Ever scanned through your phone and found very nice photos that you can’t afford to delete, like a photo of a beautiful sunset, an adorable baby, or even the most memorable moments of your life? That is what most people feel, especially when the photo is either a picture of them or taken by them. Whatever the subject of the photo is, nothing gives more joy than to feel those photos with your bare hands or even see it every day on the wall of your house. So, in case you want to feel that joy, or you’re eyeing to put up a printing business, you should probably get not just a simple photo printer–but the best photo printer. But what is a photo printer?
A photo printer, as the term suggests, is a device that prints photos. Although there are many other printers who can do that, such as portable printers or 3D printers, photo printers have unique features specific to printing photos. It may be true that some photo printers can print documents, but it would just actually defeat the purpose of having one.
Best Photo Printers for High-Resolution Images
When we speak of the best photo printer, it would most likely come from the top company brands such as Canon, Epson, and HP. These brands have been constantly innovating and making sure that their products remain on top. While there are a lot of brands to choose from, theirs will always be on the top of every article out there. To make everything simpler, we have narrowed down the list to 15, making it more convenient for you to choose the best photo printer that suits your needs.
The Canon Pixma TS5320 is one of Canon’s all-in-one photo printers, which means that it has other functions aside from printing such as copying and scanning. It’s capable of printing up to letter-size borderless photos. Its auto-duplexer allows two-sided printing, which the older model lacks. It also supports voice-activated commands deployed on different platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant smart speakers, and even Apple’s Siri as long as it supports IFTTT (If This Then That) scripting technology.
This Canon photo printer does not print too fast, but the photos that come out of it are good. Another point of concern about this product is it is stuck with the four basic ink colors. Its ink configuration doesn’t make things better, either. The two tanks utilized in this printer hold one and three ink colors, respectively. This would most likely increase the cost should any of the three ink colors from the tank holding it empties because it would require a replacement for the entire cartridge. However, TS5320 is still good for those looking for an all-in-one photo printer.
Expensive printers come with great specs. This Epson SureColor P800 is good as it comes with a roll feeder, a feature that is not available among competing 13” printers. Its advanced media handling makes it easier to print with your desired aspect ratio up to even 10-foot long panoramas. Its photographic quality is indeed good as it uses nine-color Epson UltraChrome HD inks. When it comes to blacks, the P800 delivers it best. The only downside of P800 is that the black inks are sharing a channel.
This EcoTank printer comes in letter and 13” format. Supplied with two high-capacity ink bottles, this model could produce a great output of up to 14,000 mono documents and 3,400 6×4-inch photos. It has a 2.7-inch screen that allows you to see the progress of its activity. The ET-7700 offers multiple types of connectivity as it has built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet as well as the USB 2.0 interface. The highlights and lowlights option and print speed may still be something to work on, but the accuracy of color rendition and the range of connectivity are good enough for this photo printer to be considered.
Planning to print wallet-size photos from a smartphone or tablet and being able to carry it anywhere would be a call for a portable printer. This HP Sprocket Select offers great convenience, as it can fit into your pocket and can wirelessly connect to any Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. The Select’s design and eco-friendly build appeal to a younger crowd. The Select has a battery-status LED which would show the status of the battery even when there is an error. It also has a light indicator that has a corresponding meaning based on the color and state of the light glow.
The HP Sprocket Select is very easy to use, and its use of Zink, a special kind of paper incorporating its own “ink,” makes it one of the best portable photo printers from our list.
This printer Canon unit uses Chromalife100+ dye inks and is supplied with eight cartridges, which is a prominent feature to look for if you’re in the market for the best photo printer. Its build is of high quality as well as the photos it prints. Its three monochrome inks allow it to provide exceptional black-and-white prints, and the other inks provide the same level of quality. It also offers various types of connectivity which were improved compared to its predecessors. Pixma Pro-100S may lack memory card slots, but it doesn’t change the fact that this printer model is worth being considered.
