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Deciding What Size Wide Format Printer You Need: 24", 36", 44", or 60"?: A Large Format Printer Buying Guide

The most common wide format printer measurements are 24", 36", 44", and 60". You can find them as small as 18", but many standard printers print at that width. You can also find printers that range all the way to 16 feet wide, but these are known as grand format printers.

Your own unique printing requirements determine the size of printer you need.

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Make Sure You Know Your Output

One of the things to consider when looking at printer size is the amount of waste, potential timesavings, and maximum print size. For example, if you regularly print 18" items, a 36" printer allows you to print two at a time with zero waste, while a 24" printer requires twice the time to get through the same number of prints and wastes 6" of your media each time. An additional consideration is the fact that printers achieve a quicker per hour print speed when operating at full width.

If you regularly print extremely wide banners or signage, you probably want the largest model. However, if you very rarely print at the 60" range, you may want to stick to a smaller size and then use a commercial printer for those rare 60" jobs.

What Are Your Space Limitations?

You also need to consider how much space your facility has for both the printer and its operations (loading and unloading media). If yours is a flatbed printer, pay special attention to the question of space.

Talk to your team to develop a clear understanding of your space requirements. You need ample clearance around the machine for loading materials, and for your operators to scan, print, and fold or otherwise finish print projects. Wide format printers also have varying setup requirements, with some requiring mounting on a stand or table.

You also need to consider environmental factors, such as the noise and fumes created when the printer is in use.

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