If you run a business that prints oversized or odd-sized materials such as construction plans, engineering blueprints, graphic-heavy marketing materials and signage, and more it might be a smart idea to invest in an in-house wide format printer or a technical plotter. Creating outsized prints in-house can be significantly less expensive than outsourcing, plus you have more control over color, branding, and changes with in-house printers.

However, you might be confused as to which machine is right for your application. To make a smart choice, you will need to first understand the difference between a wide format print device and a technical plotter.

Wide Format Printers vs Plotters: Which is Right for Your Business?

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of wide format printers vs. plotters to determine which of these devices is best for your business.

What is a Wide Format Printer?

In a nutshell, a wide format printer is a device that prints on media that are two feet wide or wider. They can handle a variety of media from paper and vinyl to wood, glass, cloth, and even metal. Businesses that create marketing and sales collateral may consider a wide format printer due to its ability to print in rich, brilliant color.

Printing processes used with wide format printers vary according to printer brand and usage but can include LED, laser, inkjet, electrostatic, and copy press.

Both wide format printers and plotters can produce high resolution images, however the methods of reproduction each printer type uses differs vastly due to the subject and materials used, as well as the file format.

Wide format printers use raster files to print their images. Raster files are images that are created with pixels on a grid format. When raster images are enlarged, the lose some of their clarity.

What is a Plotter?

Plotters are a type of print device that can print large-scale projects ranging from two to six feet in width. Typically, they can be used to print images on paper and, if you purchase a vinyl plotter, on vinyl as well. To print, they use a range of ink-filled pens in a variety of colors that can create sharp, clean lines in high-resolution output, a feature that makes them handy for engineers, architects, and other businesses that require technical documents.

Plotters can use electrostatic printing, magnetic tape, or even inkjet technology to print images. Finally, plotters print images using vector graphics rather than raster images. An image created from vectors uses point-to-point nodes to create lines and curves, allowing vectors to scale to any size without a loss of clarity or resolution.

A Side-by-Side Comparison

Let’s take a quick look at wide format printers vs. plotters side by side:

Image Type

Wide format printers use raster images that can distort when enlarged.

Plotters use vector images which are simpler but can be enlarged without losing resolution.

Media Type

Wide format printers can handle a variety of media from paper and vinyl to wood, metal, glass, and more.

Plotters can print on paper or vinyl. You must purchase a vinyl-specific plotter to get that utility.

Image Detail

Wide format printers can print in shading, color gradients, and brilliant, large scale color graphics.

Plotters create a high amount of line details, making them popular for plans and technical drawings. However, today’s wide format inkjet printers can often rival plotters for detailed line drawings.

Choose a printer that most closely supports the type of printing your business will do. If your business creates any large-scale graphics or marketing materials, consider a high-quality wide format inkjet printer that is also capable of producing highly detailed lines to get dual-purpose duty and a better return on your investment.

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Doing Better Business Has High Quality Wide Format Printers in Stock

At Doing Better Business, we offer a wide range of wide format printer — even those that are capable of highly detailed line drawings for technical and construction plans. Being able to print technical documents and large-scale graphics, marketing collateral, signage, and more can bring your business cost-savings while helping you make the right impression in a competitive market.

Discover the benefits of wide format printing. Contact a representative from Doing Better Business to learn how a wide format printer can help your business get control of your oversized prints, plans, and marketing materials.

Topics: wide formatprintersplotters

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