units print purely horizontal or vertical lines very well, but curved lines are rough. They look pixelated. The resolution of the print head is simply not sufficient to render smooth curved lines. I also have a Brother label printer and, although it doesn't offer the variety of fonts and special characters that these Epson printers offer, the Brother labels are crisper and cleaner.

These printers would easily garner 5 stars if their print quality was better. Print quality aside, these printers are well thought out and engineered. They are simple to use with intuitive controls. While the print quality is not exceptional, it will probably suffice for most users.
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231 of 240 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
I really wanted to love this label maker, but unfortunately was disappointed in the output. The LW-300 was easy enough to use and has some really great features ... best of all, it centers the print on the label without the annoyingly wasteful one-inch blank space before and after that my Brother P-Touch adds. However, the Epson labels looked like they were typed on an old typewriter with a bad ribbon. When I set the font to "bold," some characters were bold, some not so much. The letter spacing was also uneven, with some of the letters running together. I was also surprised that every time I turned the LW-300 on, I had to re-do all my settings (font size, style, etc.) because they had reverted back to the factory default. There might be a way around that glitch, but based on the so-so looking labels, I decided to return the LW-300 and go back to using my P-Touch instead.
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396 of 418 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 18, 2011
Style: LW-300Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We've all used label makers, or at least most of us have, so I don't feel the need to go into the basics. Instead, I want to talk about what makes this new Epson unit better (for me at least) than any other I've used.

First, a caveat: my label maker is a P-Touch that's a few years old. I don't know how much the market has matured, so some of these features may be in other machines.

The box includes the labeler, instructions, a printed symbols list, and a sample 4 meter cartridge 12mm black-on-white tape (standard cartridges are 9 meters). It requires 6 AAA batteries which are not included. It can also run off an optional AC adapter.

First and most importantly, Epson has dramatically cut down on label waste at the margins which means big savings on cost. With my Brother, there is a full 1" of waste on each end of the label (I understand on some models this can be modified, but on one end only). Many of my labels consist of 1-3 words, so they might use up .75" to 1.25". For me, that meant I was essentially using 3 times as much tape as necessary. Calculated with 1.75" text length per label (larger than my average), the Brother will make about 84 labels per 26.2' cartridge.

The Epson, on the other hand, has .375" margins (3/8"). Using the same 1.75" of text, that will net about 142 labels per 29.5' cartridge. Based on list prices for cartridges, this translates to 22.6 cents-per-label for the Brother vs. 13.9 cents-per-label for the Epson. NOTE: I understand some Brother cartridges are sometimes discounted - but since the Epson units were not yet available at the time of this writing, it's impossible to know how much they will be discounted in comparison. You'll pay list at an office supply store though, and even with the big discount on *some* Brother cartridges on Amazon, it still nets out about a penny cheaper per lable on the Epson.

Other things I dig about the Epson: a wide variety of fonts, styles and sizes; a well thought-out group of symbols that suit a large number of uses; the size and weight is less than my Brother (partly due to the lesser weight of 6 AAA vs. 6 AA batteries); I prefer the way tapes are loaded; tape cartridges come in 9 meter sizes as opposed to 8 for the brother, making changing tapes necessary less frequently (especially considering the many more labels I can generate with the Epson); a really nice selection of cartridges, including clear, checkerboard, glow-in-the-dark, and iron-on (which I've never seen).

All in all, a far better labeler than I've ever used before. In fact, the only one I'd prefer would be the LW-400, which adds a two line display and backlighting (as well as expanded fonts, the ability to do barcodes and a few other goodies) that I wish the 300 had.

Still though, I'm not complaining - this is a great unit with a ton of flexibility. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could, but only because another 10 bucks gets you backlighting and a two-line display, which points out what I thought were the only flaws in a great machine. But I've round up to 5 based on the extreme waste savings versus other units. If you can spring for the extra 10 bucks for the LW-400, do it - if you can't, you'll still be extremely happy with the LW-300.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 6, 2011
Style: LW-300Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a comparison review of the Epson LW-300 and LW-400 labelers that I received from Amazon Vine to review, and the Brother P-touch 1880 that I bought from Costco. All three are in the same approximate price range, although the Brother was significantly cheaper than SRP at Costco. I'll hit upon the key differences that I noted but will not discuss the PC linking available to the P-touch 1880 since it doesn't work with a Mac.

The Epson 400 screen is a two-line display comprised of illuminated blue letters on a white background, making it MUCH easier to read than the 300 or the Brother. In addition, the size and shape make the 400 more conducive to handheld portable labeling use. The 300 is smaller and somewhat lighter, and would work well for the same purpose, but the shape is not as efficient for secure, handheld use. The 400 also includes a lanyard attachment point making it even better for secure portability and ease of use. The Brother is designed for desktop use, but is light enough to be portable and it runs on 6 batteries like the Epson units (Epson 400 and Brother use AA; Epson 300 uses AAA).

