5 Key Factors to Consider for Choosing the Best Wide Format Printer
Do you know what wide format printer is best for your business? Wide format printers cut the cost of third-party printing and keep your business running smoothly, but finding the right one is trickier than you think.
These printers can print a wide range of products from posters to murals – depending on the printer. When you look for the best wide format printer, you need to know exactly what you need to print and how you plan to maintain your printer.
That’s why we’re here to help. Before you splurge on the next office printer, consider these 6 factors to find the best wide format printer for your business.
1. Print Size
What size do you need to print?
This is the first factor to consider when you choose your wide format printer. Even within the category of wide format printers, there are many types of office printers to choose from.
You should decide exactly what you plan to print with your new printer. Common uses for wide format printers include:
- Photo prints
If you need to print very large paper or a variety of formats, then you will need a large printer that can handle the job. Wide format printers need larger components to have such large printing capabilities.
2. Work Space
Your size needs raise another question to consider: how much space does your office have for a printer? Wide-format printers take up more space than a standard printer to accommodate the printing size, so you need to declutter and make room for your new printer.
There are a couple of ways to do this depending on your priorities.
You can choose your wide format printer first if your office is spacious and the printer is a high priority. This gives you more freedom in finding the perfect printer to fit your office’s needs.
However, if your office has limited space, you’ll want to designate and measure a maximum set space for the printer. This way, you’ll know exactly what your limits are as you compare wide format printers like these.
3. Material Requirements
The materials you plan to use will help determine your printer criteria. Some materials are more commonly used than others, so you can narrow down your options with more specific material requirements.
Here are examples of materials and uses compatible with wide format printers:
- Paper: used for general indoor signage and information
- Vinyl: used for banners and advertising graphics
- Canvas: used for fine art and photo prints
- Backlit film: used for signage and installation graphics
- Wood and metal: used for rigid signage and art projects
You can find wide format printers that specialize in one printing material or provide printing options for multiple materials. Printers that work with rigid materials like aluminum and wood will likely need special equipment. Your best fit will depend on how versatile you want the printer to be.
You should also consider thickness, finishing, and color options. For example, you may need your printed material laminated. These are common features, but not every wide format printer will have them available.
4. Resolution and Quality
Do you need quality graphics? Any wide format printer can give you a basic large product, but some printers can print with high resolution and intricate detail.
The biggest consideration along with resolution is cost. As you venture toward printers with high-resolution capabilities, the high-quality hardware will raise the price.
To determine your resolution needs, think about the printer’s intended function. Will your office be printing detailed media like maps and intricate graphics?
If your answer is “yes,” then you may need to splurge for a high-quality printer to fit your needs. Otherwise, you can sacrifice some high resolution for a more reasonable cost.
5. Print Speed
Print speed is the next factor on your wide format printer checklist, one that may affect productivity in the office.
Depending on how you intend to use the printer, the print speed may be a priority. For example, if many employees need to print regularly or in volumes, then you will need a high-speed printer to keep up with the work. If you plan to use the printer for big projects, the print speed may be less important.
Consider the workload to determine how much printing speed will affect your office. High-speed wide format printers will come at higher costs, so weigh your options carefully.
6. Printer Costs
While printer costs aren’t about the printer itself, your budget may be the most important factor in how to choose a wide format printer for your business.
Your office needs some financial flexibility to find the perfect printer, especially if it requires special features. Before you set a hard budget, follow these five steps to determine a reasonable price range for a wide format printer:
- Set what you think is a reasonable budget for a wide format printer.
- Make a checklist to set criteria for your office’s new printer.
- Look through possible printer options and compare prices.
- Based on your comparisons, reevaluate your original budget. Does it fall within the price range of these printers?
- If the original budget isn’t reasonable, you can either adjust your budget or your printer criteria, depending on your office’s priorities.
As long as you have some money to work with, you’ll be able to find a compromise between quality and budget.
Just make sure you’re not buying a printer because it’s the cheapest. If you only look at cost, your office will suffer from poor-quality printing. You may lose more money from low productivity and maintenance costs in the long term.
Finding the Best Wide Format Printer for Your Business
With these 6 factors in mind, you can find the best wide format printer for the office. Remember to have a clear understanding of your business’ printing needs before you move to the next step: buying your printer.
We offer an extensive buying guide for commercial copiers. If you need advice on your office’s printing needs, sign up for our free buyer’s guide today to compare office copiers and request quotes from local suppliers.