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2016 Zebra GC GK GX Compare

Features GC420d/t GK420d/t GX420d/t GX430t
Resolution 203 DPI 203 DPI 203 DPI 300 DPI
Max. print width 103mm / 4.09″ 103mm / 4.09″ 103mm / 4.09″ 103mm / 4.09″
Max. print length 990mm / 39″ 990mm / 39″ 990mm / 39″ 990mm / 39″
Max. print speed 102mm / 4″ per second 127mm / 5″ per second 152mm / 6″ per second 102mm / 4″ per second
Label sensors Gap & black line Gap & black line Gap & black line Gap & black line
OS compatibility Win 7, 8.1 & 10 Win 7, 8.1 & 10 Win 7, 8.1 & 10 Win 7, 8.1 & 10
Print methods Direct & transfer Direct & transfer Direct & transfer Thermal transfer
Other options Peeler Peeler Peeler or cutter Peeler or cutter
Connectivity USB & Parallel USB & Parallel USB & Parallel USB & Parallel
Network built-in No Optional Optional Optional


There’s not much difference between all these models but any and all differences are worth pointing out to help you decide which model is best suited to you.

The difference between the d‘s and the t‘s is the d models are direct thermal only and the t models are both direct thermal and thermal transfer. Without repeating myself too much, direct thermal is like till receipt paper where the ink is built into the paper, and thermal transfer requires a ribbon to transfer the “ink” onto the paper/plastic. If you want a little more information between these two technologies, please see our Difference between Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer blog post. To put it simply, go for the d option if the labels are going to have a short life such as Royal Mail or other courier/pallet labels.

Looking over these models, they are all very similar. They all have the same maximum print width and length. They all function using either the black line or gap sensor and can print on continuous. They all work on Windows 7, 8.1 and 10; installing directly through Windows Update. They all have the capability to print on direct thermal and thermal transfer media (providing you choose the correct d or t model).
Option extras include a label peeler (to peel the labels off the backing paper while printing so you can apply them quickly and easily. See our LabelStation example here) on all models, and a label cutter on the GX models. They all connect through USB or parallel. All except the GC can have networking capabilities built-in, but worry not as a ZebraNet Print Server can be attached to any of these models should you change your mind after purchase.

Now the main difference between all of the models is the print speed. It will always be an “up to” speed because sometimes its print quality or “darkness” will worsen if it’s printing too fast, but a faster printer will be more convenient than a slower one.

Then there’s the elephant in the room; the GX430t. Only available in one model (t), top speed is joint slowest, and as much as it’s not documented, it’s the most expensive. But, and this is what matters, it’s fitted with a 300 dpi printhead. This printer produces a print resolution that stands out above the rest. It’s perfect for small, detailed labels with intricate data and barcodes.

If you require more information or help choosing the right model for you, we’re only a phone call away.

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"2016 Zebra GC GK GX Compare" by @labelzone

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