Thermal label printer suggestion? (Price, Cost to operate)

Hi, I need to get a thermal label printer for printing barcode/price
labels. Currently I am using a laser printer with a sheet of 30 labels
which is great... except when I need to print a small quantity then I
begin to feel wasteful because I won't run a half used page of labels
back through the nice laser printer.
My needs are...
I want to buy a machine with excellent compatibility to MS RMS 1.3 that
will output 1x2 or 1x3 labels as few as one at a time. Hopefully
without any waste (some I've seen waste a blank one after each printing
Secondly I want to buy a machine that the cost of supplies is low on.
I am annoyed by the price of thermal labels and up until my current
need for barcodes have been using a dot matrix label printer that feeds
15/16x3.5" labels that cost about $10/box of 5000. I realize I can't
even touch that price with thermal labels but I want to be sure to make
a wise purchase.
Lastly, the desired interface would be USB. Parallel or serial would
work too but USB would be most desireable for my current equipment.
I would appreciate your advice. Exact model numbers would be even
Thanks alot everyone!
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I have both a Cognitive Advantage Barcode Blaster and a Zebra TLP-3844 printer. The Blaster is less expensive and mine is direct thermal. The Zebra does both direct thermal and thermal transfer but I use it for thermal transfer for labels that need to be able to stand up to outdoor conditions. Neither waste any labels except 3-4 when you change the stock.
I really don't think there's a huge difference between the various top brands of printers. Unless you're going through hundreds of thousands of labels a year, the cost difference isn't much on the labels either. Say you use 100,000 labels a year. At your cost, you're paying $2/M (per thousand) labels. Even if you start paying $4.50/M, that's only a difference of $250/year...and that doesn't account for the wasted label stock you experience now or the cost of the printer ribbons or toner.
I bought my last Zebra printer and label stock from
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and called them first to get advice. They were very knowledgeable and helpful. I have no affiliation with them but liked their straight forward approach.
Good luck.
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We have Dymo labelers at a couple of workstations, which we use with RMS to print upc/price labels, or backtag labels, or mixed paint labels using Filemaker, or address labels using the Dymo software. Set-up was a little fussy, but they are USB, under $100 on sale, and I continue to find more uses for them -
Only warning - thermal labels "blank out" after a while, so they aren't ideal for ID tags that need to stay on equipment or such for extended periods of time -
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Tad L

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