CD Printers – 5 Tips to Use When Buying a CD Printer – Part 1

There are many factors to consider when making a decision on which CD printer to purchase for your business. This article will touch on a few of the basics like choosing the right printer manufacturer, cost of CD printers, inkjet or thermal, productivity, speed and durability. Part 2 of this article will dig in deeper on the basic criteria listed above as well as on more advanced points like print quality, color matching, unique printing on each disc, total cost of ownership, used DVD / CD printers and buying from a reputable dealer.

For the purposes of this article I’m focusing on just DVD / CD printers, not duplicators with printers that can print and/or copy CDs and DVDs at the same time. I will save that topic for a future article.

The goal of this article is to give you a basis for making the best decision when purchasing a CD printer so you get it right the first time. In this economy, you can’t afford to make the mistake of buying the wrong printer for your CDs and DVDs. Spending money on the wrong CD / DVD printer for your needs and wasting time figuring it out is both frustrating and a misuse of your company’s resources.

The research for this article was acquired over 13 years of selling, using, testing, supporting, and repairing CD and DVD printers. My experience is with mid-level and high-end professional disc printers, so these tips may not be relevant for potential purchasers of entry-level hand feed on-disc printers that sell for $300 or less. Sub $300 disc printers clearly have a niche, but for professional CD printing needs they tend to have high consumable costs, poor technical support, slow print speeds and in many cases poor print quality.

Tip #1 – Start with the Big 3 Manufacturers

Rimage, Microboards and Primera have been in the CD printer and duplicator manufacturing business since it’s infancy. In my estimation they have over an 80% market share of the CD / DVD printers sold in the world. The “Big 3” are the leaders in their respective print technologies and offer the most stability in the disc printer marketplace. These three manufacturers are in a better position to be in business and support you than their less stable competitors in the coming months and years. They also have proven technical support and post-warranty support that is superior to the other manufacturers in the CD / DVD duplication and printing market.

Tip #2 – Cost of the CD / DVD printer – Inkjet or Thermal how to select a 3D printer 

Costs vary widely, but the main defining points are the type of print engine technology employed in the printer – inkjet or thermal transfer, and whether or not the CD printing system is manual or automated. Inkjet based CD / DVD printers are less expensive than thermal transfer CD printers. A good automated inkjet printer costs $2500, while a good color thermal transfer CD printer costs $8500 or more. Disc capacity and software features also play a role in cost. Part 2 of this article will dive in deeper on the pros and cons of inkjet and thermal based printers.

Tip #3 – Automated or Manual?

Choosing between a printer that you manually hand feed the CDs or DVDs, or picking a automated CD printer with a robotic arm or mechanism that moves and prints the discs for you is a big decision in regards to upfront costs, labor, and productivity. Good hand-fed manual disc printers start at $699, whereas an entry-level automated CD printer with a 20-disc capacity costs about $999. Larger and faster automated systems that hold as many as 300-discs can cost up to $9500. So how do you decide which is best for you?

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