HP large format printers: How to choose the right one
Speciality printing jobs are often sent out to copy shops, but if you regularly need large graphics, posters maps or line drawings over two feet wide, it could be worth investing in one of the excellent HP large format printers available, to save your business time and money.
The best large format HP printers are great for producing large-scale prints in consistent, accurate, colour in high-resolution. The underlying technology of large format printers is basically the same as a desktop printer – lots of tiny inkjets are used to print the material you need.
But how do you choose the right HP large format printer? Begin by answering these questions: Why are you interested in buying a printer? Do you know your own business well enough to know what you can afford financially?
Make sure you select a good partner, as it’s not just about buying a printer – it’s also about the inks, materials, software and service.
One of the first things you need to take in to consideration when considering a large format (also known as wide format) printer is the quality of the output. As you are likely to be spending a decent amount of money, go for a name you can trust. A definite no-no is buying a second-hand large format printer – especially from a company that no longer exists. This is asking for trouble as it will be difficult to get the right service, parts and there will likely be no warranty.
HP has an enviable reputation for manufacturing high-quality printers which are reliable, easy-to-use and excellent value for money. Architects, engineers and construction professionals use HP large format printers for their blueprints, CAD and GIS work. So, choosing the HP brand is a great start.
Service and support
This is the most important thing to look for when buying a large format printer – and HP are second-to-none when it comes to service and support. Whether you need a service technician to sort out a mechanical problem or just have a question that can be answered online, HP provide outstanding customer service because they understand your business depends on quick response and brilliant technical assistance. The support specialists identify, anticipate and do everything to fulfil your support needs.
What size work will you be printing out?
HP large format printers can produce work from 24” to 60” width, so the first thing you need to do is decide on a size of printer that suits your specific requirements. Firstly, select the size of prints you need. And just so you know, the length of print these machines produce is virtually limitless – anything up to 200 feet or even more. OK, we realise you won’t need to print anything like that. We’re just saying.
Be smart and think for a minute. If, for example, you need to print out lots of posters which are 20 inches wide, then buy a 44-inch printer and print two-wide with very little waste. Most printing jobs will incur waste, the skill is trying to keep this down to an absolute minimum. If you’re looking for a smaller HP printer, then the HP DesignJet T130 24-in Printer is great value.
What quality of prints do you need?
If you’re business is photography for example, no doubt you’ll need a high-resolution printer to show off the quality of your work.
The quality of printing is one thing, but you also need the right quality paper.
High quality printer paper is typically brighter, thicker, has some type of protective coating (UV or water protection), and is smooth. The opposite can be said for low cost printing paper; it is cheaper to the eye and you can feel the difference by touch. Even though it is tempting to cut costs on paper quality, inferior paper is much more likely to increase paper jams, causing damage to your printer.
To get the most out of your printer, it is highly recommended that you only use the highest quality printing paper for your creative works. Even the best printers will only produce modest results if you use cheap paper.
Large format extra features
In addition to being able to print large, high quality graphics and images, HP large format printers come with extra features that can support the design and printing process. Just like the small all-in-one printers, large format multifunction printers can scan and copy large documents.
Unique features in large format printers
There are features that are unique to the best HP large format printers due to the particular paper formats that they use. For high volume printing, there are large format printers which can change ink without interrupting the printing process.
Don’t expect the same speeds from a large format printer as a desktop version. If you are looking to buy a large format printer for its photo-realistic capabilities, then you will have to sacrifice speed for quality. But most new printers enable you to print high quality A1 prints in around 30 seconds, such as the excellent HP DesignJet T830.
Do the maths
How many hours per day will you need to print to produce the amount needed? Forget the spec sheets which will tell how amazingly fast printers operate, knock 25% off those guides, as printers stop and clean themselves periodically and so all printing stops. Printers only give you maximum speed when printing at full width. Specs do not take into account cleaning time or when printers are running slower when printing less than full-width.
What is the willingness and ability of your customers to pay for acceptable quality? And what can you afford as a monthly payment if you don’t buy the printer outright? At Ebuyer we have finance options available on many of our HP large-format printers.
Do you want a printer which enables you to print from Cloud folders? Large format HP printers have all the latest features so you can print via your smartphone with the HP Smart app, with Apple AirPrint, or from other mobile and tablet devices. Would you like several users to have access while on the road? Take a look at the brilliant HP DesignJet T730 which is extremely popular with many businesses for its remote printing capabilities.
Where will your graphics go? What are the environmental factors – sun, wind, abrasion? How will the prints be mounted? How long do you need the prints to last? Start with your final product and work backwards for what you need to create it. Only then can you determine what material and technology will generate that product for you.
There is a lot of debate on the subject of ventilation when it comes to larger printers. The liquids in the inks are designed to carry the colourants and generally must evaporate in our order to leave the colouration (print) behind. As they evaporate, gases are released in to the air. It is important to have good ventilation to protect yourself and staff from the gasses of solvents. You will need good ventilation, and extra space for drying racks, as larger prints may need to sit before use.
Buying a printer isn’t a one-off investment as you’ll always need to buy ink. The general advice is that you should buy inks produced by the manufacturer of your printer, as every part of the ‘system’ has been developed, designed and honed to work in tandem.
When spending a decent amount of money on a large format HP printer, it’s important to get a good warranty as any repairs and parts could be costly. Warranties do vary, so check out what’s on offer from a range of printers.
There’s a lot to think about when buying a large format HP printer and we hope the information we’ve supplied helps you to make an informed decision.
At Ebuyer, we have a large range of top-quality HP large format printers available. If you’d like to speak to one of our experts, contact us now. We’ll be pleased to help however we can.