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Help Around The Office

Information on postal scales, binders and label makers that have dropped in price.


Postal scales, binders, and label makers can help you perform basic office tasks. Good news: they've dropped in price.

prices have dropped dramatically. The least expensive is Measurement Specialties' MS-12, which lists for $39.99 but sells for $25 from a variety of discounters. The MS-12 can weigh envelopes and packages of up to 33 ounces in 1/10-ounce increments. Hanson Scale, a division of Sunbeam, offers two low-cost scales, the 7205 ($84.95, list price), with a capacity of 5 pounds and ½-ounce increments; and the 7210 ($94.95), with a capacity of 10 pounds, increments of ¼ of an ounce, and readings in ounces and pounds or grams. These models simply display the weight; they do not calculate the postage due. Pelouze Scale's PS2R1 scale ($145) calculates postal rates and displays both ounces and grams, but its capacity is limited to 2 pounds. Pelouze also has a noncalculating model, the PE5, which measures up to 5 pounds in 1/10-ounce and two-gram increments ($75).

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Binding machines can turn a report into an attractively bound volume. Good binding machines used to sell for several hundred dollars, but VeloBind's DocuBind can put 112 sheets into a standard plastic comb binding. It costs just $179 ($100 at discount supply stores).

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Label makers have been popularized on the high end by Kroy's lettering machines, which produce high-quality labels but cost between $229 and $2,195. On the low end, Esselte Pendaflex's inexpensive line of Dymo embossers, which produce raised letters on gooey plastic tape, range from $22 to $245.

Brother International's P-Touch III falls in between at about $249.95 ($150 at discount stores) and prints quality labels in a variety of styles and colors on white or clear tape. It has a small keyboard and a six-character LCD screen so you can do basic editing. Besides its utility, the P-Touch is fun. Keep it away from kids, though, unless you want to buy a lot of tape.

Neither label makers nor computer printers are good at printing a single address label. Most label makers are limited to a single line of characters, and printers are designed for full-size paper. The Seiko Instruments Smart Label Printer plugs into a computer and produces address-size labels one at a time. The tiny $249.99 ($200 from discounters) printer works only with a special label stock that comes in one size and costs about 3¢ a label. The Smart Label printer comes with software for either IBM PCs and compatibles or for Macintoshes. But if you have a Macintosh, look for the LabelWriter printer from CoStar (800-426-7827); it's the same Seiko printer for the same price, but CoStar's Mac software is more flexible. -- Cary Lu

Last updated: Feb 1, 1991

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