Expression Photo HD Large Format Printer
Simple letter-sized printouts aren’t just cutting it in your current position anymore. You need something bigger, something bolder. Large format printing opens up a whole new realm of possibilities—your printer becomes more than just a simple office accessory. Instead, it extends a helping hand in the creation of artistic graphics, advertisements, presentation pieces and more. We’ve found the best large format printers, tested them for ourselves, and determined what the best ones are based on those experiences. Our comprehensive buying guide will show you everything you need to look for in a good large format printer.
The Best Large Format Printer
Large format printing is something you absolutely need right now, but you’re not looking to go bonkers and get something over the top. That’s okay, because Brother’s Inkjet series has the perfect go-between that rests on one of the most agreeable prices you’re going to find. Fitted with an INKvestmentTank, they’ve basically put in an ink reservoir in this unit that allows for longer printing sessions. You’re not going to run out of ink halfway through a large order of prints.
With that, there’s a full year of ink in the box, and that’s pretty fantastic. The issues come in when you look at the setup. It’s a printer, so you already know it’s going to be a tedious process, but Brother just made this a little more difficult to get going than we expected. Apart from that, there’s only one functional flaw: a very small margin on the edges of your scanned documents that simply doesn’t show up. It’s only about 0.12”, but that can cut the edge off of an otherwise perfect scan, so plan for this.
500 sheet capacity + 100 sheet tray
Dash Replacement orders ink for you when it gets low
- Weight53.1 pounds
INKvestmentTank extends life of ink and allows for longer prints
Includes a full year of ink in the box
Includes non-scannable area of around 0.12” near edges
Tedious setup time
Brother is back at it with All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, another wide format printer, but this one’s a bit cheaper than the INKvestment model. You’re paying about half the cost, and as fitting as it could be, you’re getting half the max paper supply. The tray-like container holds up to 250 sheets of paper, which works well for large-scale printing sessions. Speaking of those, with this, you can directly connect to Microsoft Office services, Dropbox, and others to directly print from your account.
You can also hook it up to a mobile device for quick printing, but keep in mind that the Wi-Fi range on this printer is fairly poor. You need to be pretty close to the thing in order to actually have them sync up properly. If you get that all hooked up and start printing like a madman, there’s one more thing you need to know: the paper tray isn’t properly aligned all the time. When it feeds enough paper into the printer, the tray falls out of line and needs to be readjusted.
250 sheet paper tray
Includes Dash Replacement feature for automatic ink ordering when you run low
Wireless printing available
- Weight36.8 pounds
Simple screen allows you to import files from Office, Dropbox and more for instant printing
Excellent low price + easy setup time
Pull-out paper tray isn’t aligned properly, will require finagling before each printing session
Very limited Wi-Fi range for wireless printing
HP is usually a top-tier brand, but they couldn’t outpace Brother in this department. Their OfficeJet Pro 7720 Wide Format Printer came in with the bronze on this list after a close race. Designed for ledger style printouts (11” x 17”), this printer is sleek and compact, so you aren’t going to sacrifice a ton of space to set this up. Speaking of which, the setup is pretty quick and doesn’t require much installation or crazy wire management. The high 300 x 300 DPI printout makes just about anything that comes out of this printer appear in crystal clear high quality.
But it’s not all sunshine. There’s some difficulty when you’re feeding in any paper that isn’t standard printer paper. Sometimes you’ll run into an issue where it doesn’t register it properly, and you’ll get a “Page Too Long” error when that happens. It’s a bit of a hindrance, but it’s nothing you can’t work past. This includes two-sided printing, as well as a decent paper tray size.
Colored touchscreen for easy selections
Wireless connectivity for mobile-focused printing
- ModelOJP 7720
- Weight34 pounds
High 300 x 300 DPI settings for crystal clear printouts
Rapid printing reduces overall time spent
Difficulty feeding in thicker paper/printing paper
Sometimes receive “Page Too Long” error notification
Canon is the other big name in printing that we wanted to take a look at, and when we tested the wireless crafting printer, we weren’t disappointed. This 12” x 12” Wireless Crafting Printer gives clear and high quality images, though they don’t provide the DPI settings, it’s definitely on the higher end. Canon designed this with one of the best features, and that’s slow ink usage. There’s no reservoir like the Brother models, but somehow this thing takes forever to run out of ink.
That comes at the price of a low paper tray capacity, as well as some misleading information about the maximum resolution. They talk about the 12” x 12” setting, but fail to mention that if you go up to 11” x 17” you will notice some imperfections in the photos you print out. It’s designed to primarily create 12” x 12” projects, hence the crafting printer title. If that setting meets your criteria, then you’ll be able to enjoy these printouts without issue.
