Wide Format Printers or Plotters: Which is Better?

Two business employees shaking hands.

Are you feeling tied down by that old 8.5x11" paper? Ready to take your messaging, communication, or company content to the next level? You've come to the right place. Today, wide format printers and plotters are battling it out for the right to be your company's go-to tool for larger-than-life print jobs. Let's get started!

Wide Format Printers vs. Plotters

First things first: Let's introduce the competitors.

Wide format printers are exactly what they sound like: Printers that can do a whole lot more than 8.5x11". They can print on a variety of materials and are designed to put creative control firmly in your hands.

Plotters, on the other hand, are like the older siblings of wide format printers. They can't print on quite as many material types, and their design is also what some might call old-school: They use ink pens and point-to-point nodes to make a series of highly precise lines that eventually resemble your image.

Now, let's take a closer look at what these machines can really do:

Image quality

Although wide format printers have a variety of colors available and can print high-quality images, they aren't exactly perfect. At different resolutions, some images may become blurry.

Plotters, meanwhile, are all about accuracy. They tend to produce simpler prints, but those prints don't lose image quality at different resolutions.

Advantage: Plotters!


Wide format printers don't just print on paper. They can also create images on glass, wood, vinyl, metal, and more.

Plotters are just for paper. They can occasionally print on vinyl, but you'll have to purchase a specific plotter type.

Advantage: Wide format printers!

Use cases

Wide format printers are for companies of all shapes and sizes. Want to make a vehicle wrap, print a brochure, or create a marketing poster? These machines are just what you need.

Plotters are more often used by highly specialized industries like architecture and engineering. The precise lines are a necessity for blueprints and other technical documents.

Advantage: It's a tie!

The Verdict

The truth about wide format printers and plotters is that different machines benefit different companies. It's all up to you--your needs, your goals, and what you want to do with your larger-than-life images. Both choices have a long list of benefits, so choosing between them might just be fun.

Want to learn more about wide format printers or plotters? Contact us today!

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