Table of Contents
- 0.1 What are large format printers?
- 0.2 How do large format printers work?
- 0.3 How wide are large format printers?
- 0.4 How much does a large format printer cost?
- 0.5 What Should I Look For When Selecting A Large Format Printer?
- 0.6 Factors to consider when shopping for a large format printer
- 0.7 What is the best wide format printer to buy?
- 1 Brother MFC-J6945DW
- 2 Canon Pixma TS9520
- 3 Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
- 4 Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690
- 5 Epson WorkForce WF-7210
- 6 Brother MFC-J5845DW
- 7 Brother MFC-J6545DW
- 8 Canon Pixma TS9521C
- 9 Brother MFC-J5330DW
- 10 Xerox Phaser 7800DN Color Tabloid Laser Printer
- 11 Brother Monochrome Laser Printer DCP L2550DW
- 12 Canon Pixma TS9520 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer
Most printers you will see in homes and offices are the standard desktop models used to print letters, memos, and office documents. These printers work very well for most home and office uses, providing a great deal of functionality value for money.
But there are requirements beyond the capabilities of most standard desktop printers. If you have to print anything larger than a letter- or legal-sized document, for example, you would have to resort to some workarounds in order to accomplish your custom paper size with a typical home or office printer. This is where large format printers come in, such as a 12x18 printer.
What are large format printers?
As the name suggests, large format printers allow you to produce prints that are larger than most desktop printers are capable of. These printers are commonly used for print jobs such as posters, streamers, banners, and any other material that needs to be presented on a large scale. They may also be used to print out technical data such as real-estate and architectural blueprints and maps used in computer-aided design (CAD) and geographic information systems (GIS).
Large format printers may also be used to print out the following:
- Cardboard cut-outs
- Window stickers
- Wallpaper art
How do large format printers work?
In many respects, large format printers work pretty much the same way as most desktop printers. Like desktop units, they also utilize arrays of inkjets that spray ink or toner onto the material, which could be paper, canvas, fabric, vinyl, PVC, or even metal or wood. Commercial print shops typically give you the option to choose which material you want for the final print.
Just as with desktop printers, large format printers will have to be set to produce the print in the required size. The proper dimensions will be programmed into the computer, which sends the instructions to the printer via specialized software. This ensures that the image comes out precisely according to the requirements.
Based on the computer instructions provided, the printer then sprays the ink onto the material to reproduce the graphic. The resulting print is then subjected to a quick-drying process utilizing ultraviolet (UV) lights. This takes place within a matter of minutes, so the printed material is ready for use almost immediately after it is printed.
Despite the similarities between desktop printers and large format printers, there are important differences between the two that go beyond just size. At the core of every large format printer is a specialized technology that ensures that the image produced is as sharp and as clear as possible. Every detail of the source file should ideally be reproduced accurately and at high quality regardless of how large the final print will be.
How wide are large format printers?
It wasn’t so long ago that there was a huge divide between standard desktop printers and large format plotters. Although there were inkjet printers that were able to produce prints larger than the standard letter- or legal-sized documents, they were prohibitively expensive for most home and office users. These printers were mostly used by professional graphic artists and designers who routinely needed to produce poster-sized media or professional photographers who needed large scale prints of their work.
Apart from these exceptions, printer options consisted mainly of desktop varieties and the large format plotters used by architects and drafters to produce diagrams, floor plans, blueprints, and schematics. Over the past several years, however, the market has seen an increase in consumer and small business printers that offered the ability to produce large scale prints.
Although most of these printers stop short of allowing you to produce 24” x 36” poster-sized prints, they do allow you to produce 11” x 17”, 12” x 18”, and even 13” x 19” prints in limited quantities. If you need larger prints, you would have to print them out in sections and assemble them together afterward. Even so, the ability to produce such large prints from fairly affordable printers was a welcome development.
Keep in mind that these printers aren’t dedicated large format printers such as those that you would use to regularly print out posters and banners. It would be better to think of these models as more versatile and capable desktop printers that can occasionally handle large scale printing jobs.
