cab vs. Zebra Barcode Label Printers: Which is Best For Your Processes?

cab vs. Zebra Barcode Label Printers: Which is Best For Your Processes?

Label Printers | 20 June 2018

Posted by John Masica

Cab vs Zebra Barcode Label Printers

cab and Zebra are two primary manufacturers of barcode label printers; as providers of both, we get asked all the time what the differences/similarities are between the two.

Both manufacturers provide quality printers that will be beneficial to your business processes, but they also both have distinct characteristics that could be better suited for certain uses than others.

In this blog, we will review several desired features and benefits of each as compared to the other. We recognize that choosing your barcode label printer brand is a large decision, and that making the right decision for your company and processes is of utmost importance.

Printed in bold are some features you might consider when choosing an industrial barcode label printer. Here at Computype, we have extensive experience with both brands, so we covered every angle and put them head-to-head in 10 important categories to assist you in your decision making process.

Availability and Ease of Purchasing

The availability and ease of purchasing a printer is something you will likely consider when deciding on your barcode label printer. Zebra printers can be bought just about anywhere. This allows consumer savings, and the ability to shop around to find the best deal; however, this also can mean that the servicing of your printer may be more difficult.

Many of the retailers that sell Zebra printers are online, meaning that once you acquire the product, you may not have readily available service options.

cab, on the other hand, only sells their products through licensed distributors, like Computype.

While the price tag may be higher than a comparable Zebra printer, the consumer is assured that the printer will be paired with the best combination of labels and ribbon to maximize the value of the investment, in addition to having a resource to call for servicing or questions.

As a supplier of both cab and Zebra printers, Computype always recommends purchasing barcode printing technology from a source that can assist you later in your usage journey.


Price is an obvious deciding factor when it comes to the barcode label printer you choose. The prices of the printers of these contrasting brands can vary drastically.

This is a result of the variability in many of the components and features that these printers provide, and also the variability in customer needs and preferences.

Generically speaking, cab printers tend to have a higher price tag as they are more robustly engineered, however, this is not always the case. Your individual needs and application will help determine which specific model of printer, and of which brand, is best for you.

Quality and Purpose

The quality and purpose of your printer are dependent on one another to determine your needs. Minimal quality printers may suit your application perfectly, allowing you to invest less budget.

cab printers are designed in a stronger fashion, which means they can withstand harsh manufacturing environments and are meant to operate as ‘workhorses’.

Most Zebra printers aren’t meant to process thousands of labels per day or work around the clock, so purpose is really important in determining which brand is best for your label printing needs.

A manufacturing plant, for example, that needs to be printing labels around the clock, would be much better suited with a cab printer. A lab, on the other hand, that just needs to print a few labels at a time as demand dictates, could easily rely on a more economical Zebra printer.

Print Technology, Print Resolution, and Print Speed

Print technology, print resolution, and print speed are very comparable in terms of cab vs. Zebra barcode label printers. While they have the same capabilities in these areas, the differences will be noticed in how the different printers are capable of maintaining their printer parts while performing at their respective speeds and resolutions.

Consistently printing at high speeds can damage your printhead, causing abrasion and shortening its life.

We realize that printing fast is preferable, but with thermal transfer technology, slower printing can provide better quality, as well as preserve the printhead. cab printers and their respective printer parts tend to be easier to maintain and more likely to properly withstand the projects they endure due to robust engineering.

Communications and Add-on Technologies

Additional communication and technology features can play a large role in the functionality of a barcode label printer for your specific application. Bluetooth is a very relevant component as that allows for ease of use, not requiring plug-in connection to your computer in order to print labels.

For this capability, Zebra has the advantage as with various models of printer it is standard, and with cab, it is an optional add-on.

Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring allows for quality print management, as you can monitor what is happening on various printers, during various projects, at all times.

Zebra barcode label printers offer the Zebra Link OS and the Zebra Server that enhances the performance and accessibility of the printer to you and your business.

Custom Programming

Custom programming options include software that you can utilize to customize the barcode printer to your company and your needs. This allows for easier and more productive use, as you can now utilize the printer to suit your process.

cab and Zebra barcode label printers both have versions of custom programming as an option. This is an important component to thermal transfer printers, especially in an industrial environment, as the needs of every company will be different.

This feature may allow you to save label formats, download trainings, or even display your company logo on the main printer screen.

Limited Warranty

Warranties are another area where these printer brands differ as cab allows for a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, while Zebra only allows for a one-year warranty.

In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, Computype is a licensed distributor of both of these printers, and hence provides additional service agreements and warranty options on all printers that we sell.

Printhead Warranty

The printhead warranty is another consideration to account for when purchasing your barcode printer, especially if you plan to print thousands of labels every day. Thermal transfer printing can wear on the printhead if you do not care for it properly.

That is why cab’s two-year printhead warranty is very beneficial compared to Zebra’s six-month warranty.

If your printhead is damaged or has experienced abrasion, you will not be able to print with nearly the amount of quality as you would be with a well-preserved printhead.

For tips from our technical team on how to maintain your printhead, read our article.

Print Accuracy

Print accuracy may be the most important aspect of your barcode label printer. Especially depending on your application, it may be imperative that you have the highest quality, most precise barcode, and images.

cab printers are historically known to print much smaller, and more exact barcodes than comparable Zebra printers. That being said, both cab and Zebra offer barcode printers that print up to 600 dpi resolution, so be sure to share your application needs with your barcode label provider to determine which printer will be best for you.

Wrap Up

Before deciding which barcode label printer or brand is right for you, it is important that you know what features and characteristics your application will require. In addition, you need to be aware of your preferences when operating and maintaining a printer.  

There are positive benefits to both cab and Zebra thermal transfer printers. We hope that with this information, you are able to make a more informed decision when determining which brand of a thermal transfer printer will be best for your process and company. 

cab vs. Zebra Printer Comparison





Print Technology



200,300,600 DPI 200,300,600 DPI  

Print Speed (max)

12ips/ 300 DPI 12ips/ 300 DPI  


Optional Standard Zebra

Remote Monitoring

No Zebra Link OS Zebra

Zebra Print Server


Custom Programming

J Script ZBI  

Limited Warranty

2 Years 1 Year cab

Printhead Warranty

2 Years 6 Months cab


Sold through licensed distributors

Sold by various retailers Zebra

US $ List Price

Typically More

Typically Less


Print Accuracy

Can print smaller, more precise barcodes

Can print small as well, but with less accuracy



To learn more about our experience with these printers, and receive our feedback about which would be the best barcode label printer for you,

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John Masica

Based in St. Paul, MN, USA, John Masica is Computype’s Technical Support Specialist. Specializing in label printer maintenance and engineering, John is the go-to person for all things label printing. Through his 24 years here at Computype, he has learned many tips and tricks to make your label printing easier and more efficient.