Xerox Solid Ink


Our hard-working (yet oft jammed) HP Color Laserjet 4550n has become too annoying to use anymore. Too much toner (both yellow and blue) spills (and has spilled all over the place) ending up on the printed pages, and vacuuming the internal areas of the printer every day gets tiresome. Slow to warm up, slow to print, frequent paper jams. Plus HP doesn't use true PostScript drivers, but their own variant, so at least once a week, print jobs will fail. If I recall, we spent about $3000 for it in 2001, so I feel we've gotten fair use for it.

Today we bought a Xerox Phaser 8560 ($1000, including an extra $200 for double-sided printing). If the specs are accurate (how could a manufacturer lie about their product in a marketing brochure?? Ahem), the Phaser (love that name, btw) will print a page about 3 times as quickly, at higher resolution, and includes PostScript 3.

Xerox 8560 Phaser and HP 4550
Xerox 8560 Phaser on the left and HP 4550 on the right.

As a side benefit, Xerox has invented something called Solid ink technology. The cute little movie hosted on their site (Quicktime) claims solid ink technology uses 90% less waste than comparable laser printer technology, or 5 lbs. of landfill waste vs. 157 lbs. for a typical color laser, per 100,000 pages. That's a pretty significant difference. HP includes return UPS shipping on their toner boxes to encourage (alleged) recycling of the toner cartridge, but what about environmental costs of transportation? UPS trucks aren't hybrids, at least in my neighborhood.

Ask me what I think about the Phaser in about 2 months, after I've used the printer for a while. Right now I'm psyched.

Loading ink into Phaser 8560
Loading ink into Phaser 8560

Xerox rainbow pack
Xerox rainbow pack - certainly much smaller than 4 color toners from HP.

learn more about solid ink and the environment (1.2 MB PDF)

download White Paper (360 KB PDF)

You'd think Xerox would play up the green quality of solid ink more often. If you are anything like me, if all else is roughly equal, I'll choose the more environmentally friendly product 10 times out of 10. Frequently, all else doesn't even have to be equal, just close enough (organic produce, hybrid car, recycled paper products, etc.).

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Sorry to be a bother, but I was hoping you could post or email the results of your xerox phaser 8560 experiences (hopefully you've got it and it's working ok for a few days). Before getting one I'd like to get real life user info :). BTW, got your link from a google search. Could you tell me if:
1)it's using up those ink sticks too quickly (like how many ink sticks per ream of paper?)
2) if it has unexpects smells :) since it'll be near a person's desktop pc.
3) if it's noisier than you expected...
4) if the ink sticks jams or if the paper jams more than you expected.
Thanks in advance for any info you can provide and am hoping your 8560 is a good printer.

Well, so far, absolutely love it, and wish I had pulled the trigger months before. We are a low to medium usage office (only 326 pages as of right now), so haven't yet replaced any ink. Looks simple though: just drops right in.

Smell: there is a waxy smell when it first warms up, but that dissipates quickly. Compared to our old 4550 HP, much much quieter, smaller footprint, and faster print jobs.

No paper jams yet, but like I said, haven't had to print out massive amounts of anything yet.

Check back in another month, if you haven't already made your decision.

Thanks for the quick feedback :) Might not be able to wait a month :( With the 326 pages did it use any of the sticks already? And thanks again for any info about this printer.

No, haven't used any ink sticks yet. They were such a joy to put in though, compared to our old HP. I'm very happy we got the Xerox, just wish we had done it sooner (we waited about a year from the first time we thought about replacing the HP).

Good luck!

Thanks again for your feedback! Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Haven't pulled the trigger ourselves yet :) but if we do will let you know!

I am very curious how you are getting along with the 8560. In researching this printer I've found a few issues that I wonder if you could comment on:

HP claims the solid ink system uses a tonof ink to clean it's nozles when it starts up. My question is, do you shut your printer down at night? can you comment on this? (other than to make the obvious remark; HP has it's own reasons for bad-mouthing Xerox.)

Have you ever noticed the ink rubbing off the printouts? Does it get on your hands when you hndle printed sheets?

Do you ever use it to make photo-quality images on glossy paper, and if so, how does it do?


Still have had it only a short time, but haven't noticed any ink rubbing off. I have it set to turn off after 30 minutes of inactivity (to save energy), which is the same as I had for the HP. I timed how long it took to print a 12 page PDF for both printers (still have the HP), and the Xerox was faster by a few seconds, and quieter to boot.

