Zebra ZD 421 Printer Review - Betckey Labels

The Zebra ZD421 printer is an updated version of the Zebra GK420 Series. It has all the good features of its older models and improved compatibility and interface design. Like all Zebra printers, it's flexible and versatile but a bit harder to use compared to Brother QL series and Dymo.

This printer comes with Ethernet and USB connectivity. It's also available in just USB or Bluetooth/WiFi. It has five easy-to-understand icons for status, pause, data, supplies, and network. Your workers can quickly see what's needed to keep the printer running smoothly.

If you're looking for a fast 4-inch (104mm) thermal printer that's easy to use, deploy, and manage, then the new Zebra ZD421 desktop label printer is a great choice.

Manually Set Up, Not Convenient but Flexible

ebra printers, including Zebra ZD421 printer, offer flexibility but lack convenience compared to Brother and Dymo. With ZD421, you have the freedom to design and print labels of any size within its printing range. However, Brother QL series and Dymo series limit you to designing and printing labels with sizes available in their systems. This limitation is due to the label sensor.

For example, the Brother-compatible labels require a cartridge and black sensor mark for precise identification by Brother printers. Dymo-compatible labels need index holes and black sensor marks (or just holes for the US version printer) to identify the number of labels being printed. While this provides flexibility, Dymo restricts designing and printing to pre-existing sizes in their software.

On the other hand, Zebra-compatible labels require neither cartridge nor sensor mark. Zebra identifies the number of labels being printed based on transparency between different labels. This allows you to freely design and print any label size that fits within the ZD421 printer range.

However, the trade-off is that with Zebra, you must manually enter the label size instead of choosing from pre-existing sizes like Brother and Dymo.

Flexible Software: ZDesigner

ZD421's printing software is versatile but lacks convenience. Unlike Brother and Dymo, which automatically display the layout of a chosen label shape and size, with ZD421, you have to manually enter the label size. While this is beneficial for designing and printing various labels, it requires more effort and is not as convenient.

Compare with Brother QL-1110NWB and Dymo 4XL

How does it compare to the Brother QL-1110NWB?

Despite both devices having a default resolution of 300 dpi, the Brother QL1110NWB outperforms the ZD421 printer with a faster printing speed (7.5% faster).

Exclusively working with its own label line, Brother ensures professional-looking, die-cut labels in less time.

Furthermore, Brother's generic labels, similar to Dymo's, have a notable advantage. Brother labels come with their own cartridges, featuring the "auto-pick" feature for quicker and easier label loading. The built-in cutter further enhances efficiency in the labeling process.

However, you are limited to Brother’s pre-existing label sizes. Most importantly, Brother labels are the most expensive among the three brands. Therefore, considering the long run, the running cost is higher.

How does it compare to the Dymo 4XL?

Zebra ZD421 printer outperforms it with a faster printing speed (25% faster). Dymo’s printing software offers numerous excellent printing templates, such as price tags and jewelry labels (e.g., 30277). But the trade-off is the flexibility; you must design and print label sizes from the existing sizes in Dymo’s system.

Moreover, Dymo’s labels are also more expensive than Zebra labels. So, you may need to consider the long-term cost as well.

Same Version- US & International

Zebra printers have 1 advantage on convenience, the same version. You may be aware that both Brother and Dymo printers have two versions: US and international. Some US buyers use international version printers, and some international buyers use US version printers. This creates a problem: Label Compatibility.

As we explained to our customers earlier, why do our Dymo compatible labels in the US have both index holes and black sensor marks on the back paper, even though Dymo US version printers only require index holes? The answer is simple: We want our Dymo compatible labels to be compatible with both US version and international version printers so that our customers can always shop and use our labels directly.

Harder, but More Felixble

When weighing the advantages and disadvantages, the Zebra ZD421 printer is a suitable option for small business owners looking to print 4” x 6” shipping labels in bulk at home. Its printing app, Zebra ZDesigner, provides versatility and flexibility in label size, allowing you to design and print labels of various sizes that fit within the ZD421 printer’s printing range.

However, the drawback is the lack of convenience. Unlike Brother and Dymo, where you can choose the label size directly from pre-existing options, with the Zebra ZD421, you need to manually enter and set up your own size.

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