Sheet-Fed Versus Web Printing – Which is Right for Your Printing Project

At Lithographics, we handle a myriad of different printing projects. If you can imagine it, there’s a good chance we have the advanced equipment, technical know-how, and practical experience to bring your ideas to life. The problem that the average printing customer faces is their unfamiliarity with the various printing options. Although we’ve spent years mastering these tools and techniques, we understand how daunting it can be for newcomers. 

While there are multiple kinds of printing, the vast majority of projects invariably fall into one of two categories: sheet-fed or web printing. Here we’ll dive into both printing techniques to give you a better idea of which is right for your printing project. You’ll come away with a better understanding of printing in general as well as some pros and cons of each method. 


What’s Sheet-Fed Printing?

Sheet-fed printing sees individual pieces of paper, hence the name, being fed into the machine. While these single papers used to be fed manually, advanced equipment now allows a roll to be used. However, the paper is still cut into individual pieces before being used in a process known as sheeting. Naturally, this extra step makes offset printing more expensive, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. 

The Advantages 

  • Individual sheets can be processed more than once.
  • It’s possible to produce special finishes. 
  • The results are still of high quality.
  • It’s an economic option for low-capacity orders and smaller runs. 
  • You can use heavier and thicker paper and board stocks.
  • It takes less time to set up.

The Cons 

  • It produces slower once up and running.
  • There’s less versatility and flexibility in the printing process.


What’s Web Printing? 

Web printing equipment always prints directly from rolls, eliminating the need to cut sheets beforehand. This also allows larger rolls to be used throughout the process as all cutting takes place after the printing. Those in need of larger orders will certainly find web printing to be the most useful and cost-effective. 

The Advantages 

  • Produces results quicker than sheet-fed printing.
  • Thinner and lower weight paper stocks are usable. 
  • The final image results are clearer and more attractive. 
  • You can have a variety of different folds with inline finishing capabilities. 
  • You’ll get your orders quicker than using a sheet-fed printer. 

The Cons 

  • It takes more time to set up in the beginning.
  • It’s only suitable for larger projects that require the printing of thousands of items.


There are some important differences between sheet-fed and web printing consumers should consider. The size of your project, the material you’re using, your budget, the desired turn-around time and other important factors will all help Lithographics determine what option is best for you. Feel free to contact us to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.