The 8 Best Wide-Format Printers to Buy in 2017

Is a traditional printer just not cutting it? Try a wide format one

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Wide-format printers give you everything from true 11 x 17 sizes for full-fledged posters printed right at home all to giant, photo-quality signage. Aside from buying a banner printer fit for a warehouse-sized print shop, these printers are the best choices online for wide-set print jobs from brands such as HP, Brother, Epson and Canon. Each has its own strength, whether it’s full-bleed photo printing, massive-width printing or the absolute best bang for your buck. So, there’s definitely a rig for anyone below. Let’s get printing.

HP OfficeJets are the staples of the home (or college) office, so it’s no surprise that this one found it’s way to the first spot on our list of large format devices. It can print pages up to 11 x 17 (the standard tabloid size), and it does so with the tried-and-true HP OfficeJet capabilities of smaller format devices. But it doesn’t stop at printing, this all-in-one can handling print jobs, copying, faxing, and scanning. It has wireless connectivity, lets you print two-sided jobs, and even comes seamlessly connected through HP’s most powerful printing app ever (which lets you scan and print directly from your smartphone using your camera). 

It’ll print at lightning fast speeds giving you 22 pages per minute for black and white jobs and 18 pages per minute for color documents. They’ve engineered a unique ink-saving tech that promises to save you up to 50 percent on ink by using the existing cartridges more efficiently. There’s a 2.65-inch touchscreen for controlling the printer on the device itself, and it’s compatible with HP’s impressive high yield ink cartridges. You can even print straight-to-the-edge borderless projects such as brochures and fliers, so those large format jobs are extra stunning and don’t seem home-printed at all.

In terms of affordability, Brother is a brand that you really can’t beat in the printer game. The MFCJ6930 is the latest in a long line of all-in-ones that offer wide-format print jobs up to 11 x 17-inch pages. There’s a 50-sheet feeding tray for printing front-and-back full copies, which would be great for packets. The scanner glass is ledger-sized, so you can carry that large format to the scanner-copier function, too.

There’s a 3.7-inch color display that lets you print directly from certain services such as Dropbox and Google Drive (along with expandable cloud apps directly from Brother). The printer is compatible with super high yield ink cartridges, which is great because there is a 500-sheet dual tray, so you can print a job of any size without capacity slowing you down.

And those massive jobs won’t take you forever, either, because there is a 20/22 ppm speed (for color and black and white, respectively), which is equally impressive to basically all other printers out on the market right now. It all connects via wireless or ethernet, so you won’t have any trouble seamlessly sending jobs to the device. Round that out with a pretty slim footprint, and the device itself will fit great in your home office.​

The i8720 from Canon’s Pixma line is set up to print completely borderless media, which allows you to produce studio quality prints of all your photo projects. It’s no surprise that a company like Canon has put this feature front and center. Of course, you can print media at up to 13 x 9 inches, which gives you true flexibility for printing fliers and large format jobs. On top of the that, the resolution is virtually unparalleled, with 600 x 600 ppi for black and white photos and 9600 x 2400 for color, which adds to the premium output.

The functionality itself is truly seamless, too, with Canon’s AirPrint app for easy connection to your phone, tablet or other mobile devices. It’s a great feature because you don’t have to get yourself bogged down with the usual driver installation and “how do I get this to print?” shuffle of old-style units. You can also control it using the three-inch LCD screen right onboard. It all comes in a sleek black little unit and will look great in your home photo studio.​

The Epson P400 isn’t the traditional large format unit since it takes full-on photo rolls in addition to traditional paper sheets. It uses a UltraChrome HG2 ink, which features eight separate colors for a much truer photo recreation than the standard color-combo ink cartridges. There are even high capacity 14mL ink cartridges that allow you to replace individual colors when they run out, saving you money because you only have to replace the specific ink you need.

On top of the wide format, it also supports thick format pages up to 1.3 mm, so you can feed board media through it, as well as thick canvas-style photo paper and even printable CDs/DVDs. It also prints right to the edge of media for a borderless project. It’s connectible via wireless, ethernet or USB, so it’ll work with your devices with relative versatility, and it does it all with a pretty small profile sporting dimensions of 25.8 x 20.9 x 13.5 inches.

The Canon imagePROGRAF uses the ultra beautiful Lucia Pro Chroma Optimizer ink system that drops photos onto the page with 11 colors. This system offers denser droplet placement, which provides you a broader color gamut for unbelievably realistic photo recreations. There’s a remarkable Air Feeding system that uses a series of openings on the paper feeding tray to suction the blank media to the tray and prevent it from skewing while printing. This is important because when you’re printing borderless projects, any skew is going to ruin the whole thing.

There’s a tube-based, anti-clogging ink-printing system that not only improves the quality of each print, but it keeps print speeds up. The excellently detailed black reproduction provides you deep shadow areas for those darker-based photo sets, and the wide color gamut gives you even more vibrancy with each new color. It only connects via USB, so there isn’t much versatility there, and at over 70 pounds it’s quite heavy. But you’re paying for premium performance, not portability and modern connections.

 

Also from Brother’s MFCJ line, the 6935 is an all-in-one, so it doesn’t give you the same ridiculously sharp, premium print qualities as some photo-focused units, but you can work with media up to 11 x 17. There’s a 50-sheet capacity that also lets you print double-sided jobs, and you can print envelopes and cardstock. The speeds are super fast, too, at 20 ppm and 22 ppm for color and black and white, respectively. Brother claims that with the ink efficiency, you’ll spend less than one cent for each page (which is good, because of how fast those pages come flying out). It’s all also powered by Amazon’s Auto Replenishment, which automatically places an order for new ink when it’s needed, via the Wi-Fi connection.

The OfficeJet Pro 7740 offers full wide format printing, up to 22 ppm print speeds, ethernet and wireless connection, smart app functionality and an onboard 2.65-inch color display. It also has office-friendly features fit for a super high volume of print jobs. We’re talking double-sided printing (for full-bleed brochures, for example) and double the tray capacity of some competitors. Those extra features might cost you a higher premium, but will pay dividends in your ability to easily print huge sets of posters, fliers or other wide format media.

Printing up to 11 x 17 pages, the Epson Expression XP-960 is a real contender on the photo-focused printers on the list. We say photo-focused because it prints edge-to-edge jobs using Claria Photo HD ink, which employs 11 different colors for ultra-accurate shade representation. But, it’s also got speed to brag about, offering you print speeds for its smaller 4 x 6 photos up to 11 seconds -- so you’ll have professional prints faster than you can shake that dated Polaroid.

It’s also got a built-in network capability that allows for wireless, routerless printing using apps on your phone, iPad or network-enabled computer (but you can also print via the 4.30-inch touchscreen). There’s a rear-feeding tray that lets you load in all kinds of custom-sized paper or even CDs and DVDs for direct printing. Also included is a unique foldover scan lid to keep originals in place for copying, as well as automatic two-sided printing for a hands-off approach to large jobs.

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