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Finding the best photo printer can be a minefield of unanswered questions, from the quality of the photo print, to how long the printer’s ink lasts. In the past, I’ve struggled to find really solid dedicated photo printers that will stand the test of time, printing high quality photos without costing a fortune in ink.
Now, I’m putting all of my research and experience into this article, to make it easy for you to find the best photo printer for photographers, so your pictures look as good on the wall as they do on your monitor.
This article will cover every high quality photo printer on the market today, including Canon printers reviews, and will show you why the best inkjet photo printer currently available is the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300.
The full photo printer reviews of the best printer for photographers includes the below models:
- Best Portable Photo Printer – Canon SELPHY CP1300
- Best HP Printer for Home Use – HP Tango
- Best HP Photo Printer – HP ENVY 6055
- Best Canon Photo Printer – Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300
- Canon Pixma Photo Printer – Canon PIXMA G2200
- Best Canon Printers All in One – Canon PIXMA TS6320
- One of the Best Inkjet Printers – Canon Pixma iX6820
- Professional Photo Printer – Canon Pixma Pro-100
- Best Photo Printer for Home – Canon TS8320
- Best Large Format Printer – Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Best Epson Photo Printer – Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
- Epson Professional Photo Printer – Epson SureColor P700
- Best Epson Printer for Home – Epson EcoTank ET-2720
- Epson All in One Photo Printer – Epson Expression Premium XP-7100
Comparisons of the Best Printer for Photos
Take a look at the table below for comparisons of the best printer for photos. Further down the article are the full reviews, including Epson printer reviews.
Pros / Cons
No. of Inks
Max. Print Width
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 [Best Home Photo Printer]
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 [The Best Photo Printer]
What Makes Top Rated Photo Printers?
The best photography printers all share several traits in common, ranging from high print quality, to long lasting ink cartridges, and the ability to print on many different sizes of paper.
I have determined which are the top rated photo printers using the criteria below, listed in order of importance. If you want to do any further research, feel free to use the questions in this list to guide you.
- What is your budget?
- How good is the color accuracy?
- What print sizes are possible?
- What’s the DPI of each print?
- How many sheets can each ink cartridge print?
- What is the printer’s connectivity?
Cost varies significantly when looking for the best printer for photo printing, from over $1000 for a dedicated top end machine, down to $150 for a still very good photo printer that has all in one capabilities.
Your budget will determine how good a printer overall you can get, and may also steer you towards certain brands – in Canon vs Epson printers, Canon tend to offer a wider range of budget devices, along with some very expensive models.
The best color printer for photos will offer a wide gamut of colors and superior accuracy than other models, with prints matching what you would see on a calibrated monitor.
It stands to reason that to have the widest range of most accurate colors in a print requires a printer that can take a wide range of different inks.
The most basic printers have only two ink cartridges – one color and one black. Obviously this means that color accuracy will be lacking.
For the highest level of color accuracy, you should be looking at the Canon 6 color photo printers at least, or a model with even more individual color cartridges. The most expensive model reviewed here has an 11-color system of individual inks, allowing a much more subtle gradation of colors in your pictures.
When thinking about printer brands for the best color accuracy, Canon will always win out in Canon vs HP printers, and Epson will offer better colors in Epson vs HP printers, but in terms of Epson vs Canon printers, the final print tends to look pretty similar – as long as you have an Epson or Canon printer, you can be assured of very good color accuracy, and a wide color gamut.
Small, portable photo printers like the Canon Selphy are often only capable of printing at maximum sizes of 6″ x 4″, approximately postcard sized and suitable for photo albums or for using in a collage of images for your wall.
But the best Canon printer for photos, the Canon Pro-300, prints at up to sizes of 19 inches wide, which means that you can create stunning centerpiece displays on your walls without having to order prints from a specialist printing company. Of course, printers that can produce pictures in this size are physically much larger than more constrained printers, so if you are wanting large prints, make sure you have space for the printer first!
Although you will pay more money for large format printers, the results can be truly stunning, and these come highly recommended if you care at all about displaying your photography in its best light.
Dots per Inch (DPI)
It’s typical to consider the maximum physical size of each print to determine the best printer for pictures, but you should also take into account the dots per inch, or DPI, that each printer can handle.
This refers to how tightly spaced the individual dots of color on the print are, with a higher DPI meaning that prints can contain very fine detail, and do not begin to look fuzzy as you get closer to them. This is less a concern for smaller prints, but is very important when you get to large format sizes.
