Whether you’re sending personal packages or shipping packages for your business, you want them to arrive safely at their intended destination. Make sure your shipping labels will do the job.
Carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, along with others, use automated scanning to sort packages, so your labels have to be “automation compatible.” Labels must stay in place during the sorting and shipping process, and they have to be legible and remain legible under a wide variety of delivery conditions—neither snow, nor rain, nor heat should stop your package from reaching your customers or loved ones!
What Makes a Good Shipping Label?
A good shipping label should meet these requirements:
- Size: The smallest label you should use for shipping is 4 inches by 6 inches, which will be accepted by all carriers. Larger labels are best when you have a barcode. Barcodes can be printed at the top or the bottom of the label, but the minimum clearance from any line above or below it is 0.028 inches.
- Material: The adhesive and printer type are the most important factors for making sure your labels stay put and stay legible. The material your label is made from is an extra feature that you can use to make your labels even more durable or help them stand out. Paper labels can have matte or gloss finishes, which may affect your printing. Vinyl labels resist water damage. The label should be white or light and without patterns, like polka dots, for example, to avoid interference for the scanner.
- Adhesive: Always use permanent adhesive labels or repositionable labels. Labels with adhesives that are “cold temperature” or “all temperature” are good choices. Do not use removable labels for shipping! They can easily come off during processing and transport.
- Printer: There are two main options for printing your shipping labels: the standard inkjet/laser printer or a thermal label printer. Whether your printer is inkjet, laser, or thermal, make sure the label you choose will work with the type of printer you have.
- Price: Price per label is important, especially if you are doing a large amount of mailing. Always divide the price you’re paying by the number of labels you’re getting to check what each label costs.
Other shipping label tips include:
- Use an address label that has clear and complete delivery and return information and the address and the postage go on the same side of your package. Text should be left-justified.
- Use a minimum of 10-point font size, choose simple fonts, and make your address information and barcode black.
- Put one space between city and state and two spaces between state and ZIP Code.
- Make sure your label is on straight so that processing machines can read it and place a duplicate address label inside your package in case the outer label is damaged or comes off.
Take a look at these outstanding shipping labels that get your package from here to there safely!
Best Clear Labels: Avery Matte Clear Shipping Labels
Avery’s frosted clear labels virtually vanish to give your packages a custom-printed look, perfect for special occasion mailings and decorated boxes. Optimized for inkjet printers, Avery’s Ultrahold permanent adhesive ensures these labels stick without coming off. Easily add a personal touch with thousands of free templates and designs at Avery’s website.
Avery Printable Shipping Labels with Sure Feed, 3-1/3" x 4", Matte Clear, 60 Blank Mailing Labels (18664)
These frosted clear labels are perfect for special occasion mailings and decorated boxes.
Best Water-Resistant Labels: ZICOTO Vinyl Labels
ZICOTO’s 8.5-by-11-inch vinyl sheets let you print highly durable and water-resistant labels in varying sizes. The adhesive vinyl material works perfectly with most inkjet and laser printers, absorbing ink easily and drying very quickly.
Premium Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper for Your Inkjet and Laser Printer – 15 Matte White Waterproof Decal Paper Sheets - Dries Quickly and Holds Ink Beautifully - Accessories Set for Cricut
These versatile water-resistant vinyl adhesive labels are compatible with inkjet and laser printers.
Best Half-Sheet Labels: MFLABEL Half-Sheet Shipping Labels
MFLABEL’s pre-cut 8.5-by-5.5 inch labels are designed for business shipping and larger packages. Coated with a strong adhesive, this is a great value label that works well with home inkjet and laser printers, so you don’t have to invest in a specialty printer.
MFLABEL Half Sheet Self Adhesive Shipping Labels for Laser & Inkjet Printers, 200 Count
These are great labels for business shipping that can be printed at home.
Best for Big Projects: LotFancy Shipping Labels
LotFancy 4-by-6-inch, perforated shipping labels come in 500, 1,000, 2,000, or 4,000 fanfold stacks that are perfect for commercial users and sellers printing custom labels, barcodes, and FBA labels. Compatible with Rollo and other direct thermal printers, these labels work for shipping with USPS, FEDEX, UPS, and many other carriers.
LotFancy 4x6 Thermal Labels Fanfold, 1000 Shipping Labels, Perforated, White Mailing Labels Compatible with Zebra, Rollo Thermal Printer, Permanent Adhesive
These shipping labels are perfect for commercial users and sellers.