The Advantages and Disadvantages of Plotter Printers

Plotters produce high-quality images, but are they right for your project? Learn the pros and cons of plotters to see if they're the best choice for you.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Plotter Printers

Plotter printers produce high-quality images using a writing utensil that produces continuous lines to create a large, precise image. Although a plotter printer can produce images of a higher resolution than a regular printer, do you really need to spend all that money buying one? If you’re on the fence about using one for your next project, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of plotter printers.

The Pros of Using Plotter Printers

Pro: They’re Extremely Accurate

Plotter printers are commonly used to create architectural blueprints, and for good reason! There’s no room for error when crafting a blueprint, so you need a printer that’s guaranteed to give you the right specs and orientation. The writing utensil that the printer uses to “draw” takes commands directly from a specialized computer program, which ensures accuracy.

Pro: They Can Print on Various Materials

Plotter printers can be broken down into two main categories: flatbed plotters and drum plotters. While drum plotters can only print on paper, flatbed plotters can print on a wide variety of materials, including wood and metal. Overall, plotters offer more options and customization for projects than other printers.

Pro: They Can Repeat Thousands of Images

One of the main differences between regular printers and plotter printers is that plotters have the ability to replicate the same image thousands of times without a reduction in quality. This is because the main function of a plotter printer is to repeat the same fine lines over and over again. Conversely, a regular printer simply recreates the image using a series of dots, and repeating images often turn out faded.

The Cons of Using Plotter Printers

Con: They’re Expensive

Plotter printers are expensive, so they’re no small investment. Their high prices are due to the fact that they’re made using custom hardware and software. All the labor, materials, and technology used to make these printers add up, leading the plotter to cost up to $4,000 dollars. Fortunately, there are many companies that allow consumers to rent a plotter instead of buying one.

Con: They Take up a Lot of Space

Needless to say, plotter printers are very big, and they can be difficult to work around, especially if you have a small space. The better image quality you need, the larger the printer has to be. Flatbed plotters can produce extremely high-quality images, but they’re the biggest plotters overall.

Con: They Require Special Maintenance

As you may have already guessed, plotter printers are complex and require special maintenance to keep them functioning. The intense upkeep comes with a learning curve, so anyone who wants to use a plotter will have to brush up on their plotter knowledge. After all, with something so expensive, you’ll want to take good care of it.

Is a Plotter Printer Right for Your Project?

Just like everything else, plotter printers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Plotter printers aren’t necessarily better than regular printers—they’re just different. Plotter printers are best suited for businesses that need to produce a lot of high-resolution images. If you’re not making a decent profit, it may not be worth the investment of buying or renting one. However, your choice depends on what resources you have at your disposal and how important image quality is to you.