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What Factors You’re Missing When Choosing Your Wide Format Printer

Selecting any printer for business use can be a challenging experience. There are so many manufacturers, types of printers, technical attributes, and maintenance requirements that making a final decision on the right printer can impede progress and delay purchases and installation of needed equipment. This is especially true when printing requirements call for specific capabilities such as a wide format printer.

Pricing is also an important consideration, but other factors could be missed when choosing a wide format printer.

Wide Format Printer Features and Factors

Choosing the ideal printer for the office’s particular needs can depend on many factors, including matching the features available for any given printer to imaging requirements:

  • Printing large photo-quality images
  • Paper size accommodated – from 18 to 100-inch sizes for architectural drawings or even murals
  • Types of materials to be printed on including paper, vinyl, and textiles
  • Printing speed – low volume vs. high-speed requirements for production needs

Each of those requirements is critical in choosing a wide format printer, but others may be missing that are just as important.


Where is the wide format printer going to be used? Wide format printers vary significantly in size and weight, with larger models taking up a great deal of floor space, and even smaller units requiring much more space than an average desktop printer. Be sure to plan accordingly for physical requirements.

If the printer will be located in a manufacturing warehouse or other industrial setting, then the environmental conditions need to be considered. Dust, high or low temperatures, and humidity can have an impact on both the printer and printing supplies.

Some wide format printer models release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when in operation. In enclosed office spaces, these emissions could potentially be hazardous to operators or other employees. Be certain to evaluate any harmful impact on humans, including any needs for ventilation improvements.


There are many business needs for wide format printers, with significant differences in the requirements for print quality. While printing interior signs for office use may not call for the highest resolution and selection of color pallets, generating professional-quality photo images or reproductions of fine art will certainly limit the choice of printers to those offering the highest print quality and range of colors.

Colorful prints created in design departments and architectural firms will ultimately need to factor in image quality as prime criteria in wide format printer selection.


Large wide format printers will require training of operators for efficient operation and best print results. Especially when purchasing your first wide format printer, factor in the need for operator training and possibly ongoing maintenance services.

Ease of use is an essential factor in keeping the print jobs on schedule and keeping operational issues to a minimum. Work closely with the printer provider to identify any specialized training requirements.


Depending on the size and print volume for needed, there may be specific maintenance functions required and maintenance supplies to purchase and keep on hand. Working with the vendor and manufacturer is vital to ensure the printer is operating properly and reliably.

Printer Types

Wide format printers are available in a variety of technologies, including:

  • Roll to roll (RTR) – media is loaded on a roll that feeds material to the printer
  • Flatbed – media is loaded on the bed of the printer, with the print head(s) traversing the media to print
  • Hybrid – printers that can utilize both rolls of material, or facilitate the use of rigid material on a flat surface

Printing requirements will largely determine the type of wide format printer that may be right for any specific implementation.

Service and Support

Don’t overlook the need for regular maintenance and support of wide format printers. Today’s printers incorporate increased levels of technology and should be maintained and serviced by qualified technicians. Purchase or lease agreements should include coverage for these critical functions, to realize the most efficient use of equipment.

First Phase Data Can Help

Working with a knowledgeable printer provider will make sure that wide format printer selection and implementation go more smoothly, to ensure the purchase meets all business needs for:

  • Printed material
  • Speed and capacity
  • Print quality
  • Maintenance and service

First Phase Data has the printing expertise that has helped our clients in the Winnipeg, Canada, and Manitoba region select and manage wide format and other printing operations since 1983. We can help your business select, manage, maintain, and service your wide format printers for the highest efficiency and reliability.

Contact First Phase Data to consult with printing professionals at our Winnipeg, Canada headquarters to help you select the wide format printer that’s right for your business requirements.

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