Epson TM-C3500

The Best Color Label Printer

by John McIntyre


Epson - TM-C3500

ColorWorks C3500 Color Label Printer

It's hard finding the best color label printer for your needs, but after combing through many customer reviews, speaking with manufacture reps and testing multiple label printers, we've selected the Epson TM-C3500 as the best color label printer for small businesses. With Epson's ColorWorks C3500 Inkjet Printer you can print at 4" per second at 360 x 720 dpi. If you are looking to scale higher and product more labels the Primera LX900 is a great option.

Our Top Choices

The Top Pick



Our Premium Pick



Budget Pick



How We Selected Printers To test

For our lineup, we selected an assortment inkjet color label printers available on the market. We tried to avoid product reviews with consistently negative reviews mentioning the same problems. We narrowed our selection to color label printers from top brands with good reputations for warranty, reliability and quality.

Color Thermal Transfer printers use a different technology similar to the same printer technology you get with receipts after you make a purchase at the store. The transfer of heat makes it more prone to smudging. So, we excluded thermal printers from our review and focused on inkjet color printers.

We capped the price of the printer models at $7,500 since there were lots of good options. There are many other features to be had beyond that price range, but unless you are scaling your label production to a Walmart level, it probably won’t make sense for you to spend much more.

The Six Best Color Label Printers for Small Businesses

Epson, Afinia and Primera Label Printers


Printer Speed

Print Resolution



Overall Rating

4" per second

360 x 720 dpi

Individual cartridges



10.4" per second

1200 x 600 dpi

Individual cartridges



1.8" per second

4800 x 1200 dpi

Dye-based tri-color/Black



5.2" per second

2400 x 1200 dpi

Dye & Pigment



4" per second

4800 dpi

Dye-based tri-color



4" per second

4800 dpi

Individual cartridges



Important features to consider


There are many things to consider when purchasing a color label printer and price is one of them.The prices of the label makers vary with the capacity, quality and speed of the label makers. If you are buying for your business, you must go for heavy duty high price label makers, as it will give value to your business as you bring your printing solution in house. You also need to consider the costs of the consumable such as label, inks and other supplies.

Print Speed & Quantity

Color label printers differ in time and speed they use to complete a print, so you need to consider how fast you will need your color labels before your purchase. For commercial label printing you want to make sure you can produce enough labels at an acceptable quality.


As you print faster with many printers, you have to sacrifice in print quality as the production rate increases. Some printers print better quality labels in the same amount of time. Small businesses requiring high volumes of labels may find the entry level label printer too slow. You want to check out the Epson TM-C7500 for higher volume label production printers.


Most at home desktop printers may print upwards of 600 DPI or longer. DPI plays less of an important roll in printing than most folks would believe. Your art work is the most significant facet of a good looking print. I recommend you create your art work using a vector based graphic program like adobe illustrator. This will let you make a searchable picture that can be adjusted to any DPI setting your printer is capable of.

Choosing the right type of label for your products

You want to take into account the material to which you are applying your label. The sort of tag you need will be partially dependent on the material it must stick to. A label that's acceptable for cardboard might not function as well on metal or plastic. It is important to ensure you choose the right Color Label Printer for Your Small Business.

For example, nearly all businesses ship goods in corrugated boxes. But if you send in wax boxes, and you use labels with adhesive designed for corrugated boxes, then you will be disappointed when you discover that those labels do not adhere to your wax boxes. Afinia L301 Label Rolls have a variety of options that are compatible with different needs.

Label size is vitally important because the info you print on it has to be simple to read. It has to be large enough that all of the information -- whether it is a speech or a bar-code -- can be read or scanned. Additionally, it can't occupy too much space, because then you are wasting precious space that could be used for different tags, or perhaps for branding purposes (such as you wish to exhibit your company's name or logo on a transport box or food packaging).

As soon as you've considered the first two guidelines, you will need to ascertain how long the label should last. Again, being mindful of your tag's function should make this a relatively simple question to answer. An address label does not have to be that high quality in most cases.

Label Adhesive

You might notice that a few labels peel right from glass bottles, leaving no adhesive residue or parts of label, while others don't. When choosing the correct label for you product is important to have to correct adhesive.

