I confess that a label machine is quite anal, but I would never do without one again. I only started using them a year or so ago after reading David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and I agree with him: It makes me enjoy looking in my file drawer. Everything is so handsome! So well organized. It's kind of like putting on a new outfit, where your posture just straightens up and you hold your head higher.
Okay, perhaps that's a little dramatic, but it's kinda true.
I own a battery-operated label maker (I use rechargeable batteries!). It's a Brother PT-65 and was about $40, I believe. But, hey, just
found it on Amazon for $29.99.
The label tape itself is not inexpensive, but my files and I are worth it.
I am no expert on label machines as this is the only one I've ever had, but I do think it should be easy to pick up and use in an instant because I'm constantly making new files. If I had to print from my computer each time, I'd never get around to it.
As for other tasks, I have also used the label maker for my storage boxes. The possibilites are endless.