Better printer for disc labels?

Gotta get a new printer. I had pretty well decided on the Canon i560, which is selling at my local Sam’s Club for $79 plus change. Then someone pointed out to me that the Epson R200 ($92 shipped from Newegg … and really only $6 or so more than the Canon if you consider the tax I’ll pay at Sam’s) will print directly on discs.

I’m having a real struggle with this (can’t help it; I’m an indecisive sort). My primary motivation is cheap refill cartridges. It’ll cost me nearly $60 to replace the color and black carts in my Lexmark (which are dried up - AGAIN), and I wanna start printing labels (just got a DVD burner).

So, the old conundrum . . . to print labels vs. printing directly on the discs. I’ve heard opinions both ways. Some swear that to avoid potential problems you should print directly to the disc if possible. Others are equally adamant that they’ve printed and applied hundreds of sticky labels to discs and have never had a related problem.

Now, super-duper-photo quality is not of the essence for me. I’ve done my share of photo printing, and the novelty wore off long ago. Frankly, I’ve got a Sam’s Club right across the street where I can print 4x6s for about 0.18 a piece all day long, so I could care less about printing photos. I’ll primarily print disc labels, case inserts, sheet music (all black) and plain text.

I cannot stress enough that cheap refills is consideration numero uno. I’ve probably paid for every printer I’ve ever owned 5 or 6 times over in refills. This time I’ve looked up the refill prices in advance. While the Epson’s refills are pretty darned cheap, the Canon’s are absolutely the lowest around (plus the Canon has 2 less tanks). I can get Canon black refills online for around $2 a pop, and even if I have to run out at a moment’s notice to my local store they’re only about $7 or $8. The Canon also has the PictBridge (something else I probably won’t use, though).

On the other hand . . . the Epson has a front USB port where I can plug in my laptop for quick printing. Pretty cool. Might use that.

I guess I’m leaning towards the Canon. Even though I anticipate making lots of discs, I think only a small number of them will be “keepers” (a disc that merits its own permanent facial décor). I think a nice case insert will do for most. Also, I’m still playing around to figure out which media type will work best for me in my 4 home DVD players, and it seems as if to get good quality injket-papered media you have to order a spindle of at least 25. I don’t want to buy 25 or 50 +R discs only to find that -R work better for me. I haven’t seen any inkjet discs in little 3- or 5-packs in my local stores, or am I missing them??

Guess I’m just wanting to hear opinions before I rush out to Sam’s tomorrow. I’ve got these darned discs lying around that all look the same and I need to get printing.

Somebody say something to cinch it for me. Heeellpp :wink:

Whatever you choose, I can not stress enough how bad of an idea it is to label your media. Please have a read at this article and some of the links in it for more clarification why.

Thanks for the article link. It’s something to consider. Nonetheless, disc printing aside, I still need a new printer.

Any other opinions?

For anyone interested, the Epson R200 is now only $88 shipped at Newegg.



If you print that much you need to seriously consider a laser printer. A good one that will last for years will cost you ~$250. Refills are ~$50, but a cartrage lasts at least 10 times as long, so in the long run the costs of a laser will be about the same as one printer. However laser printers are buisness class, so they will generally last a lot longer.

Color printing is (or used to be? I don’t print color so I don’t follow that technology) an issue. However if you can can only move 1/4th of your printing to a laser printer, in the long run you come out ahead.

But he wants to print on CDs, you cannot do that on a laser printer, it would melt the discs. All laser printers have a fusing unit that gets VERY hot, he needs an ink printer for printing on CDs.

Absinthe, if it were me I’d go for the Epson. I actually repair printers among other things for a living, for quite a few years now. I’ve seen alot of Epsons and Canons, and the Epsons are usually higher quality machines. Canons are OK but seem more cheaply made.

Also, some of the newest Epsons have Dura-brite ink, which is more water resistant than the usual ink from inkjet printers. I know you don’t plan on spilling water on your movies, but one drop and you have running ink.

Either one will do the job for you. And as you said, super high quality isn’t your top priority. Thats good, the lower you set your print quality to, the less ink you’ll use. Set it to the lowest that still looks acceptable to you, and you’ll save alot on ink… Good luck with whichever you buy. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply, Roscoe :slight_smile:

However, I’ve already bought the Canon i560. I didn’t really fancy the idea of having to buy paper-topped discs only, so I just went ahead and went with the printer with the cheaper refill cartridges (and fewer cartridges). I really don’t print that much, anyway. I’ll mostly print black text (sheet music and documents), along with a few CD labels and inserts and some occasional photos.

The problem I had with my Lexmarks (I’ve owned 2) was that I printed so infrequently. I’d grudgingly go out and spend $55 on a black and a color cartridge, do my printing, and then I wouldn’t print anymore for a while. Six months later, I’d need to print again, only to find that the damn things had dried up. What the heckfire! No one ever told me cartridges would dry up!

It would be one thing if the Lexmark cartridges were only expensive, but I never even get to use up the cartridges I buy. It’s been an education. I went with the printer with cheap refills. I won’t be too pissed if a $5.00 black ink tank dries up on me.

Thanks again :slight_smile:


Good deal man, the Canon will do the job. One thing- you say with your Lexmark, when it wasn’t used for some time, the ink would dry up. Well, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but you will probably get the same thing no matter what brand you buy, some may be better than others though. It’s actually the printhead that gets dried out usually not the ink tanks.

It depends what kind of printer you have. Some have the actual printheads and the ink tanks separated, and some they are all one unit. Some printheads can be removed and some are permanent and cannot be taken out, only the ink tanks can come out. But its the nozzles on the bottom that get clogged like I said.

Just a tip for you if your nozzles get dried up:

Alot of people know that you can use a q-tip and some water or alcohol to clean the nozzles and get it working. This will work in many cases, but some it won’t. The real trick is to remove the printhead, clean it as said above, BUT also then take the printhead and a soft rag or something you don’t care about, cause it will get ink on it.

Take the printhead, and hit it down gently on the rag, with a “snap up” type of motion at the moment it hits down on the rag. This will purge the printhead much better than just cleaning. Only a couple hits is usually enough, then clean the excess ink off before putting it back in the printer. If no ink comes out onto the rag, your printhead is probably too far gone.

The manufacturers wouldn’t tell you to do this, but believe me it works. If it’s that or throw it away you might as well try right? :slight_smile: One easy thing to avoid all this is to just open MS paint once every week or two. Make some quick shapes of all your primary colors and print it, it will exercise the printheads and hopefully better prevent them from drying up, although it does use a little ink. Good luck with your new printer. :slight_smile:

Hey, that tip might come in useful one of these days. Thanks! I’ve still got the Lexmark sitting here. It probably hasn’t printed in over a year. Might try to moisten up those print heads and see if I can get some juices going.

So anyway, I bought the Canon over a week ago and I’m sitting here looking at it still in the box. My computer’s been occupied as I’ve been partitioning and re-installing Windows. Guess I’ll break this puppy open now and see what she can do.

Thanks again!


I have a canon i865 prints well on disc and does not use a lot of ink.