To use Pirate Ship, you need a scale to weigh your package (plus a ruler or a tape measurer to measure your package), and a printer to print the shipping label.
You can use any kind of scale, including kitchen scales, as long as it gives accurate weight measurements to the nearest ounce. You can also use any kind of standard inkjet or laser desktop printer. If you use a desktop printer, you can use regular printer paper and simply tape it to the box, or you can get some half-sheet label sticker paper - $15. Note that we don't currently support Avery or other label templates, unless it's just 2 stickers that are exactly half-sheet size (8.5x5.5" each).
However, if you're looking to get more professional with your shipping when it comes to scales and printers, there's some great equipment that really doesn't cost very much. We've tried everything, so we're happy to make the recommendations below:
The Best Shipping Postage Scales:
ACCUTECK All-in-1 Series - $20
At only twenty bucks, this is the cheapest, most versatile postal scale we've come across. It has a capacity of up to 50lb, and can also run on batteries so it's more portable.
Accuteck ShipPro 110lb - $25
This is a great choice with a capacity of up to 110lb and is much more durable than its cheaper counterpart. If you're shipping big boxes, the external display makes it easier to see the weight.
USPS 25lb Postage Scale - $35
If you're big fans like us, the official USPS postal scale is fun office decor 📬
The Best 2x7" Shipping Label Printers
Dymo LabelWriter 450 - $80
This USB printer works really well, and you can often find it on super-sale online or at retailers like Staples (any of the 450 models work the same, including the Twin Turbo and 450 Turbo). Make sure to install the latest Dymo LabelWriter software from their website before you plug the printer in and it'll work like a charm. Also be sure to buy compatible label paper for it, because no other label size will work. Dymo recently discontinued their proprietary 99019 labels, but you can buy similar ones on Amazon.
Brother QL800 - $99
This powerful little USB printer works great on both Mac and Windows computers, as long as you're not shipping internationally or to military addresses (but you can just use your normal desktop printer for those!) It's super fast, very high-quality, and the coolest thing is it automatically cuts each label so you don't have to tear it off yourself. Make sure to get the 2" or 2.4" continuous-roll labels to go with it, and follow our Mac instructions (especially the CUPS section to set the quality right) or our Windows instructions for getting it setup.
Note: You can't print customs forms on 2x7" labels, so you can't use them for international shipments 😅 If you need to make an international label, just switch back to the 4x6" label size and use a regular desktop printer or a 4x6" label printer.
The Best 4x6" Shipping Label Printers
Brother QL1110NWB - $279
If you're looking for the highest-quality printer that can handle any shipping situation, this Brother printer blows every other printer out of the water! It offers every connection method possible, so you can hook it up to Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android via WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, or USB. Those wireless connection options are great, as you can just stick it in a corner and it doesn't have to be plugged into anything.
Brother QL1100 - $179
If you don't need the wireless connection options that the more expensive model has, this is the same great functionality for $100 less. Just plug the USB cord into your computer and you're ready to print!
Printers that work with Pirate Ship, but that we don't recommend...
The labels Pirate Ship creates are PDF files that you can print with any printer that supports 4x6" or 2x7" (or slightly larger) paper sizes, so you can really use ANY printer, but some printers are a lot worse than others 😜
Why don't we recommend the Dymo 4XL 4x6" label printer?
The Dymo 4XL does work with Pirate Ship, and it became popular because it was the first decent option for printing 4x6" shipping labels... but the Dymo's weird triangular design simply makes it unsuitable for printing more than a few labels at a time. The 4XL works fine with Pirate Ship, so don't worry if you've already got one! It's just not the best choice if you're buying a new printer 😉
Why don't we recommend the Rollo label printer?
The Rollo works with Pirate Ship, and used to be a good option, but it's not the cheapest printer and it's also not the best printer, so it's not a great choice for most shippers. We see lots of complaints with the quality of the prints it produces, with pixelated & blurry barcodes. Don't worry if you already own this printer, it will work fine and USPS has no problems scanning those lower-quality barcodes... but the Rollo just isn't the right choice if you're in the market for a good label printer.
Why don't we recommend Zebra label printers?
Zebra label printers will work with Pirate Ship, but they're not exactly user-friendly and require a lot of dinking around with to get the settings working right. If you've already got a Zebra, we have guides on how to setup a Zebra on Mac or how to setup a Zebra on Windows, but we don't recommend buying a new one.
Got any questions? Use the chat on the bottom right and we're happy to help 💬