Some label materials use a "removable" adhesive which would leave little or typically no residue. The problem with these labels is that they have a poor shelf life and will fall off several products following a brief time period.

Another scenario is the label material is using a standard acrylic adhesive, but the label inventory material is a "synthetic" based substance, usually a polyester, vinyl, or polypropylene. These synthetic materials do not tear and may be pealed of in 1 piece the majority of the time and the adhesive will usually come along with it. Paper labels aren't durable enough in most instances to be peeled away and will leave behind adhesive in addition to the paper material itself.

A simple way to check the distinction between a paper and synthetic material is to do the "tear evaluation". Paper labels will rip like paper, while synthetic materials either will not rip/tear but rather elongate and stretch.

Bear in mind that, removable adhesive is obviously more costly than a normal adhesive since it is scarcely ever used. Paper is more economical in comparison with synthetic materials. Synthetics are largely oil based products.

Waterproof Labels

To get a label to be waterproof, it would need to be printed on a synthetic material (polyester, vinyl, polypropylene). It would also have to be printed utilizing a durable printing technologies. Laser, UV, and a few pigment dye printing are the best options. If you are likely to be using inkjet or flexographic printing, you would have to laminate your label to protect it from smearing the print.

GHS Labels for Chemicals

GHS Labels for Chemicals

GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and is a global system used to label chemical substances for transport. If you are shipping chemicals such as fragrances or cleaning supplies, you want to make sure your labels are GHS compliance. The labels will also need pictographs, product identifiers, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements about the chemicals being transported. It must also use a strong adhesive that won't wear down over a long period of time even in environments with high heat, considerable humidity, a risk of corrosion or other potential issues.

Label Printer Maintenance

There are a few basic things you can do to keep your color label printers running in top form. Good maintenance is critical to keeping your label printers operating properly and avoiding costly repairs or replacements. With Epson printers you will have to purchase Epson maintenance box every cycle as it collects all the ink wastage.

Print Head

You should clean your print-head each time you replace the ribbon or a roll of labels. Cleaning takes no more than one minute every time, but it can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in unnecessary print-head replacements.

Label Media

Be sure to you are also using the correct label media, so you are not having to use excessive print darkness to compensate for labels that can not survive sunlight, moisture, chemicals, or other environmental factors. Primera LX500 Label Rolls have a wide variety of label sizes and options for various use cases.

Before you install a new media roll, use an air duster and employ some air blasts into the media sensor. Doing this every time will help remove any residue and dust left behind by your previous media roll.

Printer Ink

Epson TM-C3500 Inks

Of course with all type of label printers, you want to make sure you have sufficient ink to print your labels. There are some printers that use individual cartridges for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black and some that have Tri-color cartridges that combine Cyan, Magenta and Yellow with a separate Black cartridge. If your labels are primarily one specific color, you're better off looking for a printer with individual cartridges instead of tri-color cartridges.

It's also important to decide if your labels need pigment based inks or dye based inks.

The Top Pick - Epson TM-C3500

The Epson TM-C3500 label printer is a pigment-based printer that uses inkjet print head technology that uses four individual ink cartridges to print durable full color labels. If you tend to use a lot of one color (for example - your logo or corporate branding elements) Single-ink cartridges can be more economical because you won’t need to replace all of the colors when one runs out.

The ColorWorks C3500 prints at speeds up to 4 inches per second and can handle label widths from 1.2 to 4.1 inches. Epson's TM-C3500 is a flexible label printer for product labels, bar-codes, and industrial labels.

It has rear feed capability allows for both fan-fold labels and label rolls. The maximum print resolution is 720 dpi.

Epson ColorWorks C3500 Label Printer

Top Pick: Epson TM-C3500

With Epson's ColorWorks C3500 inkjet label printer, you can dramatically reduce label costs, increase operational efficiencies and print high-quality, durable labels on demand in four colors (CMYK) at speeds of up to 4 inches/second.

The Premium Pick - Primera LX900

Manufacturers, who publish small quantities of labels each month are perfect customers for this printer since the LX900 will create professional quality labels on demand. On the other hand, larger manufacturers needing high volumes of labels may find the Primera LX900 color label printer too slow because of their demanding, high volume manufacturing environments. You might want to check out the Epson TM-C7500 for higher tag productions needs.

