Inkjet or Toner Wide Format

Inkjet or Toner: The Plotter Comparison

Many companies have questioned whether they should purchase an inkjet or toner-based plotter, and overall, it has been an easy question to find the answer to. For example, if you choose an inkjet printer, the cost will be lower at first, but you will pay more in consumables, and it will produce at slower speeds. While a toner-based plotter will cost more upfront, you will pay less for it when it comes to the toner cartridges. With a few calculations, you can determine the break-even point with how many square feet per month you will need to produce.

In the past, that might have been true, but as ink prices have dropped and some of the inkjet models have increased in speed, how do you compare the two differing plotter technologies? In today’s society, the cost of operation hovers at around $0.90 per square foot for both types, assuming heavier color coverage.  It is all variable based on how much ink is on the page.   It can be just $.09 if the coverage is low enough.

With that in mind, you might conclude that an inkjet plotter will be a better investment because of the cheaper price, but you still have reasons for a toner-based wide-format printer. For example, your average inkjet will last three years before breaking while toner-based systems were designed to last between seven to 10 years. In that time, you might have to purchase a few inkjets to keep up. Finally, an inkjet might be up to speed with the toner-based plotters, but they cannot handle a high print volume, which will lead to more breakdowns.