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What Plotter is for me?

To find the right plotter comes down to 5 questions. Answer these and you will know which plotter, or plotters, best fit your need.

1) New Plotter or Refurbished Plotter?
2) 24" or 36" Wide Carriage?
3) Color or Black & White (monochrome)?
4) Roll feed or Sheet feed?
5) Auto Cut or Manual Cut?

~ ~ Which Plotter do I Get? ~ ~

~ ~ Recommendations ~ ~

The first difference between the new plotters and refurbished plotters that is most noticable is price. The new plotters are direct from the Hewlett Packard factory, are the latest models, and come with a factory warranty. Because of this, discounted pricing is limited and sometimes controlled by the manufacturer. So, if you prefer the absolute latest in technology, then a new plotter will have what you need.

The refurbished plotters will be less expensive because they have been reconditioned by a factory trained technician. These plotters can be just as good as a new plotter. They are Hewlett Packard machines, have been reconditioned to factory specifications, and come with a one year parts warranty. In addition to price, an advantage of a refurbished plotter is the availability of older or recently discontinued models by HP. These models can offer the capability to serve your needs without the higher cost of new equipment.  top

See our Presentation: How Plotter4U Refurbishes HP Plotters

The second question to consider is the width of the carriage of the plotter. HP offers both 24" and 36" carriages on a number of plotter models. If your usage requirements won't exceed any printout over 24" then you can take advantage of the smaller models that are also less expensive. Consider all of your requirements, though, so you don't come up short. There is a difference in price, but sometimes the extra for the 36" model is worthwhile to ensure you have the capability when your needs change.  top

Color is another option to consider when purchasing a plotter. There are several basic models that are black & white only. If you don't intend to produce color copies, then one of these models may serve your needs. If you will require color copies to be produced from your plotter, then be sure to select one of the color plotter models.  top

A Roll Feed plotter is a model that would load a paper roll and would require cutting the paper once the printout has completed. The alternative is a Sheet Feed model that would load a predetermined size of sheet paper. Consider your plotting requirements when selecting this feature in a plotter. If you will be printing unknown or unusual sizes, perhaps a Roll Feed would better serve your needs. On the other hand, if printing typically sized copies, then a Sheet Feed should serve your needs.  top

Auto Cut vs. Manual Cut: Auto cut means that when the plotter is done plotting, the machine automatically cuts the page and goes to the next.  Manual cut means that there is a slider bar on the plotter and the you must slide the knife across and cut the paper yourself.  top

If you have any question about any of the above information, please send us your question, or call us directly. We will be happy to answer your questions and concerns. Also, be sure to look over our unique refurbished plotter comparison chart.   top

Download a Guide - What Plotter Do I Get?
To help guide you in your decision, we've created this guide to selecting a plotter to fit your needs. Select your format choice below to open the file.
    Adobe Acrobat File (.PDF)
    Microsoft PowerPoint File (.PPT)
  top

Recommendations:

Below is a brief description of each of the different plotters.  Click on the link (green) to go to the specification page for more detailed information on that plotter

If you are looking for a very basic plotter and only do a couple of plots a week, the HP 200/220 plotters are for you. 
If you want color and still be basic, the HP 250C is for you. (these models are single sheet feed plotters with no stands)

Now, if you want a B&W plotter but on a stand and roll feed and manual cut, the HP 330 plotter is what you are looking for. 

The HP 600 Plotter is the same but has an auto cut feature added to it.

To add color the HP 350C plotter is a great choice and is manual cut.

The HP 430 is a black and white plotter with auto cut and is the newest in it's class.

Now everything from here on is color, whether you want it or not.

The HP 650C plotter is a very nice older model, it is very affordable and is considered more of a commercial grade plotter. It is a color plotter and has an auto cut feature on it.

The HP 450C is a auto cut, color plotter with stand and roll feed.  A little newer that the others so parts will be allot easier to get in the future.

The HP 750C/755CM is a very popular plotter, it seems as if allot of CAD/Engineering clients has either used this plotter in school or on previous jobs and that is what keeps it popularity.  If you are looking at this plotter, please look at the next one.

The HP 2000/2500CP, it is priced about the same as the HP 750C BUT has allot more to offer.  It contains a Bulk Ink System, meaning, that when the ink from the cartridge runs out, the plotter goes over and refills it's self.  Unlike all the other plotters listed that you have to throw out the cartridge and purchase another one.  The saving on the ink alone make these a very popular plotter.  It has photo quality reproduction and is network ready (HP 2500)  The HP 2000/2500 series is about 3-4 years old and you are still able to purchase a one year onsite parts and labor post WARRANTY from Hewlett Packard.

Last but not least, if you have the need for speed, then the HP 1050C or the HP 5000/5500 Plotters are for you.  If your company is doing 100+ plots a week or more, these are a must have.  Please check on the spec's. top


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