There’s something about the phrase “small but mighty.”

Maybe that’s what Epson had in mind when designing an inkjet printer? They certainly tried accomplishing it with the new ColorWorks C4000.

It’s definitely the smallest inkjet printer I’ve worked with yet. Seriously, this looks like a bigger version of the easy bake oven I had as a kid. But don’t let the size fool you. 

Epson calls this model “powerful and compact,” meant to measure up to the industrial inkjet printers they manufacture.

And as the cheapest of all of the Epson ColorWorks printers (MSRP $1999), if you’re looking to get your foot in the door with a color label printer, this might be the right fit.

So just how powerful of an inkjet printer do you get for this price? Let’s take a look:

An Improvement to Print Quality 

Like other Epson ColorWorks inkjet printers, the C4000 is made to print high resolution for bright vivid colors. 

If you’re running a small business looking to improve the quality of your labels, the Epson ColorWorks C4000 might be a contender. Industries this printer can be used in include:

  • Retail
  • Healthcare & pharmaceutical
  • Food & beverage
  • Industrial

Need a new wine label for your newest harvest? Done. 

Have to update variable information on your cannabis gummies? Score.

Looking to print ID badges for your pharmacy team? Boom.

Need a hazardous label for your chemical drums? Got it. 

And you’re in luck! The ColorWorks C4000 has its BS 5609 certification. Just combine the printer’s pigment-based ink with the right durable label materials and you’re set to ship dangerous goods in marine environments.

Plus, it comes with a built-in auto-cutter so labels can be printed at varying lengths. (Sorry, guys, no peeler mode option with this one).

An Upgrade from the ColorWorks C3500

The ColorWorks C4000 is a step up from its predecessor, the C3500.

While they share a price tag, the C4000 has upgraded features making it a better version. 

These include:

CW-C4000 CW-C3500
Higher Resolution 1200 x 1200 720 x 360
Greater Compatibility Windows, MAC, SAP Windows Only
Larger Ink Cartridges 50 ml 32.5 ml
Gloss & Matte Available Yes No

On the note of gloss and matte: the ColorWorks C3500 doesn’t support high gloss paper. But the ColorWorks C4000 does, along with the ability to print on glossy film and textured paper for a variety of different applications. 

However, both printers are BS 5609 certified, which is a great attribute to have. This feature is typically seen in larger, industrial inkjet printers. But if your business needs to print these durable, high-quality labels and your workspace is small, these compact printers come in handy. 

Now, when it comes to using roll labels for the ColorWorks C4000, they’re a little different from standard roll sizes.

A Different Kind of Roll Label 

Because of its smaller size, the ColorWorks C4000 uses 2” core roll labels with a 4” outer diameter. 

Yes, this is a bit of an oddball core size, and unfortunately finding labels with a 4” outer diameter is not the easiest. You’ll need to scour the web like you’re searching for buried treasure.

This specific size also means less labels per roll. Less labels means you’ll be changing out rolls and placing orders more often, ultimately adding to your overall costs. This is a huge downside, especially if your business or workload is growing quickly.

Printing with 3” core roll labels is one solution. You’ll just need an external roll holder that sits behind the printer, eliminating any issues trying to get labels to fit. 

Fanfold labels are also an option, which will also sit behind the printer. Any of these label options can be either paper or polypropylene material. 

However, if you’re using roll labels, the printer’s size does make it a bit tricky to load them in. 

The roll paper guides need to be pushed outward and held in place with the lock lever. After the roll is inserted, you’ll need to raise the lock lever and adjust the label roll so there’s no gap.

Due to the printer size and setup, I had a bit of a difficult time accomplishing this. Honestly, the tight space made me feel like I might break something.

One reason for this is the design of the ColorWorks C4000 felt less sturdy than say the C6500A or C7500G.

Both larger printers have a metal build while the CW-C4000 felt like a slightly durable plastic. So when loading in labels, I’d be a little more careful when handling it.

How the ColorWorks C4000 Competes

Like I mentioned earlier, the C4000 might be smaller but it’s built to compete with larger, industrial-sized inkjet printers.

Here’s a few examples of how this model holds its own against other Epson ColorWorks printers:

Combination of All Things Good

It’s like Epson combined some of the best attributes of their other ColorWorks printers and compacted them into the C4000.

First, it has the same print width as the ColorWorks C7500G. While the C6500A reigns supreme when it comes to printing wide labels (up to 8 inches), the C4000 is still able to compete with the most expensive Epson inkjet printer. Both have a maximum print width of 4.25 inches.

Second, nearly as fast as the C6500A. No one can compete with the C7500G when it comes to print speeds (11.8 seconds per inch is scary fast!). But the C4000 prints at 4 inches per second, just 1 second behind the C6500A’s max speed.

Third, it features a color LCD display screen just like the Colorworks C6500A. This screen displays key bits of information, like ink and maintenance box levels, label material being used, and print errors. 

Fourth, it’s got the same high resolution as the ColorWorks C6500A. This one is a huge advantage. At 1200 x 1200 dpi, the C4000 goes toe to toe with inkjet printers marketed as printing the highest quality images: clear, crisp, and colorful.

Don’t forget, the ColorWorks C4000 uses a PrecisionCore® printhead to achieve sharp and clear text. 

