Review: P-Touch PT-18R Label Maker

Much like Lifehacker has featured some great geek toys lately, I had a neat toy come into my Inbox from ReviewMe (I was paid to review this labelmaker). I chose to play with this labelmaker because a) I needed an excuse to start re-organizing my file cabinet, b) I love to make labels, and c) this looked like a great product. I only want to write about things that you might find useful, too…

First Glance

The P-Touch PT-18R labelmaker from Brother is intimidating. It’s big, it has a dock (for recharging), computer software (custom designs) and can use a number of different label cassettes (different colors, sizes). This is awesome because if you’re looking for a label solution that covers all your bases, you’re set:

  • simple labels
  • barcodes
  • name badges
  • folder tabs
  • cable wraps
  • binder spines
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There are templates for these kinds of labels (and more) already programmed into the label maker. The only downside is the size of the tape may not match the 1/2″ black-on-white starter tape provided. If you choose to, you can find any number of different tapes with any number of colors at

Making a Label

It’s really quite simple once you turn the label maker on. You have a full-sized QWERTY keyboard with any number of symbols: caution, scull-and-crossbones, no-smoking, computer, phone, you name it! This is pretty cool because I could throw a phone symbol onto a cable wrap label and quickly label who’s line is who (in an office, or perhaps to distinguish from a network cable).

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You can easily hit the ‘Text’ button and pick from four different fonts, three sizes (S, M, L), different widths, and even some neat styles (bold, shadow, outline). Once set, you can also change the label which allows you to change alignment, length, and even put a frame around the text. Since there’s a ‘Print Preview’ option you can tell exactly how your label will look before you hit Print.

Bottom Line

This thing is feature rich. With a $200 price tag it had better be. I used to work for a small business and I think this would be a perfect solution. With filing systems, cables, folders, and all kinds of stuff to label this would take care of it all. It’s extremely flexible and can be used for anything I can think of.

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The only down sides, like some products, include the reliance on supplies. You’ll need to put down some more cash if you need different sized tape or you’d like some other colors to help organize.

The average user could get some good use of out this. I labeled my file cabinet labels extremely easily. Unfortunately, I would not be able to justify the price. With that said, poking around led to me to find some simpler and more efficient label makers which, if they’re anything like their big brother, would be perfect for a guy like me.