Looking for the right color printer is like the story of Goldilocks.
You want a printer that’s not too much, not too less, but just right. And at a reasonable price that won’t break your bank account.
An inkjet printer that’s helpful to its target audience…I believe this is one of those printers.
The Epson ColorWorks C6500A is the printer you look at when it’s time to upgrade from your old black and white thermal printer. Seriously, that’s why Epson made it.
At a comparable cost to thermal transfer, its MSRP is around $3649.
Now no printer is by any means perfect. But this printer has a consistent range of good reviews across the board.
So let’s dive in and see if Epson hit’s it out of the park:
Choose Your Key Model Feature: The C6500A vs.C6500P
This is like the “choose your player!” sequence in a video game. And each printer comes with its own “weapon of choice” – a cutter or a peeler.
In this case, we’re discussing the ColorWorks C6500A or the cutter model (the peeler model is the C6500P). The auto-cutter aids in on-demand applications and means users can print large batches of labels at once.
Cutter and peeler applications offer certain benefits depending on how you’re planning to print and apply your labels. Both printers utilize the same type of inkjet specific labels: 3” core rolls with options to print on paper or polypropylene.
So you’ll need to consider which best fits your business before committing to a purchase. Especially because there’s a notable price difference between them (around $500).
However, the one major downside is that these features are not attachments like I’ve seen with other printers. They’re built into the printer. If you’re looking for both a cutter and peeler option together, you won’t find it. You’ll need to spend much more and buy one of each.
Matte or Gloss
Did I mention you’ll also need to decide between a gloss or matte version?
Choosing this ink set will affect the inkjet labels you’ll be printing. Gloss inks can be printed on matte label media, but matte inks are not recommended for gloss label media.
Both the ColorWorks C6500A and the C6500P use a pigment-based ink in the standard CMYK colors. Pair with synthetic label materials for any type of durable label application.
Just be sure to carefully consider which printer types you’ll need before clicking the “buy” button.
Why the C6500A Hits Above Average
Anytime I buy a new product, it’s always about checking the pros and cons. I want to know the standout features that make this item better than others on the market before I commit to a purchase.
Especially if I’m looking to pay thousands of dollars.
So here’s some of the key features I found with the Epson ColorWorks C6500A that made me lean toward a “yes!”
PrecisionCore® TFP® Printhead
Most printers will require you to replace the printhead at some point during your printer’s lifespan. But not Epson.
They developed new technology to not only circumvent this, but increase the abilities of their ColorWorks printer. It’s called PrecisionCore® .
First, PrecisionCore® is designed to last the entire life of your Epson printer. This means no replacements, no additional costs, no wasted downtime waiting for a new part.
Epson relies on Nozzle Verification Technology to automatically detect and fix clogged nozzles, preventing print defects and issues that would require a new printhead.
Second, this “next-generation printhead technology” is engineered to achieve 2 core points: professional quality and dramatic speed.
This printhead has 2-3 times the resolution as their previous piezo printheads. At 40 million dots per second (that’s right, 40 million!), it delivers professional output with impeccable quality for barcodes, texts, and images.
Now you would think such dramatic image quality would hinder the print speed. But that’s not the case with PrecisionCore.
The printhead nozzles are designed to fire droplets quickly with multiple drops of ink on-demand. How quickly? 50,000 times per second! All while maintaining peak resolution.
Overall, this technology is a huge reason why Epson is revered as one of the best in the inkjet printing industry. They’ve definitely earned the right to brag with this one.
The LCD Display Screen
Technology can be fickle sometimes. It can also be extremely annoying when it doesn’t work right.
And if you have no idea what the issue is, that’s a whole new ballgame of anger.
The LCD screen on the C6500A displays all of the information you’ll need when printing.
Can’t remember where you are with ink? These images of the ink levels show which colors need replacing. Not sure how many labels you have left? Media counter has that covered. Print error causing an issue? Here’s the information of what’s wrong and the step by step instructions on how to fix it!
Having this information readily available is such a timesaver. You could spend hours looking for the solution to a print error, thus taking time away from your print job and, ultimately, your business’s bottom line.
8-Inch Max Print Width
Of the entire Epson ColorWorks collection, the C6500 model is the only one that prints up to 8-inches wide.
This opens the door for select print jobs that specifically require large labels. Think hazardous applications for huge chemical drums.
Labels for these tasks need to include large amounts of information and colorful safety symbols printed so they can be easily seen and read.
Combine this with the inkjet printer’s BS5609 certification and ability to print up to 1200 dpi resolution for crisp, clear image quality. This is a winning combination to help ship dangerous goods in maritime environments.
Remote Printer Management
Ever had to have an IT tech or support team dial into your computer to fix an issue? Pretty cool having the problem resolved at your desk, right?
Now imagine always having that support on hand to help. That’s what the Remote Printer Management feature does.