All three units are cartridge systems. The Epson labeling tape cartridge is removed or inserted by easily removing the back. The batteries are in the same area so they are replaced the same way. The Brother's batteries are in back also, but the cartridge is inserted by lifting an access flap on top. Brother's method is easier, and doesn't require setting down the back piece while inserting the cartridge, nor would you need to lay the display face down in the process, thus eliminating the chance of scratching the bezel in the process. However, with care, the Epson method should present no issues to the user, but would take a few seconds longer to accomplish.

I printed a sample from each machine and tried to include pictures of those samples but it is not yet allowed by Amazon. The resolution of the Brother is somewhat superior to both of the two Epson units, the outputs of which appear identical to me. It is important to note, however, that the Epson units provide quite acceptable results for most applications. But if clarity is of primary importance to you, then the Brother appears to be the more capable unit for large, standard-sized text. The small text is crisp and clear on the all machines. The easy to remove split-back tape is universal between all the machines. Brother claims to make hardier tapes, but I did not have the facilities to test longevity on either brand. Tactilely, the Brother tapes feels stiffer and stronger to me, but not by much. Some Epson tapes can be ironed on, but I do not know if Brother has entered this realm.

Another area where the Brother excels is in print speed. The two Epson units printed the 52 letters in my test about 33% slower than the Brother. (Brother 29.2 seconds; both Epson units took 40.1 sec).

But where the Epson units excel compared to Brother is in the lack of product waste through lead in and lead out. The short, 10mm lead-in and lead-out are appropriate to prevent jamming in the printer and better tape adhesion, plus they require no manual trimming unless used in a tight spot. (At the time of this review, the Epson tapes were not available for sale so I could not provide a comparison price, but the tapes issued with the labelers are longer than Brother's at 9 meters long, and appear on the Epson site at the same length). The Brother tapes are NOT cheap. The 12mm tapes are 26 feet long and currently cost ~$12-14, or roughly 50¢/ft, and it wastes about an inch at each end unless the settings are adjusted to trim that back on one end to save about 3/4". But the other end is not adjustable so it must be manually trimmed for balance if the other end is reduced to save product, wasting time as well as material. If your labels are short (say 2", for file folders) then ½ of the tape is wasted!!! That computes out to $6 of every $12 spent going into the trash!

All of these labelers include multiple fonts, various sizes, some special characters, multiple symbols, and various formatting options. Of note is that the Brother is limited to two fonts whereas the Epson has 14 fonts, including old english and script, albeit pretty lame looking in my opinion. In addition, the 300 can print on two lines (like the Brother) but the 400 can put out some pretty sharp 3 and 4 line labels, although the text is pretty tiny (as expected). The method of showing multiple lines on the 300's single-line display is a series of letters with a symbol showing the beginning of the second line. The 400's two-line display is much better. It shows each line separately, and the lines can be scrolled for review, thus making it easier to balance the line lengths.

One thing that irritated me about the Brother is apparently common to the Epson 300 and 400: the largest print size is the same on the 1/2" tape as it is on the 3/4" tape. I was hoping that the print head would take advantage of the extra print area, but it does not. The additional tape width is apparently to make the label stand out, or to help in adhering to the surface to which it is attached; it is not to make the font bigger.

These new labelers take a little getting used to. In order to provide all the functionality, fonts, special characters, symbols, etc, several keystrokes are sometimes required. This is common with all three units. Once the user gets familiar with the function, however, it doesn't take long to compose and print one or multiple labels. The Epson printers come with basic use guides adhered to the back for quick reference.

There are a couple of other nice features incorporated in the 400 that I found useful and convenient. It will format your labels so that they become either index tabs, cable flag labels, cable wrapped labels, or even barcode labels. At home or in business, it's nice to have the formatting for these types of labels already built into the machine.

The functionality of the 300 and 400 are the nearly the same; same print speed, same fonts, symbols, and styling, same borders, same print clarity, etc. The differences lie in the 400's much improved display, better portability, and the additional built-in labeling formats (see above). Except for the slightly reduced clarity, the Epson units are both more functional and less wasteful than the Brother I own, and if the tapes are comparably priced, they'd be cheaper to operate.

At the time of this review the Epsons were priced at $39 for the 300 and $49 for the 400, which is also the SRP. The display and other features on the Epson 400 makes it a wise choice for the additional $10. I'm rating these machines based on bang for the buck.

