Review of The Bixolon SLP-DX420 Desktop Printer

A close up shot of the Bixolon SLP-DX420 direct thermal printer

A new printer manufacturer has been increasing its presence on the market for printer industry solutions and its name is Bixolon. Bixolon is a leading global manufacturer of mobile, label, and POS (point of sale) printers with locations in several countries around the world. 

Formed as a mini printer division of Samsung in the 90s, Bixolon began producing printers in 2002 as a better solution for their customers in the industry. Comparable in size, shape, and specifications to many Zebra and Datamax models, Bixolon thermal printers are an affordable choice for users at 30% less than other name brands currently on the market. 

Bixolon printers are sold by resellers at prices ranging between $200-$300, depending on the distributor.

Let’s take a look at the Bixolon SLP-DX420 and see how well it holds up against other competitors.

What is the Bixolon SLP-DX420?

The Bixolon SLP-DX420 is a direct thermal printer capable of printing up to 4-inches wide. It is a compact, desktop device used for printing various types of thermal labels at high speeds. The SLP-DX420 is designed to be user-friendly, easy to load, and operate with no fuss, accommodating different label sizes.

Who is the Bixolon SLP-DX420 For?

An eBay shipping label has been placed on a box

Intended for high-frequency printing, the Bixolon SLP-DX420 direct thermal printer is a versatile machine that can add efficiency and accuracy to many different industry environments and applications.

Coffee & Tea Shops & Chains 

A direct thermal label is applied to a disposable coffee cup purchased at a shop or popular chain

Because these are fast-paced environments, coffee and tea establishments require labels to print quickly and accurately for customer orders throughout the day.

Post & Parcel 

Locations, such as post offices, utilize shipping labels with barcodes for quick scanning and tracking.

Healthcare & Pharmacy 

Healthcare locations, such as hospitals, apply labels to important documents and records for filing, as well as to assist with medication administration, which is crucial information that requires accuracy.

Warehouse & Storage Handling 

Shipping and receiving process inventory by using barcode labels. Products are able to be tracked and managed in an accurate, timely, and efficient manner.

What Kinds of Labels?

A Bixolon SLP-DX420 direct thermal label printer sits on a desk with a shipping label ready to go

The Bixolon SLP-DX420 prints on direct thermal labels, which have ink already embedded within the paper. The ink is exposed when it comes into contact with the heat of the print head, which means there is no need for a ribbon. Since it does not require the extra space to hold a ribbon roll, the overall size of the SLP-DX420 is slightly smaller than its thermal transfer counterpart. 

This Bixolon printer supports both direct thermal 1-inch core rolls or fanfold labels.

In order to use fanfold labels, users must first detach the rear paper supply cover on the back side of the printer. This can be done carefully with a knife or sharp cutting instrument. The paper holders can then be adjusted to the paper width by using the Fix Tool. This is located on the one side of the paper holders and can be pushed down when the correct paper width has been reached.

 The SLP-DX420 prints on multiple sensor types, which include:

  • Gap sensor
  • Black mark
  • Continuous
  • Notch

Gap sensor, black mark, and continuous are commonly compatible with most thermal printers. Labels with a notch have a small hole punch in the liner between each label.  A sensor on the upper cover of the printer operates as a gap sensor while a sensor for black mark and notch media types is located on the bottom portion of the printer. 

The printer will automatically calibrate for most media types with a media width of up to 110mm. However, a manual calibration is required for special types of media where the sensor cannot calibrate automatically.

Special Features for the Bixolon SLP-DX420

A Bixolon SLP-DX420 direct thermal printer is open to show the inside

As previously mentioned, Bixolon printers are comparable to other thermal label printers on the market at a more affordable price.

So what are some key features that separate the SLP-DX420 printer from other thermal desktop printers?

Media Calibration & Smart Media Detection

The Bixolon SLP-D420 has a media calibration that is designed to recognize the gaps on most print papers. This makes it easy to use multiple media types when printing. In cases where the printer cannot recognize the gaps due to a special or specific type of paper, an Auto-Calibration function can be run.

This desktop thermal label printer also uses a feature called Smart Media Detection, which is executed when necessary without user input. It allows the SLP-DX420 to automatically detect paper with varying media types. The operation simply requires users to press the Feed button on the top of the printer. Empty labels are detected and automatically skipped over to the next label. 

