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Someone’s child is really into one particular superhero that no one can find because that was last year’s movie. Their disappointment is evident at their birthday party when you try to pass off a cake with just the colors of the superhero as the actual hero.
No one is falling for that.
If you don’t have edible printing capabilities in your bakery, chances are you’re missing out on a huge client base. People love seeing their own pictures on cakes, for example, or that they don’t have to worry about having to find last year’s hot characters for their child.
They need their novelty cakes and you need an edible printer.
If you aren’t sure what to look for in an edible printer, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of the best edible printer bundles to get you started right away. They come with everything you need. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you might have about how to choose, care for, and operate your new edible printer. Let’s take a look.
Best Edible Printers to Buy in 2020
1. Canon IP7220 Printer: Best Wireless Printer
2. Canon PIXMA iX6820: Best for Variety
3. Canon Pixma TS5020: Best All Around Printer
1. Canon IP7220 Printer: Best Wireless Printer
This canon model is a wireless printer that can connect to any compatible smartphone or tablet. It uses five different ink tanks for crisp images at 9600 x 2400 dpi photo resolution. The cartridges are individual, meaning you only have to replace ink as it runs out and not a full suite.
It has access to My Image Garden, a canon suite of editing software. You can enhance and correct photos, plus access an array of special effects. This gives your customers a lot more options for their desired images.
It has a dual feed tray option. You have more choices for the machine’s location because you can choose between front feed and rear feed (no more awkward locations on the counter). The photos are borderless up to standard sized computer paper.
You can print directly from the web through the wireless connection. You can also edit and arrange web images directly from the editor to make printing more usable. There’s no need for drivers, and you can print from anywhere in your store or home business.
There’s no ethernet cable support, so if you prefer a hardwired connection, this might not be the right one for you.
The output is average for this type of printer, but the quality of the photos makes an excellent printer for slower ink tasks like edible ink.
2. Canon PIXMA iX6820: Best for Variety
This particular canon model is a wide format printer capable of printing images up to 13 by 19 inches. It’s wifi and mobile print enabled and compatible with many standard smart devices and tablets.
It has only one rear-feed tray, but it’s adjustable to load both standard sized sheets and larger sheets. If your customer base regularly wants larger images, this printer will keep you from having to hassle with dividing up the image just right.
Set up is simple, but it can be a bit clunky in a wireless world. There’s no LCD screen, so you only get minimal visuals and instructions. During set up, if you miss the wireless connection notification, it isn’t intuitive to get it back. You might spend more time than you’d like with Canon’s tech support.
That said, once you understand how exactly to switch between wired and wireless settings, it isn’t hard to move between the two.
Its best function is photo printing. This feature makes it an excellent edible ink printer, especially with printing that requires a larger than average image.
3. Canon Pixma TS5020: Best All Around Printer
Like all of Canon’s TS series printers, the TS5020 prints, scans, and copies. The rear feed model type isn’t ideal for edible printing sheets, but it can handle the thicker density of sugar or wafer sheets without any trouble.
The scanning feature is great for a small business because you can take a physical image from a customer to transfer to a cake. If a customer doesn’t have a digital image, they won’t have to hassle with converting it.
You can control printing with an LCD screen by maneuvering four directional buttons. The OK button executes commands. There are also stop and start buttons for handling the paper feed.
It connects with a variety of sources including wifi and Bluetooth enabled devices. It connects to a few different cloud storage features including AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Canon Print, and a native cloud printing connection. It also accepts a few different types of SD cards through a slot located on the front corner.
Setting up is easy. Installing ink tanks and software takes less than ten minutes with another ten loading paper and aligning the print heads. After that, it’s good to go.
Ease of Use
There are two different menu functions. One is a quick, basic menu for accessing the print functions you use most often. The other is a menu that allows you to access special effects for photos, templates, and enhancement filters. If your customer doesn’t have a high-quality photo, you can help fix it.
The photo quality is exceptional, so we think the edible ink function should come out beautifully.
How do I choose an edible ink printer?
1. Removable components
Edible ink printers are just regular printers converted to handle the viscosity of the edible ink. The ink can gum up the system of standard printers, so it’s essential that your printer have removable components so that you can thoroughly clean it after using edible ink.
With printers that don’t disassemble, you run the risk of having thin layers of edible ink that remain on the inside. Eventually, those layers cause serious damage to your printer.
You should also look at the layout of where you work to decide if you need a particular direction of feed tray. If the printer is a rear feeder, you’ll need to consider the total size including the tray because it might not fit in your space.
Consider, too, the size of the images you’d like to print. If you do a lot of large format stuff, you’ll be disappointed with a standard size printer. Those with large format capabilities might give you more options, but they often come at a higher cost.
Edible cartridges come in two different types: refillable and nonrefillable. Chips on the side of the cartridge register with the printer and let you know how many remaining jobs you have. Once you’ve activated the chip, you can’t continue to use it.
Refillable cartridges can be reused after they’re empty. Although most manufacturers don’t recommend refilling more than three times, that should give you plenty of edible jobs, considering you probably aren’t printing dozens of cakes a day.
