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Paper Labels vs. Polypropylene Labels - What's The Difference?

Paper Labels Vs Polypropylene Labels

Barcodes are an essential and economically viable type of AIDC solution for businesses of any size. These small stickers allow users to successfully identify and track their assets with greater accuracy and ease. Today, we will discuss two kinds of labels that are used to create barcodes. So, let’s move on and have a talk on Paper Labels vs. Polypropylene Labels.

What are Barcode Labels?

These are tiny labels that contain barcodes on them. These labels allow users to easily implement barcode AIDC solutions within their organization. There are many types of labels, made from materials like paper, polyester, polyimide, polypropylene, and vinyl. These different substances provide the label with different properties that aid in their operation in their respective application field.

There are two methods of creating barcodes - Direct Thermal, and Thermal Transfer Printing. Both these techniques need different types of printers and have different effects on the final product.

Label Types – Paper & Polypropylene

There are seven types of labels, commonly used in barcode applications within industries. They are all made from different materials, giving them separate properties, benefits, and disadvantages. However, today, we will discuss only two of these label types, namely – Polypropylene, and Paper.

Polypropylene is only a shortened name for the product, its full form is Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP). It is a synthetic polymer made of carbon; it’s derived by processing petroleum.

As the name suggests, Paper labels are made of, well, paper. They are very simple to manufacture and economical to implement in operations. They are very easy to read but do not provide the durability required in rough operations.

Difference between Paper Labels vs. Polypropylene Labels:

There are stark differences in the characteristics and applications of paper and polypropylene labels. So, to get a better look at these differences, let’s do a comparative analysis of the two.


Paper Label

Polypropylene Label



These labels are easy and cheap to manufacture, but they are not very durable. They can be easily damaged.

The biggest benefit advantage of these labels is their durability. These labels can withstand damage from a variety of situations.


Fade Resistance

The prints on these labels are vulnerable to fading from sunlight and heat.

These labels are extremely resistant to fading and can last far longer in outdoor environments, exposed to the sun.



Water Resistance

If printed using a wax ribbon, then these can offer resistance to water damage to a minor degree.

These labels provide excellent resistance against damage from water and other liquids. Unlike paper, BOPP labels do not allow water to permeate and damage it.



These are the simplest form of barcodes available for use in the market. They have an average lifespan of 6 to 8 months.

These labels have a significant degree of durability and resistance to damage. They can operate for 3 to 6 years, on average.




These are mostly suitable for indoor use, where they do not encounter moisture, sunlight, scratches, etc. Users can implement these in warehousing, retail, and even for transporting/shipping operations.

These are perfect for outdoor applications and rugged use. They provide excellent durability and resistance against most elements. They are used in public places, on construction tools, etc.


There are certain advantages & disadvantages to either of the two types of barcode labels. In the blog above, we have a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about paper & polypropylene labels. Everything, from definitions to the pros and cons of using the labels. In terms of performance, polypropylene labels are the clear winner, but there are other criteria like ease of removal, cost of implementation, scalability, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are polypropylene labels waterproof?

Ans - Yes, polypropylene, also known as BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene) is made from a type of plastic. Their surface is not permeable and thus provides excellent protection against water.

Q2. How durable is polypropylene?

Ans - BOPP is extremely durable to damage like scratching, smudges, stretching, water, and even chemicals to a degree. They have an average lifespan of 2 to 4 years.

Q3. How many types of barcode labels are there?

Ans - Presently, there are currently six types of barcode labels available for use in the market, namely – Paper, Polyester, Polypropylene, Polyimide, Vinyl, and Photochromatic Paper.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Jun 12, 2023

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