The difference between ZPL labels, Zebra labels and thermal labels!

There are so many different labels on the market. However, they are not all the same. We at know that. What do Zebra labels, ZPL labels and thermal labels mean? We explain it all to you in this article. This way you can easily choose which label suits you and your business best!

What are Zebra labels?

Zebra labels are the original labels produced by the Zebra brand. Zebra is also the manufacturer of the well-known Zebra printers. To get the most out of this printer, we can recommend using the Zebra labels as well. If you don’t have a Zebra printer then Zebra labels are still a great option to use!

In fact, Zebra labels have been tested so many times. And then not just tested for shelf life and quality under normal conditions. In fact, Zebra technologies takes testing of Zebra labels a step further. Even under extreme conditions, all requirements are met by these labels.

labels for logistics

You can split the Zebra labels into two different types. Namely, the direct thermal labels and the thermal transfer labels. Direct thermal labels from the Zebra brand are cheaper, but fine for standard general applications. Are you looking for a label that is longer lasting and legible? Then Zebra labels’ thermal transfer labels are a great option! For thermal transfer labels, you need an ink ribbon within a thermal transfer label printer.

Both types of labels are available in so many different kinds of paper. We list a few different paper types below for you. You can find the rest at the bottom of this page of about Zebra labels.

  • PolyE: This is a label that is not made of paper, but of polyethylene. It is a label that has a glossy topcoat. This label is fine for curved and rough surfaces.
  • Z-perform: this is a label which is made of standard (smooth) paper. No coating is used for this label. This label is extremely suitable as a shipping label, product label or, for example, as a pallet label.
  • Z-select: this is a label that is also made of paper. However, with this label you have a premium topcoat. This label is developed for optimal results. You can use this label as a product label, shipping label, but also in the health sector.
  • Z-ultimate: This is a label that (as the name suggests) ensures ultimate quality. The label is made of glossy polyester. In addition, this label is highly resistant to chemicals. Therefore, this label is well suited for use in extreme conditions.

What are ZPL labels?

About ZPL labels, we can actually be very brief. In fact, ZPL stands for Zebra Programming Language. It is the programming language used by all ZPL compatible printers. This programming language is used by printers to print images. So ZPL labels are nothing more than labels that support the programming language.

thermal labels

What are thermal labels?

Thermal labels are different from normal labels and tags. This is because the printer does not use ink to print on these labels. The top coating layer of thermal labels contains a dye that becomes visible through heat. In this case, the printer uses a laser to create this heat.

The advantage of thermal labels is that you do not have to buy ink to print these labels. Therefore, it costs a lot less money to use these labels. One drawback is that it is not possible to print colors on thermal paper.


So actually, there is almost no difference between these above labels. Zebra labels are labels made by the company Zebra technologies. Zebra labels may use the technology of thermal labels, but they don’t always have to. In addition, ZPL labels are nothing more than labels that support the ZPL programming language.

So Zebra labels are a good choice because you actually have an amalgamation of all three labels. You can choose thermal labels and can use the ZPL programming language!

Buy thermal Zebra labels?

So with Zebra labels, you really can’t go wrong. And do your labels have a short life span? Then Zebra labels with thermal technology are a very good option for your needs!

At you can order your Zebra labels in our easy-to-use webshop! We offer you the best Zebra labels for a very competitive price.