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Cheap electronic labelers have some downsides — they can be awkward to handle, it’s hard to type on the tiny keyboard, batteries run down at the most inopportune time, and the expensive label stock isn’t very durable. Dymo offers another simpler option: write directly on the label tape with a sharpie.

At this point you’re asking, “Why can’t I just write on some masking tape and save money?” For one, it’s not very permanent and doesn’t look very professional. Also Dymo claims the industrial strength adhesive on their labels allows them to “stick and last.” Unfortunately the labeler doesn’t help you if you have illegible handwriting.

You write on the label through a large window in the Rhino 101, then advance the label with a thumb wheel and remove it with a built-in cutter. The “ergonomic” tool is built with an “industrial grade” case so you needn’t worry about it shattering when you drop it. An included clip allows you to hang the lightweight labeler on your belt for easy access.

The Rhino uses proprietary label cartridges that cost about $10 and it ships with a retractable Sharpie.  If you’re anywhere near a Menards you can pick one up for $4 after $3 rebate this week of Christmas — that’s approaching the price of a roll of brown tape and a Sharpie. Otherwise you’re stuck paying at least $13 elsewhere.

Rhino 101 [Dymo]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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11 Responses to A Luddite’s Label Maker

  1. Cameron says:

    I gotta say that’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a long time. You can get good tape to use without loading it into some gizmo that appears to do nothing except make it difficult to write on said tape.

  2. Matt says:

    I agree, a roll of white phasing tape is a lot cheaper and works great, wrap several times around big cable/conduit etc and you can write lots.

  3. Gil says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I need to rest my hand on the thing I’m writing on.

  4. SharkBreath says:

    I guarantee that my wife and/or kids will have this for me in the stocking. They seem to find the most gimmicky, useless gadgets for me. But you gotta admit, it’s a fun family tradition. Just don’t get caught trying to dump them on eBay. The kids didn’t talk to me for 2 months after that one.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. Doctorjohnr says:

    So if this is a waste of money, what kind of tape and marker do I use to keep my labels boxes in the attic? Any standard Avery label peels off in the Texas heat (at least 140oF) in the summer. so does regular duct tape, painters tape and masking tape. Being amateur, I have no idea what phasing tape is.

  6. LennyNero says:

    I have one of these things. The despenser is admittedly pretty gimmicky, however, the actual label tape is AMAZING. The adhesive is some sort of waterproof fabric with an incomprehensibly tenacious adhesive. Being a fabric label, it conforms very well to irregular surfaces, and can stick to a lot more surfaces than a P-touch style laminated label.

  7. Brau says:

    It may just be me but … I use a labeler when I want something to look, oh, how do you say it … NOT hand-written!! SHeesh. This thing would make the writing look worse.

  8. Matt says:

    @ Doctorjohnr:

    Phasing tape is tape used to identify electrical wires by color (such as red, black, blue here in Canada). I think In the states it’s three different colors. Also white is available to identify the neutral conductor (also very handy for labeling since its…..white. Have you tried using Tuck Tape on your boxes? I know it’s probably not the best to write on but could be used to frame in a piece of paper to write on…Everything I’ve stuck it on has stayed. By the way, these aren’t cardboard boxes I’m assuming otherwise you’d just write on the box…?

  9. Coach James says:

    Matt, do you mean ordinary electrical tape?

  10. Matt says:

    Yeah, it’s just ordinary electrical tape, just different colors (it’s pretty hard to write on the black stuff eh?). Here in Canada our three phase power colors are red, black, and blue. I think in the states it’s red black white. We use white for the neutral conductor and green for the grounded conductor. We usually wrap several wraps of the white stuff around large electrical cabels and then we have lots of room to write the breaker, feeder location, etc.

  11. John Martens says:

    Being an electrician I have gone through hundreds of rolls of label plastic. Because we use them to label things like receptacles with their box and breaker number. There is not a single place that I, as an electrician, can think of a use for a handwritten label. Sorry, no go.

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