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Right now, I've got a Brother P-touch labeler that prints four or five sizes of text on one long label. It has features such as italics and bold. It's...non-ideal.

What do you use in your server room? I have heard of labelers that will print vertically as well as horizontally, or which can produce labels for cable management as well. I also think it would be great to be able to produce barcodes for my tapes (LTO-3).

So basically, I would like a labeler that prints normal, can print cable labels, and can print barcodes. Unicorn optional.

Any ideas, or could you even suggest the best labeler for each solution?


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10 Answers 10

We use a P-Touch PT-1600 for our labeling. It has just about every label format we have ever required and works well for servers, patch panels and cables. My only complaint is that P-Touch tape is expensive.

The barcode format supported on the PT-1600 are: Code 39, I-2/5, EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A, UPC-E, CODABAR, EAN128, CODE128.


I've got one of these too! – Joseph Kern Nov 27 '09 at 14:28
Now it's discontinued... – Brett G Jul 29 '11 at 21:27

I use the DYMO RhinoPRO 5000. It is hand held. It has a wire wrap mode and a very flexible nylon tape to allow labeling cat 5 cables and other wires. It also does the standard labels up to 3/4" wide. They also have heat shrink tubing labels for very hard to remove wire labeling. I have been using it for 6 months and have had good results.


I've used the Brother P-Touch 9500C which is a PC-connected label printer and have been very happy with it.

Brother P-Touch 9500C Brother P-Touch 9600

If you need to be able to also do one-off labels then the P-Touch 9600 also has a built-in keyboard.

The advantage of a computer-connected model is that they are extremely versatile and can be very handy when a lot of labels need to be printed.


We use this one, largely because the contractors we hire to run our wire (roughly 15k runs so far), use them to do all of their labeling. It's nice because it outputs labels more suitable for wiring, but can also print "normal" labels.

We use the Brady IDXPERT QUERTY model as it was what was recommended to us by our cable installers. It's great for wiring labels but there are enough different label types available for it to handle everything we want to do. I haven't hooked it up to a PC yet but that's on my endless to-do list...… – Ausmith1 Aug 29 '09 at 3:53

It has been a while since I've had to use one of these things myself, but I remember using one of the lower-end P-Touch models and those wobbly rubber keys that only worked 50% of the time drove me nuts.

You probably want to take a look at Brother's Telco page for their recommendations. The PC-connectable printers have Windows printer drivers that can be used from just about any application, but in particular, they have very good integration with software that you may already be using for asset management (like D-Tools System Integrator 4.x/5.x, Simply Reliable Software SmartOffice, Holbrook Enterprises WireCAD, JDSU/Test-Um Plan-Um & Plan-Um AP, or Colorado vNetBuilder).


I have always found the Handheld P-touch to be the best solution for labeling a Data Center. It's Portable and versatile with it's functions of sequential and numbered labels.
I find that important because of the pattern we use.

  • DNS Name on Box Front
  • U-Number on Rear Rails
  • Cables always two lines. Top line is current connection. Bottom line is the destination (other end).
    • [Room / Data Center] - [Row Number] - [Rack Number] - [U-Number] - [PCI Slot / Device / Peripheral / Blade] - [Port]

The labels have always stuck in hot centers and cold centers. They don't easily rub off. They don't scratch easily. And with the available sizes and convention I listed above we know instantly what is what and where it is going.


Regardless of brand, a good hand-held should have a QWERTY keyboard. Commonly used symbols such as hyphen and underscore should be easy to find, not buried in a menu.


You need a label printer that you connect to your computer, I don't have one right now but the last one could even print pictures. (And those pictures could have been barcodes etc etc)

However the software was the limiting factor.... But is was a funny little thing to play with.

Maybe something like this???

alt text


I use a P-Touch also. It will print up to 4 lines of text per label, either horizontal or vertical. Being PC connected there is almost no limit, as it can do graphics as well. If there is anything that the P-Touch won't do it's not a problem. It just happens that I work for a printing company that specialises in labels and we have a special machine for short runs which is perfect even for single labels.


We have both the P-Touch PT-9500PC and P-Touch PT-1600.

The PT-9500PC is handy for doing large batches of labels, like when rewiring a cabinet. It has some nice software that allows imports from various sources, so if you have a rack management software that records ports and what not and does exports, it makes life a lot easier.

The PT-1600 is handy as a quick one time labeler.

As for the LTO tapes, the PT-9500PC software has a bunch of media related templates, you might find this site handy too. It'll dump out PDF file with a various format labels and barcode stuff that prints on standard Avery label stock.


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