Zebra ZT Series Barcode Printer Review (Benefits, Features, Cost)

Zebra ZT Series Barcode Printer Review (Benefits, Features, Cost)

Label Printers | 14 April 2021

Posted by John Masica

Zebra ZT Series Barcode Label Printer Review

We have a team here at Computype that specialises in barcode label printers, printer processes, and printer troubleshooting. They work with a variety of makes and models from multiple manufacturers giving them a solid knowledge-base of how a variety of printers perform in different environments and in comparison to one another. One of the many label printer series our team has worked with is the Zebra ZT series.

As an authorised distributor of Zebra label printers, we actively promote and provide our customers with their equipment. We work with Zebra because after years of experience working with printers of all kinds, Zebra printers have consistently promised and delivered quality and high performance results that meet the needs of our customers.

Let’s take an in depth look at the ZT series as a whole and the three subseries it’s comprised of. We’ll discuss the features, benefits, limitations, and cost of all three.

Zebra logo
What is the Zebra ZT Series?

Zebra’s ZT series refers to their line of industrial printers. The “T” in ZT stands for tabletop, meaning compared to their desktop counterparts they are much larger and more robust. Though they are made with industrial environments in mind, these printers are extremely versatile and have proven useful in a diverse array of applications ranging from lab environments to manufacturing centers.

Most notably the ZT series differs from smaller desktop models in its larger size and ability to accommodate much larger volume print jobs—if you’re looking for something more compact for smaller label batches check out the ZD Series.

Check out our review on the Zebra ZD printer series >

Within the ZT printer line are three sub-series: the ZT 200 series, the recently upgraded ZT 400 series and the ZT 600 series. All three are meant to serve facilities with different needs, so let’s take a look at each individually:

Zebra ZT 200 Series

Basic Specs

ZT 200 Series

ZT 210

ZT 220

Print method

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Print resolution

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300 dpi

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300 dpi

Print speed

6 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

4 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

6 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

4 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

Print width

4.5”

4.5”

Ribbon Capacity

300m

450m

Benefits and Features

Zebra ZT200

The ZT 200 Series models are the most basic models in the ZT series. With a 3-button, no-screen interface, standard dpi range and standard media capacity these printers keep it simple and serve as a great upgrade to a desktop solution if label printing volumes are on the rise.

The only major difference between the ZT 210 and ZT 220 is the difference in ribbon capacity. With a 450m ribbon capacity, the ZT 220 requires less frequent refill stops than the 210.

Ideal for moderate volume print jobs

In comparison to smaller desktop models, this printer is prepared to handle significantly larger jobs and will serve as a great higher throughput upgrade from a desktop solution.

Simple design and features

The interface is simple and all the standard features are there. This might not sound like much of a compliment but, in this case the minimalistic interface provides a user friendly experience and the lack of extra features keeps the focus on printing barcodes and an easy-to-train and operate system.

Budget friendly

Zebra is calling the printers in the ZT 200 series the ‘value models’. By keeping it simple they are able to offer all the most valuable features of an industrial printer at an economical price point.

Limitations

Not for small scale printing

With the dpi options being 203 or 300 dpi this printer can provide clear crisp and scannable barcodes so long as they aren’t being printed at an extremely small scale.

A great majority of print jobs look great at 203 or 300 dpi, but scanning issues can arise when extremely small barcodes need to be printed.

Not intended for high volume print jobs

Although it is an industrial printer and is intended for higher volume printing than its desktop counterparts, the ZT 200 series is limited in its printing capabilities.

When it comes to higher volume label printing applications, these models are on the lower end of the throughput spectrum and would be best suited for moderate volume applications. These are not intended for 24/7 operation.

No screen

Although the lack of a screen can be helpful when it comes to keeping things simple, a bright and colorful screen can allow for at-a-glance status updates from a distance. This is helpful when an operator might not be available to keep a close eye on the printer.

Cost

The ZT 200 series is comprised of the industrial value models, due to their simplicity and economical price point.

If your facility is looking for an easy to use upgrade to a desktop printer or a moderate volume solution without any complicated features, a ZT 200 series model might be suitable.

The ZT 200 series starts around $980 (less than some desktop models) making it a budget friendly choice for any moderate volume application.

Zebra ZT 400 Series

Basic Specs

ZT 400 Series

 ZT 411

 ZT 421

Print method

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Print resolution

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300 or 600 dpi

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300

Print speed

14 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

10 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

4 in/sec for 600 dpi printer

12 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

10 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

Maximum print width

4.09 in

6.6 in

zt400 seriesBenefits and Features

The ZT 400 series is a long-time customer favourite, which is why Zebra decided to give it an upgrade. The familiar ZT 410 and 420 models are now the ZT 411 and 421.

The 411 and 421 continue to offer high resolution, width and RFID options but with a new, easier to navigate touchscreen interface.

User friendly interface

A colourful LCD touch display replaces the backlit screen and buttons on the previous ZT 400 series models for a more intuitive user experience and at-a-glance status recognition.

RFID

The ZT 400 series is capable of encoding UHF RFID tags so you can get ahead in implementing a smarter label solution.

Including RFID in your labelling solution can improve accuracy and efficiency by offering a faster scanning option and a back-up ID opportunity.Find Out How Incorporating RFID into your Labelling Strategy Can Offer Value to  CustomersIdeal for larger volume applications

The 400 series is a great match for moderate to larger volume applications where they will be operating several hours each day. The high print speed options also let you print more in a limited span of time.