Various Print Options

Unlike some printers that require attachments in order to use additional print options, the SLP-DX420 comes already equipped for these features. Users can print in standard mode, peeler, or auto-cutter.

Peeler mode allows for labels to be printed with the liner already removed, allowing for quick and easy manual application.

Software & Compatibility 

Label Artist is the custom label design program provided by Bixolon. It can retrieve and print out databases prepared in several file formats, such as Excel, Access, and Text.

The Bixolon SLP-DX420 is fully compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android, along with built-in Bluetooth. It is also compatible with market-leading programming languages, giving the SLP-DX420 the ability to support a wide range of fonts, graphics, formats, and logos, as well as 1-D and 2-D barcode symbologies.

Printer Specifications 

Bixolon SLP-DX420 Zebra ZD620
Printer Price  $200-$300 $365
Print Technology Direct Thermal Direct Thermal & Thermal Transfer
Core Size  1″ Core or Fanfold 1″ Core or Fanfold
Media Sensor  Gap, Black Mark, Continuous & Notch Gap, Black Mark & Continuous
Printing Speed 178 mm/s 150 mm/s
Max. Media Width 4.33″ 4.25″
Resolution 203 dpi 300 dpi
Media Holder Included Inclided
Shop  Compatible Labels  Compatible Labels 
Other Reviews  ZD620 Review 

The Verdict

  • Affordable price
  • Easy set up
  • User friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Auto-calibrates for most media types
  • Able to print multiple media types
  • If a manual calibration is required, there are separate instructions for each media type (i.e. gap, black-mark, continuous, etc.)
  • Label rolls can be easily jostled inside of the printer without the Fix Tool being used 
  • All manuals and downloads require users to agree to terms beforehand

This compact printer is an efficient device capable of printing direct thermal labels quickly at an affordable price for a wide range of uses.

How to Load Labels

The following instructions are how to load labels into a Bixolon SLP-DX420 thermal printer. Make sure you are using direct thermal labels on a 1” core. 

  1. Open the printer
  2. Spread the paper holder and insert the roll of labels
  3. Guide the media under the paper guides and out of the printer
  4. Close the printer
  5. Plug in the power cord and USB cord before turning on the printer
  6. Press the Feed Button once – the printer will automatically calibrate

How to Calibrate

The following instructions are how to calibrate a Bixolon SLP-DX420 direct thermal printer for gap sensor and black timing mark labels. The Bixolon desktop printer comes already programmed in Smart Detection Mode, meaning that labels will automatically calibrate when you press the Feed Button. If Smart Detection Mode doesn’t work, then you will need to do an Auto Calibration.

Gap Sensor Calibration

  1. Press and hold the Pause button for 2 Seconds
  2. Press the Feed button when LED 1 is orange and LED 2 blinks green 4 times

Black Timing Mark

  1. Press and hold the Pause button for 2 Seconds
  2. Press the Feed button when LED 1 is orange and LED 2 blinks orange 4 times

How to do a Factory Reset

The following instructions are how to do a Factory Reset on a Bixolon SLP-DX420 thermal printer. If you have had to do an Auto Calibration on your Bixolon printer, this means it is no longer in Smart Detection Mode. In order to get it back to Smart Detection Mode, you must do a Factory Reset.

  1. Load labels and close printer
  2. Press and hold the Pause button for 2 seconds
  3. Press the Feed button when LED 1 is Green & LED 2 blinks red 4 times

Setup & Installation (Windows PC)

The following instructions are how to set up the complimentary Bixolon software, Label Artist. A disk of this program is included with the printer.

  1. Load the disk into your computer
  2. Open the file for the SLP-DX420 on the desktop, then click the file for the “Win SLP-DX420” printer type in the folder

At this point, a Bixolon Printer Driver will appear on your screen to begin installation.

  1. Click “Next” and then “Install” to begin installing the software
  2. Select the Port Type (i.e. USB, etc.) and click “Next”
  3. Turn the Bixolon printer off and then on again

Once your printer has been installed, you will want to print a test paper to make sure everything is working properly.

  1. Go to “Start” and click “Devices and Printers”
  2. Left click on the printer icon you have just installed, and then click “Printer Properties”
  3. “Click “Printer Properties, then click “Preferences” at the bottom

Make sure the parameters are correct for the label size you are using, like width and length. For more options, such as Sensor Type (i.e. gap, black mark, etc.), Operation Mode (i.e. Peeler, Cutter, etc.), and margins, click “Advanced Settings.”