A state-of-the-art research-grade pulsed EPR spectrometer costs about a million EUR/USD/GBP. This is far more than many other methods (compare, e.g., optical or FTIR devices). Sure enough, NMR spectrometers are pretty expensive as well, but far more useful for analysis and applicable to a vast area of research.
Niche applications usually come with high costs due to small numbers of installations and hence a lack of scaling effects. Admittedly, the EPR community is small and economically not very attractive. Many EPR groups develop and build their own hardware, and few can achieve investing in the newest generation every so often. On the other hand, only few EPR facilities operate as platforms similar to large-scale research facilities, allowing scientists interested in investigating their samples with EPR spectroscopy to easily use the method.
Even a simple cw-EPR spectrometer will probably cost at least a quarter of a million EUR/USD/GBP if not more. There are, however, smaller devices, usually nick-named “benchtop spectrometers” that are much cheaper and more affordable, though still usually clearly more expensive than many other routine methods (e.g. optical spectrometers). In addition, those benchtop devices often lack the sensitivity, quality and extendability necessary for most of the cutting-edge research questions.
Eventually, the ratio of investment to applicability is particularly poor for many EPR spectrometer installations. Hence, to overcome this problem, it is necessary to make much better use of the available equipment. This can only be achieved by greatly enhancing the degree of automation of both, data acquisition and analysis.