Wide Format Printer: Key Benefits and Drawbacks

In this modern age, many companies worldwide have started promoting greener work environments, reducing paper use, and inclining their marketing strategies and daily operations to digital channels. There’s no doubt, however, that large posters, signage, and even billboards still have a positive impact on many organizations’ marketing strategies and daily operations. For that reason, even in this environmentally friendly era, many organizations rely on large-scale printed material. But is acquiring a wide format printer a wise investment? Or is it better to trust your printing needs to a third-party printing company? In this article, we’ll analyze the pros and cons of having these kinds of printers as part of your office equipment.

What’s a Wide Format Printer?

In simple terms, a wide format printer is a device designed to produce printed material on a large scale, such as banners, signs, textiles, and more. If you’re considering acquiring or leasing a wide format printer for your company, you should know about the two different kinds available.

Oversized Printers

Also known as tabloid or super-tabloid, these are popular wide-sided printers because they support wide-format paper, such as 11 x 17 or 13 x 19 inches, as well as small-scale documents.

These printers are commonly used to produce photos, booklets, small posters, flyers, and large spreadsheets. While these printers can’t produce printed materials 100 inches wide like a professional printer would, they can still produce large documents and high-quality marketing printings.

Another reason these devices are so popular is that they include multifunction capabilities, such as faxing, scanning, and copying.

Super-Wide Printers

Wide or super-wide printers are traditionally considered professional-grade wide format printers. These pieces of equipment can produce printed material up to 100 inches wide. There are three different kinds of super-wide printers.

  • You can print on single sheets or boards.
  • Roll-Fed. These use rolls of paper or other kinds of flexible material.
  • It can accommodate both printing styles.

The common uses for these wide-format printers are murals, banners, large-scale posters, vehicle wraps, wallpapers, blueprints, and construction plans, among others. Many industries make use of these printers for their daily operations and business strategies.

Wide Format Printers: Main Benefits

With the increased demand for large-scale printed material, many organizations have started pondering if purchasing or leasing their own device would be a more efficient alternative. Here are the main benefits associated with producing your wide-format printings in-house.


Despite the initial investment needed to acquire a wide-format printer, having one in your organization can be cost-effective in the long run, especially if you require large-scale prints on a regular basis. With your own equipment, your printing costs will be significantly reduced compared to using the services of a third-party printing company. The cost of substrates for printing also decreases when done in-house.

High-Quality Prints

While many office printers guarantee high-quality printed materials, none can compare to the precision and quality standards produced by wide-format printers. These pieces of equipment are specially designed to print on different substrates with the highest levels of precision.


Many elements should be considered when outsourcing a company’s printing needs. First, your organization’s team must respect the designer’s deadlines, the printing company’s availability, and the delivery time, among other parts of the process. All these pressing matters make the production of last-minute projects nearly impossible.

With a wide-format printer on-site, organizations will have total control over production times and material costs.


Wide format printers offer versatility in the kind of substrate you can use to create your printed projects, from papers of all shapes, colors, and textures to PVC, banner material, fabric, vinyl, etc. While some substrates are more affordable, one of the main benefits of choosing durable materials such as vinyl is that you can use them outdoors. With these materials, the quality of your prints won’t be affected by the elements for a long time.


Wide format printers are designed to optimize the turnaround of printing projects. These pieces of equipment can print a large number of pages quicker than any other high-quality printer. If your organization has a wide-format printer in-house, creating last-minute printing jobs won’t be a problem ever again.

On-Site Printers Drawbacks

While the benefits of having a wide-format printer in-house outweigh the drawbacks, a few should still be considered. Here are the most relevant ones.

Initial Investment

Whether you purchase or lease one, wide-format printers are devices that require a significant upfront investment. However, they will become cost-effective in the long run. As mentioned, third-party printing companies’ charges are higher and don’t provide time flexibility.

Space Requirements

Offices with limited office space must plan carefully before deciding to acquire a wide-format printer. These large pieces of equipment require ample setup space to operate efficiently.

Regular Maintenance

Wide office printers require regular cleaning, servicing, and calibration to maintain the highest quality standards, adding to the equipment’s initial cost. Additionally, these devices require time to service, so you’ll have to consider your printer’s downtime. During this period, you may have to resort to third-party printing companies to meet your company’s needs.

Complexity of Use

Operating a wide format printer isn’t as simple as setting up a multifunction device. An organization with an on-site printer of that caliber will need a specialist with the necessary technical knowledge to set and deal with advanced functionalities and printing capabilities. Trying to use these kinds of devices without the necessary expertise can be time-consuming and might even result in damage.

Industries That Would Benefit From Having an On-Site Printer

Over the last few decades, the popularity of large-scale printed materials has increased enormously. While some industries have always relied on these kinds of printing jobs as part of their communication strategies, others have taken the versatility of these devices and joined the list of companies that create large-scale projects regularly. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Interior Design. With wide-format printers, interior designers can create customized wallpapers, decorative artwork, etc.
  • Possibly one of the primary industries to use large-format printing productions. To catch the eye of their intended audiences, many companies create outdoor advertisements and vehicle plotters, among other long-lasting marketing materials.
  • Along with the advertising and marketing industries, architects and engineers were pioneers in using wide-format printers for their projects. Blueprints, construction plans, and architectural designs require the large size and precision printing only wide format printers can offer.
  • Retail companies. From promotional signs to visually striking adverts, many retail companies use large, high-quality prints for display indoors and outdoors.

Wide Format Printers for Optimized Workplaces

Despite many companies transforming their day-to-day practices to paperless environments, it’ll be a long time before large-scale printings stop being a popular format. They are, after all, an eye-catching strategy to reach bystanders with all kinds of promotions and novelties.

The industries that benefit the most from printed materials should consider acquiring a wide format printer for their organization. Despite a few drawbacks, such as the initial investment and need for ample space, a wide format printer gives a company total control over large-scale production time and costs.

If you’re in the Bloomington, Minneapolis, and St. Paul areas, don’t hesitate to contact DTS for further assistance with the acquisition, setup, maintenance, or optimization of wide-format printers.