How to Rent a Large-Format Printer

Large-format printers can print large, high-quality photos.
Large-format printers can print large, high-quality photos. (Image: poster with world map image by Attila Toro from

Large-format printers, also sometimes known as wide-format printers, come in a variety of sizes. Most of them can print posters and other large items, and some are as wide as 6 feet. They can also cost thousands of dollars and be too big an expense even for an office. If you know you'll need a large-format printer for a limited amount of time or for a single project, renting can save you money. Knowing what to look for and where to go can save you even more.

Write down the basics of what you need in a large-format printer. With your pen and paper, note the answers to the following questions: What is the size of the largest item I need to print? Do I need color, black and white or both? Can I pick up the printer, or do I need it delivered? What is my budget? How many printed images do I need total? If it's only one or two printing jobs needed, you may just want to have an office supply or printing store do the job.

Go to Google Maps or MapQuest and type in your starting address (see Resources). When that pops up, click on "Search Nearby" and type in "office supply," "printers" or "printer rentals." Write down the numbers of five or six stores.

Call the stores and let them know the specifications for which you're looking. The most important information is how big the printer needs to be, and whether it can be black and white only, which is cheaper than color. Ask how much ink is included with the rental and whether you will need to purchase additional ink. Compare the prices from each store to determine which printer is best for you.

Drive to the store to pick up the printer. If the store is shipping it to you, make sure it has your correct address. When you fill out the form for rental, make sure you get the contact information of someone who can help you in case the printer has any issues.

Return the printer by the date specified in your rental agreement to avoid incurring additional fees.

Rent a printer online if you live in an area that doesn't have local retailers available, or if you can find a more specific product for your needs. See two national printer rental sites in Resources.

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