As an example, the best inkjet photo printer has a DPI in the long axis of 4800, while the worst is 300 DPI. There is a clearly noticeable quality difference between prints from these two devices.
Number of Prints per Ink Cartridge
A major concern when looking for photo printers is the length of time each ink cartridge will last for before running dry. This is of particular concern for devices which contain multiple cartridges like the Epson 6 color inkjet printer and above.
If your printer only has one color and one black cartridge, you only have to pay for two cartridges to get a full replacement, and can often buy generic ink. If you need to replace 11 color cartridges on the other hand, you will obviously be forced to spend a lot more money, and generally will have to buy official ink, as not enough people own the more expensive, specialist printers, so generic ink companies do not produce ink for them.
In general, an Epson printer will normally run out of ink quicker than a Canon inkjet, but in practice there is very little difference between brands.
I have listed ink cartridge average life, and approximate replacement cost, for each photo printer in the full reviews.
It has now become standard for printers to connect to your home WiFi, meaning that prints can be sent remotely, without having to plug a cable into your computer. I have noted in the full reviews which printers are WiFi accessible, and which aren’t.
Also, many printers now have touchscreen interfaces which you can use to preview prints and even make minor edits. These printers are generally more straightforward to use.
Photo Printer Reviews
You can find the full printer reviews below, including the Canon Pixma printer reviews, the HP photo printer reviews, and the Epson photo printer reviewsBest Portable Photo Printer
- Most compact, portable printer
- You can edit prints from the printer’s screen
- Excellent connectivity, and can print from SD cards
- Best printer under $100
- Optional battery pack for even better portability
- Slow print speed due to dye sublimation process
- Max print size is 4″ x 6″
As the best mini photo printer, the Canon Selphy is perfect if you are intent on printing photos when not at home. This portable photo printer prints at 4×6 inches max photo size, as you would expect for such a small picture printer – you are not getting large prints from it.
The optional battery pack makes this incredibly portable, and the additional modes like ‘photo booth’ are a lot of fun for party photography.
Although this may not seem like a good choice of printer for serious photographers, it does have one advantage over every other printer reviewed here – it is dye sublimation rather than inkjet. This means that printing takes much longer, as each print has to go through multiple passes to complete, but by using ribbons that use heat to transfer the dye onto your print, you get much better tonal transitions and gradations.
Print quality for dye sublimation printers is considered much higher than for inkjet printers thanks to the increased number of colors possible (16.8 million!), meaning prints from the Selphy are likely to be those that most closely match the image on your monitor. As one of the best printers under 100 dollars, the Selphy is an excellent choice for a carry-around, secondary printer, and for general family printing.
13. HP TangoBest HP Home Printer
- Strong wireless support, including hands-free printing through Alexa
- Looks good and very small and compact
- Access to HP’s instant ink service – free photo prints!
- Relatively quick print speed
- No integrated scanner – scans via phone app
- Not for high volume printing
- Photo print quality not as strong as dedicated photo printers
The Tango makes a good case to be the best HP printer for home use, with its very compact size, print, copy and scan features, and strong app support and hands-free printing through Alexa. You will need a phone in order to make best use of this printer, with scanning performed via the app.
The printer is small enough to easily sit on your desk, and looks good doing so. The paper tray is relatively small however, so is not suited to high volume printing. Photo print quality is good, but nowhere near the pricier printers that are dedicated to photo printing.
Perhaps one of the most useful features is the inclusion of two months free of HP’s instant ink service (costing $2.99 / month thereafter). This predicts when you will run out of ink (through sensors in the printer), and automatically sends you new cartridges. For the price, you get enough prints for 50 pages per month, and free unlimited photo prints up to 5 x 7 inches. If you want to print a lot of photos at or below this size, then this printer becomes an absolute steal.
Best Epson Home Printer
- Comes with a huge amount of ink and fantastic cost-per-print
- Replacement ink bottles can print up to 7500 sheets
- Small and compact
- Good photo printing quality
- No SD card support
- Can be difficult to reach paper jams
- Small screen, that doesn’t support touch
- Slow photo printing speed (approx. 90 secs)
The ET-2720 is the best Epson printer for home thanks to the insane level of ink that it can hold. You will be hard pressed to find a photo printer with a better cost-per-print ratio than this. Rather than having ink cartridges, the printer has individual color reservoirs that you fill with ink. This supertank system means that it is relatively cheap to refill, and can potentially go years without needing to be topped up.
