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

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

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!”

Micro Piezo Printhead

While other label printers will require you to replace the printhead at some point during your printer’s lifespan, Epson developed technology to circumvent this.

And it’s a huge feature of their inkjet printers.

Their Micro Piezo Technology offers “the best performance” because heat is not used on the print head. Most thermal printheads are restricted to specific ink types because they use heat. This technology allows for a wider selection of inks, like heat sensitive liquids, to be used. 

Epson also boasts that their Micro Piezo printhead provides:

  • Clear and accurate printing
  • Higher quality 
  • A longer lasting printer with less maintenance

It’s a huge reason why Epson is revered as one of the best in the inkjet printing industry.

Epson definitely earns the right to brag with this one.

The Color LED Control Panel 

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

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 LED 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 BS 5609 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.

Need labels for your new printer?

Some Downsides

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.

Printer Specifications

Epson CW-C6500A Epson CW-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) $3649 $9199
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.