Dymo Desktop Mailing Solution
At a Glance
Internet postage is a great idea--if you send enough stuff to justify the monthly fee that most providers charge. If your mailing needs are more modest, check out Dymo's $240 (street) Desktop Mailing Solution. This package includes a label and stamp printer, and a scale that feeds package weights into the product's software (which calculates costs automatically)--all with no monthly fee.
The 300-dpi LabelWriter Twin Turbo thermal printer requires no ink, and it accommodates two rolls: one for mailing labels, the other for stamps. It handles many types of labels, including ones that combine the return address and shipping address, but a roll of 350 standard single-address labels costs $20.
You can print labels from many different office and contact-management applications, or from an included application, but to print stamps you must use a second included app.
The scale, which connects to your PC via USB, handles packages weighing up to 5 pounds. Just place your letter or package on it, and the weight and appropriate postage show up in the included application; click a button to generate a stamp. Dymo says that the printer can spit out a single label in 1 second, or 55 labels per minute; on my system, a single label took a couple of seconds--and 6 seconds when I embedded a graphic. Still, the unit is plenty quick, and quiet enough to run in a library.
A roll of 200 stamps costs $20 (including shipping)--a little steep, but cheaper than the gas you'll burn driving to the post office. The catch? Though you can buy Dymo labels from many assorted retailers, you can buy the stamps only from Dymo's partner, e-postage provider Endicia. If you purchase this Dymo package, though, you can avoid Endicia's usual monthly fee--and purchase only the postage you need--by entering a credit card number in the stamps application and clicking a couple buttons. You can keep your card number on file to speed the process, or enter it every time. The minimum purchase is $10.
Unfortunately, the postage scale is rather puny, and the stamps application can calculate only first-class mail charges. I wish that it could calculate costs from other shipping providers, such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL, so that I could compare rates.
I'd recommend the Desktop Mailing Solution for small businesses with light to moderate mailing needs that don't run afoul of the product's weighing and price-calculating limitations.