In the world of sign-making, the quality of the final product depends heavily on the equipment used. A key piece of equipment is the printer, and for those looking to produce large-format signs, choosing the right printer can make all the difference.

However, with so many available options, it can be overwhelming to determine which printer best fits your specific needs. In this guide, we'll explore the key factors to consider when choosing a large-format printer for vinyl and sign making, so you can make an informed decision and produce top-quality signage that captures attention and drives results.

Factors to Consider

Selecting the ideal large-format printer will depend on the nature of the output you want to produce. You must consider factors such as quality, user-friendliness, speed, and color accuracy.

For instance, if your printing task has to do with producing color-rich posters, you will require a different large-format printer than the one you would need for printing blueprints or wide spreadsheets.

Here are some items to consider before making a decision about a printer:

Type of Large-Format Printer

There are four main types of large-format printers: dye sublimation, inkjet, laser, and plotter. Large-format inkjet printers are common and resemble those used in households or offices. However, they have larger dimensions and different ink cartridge arrangements.

On the other hand, dye sublimation printers are not as widely used in larger formats because they are primarily used for photo printing in smaller formats. When it comes to large-format printing, laser printers provide several benefits, such as fast printing speed and lower cost per sheet.

Plotters are utilized for printing blueprints, engineering documents, and basic banners. They may use a pen-type or stylus printing device or an inkjet print head. The type determines how businesses make money with large-format printers.

If you need to print banners or posters, an affordable inkjet printer may be a suitable option due to its user-friendly nature. However, if you prioritize printing speed and cost efficiency, laser printers are the better choice despite their higher upfront cost.

Ease of Use

Large-format printers are generally not too difficult to operate. Nonetheless, if multiple staff members will be using it, it's a good idea to provide comprehensive training before anyone uses it.

Training will ensure proper usage, particularly if it has a more complex design. It will be a waste of time if you struggle with the printer to make signage-such delays could lead to financial repercussions, especially if it causes missed deadlines.

Multifunction Machine or Printer Only

A large-format printer's primary function is printing, but there are also multifunction or 'all-in-one' models that include scanning capabilities and touchscreens.

To determine the most suitable option for your long-term business needs and budget, consider whether you currently only require printing or if you need additional features in the future. If the latter is probable, investing in a multifunction printer can save you the trouble and expense of upgrading in a year or two.

Print Quality

Look for a printer that can produce high-quality prints with sharp, vibrant colors and fine details. Consider the printer's resolution and color gamut to ensure that it can deliver the level of quality you need.

Print Speed

The speed at which a printer can operate is also an important consideration, especially for commercial printing. Look for a printer that can produce prints quickly without sacrificing quality.

Maintenance Requirements

Large-format printers require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. Consider the maintenance requirements of the printer you're considering, such as printhead cleaning, ink replacement, and other tasks to make sure your team has the knowledge and resources to perform them.

Media Compatibility

Ensure the printer you choose is compatible with the types of media you will be using, such as fabric, vinyl, or banner material. Consider the maximum media width the printer can handle to ensure it meets your needs.


Large-format printers can be a significant investment, so consider your budget carefully. Look for a printer that offers the features and capabilities you need at a price that fits your budget. Don't forget to factor in ongoing costs such as ink, media, and maintenance.

Support and Warranty

Look for a printer from a reputable manufacturer that offers strong customer support and a warranty that covers your investment. For example, you can always rest assured that Summa Equipment will provide you with the best large-format printers, technical support, training, and replacement parts.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a larger format printer is no small task. However, with the right considerations and knowledge, you can easily find the right fit for your business. All you have to do is consider factors such as print speed, cost, and quality to choose a printer that meets your specific needs.