It allows support to remotely monitor your printer’s status. Through this program they can:
- Generate email alerts for problems that need attention
- Remotely deploy firmware updates
- Set up complex network environments
- View or modify settings from any computer browser or smartphone (Apple or Android)
And if you’re a business with multiple ColorWorks C6500A printers and need them all running at peak performance, having remote management practically in your back pocket is a gamechanger.
Who doesn’t love adding accessories? For printers, these can help make the printing process faster and easier for your business.
There are several accessories that can be added to your Epson ColorWorks C6500Au.
An unwinder/rewinder is an external media holder that sits outside of your printer, either in front or behind.
It unwinds labels before they print or rewinds them after they print, depending on application. This accessory is perfect for situations that require a larger roll of labels that won’t fit in the printer or for businesses looking to use labels on a label applicator or apply them by hand.
If you’re looking to save more time and money, this accessory is definitely an option to consider attaching to your printer.
- 4" x 2" (Inkjet)
- 1245 Labels Per Roll
- 3" Core
- 6" Outer Diameter
- 4" x 3" (Inkjet)
- 845 Labels Per Roll
- 3" Core
- 6" Outer Diameter
- 4" x 6" (Inkjet)
- 430 Labels Per Roll
- 3" Core
- 6" Outer Diameter
It can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Or in this case, a perfect inkjet printer.
Yes, there are some drawbacks when it comes to the Epson ColorWorks C6500A.
Let’s look at some issues I had with this model:
No Epson Label Design Software
To me, this is the biggest problem with the ColorWorks C6500A.
What’s the use of a printer without a program to design and print labels from? That’s like trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter!
Epson only provides users with a printer driver for the initial setup.
You’ll have to go to Epson’s website and click the one that correlates with your device: Mac, Windows, Linux, SAP and major middleware.
While it’s a positive that most reviews say the setup process is relatively easy, it doesn’t take away from having to look elsewhere for a separate design program.
To design labels, you’ll need to buy or download a separate software program, such as Adobe, BarTender, or CODESOFT. Unfortunately, many of these programs require you to purchase them. This will add additional costs to the overall purchase of your C6500A.
Short Replacement Time for Inks & Maintenance Box
It’s worth noting that this issue only arises for first time users of the C6500A.
During the initial setup, the printer goes through an “ink charging” process. This is simply a way of getting ink into the printer for the first time. Once completed, it then allows ink to move quickly through the printer when operating.
However, the process quickly consumes ink in the cartridge samples sent with the printer. Meaning your left with less ink to begin printing your labels once setup is finished.
It also means the maintenance box fills up quickly. Think of the maintenance box like a garbage can: excess ink waste gets dumped in during tasks like ink charging. Once it’s full, a new one is installed.
So before you even print your first label, there’s a very short replacement time for supplies. It’s recommended that new buyers add both additional ink cartridges and an additional maintenance box to their purchase.
Yes, unfortunately, this increases the initial purchase price. And it’s annoying to replace these supplies so quickly after installing them.
But once they’re replaced, it should be some time before ordering more is needed. While I can’t give you a direct timeline of how many labels you’ll go through before replacing is required, ink yield will vary depending on print jobs, print settings, paper type, frequency of use, and temperature.
Slower Print Speeds
Slow and steady definitely doesn’t win the race with label printers. And Epson is no exception.
For all of the other positives the ColorWorks C6500A has, having such a slow print speed is a bummer: only up to 5 inches per second.
This makes it one of Epson’s slowest printers. When compared to the C7500G, the next upgrade in the ColorWorks division, it pales in comparison. The C7500G prints at speeds more than double the C6500A, at 11.8 inches per second!
Of all the inkjet printers I’ve reviewed, this printer is one of the overall slowest.
Businesses needing to print large batches of labels for customers or those in a time crunch will find this slow speed hinders their ability to complete a task.
|Epson CW-C6500A||Epson CW-C7500G|
|Print Resolution||1200 x 1200 dpi||1200 x 600 dpi|
|Max. Print Width||8.34″ (212 mm)||4.25″ (108 mm)|
|Max. Media Width||8.5″ (216 mm)||4.4″ (112 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|
|Rewinder||Not Included||Not Included|
|Printer Reviews||Epson C7500G Review|
|Shop||Epson Compatible Labels||Epson Compatible Labels|
Should You Invest in the Epson C6500A?
I mean, this is the reason you read through this review in the first place, right? So Is the ColorWorks C6500A worth your money?
My answer? If you’re looking to get into color printing, I would say yes.
It’s a sturdy printer that offers high resolution and vibrant color printing, especially for a wide range of label sizes. And it’s one of Epson’s cheaper inkjet printers so you don’t feel like you’re spending too much on one piece of equipment.
Yeah, not coming with its own label design software is a big letdown. And printing slower can add some bumps in the road for larger print jobs.
But the quality of color label you’re getting with practically no maintenance or upkeep required outweighs these negatives.
If you’ve been searching for a new color printer, the Epson ColorWorks C6500A is definitely a contender.