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Brother Label Makers: Channelling Your Inner Martha Stewart

Brother Label Makers: Channelling Your Inner Martha Stewart

Guest post by Amy van Weelderen, Reviewer

I had not held a label maker in my hands since I had one of the Dymo labellers back in the ’80’s, manually rotating the dial to each letter and pressing with all my might to spell my name. That was my last and vast experience with label makers. Well let me tell you: they’ve come a long, long way since then and if you don’t have one, you definitely need to get one.

More than just labelling files and back-to-school lunchboxes, labels can be made for practically everything around the house (seriously, everything). Books, cable cords, food containers, shoes (right vs. left for those still learning) — a label maker is not just for the Martha Stewart wannabes. Anyone can create useful labels in various colors, sizes and cool patterns. I was walking around my house, label maker in hand, just looking for things to label. (My husband said I went too far when I labelled the toaster.)

The first of two labellers I tried was the Brother PT-1090 ($29.95). A handheld machine about the size of a large calculator, this portable labeller seemed pretty straight forward. I thought I could glance at the directions, get the gist and go for it. Not so fast. Don’t be fooled by the size. The PT-1090 has so many features and functions that you really can’t skip the instructions.

With 12 Deco mode patterns, it has the option of printing 1 or 2 lines of text, holds up to 9 of your favourite labels and the easy-to-use date and time stamp make labelling leftovers a snap. The labels themselves come out crisp and perfect. Each labeller comes with a white laminated tape cassette but Brother offers clear and various colors and sizes (purchased separately) for all of your needs. They even offer an iron-on fabric tape for cloth which is great for school kids who seem to have the knack of losing everything.

A step up is the Brother PT-1290 ($59.95) and this piece of modern equipment is really impressive. The compact powerhouse does it all and then some. Switch between 2 fonts, 15 Deco mode patterns, numerous framing options (which are really cool), 1 or 2 lines of text and on and on. The built-in memory holds up to 9 of your favourite labels. The PT-1290 automatically adjusts text size based on tape width.

I seriously had no idea that there was a need for so many different types of labels. It is addicting and once you get started it is hard to stop. (Remember my labelled toaster?) For me the PT-1290 seemed a bit easier to use, the functions were easier to access and the design of the keyboard was a lot easier to type on than the smaller PT-1090.

Both labellers require six AAA batteries (which seems a bit excessive and are not included) but there is an option to buy an AC adapter. Since I was not well versed in the world of label makers, I was at first taken aback at the complexity of options that both offered. The directions can be a bit confusing. Of the two I would recommend the PT-1090 if you are looking to label the basics: back to school stuff, files, fridge or freezer items. It still offers you loads of options but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, than the PT-1090 is the perfect choice. If you want to step it up and will use the multitude of design options, the larger PT-1290 is worth the price. The PT-1290’s keyboard and the extra design capabilities can keep you busy for a while. Both come with a starter 12mm roll of white laminated adhesive tape so you can start labelling right away.

So, things have changed since I was a kid when it comes to labelling. In moments you can slap a label on just about anything and feel instantly professional, organized and efficient. As I continue to walk around my home, label maker in hand, I can’t help but channel a little Martha Stewart myself and think, “It’s a good thing.”

Amy van Weelderen is the founder of Lullaby League, a service that connects busy families with high-quality babysitters. Find out how you can be part of the Review Network.

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