Investing in any of the best large format printers on this page can be an excellent move for your business, allowing you to create eye-catching and vibrant promotional materials, such as posters and flyers.
These are very different from your typical photo printer or laser printer as they are geared entirely toward a business audience. While many businesses can get by with a standard printer for printing documents, large format printers - which have taken over from plotters - are ideal for printing much larger documents.
They are used for marketing and promotional materials like posters, blueprints, plans, and technical data. They work much like ordinary printers - but on a much larger scale.
Of course, by printing out more critical documents, you don't want to lose out on image quality, and these specialized large format printers can ensure you can produce stunning results at large sizes. These devices can be expensive, so in this guide, we don't just list the top models; our price comparison tool can automatically find the best prices.
Large format printers aren't simply about scaling up the technology as much as preserving detail and ensuring this remains crisp and clear, no matter how big the paper size you're working with.
However, getting into ANSI F and A0 paper sizes to print takes you into a generally more expensive market than desktop. Otherwise, settle for one of the best A3 printers.
So to help you out, here we'll list the best in large format printers, starting at the lower end of the budget range and building our way through to the more expensive models - with the caveat that we're focusing on large format printers for paper printing, rather than wide format printers that use vinyl for signage printing.
To give you a clear idea of what each printer offers, we've compared them across numerous factors: speed and quality to maximum printing size and connectivity. We also assessed their build quality, design, running costs, and pricing, among many other aspects.
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The best large format printers of 2023
The best large format printers in full
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HP's premium inkjet plotter has the kind of intelligent styling and small footprint that makes it welcome in the small office or home studio. It can handle a range of paper sizes from A4 to A1 and paper rolls 24 inches wide, during the four inkjet cartridges slot in at the front.
It prints pretty quickly and is easy to control via the touchscreen interface. The folding steel stand with this printer has a handy feed catch built to hold your rolls of printed paper. The results look sharp and appealing, whether printing glossy photos or large line drawings. The fact that the printer itself also looks appealing is a bonus.
It has connections at the rear for an Ethernet cable, USB data cable, and mains cable. There's also an automatic sheet feeder at the back that accepts A4 and A3-sized paper.
Read our full review: HP DesignJet Studio 24.
At the premium end of HP’s comprehensive line of large format inkjet plotters sits the HP DesignJet T650, a 36-inch plotter for printing up to A1-sized documents or 36-inch roll paper.
It claims to be the smallest wide-format printer with an integrated stand, and it’s ideal for use in an architect’s office, a design studio, or other shared office environments. This top-end model has a breakneck print speed of just 25 seconds for an A1/D-sized document and a full gigabyte of memory for processing sizeable image files.
The HP DesignJet T650 is a thermal inkjet printer using dye-based C, M, and Y color cartridges and a pigment-based K to make up the image. It has an automatic feed for A4 and A3 sheets and a manual roll feed for A2 and A1 paper with an automatic horizontal cutter built in. It would suit any AEC, GIS, and MCAD professionals who need to print maps, technical drawings, posters, and renders.
The HP DesignJet Z9+ leads the next stage up in large format printers, handling prints of up to 44". It also comes with a touchscreen, 500GB hard drive, automatic roll feed and cut screen feeder, and a set of 9 ink colors.
While the number of ink types isn't as high as the Canon above, HP covers this through advances in printhead technology and HP Pixel Control, which aims to ensure that print quality is rich and sharp in color and detail. It also has an in-built spectrophotometer to reduce the need for reprints. The HP DesignJet Z9+ does deliver exceptional high-resolution prints.
However, the main aim of the DesignJet Z9+ isn't just to work with quality and at faster speeds. It advertises a rate of 185 square feet per hour (71.4 m²/hr), which is much higher than the earlier DesignJet series from HP and many competitors, though, of course, print speed will depend on print mode and media type. It also offers both wired and wireless printing through a secure connection.
