Modern technology has brought new possibilities to small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), especially when it comes to printing. Large-format printers are more affordable than ever, and their print quality can match that of dedicated print shops. A wide-format printer is still an investment for SMBs, however, so we’ve put together some practical advice on factors to consider when choosing the best wide-format printer for your office.

Cost — The first cost to consider is that of the printer itself, though it’s not the only one that matters. Consumables’ cost can add up quickly as inefficient machines go through toner and paper, and dated machines requiring lots of maintenance can easily cost more in the long run. For businesses lacking the funds for an equipment purchase, renting or leasing can provide access to a high-quality machine at an affordable price.

Quality — The print quality of your wide-format printer is especially important for businesses that print items like detailed technical drawings. Conversely, some large posters can get away with less precision. Keep in mind that the same technical specifications don’t mean the same print quality—image processing is the important variable, so look at sample prints from different machines to compare.

Speed — Most of the time we think of printers in term of pages per minute, but with wide-format printing, there are other factors to consider. Other speed-based aspects to weigh include warm-up time, or how long it takes the printer to be ready to print after being turned on, processing, or the time it takes for a file to be sent and processed for printing, and throughput, or how many files can be processed at a time, including drying time between prints. Can your printer keep up?

Footprint — Again, there’s more to consider than what is apparent at first glance. To avoid buyer’s regret, you’ll want to consider the complete work space needed to use your wide-format printer efficiently. This includes loading paper, maintaining the printer, and any space needed to collect, view, and collate prints.

A wide-format printer can bring a world of new possibilities to your office. When determining which printer is best for your company, be sure to consider the cost, quality, speed, and footprint. Contact Golden Gate Office Solutions today for help determining the best wide-format printer for your business needs.