I don't know anything about the cleaning of nozzles; I can't see what happens when it warms up, but on the other hand, I haven't yet replaced any ink sticks.

Have not printed photo images on glossy paper (I have a Kodak dye-sub I use for that sole purpose), but I have used glossy paper on some business materials, and they looked excellent. Have printed a couple photos on normal paper, and they looked ok, but then the HP looked ok too.

The HP served well for a couple years, limped along for more, but now I wish I had switched a while ago.

It is the middle of July and I'm about to look into getting the solid-ink Xerox. I want to print greeting cards and want to go for a "painterly" look. I'm not interested in photo accurate look.
I guess I could tone down the colors a bit, desaturate them a little, before printing. Any comments? Thanks.

Of course, I have only had exactly one Xerox printer, namely this one, and Xerox doesn't pay me anything, but I'm quite happy with the output. I've printed posters, and they looked great.

Hey Seth,

It's now been six months. Are you still happy with your decision? Have you replaced any ink sticks? What is your price per page looking like? Do you have a lot of waste toner? Do I ask a lot of questions?

I'm thinking of one for home use (two teenage girls with lots of projects).

Hey Seth.
You are the only person who owns one of these that I've been able to find on the web. I've read through the comments and I have a few questions. Before I ask them, I would really appreciate it if you could also email me the answer.

Chances are that I will have already made a purchase before you reply.

I want the 8560 almost exclusively to print photo quality images. No 5% coverage crap.(Who does that anyway? It's seems to be a waste for such a printer.) I'm a pro-photographer who needs something more versatile than an inkjet or dysub. I need to print two sided pages to be perfect bound into books.

As I understand it, the solid inks will simply not adhere to glossy stock. And that the prints are easily scratched and otherwise destroyed. I've also notice after market manufactures making solid inks for this printer, I'm wondering if you've tried these. The cost is at least half that of OEM Xerox. Also, I forget where I heard it, but someone claims that the printer needs to stay on 24/7 or upon start up, the printer dumps the ink that's currently sitting.

I think you can read my questions in all of that.

Thanks for taking the time.

S. Randall:
I've never used glossy print, though I've used heavy stock paper to print marketing materials. I did not notice any scratching, and have some copies that have been bumped around quite a lot. However, these are not photographic materials, just colored text with images.

I have not tried after-market inks, as I've only had to change ink once, and hasn't seemed more expensive than the HP 4550 the Xerox replaced.

It is true that there is a side-panel that accumulates unused ink. I assume this is the 'dump' you are referring to.

Hi Seth,

I am considering using the printer for home office use and have heard that the printer can have problems if the printer is not in use alot. A Xerox sales agent mentioned that you need to be printing about 2000 pages a month to keep the printer "happy". He mentioned that I should get the 6180 which is a color laser. I am not sure if he was trying to convince me to get a 6180. Have you had the printer off or not in use for a extended period of time? If you have did you have any issues? The Xerox sales agent did mention that the printer will use 10% of the ink for warm up, I guess that is what is in the resivior.

Thanks in advance.

Dec.28, 2007
Hello, everyone (interested in the solid ink printers).

I was one - in 2002,
I was led to buy a 8200DP Phaser printer, close to 3K with supplies and S/H.
I create industrial photo reports, with images and text.
The quality was O.K. for my purposes, but one day I wanted to make a stack of promotional pages. After printing of the front, I took the pile to the local OfficeMAXorDEPOTorKINKOS for xero-copying some extra b/w text at the back of these pages. The front of them melted...looked like a regurgitated chinese meal, which already looks like it is already eaten once.
This made me aware that I was not told _everything_ while buying at the Xerox-approved seller.
I was told nothing about the "waste" ink dumping, or keeping the printer "busy" with printing jobs (I have only very small volume jobs, but prefer high quality images). I called Xerox with my concerns, and exchanged the phase-changing ink machine into regular Xerox Phaser Laser 6200.
Today, several years later I have a need to print at the _back_ side of regular photographs, using such artificial substrates like Kodak RoyalPaper, PerfectTouch, DuraLife and there are similar papers from Agfa, Konica or Fuji. All are non-absorbent, rather smooth. Printing my logo at the back of such 4x6" with the laser gives good results, but the quality deteriorates after 10 or 20 sheets, because of heat, I assume. So I stopped this method. Now I am looking at the waxy Phaser as a solution. Ink jets proved completely incompatible, Ricoh gel printer was better, but I had to "cure" the wet pigment ink, and printing in very slowly, one-by-one.
I am very attentive to any printing technology which can be used for the non-porous artificial paper at a small home office.


I currently have 1 Phaser 8500 solid ink and 2 Phaser 8560 solid ink Xerox.

Overall am very very happy with them, there fairly quick and its so nice to work with a machine where you don't get covered in toner. The quality is great for what we want at a school, I use it for all my materials and presentation prints.

To name a few concerns posted above:

Ink waste dumping, Yes it will dump some ink but to be honest we leave our printers on 24/7 and we notice minimal loss. The ink costs are reasonable. We have printed on Xerox's own brand laser glossy paper with success. The thing you have to be careful of is heat. If the page gets hot the ink will melt. So don't stick it back in through a normal laser, if your going to laminate do it on the coolest setting.

The printer won't suit everyone.

We also run Xerox Phaser 6180's which are normal toner machines, and they are fantastic too

Hello everyone. I was researching the internet for information on ways to improve the quality of the photos I print using my 8560MFP and came across your comments/experiences with this type of machine. This is the closest thing I have come across so far. I purchased mine last year (4-2007.) Overall, I am very pleased with the machine so far, but now I want to try to improve the images to photo quality.

I use the MFP for a variety of tasks such as black and white documents, product catalog sheets (that contain photos), transparencies, and photo quality images. The latter is where I am trying to improve the quality and these images need to be as clear as possible for teaching purposes. Sample images can be viewed on my website

I have printed 13,0000 plus copies so far, over 9300 of which had some sort of color on them and probably several hundred of this total with at least one photo quality image. It seems that the information I have come across so far indicates the MFP will not produce a document that has the quality of an inkjet and responses include "grainy" images which is what I am getting. My old slow inkjet printer seems to print better images most of the time with enough difference for me try to do something about it. Sometimes I get pretty good images from my 8560, but I would like more consistent results.

So, I am looking around to see what can be done to maximize getting consistent high quality images. I am interested in items such as the best paper to use, the best type of image, or maybe even the settings in the print command. I am using the high resolution/photo setting in the print command. The images I print are from picures I take with my digital camera (mostly 1792 X 1200 x 24 jpg files.) I have been using Hammermill 32/80 lb, 90 brightness color copy gloss paper for most of the copies and am trying to avoid spending a small fortune trying different papers. There has been previous discussion of printing posters so I am wondering what kind of images are being printed and the type of paper.

The output hasn't degraded over time (I am just now getting a chance to look into this) so I don't think it is a machine problem and I taked with Xerox support today to see what they could provide. They walked me through the troubleshooting which I have done in the past and again today.

As for other items pertaining to the machine itself and other aspects of output, I am very pleased with it. For my application, I need both speed and quality and this seems to offer the best of both for it's price. I had a problem with the document feeder which Xerox came to my site and fixed it at no charge since it was still under warranty. I also leave mine on all the time to minimize the amount of ink it uses when it warms up. The ink on the gloss copies can be scratched off if you try hard enough, but not enough of a problem for my use which includes lots of handling during my classes. It doesn't seem to scratch off at all on normal paper. The ink doesn't seem to smudge off if it gets wet like the inkjet and this is important for my use. The colors don't seem to fade over time as bad as the inkjet, also. It is difficult to write over the ink with a normal ball point pen or pencil which may be important for some people. Other than that, I seem to agree with everyone else's comments. Going by the cost of ink alone, it is costing me about 2 cents a page for b&w and about 9 cents for color and I am keeping pretty good track of this. I purchased the machine outright, but Xerox offered an agreement to supply the machine along with parts, service and ink at .019 per black and white and .109 per color.

A couple well-suited warnings from two years use.

1) I have learnt to always ask people who have had the thing a year, and measured and tested it, or at least ask some techincal questions and see if they even knows how much power it consumes or if simple measures suchas removing stuck paper is possible...

2) This being an environmentally friendly printer is pure lie if you take the whole picture. The power consumption is HUGE in standby, IIRC it take average 70W in ready state and about 35W in power down. This is because it keeps the ink moltenand thus large parts of itself warm in order not to take ages to start up. Also it does not contain thermal isolation which would have been an obvius solution, instead the fan is always running... Also the printing drum is warmed by blowing heated air in it and out the other side...

