Offset vs. Digital Printing: The Battle of the Ultimate Best

When it comes to high-quality commercial or professional print solutions, compared to other printers, offset and digital printing are undoubtedly ahead of the game. However, that leaves us with the question, “Which one is better?”

Although it is not possible to provide a universal, unbiased response—as the two have their distinct benefits that the other cannot have an equal footing with, this content will instead provide you these printing machines’ most critical pros and cons. All of which you might need for deciding what would benefit best your type of business.

However, before weighing their pros and cons, let us have a clear differentiation about the basics of these two printing machines first:

Offset printing machines utilize a computer to plate printing method for creating the metal plate that contains the image the final output must have. Consequently, the ink from the metal plate is transferred to rubber blankets and then rolled into the final chosen material.

Offset printing allows printing your high-grade image (and text) to several surfaces other than paper. Additionally, offset printing machines run so efficiently that they are expected to encounter no delays once the equipment is set up.

Digital printing machines, on the other hand, is pertained to as the movement from what used to be the conventional analog printing to the ‘on-demand’ production. That means that instead of being made for mass-production, digital printing caters to the market of those requiring multi-product and high-mix yet low-volume printing.

OFFSET PRINTING

Pros:  

  • Fit for extensive volumes applications that require consistent high-quality—clean-looking, sharp, and fine printing production.
  • Best for printing books, pamphlets, magazines, daily papers, and stationery.
  • As more output is printed from each cycle, the cost of each print becomes cheaper.
  • Work on different printing surfaces other than a variety of paper; even on metal, wood, and plastic.
  • The stream of ink is controllable preventing delays caused by running out; also, it prevents blurring in the output.
  • Printing plates can be used for over a million output.

Cons: 

  • Production cost if will be used for low-volume printing.
  • Printing of plates lengthens the production time.
  • Offset printing plates needs extra care and maintenance as it is prone to chemical oxidation.

DIGITAL PRINTING 

Pros:

  • Colors are not limited that allows unlimited design possibilities having full color and gradation.
  • It does not use plates. Hence, easier and quicker to operate.
  • Involves digital means of color-matching; thus, quicker production.
  • Cheaper especially for low-volume production.
  • Includes additional output effects such as glossy finish, texture print, and even embossed printing.

Cons:

  • Produces lower sharpness and crispness; has slightly reduced quality.
  • Expensive if used for high-volume production.
  • Has less color fidelity.
  • Possible printing surfaces are limited.

In the end, it has been proven that to identify which one is better, one must be particular with his/her business needs. The final takeaway for you is that it is best to consider long-term considerations when choosing to purchase your commercial, professional printing machine.

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