Difference Between Plotter vs. Printer

Primary Difference

We use many tools that are helpful in getting the softcopy from the computer becoming a hardcopy on a page or other object. How this task gets achieved depends on the device we use, and the two main kinds of devices in such category are a plotter and printer. The main difference between these two is that a plotter is a device that draws pictures on the page with the help of commands given through a computer. On the other hand, a printer is a device that brings images and texts on the page with the help of commands given through a network.

Comparison Chart

PlotterPrinter
DefinitionA device that draws pictures on the page with the help of commands given through a computer.A device that brings images and texts on the page with the help of commands given through a network.
OutputGives the output in a format that is similar to a vector graphic.Output file data in case of a printer usually get stored as bitmap or pixels.
BenefitDraw continuous linesWork at fast speeds
DisadvantageWork slower than others.Do not draw continuous lines.
InstrumentPenNeedle or Laser

Definition of a Plotter

A plotter gets defined in a simple manner as a device that draws pictures on the page with the help of commands given through a computer. The main benefit of such devices is that they draw lines and figures on the page with the support of a pen and therefore, produce continuous lines. Pens range in the sizes, shapes, and colors and there is no compulsion of having just one for each device. Another way of defining the system is that they are vector graphic printers that give the exact hardcopy of the output based on the information provided in the softcopy on the computer. They are most commonly used to draw the designs of automobiles, such as cars and ships. These objects are more precise and therefore used in engineering facilities where proper measurements and precision in diagrams are required. Since they produce continuous lines, the plotters come in various forms. The latest variety among it is the 3D plotter that does not use a pen but has several knives arranged together and cut out the piece of material based on the instructions given from the computer. The object that requires shaping is placed on a flat surface and then commands from computer help in completing the task of shaping it in the required manner. A plotter also has the capacity of drawing several hundred copies of the same drawing over and over without needing new commands.

Definition of a Printer

A printer gets defined as a device that draws images and texts on the page with the help of commands given through a computer. The only thing that gets termed as a slow process in this is that the user does not get to print continuous lines. It accepts the text and graphic output from the computer and takes all the information and prints it out on the paper. Several sizes and papers are present within the system, and it optimizes itself according to the requirement. The two main types of printers that exist are the impact and non-impact printers. The first ones get defined as a type of printers are the old kind of printers and require any needle to work for them. The latter ones are the kind of printers are modern printers and get defined as the object that don’t need any needle to work for them. Essential characteristics of a printer are as follows. The output produced by these devices is either a letter quality, draft quality or the near letter quality, and that means they print as better as a typewriter. The speed with which they work is faster than other devices especially for the case of laser printer and gets measured as characters per second. They also consume more ink as compared to other devices and therefore have a cost greater when compared.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. A plotter is a device that draws pictures on the page with the help of commands given through a computer. On the other hand, a printer is a device that brings images and texts on the page with the help of commands given through a network.
  2. A plotter provides the output in a format that is similar to a vector graphic whereas the output file data in case of a printer usually stored as bitmap or pixels.
  3. The main benefit of the plotter is that they draw lines and figures on the page with the support of a pen and therefore, produce continuous lines. The lines are not continuous for the printer and therefore is at a disadvantage.
  4. The main benefit of a printer is that people can get the document in hard copy format at a faster speed whereas the rate of a plotter is slower when compared.
  5. Plotter uses a pen and in other cases knives to give shape to the image commanded whereas a printer either uses a needle or a pen to get the job done.
  6. The primary type of printers is impact and non-impact printers whereas the main type of plotters is when the colors get different.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

Plotter and Printer are the two most common used terms in getting the hard copy which has been forming the basis of the subject. They are different from each other, actually opposite and therefore it becomes that much more important for people to have a better understanding of how to use them. Hopefully, this article will go a long way in completing that task.

Posted in: IT

Author:

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Turpy Media. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss or on Pinterest @HarlonMoss

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