As expected, this machine is strictly aimed at professional studios and offices, where large format graphics are a genuine concern. This is reflected in the cost of The HP DesignJet Z9+, which has a list price of $4,995, though distributors may be able to offer discounted pricing.
The Epson Surecolor range excels in print quality, and the Epson Surecolor P20000 is no different.
Designed to handle mammoth color prints of up to 64", it can work with everything from cut sheets to rolls, plain papers to photographic, and even poster boards.
This machine is built for heavy-duty use and can be left all day to complete a queue of jobs. It also has a fast print mode for printing at 600 x 600 dpi at around 44 square feet an hour at 17.5m2/hr. While not as quick as the HP above, that's fast for a large format printer of this size.
As expected with the Epson SureColor range, print quality is excellent. The machine uses Epson UltraChrome Pro nine-color pigment ink, which works through a 10-channel PrecisionCore Micro print head at up to 2,400 x 1,200 dpi resolutions. It's operated through a touchscreen pad that will probably be familiar to existing Epson users, with the menu options straightforward and easy to use.
Overall, this is a seriously heavy-duty machine for heavy-duty print work. And if 64" sounds a little too big for you, it has a smaller sibling, the Epson SureColor P20000, which works with print sizes of up to 44".
This remarkably flexible photo printer will deliver anything from a 6x4” glossy print to a borderless matt-finish A2 poster. It achieves a professional-grade photo finish by utilizing twelve separate inkjet cartridges. You can see and access the twelve shades from the front of the machine and replace them one at a time rather than having to buy a whole new set when one runs out.
Each of Canon’s LUCIA PRO ink tanks holds 80ml, so this shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence. Four inks are dedicated to monochrome prints, making the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 ideal for color and black-and-white photography.
Printing is pretty slow at six minutes per A2 page, but with a print resolution of 1,200 x 2,400 DPI, printed pages appear crisp and sharp, and because the inks are pigment-based, they last longer than dye-based ink printouts. You can connect via the USB port or over Wi-Fi with support for PictBridge, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Canon’s own PIXMA Cloud Print.
If you want to go large with your photo prints but not that large, an A3+ printer could be what you need. The Epson SureColor SC-P600 is a premium machine that would suit enthusiasts, professional photographers, or any business that relies on high-quality printed media.
It uses nine of Epson's premium UltraChrome HD inkjet cartridges to produce gallery-quality color and monochrome prints. A complete set of replacement parts is somewhat expensive at around £200 (about $285 / AU$350), but they produce vibrant color images and very well-shaded black and white photos.
Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB connectivity with a touchscreen interface make setup and operation easy. Although it has a large footprint, it has sturdy build quality. The entire front console section (buttons and display) can be angled outwards, making it easy to use even if positioned low.
Read the full review: Epson SureColor SC-P600.
As freestanding large format printers go, this one is relatively compact and aimed at the small office. It is also 60% quieter than its predecessor and prints more quickly. It can turn out an A1-sized CAD drawing in 24 seconds.
It uses five of Canon’s LUCIA PRO pigment inkjet cartridges to produce colorful images that will not run in the rain as dye-based inks can. It can even print on Canon’s waterproof paper if you want to have outdoor posters.
It can accept rolls of paper 36 inches wide and print at a maximum resolution of 2400 x 1200 DPI. Wi-Fi is built into the interface is a three-inch color touchscreen.
The printer also has a sub-ink tank system which lets the ink from replaceable tanks flow into an ink reservoir that supplies the print head. This allows unlimited ink usage from all tanks and enables you to replace an empty tank without freezing an ongoing print.
HP’s latest pair of 200 Series DesignJet plotters are the smallest yet. They’re also the most affordable and easiest to use. The HP DesignJet T230 entry-level model costs as little as US$899, or £756. At less than a meter wide, it can print onto A4, A3, A2, and A1 size paper, or you can attach a roll for 24-inch banner printing. It can even switch between different sizes of pre-loaded media automatically with the addition of an inexpensive accessory.