That being said, more and more of these printers are likely to come out in the coming years. While outdoor advertisers, visual marketers, and display professionals will continue to have a use for large format printers, these oversize-capable models will find a growing market among consumers that have an occasional need for large scale output. As more and more people realize the value of being able to print out complex spreadsheets without being limited to a letter-sized piece of paper or print large images for framing, we are likely to see more of these printers on the shelves.
How much does a large format printer cost?
Prices of large format printers tend to vary considerably depending on the brand and its features, but they generally range from $150 to $300 for an all-in-one model from a reputable brand. As with all things related to technology, you do get a lot more features and capabilities for your money the higher you go up the price scale.
It is usually a good idea to spend more on a quality model rather than to go for the lowest-priced offering on the market. A printer with professional features and capabilities will have a bit of future-proofing built-in, so you can expect to continue using it for much longer than you would a budget printer with limited capabilities.
What Should I Look For When Selecting A Large Format Printer?
Professional photographers require the best tools to enhance their skills and print quality photos. Many copy shops receive orders for large format printing jobs because it is the most likely place to find a printer 12x18 in size or larger. However, it does not have to be that way because you can get a printer for individual use. Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the right printer for your home.
- What Are Your Printing Priorities?
Before we get into which printer device is right for you, you should know why you want the printer. Ask yourself some questions, so the answers can help you select from the best photo printers for your photo printing needs. For example, what is your experience with large format printers? Is this the first time you are going to use one, or do you have experience with larger printers?
You will want to consider your priorities as well as your needs. For example, you might want to buy a 12x18 color printer if you're going to use it for poster printing and technical drawings. Here, you will have to compromise between speed and quality of the output because higher-quality prints require less than four passes. However, if the printer's purpose is to produce non-colored technical drawings alone, you might want to choose a black and white printer, whether it's with white and black ink or a monochrome laser. This model has a fast print speed, with an average PPM (pages per minute) of about 70.
A 12x18 paper size printer requires some technical know-how to operate. If you are a first-time buyer, you probably want to use it for personal use as an iPhone photo printer. You may also be starting a quality photo printing boutique, and need to know the best printer to convert from digital camera to paper. Here, investing in a large format printer is of high priority if you're going to start a business. But suppose you already have a copy business running. You probably might want to upgrade to a larger format printer to service higher-end customers to print your documents and photos.
- The Quality Of The Printer
This is the top priority consideration before you settle on the printer you would like to buy. By quality, you should look out for the output quality or the quality of the print jobs. Usually, the performance of the product determines the quality of the prints produced. For example, the Xerox 12x18 printer of the Phaser family has breakthrough performance in printing speed and quality.
It’s best to buy printers from recognized brands that have a record of accomplishing the best products in the market. Additionally, this will come in handy when the printer develops problems that require the manufacturer's attention. It is a lot easier to get spare parts for a printer from a famous brand.
Usually, print speeds determine the performance of the printer. An excellent large format printer has an output speed of at least 40 pages per minute or PPM. A high-speed printer is ideal if you are opening a business that services many orders at any given time. You need a printer whose photo-realistic capability is at least six pass printing.
Many brands offer after-sale services, especially for issues that may need the manufacturer to address. Before you choose a printer, make sure that the manufacturer provides support, preferably via an online platform or phone support. This makes it possible for you to reach them whenever there is a problem that requires the manufacturer's attention. Ensure that the manufacturer offers warranty services so the manufacturer can keep your printer's productivity at optimum levels.
- Ease of use
A good printer should be easy to use. All companies accompany their products with manuals, but they may not be easy to read if the printer itself is too complicated. If the printer is for business purposes, then it is highly likely that you are not the only one who will use it. Therefore, the technology of the printer must be familiar. For example, anyone at the workplace should be able to get the final printout after sending work to the printer without having to press through too many processes. A few clicks should be enough to print whatever is needed.
