What is a Digital Printer?

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written By:

Updated November 28, 2022

If you are new to reproducing documents, you may wonder what a digital printer is. Many of the best printers feature unique designs and capabilities, and these include digital models. So what exactly is a digital printer, do you need one, and what benefits do they bring to the table for average folks? Keep reading to find out.


  • Simply put, a digital printer is any printer that reproduces digital prints from a digital source, such as a PDF.
  • With that said, most modern printers are digital printers to some extent unless they require an independent printing plate like an offset printer.
  • Digital printers are available in a wide range of styles, from laser printers to color inkjet printers and beyond.

What is a Digital Color Printer?

Digital printing refers to a printer that prints directly from a PDF or a related digital file without the need for a plate or intermediary. This design is popular with the best office printers. Many types of digital printers go above and beyond the features offered by standard offset printers, even if you are learning about continuous-ink systems. The setup time here is virtually nonexistent, which is not the same when learning about solvent printers.

Insider Tip

Despite printing digitally, this type of printer must still be cleaned and maintained at regular intervals.

Digital printing usually refers to professional printing jobs if you are learning how laser printers work, but it also refers to general residential use. For instance, if you use a standard inkjet to print directly from a PDF, you are engaging with digital printing and likely will not have to learn the best color laser printer for home use. Digital printers have a wide range of uses, and the same cannot be said of MFP printers.

What are Digital Printers Used For?

Digital printing is simply printing from a digital source, so they have a wide variety of uses. Students use digital printing methods to print out essays. Freelance workers use this type of printing process to reproduce official work documents. Companies use them to make batch jobs of important documents. The use cases here are truly endless.

Benefits of a Digital Model

There are a number of benefits to choosing a model with digital printing capabilities over an old-school offset printer.

  • Efficiency – You don’t need to send a digital document to any kind of hub or relay before passing it on to the printer. You send it directly to the printer, boosting efficiency.
  • Speed – With an uptick in efficiency, comes an uptick in speed. Using a standard digital printer can help save precious time, though making multiple documents depends on your make and model.
  • Versatility – Digital printers are available in a wide range of designs, from laser printers to standard inkjets and beyond. Experiment to find what works for you.

STAT: A digital printer is an all-encompassing umbrella term for both laser and inkjet printers. Essentially, as long as the printer has digital capabilities, for example, it can receive documents wirelessly or print from a cloud – we can call it a digital printer. (source)

Digital Printing FAQs

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is recreating a 3D design schematic, which is something not handled by offset printing or screen printing. This task starts with a digital-based image before moving on to a 3D printer.

What are some good HP printers?

HP is known for creating a number of good printers for offset printing, screen printing, printing via traditional methods, and, of course, digital printing technology. The company manufactures models that excel with both digital printing processes and with printing surface diversity.

Why do you need a digital inkjet printer?

Using a digital inkjet printer over a laser printer is a great way to increase the speed of your prints, though laser toner cartridges tend to last a lot longer when printing a digital image.
Lawrence Bonk Profile image