Is it cheaper to print address labels at home?

If you need to print batches of address labels—or shipping labels, if you’re running a business—it’s almost certainly less expensive to print them yourself. We’ll explore some common options and help you decide what’s best for your needs.

If you don’t have a printer, don’t want to buy one, and only need to print out a few labels, you’re better off going to a print shop or using a friend’s printer. For everyone else, it’s quicker, easier, and cheaper to do it yourself, preferably using a postal solution like PitneyShip Pro.

Address labels vs. shipping labels

First, let’s clear up our terminology:

  • Address labels are just what they sound like: labels with your recipient’s name and mailing address neatly printed. They’re great for one-offs, but don’t really cut it for most businesses.
  • Shipping labels contain all the information that address labels do, so your shipping provider knows where to deliver your parcels, but they also contain your own return shipping address, plus tracking barcodes and other information that makes it much easier for your shipper to get it there efficiently.

In short, address labels are casual, whereas shipping labels mean business.

Printing address labels is as easy as getting sheets of stickers in your preferred size, running the address label utility in your favourite word processor, and connecting to your address data source.

Printing shipping labels generally requires postal software like PitneyShip Pro—the barcodes alone make the assistance essential, but there are plenty of other benefits like lower commercial postage rates.

A printer shipping label with address information.

Can I print just one label at a time?

This isn’t a problem for either shipping labels or address labels—though if you’re using label sheets, you do have to be careful to instruct the software you’re using to print to the correct space on the sheet, especially if you’ve already used that particular sheet before. Don’t worry if you forget—it may waste a tiny bit of toner or ink, but it shouldn’t affect the rest of the sheet, so you can get it right the next time.

How can I print return address labels?

If you’re printing regular address labels, it makes sense to print out sheets of return address labels so you can attach both at the same time. It’s a little easier than printing  a batch of address labels, because you don’t have to connect to a data source for each individual label. Just enter your return address info once and you’re good to go.

If you’re printing Canada Post shipping labels, it’s even easier, because your return address info is already included.

Businesses may want to include prepaid return labels to help customers return items as needed. This can be a very smart business decision, as it helps you control costs and makes it easier on your customers so they’re that much more likely to buy from you again. PitneyShip Pro makes it very easy to print prepaid return labels to include with your parcels.

Can I print rolls of shipping labels?

Printing on rolls rather than sheets is a great deal for most businesses. There’s an upfront cost to purchase a thermal printer dedicated to shipping labels, but it’s cheaper in the long run as you save money on printer maintenance and supplies. You’ll also probably see fewer undeliverable parcels, as thermal labels are more durable and weather-resistant than those printed on sticker sheets.

Recommended reading

Reduce your shipping costs for your home office with PitneyShip Pro

Learn how to print your own shipping labels