Printer vs Plotter vs Inkjet Printer – Difference and Comparison

What is Printer?

A printer is a peripheral hardware output device or machine which converts the electrical presentation of graphics or text into a hard copy on paper in the form of a printed copy.

Thus, most outputs are human-readable, e.g., barcode printers, which are an example of a wide use of representation of printers. Various kinds of printers are inkjet printers, laser printers, thermal printers, 3D printers, etc.

However, there are two categories of printers, including 2D and 3D printers. 2D printers print graphics and text on paper, while 3D printers help create three-dimensional physical objects.

The printer helps convert digital copies like graphics and text into physical copies.

What is Plotter?

The plotter is a printer that decodes computer commands for making line drawings using one or more automated pens.

In contrast to printers, the plotter differs from other printers as it can draw successive or continuous lines directly from vector graphics files or commands point to point.

Plotters are special devices or equipment designed to print vectors and graphics in multicolor. There are three types of most common and popular plotters depending on their ability to allow and create different designs.

These kinds include the drum plotter, the flatbed plotter, and the inkjet plotter. Other kinds of plotters include electrostatic plotters and cutting plotters.

Both are commercially useful electrostatic plotters used in photocopiers while cutting plotters are used for paper crafting like card making and scrapbooking.

What is Inkjet Printer?

An inkjet printer is a device capable of producing hard copies of a text document or photo by spraying ink droplets onto paper. An inkjet printer can produce color print copies with a resolution of 1200*1440 dpi.

However, an inkjet printer uses ink to print documents, while a laser printer uses a laser to print a document. The printer’s efficiency depends on speed, functions, and image quality. Many inkjet printers include solvent, eco-solvent, aqueous,  latex, or UV ink printers.

Inkjet printer is most commonly used in homes, offices, schools, etc. they use ink for printing text or graphics on various kinds of paper.

However, many commercial printing companies use industrial inkjet printers to produce high-quality brochures, flyers, other pieces, etc.

Difference Between Printer, Plotter, and Inkjet Printer

A printer and plotters are printers, but the basic difference between them is plotter receives commands from the computer and prints them on a page. In contrast, it prints images and text on a page by receiving commands from the network. At the same time, inkjet printers use ink for printing a document in hard copy form.

Comparison Between Printer, Plotter, and Inkjet Printer

ParameterPrinterPlotterInkjet printer
DefinitionA printer is a peripheral hardware output device or machine which converts the electrical presentation of graphics or text into a hard copy on paper in the form of a printed copy.  The plotter is a printer that decodes computer commands for making line drawings using one or more automated pens.An inkjet printer produces hard copies of a text document or photo by spraying ink droplets onto paper.
SpeedPrinters are faster in printing speed.They are relatively slower than printers.Inkjet printers are also good in speed.
Software UsedIt can take print from various image editing software like photoshop.It can take print from various software like CAD, Flexi, Adobe Illustrator, etc.It can take print from various software graphics and text-related software, like Corel draw, page, ms office, etc.
UsagePrinters are used in offices, schools, homes, etc. Plotter are used for taking prints of graphical data, maps, technical drawings, etc.Inkjets are used to take color prints in many offices and commercially, etc.
TypesDifferent kinds of printers are Inkjet, laser, thermal, 2D and 3D printers, etc.It includes the most common drum, flatbed, inkjet, electrostatic and cutting plotters, etc.The inkjet printers include solvent, eco-solvent, aqueous, latex, and UV ink.
Output formatThe output format  in the form of the printer is bitmap and pixels.The output format is in the form of vectors or graphics.The output format is in the form of text and graphics.

References

  1. ^“Printer – Definition of printer by Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-webster.com.
  2. ^ “0271-2834-MTDC; Assembling a Bar-Code Tracking System”. Printers designed to print bar-code labels.