Factors to consider when shopping for a large format printer
Shopping for a large format printer isn’t quite the same as shopping for a desktop printer that you would use to print out term papers and office memos. There are certain factors to take into consideration, owing to the specific requirements you will have from your printer. Some of the most important of these are:
- Paper size
- Paper handling
- Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
- Ink cost
Paper size is probably one of the most important factors when comparing large format printers. Keep in mind that most printers can accommodate only as large as ‘tabloid stock’, which is 11 x 17 printer. If you need to print larger 12” x 18” media, you will have to choose a model that supports ‘super tabloid’ paper, which is 13” x 19”. One such printer is the Epson WorkForce WF-7110, which we review briefly below.
Paper handling is an entirely different concern than the paper size. This has more to do with how the paper is handled rather than its dimensions, which is just as important for producing quality prints.
Some printers are better suited for printing out a single large page rather than page after page in quick succession. With most such models, the paper is fed one sheet at a time through the back of the printer. With some other large format printers, the paper is fed via a tray designed specifically for wide-format stock. This is a much more convenient option that requires much less monitoring when printing multiple pages.
Automatic document feeder (ADF) is another convenient feature, particularly if you need to print several pages at one go. However, keep in mind that the ADF feature in some printers may not be able to handle all the supported paper sizes equally well. Although some printers may be able to print out 12” x 18” stock, their ADF capabilities may be limited to letter or legal-sized pages.
Connectivity has become an increasingly useful feature over the past few years given the requirements and capabilities of most home and office setups. This is especially important considering how large most of these large format printers are. With Wi-Fi connectivity, you have a lot more flexibility with regard to where you will install your printer and be able to access it easily without having to run lengths of cabling to and from the unit. You may also want to look into USB or flash-memory card support, depending on the particular format you work within your office.
Finally, consider the cost of ink per page. Producing large prints can be very expensive, and you will find yourself going through your stores of ink a lot quicker than you would with a standard printer. Some printers use ink more efficiently than others, so choose wisely if you are interested in keeping your operational costs low.
What is the best wide format printer to buy?
When shopping for a large format printer, the most important consideration is often width rather than length. With that in mind, here are some of the best wide format printers currently available on the market.
Part of Brother’s celebrated INKvestment line, the Brother MFC-J6945DW is an all-in-one color inkjet printer that delivers excellent print quality at a very low cost per page. It has a single-pass duplexing ADF feature and accommodates up to three paper sources.
The MFC-J6945DW handles more than just printing. It also scans, copies, and faxes everything from standard letter-sized documents to tabloid-size pages. Although it doesn’t have super-tabloid printing capabilities, it is versatile enough to be a great choice for small office use.
Canon Pixma TS9520
The Canon Pixma TS9520 is a wireless inkjet printer that lets you print borderless squares and tabloid-sized media at outstanding quality. It has two paper input trays, each of which holds up to 100 sheets. In a nod to modern convenience, the TS9520 features Smart Home capability and wireless connectivity.
Admittedly, the TS9520 is priced a bit high. It also doesn’t have Near Field Communication (NFC) or Wi-Fi Direct capability, and automatic two-sided scanning isn’t supported. Even so, it is a quality wide-format printer that produces impressive results.
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
The Epson XP-15000 is a wide-format inkjet printer that delivers exceptional photo quality in prints ranging in size from 4” x 6” to 13” x 19”. Fully capable of producing borderless images, the XP-15000 utilizes Claria Photo HD inks for stellar image quality.
For a large format printer, the XP-15000 is amazingly small and lightweight. It does run a bit slow compared to other printers and the cost per print is a bit high. But if you need image quality that compares favorably to commercial large format printers, the Epson XP-15000 deserves a close look.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690 is a color printer that produces super tabloid-sized prints at impressive quality. It has PCL and PostScript emulation features and also has excellent connectivity options with support for Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. With the Epson WF-C8690, you never have to worry about running out of ink thanks to the support for high-volume ink cartridges. This is one printer that is capable of going the distance, with a high duty cycle justifying the name “WorkForce Pro”.
Interestingly enough, the Epson WF-C8690 is priced pretty competitively, which is all the more impressive considering everything that you get for the price. The expansion options are admittedly a bit expensive, and it doesn’t have a multipurpose tray or slot onboard. Other drawbacks include a relatively modest paper capacity and a lack of support for borderless photos and page printing. If you can live with these shortcomings however, the Epson WF-C8690 is a good choice for medium to large offices.
Epson WorkForce WF-7210
Also part of the WorkForce line, Epson’s WF-7210 boasts of quality images and consistent performance in a variety of print sizes. Capable of producing borderless pages up to 13” x 19”, it also has an auto-duplexing feature for everything up to tabloid-sized prints.
Connectivity options include support for Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. The WF-7210 also comes with two large paper drawers that ensure your readiness to handle even the most demanding jobs. The WF-7210 is somewhat let down a bit by a high cost per page. It also doesn’t support USB thumb drives, which is a surprising omission in this day and age. Nevertheless, the Epson WorkForce WF-7210 is a more than worthy contender if you are looking for a wide-format printer that delivers large and high-quality prints quickly.
The Brother MFC-J5845DW is another model in the INKvestment line, and it delivers the same exceptional quality and reliable performance that you have come to expect from the brand. Like most of the printers under the Brother brand, the MFC-J5845DW cranks out decent results fairly quickly at relatively low operational costs. It also holds plenty of ink in its reservoirs, so you can get quite a lot of prints done before you have to stop and reload.
On the downside, the ADF functionality of the MFC-J5845DW is limited to manual duplexing. This model also doesn’t have scanning capability, nor is it able to copy documents that are tabloid-sized. Even so, the low cost per page and the superb print quality make the MFC-J5845DW a good choice for home and small office use.
Also part of Brother’s INKvestment line, the MFC-J6545DW showcases more of the qualities that have made the brand such a favorite among home and professional users. Like the other models in the INKvestment series, the MFC-J6545DW boasts of excellent print quality, speedy performance, and support for a wide variety of paper sizes. It also handles multiple roles with ease, scanning, copying, and faxing just as well as dedicated units.
Like other models in the INKvestment line, the MFC-J6545DW unfortunately offers only manual-duplexing ADF. But if you don't mind the absence of auto-feed, the MFC-J6545DW provides excellent value in a fast and reliable printer.
Canon Pixma TS9521C
The Canon Pixma TS9521C is marketed as a “wireless crafter”, which should give you a hint as to its capabilities. Canon is of course known for its high-quality office equipment that provides excellent value for the money, and the TS9521C is no different. With support for borderless squares and tabloid-sized prints, it offers superb print quality at a reasonable price point.
The TS9521C supports Smart home ITFFF and has decent connectivity options. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support NFC or Wi-Fi Direct. Other drawbacks include the absence of automatic two-sided printing and the somewhat slow performance. To its credit however, the TS9521C does boast of exceptional photo and graphics output. For the price, the TS9521C is a pretty good choice for those who need a wide-format printer for home and office use.
Finally, from Brother comes a fast and reliable model that offers decent print quality at a price that won’t break your budget. The MFC-J5330DW delivers all that in a convenient and versatile printer that produces tabloid-sized pages at a speedy rate. It supports a good range of connectivity options and even comes with a set of useful software tools and utilities.
Unfortunately, the MFC-J5330DW is let down a bit by the quality of its graphics reproduction. The ADF is also of the non-duplexing variety, which could be a hassle for some users. Nevertheless, the MFC-J5330DW is a good all-around model for those with relatively modest needs, and it is worth a look if you aren’t particularly picky about the quality of your business graphics.
What is the right 12x18 printer for your iPhone?
Smartphone makers are increasingly focused on the quality of their cameras in every new release they announce. For example, Samsung Galaxy S20's digital camera can capture video quality of up to 8K. As the camera quality increases, printers and print photos need to catch up. People want to print a quality photo that looks just like it does on a smartphone.