3) It once had paper jam. Can you find anywhere any instruction how to ge trh epaper out if it gets stuck rihgt before main drum? Xerox could helpfully be here in only a day charging 400 USD... Talked to a technician, but he was not allowed to send info. It took a screwdriver an an hour later all was OK. I can do it again in twenty minutes. Crap design again, crappier support.

4) Anytime poer is interrupted or restarted it spits put maybe 10 USD worth of wax. It could easilly been avoided had the program just skippes this technically useless costly rinsing whan it was restarted hot. But Xerox, i have found now, wants to make money more than happy customers.

5) Microsoft XP have a for Xerox support well known bug, which in turn trigger a for Xerox well known bug in the printer, that makes it quickly spew out pages with errors until mag is empty or withdrawn. Only way out is to shut it down, says Xerox. $$ ! see 4) Neither Microsoft nor Xerox have ficed it last i checked. Nowadays we use Linux and do not have this problem anymore.

6) Why ever do they have a huge setup folder for MSWindows, but not a word on Linux. Really it is very easy, i just point the Linux installer to the PPD file on the Xerox supplied CD, much easier than on Microsoft, but why dont they simply just tell where the PPD file is? (PPD is standardised Postscript Printer Definition)

... all that said it is a really good machine (disregarding thermal design, and bug), it can take a wast range of difficult papers, and plastic film i use for PCB etching. But Xerox marketing and support is way off, and it consumes *FAR* too much power!!

solid ink was pretty nice to use. it is an environment friendly kind of ink. and it is clear and high quality of image printing.

jake cruise

I've had one for about 2 years now - I love it except for one thing - it seems to waste ink when it's not being used... My printing comes in waves - lots for a few days and none for a couple of days - If I leave it on when it's not being used, it does these cycles (cleaning?) where it will dump small amounts of the ink in the waste tray. Not much, I know, but it does add up...

I hope some of you are still following this.
I am looking into buying one of these phaser's. I am interested in a 8860.
This is the never generation to many of yours. But I would like to hear from you after about 2~3 years of use.
This is a high initial investment save later printer, so long term usage is important. (compared to buy cheap and spend on consumables model invented by Gillette)
we would like to be less wasteful so solid in fits well. I have compared the power savings 47W of Phaser 8860 to 15~17W for lasers. this is around $50 to $70 per year and definitely covered with the cost of the ink. So cheaper OK but is it more eco friendly?
it may be difficult to exactly calculate the direct waste of energy to the waste of recourses related to the used toner cartridges, but looking at the cost difference between the recycled cartridge and the full cartridge price and adding all the transport, I do believe that solid ink is better. (this is unfortunately not a full scientific analysis)
my average usage is around 2500 ~ 3000 pages per month mostly text with drawings and some pictures. We have two Samsung CLP-550s, (actually one working now)to be replaced. as many of you said we are fed up of vacuuming the toner wasted around from the aging printer. I must admit both of these have paid very well their initial investments. it is time to move on.
So what are your experiences?


I have an Xerox Phaser 8560PS and all i have to say is... grrrrr

The ink stick idea is great and all, I love the less in landfill idea, but I have had nothing but problems with the darn sticks.

Seems like, if there is even a slightest crack in the stick and you don't notice it jams and once it jams you can't use the machine at all for anything. No scanning or faxing allowed with the ink jam error.

I have had tech support here about 10 times fixing various issues, but mainly the ink stick jam. They have replaced the entire ink assembly and heating element. So, now we have had the machine for 3 years and our service agreement just went out a couple months ago and guess what! I have an ink jam error yet again. I have called Xerox to complain and such, waited several days for manager to call back but with no response. I have called back several times and got run around.

If any of you have found a way to solve the ink stick error please let me know. Seems that if the stick doesn't melt evenly it errors and doesn't allow you to use the machine at all and they have made it so you practically have the take the whole machine apart to get to the heating element and remove any ink that has jammed the machine (which I have seen done by tech and am likely going to have to start doing myself now that our service agreement has ended).

Would be nice if Xerox would stand behind their faulty machine. Not sure if I just have a lemon or if this is a problem with these wax stick machines.

I've never had an ink-related problem personally on my 8560DN. Where are you buying your ink? Last time I checked, I noticed that some third-party was selling Xerox compatible ink for much less money - but I didn't risk trying it.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on April 13, 2007 2:20 PM.

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