Get the Perfect Thermal Transfer Ribbon for Your Zebra Printer
If you have a Zebra or Zebra-compatible thermal transfer printer, then you know that ribbons come in a wide range of widths and lengths. You can find both narrow and wide ribbons in lengths ranging from a few dozen meters all the way up to 900 meters. With so many choices, how do you know which ribbon is right for your Zebra printer?
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the correct ribbon dimensions for your Zebra, GoDEX, TSC, Brother, or another compatible printer:
- The width of your labels. The wider the label, the wider the ribbon you'll need. For example, if you are printing a batch of 2-inch labels on a 4-inch Zebra printer, you'll need a ribbon that is at least 2 inches wide. While you could technically use a 4-inch ribbon for this application, it would be a waste of material and money because half of that width would go unused.
- The number of labels you will be printing. If you only need to print a few labels, then you can get away with using a shorter ribbon. But if you're printing hundreds or even thousands of labels, then you'll want to use a longer ribbon so that you don't have to stop and reload as often. That said, your printer will have a maximum outside diameter that it can hold, so you'll need to take that into account as well. For example, we sell a 110mm x 900m Zebra ribbon, but only a handful of Zebra industrial printers can accommodate that large of a roll.
Not only must you consider ribbon width and length, but also the core size of the ribbon. The core is the inner diameter of the spool that the ribbon is wound around. Most ribbons come on a standard 1/2-inch (for desktop printers) or 1-inch core (for industrial printers).
In addition to the size requirements of the ribbon, you'll also want to consider the ribbon formulation and label material type. The most common materials used for thermal transfer ribbons are wax, resin, and a combination of the two (also called wax/resin).
- Wax ribbons are great for general-purpose printing because they produce high-quality images on paper labels and are very economical. However, they are not ideal for printing on synthetic materials like polypropylene or polyester.
- Wax-resin and resin ribbons, on the other hand, are designed specifically for printing on synthetic labels. They produce images that are highly resistant to smearing, chemicals, and abrasion. However, they are more expensive than wax ribbons. Wax-resin hybrids strike a balance between the two, offering good print quality on both paper and synthetic labels while still being relatively affordable.
To sum it up, when choosing a ribbon for your Zebra printer you need to consider the width of your labels, the number of labels you'll be printing, the type of label material you're using, and your budget. By taking all of these factors into account, you can be sure to choose the perfect ribbon for your application.
Below are some of our most popular Zebra ribbon sizes for Zebra, GoDEX, Brother, and TSC desktop and industrial printers: