Comparative review of two embossed-tape label makers

Size comparison

In this head-to-head review we compare two mechanical label makers: the classic Organizer Express by Dymo and the Bubble Roll Message Maker by Au’some Candies Inc. Other reviewers have discussed the bubble machine before, but we thought that we should, just to be fair, compare it directly to the competition.

Both of these devices use embossed-tape technology. A venerable but reliable system to be sure: batteries not included… or needed. (We like our electronic labels too, but that’s a topic for another time. If you’re into those, you may want to see what Lifehacker recently wrote about those.

Modern dymo   Dymo refills

Here is the modern Dymo label printer. It looks between a cross between a Star Trek hand phaser and, well, the USS Enterprise (version NCC-1701-D). Do you notice a theme here? It comes with three rolls of tape, in red, blue and black flavors.

Bubble tape label maker   Tape refill cartridge

Here is the Bubble Roll Message Maker. It looks like an angular cross between a gummy bear and a gumdrop-vintage iMac. One of the very nice features is that you can, at a glance, determine the amount of tape remaining. It comes with a single tape cartridge in “Sour Apple Stinger” flavor.

Daisy wheel

The Bubble Roll Message Maker is particularly easy to disassemble, and happily yields access to its daisy wheel. I imagine that it would be straightforward to mod this wheel to produce custom characters.

Dymo output

The embossed tape from the Dymo has very high contrast, which is its chief advantage over the bubble tape version. This is due to a color change that occurs when the tape is stretched, something that does not occur in the bubble tape. On the other hand, the output is not particularly edible.

Bubble tape output

The output from the Bubble Roll Message Maker has modest contrast up close, however, it would be fairly difficult to read it from more than about a foot away. A secondary issue is that the machine is somewhat more difficult to operate. However, it is much less expensive than the competition.


The Dymo tape output has much higher contrast, but has an unfortunate bow, and will not lie flat after printing.

Our comparative findings are summarized below:

Property Dymo
Organizer Express
Bubble Roll Message Maker
Visual contrast Good Poor
Visual finish Glossy Matte
Tensile strength High Very low
Nutritional Value None Almost none
Preservatives None BHT
Artificial color Presumably; unknown Yellow 5, Blue 1
Letter advance Automatic Manual
Artificial flavors No Yes
Taste Like old ice cubes from the freezer Vague lemon and apple notes, nuanced with corn starch and citric acid
Embossed tape lies flat No Yes
ease of use
Good Poor; a light touch is require to avoid squishing the previous letter
Cost $15, Office Depot $3, Walgreens
Labels Waterproof Yes No
Label Durability High Low
Labels can be
blown into bubbles
No Yes
Included media 3 rolls (Red, Black, Blue) 1 roll (Green apple)
Tape level visible No Yes
Actuator type Trigger Button
Tape cutting Automatic (like pressing a letter) Manual
Stickiness Excellent, after
backing removed
Okay, after chewing

4 thoughts on “Comparative review of two embossed-tape label makers

  1. My biggest complaint of the bubble gum one was that there were no punctuation marks … I really wanted to be dashing.

  2. In order to be complete, the review should have included a comparison of the character sets, despite the groans <wink>.

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