Opposite to Pro-100S, this photo printer uses 10 pigment inks rather than dye ink. Pixma Pro-10S has Chroma Optimizer, an ink cartridge that allows high-quality printing on photos on glossy paper. This pays attention to the type of paper used as it offers individual channels in the print head for both photo and matte black inks. This will save not only time but also the inks when you feel like swapping between paper types.
Having to use pigment inks makes it pricey, true. The accuracy of colors and great output quality makes Pixma Pro-10S worth the price that it demands, though.
The Expression Photo XP 970 is a 3-in-1 photo printer that can print A3 size despite having a sleek design. Its use of six ink cartridges would speak a lot about photo prints it can produce. Like any other photo printers, it can achieve great accuracy in terms of color and quality. The cost of ink may cost a little high, but it’s already a given, especially with quality photo printers. However, compared to most rivals, XP970 lacks in color range.
What makes this item worth considering is the built-in scanner and the ink cartridges that can be replaced individually. Its large screen can also be a factor since it would be easier to use. With wireless devices like these, you’ll need a good wifi-booster for faster and more efficient printing.
This photo printer comes also with a price as it offers the best qualities a printer could have. Its six inks result in outstanding print outputs, especially the photo quality. The build quality is also exceptional since the front panel can automatically tilt and the output tray can be extended. The printer also has a feature that allows it to print on white CDs/DVDs. TS9120 also offers a wide range of connectivity, as it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and also a memory card slot.
The HP Envy 6055 is an excellent printer that can scan and copy aside from the print function. It’s one to be considered because of how cheap and convenient it is to use. The quality of the photos it can print is also commendable, making it a good choice for a photo printer.
Envy 6055, however, is not fast when it comes to printing. Another thing to note is that there is no Ethernet port or USB port just in case you need to print images stored in a flash drive. The cost of the ink may also be a little expensive should you wish to replace the cartridges with high-capacity carts.
The XP 960 is also one to be considered. Not only does it offer six instead of just five color inks, but it’s also able to handle A3 paper, which makes it different from other average all-in-one printers. Duplex printing is also applicable, which can cause a faster completion of prints. Like the XP970, it also has an LCD screen which would help to make things easier in selecting functions. One of the things this photo printer lacks is the automatic document feeder (ADF) which is responsible for scheduling print jobs.
This photo printer is probably one of the best photo printers as it offers a variety of ink colors and reaches a wide range of connectivity. Its six-ink machine allows you to print high-quality photos and accurately colored graphics. Aside from its card slot, USB port, and ability to connect through Wi-fi and Bluetooth, it is also compatible with smart home devices. It is a suitable candidate for the best all-in-one photo printer.
Just like the Epson Expression Photo XP 960, the TS 8320 also lacks ADF, but it does not change the fact that this is still a great pick.
This all-in-one printer can still give a vibrant photo print despite having just only four ink colors. It also has a wide range of connectivity which would allow for faster and more convenient print functions. This model also has a 2.65-inch touchscreen interface that allows easy access to some functions.
One problem with Envy Photo 7855 is the combined ink cartridge, which would affect the cost should one of the inks from that cartridge empties. This would require the inks from the entire cartridge to be replaced, which in turn would raise your expenses upwards. But this is still a nice pick since the printer has a lower price compared to its rivals. Its other functions like scanning and copying also make it an ideal buy.
If you’re looking for a fast printer that can also produce high-quality outputs, the Epson Expression Photo XP 8600 may be an option for you. This A4 photo printer offers a wide variety of color ranges which gives a close, if not same, quality as the image produced in the camera. Its six individual inks would give you a hint that it can produce the best photo prints. Its photo paper tray has a limited size, but this shortcoming doesn’t take away the fact that it is a quality product.
This wireless printer is designed to work only with the HP Smart App because there is no available control panel and screen. It’s wireless that even a USB or Ethernet port is not available, so you would have to run the app on your PC or smartphone if you want to use it to print pictures.
