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Best Overall: Canon Pixma Pro-100 at Amazon
"All photo printer brands like to claim fast printer speeds and great color prints, but Canon backs it up with room to spare."
Best Design: Canon PIXMA TS9120 at Amazon
"Extends exceptional quality to whatever print jobs you may have with a print resolution up to 4800 x 1200 dpi."
Best Wide Format: Canon iP8720 Wireless Printer at Amazon
"Printing photos up to 13 x 19 inches in vivid detail."
Best All-in-One Printer: Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 at Amazon
"This printer is ready to handle all your projects from scanning to printing."
Best Picture Quality: Epson SureColor SC-P800 at Amazon
"When you’re focused on ensuring you have the best possible prints, the Epson SureColor SC-P800 is here to deliver."
Best Budget: HP Envy 4520 at Amazon
"When it comes to printing phone-shot photos, the solution is the HP Sprocket Studio."
Best Budget: Kodak Mini 2 HD at Amazon
"Prints directly from an iPhone or Android smartphone."
Best Mini: Canon Selphy CP1200 at Amazon
"Print images simply by tapping a button on your smartphone."
Best for Photo Professionals: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 at Amazon
"Delivering the exceptional print quality desired by photo professionals."
Best for Square Format: Fujifilm Instax SP-3 at Walmart
"Printing square images up to 2.4 inches that are reminiscent of old Polaroids but with better quality."
The best photo printers not only excel in their dedicated niche, providing beautiful color prints of the highest quality quickly and with little fuss, they also double as very capable standard printer. The last thing you want is to invest a chunk of change in a high-end photo printer to complement one of the best laptops for photography, just to discover that when it comes to printing standard documents it's lackluster.
The best photo printers, like the ones we've assembled for this list, deliver exceptional dpi and color accuracy, meaning you get sharp prints that very closely mirror the original images (and the actual objects/scenes in them). They're also compatible with a wide variety of stocks, so if you're looking to print the perfect glossy headshot or assemble your own coffee table book of prints, a single device will fill all your printing needs. Many will also come bundled with a number of advanced features, like a broad array of connectivity options or printing images with a protective overcoat to preserve an image without smudging.
Large maximum print size
Eight-color ink system
Stunning print quality
No SD card slot
When it comes to photo printers, the last thing you want to sacrifice is quality. Canon’s Pixma Pro-100 may be a pretty significant investment, but you get exactly what you pay for with this printer. All photo printer brands like to claim fast printer speeds and great color prints, but Canon backs it up with room to spare. One notable difference between photo printers at lower price points is the use of dye inks over pigment inkjet, which won’t stand up as well to the test of time.
Just three buttons decorate the front of the well-designed silver and gray casing: power, cancel/resume, and Wi-Fi. The Pro-100 offers an 8-color ink system that can handle prints up to 13”x19” inches and the main paper tray can handle up to 120 sheets of plain paper or 20 sheets of thicker stock photo paper. A single-sheet heavy stock input sits at the bottom of the rear of the printer. Weighing just over 43 pounds, the Pro-100 will need a dedicated space but if you’re looking to get serious about photo printing, that seems like a fair trade-off. Setup takes around 15 minutes or so if you’re installing all the utilities and drivers. Our reviewer Gannon praised it for its excellent print quality, sturdy design, and tremendous value.
"If you’re serious about getting great prints at home on a sub-$500 budget, you won’t find a better printer out there." — Gannon Burgett, Product Tester
Snappy printing times
No document feeder for copying
Gone are the days of having to tuck your printer out of sight to keep it from disrupting your décor. But the Canon PIXMATS9120 offers more than just a sleek design: the all-in-one printer extends exceptional quality to whatever print jobs you may have with a print resolution up to 4800 x 1200 dpi. The six individual ink systems, including a Photo Blue ink tank, results in vibrant photos that can be customized with filters using the 5.0” LCD Touchscreen.
To accommodate your on-the-go lifestyle, you can print from your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi allows you to print from any room in the house. Featuring front and rear paper feeding capabilities, the printer has an auto-expandable output tray and can even print directly onto inkjet printable discs to create gifts or commemorate special moments. The compact, two-tone printer is available in three colors, including gray, gold, and red. Our reviewer Danny loved its versatility and performance, particularly given its (comparatively) extremely low price.
