If you are a professional contractor, electrician, plumber, or like to keep your stuff organized and easy to find, by now you’ve likely heard of Dymo’s line of Rhino label printers. The Rhino label printers are one of few industrial quality products designed to serve the needs of journeymen and contracting professionals who need on-site labelers that can stand up to the tough elements and challenges faced on the jobsite. The company just released its Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer to update and replace its already well-regarded RhinoPro 5000 label printer that has been an industry standard. The new product simplifies and augments an already impressive label printing tool. Dymo doesn’t just stop at the machines, however, they have an impressive and well-rounded line of label products that cover the gamut and function in almost any environment. This includes entry-level nylon tape, vinyl tape in multiple color choices and also permanent polyester labels which are hearty enough to work for outdoor use or application onto rough surfaces. We were happy to put our grubby hands on the new 5200 and, when we did, we were quite pleased with the results.
Editor’s Note: Please check out our review of the Rhino 6000 Label Printer for USB-connected printing with software.
Dymo’s Rhino labelers have been in the market for quite a few years. I first saw the signature yellow and black hand-held label printers a while back, thinking “these are not your standard run-of-the-mill label makers”. Having used everything from traditional thermal to inkjet for labels, the thought of carrying around a seriously rugged printer that could instantly deliver labels for almost any application was, to put it mildly, quite appealing. On top of that, I was in a job where cabling and wire was plentiful and labeling the ends for easy identification was imperative. The Rhino seemed like a dream come true – a company and a product that really understood the need for simplistic cable labeling solutions and with a product that wasn’t dainty or liable to break if set down too quickly. When I found out recently that Dymo had released the new Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer to replace the dated RhinoPro 5000, I was more than a little intrigued.
To see how the Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer is an evolved product, realize that the older model included a removable rubber overmold that the label printer got shoved into like a seal skin overcoat (just roll with me on this – it was quite difficult to remove).Big deal, right – I mean, so what – it’s not like you had to remove it often to, say, put in new batteries…? Oh yes you did. And the 5000 didn’t come with an option for a lithium-ion battery pack as the 5200 does, either. Suffice it to say, Dymo has addressed most of the drawbacks and limitations of the 5000 in the new 5200. Its new rubber overmold, for example, is permanently attached to the Rhino 5200. You get more protection (since dirt can squeeze behind the rubber, and you retain easy access to the battery and label compartments. The new 5200 label printer also now uses Hot Keys that are positioned at the top of the printer and make it easy to select the exact label type (or application) for your creation. The older 5000 had buttons that were all nearly identical, making it a tad more difficult to get to the functions you needed. On top of the that, the new 5200’s multi-line LCD screen gives you an almost WYSIWYG design capability. There are six Hot Key buttons on the Rhino 5200, including: CABLE/WIRE, PANELS/MODULE, VERTICAL/FLAG, FIXED/LIBRARY, BLOCKS, and GENERAL/SYMBOL.
The older RhinoPro 5000 had just 5 small buttons, not even fully labeled due to their size: WRAP, FIXED, PPANEL, TBLOCK and VERT. To access other modes and labels, you had to use Shift functions and do a considerable amount of work. The updated Rhino 5200 makes it less complicated to make exactly the label you need. On top of that, we can’t stress how much the bigger, more descriptive LCD display helps make label design an easier task overall. One additional substantial change is that every time the label door is opened up, the Rhino 5200 asks you what size label has been inserted. The old Rhino was never smart enough to ask, and you would frequently get irritating warnings just about every time you entered more text than the current font size allowed for the label. Now the Rhino 5200 resizes text on-the-fly – an impressive feature that suggests most users will be able to utilize the Rhino 5200 without even reading the manual. The Rhino 5200 also comes stocked with a ton of industry symbols and jobsite terms that you can add into created labels. If you are generating a lot of labels, the Rhino 5200 can store over 1000 custom labels to be recalled at any time.
The Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer can be ordered as a standalone product, or as a kit – with a case and lithium-ion battery and charger that attaches right to the label printer. If you need extended use or can’t make use of the lithium-ion battery, 6 AAs is what it takes to run the system, and it will last for a significant amount of time before requiring replacements. For professionals considering utilizing the 6000 for extended jobs, the lithium-ion battery is all but essential. The Li-ion battery can be brought to full capacity in roughly 30-45 minutes. For those who will be doing a lot of labeling – this could translate into some serious cost savings. The Rhino 5200 provides a convenient 3-bar battery-life indicator positioned at the bottom of the backlit LCD screen.
Using the Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer
For most contractors and pros, the question will likely be: is this a practical tool to have in my possession? Well, in a word: Yes.The Rhino 5200 kit, with its large, backlit LCD and easy-to-use interface will make your jobs that much more professional-looking. Combined with best practices, this tool will help make you look good – and likely win you some additional jobs since you’ll be perceived as more professional and organized then someone using traditional, less-consistent labeling methods.
For our evaluation we printed labels to identify the plethora of blow-molded plastic tool cases we store in our tool shop. We also printed several flag labels for a bundle of A/V cabling which needed to be properly identified. On an electrical panel box we made new labels to correct a mislabeled mess that occurred when a DIY project wasn’t documented properly. Dymo’s Rhino 5200 label printer excelled at each and every task we threw at it, coming across as user friendly and quick. Given the complex and varied nature of the tasks, the speed of set up and printing was a real time-saver and resulted in a beautiful looking set of labels. For the panel box in particular, we loved how we could set the distance between the breakers and the Rhino took care of spacing everything out perfectly for us. Even font sizes were automatically adjusted on the fly for perfect consistency across all labels. Oh, it’s really important to note that all of the Dymo labels have a split back that makes removing the backing super-easy. You’ll never struggle to get a label ready to apply.
Here is an easy-to-understand explanation of each of the label types that are available from Dymo:
- FLEXIBLE NYLON – Great for curved or flat smooth surfaces, these labels can be purchased in white or yellow and serve well for wires, patch panels, boxes, bins, and more. They wrap easily around wire or cable. They aren’t for rough surface, however, and they are thinner than Vinyl.
- PERMANENT POLYESTER – Some surfaces may not be smooth and require a bit of extra grip. These labels handle that and also have a shinier finish than Flexible nylon – perfect for name plates, patch panels, cabinets, shelves, bins, tools and any place you can’t afford the stuck label to come loose.
- COLORED VINYL – This is the general all-purpose label. You can use vinyl for outdoor and color-specific uses like warning messages, wires, patch panels, and more. The colors help improve visual recognition of labels and are still easy to apply and hold up well to abuse. The labels can also be used in direct sunlight and are ideal for outdoor applications.
- HEAT SHRINK TUBING for wires and cabling – This are very specialized and unique labels that are essentially flattened heat shrink tubing that can be printed on (one side only). The high-quality polyolefin material yields in a 3:1 shrink ratio.
- NON-ADHESIVE labels are excellent for plastic covered patch panels, distribution blocks, and nameplates. If you need to print a label for a holder or sleeve you can do so quickly. Made of non-adhesive polypropylene, each label is strong and stiff.
All of the above labels are available in sizes from 1/4″ to around 3/4″ in thickness (6-19mm).
Dymo should be proud of its new label machines (I think we can safely call them ‘tools’) and the Dymo Rhino 5200 Label Printer in particular is really impressive, combining portability and ruggedness in a way that is both practical and effective. The Rhino products are simply perfect for pros in the construction, plumbing, electrical, and even custom A/V integration industries. The only negative we could find is the high price of labels, which are often twice as much (street price) as the competition per linear foot. For this reason, the Value rating received a slightly above average score of 6/10 – reflecting how much we like the tool’s bang-for-buck potential overall. Even with this, the quality and flexibility are really impressive, garnering the tool an 8/10 in our Performance rating.