Plotter or Large Format Printer

Understanding the Differences between a Plotter Printer and Large Format Printer

When it comes to printing large-scale graphics and documents, you may have heard of a plotter or large format printer. Although they both serve the same purpose, they have distinct differences that set them apart.


A plotter printer is a specialized printing device that produces high-quality, large-scale graphics, architectural plans, and engineering drawings. They work by moving a pen along the surface of the paper, tracing out the lines of the image. Plotters are often used for technical drawings and architectural plans, where precision and detail are critical.

Large Format Printer:

Large format printers, on the other hand, are more versatile in terms of the type of media they can print on, including vinyl, canvas, and paper. They use inkjet or thermal transfer technology to produce images and are typically faster and more cost-effective than plotters. Wide-format printers are often used for printing large-scale posters, trade show graphics, and retail signage.

Key Differences:

  • Technology: Plotters use pen technology while wide-format printers use inkjet or thermal transfer technology
  • Quality: Plotters produce high-quality, precise images while large format printers are more cost-effective and versatile.
  • Speed: Wide format printers are generally faster than plotters
  • Cost: Plotters are more expensive than wide-format printers
  • Purpose: Plotters are used for technical drawings and architectural plans, while large format printers are used for printing large-scale posters and signage

Whether you choose a plotter or a wide format printer depends on your specific needs and requirements. If you need high-quality, precise images, a plotter may be the better option. If cost, speed, and versatility are important to you, then a large format printer may be the better choice.

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