There is an integrated scanner, which does not have any automatic features, and an app that you allows you to print from your phone via WiFi. You can’t print directly from SD cards, but most photographers would likely be printing photos following an edit, so would be printing from their computers.
Photo printing quality is generally good, although color accuracy is not great, and you may see a lack of vibrancy. Nonetheless, for very high volume printing, the ET-2720 is one of your best bets.
11. Canon TS8320All in One Printer for Home
- Great all in one printer
- High photo printing quality with well defined blacks
- Good cost-per-print
- Well designed touch screen interface
- Fast photo printing time (approx. 30 seconds)
- Excellent connectivity and handy mobile app
- Mediocre color accuracy
- Scanner does not have auto-document feeder or duplex option
- Can be difficult to get to paper jams
As one of the best printers for home, the TS8320 is a good choice if you are interested in photo printing on a budget. You get good ink life, and relatively cheap generic ink replacement, along with a fast photo printing time and high quality photos, considering the budget nature of this model.
Color accuracy is lacking when compared with professional models, but this is not unexpected. The blacks in photos actually come out well defined and with surprising depth, so this would make an excellent choice as a black and white photo printer.
The scanner works fine, but does not have any automatic functions, but this is at least partially made up for by the excellent touch screen interface and powerful mobile app. You can print, scan and copy from the app, sending documents to print directly from your smartphone, making this the best wireless all in one printer.
Pixma Photo Printer
- Very good cost-per-print
- Very high yield per ink cartridge
- Excellent scanner with auto-document feeder
- Borderless printing
- No WiFi or Bluetooth connection
- Mediocre color accuracy
- Slow printing speed (about 1 min / photo)
At under $200 at the time of review, the G2200 makes a firm stand in the HP Envy vs Canon Pixma battle, but doesn’t quite come out victorious. Poor connectivity hampers this device, which must be physically connected by wire to your computer in order to print. If this is not an issue for you, then you seriously consider the G2200 for photo printing.
There is also no touchscreen, or screen of any kind, which is to be expected with such a budget product, although the fairly mediocre color accuracy is less easy to dismiss. Photo prints are still pretty good, although you may see some banding and over-saturation of colors when compared to your monitor.
Where this printer really shines is in the extremely high yield from each ink cartridge, and minimal cost to replace them when buying generic ink. You can expect to make thousands of prints before needing an ink change, making this printer particularly strong if you intend to be printing a lot of photos. The addition of a scanner with auto-document feeder in a model at this low price makes it particularly attractive for home or family users.
Epson All in One Photo Printer
- Good (but not perfect) color accuracy
- Good photo printing quality with vibrant colors
- Excellent, duplex scanner
- Touch screen controls
- Automatic document feeder
- Epson send firmware updates to their printers that can prevent generic ink cartridges from working
- Very high ink cost per page and short life per ink cartridge
- Slow printing speed (over 1 min / photo)
As an all in one, Epson A4 photo printer, the XP-7100 is a good choice for a family or home printer, particularly if you intend to do a lot of scanning. The automatic document feeder and ability to sheetfeed the scanner means you don’t have to manually switch out papers, or flip them over to scan the other side – the scanner will do it all for you.
You get 4 color cartridges, plus a black, but the page yield is very poor, being unlikely to deliver over 100 sheets in practice before the ink needs replacing. Epson also have a habit of sending firmware updates to their printers to prevent generic inks from being used. Of course, generic ink producers can adapt their products to get around this, so check recent Amazon reviews of any generic inks before purchase to make sure that they still work.
There’s plenty of connectivity options, including WiFi, and you are able to print borderless prints with good color accuracy and vibrant colors. As a casual photo printer, the XP-7100 works well, but is left behind for more professional levels of prints but dedicated photo printers.
Best Canon Printers All in One
- Excellent photo print quality
- Low cost-per-print
- Two separate paper trays for regular and photo paper
- Fast photo printing (approx. 30 secs / photo)
- Mediocre color accuracy
- Small screen that is not touch
- No automatic scanning features
Photo print quality from the TS6320 is excellent, as you would hope from a modern printer produced by a well-known photography brand like Canon. The colors are vibrant, with perfect saturation, and details are sharp pleasing to the eye. Color accuracy doesn’t quite follow print quality, and you are likely to see colors not quite matching those on your monitor.