You can also send multiple print jobs at once using HP Click software, while the HP Smart app makes it easy to print from anywhere using your smartphone. It prints relatively quickly, turning out an A1 sheet in as little as 35 seconds.
This is an inkjet printer at heart; its four cartridges are located at the front for easy access. They have a reasonably high page yield with 20ml of ink, giving you around 101 A1-size prints. This impressively compact device is small enough to sit on a desk, but a dedicated stand is available from HP.
The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 is where we see our featured large format printers become serious in terms of both quality and price. This behemoth of a 24" printer offers sharp, professional colors, not least by using the Canon Lucia Pro ink set, which offers eleven color inks and a Chroma Optimizer.
It's also a big and heavy machine and likely needs some people to set it up in position. Once done, though, it can print from USB, Ethernet, or wirelessly. With a 320 GB hard drive, it should be able to cope with most files you need to use.
While you could run it directly from cold, users could probably benefit from calibrating the settings to get the most out of the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000. This is especially true for professional photographers who must ensure print quality properly reflects lighting and background.
However, in general terms, this is a quality machine aimed at professional rather than casual users. While the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 prints can print up to 24" comprehensive, its larger siblings, the PRO-4000 and PRO-6000, can be treated as like the same machine with greater widths, being able to work with feeds of up to 44" and 60" respectively.
The Epson SureColor SC-T2170 (the SureColor T2100 in the UK) is a compact low-volume plotter aimed at small office or freelance designers. As such, it’s also quite competitively priced, and the dustproof design looks rather intelligent.
There’s a user-friendly touchscreen interface and easy front access to the ink cartridges. It can handle any sheet paper size up to A1 or a 24-inch wide format paper roll and switch seamlessly between sources.
It uses UltraChrome XD2 pigment inks that are smudge and water-resistant and supplied by four independent inkjet cartridges. The 4.3-inch color touchscreen makes operation effortless, and an optional stand is available to manage more significant pieces of paper.
It has 1GB of memory built-in and excellent connectivity with an Ethernet port, USB port, and Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct. It’s also AirPrint compatible for easy wireless and mobile printing.
- Also check out the best small business printers
Best large format printers: Frequently Asked Questions
How to choose the best large format printers for you?
We've featured five of the best large format printers above while trying to cover a good range of print sizes and price options. And these are vital points you'll look at when choosing a large format printer: what size you need and what your actual budget can manage.
Then there are print quality concerns - do you need the attention to detail that the Epson Expression Photo XP-15000 delivers? Or will you be okay with the 1,200 x 1,200 dpi the HP DesignJet T120 offers? Additionally, is the speed of print runs vital to you enough to look more to the HP Designjet Z9+ over the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000?
Though, the most crucial consideration when choosing a large format printer is what support you can get. And by this, we mean not from the manufacturer but from the dealer. It's critical to be able to pick up the phone or email a dealer and get a relatively fast and helpful response - and, if there's a technical problem with the printer you can't fix yourself, then you need your dealer to be able to come out and address that in a reasonable time.
Ultimately, dealerships will keep your large format printer running worry-free, so you must meet and talk with any local dealers to see which ones you may be happy to work with. Additionally, don't be scared to ask around for recommendations, and don't be surprised if one or more are especially recommended as excellent.
And also, although we've featured five of the best here, your dealer may advise a different machine. If that's the case, do listen to them, as it may be the case that certain other large format printers offer other benefits we haven't been able to cover, such as ease of technical repairs or even comparing ink costs to actual print runs you personally require.
The best large format printers: How we test
We run them on our test bench to evaluate the best printers and compare the results.
We assess the printers' performance using a standard ten-page document to determine their speed, quality, sharpness, color accuracy, contrast, and other printing-related specs. We use both text and images to gain a more precise understanding of the printers' quality.
We also consider their size, weight, build quality, design, connectivity options, interface, pricing, and running costs.