[SAFETY NOTE: according to the safety instructions, the Epson units are not designed to be used as a step. If you or one of your employees want to use a plastic labeler to gain a couple inches in height, you can expect the thing to break.]
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80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Purchased this at a fantastic price (19.99). I wanted a labeler that would do iron on labels and was tooing and froing between this and the Brother equivalent. I have a Brother P-T90 and have been very happy with it (but unfortunately it can't do the 'iron ons'), so thought i'd give Epson a try as this LW-300 had great reviews plus i wanted to see the difference between the 2 labelers. I admit the length of the label wastage is less on the Epson, but to be honest, i'd rather have the waste than the flaw in the fonts! I am in the media world so focus a lot on fonts and the look of things, and this Epson LW-300 has blurred characters, as well as irregular spacing between characters. I've played around with it a lot, on various settings and can't find one that i'm happy with. I know it's just a labeler, not expensive, but wish i had gone with the Brother alternative and paid more. My brother P-Touch prints sharply and puts even spacing between each character. On a plus note for Epson, their labels are much easier to peel as there is a split horizontally through the tape. Forget that last line, i have just discovered that Brother now do similar peeling on their new tapes.
disappointed.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2013
I bought this label printer to replace my broken one made by Brother. I am disappointed with the fonts. The labels look just like from a dot-matrix printer. I expect to have sharp clean edges on the letters printed. It is worse than the old Brother labeler that I bought five years ago.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2014
I needed to print some labels with very small text, but couldn't access the smallest font size. I emailed Epson with the problem about changing the font size to the smallest setting. The website and documentation says that it has 5 font sizes. The device itself shows 5 font sizes printed on the device above the display on the left side. However, my device only allows me to select 4. I have looked at the FAQs and tried a few different things like changing to 2 line printing and changing the font, but it still only allows me 4 options. After explaining this to support, they sent me instructions for changing the font size which are on the website and in the documentation I received. This did not address my problem. I further explained that I can change font size, I just cannot access the smallest size. They sent another email with erroneous information about changing to 2 line printing or 3 line printing. 2 line printing doesn't use any smaller font size and this model does not have a 3 line option. I replied that this did not fix it and they never responded. I finally called and talked to someone overseas who I had trouble communicating with and explaining the issue. He had no idea how the device worked and basically read the instructions I had already read. He also said that they did not have a device in their office to look at first hand. While I was on hold I lost the call while I had 4 bars and my phone never drops calls. He had gotten my phone number when we started, but he never called back. I called again and spoke with someone else who wouldn't put me through to the other person so I had to explain the issue all over and it went the same. He told me to do the FAQs from the website where it just has the directions for changing the font that I had already done. While I was on hold I lost the call again. I know these guys are supposed to complete calls as quickly as possible and when they run into an issue they can't solve they just hang up. They didn't send me to a tier 2 support. They just try and avoid you. I will never buy from Epson again.

Summary: Their support is overseas and do not know how the device works. They just read the instructions that you already have. If they cannot resolve the issue they put you on hold and hang up or stop returning emails.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Style: LW-300Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Overall, I'm very happy with this little label maker, though I must confess some disappointment that the lettering is not as sharp and clear as an older product that I still own and use (and the older product cost less!)

Perhaps Epson might have been able to devote more time to the quality of the print mechanism if it had concentrated less on including every conceivable symbol on the keyboard. Because there are so many symbols, and because many of them can only be accessed through some odd combination of keystrokes, I find that I use very few of the features available. I wanted this because it is battery operated, and so very portable, and in that respect I'm not disappointed. The printing is readable if not outstanding and the feeder and cutter work well. For my eyes, dark characters on white keys would have been more desirable. Why does every keyboard have to be dark now? If I had to choose again, I think I would look at the Brother PT1290 Home and Office Labeler.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I've been using a P-touch for a number of years, and lost the instructions, so decided just to replace it, as I needed a way to label a bunch of crafts supplies.

After researching the options, I decided on this LW-300 model, and so far, it's performing BEAUTIFULLY! I've labeled a dozen jars of buttons, and about 50 file labels for my collection of craft paper pads (I make hand-crafted greeting cards). I'm still on the first set of batteries AND the original label cassette. No problems at all.

I'm really impressed with the variety of label designs, as well as the "special characters" that come standard with this. You get a cassette of 1/2" white tape/black ink, and I'm finding the print to be crisp and clear. I've done a few labels with just one line, but most are 2-line labels, and the print is clear and easy to read. Operation isn't difficult at all, once you "get" how to cycle through the options on the machine itself. The screen is not backlit, so you need to use this where there's enough light to read the screen.

I like that it doesn't waste a lot of tape, either. It seems to allow about 3/8" on either side of the printing. My old label maker left at least 1/2" on either side, so this is definitely an improvement.

My next investment might be a power cord, but honestly, if the batteries continue to last as long as these seem to be, I don't think I'll actually need it.

Very happy with this!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 6, 2011
Style: LW-300Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Out of the box, the machine was slightly bulkier than I expected; but it had a nice aero-dynamic shape and fit nicely in the palm of my hands. The LCD screen is kinda small and not backlit but still clearly visible. The plastic on the unit is of good(but not great) quality.

The rubber buttons on the unit are placed kind of close together so it might be easy to mispress an unintended button. There are many different options for styles, borders, sizes, and colors. With the middle navigation button, it is a breeze to shuffle thru the variety of font options and sizes.

The machine automatically stores/saves up to 30 different label designs. Installation of the print cartridge is quick and easy. You just pop open the back compartment and pop in the label cartridge. The unit has an A/C adaptor slot but does not come with an A/C adaptor.

There's an included symbol list illustrating all the designs available in the machine. The actual printing is pretty quick. The results look nice and solid. The label protective paper is a little tough to peel off from the label sticker.

The label itself sticks securely to most surfaces. The only potential negative is that the machine does not come with an A/C adaptor. Overall a versatile machine that is fun and nice to play around with. You might end up spending a lot on replacement cartridges though.

4.5 stars
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