Digital vs. Offset Printing: What Is Better for Your Business?

A side-by-side collage of an offset printer (left) and a digital printer (right)

When searching for printing solutions, it’s not uncommon for businesses to find themselves at a crossroads. Printing offset vs. digital—is one better than the other?  

The answer is complicated. Digital printing is more modern and integrates well with forward-thinking offices. However, offset printing still has its place and works better in cases for reasons that we will soon discuss. 

Let’s break down the digital vs. offset printing debate!

What Is Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing?

Offset printing uses a traditional process that involves transferring ink to a rubber sheet before adding the image to a printing surface. Many prefer it when producing high volumes of visual materials, such as magazines, periodicals, and large-format prints.

On the other hand, digital printing is what you’ve become accustomed to with the inkjet and laser jet printers in your home or office. It involves directly transferring digital files to a printing substrate (usually paper). As you likely know, it’s great for low-volume jobs. 

Now, let’s dive into printing offset vs. digital based on several factors! 

Offset vs. Digital Printing: Costs

Managing printing costs is always important for businesses, especially during times when the economy is suffering and sales are down. As such, when choosing between these two methods, you should know digital printing is cheaper to set up. 

Offset printing has higher setup costs because it requires the creation of printing plates, which can also take a while to make. Furthermore, you’re likely to find that offset inks are also more expensive because they use unique ingredients.

A digital printer is significantly cheaper in the short term because their setup requirements aren’t as complex as their traditional counterpart. You can find affordable inkjet and laser printers online with economical ink and toner prices. This print process also uses a smaller print surface, contributing to its reasonable costs. 

However, with all that being said, the actual production costs when printing offset vs. digital are lower for high-volume outputs. As it pertains to price, it’s important to consider the short-term costs as well as those you’ll encounter down the line! 

A tub of yellow offset printer ink

Digital vs. Offset Printing: Productivity

Productivity refers to volume and turnaround time for each process. As we alluded to in the previous section, this is where offset printing shines. 

If you’re looking into large-volume print infrastructure, offset printers are better because they’re designed to produce thousands of pages at once. However, this output comes at the cost of time as it can take one to three days for the ink to dry.

If you need a small amount of pages fast, then digital printing is probably the way to go as you won’t have to wait for ink to dry. However, if time is not of the essence, we recommend choosing offset printing for large orders. 

Offset vs. Digital Printing: Quality & Customization

When it comes to quality, a digital printer typically can’t rival the superior colour accuracy and consistency of an offset printer. The latter produces clear prints that look fantastic on any surface and are free of spots, streaks, and dullness. 

With that being said when printing offset vs. digital, you lose many of the customization options afforded by digital printing. They give you the freedom to make every print unique if you so choose—offset printing can’t provide this flexibility. 

A rack full of colourful magazines

Final Thoughts on Offset and Digital Printing

Ultimately, the best printing method for your business will depend on your company’s needs. Both digital and offset printing have their time and place! 

If you’re producing large quantities of visual prints—such as marketing materials like posters and banners—printing offset vs. digital is the way to go. This is assuming you can afford the startup costs and accommodate the longer turnaround time of offset presses.

Digital printing is the way to go for businesses whose printing process centres around producing small quantities as quickly as possible. They’ll just have to accept sometimes visually inferior results due to the use of more streamlined printing technology. This makes a digital printer ideal for corporate businesses and financial institutions, among others. 

A man uses a multifunction printer to make copies of a printed document

First-Class Digital Printing Solutions You Deserve

Both of these printing methods have their time and place, and which is right for your business will ultimately just depend on the print job you’re doing. is the place to shop if you’re leaning toward digital printing. We sell hundreds of different printers equipped with advanced technology to complement your workspace. Increase your company’s printing efficiency with features such as true scanning, speedy production, and high-resolution printouts.

Get in touch with us today for more information and a free quote!

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