Wide Format PrintingWide Format Scanning

What to Know When Buying Used Wide Format Equipment

Very Old Diazo Blueprint Machine

The Hidden Dangers of Buying a Used Wide Format Scanner / Plotter

Old Wide Format ScannerWhen it comes to acquiring office equipment like wide format scanners or wide format plotters, many businesses explore the option of buying used devices to save costs. While purchasing second-hand equipment may seem like a prudent decision, it is crucial to consider the potential pitfalls involved. In this blog, we’ll discuss the hidden dangers associated with buying a used wide format scanner or wide format plotter, shedding light on important factors to consider before making such a purchase.

What’s Included?

Do your homework; find out what components are needed for long term operation of the equipment. For example, many wide format scanners require an activation code; if you don’t have it the scanner will not function.  If you are unsure what’s needed, call an expert (at AZ Overland Blueprint) and ask.  Also, make certain that you see the equipment running prior to purchasing so that you can see first-hand that it works properly.

Warranty and Support:

One of the major drawbacks of buying a used wide format scanner or wide format plotter is the absence of a warranty. Unlike new equipment that typically comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, used devices may lack this essential protection. In case of malfunction or breakdown, you may find yourself in a challenging situation with no support or assistance. Repairing such equipment can be expensive, negating the initial cost savings of buying used.

Product Lifespan:

Used wide format scanners or or wide format plotters may have already endured years of service before coming into your possession. As a result, their lifespan and reliability might be compromised. Components like print heads, motors, or sensors may be worn out, leading to frequent breakdowns and costly repairs. The risk of investing in a device that will soon become obsolete or require replacement is a significant concern when purchasing used equipment.


Perhaps the most important issue is how rapidly technology changes. Wide format scanners or wide format plotters often rely on software and drivers for seamless integration with your existing systems. When buying used, there is a higher likelihood of encountering compatibility issues, particularly if the device is older or lacks updated drivers. Manufacturers’ create drivers with the then current operating systems; however, when a new operating systems is introduced to the public years later, the user of that equipment has to utilize a computer with the older operating system in order to keep using the older equipment. Incompatibility with new operating systems can result in frustrating software glitches, limited functionality, or even complete equipment failure, hampering your workflow and productivity.

Energy Consumption:

With advancements in technology, newer wide format scanners or wide format plotter are designed to be energy-efficient, helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint and operational costs. Used equipment, on the other hand, may consume more power due to outdated technology or less efficient components. The increased energy consumption can lead to higher utility bills and adversely affect your sustainability efforts.

Scalability and Upgrading:

As your business grows, you might find the need to expand your printing or scanning capabilities. However, purchasing a used wide format scanner or wide format plotter can limit your options for scalability. Older models may lack the features and functionalities required to meet your evolving needs. Additionally, upgrading used equipment to accommodate new requirements can be challenging and costly, ultimately hindering your ability to adapt to changing market demands.  Let’s face it, investing in older technology rarely makes much sense.


While buying a used wide format scanner or wide format plotter may initially seem like a cost-effective solution, it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls involved.  The hope that it works, lack of warranty and support, uncertain product lifespan, compatibility issues, higher energy consumption, and limited scalability are all significant concerns when considering used equipment. Before making a purchase decision, carefully evaluate the long-term costs and potential risks associated with buying second-hand devices. In many cases, investing in new equipment might provide better value, reliability, and peace of mind for your business.

If you want more help deciding which type is right for you, or want our expert opinion of which specific plotter &/or scanner is right for your particular needs, call us at (602) 224-9971 or contact us now, we’re happy to help!

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