I have to say, it’s pretty nifty getting all of these upscale features with a cheaper inkjet printer.

Wi-Fi Optional

Wi-Fi isn’t an option with any of the other Epson ColorWorks printers except the C4000.

It works with compatible mobile devices and is simple enough to use. A Wi-Fi dongle inserted into the back of the printer will enable Wi-Fi communications (this accessory has to be purchased separately, though).

However, it’s worth noting that while it is Wi-Fi certified, the level of performance is subject to the range of the router being used.

Eco Friendly Printer

Nowadays, everything is going green. And Epson’s jumping on board.

The ColorWorks C4000 is designed with features that make it eco-friendly. But what does this entail?

For starters, it’s a recyclable product. Yep, when your printer reaches the end of its life, Epson provides instructions on how to recycle the hardware, printer ink and toner. 

This is thanks to a partnership with Smartway Transport, a US Environmental Protection Agency whose aim is to reduce greenhouse gasses, air pollutants, and improve fuel efficiency.

The ColorWorks C4000 is also RoHS certified. 

This one was new to me. It stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products (think mercury, lead, cadmium). 

The C4000 being RoHS compliant means the printer does not contain any of these hazardous materials that would pollute the environment when disposed of.

Where the ColorWorks C4000 Drops the Ball

Yes, yes, we have to talk about the negatives. Every printer has some.

Here’s where the ColorWorks C4000 loses points with me:

No Epson Label Design Software

I’ve mentioned this before. And sadly, it’s an issue with all Epson ColorWorks printers.

There’s no design software that comes with your inkjet printer. You’ll be able to set up the printer with the printer driver on the Epson website but that’s all. 

When it comes to designing the labels you need, you’ll have to buy or download a separate program. Options like Adobe, BarTender, and CODESOFT work well with Epson. 

Unfortunately, having to buy a design software will add additional costs to the overall purchase of your printer. Good thing the Colorworks C4000 is on the cheaper side.

Switching Labels Is a HASSLE

Switching from roll labels to fanfold labels isn’t the simple task it is with other printers.

Most printers will simply have you load in fanfold labels at the back of the printer. But for the ColorWorks C4000 a plastic paper feed guide is required for fanfold to work.

First you’ll have to remove it from the rear compartment and reattach it inside the printer where the label roll goes. Switching back to using roll labels requires you to remove the feed guide and reattach it back behind the printer.

Now I’ll admit trying to complete this task was a bit difficult.The plastic guide felt kinda flimsy, and I genuinely felt like I might break it if I applied too much pressure.

Which led me to wonder, what happens if I do break it? Or lose it? I couldn’t find anywhere on the Epson website that linked to where I could buy a replacement or how much a new one would cost.

Breaking or losing this part would also mean I could no longer use fanfold labels with the C4000, which seems a bit ridiculous. 

Another factor is the platen shutters. These are 10 slots on the inside door of the printer (5 on each side) that must be opened or closed depending on the width of your labels. Sensors underneath detect the labels and must match the size correctly. 

For example, if your labels are 4 inches wide (or around 112 mm), you’ll need to open all of the shutters. If your labels are 2.5 inches wide (around 63 mm), you’ll only open four of the shutters.

And if you’re unsure how to navigate this, there’s a label on top of the printer with images detailing the open/close process for each label width.

This is the first time I’ve seen features like this on a printer. And just for loading labels, too! All of these additional steps feel unnecessary and a waste of time.

Slowest Print Speeds 

Speed always plays a huge factor when it comes to printing labels. Always.

And while yes, I previously mentioned the ColorWorks C4000 is almost as fast as the C6500A, it still unfortunately ranks the slowest of the entire ColorWorks series. 

WIth a max speed of only 4 inches per second, I would recommend avoiding large print jobs (you’ll be waiting quite a while).

What makes this feature worse is you’ll need even slower print speed to obtain maximum print quality. 

Maximum print speed with the ColorWorks C4000 will give you a resolution of 300 x 600 dpi. To obtain the 1200 x 1200 dpi it’s marketed as having, you’ll need to print labels at a dismal speed of 0.31 inches per second.

Have fun waiting for those labels to print.

Printer Specifications 

Print Resolution 1200 x 1200 dpi
Max. Print Width Up to 4.25″ (108 mm)
Max. Media Width 4.41″ (112 mm)
Ink Type Pigment-based, 4 individual CMYK Cartridges
Print Speed Up to 4″ per second
Media Type Plain paper, matte paper, synthetic labels, gloss paper, gloss film
Cost (MSRP) $1999
Rewinder Not Included

Should You Invest In the Epson ColorWorks C4000?

So by now the question on your mind is likely, “Is it worth it to buy the Epson ColorWorks C4000?”

If you’re a small business looking to invest in color printing for small batches of labels, I would say yes.

At under $2000, the ColorWorks C4000 gives you a taste of what powerful color printing is without feeling like you’ve made a huge investment. Plus, if your company has environmental concerns and is looking to lean more into sustainable options, Epson has that covered. 

However, I will say not having a label design software and the issues with loading labels are big downsides. These will end up slowing you down and add additional steps to your tasks. 

So if your business continues to grow and you’re able to invest more, I would definitely consider upgrading to another Epson inkjet printer.