Difference between Plotter and Printer

  • Main Difference

    A plotter is the type of printer that takes commands from the computer and then makes drawings on the paper with the help of various pens. On the other hand, a printer is the device connected to the computer that helps with the precise imaging of text and pictures on paper.

    Comparison Chart

    Basis of Distinction Plotter Printer
    Definition Several needles are part of the device which draw the image as seen. Takes the picture of the image and then copies directly as seen.
    Type Only deals with images Deals with images and text.
    Output The output is in the format of pixels or bitmap format. The output of a plotter always comes in vector graphic format.
    Tools A pen or different types of knives to give shape to the image. Either uses a needle or a pen to print the document.


     The chief attribute of this device is that it draws continuous lines that are point to point and come directly from the file command within the graphics. The prices of such devices are greater than others because of the complicated structure. In short, a plotter helps with drawings more than text and therefore takes more time to complete the processes running. Rather than toner, plotters utilize a pen, pencil, marker, or another composition device to draw numerous, consistent lines onto paper instead of a progression of speaks like a conventional printer. Plotters are utilized to create a printed copy of schematics and other comparative applications. Pen plotters print by moving a pen or other instrument over the surface of a bit of paper. This action implies plotters are vector illustrations gadgets, as opposed to raster representation as with different printers. Pen plotters can draw complex line artistry, including content, yet do as such gradually considering the mechanical development of the pens. They can print on a wide range of materials including plywood, aluminum, sheet steel, cardboard, and plastic. Pen plotters have become outdated, and have been ousted by large organization which now use inkjet printers and LED toner based printers.


    In simple words, a printer is such a device that takes an input such as text, images and other formats from the computer and then displays as output on a piece of paper that have a standard. They have many types and each has their uses and prices therefore, one fixed category is impossible. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print employments, requiring negligible setup time to create a paper copy of a given report. Nonetheless, they are simple devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages for every moment (ppm), and the cost per page is also high. The distinction for them comes as impact a non-impact printers where the process of accepting the output differs. The first type uses pins or needles to type the word as it comes from the computer, while the latter just mirrors the file and then displays it on the sheet. Some of the main types are the dot matrix printer which has low price, and ink jet printer which is commonly used today.

    Key Differences

    • Plotter always deals with drawing images on pages with the help of computer connection. On the other hand, printer creates copies of text and images with the help of an internet connection.
    • The output of a printer mostly is in the format of pixels or bitmap format, on the other hand, the output of a plotter always comes in vector graphic format.
    • Continuous lines exist in a plotter that helps to create images and lines at a faster speed, on the other such facilities are extinct within a printer which uses imaging and laser.
    • A Plotter always has a pen or different types of knives to give shape to the image drawn, on the other hand, a printer either uses a needle or a pen to get the job done without any restrictions.
    • The speed of a printer is much higher than the speed of a plotter.