The print resolution is up to 4800 dpi versus just 1200 dpi on other printers. LX900 has individual inks for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This means you only need to replace the ink cartridge that has been depleted instead of the entire cartridge. The LX900 also prints onto many different inkjet-qualified label and tag materials.

Primera LX900 Custom Color Label Printer

​​​​​​​​Premium Pick: Primera LX900

The LX900 uses the most up-to-date in high-resolution inkjet technology to print vibrant, vibrant labels for your goods, packaging and boxes. Individual ink cartridges for each color allow you to replace only the colors which require replacing. You will save yourself money and time on every job you print.

A LabelBasic Exclusive


Get $179 in Free Labels when you purchase a Primera LX910 from LabelBasic.

Use Coupon Code: LX910 during Checkout

The Budget Pick - Primera LX500

Primera's LX500 Color Label Printer is an affordable desktop color label and tag printer. Its high-yield, tri-color ink cartridge keeps cost per label low. Fast print speeds and an optional built-in guillotine-style cutter allow users to quickly and easily print and cut their short-run labels.

Primera LX500 Color Label Printer with Cutter

Budget Pick - Primera LX500

The Primera LX500 prints in full color photo-quality pictures on highly water-resistant and scratch resistant tags. It generates professional-looking unique tags such as photo images, illustrations, graphics, text and bar codes.

A LabelBasic Exclusive


Get $179 in Free Labels when you purchase a Primera LX500 from LabelBasic.

Use Coupon Code: LX500 during Checkout

Other finalists we tested

Epson TM-C7500 & Epson TM-C7500G

The Epson ColorWorks C7500 comes in 2 Variations - TM-C7500 and TM-C7500G. The TM-C7500G color label printer prints on gloss label rolls, while the TM-C7500 printers onto mattle label rolls. This printer is priced at the higher end of the spectrum and you should get this if you are doing large volumes of label production each month.

Epson's TM-C7500G comprises a specially modified Epson pigment ink, which is designed to print on shiny surfaces such as high gloss paper, glossy polypropylene or shiny transparent labels. This makes the print more muted in color than dye-based inks. Color tags printed on the Epson TM-C7500G will not be as vivid as those printed on a dye-based inkjet.

Epson's TM-C7500 uses matte tag rolls and pigment-based ink to make smudge-free tags which will not fade or crack. They dry instantly, allowing for prompt application. Epson TM-C7500 is a matte label printer which takes matte label media only, as its inks will not work with glossy media.

Afinia Label L301

The print quality is exceptional, along with the label printer offers a lot of flexibility for many small companies. By way of instance, it can change from printing product labels to bar codes or colorful labels to use at the office.

However, the Afinia L301 isn't fast. Its printing speed is approximately 1.8 inches per second when printing a little (about 2.2 inches wide) label in normal manner. T​he slower print speed is generally great for printing small batches of labels on demand but can develop into an issue when printing volume increases.

For the low-volume tag printing needs of small businesses, the Afinia L301's ink consumption is manageable. However, ink costs should be factored in for companies which publish over 3,000 labels per month.

The Bottom Line

Doing business often requires mailing things to customers or customers. Whether you're invoicing a customer, mailing a brochure or shipping a product, you will need to make sure it gets to the proper destination and receives attention when it arrives and finding the best color label printer can have exactly those effects.

Creating custom printed labels provides you with another marketing tool to utilize your business communications. The labels are not much more expensive than plain speech tags, with total costs determined by design components. The Epson TM-C3500 can help you make good quality labels without breaking the budget.

Larger producers needing high volumes of labels may get the entrance color label printer too slow due to the demanding, higher volume manufacturing environments. The Epson TM-C7500 prints at 10.4" per second and can meet higher tag productions needs.

Epson ColorWorks C3500 Label Printer

Top Pick: Epson TM-C3500

This printer can dramatically reduce your label printing costs. It also reduces ink waste since it uses individual color ink cartridges.

Selfie of me, John McIntyre

John McIntyre, Writer

John is a American who grew up to be a nerd with a philosophy degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from California to New York in 2013. While he is not writing he is busy taking care of his two kids Claire and Vicky.