On the bright side, the Tango X can scan and copy from a photo taken with your smartphone. There is also a function in the app that allows you to print Facebook photos. The quality of the print is also good with lots of fine details, so you might consider this model if you’re someone who uses their smartphone most of the time.
Despite not being considered a high-end machine, the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is still in the game. With its five ink colors, it would provide great outputs. Photos would greatly benefit from this printer since there will be a wider range of color gamut. It is also capable of printing, scanning, and copying two-sided documents with the use of its auto-duplexing ADF.
The XP 7100 is also capable of printing on CDs/DVDs, making it comparable to the high-end models. These functions can negatively affect the running costs, but it’s a price to pay for significant features.
So, which is the best photo printer from the list provided? It will always boil down to what truly fits your needs. There may be a lot of factors to consider, but thoroughly filtering your options would surely give you satisfaction in the long run. You wouldn’t want to rush buying a photo printer just because you find one factor to be great. Put also into consideration the other factors since failure to do so would just lead to wasting money only to find out that your needs aren’t met.
Whether or not you are a professional, there is a photo printer out there that is best suited for you and would make it worth your money. The question that begs to be asked now is this: how do you know that you are buying the best photo printer? Here are some factors to consider.
Things to Consider When Buying a Photo Printer
Since not all photo printers have the same features, it is important to figure out the things that would help you decide which is the best photo printer that would cater to your specific needs. To help you pick the best photo printer, you must consider the following criteria:
Size of Printer/ Print
One of the best ways to categorize printers is through their size and the maximum size of the print they can produce. Since this sets the limitation of a printer and will not change during its lifetime, it is important to have this considered before buying. The size of both the printer and print would initially show your purpose of buying one. For beginners who want to have photo printers for home use, it’d be fine to go with standard letter-sized models. Even 13” wide units are fine if most of the photos that you will print range from 4×6” to the standard 13×19” format. If you’re less serious or just want a photo printer, which you could bring anywhere, go with portable photo printers.
Professionals, on the other hand, would go with larger models such as 17” wide, which would allow larger prints and panoramic sizes. Models that span 24” are also a good purchase if necessary. Anything beyond that would have to be thought of carefully since you will be looking at expensive maintenance costs.
Number of Ink Colors
The quality of the printed image would, of course, depend on the ink colors that the printer offers. Ink configurations normally range from four, six, eight, and even 12-color pigment inks. It is a significant factor that can affect the outcome of the photos because having more ink colors would result in achieving a wider color gamut. Gamut, in layman’s terms, refers to the number of colors the printer can produce.
Most home printers have only four basic ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. They are also known as the CMYK. This being said, it would affect the quality of the outcome since the color of the printed image won’t be accurate because of the limited color gamut range. The ones you see on your screen may be a little different from the printed photo because of this. This is the reason why most photo printers now have more ink colors to work with.
The type of ink to be used is also being considered because it would influence how long a printed photo would last and how strong the colors it would offer. Although the type of paper used also influences the printed photo’s life, it is important to know which type of ink suits your needs.
There are two types of ink–pigment and dye inks. If you’re to compare dye-based ink to pigment ink, the former offers a little brighter outcome and more saturated colors. The latter, on the other hand, is superior when it comes to measuring the lifetime of the photo. Pigment inks last longer, but it often comes with a greater price.
Most printers have quite a lot of modes for resolution, so you have to assure yourself that you’re getting the best quality by finding the ones that offer great print resolution capabilities. It would normally range from 360-2880 dots per inch (dpi), but picking at least 600dpi would suffice since it is the standard for most printers now. To find the best photos that you want printed online, you will need to learn how to check your internet speed so you can ensure faster browsing.
For fine art reproduction or professionals, 1200dpi would also be good since its higher resolution ensures better prints. Beyond that, one might hardly notice the difference in resolution.
One must not forget that the type of paper to be used may be just as important as the other factors. The thickness of the paper that the printer can handle must also be considered because some printers cannot support paper that are too thick. You have to know what type of media you will most likely use to decide which photo printer is best for you.
