Tips on Shopping for a Large Format Printer - TAVCO

A large format printer is a specialized type designed to print on materials larger than a regular printer's standard size. Businesses and organizations often use these printers to print architectural drawings, posters, and other large-scale graphics. If you are in the market for a large-format printer, there are several factors that you should consider before making a purchase.

Available Floorspace

One of the first things to consider is the size of the printer. Most plotter printers come with large floor-standing units. Although some models are smaller than legacy units, they can still be significant. The size dynamic starts to present itself once you consider a 44-inch printer, such as the Canon TX-4100 and the HP DesignJet T1700.

Printing Width

With the physical size of the printer, the output width is crucial to your decision. If you need drawings over 42 inches wide, you have no choice but to go with a printer that is dedicated to that size. However, for offices that rely on 24x36 drawings, it is possible to choose between 24-inch and 36-inch printers. However, the 36-inch versions are more efficient as they can print D-size sheets in a landscape format.

Here are some popular models.

24-inch models: Canon TM-200, HP DesignJet T830 (plotter/scanner)

36-inch models: Canon TM-300/305, HP DesignJet T730, HP DesignJet T830, HP DesignJet T1600, HP DesignJet T2600

Inkjet Technology

Inkjet printers are a popular choice for large-format printing because they are relatively affordable and can produce high-quality prints. Historically, they tended to be slower than other toner-based large-format printers. However, the latest generations of inkjet plotters are must faster, even approaching the speed of legacy toner machines.

New formulations in ink chemistry yield much more durable prints. Much of this is attributed to the shift from dye-based to pigment-based inks. The difference is that pigments are emulsions of microscopic pigment solids that permanently adhere to the print media. This ensures excellent image quality, fade-proof colors, and some water-resistance properties.

Printer-only or Multi-function System

Once you have decided on the size and technology of the printer, you will need to consider its other features and capabilities. Some large format printers have built-in scanners and copiers, which can be helpful for scanning or copying large documents. Other printers may have additional connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which can make printing easier from various devices.

Purchasing Options

When shopping for a large-format printer, you must consider your budget. Prices for these professional systems can range from $3,000 and $17,000. While some companies are okay with purchasing this equipment as a capital expenditure, others prefer to lease it. There are several different financing options to consider, with multiple terms. Maintenance costs can also be included in the monthly payment, so you only receive a single bill.


Overall, a large-format printer is a valuable tool for businesses and organizations that need to print large-scale graphics. By considering the size, technology, features, and cost of the printer, you can choose the suitable model for your needs and budget.

Get expert advice and guidance, contact a TAVCO tech advisor

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