Cost-per-print is surprisingly good for a Canon printer, particularly when it comes to color-only printing. These color photo prints also come out relatively quickly, in just over 30 seconds on average, meaning you shouldn’t have to wait long if printing a large volume.
The scanner is fairly standard for printers in this price range, with no automatic document feeder or duplex mode, and the printer’s display screen is also pretty small, but remains functional and easy to use.
It’s handy to have two separate paper trays, so that you can load the printer with photo paper and regular paper, meaning you can easily use this for day-to-day printing, and for more specialist photo printing.
7. HP ENVY 6055Best HP Photo Printer
- Very good photo print quality
- Fantastic color accuracy
- Access to HP instant ink – free 5 x 7 photo prints!
- Small, compact, and easily fits on your desk
- Poor cost-per-print ratio
- No automatic scanning features
- No display screen
As the best HP printer for photos, you would expect the Envy 6055 to deliver superior photo print quality and color accuracy, and it does. With the ability to produce borderless prints, with the colors well-defined and strong detail, this also makes a case to be the best affordable printer given it’s near $100 current price.
The included scanner is useful, though does not have any automatic sheet feeding functions. But combined with the very good photo print quality, this is the best home all in one printer.
Although the color ink cartridge will only produce about 65 prints before requiring a relatively pricey replacement, you can currently sign up for HP instant ink on buying this printer (first 2 months free, then $2.99 / month). This gives you enough ink for 50 sheets per month, plus unlimited photo prints at up to 5 x 7 inches. You still have to buy photo paper of course, but ink will be ordered by the printer using WiFi when running low, so that you never run out.
With HP instant ink, the Envy 6055 becomes the best HP printer for photo printing.
Epson Professional Photo Printer
- Cost: $$$$$
- No. of Inks: 10
- Ink Life: Approx. 20 large sheets (A3+ size)
- Ink Cost (Official / Generic): Approx. $300 / N/A
- Max. Print Size: 129 x 13 inches
- DPI: 5760 x 1440
- Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB
- Size: 20.3″ x 30.3″ x 16.5″
- Can make huge prints
- Fantastic photo quality and color accuracy
- Fast photo printing for large prints (A3 in 2 mins 30 secs)
- Easy to use touchscreen and excellent connectivity
- Very expensive
- High cost-per-print
- Maintenance cart can use up a lot of ink
As the successor to the Epson Surecolor P600 inkjet printer, the P700 offers much the same high quality performance, but in an up-to-date package. You are getting photo lab quality images here, with fantastic color accuracy and photo quality, but this comes at a steep price.
Improvements include the printer now containing two kinds of black cartridges, one for gloss and one for lustre paper, with the printer auto-switching to the relevant black, depending on the photo paper type being used.
With large format photo printers, you generally expect a very large, heavy printer, but the P700 is remarkably small and light for its capabilities, coming in at 30% smaller than the previous model, the P600. Still, you will need a large desk space to fully accommodate the P700.
If you’re serious about your photography, and intend to produce a lot of very large, extremely high quality photo prints, then the P700 will serve you well, but if you are a more budget conscious user, or you are not printing regularly, then a more budget model, like the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000, would suit you better.
Canon Pixma Pro 100 Professional Photo Printer Review
- Relatively cheap generic ink available
- Photo lab high quality prints and color accuracy
- Relatively fast printing (A3 size in 90 secs)
- Includes two gray inks for superior black and white printing (after tuning)
- Limited max length of prints
- No screen
The Pixma Pro-100 is now a few years old, meaning the price is reasonable, and a wide selection of generic ink is now available. You will be getting photo lab quality prints, with exceptional color accuracy for your money – essentially professional prints.
The Pro-100 is designed more for home users than those printing every day, meaning that ink nozzles should not become clogged if there is a longer period of weeks between prints.
Although there are two gray inks in addition to the black, you will need to spend some time fine tuning the output to produce perfect black and white images. But if you do, you will have one of the best black and white printers on the market.
Surprisingly, generic ink is available relatively cheaply for the Pro-100, although this is not likely to give you the wow factor that you will get with official Canon ink.
I love the Pro-100, and find it an excellent high-end, yet budget choice. There are now better, more recent models available, but the print quality is already at the maximum for this model, so cannot really be improved upon. With the extra money for more up-to-date printers, all you are paying for is a slightly smaller size, and improved usability, such as a touchscreen.
