What should one consider when buying a large format printer?

Before purchasing a wide format printer, there are a number of factors to take into consideration that will affect your purchase. Taking these into account can make your purchase process less complex and save you some money as well.


The real costs of purchasing a large format printer transcend the initial purchase of the printer. Running costs and hidden costs also have to be taken into account. Running costs include the cost of purchasing additional consumables and media for the machine. Your hidden costs can include the cost of wasted resources and lost time. The true return on your investment can be measured once you take all of these costs into consideration.

Image quality

This is probably the most important consideration as you want to make sure that you’re printing out stellar work depending on the job at hand. The resolution (measured in dots per inch) is the first thing that comes to mind. However a high resolution does not necessarily mean that the best quality picture will come out. The type of media that you use also affects the image quality, especially for colour printers.

Performance and speed

The speed specifications may come up to be similar for comparably priced printers, but the overall productivity of the job is what you want to take into account. Factors like the processing time, warm-up time, speed vs. quality mode and throughput can affect the performance of your printer and the overall printing job.

Substrates and display

The most important consideration is the type of substrate that you will be printing on and whether it is going to be displayed indoor or outdoor. Different types of printers accommodate for these considerations. As with our previous blog article we covered, the different types of large format printers available, solvent inkjet printers and UV-based inkjet printers are suitable for outdoor and indoor signage and aqueous inkjet printers are suited for indoor signage. UV-based inkjet printers allow for printing on rigid substrates and solvent inkjet printers allow for printing on more flexible substrates.

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