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Offset Printing vs Digital Printing Comparison

cheaper-faster-offset-printing-or-digital-printingWhy Do We Compare Offset VS Digital Printing?

Offset and Digital printing methods are among the most popular techniques for printing world-wide. Offset and Digital prints are very different but in the end, they serve and accomplish the same purpose, dropping ink into a paper. There are hundreds of techniques for this matter, but some are slower, more expensive, unpractical, hard to get, old-school and not good enough, for now, a days competition.

Even though they are so different, people like to ask about the difference as they see almost all printer companies in the market now must carry both, digital and offset printing presses to fulfill customers needs in regards to marketing materials. We will now explain the main difference between each of these printing techniques.

Offset Printing

One of the oldest printing techniques, the offset printing consist of big. Hard to operate machinery that will transfer ink from container to paper thru pre-perforated color plates. Many of these old school offset presses required a separate machine for color plate perforation which isn’t cheap. In modern days these color plates are sometimes re-usable for a more affordable setup process but compromise the quality. The biggest advantage of offset printing is how cheap and fast it prints papers, just that.

Why Offset Prints So Cheap?

modern-mitsubitshi-printing press

  • As the color printing plates are perforated in minuscular dots to allow a bit of the ink to go through. We can save a big amount of ink and at the same time a more precise quality and resolution. Other printers have to cover dozens of microscopical layers of ink or toner to build a propper surface of the ink.
  • Offset ink is more popular, often bought in bulk for additional savings. Prices vary depending on quantity, we all know that. So if you buy an ink-tank, you may have 1/4 of the tank for free making your prints a lot cheaper.
  • The paper used for offset printing allows more precise injection of the ink, for a less swamped experience, needing less ink per square inch at the same time.

Digital Printers


All printers and copiers seen at home and office are mostly denominated as digital printers. The main reason why they are called digital is just because of the fact that this printers subcontract the images from the computer directly in a digital format, process the image in a digital environment and then print it.

These are practical as no further setup is required for the printing to begin, the printer does all the setup job for you. Ready to print in just a few seconds after you have turned it on.

No color plates, no screen printing plates, no manual preparation, just digital processing of the art directly to the paper.

Inkjet Printers


Inside the digital printing family, we find the most popular printer type seen in almost every home from the last half a century, the INKJET printers. You may see a huge variety of brands offering very cheap home printers solutions that will get you up and running within minutes with a home-based printing/scanning capable machine. These inkjet printers are often used for a few copies and emergency documents printing, maybe a few photos as well. But don’t try to run a huge printing spree with these little guys or you will burn them down as they only serve for a practical home unit and not for businesses purposes.

If you have a big amount of pages that you need to be printed. Rather go to the local staples or Kinkos to get these done cheaper, faster and won’t harm your in-house unit.

Which of These Printing Tecquines is Water-Proof?

water-proof-printingWater-proof printing is a must nowadays, and why not have it if some brands include this special feature for free. All 3 type of printing mentioned before has a few providers. Brands that will make your life easier with the water-proof add-on.

For the home Inkjet Printers, we have noticed that the EPSON is the most popular ink-based waterproof printer available in the market. Ink cartridges are no cheap but will pay off with time. Another downside for the EPSON home inkjet printer is the speed, very slow compared to others.

For the Color Copy machines, each copy comes out less expensive when compared to home inkjet printers and will mostly be water-proof across all copiers brands. This is possible thanks to the Laser-Impregnation technology that allows for melted toner to become the final viewable print-out. Toner, after getting a huge heat and then drying down to the paper, creates a very nice pumped effect that people love out of the color copiers. At the same time, the melted toner will be water-proof as well.

For the Offset machines, the waterproof capabilities come at the time of ink building. Some additive should be added to the ink for it to be water-proof and should be taken into count at the time of printing as the cleaning process.  After printing with water-proof ink, will vary from printing without water-proof capabilities.

Possible uses for Inkjet Printers, Color Copiers and Offset Machines

  • Offset Machinery: Often used for long-run printing like a magazine, brochures, newspaper and any sort of mass distribution media.
  • Color Copies: Used mostly for short-run and lower quality printed media like printing emails, letters, simple flyers, and more.
  • Inkjet Printers: Commonly used at home, where you will be printing a few pages per week.

Each of them has a specific use. It is hard to choose which one is the best. For you when we don’t know anything about your project yet. But with this article, you will end up with a better idea on which printing technique. You should use and which should get you cheaper printing results.

As a little bonus, you may also watch this video on a Digital Offset Press invented a few years ago: