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Crown Labels Blog

  • Thomas Hardy

Zebra GK420d vs GK420t

What are the differences between a Zebra GK420d and Zebra GK420t printer? It may not be obvious on first look, but there's a reason why one is more expensive than the other. In this blog post, we'll explain what the key differences are between these two popular printer models, plus the pros and cons of each, to help you find the most suitable model for your needs. Keep reading on to find out more...

What are Zebra GK420 printers, and are they suitable for my needs?

Zebra GK420 printers are short-run label printing machines, perfect for printing basic black text or barcodes onto small and medium sized labels. This means they're great for anything from overprinting food labels with batch numbers or printing address labels for logistical purposes.

The printers have been popular for a number of years due to their small footprint, making them well suited to offices, production rooms, or other locations in which space comes at a premium. The printers are sturdy and well made, so with the correct care they should also be able to cope in busy warehouse or shop floor environments.

There are lots of resources on the internet to help you troubleshoot practically any issue with these printers. If you encounter a problem with your thermal transfer printer, then check out our top tips for thermal transfer printing problems to find a solution. We're also expert providers of labels suitable for thermal transfer printers for a wide variety of models so please contact us if you need any advice.

What is the difference between GK420d and GK420t?

Zebra GK420d Printer
Zebra GK420t Ribbon Holder

GK420d = direct thermal (no printer ribbon facility), requires labels to be made from a direct thermal material in order to create print.

GK420t = thermal transfer (option of a printer ribbon), takes labels made from normal stocks but they can also print onto direct thermal materials too.

The Zebra GK420t has the facility to hold a printer ribbon, and can use this to print onto the labels which feed through it. This is a thermal transfer printer. Thermal transfer gives you more flexibility as you can print onto a wider range of materials, you aren't limited by direct thermal materials which are predominantly matt paper materials (synthetics are available but they are very expensive).

The Zebra GK420d however is direct thermal printer, which uses a thermal printhead to apply heat directly onto the surface of the label. Not all labels will work with this printer - they must be made from a special heat coated thermochromic material also known as direct thermal material.

Be aware that the Zebra GK420t printer also has the ability to print onto direct thermal materials like the GK420d. This is why the GK420t is more expensive, as you're getting the functionality of the GK420d and the ability to use a thermal transfer ribbon.

Should I choose a Zebra GK420d or GK420t?

If you are looking to print paper labels which only need to last for a few days or less, then the GK420D should be adequate for your needs. This is a great option for uses including:

It's also typically cheaper to print onto direct thermal labels rather than use thermal transfer labels as there is the added expense of print ribbons for thermal transfer.

However, if you need the print to be more durable on the labels, or you need to print onto synthetic labels, we would recommend the GK420T. The print is also more stable and durable (providing you select the correct ribbon), and overall this is a great printer for a whole host of long term applications, such as serial numbers and barcode overprinting. This makes it well suited to uses such as:

This is the best way to add batch codes and numbers to custom hand sanitiser labelsThermal transfer printers like this one are capable of printing onto a variety of substrates, even matt silver polyester and vinyl.

Where can I get labels for a Zebra GK420d or GK420t?

Look no further than Crown Labels! We're expert providers of thermal transfer compatible labels and direct thermal compatible labels, having supplied many industries for over 30 years! We can also produce high quality overprint compatible labels, or integrate variable data and batch numbers into your labels to remove the need for overprinting.



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