SATO labels and tags

Top-quality ready-made and customizable labels to meet all your labeling application needs.

SATO printer labels are produced in-house using the highest quality materials to ensure optimum performance with all SATO’s printer systems. We offer direct thermal, thermal transfer and synthetic labels in either paper or film base that are specially manufactured to work seamlessly with SATO thermal printers.

Our products are competitively priced, and the most common sizes are in stock and will be shipped immediately upon the completion of your order.

To order label stock for your printers, complete the label purchasing request and one of our customer service representatives will contact you within 24 hours (excludes weekends and public holidays).

sato labels and tags

SATO’s thermal labels and tags

SATO brand thermal labels and tags are available in a broad range of custom sizes and quantities. Besides an abundance of standard label types, SATO also supplies customized and pre-printed single or double-sided labels and tags for a broad spectrum of applications:

  • Stock labels – SATO-approved labels, both direct thermal and thermal transfer, available in a range of sizes and materials, and all shipping is expedited.
  • Custom-made labels – Labels with special sizes, special adhesives and face materials are produced on request.
  • Pre-printed labels – Labels with your company logo, product descriptions, use and warning information, corporate messages or any other special image on to your chosen material.

Thermal labels and tags are available in:

  • Paper or synthetic
  • Permanent or removable adhesives
  • Roll or fanfold
  • Blank or preprinted

A variety of label options for any need

Labels are available in an array of adhesive and material combinations, offering varying levels of performance regarding scratch/smudge durability, tear resistance and chemical resistance.

Paper is the most common and cost-effective material, but these are limited to indoor use only. Applications where exposure to high levels of abrasion or exposure to chemicals require the use of synthetic materials, such as polypropylene and polyester.

Labels are used for a variety of purposes, so pick the one below that best describes your process:

Thermal transfer paper labels

These are bright white, ultra-smooth, coated face stocks suitable for slow to high-speed thermal transfer printing with high resistance to abrasion and smear. Available with multiple adhesives types from ultra-removable to permanent high-tack.

Direct thermal paper labels

These are also bright white, but thermally-coated papers available in economical uncoated and higher-durability coated paper face stocks. Ideal for most standard indoor AIDC applications where exposure to water or chemicals is not anticipated. Direct thermal products are simple to use and are ideal for short-term use applications. Available with multiple adhesives types from removable to permanent high-tack.

Polypropylene labels (SF100)

These are glossy and white in appearance, but are also made with corona-treated, biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film, employing a permanent adhesive with good durability, strength and chemical resistance.

White polyester labels (SF300)

These are glossy, white, top-coated polyester labels with exceptional print quality, excellent tear strength, high abrasion and smear resistance, even under severe conditions. These labels are UL recognized when paired with SATO’s R333A or R435B ribbons. Also available in matte silver.

Meto medical labels

These are medium-sensitivity, top-coated direct thermal paper for use in thermal printers. The piggyback labels have a patterned adhesive on the top ply.

Label quoting considerations

Label size, roll size, paper or film, direct thermal or standard thermal options are all important to consider when ordering labels. Adhesive types must also be considered based on the environment your labels will be in. The following information will help you determine the most appropriate labels for your needs.

Direct thermal vs. thermal transfer

Direct thermal labels have chemical properties that allow them to print with the application of heat. Thermal transfer labels are simpler and require the application of heat and an ink “ribbon” roll to print. The two label types are not interchangeable and can require different printer models, so it is important to select the right one.

Label size

Labels are originally sized based on the amount of information and the necessary size of the barcode that needs to be printed on the label. After an original size has been established, it often makes sense to change the label size to a nearby “standard” size (such as 2” x 4” or 4” x 6”), which reduces cost.

Roll size

For tabletop printing applications, 8” outer diameter (OD) rolls are the most common. For print engine applications where the printer is in a label applicator, larger rolls are more common. With a larger roll around 13” OD, many more labels can fit on the roll, allowing for much longer printing time before replacing the roll.

Paper vs. film

Label material usually falls into one of two categories: paper or paper with synthetic film. Paper labels are considerably cheaper but don’t stand up as well to moisture or abuse. Synthetic film labels are better for wet environments or for consumer-facing products that need to maintain a high-quality look through transport.

Adhesive types

Adhesive quality and price vary greatly based on the temperature in which the label must be used. The two relevant temperatures are the temperature at which the label is originally applied and the temperature at which the applied label is stored. The least expensive adhesives are meant only for room temperature application. The most heavy-duty adhesives are made for below-freezing application and long-term storage in a blast freezer.

Pitfalls of low quality or improperly specified labels

The following are some of the more common issues that cause problems ranging from inconvenience to all-out failure.

Poor print quality

Especially with direct thermal type labels, the quality of the chemical makeup of the label is important to the print quality. High-quality labels consistently offer crisp black prints and easy-to-scan barcodes.

Adhesive bleed-through

When the die cutter that produces labels in the factory is misaligned, it can cause minor incisions in the label backing around the edge of each label. Adhesive then seeps through the backing and keeps the label firmly attached to the backing. This means the label will not peel properly when fed through the printer, which can be an annoyance when tabletop printing. When printing in an automatic applicator, this minor annoyance becomes a major problem, possibly jamming labels and leading to unlabeled products down the line.

Poor adhesion

Low-quality adhesive or improperly specified adhesive can lead to labels falling off during shipping and handling. The “stickiness” of the labels becomes even more important in cold temperatures when the adhesive shrinks on the molecular level and can let the label fall off.

Direct thermal and thermal transfer tags

SATO brand tags are white and have the smooth qualities of a premium, high-quality, problem-free matte coating for smudge-resistant printing. They offer premium, high-density barcodes at low output print head settings and superior flexographic print quality.

SATO tags are the preferred option for flat applications. Thermal transfer tags are user-friendly and efficient enough for use with lower-cost wax ribbons.

To request a custom quote for blank white thermal, pre-printed, or colored tags, please complete the custom label/tag request form.

Tag quoting considerations

From tags with perforations for easy tearing to holes and durable materials for harsh environments, the tag material you choose makes a difference. Consider the following information before ordering your tags:


Rather than risk losing tags, utilize more tear-resistant material, such as a thicker tag. Also, synthetic tags and combination construction tags, such as the DuraTag, also prevents tag loss. Fortunately, there are many different material types to choose from that will fit your specific needs. For example, if you’re looking for a premium finish, choose tag stocks that are coated on one or two sides.

Attaching Holes

A cost-effective option for tags that do not need to be cleanly punched include sharco (ties). For holes that risk tearing, be sure to position the holes farther away from the edge of the tag.


In some situations, a portion of the tag needs to be removed. Internal perforations, whether vertical or horizontal, can be included. An example of this preference is when a customer is gifting a product and wants to remove the price portion of a tag. Another situation common in perforated tags is when you want to separate it into two or three parts to apply to multiple items. Instead of using cutting equipment, which can be time consuming, utilize perforations, and if you really want to maximize throughput, consider printing multiple side-by-side tags all at once.

Printing during label production

To make tags more easily identifiable, use color. Printing images, blocks or tinting the entire tag can eliminate the need for in-house printing. Printing is also a convenience to users who need to consecutively number their tags and have predetermined values, the information of which can be printed during tag production.