Good wireless connection range for printing on-the-go
100-year ChromaLife protection preserves images
4.3” LCD touchscreen for easy selections
- Weight21.3 pounds
Straight prints from Dropbox, Facebook, Google Assistant, Microsoft Office and more
Takes forever for this thing to run out of ink
Quality begins to dip at 12” x 12”
Low paper tray capacity
You can’t get away from these guys—the little brother model (get it?) of their top-tier INKvestmentTank series is basically a slightly less pricey model that comes with many of the same features. You will see a minimized paper tray compared to the other model, but that’s still 250 sheets plus the 100 sheets in the feeding tray. The INKvestment reservoirs help extend the life of your ink so that you can print more, and worry a whole lot less.
11” x 17” ledger documents run into a bit of an issue though. You’ll sometimes need to manually orient the pages by fixing the paper alignment in the tray, and that can be a hassle. There’s about a 30% chance of running into this issue at the beginning of each batch print, according to data gathered from user-submitted reviews. Apart from that, the only other issue we encountered was a lengthy setup process.
250 sheet capacity + 100 sheet tray
Simple LCD screen plus button options
Dash Replacement orders ink for you when you run low
- Weight44.3 pounds
INKvestmentTank extends life of ink and allows for longer prints
Includes one full year of ink in the package
Lengthy setup process, as is customary in most Brother units
Orienting ledger documents gives a 30% chance of an easily fixable error
Epson made this Workforce printer compact and easy to store, despite the wide format printing options available. You can actually print up to a 13” x 19” format on this, which exceeds most other home wide format printers on the market. It includes a high DPI even at this print size, so you’re getting high quality photographs every single time you hit that print button. Use the LCD screen to help select the right information and source to get your photos/documents from, and allow the super easy process to commence from there.
The max is 13” x 19”, but the double-sided printing only hits a ledger length of 11” x 17”. That’s a bit disheartening, but that resolution is still good for double-sided prints. It’s a good system, but it’s pretty slow. For colored prints, you won’t exceed ten pages per minute, so large projects will take a while. You’d might as well set, forget, and leave for some coffee while it finishes. Epson made sure this printer is only applicable with their brand of ink cartridges, so you won’t be able to use third-party cartridges at all, or you’ll risk damaging the unit.
Impressive 500 sheet capacity + 125 sheet tray
Mobile printing available through Wi-Fi Direct
2.2” LCD screen
- Weight32.8 pounds
Extremely low energy use minimizes electric bill impact
High DPI produces excellent quality printouts
Two-sided printing is only available up to 11” x 17”
Low 10 page per minute printout for colored prints
Epson did something that just about nobody else on this list was able to do, and that’s make Expression Photo HD, the most compact printer out there that still has a wide format. You can get up to 13” x 19” with this, all while only needing a few extra inches to store the entire unit. That comes at a cost when you look at the paper tray, but 200 sheets is still beyond good enough to get your use out of this. Your prints can go as low as 4” x 6” without an issue as well.
The main issue with Epson is that they make their printers exclusive to their cartridges, so you can’t buy another brand of ink even if you wanted to. For this printer, that’s a problem, since it goes through ink a bit faster than the advertising suggested. Everything is pretty lightweight, but that also makes it more fragile. Be sure to have it in a secured spot before you get to using it.
Works with Dash Replacement for automatic ink ordering when it runs low
200 sheet front-facing paper supply tray
Very compact size for desktop use without cluttering things up
- Weight18.7 pounds
Wide format ranges from 4” x 6” up to 13” x 19”
Uses six-color cartridges for a richer color gamut
Only usable with Epson ink cartridges
Goes through ink faster than advertised
Last but not least, Canon’s famous PIXMA series printer gets an upgrade with this all-in-one wireless, wide format printer. It’s basically a souped-up version of their other printers, and it keeps that same compact size while allowing for ledger sizes up to 11” x 17”. One of the star features of this is that you can connect in a multitude of ways: Bluetooth, USB, ethernet, or the SD card slot for direct printing.
But the bas part is that it’s going to eat through that ink quickly, and you’ll be refilling the paper tray more often than you may have originally thought. They don’t really specify the total amount allowed in the paper tray, but we’d wager it’s no more than 150 sheets. It takes a while for this to “warm up,” not that a printer should have to. It can take 1-3 minutes from the time you enable a print command for it to actually start printing. Your printer could have stayed on since your last printing session right up until now, but it’s still going to take a while to get started.