Wide printing capabilities

The main difference between the ZT 411 and the ZT 421 is the print width capacity. The ZT 421 is capable of print widths up to 6.6 inches!

Most label applications don’t require widths larger than 4 inches which makes it difficult to find label printers capable of higher width capacities. For those who have more unique applications that require wider labels, the ZT 421 is a great fit.

Limitations

High DPI will slow you down

Although the option to purchase a 600 dpi model of the ZT 400 series (or 600 series) model is available, upgrading your print quality will lead to lower print speeds.

Under most circumstances, this won’t be an issue since industrial printers aren’t often used to print at small scale. A 203 or 300 dpi model will suit most applications.

Can’t print 24/7

The ZT 400 series is certainly intended for higher volume printing, however, it isn’t intended to print around the clock.

Cost

The ZT 400 series is the middle of the road option and by far the most popular for many reasons.

With so many accessible features and custom options, the ZT 400 series is extremely versatile. The dpi, print width and RFID options let you choose the most valuable features for your processes and leave out the rest. Additionally, the improved interface makes interaction easier for you and your team.

The best part about the upgrades to the 400 series is that they didn’t drive up the cost. Zebra is offering these future-ready printers for the same economical price as their predecessors. You can expect to spend at least $1,700 on your ZT 400 series printer and a bit more for each additional feature or upgrade you choose.

Zebra ZT 600 Series

Basic Specs of the Zebra ZT 600 Series

600 Series

 ZT 610

 ZT 620

Print method

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Thermal transfer or Direct Thermal

Print resolution

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300 or 600 dpi

Standard: 203 dpi

Optional: 300 dpi

Print speed

14 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

12 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

6 in/sec for 600 dpi printer

12 in/sec for 203 dpi printer

8 in/sec for 300 dpi printer

Maximum print width

4.09 in

6.6 in

Zebra ZT600Benefits and Features

The ZT 600 is a very high-powered printer for high volume printing applications. It’s customisable in many of the ways the 400 series is–with RFID capabilities and an extended width option–but it features a simpler interface and a more durable outer casing.

This printer was built for harsh conditions and high demand making it ideal for fast-paced environments.

Ideal for 24/7 operation

The ZT 600 series features an extremely robust print engine suitable for around the clock operation. If your facility is struggling to find a printer capable of keeping up with your demand a 600 model is definitely worth checking out.

High Speed Printing

This printer was made with fast-paced environments in mind, so it only makes sense it would feature print speeds that can keep up with demand.

However, we always recommend slowing down when you can to optimise the scannability of your barcodes and reduce printhead wear.

Super Durable 

The ZT 600 Series features a metal media covering to protect your media and inner mechanisms from damage. This is especially helpful in industrial environments where printers are prone to damage from dust and debris. A window on the side also allows for easy media monitoring even when the protective case is closed.

Limitations

Best suited for applications where it will run constantly

Very robust print engines run best when they are used frequently, so if you don’t plan on taking full advantage of the extremely high throughput capabilities of this printer you should consider a model in the 200 or 400 series.

Not the most budget friendly option

Being the premium models in the ZT family they are priced for their performance. These are workhorses built to last through years of heavy use and the mechanics and engineering required to allow for this are valuable.

Cost

We already mentioned that Zebra is promoting the ZT 600 as the premium model in the series, and the pricing reflects that. Starting at $2,800, this piece of equipment should be considered a strategic investment.

This printer is capable of handling extremely demanding situations, whether that be due to environmental conditions, constant operation or both. In environments where a printer of this caliber is necessary, you will find value.

ZT Series Applications

Just like its desktop partner, the ZD, the ZT series is extremely versatile. We personally recommend it to our high production volume customers in every industry we work with, and many more industries find it useful as well.

The combination of durability, versatility, and the ability to accommodate ranging volumes make this series a great match for high performing facilities in a range of environments from warehouses to hospitals.

Here’s a list of printing applications we’ve seen customers utilise the ZT series printers to print labels on-demand for:

  • Biological sample labels
  • Blood bag labels
  • Tyre tread labels
  • Dry cleaning tags
  • Postage labels
  • Warehouse inventory labels

Our Final Verdict on the Zebra ZT Series

Feature

Zebra ZT 220

Zebra ZT 230

Zebra ZT 411

Zebra ZT 421

Zebra ZT 610

Zebra ZT 620

Print Resolution

203 dpi or 300 dpi

203 dpi or 300 dpi

203 dpi,
300 dpi or 600 dpi

203 dpi or 300 dpi

203 dpi,
300 dpi or 600 dpi

203 dpi or 300 dpi

Print Speed

6 in/sec

6 in/sec

14 in/sec,
10 in/sec or
4 in/sec

12 in/sec or 10 in/sec

14 in/sec, 
12 in/sec, or 6 in/sec

12 in/sec or 8 in/sec

Print Widths

4.5 in

4.5 in

4.09 in

6.6 in

4.09 in

6.6 in

RFID Capable

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

The ZT series is an extremely versatile industrial printer series with options for a range of industries and throughput volumes. Whether you’re looking to print sample labels for around 3-4 hours a day, or tyre barcode labels from dusk until dawn there is a model in the ZT series to meet your needs.

As a value partner offering print solutions matched with application-based labels & ribbon, we feel our goal is to help match your on-demand labelling needs with the right printer. We hope this review helped you narrow down your printer options so you can find the best match for your facility.

To learn more about Computype’s versatile labelling options, arrange a call back from one of our printer experts

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John Masica

Based in St. Paul, MN, USA, John Masica is Computype’s Technical Support Specialist. Specialising 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.