Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Laser Versus Inkjet

“How much would this label cost to produce” is one of the most common questions I get.  From my experience, the reason prospects and resellers ask this question frequently is that most people believe color costs significantly more than monochrome.

But now, color and images are required in more and more labels.  For example, the UN initiative, Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) requires labels to include pictograms and icons of different colors. 

GHS Brief:

In addition, many manufacturers find producing color labels on demand reduces costs when compared to purchasing preprinted color labels.

Mercury Medical:

Given the need to produce color labels on demand, I decided (with the assistance of Andy Scherz, Product Manager, Epson) to review the costs of producing labels on color laser printers versus the Epson ColorWorks label printers, TM-C3400 and the GP-C831.

To start, I found a list of the top selling workgroup color laser printers.  Workgroup printers are designed to produce large quantities, with relatively large consumable supplies.   

For the top three printers, I gathered the ISO 19798 Standard Page Yield for these printers.  This standard established the process to determine standard page yields to enable product comparisons.  To learn about ISO standard page yields, check out these summaries:

From Dell:

To determine yields, companies like HP and Dell print the same 5 defined standard test pages in replicated trials until the cartridges are depleted.  Check out these images:

To determine costs, I divided the price per cartridge by the yield.  I got both the costs and yield information from the respective company’s website.  From this number, I calculated the cost per MSI (thousand square inch).  I wanted to get to a cost per MSI to compare the laser printers to both the TM-C3400 and GP-C831.

For the Dell 5130 cdn color laser printer (, the cost per MSI was $0.75.


To fill this printer with toner, it costs $872!!

For the Lexmark C748 de (, the cost per MIS was $0.99.


For the Lexmark C792 de (, the cost per MSI was $1.01.


To determine the yield for both the TM-C3400 and the GP-C831 printers, Andy Scherz ran all 5 images through the estimation tool Epson has available for each printer.  I understand that Epson did not actually print the images until the cartridges were depleted; but the analysis is a good representation of the final results.

For the TM-C3400, the cost per MSI was $0.68.


The TM-C3400 was up to 1/3 less cost per MIS than standard color lasers printers.  Plus, the TM-C3400 uses roll or flat fan feed, which is significantly more reliable than sheet fed media handling used by the laser printers.  Finally, the TM-C3400 includes the capability to print one label at a time, instead of an entire sheet, reducing wasted labels.

The GP-C831 was even less expensive, with a cost per MSI of $0.24.


The GP-C831 uses pin-fed media, one of the most reliable media feed technologies available.  The GP-C831 is perfect for producing 8” x 11” drum labels for the chemical industry to meet the GHS requirements.

Overall, this analysis show the significant cost advantage of using color inkjet printers to produce on-demand color labels when compared to laser printers.

If you or your customers are using laser printers currently to produce labels, consider moving to one of the Epson inkjet printers.  You’ll save lots of money while getting outstanding and durable print quality as well as outstanding media handling.

Guy Mikel


  1. What's the ink volume for the Gp-c831 ink cartridge respectivity?

  2. Epson does not specify the ink volume in the cartridges.

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  5. Good description given regarding laser and inkjet printer. Like to read such type of beneficial printer regarding discussion.

  6. One of the advantages of laser printers is the print width, but I'd think that the TrojanOne or the L801 printer from Afinia would also mitigate that objection of printing wider labels and also deliver a lower cost per page.

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  8. Nice Blog! As we know that Dell is an American multinational computer company. Dell provide different kind of products, special Dell Printer. Many of the peoples have uses Dell services comfortably.

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