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  • Thomas Hardy

Zebra GK420d vs GK420t

What are the differences between a Zebra GK420d and Zebra GK420t? 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?

The Zebra GK420 printers are short run label printers, perfect for printing basic black text or barcodes onto small and medium sized labels. They have been popular for a number of years due to their small footprint, making them well suited to offices. The printers are sturdy and well made too, so with the correct care they should also be able to cope in some warehouse or shop floor environments.


There are lots of resources on the internet to help you troubleshoot practically any issue with these printers. Try searching YouTube for simple how-to videos, or visit our troubleshooting page to learn how to tackle the most common issues associated with thermal transfer printing.


What is the difference between GK420d and GK420t?


This explains the main differences between each printer and in summary:

Zebra GK420t Ribbon Holder

GK420d = direct thermal (no ribbon facility)


View GK420d ↗


GK420t = thermal transfer (option of a printer ribbon)


View GK420t ↗


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.


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.


Be aware that the Zebra GK420t printer also has the ability to print onto 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 labels which are only need to last for a few days or less (such as an address label on a delivery box or label for fresh produce), then the GK420D should be adequate for your needs. If you intend to print onto paper then this is also the cheapest method to print per label, as although thermal paper is more expensive than standard stock, you don't need to worry about the cost of print ribbons.


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. Thermal transfer printers like this one are capable of printing onto a variety of substrates, even matt silver polyester and vinyl. The print is also more stable (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).


View GK420d on Amazon ↗ | View GK420t on Amazon ↗


If you would like any more advice on these printers or would like a quote for zebra compatible labels then please get in touch!




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