Runs from 3.5” x 3.5” up to 11” x 17”
Compact size works great for smaller desks
Print speed of 15 pages per minute
- Weight21.3 pounds
Choose how you use it: SD card slot, wired or Bluetooth
Five-color gamut for enhanced, sharper looking printouts
Printer takes a few minutes to come to life when you try to print anything
Low capacity paper tray
Large Format Printer Buying Guide & FAQ
You’ve seen the best large format printers, but now it’s time to find out what makes them tick. The function of a large format printer is fairly self-explanatory, and no two operate the exact same. Taking numerous factors into account such as ink efficiency, type, pricing, brand and more, this is everything you need to know about buying a good large format printer.
How We Chose Our Selection Of Large Format Printers
Brand – There are places where brands don’t matter, but then there’s electronics where it matters a lot. You might recognize all or most of the brands on our top list, and that’s for good reason: they’re reliable and well-known. It’s easier for newer companies and manufacturers to ignore customer comments, warranties and questions, all while pushing out a sub-par product and not knowing how to price it. It happens with electronics all the time. We’ve curated this list with the best of the best in mind.
Price – Printers are tricky when it comes to pricing. You have those $35 models in department stores that aren’t worth it, or you can go on the other side of the price spectrum and find something of quality. For large format printers, the prices fluctuate a lot depending on the overall width, whether it’s a rollout or wide format printer, and a host of other factors. We’ve done our very best to keep prices in a fair and reasonable range when it’s appropriate to do so, but that being said, the old-school motto of “You get what you pay for” holds true.
Reviews – User-submitted reviews help us out the same way they help you: they’re firsthand accounts of actual experience with the product from an unbiased source, just like you find here on Gear Hungry. For us, it’s how we make our shortlist of products to purchase and test, so we can determine if all those customer reviews were really worth the hype. We dive deep into each product and rigorously test it, but without user reviews, it would be difficult to choose the right ones to try in the first place.
Features To Look For In Large Format Printers
Size – There are basically two categories of size here: rollout, and large format. Large format simply means that you’re printing out bigger images than what your standard printer can handle, but rollout or roller printing caps out at a maximum height while allowing the wide roll to print for as long as the ink reservoirs can handle. This means you could make 14” H x 90” W banners, or whatever the system will allow. The physical size of the printer will usually be about 8-10” longer than the maximum width, but manufacturers list dimensions of the entire build so you’ll be able to easily designate a spot in your office for it once it arrives.
Print Quality – This is what is will properly print out. Depending on the size of an image (resolution), that printout requires more capability from the printer. You can’t print out a perfectly high resolution photograph, like a 4K image, on a run-of-the-mill printer. The most notable metric of how to tell what the print quality will be is to look at DPI, or dots per inch. The higher a DPI maximum is, the higher resolution a photograph will be.
Color or Monochrome – Just about all printers are going to come in a colored form, but if you’re only using this to print out standard documents (normal printers are better suited for this by the way), then you’d do fine with a monochrome printer. These are generally much cheaper since there are less working parts to it, and the ink price in the long haul will be cheaper. Monochrome wide format printers aren’t very popular, because these are commonly used for grabbing visual imagery, and monochrome just doesn’t hit the mark on those requirements.
Use – Well, how many uses does it have? This can best be determined by the print quality and your expected use, such as graphic banners or presentation poster boards. You need to look at the capabilities of the printer here, but you also have to factor in how much you believe you’re going to use it throughout its life.
Number of Ink Colors – You’re not just using this for the standard reasons that people use 8.5” x 11” printers—you need more color options. Mathematically and based on what our eyes can perceive, there are an unlimited number of colors, but that’s not what you need. Your printer just needs to give you a wide enough range of colors to cover every base in your printable projects. Most printers use a spectrum of white, black, red, blue and yellow to determine their color wheel, which can achieve millions of different shades and tones of colors. Where printers use red, blue and yellow, computer monitors primarily use red, blue and green to display colors. This means some color variants might differ from your screen to the print.
Large Format Printer FAQ
Q: What are large format printers?
A: The best large format printers are designed to create bigger printouts than your standard 8.5” x 11” printers. While those are okay for printing out photographs and simple documents, large format printers use a roll instead of individual sheets. These can create ultrawide printouts, which is why the common alternate name for large format printers are wide format printers. The maximum height of the printout is bigger than your standard printer, but the width is usually maxed out at the roll length/ink cartridge maximum capacity.
Q: What does a large format printer do?
A: Large format printing is primarily used for vehicle image wraps, wallpaper strips, graphic printouts for conventions, backdrops, construction plans or blueprints, and arts and crafts projects. While some printers are able to continuously print off of one single roll, others will max out at a certain height that is still much higher than standard printers. Print out visual aids for a presentation, or small advertisements on an array of paper types that are exclusive to wide format printers. Whatever you make, it’s going to look like you went to a professional print shop.