Wide format printers, also known as large format printers, are machines that can support roll widths of 18 to 100 inches. This broad definition means there are quite a lot of wide format printers to choose from. For those unfamiliar with technology, this can make finding a suitable printer a rather daunting task. To help ease some of that buyer’s stress, let’s review how to choose the best wide format printer for your business.
What Quality Are You Looking For?
When reviewing the resolution quality of a printer, you have to consider the droplets per inch (dpi), number of ink cartridges, and droplet size. The higher the dpi, the better the image resolution. Likewise, the smaller the droplet size, the higher the resolution is. Your average wide format printer will have five cartridges, while higher-quality machines will have eight to 12. The more ink cartridges your printer has, the more color variations and combinations the printer can produce.
What Materials Will You Be Printing On?
When choosing the best wide format printer for your business, consider the kind of material you intend to print on. Wide format printers can print images on much more than just regular paper. Depending on the model, you can print images on wood, metal, plastic, fabric, and much more. If you want to experiment with different materials, you’ll need to find a printer that’s up for the job.
What Are Your Printing Speed Needs?
If you’ve ever seen acronyms on a printer manual such as PPM, IPM, or sq ft/hr., these indicate the speed at which a printer can produce an image. PPM and IPM stand for page per minute and images per minute, respectively, while sq ft/ hr. stands for square feet per hour. Determining your printing speed needs before you buy a printer will be critical in choosing the right one. However, keep in mind that faster does not automatically mean better. When it comes to wide format vs. plotter printers, plotter printers are much slower but print at a much higher quality.
How Familiar Are You With the Technology?
If you’re unfamiliar with wide format printing technology or are using it for the first time, you don’t have to choose a lower-quality printer! Instead, buy a printer from a dealer that offers support services. They can walk you through that learning curve and answer any questions you might have. Some dealers even offer on-the-spot training so you can see the printer in action and get hands-on experience with the machine. This way, you never have to worry about having to constantly contact a technician to help you with those little bumps in the road.