Barcode printers are an essential part of operation. When you encounter barcode printer errors, you can experience costly downtime, chargebacks, and a loss in productivity. To prevent this, take a proactive approach and ensure you are taking care of your printers.

Here are five easy ways you can help maintain barcode printers and reduce errors:

Purchase the Correct Media

The first step is to ensure the media you use is right for your printer. If the barcode label is too abrasive, it can wear through the protective ceramic coating and cause damage to the print head. This doesn’t just apply to the barcode label, but the ribbon as well. Ensure the transfer ribbon is as wide, if not wider, than your label itself, and is made from quality materials that don’t leave wax/resin buildup. Cheap media can cause the printer to collect dust and debris, resulting in poor print quality, frequent print head replacements, and barcode printer errors.

Clean Regularly

Low-quality media isn’t the only factor that causes dust, debris, and build-up. You environment is likely to cause this to some degree. Every printer will need to be cleaned on a regular basis to keep it in ideal working condition.

Follow the instructions from the printer’s user manual, and clean the print head and platen roller each time you install a new ribbon in your thermal printer. This only takes a few minutes and could potentially save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the printer.

Monitor Printer Settings

Each printer has manufacturer recommended settings put in place to help you get the most out of your printer. While these settings are often customizable, increases or changes to these recommended settings can eventually shorten its lifespan. Fast printing speeds can not only increase the number of barcode printer errors you may encounter, but it could damage the printer.

Don’t Damage the Printer Sensors

Airborne particles like dust and paper fibers are unfortunately impossible to avoid. These particles can damage print sensors, or block them altogether over time if they are left to build up. In addition to regular cleanings, keep these at bay by brushing them away with small, clean paint brushes or canned air duster—the same you would use to clean a keyboard.

Prevent Print Head Contamination

Print heads are not only delicate, but expensive to replace. It is essential to prevent damage to the print head whenever possible. Make sure you aren’t risking print head contamination. Only use print heads that adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications. You may find inexpensive parts offered by a third party, but don’t be fooled by what seems to be a good deal. You will only end up paying more in the long run when these parts break or damage the printer.


Barcode printer errors are a costly nuisance. If you are experiencing more errors than you should, it’s likely due to sub-par printer maintenance or materials. A barcode printer is a significant investment, and should be treated as such. By following manufacturer instructions and doing some basic maintenance, you can prevent these errors from occurring and extend the life of your printer.

Informs, Inc. offers a wide range of high-quality industrial barcode printers and media from the Honeywell industrial label printer family. For more information on printer maintenance and which media is right for your printer, contact Informs, Inc. today.