Printing technology has progressed rapidly in the last decade from inkjet to laser machines. Plotters are printing machines that cater to a market requiring even greater precision like architects and engineers. While regular printers give an output based on dots that are spaced very close together to give the appearance of images, plotters give an output by using a pen to actually draw lines. While regular printers simulate lines, plotters actually output them. Naturally then, plotters are a little costlier compared to other printing machines. Plotters are usually required for their large format output. But now, even inkjet and laser printers are able to do so.
While large-format printer/plotters can cost up to $20,000 like the HP Designjet T1120HD giving a 44″-445 color output in 2400 x 1200dpi max res, here's a list of four other popular large-format printer/plotters in the market:
The HP Designjet 110 plus uses inkjet tech giving 11ppm in a 1200x600dpi res. It is one of the most popular buys in the large-format printer/plotter segment adding versatility to any in house printing jobs on large-format media. High on connectivity options, this HP product handles a single-feed manual tray with a roll feed option through the rear of up to 24-in rolls. Standard paper handling accessories include a 150-sheet C-size input tray, manual single-sheet feed and single-sheet rear path for thick media. Price tag is about $1,105 only.
The Canon imagePROGRAF iPF605 Large Format Printer is best for technical document users working with Computer-Aided Design (CAD), GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) applications. This product in the printer/plotter category does just fine for regular office use as well. The iPF605, along with the Canon iPF610, is part of the manufacturer's line of 24-inch printers/plotters that work great with PosterArtist Lite (included) software. But, meant as an affordable solution for small-team needs for large format technical drawings, it does not use a cassette tray. It costs about $2,256.
In the cheaper, under-$1,500 category of printer/plotters is the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 Large Format Printer that gives max res of 2880 x 1440 dpi in color. This beauty includes a latest 17-inch wide printer design, uses fantastic photographic screening technology and unique Epson Ultra Chrome K3 Ink. It gives a maximum print width of 17″ though.
There's also the $6,300 approx, network-ready HP Designjet 4000 in the large-format printer/plotter category. It is powered by HP's latest Double Swatch technology, promising fantastic image quality and remote printing management. It gives a print speed of 25 sec D/A1-size, 1000 sqft/hour based on a resolution of up to 2400 x 1200 optimized dpi from 1200 x 1200 dpi input on glossy media. Media sheets and rolls in sizes B, C, D, E and up to 42 in wide/A3, A2, A1, A0 and up to 1067 mm wide are easily handled by this elegant black machine. You can feed in media up to 300 ft long. It also includes manual single sheet-feed, manual roll feed and an automatic cutter.