Today, many photographers do not mind using their phones; the quality of camera phones is magnificent. Typically, photographers want their photos large and prefer a 12×18 photo printer for their work. Given the superior quality of the photos that smartphones capture, they need photo printers to match the photo quality. But how do you choose the best printer? This guide takes you through this process and helps you identify the ideal product, whether it's document printing or photo printing.
What is the best 12x18 printer to buy?
Large format printers are useful for photographers, especially for professionals. Before we go through choosing the right large format printers, it is good to see some of the best products in the market right now. A 12x18 color printer is indispensable for any photographer who needs high-quality photo prints.
Xerox Phaser 7800DN Color Tabloid Laser Printer
This 12x18 laser color printer is aimed at high-end photographers and designers. If you require a powerful printer that can deliver up to 45 PPM and in high quality, the Phaser 7800 is your product. Just like the 7760 series, the 7800 is enormous and about 260 pounds. The printer will not take you long to set it up because Xerox does almost everything. All you have to do is plug some sections together, and then you can print to your heart's content.
Any photographer that uses a powerful camera phone or any other powerful camera wants to produce high-resolution photos. As such, the 1200x2400 resolution of the 7800 series is a perfect fit for such photographers. The printer produces color images that are rich, as well as smooth in gradient and fills. Photographers that require a printer with an impeccable color accuracy will surely love the 7800. Besides the quality of photos, the color laser printer 12x18 performs above average when printing cover stock. The printer can comfortably handle cover stock of up to 98 pounds and a size of 11x17.
Brother Monochrome Laser Printer DCP L2550DW
This printer is one of the best deals in the market for buyers looking to print monochrome products. This printing machine is ideal for camera phone photographers because of its dynamic features. The printer enables flexible scanning and printing, as well as the capability to handle papers of multiple sizes. The printer is ideal for 12x18 size papers because of its wide format layout.
All wide-format printers are expensive, mainly because of the convenience they offer. However, not all photographers want, for example, a printer that supports both color and black and white photo printing. Therefore, settling for this monochrome printer is best for them. Amazingly, the monochrome laser printer has unique support for mobile printing. The printer has a Wi-Fi functionality, making it an excellent iPhone photo printer. Additionally, its print quality is exceptional, and the printed photo is the exact quality as it appears on your mobile devices.
Canon Pixma TS9520 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer
Canon is working hard to keep up with the quality products rolling out from rivals like Xerox and Epson. The Canon Pixma is a compact photo printer that still competes with other photo printers' quality. It's an inkjet answer to the 12x18 laser printer. Although the Canon Pixma is ideal for printing on 11x17 photo paper, the printer performs well on broader format papers. Ink cartridge printers produce high-quality photos on the 12x18 paper, making it suitable for high-end designers.
The inkjet printer can also comfortably perform the functions of a 12x18 scanner as well as send and receive fax messages. The Canon Pixma has an automatic document feeder and holds up to 29 pounds. For an office bond printer, this is quite some weight, although it falls far below what rival wide format printers accept. The printer is a dedicated photo printer with a 1.7-inch touch screen for the best interface experience.
Other key features of the Canon Pixma include a memory card reader, a Wireless PictBridge for communication with mobile devices, a USB port for direct connection to a PC, and an Ethernet port. Unlike many printers of a similar description, the Canon Pixma is a compact printer that takes up no more than 18 x 32 inches. By no means is the Canon Pixma a mini photo printer, but printing photos takes up less space than other models.
Choose The Right Photo Printer For You
Specialty jobs like printing fine art or photographs require much more than just skill. The printer, which produces the final product, must be of the best quality. As such, the buyer must ensure that the printer's quality matches the print requirements of the tasks. Additionally, the printer should be capable of producing printouts that match the desired quality. Make sure you test out the printer before buying it to make sure it matches your needs, and the needs of your growing business, to print and produce the high-quality prints and photos you desire.