A3 Printer

An A3 printer is the description for a printer that is also known as a large format printer - not the name for a special printing technique (laser or inkjet).

The A3 printer is basically a normal printer, which appears optically only a little wider than the A4 printer. This is because the DIN A3 paper format is larger than the normal DIN A4 format, which is commonly used in a standard printer.

Appearance of the A3 printer

The structure of the A3 printers does not differ from DIN A4 printers. The paper is either inserted into the printer, but in some models from Canon or HP it can also be used in a separate paper tray on the back of the printer. The paper feeder pulls the paper into the printer - the print head moves over the paper and colours the paper in the desired colours. Either paper is printed line by line or completely, depending on the type of printer.

Other visual differences between A3 printers and A4 printers are hard to detect and depend - if at all - on the manufacturers' built-in special functions. Professional A3 printers are higher than private A3 printers and can be placed in the office as so-called printer towers.

Functions of an A3 printer

Manufacturers offer A3 printers both as laser and inkjet printers. Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages, which is mostly reflected in the price.

  • A3 Laser Printer: The A3 laser printer works with a so-called OPC image drum - the Organic Photo Conductor image drum. This image drum is charged negatively, whereby the drawn-in A3 paper is charged positively. The laser in the interior irradiates the image drum and neutralizes all points so that later only negatively charged particles reach the paper. The image is completely burned onto the paper at a temperature of almost 200 degrees Celsius. This means that subsequent copies can be made more quickly.

  • A3 Inkjet printer: The inkjet printer does not print images in one step, but works line by line. For this purpose, the printer uses either the piezo printing process or the bubble jet process. While the latter method works with a frequency of 10,000 Hertz and a high temperature, the piezo method can convince with 16,000 Hertz. In recent years, piezo printing has become established in A3 printers because the ink does not get onto the paper through heat, but is pressed through a nozzle onto the paper with the help of so-called piezo crystals.

Printing capacities

Printing capacities vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The technology of the printer is also decisive.

According to the manufacturers, an A3 laser printer can print between 20 and 25 pages per minute. Each additional copy, however, is much faster. The printer benefits from an enormously short warm-up phase until the first print can be carried out. The time until the first print can be between 12 and 14 seconds, depending on the device. These devices thus have a high printing capacity and also convince by high print quality, but are accordingly also high-priced and rather designed for professional use.

Those who want to buy an A3 inkjet printer do not have to dig so deep into their pockets and get a PPM value of up to 20 or 21. The PPM value indicates how many pages the printer can print per minute. The performance of the printer often depends on the respective product, in some cases it can even surpass the laser printer. However, this usually only happens when a strong inkjet printer is compared to a weak laser printer. In general it can be said that the inkjet printer is ready for use faster, but the laser printer can print much faster in comparison as soon as the warm-up phase is bridged.

A3 Printer Accessories

The most common A3 printer accessories include toner and ink cartridges as well as paper. While ink cartridges are only used with inkjet printers, A3 laser printers must be filled with toner.

Ink & Toner

So-called XXL cartridges are often used with an A3 printer for the office. These are available as XXL toners as well as XXL ink cartridges. While the XXL toners produce almost 6,500 prints per toner, the XXL ink cartridges produce about 2,000 to 3,000 prints in colour.
For comparison: normal toners manage between 2,000 and 3,000 prints, while standard ink cartridges reach a value of almost 1,000 prints per cartridge.


The same rules apply to paper as to normal A4 printers. However, a distinction must be made between laser and inkjet printers. While inkjet printers are more suitable for pure color printing, laser printers are more efficient for tables, graphics and other everyday tasks. When feeding paper, buyers should be aware that the A3 printer can have multiple compartments or partitions. On most models, the infeed is shaped so that both A3 papers and smaller formats such as A4 and A5 can be loaded.

  • Plain paper (60-90 g/m³)
  • Heavy paper (91-120 g/m³)
  • Coated paper (coated paper) - Laser printer
  • Foils (glossy paper)
  • Recycled paper(80 g/m³)
  • envelopes
  • Professional photo paper (210 g/m³) - inkjet printer
  • Photo glossy paper (270 g/m³) - Ink jet printer
  • Silk gloss photographic paper (30 g/m³) - Ink jet printer
  • Matt photo paper (170 g/m³) - Ink jet printer
  • chandelier photo paper (260 g/m³) - inkjet printer
  • High-resolution paper (100 g/m³)

Special features of the A3 printer

A3 printers are regarded as exceptions, as most models work with DIN A4 and A3 formats. So you can choose between both sizes according to your needs. In general it can be said that A3 printers are mainly used for printing plans or instructions. This is why they are particularly popular with civil engineers and architects.


  • Also designed for smaller formats
  • Available as laser printer and inkjet printer
  • Long service life
  • Good quality printing


  • High acquisition costs in some cases
  • Rarely used A3 formats
  • Bigger than A4 models

A3 Printer Customer Segment

A3 printers can be used for both private and business purposes. While private A3 printers are similar to normal A4 printers and only have a wider paper compartment, A3 office printers are often offered as towers. Towers often work with XXL cartridges and XXL toners and can print multiple documents in different formats at the same time. The larger the printer, the more pages can be printed within a minute.

The printer towers convince in the test by very low operating costs and allow an extended document management. In most cases, such devices are connected to several PCs or other end devices at the same time, so that print commands can be transferred from the network. If such a function is available, a tower can process several projects at the same time. But such A3 printers also have their price.