Review of the Epson C6500Au Printer

An image of the Epson C6500Au inkjet printer

When high-speed, color printing can be game-changing for businesses, Epson plays to win.

This time is with the Colorworks-6000 series, the first line of printers specifically designed as a color upgrade to black and white thermal printers. Of these models, the C6500Au delivers on-demand color label printing up to 8 inches wide.

Equipped with a cutter feature, inkjet labels at variable lengths are created for a wide array of applications across multiple environments. Resolution capabilities up to 1200 dpi produce crisp images comparable to preprinted labels with the added benefit of seamless integration for greater productivity in business operations.

With a moderate MSRP of $3,500 (as of September 2021), the C6500Au can be a great addition for users looking to print vibrant color labels without emptying their wallet.

Let’s take a look at the Epson C6500Au and see if it’s the right printer for your business!

Epson C6500Au Applications

The Epson C6500Au is a comparable model to most existing thermal printers on the market. Engineered for demanding applications, it is promoted as a replacement for existing black and white barcode printers, like Zebra or Sato.

Larger, industrial printers like these are best suited for demanding environments that require large volumes of labels and benefit from printing on-demand. This helps increase production, reduces inventory, and lowers supply costs.

Full color printing allows for many versatile options across many different industry applications.

Warehouse & Industrial

Printers like the C6500Au are a great option for environments looking to scale up their print production. Warehouses, factories, and industrial settings require heavy duty equipment capable of withstanding constant and demanding print jobs at peak performance.

As the C6500Au is a replacement for previous barcode printers, it is capable of producing labels with 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional barcodes. These can be used for shipping, tracking and traceability as well as case and pallet identification to help manage warehouse and inventory space. 

An advantage of using the C6500Au is that it is BS 5609 certified. This certification is not awarded to all printers and is necessary for certifying a specific standard of durability.

By combining synthetic materials with the appropriate ink, BS 5609 labels are able to withstand resistance to chemicals and rigorous testing, including long periods of submersion in water. Labels cannot smudge, bleed, fade, or peel during this process.

Logistics

While barcoding can be used for shipping labels and organizing inventory, the C6500Au’s color features help enhance workflow and improve efficiencies in logistics environments. 

Color coding and photos can be added to labels for easy identification and minimizing errors. This helps with storage and packing so items can be quickly located. Labels can also be printed on-demand for quick applications on the go.

Prime Labels

A prime label with vibrant colors is applied to a jar of salsa

When it comes to labeling products meant for display shelves and retail locations, standing out is key.

Color has the ability to increase product appeal, attracting the attention of potential customers. The C6500Au is capable of producing high-quality, full color labels. It utilizes vibrant prints and images that users can customize to help promote their brand with eye-catching designs.

Examples of products with prime labels include:

  • Beer and wine
  • Coffee and tea
  • Spice jars and containers
  • Cosmetics
  • Honey
  • Salsa
  • Candles
  • Bath and shower

One benefit of the C6500Au for prime labels is the addition of a finish like gloss or matte to enhance the overall label look. These coatings add nuance to prime labels, helping them to further stand out. Both gloss and matte options are available. 

Label colors and designs may have to change with revisions to labeling laws, requirements, specifications, and more. This is especially important for products that rely heavily on compliance, like cannabis labels and packaging

Models like the C6500Au offer a quick solution to these changes with the ability to modify customizations at a moment’s notice. Businesses printing prime labels on demand can make adjustments without having to discard pre-printed labels that can no longer be used. This saves time and money by eliminating the need to constantly reorder pre-printed stock.

Healthcare

Color printing with the Epson C6500Au also helps to communicate important information and prevent mistakes. In the healthcare industry, these are vital.

Patient information on wristbands, prescriptions, files, as well as pharmacy shelf tags and more can be emphasized with color as a way to highlight information and increase patient safety. 

Bright tones can help details stand out or communicate necessary warnings. Classifications and grouping based on color can help organization and the minimization of errors.

Epson C6500Au Core Features

A close up image of the LED screen on an Epson C6500Au inkjet printer

While it is a smaller model compared to some heavy duty inkjet printers like the Epson C7500G, the C6500Au does have several core features that make it stand out.

High-Quality Printing

As an alternative to black and white barcode printers, the C6500Au is able to deliver ultra sharp text and precise barcodes. This makes it easier for prints to scan with less error. 

Ink droplets are produced in varying droplet sizes. When combined with the resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, it can produce a huge gamut of vibrant, accurate colors, smooth gradation, and fine image details.

LED Control Panel

One standout feature of this Epson printer in the LED control panel situation on the front panel. 

This screen gives users information about errors, current ink levels, printer instructions, and current label material. It is important to note that when changing label materials, the computer setup must reflect the correct substrate being placed into the printer. 

While changes can be made on the LED control panel, the computer will override the setup on the printer if they are different. Users will need to change the settings in the computer in order for it to work.

Remote Management Tools

The Epson C6000 series was designed for large-scale enterprise environments. In order to accommodate these high-volume scenarios, a wide range of management tools are available.

These tools allow IT and support teams to:

  • Remotely monitor the status of a large fleet of printers
  • Generate email alerts on items that need attention
  • Remotely deploy firmware updates
  • Set up complex network environments
  • View or modify settings from any computer browser or Android or Apple smartphone

Versatile Ink Types

All of the Colorworks-C6000 printers use pigment-based inks, with both gloss and matte versions available for a variety of label applications. Pigment allows for more durable prints, like mentioned with BS 5609 standards.

