A retail associate pulls a shipping label off a Zebra ZT231 industrial printer
By Jonathan Marshall | October 18, 2022

Industrial Printers Are More Valuable and Accessible to Your Business Than You Might Think

New models, such as the Zebra ZT231 and ZT111 are smaller, more affordable and loaded with new features that make it easier to keep your printers online and your business moving forward.

Your printer can be just as impactful on your workflow efficiency as automation (or any other technology designed to keep things running smoothly). These stories from Multicenter and Vera Bradley are great examples of how game-changing the right printer can be:

  • After implementing ZT200 Series industrial printers along with MC3300 rugged mobile computers, Multicenter leaders say distribution center workers have made fewer fulfillment and reporting errors and become faster in all phases of the distribution process. The average operator is now five times faster in picking and delivery processes. What used to take two-to-three days is now done in a matter of hours, according to leaders. 

  • At Vera Bradley’s distribution centers, ZT230 industrial printers have been core to the retailer’s ability to efficiently move boxes of inventory throughout the warehouse during outbound processes and keep track of current inventory levels to maintain shelf stock stability. 

And these are just two examples of how thousands of companies around the world are becoming increasingly reliant on printers to keep up with growing demand and maintain fast-paced operations.   

In fact, the printer’s role in modern business success has become so substantial that we spoke with customers around the world to find out what was working well with the current desktop and industrial printers and what was on their “wish list.” 

What we realized was there was a bit of a gap in the printer market. Many businesses were using desktop printers in lieu of the industrial printers they really needed because the only industrial printer options on the market were either cost prohibitive or overkill for their industrial labeling applications. Others were using premium industrial printers, but rarely using all the features. Their working environment and workflows demanded an industrial printer, yet they could have benefited from a more value-driven option.  

So, we got to work building the Zebra ZT231 and ZT111 industrial printers, which are now available worldwide, and I think you’ll be intrigued and impressed by their value proposition. (Their price point makes industrial printers accessible to every business, and their uniquely scaled feature set makes it possible to scale your labeling applications and overall operations without a lot of effort or financial commitments.)

For example, these new value-tier industrial printers come standard with several premium printer features, including the same Print DNA software suite*, high-level security and remote manageability offered with all modern Zebra desktop and industrial printers. And the ZT231 can even be outfitted** with UHF RFID capabilities if that’s what you need. 

But those aren’t the only reasons why these new printers – and their value propositions – are going to be so beneficial to you.

The New “Value” Standard 

When we were designing the Zebra ZT231, we wanted to make sure it would carry forward the legacy of its predecessor, the ZT230, which has been extremely dependable for the last 10 years. So, we kept everything customers loved about the ZT230 and then made several additions to create this new long-lasting, value-centric industrial printer platform. We want you to have room to sustain and scale printer-reliant operations so the money you spend on a new ZT231 today will deliver a strong return on investment (ROI) for years to come.

Speaking of room, we also wanted you to be able to use an industrial printer in spaces where you might not otherwise be able to fit a big, bulky printer – or multiple printers. So, we designed both the ZT231 and the all-new ZT111 entry-level industrial printer with a small footprint. They are about half the weight of the mid-tier and premium-tier industrial printers and smaller in size. 

See the Difference (and the Similarities) 

When you compare the new value-tier Zebra ZT231 industrial printer alongside the previous-generation ZT230, you’ll notice a number of new features such as:

  • The full-color touch 4.3" LCD display that reduces training time, shows status at a glance and is consistent across the Zebra stationary printer portfolio. 

  • The full Print DNA software suite, which includes two dozen tools that help you remotely deploy, configure, secure, monitor, manage, optimize, and retire your Zebra printers.

  • 50% faster printing than the ZT230 at 203 dpi provides a boost in productivity.  

  • A modern electronics architecture to support peak performance today and scaled operations in the future.

  • A UHF RFID option (on the ZT231). 

  • Field-upgradeable modular connectivity (USB 2.0, Serial RS-232, Ethernet 10/100 and USB Host are now standard with options for dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1).

  • USB host to support integration of barcode scanners, keyboards and other input devices. 

The ZT231 and ZT111 printers sit below the Zebra ZT400 or ZT600 Series industrial printers in terms of duty cycle and features, but all Zebra industrial printers have the same Print DNA and are purpose-built and equipped for the job at hand.  The bigger, more powerful ZT400 and ZT600 Series printers are typically used to generate labels non-stop for hours, sometimes 24/7/365, in high-volume production, logistics and retail environments, thus requiring some enhanced feature sets.  The ZT231 and ZT111 are true industrial printers and provide the speed, power and media capacity to quickly and reliably print a couple hundred – or even a couple thousand – labels, receipts, or price tags each day. These new value-tier industrial printers also have more speed, power and media capacity than most desktop printers, which is important to understand if you want to truly make a “value” buy for your business.  

Want to Take a Closer Look at Your New Printer Options? 

If it’s time for you to switch from a desktop to an industrial printer or simply upgrade to a more modern industrial printer, I recommend you check out the ZT231 and ZT111 options.   A good printer specialist will help you figure out if value-tier industrial printer such as the Zebra ZT231 or ZT111 might be ideal for some applications where you’re using a desktop printer today. It’s all about right-sizing your fleet in the context of your applications and environment, while also considering the total cost of ownership (TCO) and total benefits of ownership (TBO) for each printer.

The good news is that, if you decide to mix and match Zebra desktop and industrial printers, the deployment and management experience will be the same across the board since all Zebra printers have the same core Print DNA. 


Then visit these webpages for the full scoop:

You may also be interested in these videos:

Introducing the ZT231 industrial printer

Comparing the ZT230 & ZT231 industrial printers 

Comparing the ZT231 & ZT411 industrial printers

*The security and manageability features of the ZT111 vary slightly from those of the ZT231 due to differences in the Link-OS platform used for the two models. Your Zebra representative can provide a comparative list of features and capabilities for your review.

**Contact your local Zebra representative for more information on the RFID configuration.

Best Practices, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Warehouse and Distribution, Innovative Ideas, Transportation and Logistics, Retail, Hospitality, Public Sector,
Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall

Jonathan Marshall is currently a Product Manager at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for new product developments within the ATS Business Unit. Jonathan has nearly 10 years of experience in the AIDC space and has launched numerous Zebra thermal printers and accessories over the last few years.

Prior to joining Zebra, he worked in various product development and marketing roles across a range of industries including aerospace and financial services, and he has experience with hardware, software and service product lines.

Jonathan holds an MBA from California Lutheran University,  and is a member of the Zebra Green Product Council.

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