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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Choosing the Right Wide Format Printer

            All of the canvas and paper rolls we sell are designed to be used by a high quality printer, to create the highest quality photos and prints and the right printer can make a huge difference in the success of your business. There is no ‘best’ printer in the industry and choosing the right one is due to a variety of considerations. These range from the type of ink, the dots per inch, output size, etc.

Type of Ink:

Aqueous: This type of ink uses water as a solute and there are two types, dye and pigment. Dye inks are basically dissolved color in water and when the water dries it creates the stable image. It fades in the presence of UV light and is not waterproof. Pigment inks are more like very small particles that are in the water and when the water dissolves the color is left. They have higher levels of both UV and water resistance then dye based aqueous inks, but the particles have slightly lower levels of resolution. Aqueous inks tend to offer a high level of color and high image qualities, but the inks are not as durable as other types.

Solvent: Solvent inks have a non-water base, such as a petroleum-based substance, and are used to print on a wide variety of materials. The inks are usually, UV resistant and have a long outdoor life. However, they require ventilation and safety equipment, as the fumes can be toxic.

UV Cured: UV cured inks dry when they are ‘cured’ by an exposure to a strong UV light. They are used because they can be easily applied to a wide range of surfaces and produce a very robust image. The ink dries with a somewhat thick coating and is subject to cracking if printed on a flexible substrate, so it is typically used on surfaces such as hard plastic or metal.

Image Quality:

Image quality is an important decision when purchasing your printer and is directly related to the intended use of the product. For uses such as diagrams or charts, a printer that does not have many passes or dot-per-inch is perfectly fine. If you are primarily using the printer for high quality printing, such as giclee, then it is necessary to find a printer with a high number of passes per line and dots per inch. For applications such as these look for a minimum of 600 x 1200 dpi.


Speed and image quality are inversely related, by printing more quickly you reduce the image resolution. However, for some commercial uses it is the quantity and not quality of the prints that matters. Two more factors that affect speed are the warm up time of the printer and how long the paper handling takes after it prints.