Brother P-touch PT-90 Review

Updated December 31, 2013
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Brother P-touch PT-90
Bottom Line

Among low-cost label makers, it's tough to find a more capable choice than the Brother P-touch PT-90. It prints on only two label sizes, and only on standard non-laminated label material, but that's appropriate for a wide range of labeling tasks. Just a single font is provided, but there's a nice assortment of type styles available, including vertical. You can also add text frames and symbols or use one of eight predesigned "Deco Mode" label styles to add pizzazz. Three switchable faceplates let you change the look of your label maker to fit your mood or personal style.

Ease of use

Most find it simple. Not everyone agrees, but most users say the Brother P-touch PT-90 is uncomplicated and easy to use. The font selection is limited to one -- Helsinki -- but you can use a variety of type styles to jazz things up. For even fancier labels, you can add special symbols, text frames or use a predesigned "Deco" label layout. Battery life is an issue, and it's complicated by a low-battery warning that flashes even when the battery is still good, user reports say. There's a label backing peeler on the PT-90, but most say it doesn't work very well. There's no memory, so you can't save labels to be reused later, but you can print out up to nine copies of a label at a time.

ProsEasy to use, Low cost, Switchable decorative faceplates includedConsWide label margins waste expensive tape, Hard on batteries

Versatility

Just the basics. Despite the presence of some decorative effects, this is a basic label maker in every way. It prints on non-laminated label material only, and in just two widths: 9 mm and 12 mm. Still, if you need a label maker for only occasional use around the house, the PT-90 can fit the bill.

Value

Low cost. The Brother P-touch PT-90 clearly falls short of more expensive label makers like the Brother P-touch PT-D200 (Est. $40) , but it's tough to beat in this price range. The four AAA batteries can be consumed fairly quickly, but users say that turning off the label maker as soon as you are done with it can help keep the batteries fresh for a decent amount of time. Some complain that there's no way to use an AC adapter with the PT-90, and it shares the same tape waste issues as other Brother label makers: Most users say its label margins are too wide.

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Brother P-touch Home and Office Labeler (PT-D200)
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Our Sources

1. Staples.com

Brother P-touch PT-90 Personal Label Maker, Contributors to Staples.com, As of January 2014

There are more than 475 user reviews of the Brother P-touch PT-90 at Staples.com, although that number includes some original posts from the manufacturer's website. Feedback is relatively positive and the PT-90 earns 4 stars out of 5, with 86 percent of owners saying they would recommend the label maker to a friend.

2. Amazon.com

Brother Personal Labeler Machine, White (PT90), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2014

The 170 owners who post reviews at Amazon.com are only slightly less satisfied with the Brother PT-90 than Staples.com users, giving it 3.9 stars out of 5. Most complaints involve the challenges faced in removing label backings or disappointment with battery life, either real or apparent because of continual low-battery warnings. The majority, however, is completely or mostly satisfied.

3. Good Housekeeping

The Best Tools of All Time, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Not dated

Good Housekeeping places label makers at the top of its list of the best tools with which to organize your home. Although testing is not explained and there's an error in crediting this label maker with nine fonts -- it only has one, but does offer nine text styles -- editors say the Brother PT-90 has a large screen, a QWERTY keyboard and a "nice price." They add that by opting for an uncomplicated label maker like the PT-90, "you can kick the clutter to the gutter a lot faster."