When it comes to business, printing is one of the most critical of operations. One of the most important factors in printing is equipment. Businesses tend to have a great deal of variability in their printing needs. Some businesses need wide format machines while other firms require plotter printers. Here’s what managers need to know to make the right choice between the two.

What Is the Difference Between a Wide Format Printer and Plotter Printers?

Documents run through plotter printers typically fall in a range of between 2 to 6 feet long. These large sized prints are generally associated with firms in the business of architecture, map making, and government construction projects. The vector-based line art is plotted by drafted pens using permanent ink. One significant difference they have compared to wide-format printers is that they do not have ink-spraying nozzles.

Meanwhile, a large format printer is typically ink-jet based and is used to produce more standard sized media, although they still print wider formats than standard printers. These printers can produce anything from magazine spreads to vehicle and building wraps.

For most businesses, the general applications of a standard wide-format printer will be more than adequate. There’s no sense spending the money on a wide format plotter if there won’t be a specific need for it to justify the investment.

Earlier and Modern Plotters

Older plotters used ink pens to draw out the images on wider paper, or other surfaces, in black, white, or color. They used fine-line art and moved a lot slower. Pen plotters aren’t used any longer for commercial uses, but they are still found for resale because they can still produce line art in color.

Plotters used now no longer use pens, but are still needed. They print using inkjet, laser, thermal, or electrostatic. Modern plotters are similar to office laser and inkjet printers and are much like photocopiers by using electrophotographic imaging. However, unlike desktop printers, the plotters print with much larger paper. Some of these plotters also come with a knife to cut into materials like vinyl or fabric into whatever shape or size desired for billboards, posters, and textiles.

Picking Out the Right Plotter for The Job

First thing, make sure of the costs, so the plotter won’t break the bank. Next, figuring out the application intended to be used, desired size, speed, and print resolution. Many plotters come in all sorts of sizes, and paper sizes.

Resolution can be tested on a small piece of material desired to be used, if one plotter prints evenly on one type of material, but not the other, a different plotter is needed. Check the ink and toner cartridges in the plotter, some may end up being more expensive than the plotter itself. Some plotters can also come with extras, like built-in cutters, sorters, and scanners.


The Wide Format Printer

Wide format printers can print on mediums 24 inches or wider, including printing on cloth, wood, glass, vinyl, metal, and anything else imagined, as long as it’s about 2 inches thick.  Printers can be found at most print shops and other print-for-pay businesses. They can be quite pricey, but are worth it in the end for most businesses looking to print out larger items.

A large format printer includes laser, LED, thermal transfer, inkjet, copy press, and electrostatic. Businesses needing these types of wide format printers will save time and money, not having to outsource their print jobs. Graphic designs and other large print out documents can be obtained with these machines.

Which One, Plotter or Printer?

Depending on what type of printing needs to be performed. Higher resolution jobs will be achieved better with the use of a plotter, using crisp, clear images. Graphic designs, like t-shirts, signs, and posters will benefit from having a wide format printer to have quality images, usually at a smaller cost. Either printer will do the job that needs to be done, delivering the quality and speed that every business deserves.

Find the Perfect Printer for the Job, with Advantage Imaging Supply

With so many vendors out there it can be difficult to find the right one. Trusted industry leaders like AISink are a smart choice for firms looking to save money on high-quality printers. Check out the selection and speak with one of their knowledgeable representatives.

Start enjoying superior productivity with a new printer from Advantage Imaging Supply!