Zebra ZC100 Card Printer Review

plastic card printers

Zebra have just released their all new ZC range of card printers. This new line contains three printer models: the ZC100, ZC300 and ZC350. We’ve got our hands on the new Zebra Card Printers from CardLogic and we’ve put them through their paces.

If you’re in the market for a new printer for your staff ID cards, membership cards or just about any other type of plastic cards, we would strongly recommend reviewing the Zebra ZC line.

The ZC printer range has all the features you would expect of a premium brand but with some nice new features not typically seen in card printers.

card printers

We’re going to breakdown the new printer range and the potential benefits for your business.

Smaller Profiles & Custom Covers

The first and most apparent aspect of the range is the aesthetic profile. Zebra have clearly focused on condensing the size of their machines and it’s a welcome change.

In many business settings, desk space is often very limited especially in environments such as small retailers, hotel receptions and offices. Zebra has curated the slimmest printer in its class offering customisable cover, so you can easily match the aesthetic of your office.

Zebra have also added the ability to remove the side cover to easily access the printer internals, this makes for simple maintenance and repairs should you ever need them.

this generation is the ability to remove the side panels to access the interior of the printer.

ZC printer interior

Advanced Card Feeding with Automatic Adjustments

Each printer in the ZC range feature all new feeders which automatically adjust the input feeder to match the thickness of the card. Before, this must be set manually, so it’s a nice touch for the sake of convenience. These printers come with single-sided functionality as standard but has the option to upgrade to dual-sided printing post-purchase with the addition of an internal flipper.

Simpler One-Step Loading and Unloading

Zebra has brought unprecedented simplicity to card printer operation. Changing a ribbon uses a simple drop-n-go system. The newly designed ribbon cartridges have a doorknob style handle that ensures ribbon loading is always unerring.

There is now only one way to insert the printer ribbon so you no longer have to worry about inserting the ribbon incorrectly, which has been a long-standing issues with card printers.

Enhanced Security Features

Security is always a concern especially when it comes to ID Card printing – for the printed cards and for the actual machine that produces them. The ZC Series has the option to send completed cards to a secure bin within the machine for extra security.  There is also an optional lock-in cover that secures all the card media inside the casing

For those who have more advanced security requirements, Zebra has added advanced firewalls to prevent unauthorised printer intrusion complemented by a high-grade encryption feature which is perfect for securing sensitive data.

Encoding Options

The ZC range has a variety of encoding options available. The ZC100 & 300 offer magnetic stripe encoding while the ZC350 is capable of encoding contact and contactless cards. The versatility allows these printers to be used for a wide range of printed cards such as loyalty, gift and access control cards.

ZC printer encoding options

Print Quality

The ZC range all utilise direct to card (DTC) technology and offer 300 DPI print resolution. We tested a range of different design and patterns to get a feel for the depth of colour and clarity of text.

Colour rendering was very accurate with deep, vibrant shades with a nice premium finish. Text was clearly legible up to the size of 0.6pt at which point it started to deteriorate. All taken into account, the machine produces some of the best prints we’ve seen in its class.


The ZC350 offers three brand ribbon choices featuring special colours and unique special effects such as enhanced security color shifting graphics and watermarks.

The Verdict

Overall the ZC range is an excellent performer. For an entry-level machine it offers exceptional quality and advanced features typically seen on far more expensive models. It’s too early to speak on reliability yet, but if Zebra’s history is anything to go by, there shouldn’t be any problems on this front.

The printer’s biggest downside is its connectivity. It only has USB as standard which some users may find restrictive. There is an option to add ethernet connectivity but this will drive the price up.

But, all things considered, a great series of printers.