While the gloss printer comes with black ink that can print on a wide variety of substrates, it is optimized for gloss label media.

The matte printer delivers a darker black on matte and paper label media when compared to its gloss counterpart. It is not recommended for printing on gloss label media.

The C6500Au vs C6500Pu

Epson offers ColorWorks printers in the C6000 series with different key features: the C6500Au and C6500Pu

Both variations offer users full color printing with many similarities. These include:

  • Ink type
  • Availability in gloss and matte
  • 8-inch wide printing
  • Resolution
  • Compatibility 
  • Connectivity 
  • BS 5609 certification

The main difference between the two printers is the application feature. While the C6500Au offers a built-in cutter to produce labels of varying sizes, the C6500Pu offers a peel-and-present capability. This means labels print with the liner already removed for faster manual application.  

The difference in these features does account for a slight variation in price. The C6500Pu is more expensive with a MSRP of $3,980.

Epson C6500Au Ink

The Epson C6500Au showing the ink cartridge placements on the front of the printer

The Epson C6500Au is a pigment-based inkjet printer that utilizes UltraChrome DL ink.

While pigment ink is less vivid than dye-based ink, it provides more durability when printing. This means texts and images are able to withstand exposure to elements like water, oils, and UV light. Pigment-based inks are also less prone to bleeding, smudging, and fading.

This inkjet printer comes with 4 individual cartridges in standard CMYK colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. They are capable of supporting 16.7 million colors across the spectrum to produce eye-catching label designs.

The ink cartridges can be placed 2 per side and come in 80 mL containers. Individual cartridges allow for easy replacements once ink runs out, saving time and money. The cartridges should also be gently shaken before being inserted. Once the black ink has been installed, it is recommended that it not be removed until empty.

Epson C6500Au Labels

Because the Epson C6500Au is an inkjet printer, it requires inkjet specific labels. This is due to inkjet labels being designed with a special coating that allows the ink to be fully absorbed into the substrate. 

A wide variety of media options are available for use. These include:

  • Plain paper
  • Matte paper
  • Synthetic 
  • Textured paper
  • Glossy paper
  • Glossy film
  • High glossy paper

When combined with pigment ink, synthetic materials are best suited for durable label applications. These include options like polypropylene, polyester, film, and more. Durable labels are capable of surviving extreme temperature changes, contact with chemicals and moisture, and exposure to sunlight as well as scratching and tearing.

As mentioned, both gloss and matte inkjet models are available. Using these coatings allows for additional customization and enhances the finished look of the label. While matte coatings provide a satiny, muted look and feel, gloss coatings provide a reflective, shiny appearance for many versatile applications.

The C6500Au supports both roll and fanfold media. Roll labels must be on a 3” core inner diameter (ID) and a 6” outer diameter (OD). Sensor marks such as gap sensor and black timing marks can be used with both media types. This model does come with a cutter feature but die-cut, continuous, and perforated labels can be used.

Specifications

Epson C6500Au Epson C7500G
Print Resolution 1200 x 1200 dpi 1200 x 600 dpi
Max Print Width 8.34″ (212 mm) 4.45″ (108 mm)
Max Media Width 8.5″ (216 mm) 4.41″ (102 mm)
Ink Type Pigment-Based, 4 Individual CMYK Cartridges Pigment-Based, 4 Individual CMYK Cartridges
Print Speed Up to 5″ per second Up to 11.8″ per second
Media Types Paper, Synthetic, PET Film, Textured, Matte, Gloss/High-Gloss Paper, Synthetic, PET Film, Matte, Gloss/High-Gloss, Clear
Cost (MSRP) $3500 $8819
Rewinder Not Included Not Included
Printer Reviews Epson C7500G Review
Shop Epson Compatible Labels Epson Compatible Labels

Epson C6500Au Compatibility & Connectivity

The C6500Au is compatible with a variety of Windows and other operating systems. These include:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8 & 8.1
  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • MacOS 10.6.8 or later
  • Linux

While wireless connectivity is not an option, standard connection through USB 2.0 High Speed and Ethernet 10/100 BASE-T wired networks can be used.

Epson C6500Au Software

In terms of software, the C6500Au uses drivers that are supported by Bartender, NiceLabel, and CODESOFT. It integrates seamlessly with ZPL II to allow users the advantages of Epson inkjet technology without reprogramming existing systems.

ESC/Label command extensions can be added to unlock color for color coded fields, product pictures, logos and marketing messages to improve overall business and brand image.

The Verdict

  • Cost effective printer
  • High volume printing
  • BS 5609 certified
  • Individual ink cartridges for easy replacement
  • Built in cutter feature
  • Gloss and matte models available
  • LED indicator with status, updates, ink levels and errors
  • Slower print speed than most inkjet printers
  • Gloss label media and matte label media must be used with their respective printer models
  • Can have a hard time detecting labels after loading
  • Users must adjust where to cut the label for each label size

This inkjet printer is the perfect blend of cost and function for users looking to print high volume, full color labels for multiple applications at a reasonable price. While it’s not as fast as other inkjet printers we’ve reviewed, it makes up for speed with a wide print and media width.