Best Epson Photo Printer
- Top choice for home users wanting professional prints
- Excellent photo quality
- Fantasitc color accuracy from the Claria HD inks
- Relatively fast photo print speeds
- Two input trays
- Small footprint for it’s max print size
- High cost-per-print
- Control screen not touchscreen
- Generic inks rarely work in Epson printers
If you wanted to know what is the best Epson photo printer, then you have found it in the Expression XP-15000. The price is relatively low for such a high quality device, that gives you excellent photo quality and fantastic color accuracy, almost at a professional level.
Essentially, you are getting a printer designed for home users, with easy set up and a small footprint, that delivers professional level prints. You can really only beat this with a much more expensive printer, or by going to a pro lab.
As with all Epson printers, Epson regularly sends out firmware updates that block generic inks from working. For this Epson 6 color photo printer, you are looking at nearly $100 for a full set of genuine inks, which offer superb color accuracy, but do not last long. Nonetheless, this remains the best Epson printer for photos.
Canon Pixma Review
- Low cost option for home photo printing
- Excellent photo print quality
- High color accuracy with vibrant colors
- Good cost-per-print
- Good photo printing speed (< 1 min)
- Plasticky and cheap feeling build quality
- No display screen
This Canon Pixma photo printer is the most affordable high-end model that still produces near professional level prints. Photo print quality is excellent, with even small details clearly defined. There is minimal color banding and good color accuracy, although this is of course not as high as on the models with a greater number of inks.
You can print at up to 13 inches wide, making this a large format printer, with a very high DPI of 9600 x 2400. Combined with the long ink life and very cheap generic ink replacement cartridges (three sets for $15!), the ix6820 is the best low cost option for home photo printing, in my opinion.
Canon Professional Photo Printer
- Best professional photo printer
- Supports sheets up to 17 inches wide
- Stunning photo quality
- Brilliant color accuracy with deep blacks and perfect colors
- Very large and heavy (70.5 lbs!)
- Very expensive
The Pro-1000 is the largest printer reviewed here, capable of producing prints 17 inches wide, making it fantastic for making prints for walls or for any other large format use.
The photo quality and color accuracy are second-to-none, with bright, brilliant colors from the 11 individual color cartridges, plus the chroma optimizer that really makes colors pop. If you do see poor quality prints with this, it will be a problem with your photo, not the printer – this printer gives such amazing detail you will see all the little flaws in your photos!
The printer is huge, and will take up a lot of desk space. Ink life is relatively good, and you should be able to get a few hundred prints before needing replacements. Bear in mind that these come in at over $700 for official Canon cartridges. Although slightly cheaper generic ink is available, it is not going to have the same pop as official ink. If you can’t afford the refills, then you can’t afford the printer.
Best Canon Photo Printer
- No. of Inks: 9 + 1 Chroma Optimizer
- Ink Life: From 100 – 500 (A2 prints)
- Ink Cost (Official / Generic): $123 / N/A
- Max. Print Size: 39 x 13 inches
- DPI: 4800 x 2400
- Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB
- Size: 25.2″ x 15″ x 7.9″
- Best professional photo printer
- Fantastic photo print quality
- Superb color accuracy and vibrancy that pops
- Reasonably priced for the quality of prints
- Relatively cheap replacement ink cost
- Smaller and lighter than the Pro-1000
- Very long, panoramic prints possible
As the best large format printer, and the best Canon printer, the Pro-300 is maybe the perfect blend of professionalism and home use. This large photo printer is the smaller brother of the Pro-1000, with comparable print quality and color accuracy, but in a smaller, cheaper package. You lose two inks from the Pro-1000, and four inches of maximum width, but this make very little difference to most people, in practice.
The Pro-300 beats the Pro-1000, in my opinion, based on two factors: the much lower price, and much lower official ink replacement cost. The Pro-300 is essentially a home version of the Pro-1000, designed to be used intermittently, rather than everyday. It takes up a relatively small amount of desk space for a professional photo printer, and far less than the Pro-1000.
You are not going to get any better print quality than this without going to a dedicated photo lab. As long as you are not intending to make tens of prints everyday, which is when the Pro-1000 comes into its own, then you are not going to find a better photo printer than the Pro-300, the best professional photo printer.
Take a look at the full video review below for more details.