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Large Format Poster, Sign, and Banner Printer – Which One to Buy


Indoor and Outdoor Poster, Banner, and Sign Display Printers

Question: I am wondering what type of printer I could use to print 36 inch to 42 inches in width posters, banners, or outdoor signs and the like?

Answer: There are many companies that produce large format printers, but I can’t really tell you which ones are going to fit your needs as I don’t know what your end game is, and we also aren’t allowed to promote brand names of printers, other than to say, do your homework and try to find companies using the machine you’re interested in and interview them if at all possible.

You will always learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about any printer by speaking to those who own and operate them on a daily basis. When I first started in the business of sign and display printing, we were sold a piece of software for designing signs that the rep knew was about to go out of business. Had we asked around, apparently it was common knowledge that newer and better software was just being introduced to the market, which we ended up purchasing 6 months later anyway. A couple grand lost.

We didn’t make too many major mistakes, though, because we learned early on to interview those companies that were using various equipment, and so when digital printing started to become a viable and affordable option, we purchase our first digital printer in 2000, a water-based ink unit that printed good quality, but everything needed to be laminated so the ink didn’t wash away in the rain.

Wide Format Printer

Later, we purchased a printer with a brand new technology, which I am convinced never to do again, as it didn’t have all the bugs worked out. As it turned out, the manufacturer sent us a replacement unit after that printer ruined untold thousands of dollars of material and wasted ink and solvent and worst of all, hundreds of hours of time and headaches. The 2nd unit was a decent machine, and was from the 2nd iteration of the printers, and it worked decently until a year or so ago.

However, because of the customer service of that particular company, it is unlikely that I would purchase another unit from them. Not because the printer was all that bad on the 2nd go around, but because of the treatment we received from them. If you ever want to know who it was, email me on our general website email and I’ll fill you in on the experience and which printer manufacturer it was.

If you are going into production to re-sell your printing, then you’ll want to find a reliable re-seller. Unfortunately, the salesman may look reliable on the first and second glance, but after you’ve purchase the printer, you may find that suddenly calls and emails aren’t returned. I suggest researching any company you’re planning to do business with online, on sites like the Better Business Bureau or other consumer watchdog sites. However, because not everyone is out looking for large format printers, there may be less info than you would like available from those locations.

If you can get good recommendations for both a company that sells printers and then for a specific printer, you’re going to be ahead of the game, more than likely. However, do note that with any equipment like a digital printer, there is a sizeable learning curve and you will waste material, ink (or dye), and time learning to use the printer.

If you are interested in getting your customized graphics imprinted in large format, click on the quote button below or visit this page for more options.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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