Make sure that you buy a virgin cartridge, not just one that’s been cleaned and repurposed. Once the edible ink has been inserted into a cartridge, it is no longer considered food safe. That’s fine if you’re the one reloading a spent cartridge at your house where you know its history, but getting a used cartridge from a company is just gross.
Make sure you get ink that’s certified food safe by the FDA. Even small amounts of toxins can wreak havoc on your body, so it’s essential that you find suitable quality inks.
The other issue with ink is that the viscosity should be exactly right. Avoid purchasing unknown brands of inks because they may not be the optimal viscosity. The bundles included above come with inks that are especially well suited to regular printers. They have just the right consistency to move through the printer without dragging or damaging the machine.
Buying an office printer is a matter of speed because you don’t want to take two days to print those proposal booklets. Edible printers rarely have a need for that kind of speed, so don’t look at how fast the machine is with normal paper.
Consider how many orders your business has that require edible printing. If it makes up just a few, you can always adjust your turnaround time to match. If you do lots of edible orders, you want to consider how well the tray feeds thick paper, rather than just pure speed.
A good rule of thumb is that if the printer has a good photo printing speed, it should be okay with edible ink. The edible sheets will move through more slowly of course, but again, you’re only printing off single sheets.
Edible printers don’t have to be expensive. Most of them are converted inkjet printers which typically run less than $1000 and many excellent models are less than $300. If you consider the return on investment, you could make up the cost of the printer in as little as a month if you print one edible image per day.
The ink cartridges aren’t any more expensive than standard ink, and bundles of sugar paper or wafer sheets are just as reasonable as printer paper. Personalized cakes and desserts are very popular and show no signs of slowing down.
If you were an office, you’d invest in a paper printer. As a small business, it makes sense to add this tool to your decorating arsenal.
Purchasing a bundle might be a good way to test out your client base to see if it’s worth it. You get the printer, ink, and enough frosting papers to do a small scale test launch.
The general feeling within the community is that Canon is the way to go. Most Canon printers have removable components that make it easier to clean the device thoroughly after printing. This practice extends the life of the printer and preserves the quality of your images.
Other printers just haven’t tested as well for edible ink cartridges because their structure doesn’t entirely clean after the printing job.
I already own a compatible Canon printer. Can I use it for edible imaging?
Never use a machine for edible ink that’s been previously used with regular ink. You run the risk of severely contaminating the edible ink with toxic printer inks. Even machines that have been cleaned still have traces of the old ink leftover. It isn’t worth the trouble of making you or your child sick.
Will using edible inks in my Canon printer void my warranty?
Canon’s official stance is that their printers aren’t created for edible inks. Since Canon makes no edible inks of their own, they may decide to void your warranty if you choose to use cartridges not fully endorsed by the company.
We recommend buying a printer that you know is new and unlikely to suffer from damage or pre-existing issues. We don’t recommend buying a refurbished printer because you don’t know if it has been thoroughly cleaned. You also have no way of knowing if a fault with the machine is the result of refurbishing or your edible inks (and the manufacturer is unlikely to side with machine fault in this case).
How do I maintain my edible printer?
Many in the industry feel that after four years of use, an edible ink printer should be replaced regardless of working condition so that you prevent hiccups as the printer wears over time.
To make sure your printer lasts as long as possible, you should clean it periodically. Edible ink bundles often come with cleaning kits. These are cartridges uniquely designed to process through the machine and break up clogs and patches where ink has gathered and dried.
Insert the cartridges and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the machine. After, run a test batch to make sure that everything is in working order.
You decide how you feel about replacing your printer every four years. If you don’t do steady business with personalized desserts, it might take a lot longer for the wear and tear of edible inks and sugar papers to show on your printer. If you want to wait until the machine isn’t working as well as it used to before doing something about it, we support that decision.
How do I get the best results with my printer?
Proper maintenance is the difference between a mediocre image and one that delights everyone in the room. If your ink cartridges are gummed up, it will smear the picture or not print true colors.
There are specific settings for most Canon models that allow you to get the brightest image. When you go to your printer settings, choose “matte photo” and “high quality” for your paper type and print quality respectively.
If you don’t get the bright image you want, you can further adjust your settings for color corrections. Under “color intensity” click the manual option to change the brightness and clarity of your color gradient.
Moving the brightness and intensity bar towards “dark” might seem counterintuitive, but it’s going to give you a deeper, more vibrant color spread, resulting in better quality pictures.
The settings for standard printer paper and ink aren’t going to give you a good image. Spend a little time experimenting with a few of the settings. Once you get an image that you like, the settings are pretty universal for images you print after that.
Investing in an edible ink printer is a great idea if you’ve got years of planning celebrations ahead of you. Think about it. You’ll never worry again that someone’s child’s favorite superhero isn’t going to be available. You’ll never have to worry about trying to improvise an image or losing business to the bakery down the street.
As long as you maintain your printer, it and the cartridges should have plenty of life. We recommend going with one of the bundles on our list so that you get not only the right printer for edible ink, but you get everything in the box that you’ll need to start experimenting. No waiting for ink and paper to arrive later.
What sorts of things are you planning to print with your edible printing bundle? Birthday parties? Baby showers? Joke cakes? Let us know in the comments below!