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I a working on a number of projects that I will design and frame along with a bunch of greeting cards. What is the best printer to buy for printing greeting cards?

I was looking at the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 Inkjet Printer. Is an inkjet or laser printer better? I've read a lot of pros and cons on each. I'm looking for a printer with full bleed and preferably large prints as well.

I need to print a lot and a laser printer is great for printing large quantities, but are also more likely to curl the paper due to more heat than the inkjet. But the inkjet I've read is better for true color.

Not sure which is better or which brand and style to go with.

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    Hi Nicki! I edited your question a little, feel free to change it and add more information. The more we know about the type of work you'll be doing, the better the answers will be. – Yisela Apr 24 '14 at 1:36
  • Hardware recommendations are not really on topic here. There's no 'better' as it all will come down to the particular printer, your particular needs, and your particular opinion. – DA01 Jun 6 '15 at 23:00
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I'm a huge fan of the Epson printers but the printer you have chosen would seem ideal for photos. You would get better prints since it is 6 colors (CMYK LC LM) though if that is the route you want. As a recommendation there are a couple of options:

Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer

I've used an Epson WorkForce 1100 Inkjet Printer that is converted over to platemaker and have had fantastic results with my plates. Before I converted it fully to a plate maker I would run small business cards but that was at an 80lb. card stock and some suggest no less than 100lb. for invitations. Since the 1100 is disconnected they do suggest the Artisan 1430 now.

Canon PIXMA PRO-100

The next printer I've heard good reviews about on a few forums but I've never used one so I will search for the articles on the Canon PIXMA PRO. This was the article: "Question: What is the best printer to print invitations?". After a search I added for the current model but you might find the reviews helpful: "Best Printer For Invitations and Cards of 2014"

Beyond

If those two dont help and you want to go full throttle you could always browse machineseeker for used machines.

A couple of notes:

I debated getting into printing at home but after looking at the overheard for machines I did not see a cost effective route so I would suggest before you make the jump get some price quotes because you can find it will cost you more than just simply sub-contracting out the work.

If you decide you are getting a printer I would HIGHLY recommend you calibrate you printer, monitor and computer with something like the i1Display Pro. X-rite is the manufacture and they do make cheaper alternatives but for what you are doing I would not suggest getting anything other than the i1Display Pro.

Like most printing you will need a cutter... dont scrimp and get a cheap manual that does roughly 15 sheets because you will find around the last 5 are off. Get a good mid level one such as the Spartan 150 SA.

If neither the printers work for you, make sure you get a rear feed printer since it is better on the card stock.

Keep in mind the humidity and the temperature you are printing in. Paper tends to absorb moisture so if you feed paper through a laser printer it causes a curl on the ends when completed.


Please note unless you plan on spending top dollar or have a large amount of time on your hands it will not be cost effective to get into printing yourself. The market is very saturated and very competitive and the margins for profit are slim to none. I would suggest for you to find a good quality printer if you are talking about a couple of small runs a month. Every printer should provide samples so critique them with a fine tooth comb. DO NOT get the prints mailed to your client, get them mailed to you for review and look at every order.

  • @Nicki if this answered your question do you mind accepting it as the answer you needed? If not do you mind making an edit to your question so I can improve my answer? – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jun 4 '15 at 12:34
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The problem with the inkjet is the cost of the ink and paper. They're also usually very slow, need time to dry and hardly do any duplex (2-sides printing automatically.)

If you need to do a lot of printing, with very bright sharp colors, on pretty much any type of stock up to 100lbs, coated or uncoated or silk or textured, you could have a look at the Xerox Phaser. The stock you can use with these printers is not specific to them unlike most inkjet; you can go at a print shop or order paper from Unisource and it will work most of the time! So that's another huge saving. What I like with them is that you can really try different papers and create tons of original results.

They use a dry ink technology that cooks the ink so the finish is always a bit shinny, is dry as it comes out of the printer, some can do duplex, they're very fast, and depending on the model you choose, the cost per/sheet is worth the investment. They also do full bleed and if you mean 11x17 or 12x18 as large formats, some offer this yes. The paper curls less than with a laser printer. And if the paper curls a lot anyway, that's usually because it's too thin! It's not really an issue I've seen on Phaser or any Xerox.

They are really a better option than any inkjet or laser printer you'll find on the market. They also have a pretty good postscript driver and lot of features to easily calibrate it or create different profiles. I've worked with Xerox for years and if they're well maintained, they awesome machines. If you want something environmentally friendly, it's also a good choice.

The colors won't fade, the print surface is very resistant and if you use the high quality setting it will even look a bit like having a glossy varnish.

By the way, the technology of the Phaser is almost the same as the commercial Xerox DocuColor that is commonly used by print shops. If you like that result, that's what you'll get with the Phaser too or any Xerox dry ink printer.

Yes the price is a bit more expensive than average color printers or inkjet, but the trap with inkjet is that you'll spend a lot of money buying inks and the specific papers anyway. When you start investing above $600-800 with the Xerox, you're starting to have something very good for productivity.

You can have a look at the Xerox, and see what could be a good fit for you:

http://www.office.xerox.com/digital-printing-equipment/printers/enus.html


As for Epson Stylus, they're very good as well but inkjet for production isn't recommended. These printers are better for proofing or for a photography studio, for example.

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I tried to print greeting cards at home but failed miserably so I would not recommend you to get them done by yourself. You can get greeting cards printed easily from any online printer at reasonable price.

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