Transferring a photo to a printer can sometimes be a hassle for some. Many people are looking for the convenience of not having to connect to a computer to print photos from their camera or memory card. Fortunately, most printers, if not all, are already offering this option. Various printer brands are still stepping up their game by having more types of connectivity integrated to their products. While some printer models only offer just a single USB connector, some would make an Ethernet jack available for faster sharing on a network.
Other models would also offer a connection through Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth, which is the common method nowadays when transferring files from mobile phones, tablets, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. There are also printer models that offer all types of connectivity, so you might want to see which one does that.
The speed of the print differs from one photo printer to another, and it will also depend mostly on the image you want to print. There are print speeds that are displayed along with the printer units in some stores, but don’t be fooled by this as it is usually a draft and non-photo print. You would either have to test it firsthand or read some reviews available online to gather the accuracy of the print speed.
Those who put print speed into consideration may be thinking of accomplishing a lot of outputs in a day or say a week, but bear in mind that a faster print speed would decrease the quality. To avoid that, look for photo printers that print fast without sacrificing output quality.
The last, but not the least, factor to consider is your price range or budget. When we speak of the price range, it doesn’t necessarily involve just the price of the printer unit but also the cost per page or CPP. The price of the printer alone can either be overwhelming or underwhelming, but you must not miss checking the CPP to expect how much it would take to keep the photo printer running smoothly.
It is not easy to identify the cost per page when you print, especially when the photo printer uses a lot of ink colors. It’s because it’s hard to know when and how much of the extra inks are used.
Reasons to Buy a Photo Printer
To know if it’s worth buying, ask yourself why you need one. There are possibly several reasons for buying a photo printer, and one of those is for business or professional use. Some people might be investing to put up a printing business. Professional photographers might be planning to sell their work themselves. Picking the best photo printer would be a great way to start achieving your business goals. The scale of the business can sometimes be determined by the size of the printer, but it will still depend on how often you think you’d use it and what size you would print most often. You must remember that photo printers, especially the large-format units, require a high level of maintenance.
On the other hand, some people would buy a photo printer for home use. Students or anyone at home might be interested in printing high-resolution images to preserve special moments in their lives. Regardless if the image is something to hang on their wall or to put in a picture frame, they would normally want to have it in the best quality possible. Some may opt for convenience so they would look for portable photo printers, which they can bring anywhere they want.
How to Clean a Photo Printer
It may not be part of your consideration, but knowing how to clean your printer is something you should be aware of. You may not count this as one of the things you should worry about, but you’ve got nothing to lose when you try to know since it’s part of the maintenance. After all, you wouldn’t want to print a photo one day only to find out that the printed photo has missing details.
Fortunately, cleaning a printer can be done by a computer. There is built-in self-cleaning software available to your printer to repair any print-related issues. This can be done by following the steps that are often available in the user manual. In case you lost it, you can try to follow these steps (if applicable) to clean the print head.
How to Clean on Windows
If you are using a Windows computer, go to Control Panel and click on Devices and Printers. The devices and printers will be shown. Right-click on the printer that needs cleaning and click on Properties at the bottom part of the menu. A pop-up will appear which will show General and Hardware options. Click on the Hardware. Then click the Cleaning option and follow what would be asked for in the cleaning process. If it doesn’t appear, a self-cleaning option may not be part of your printer’s features.
How to Clean on Mac
For Mac devices, go to the Apple Menu and look for System Preferences. You will find in the window the Printers & Scanners option which would lead you to the list of printers and scanners. Next is you have to select the printer that needs cleaning. In Options & Supplies, you will find the Utility option on top of the window tab. Click that as well as the Open Printer Utility option which will lead you to the cleaning options. Click the function that you need and follow any on-screen prompts.
To check if the cleaning fixed the problem, you may want to try printing on a sheet of paper and see if it went back to normal. If the result still shows an inaccurate image, it would be best to contact a service representative.