"Getting a printer this good for $200 (or even less) is an outstanding value." Jeffrey Daniel Chadwick, Product Tester
Easy setup and operation
Wi-Fi makes for easy wireless operation
Single paper tray
No SD card or USB slots
No display for navigating menu
Print photos up to 13 x 19 inches in vivid detail with the Canon iP8720. It boasts a 9600 x 2400 maximum color dpi and a six-color ink system including gray ink, which produces remarkable detail for black and white photos in particular. Its patented print-head mechanism fires ink droplets as small as one pixel for extreme detail. The printing itself is fast, with an average speed of 14.5 images per minute (ipm) for black and white photos and 10.4 ipm for color. Canon also boasts the longevity of its ChromaLife100+ system, claiming that photos printed using Canon-brand photo paper and ink will last up to 300 years when stored in an archival-quality photo album.
Objectively, the Canon iP8720 is not the absolute best on the market, but the highest quality photo printers can cost you at least a grand. For a high-end consumer-friendly product, this printer is the perfect compromise to deliver quality photos at a reasonable price. At a modest 18 pounds, it fits just about anywhere in your home office. Printing is quick and efficient; simply transfer documents over Wi-Fi, or connect using Google Cloud for mobile devices. Gannon, our tester, praised the iP8720 for its fantastic prints, easy setup, and silky smooth operation.
"If you’re in the market for a photo printer that won’t break the bank, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Canon PIXMA iP8720." — Gannon Burgett, Product Tester
High-quality photo printing capability
Variety of project options from photos to DVDs or CDs
Fast photo printing—prints 4X6 borderless photos in 12 seconds
Small ink cartridges
Small capacity paper tray
Slow scanner compared to other brands
If you’re looking for a printer that can handle a bit more than printing photos but still deliver quality prints, it’s time to consider the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100. This printer is ready to handle all your projects from scanning to printing with boasts of high-quality pieces and the ability to print on specialty paper, envelopes, DVDs, and borderless photos. It’s also equipped with a 30-page auto document feeder for multiple project printing plus, a specialty media feeder for discs. You can rely on the Epson XP 7100 to produce eye-catching projects from sharp text to brilliant photos.
Plus, with it’s compact and stackable design, this printer will fit your needs and your space. You’ll even have the ability to print from your phone or tablet thanks to the wireless printing—it even comes with a creative print app to help you design fun projects.
Promises long-lasting prints
High capacity 80 ml ink cartridges
Ability to print large projects
Trouble with set-up
Doesn’t work with all types of paper
Heavy and bulky
When you’re focused on ensuring you have the best possible prints, the Epson SureColor SC-P800 is here to deliver. Using Epson UltraChrome HD Inks it boasts vivid color, superior black density, and significantly improved print longevity; giving you stunning prints that will stand the test of time. Plus, it delivers this superior quality in both color and black and white ink, thanks to its 3-level black printing and high capacity ink wells to keep you printing longer. And almost no project is too big with its ability to print up to 17” wide, borderless photos. It can even support roll paper with the optional roll adapter.
There’s also the perk of robust connectivity with Apple AirPrint and Google cloud print support. You’ll be able to store your images anywhere and print with ease. There’s also an easy to navigate color, touch screen to help you scroll through settings. All in all, it’s the ideal choice when you can’t afford to risk your photo quality.
Easy to use and set up
Smudge-proof and water-resistant prints
Hard to find cartridges
Not ideal for travel or portability
When it comes to printing phone-shot photos, the solution is the HP Envy 5055. It delivers high-quality prints up to a resolution of 4800x1200 that are smudge-proof and water-resistant. You can also print from a variety of sources—including straight from your social media. And you can do all of it from your phone with the HP Sprocket app. Plus, you can use the app to edit and adjust your photos before you print them. Easy to set up and comes with a 20-page input tray so you can print multiple photos at a time, you can have your phone photography in your hands without any hassle.
Though it’s a small printer, it’s not ideal for constant travel, but you can definitely pack it up with you for vacation. Keep in mind, however, that it does need to be plugged in and does not have a rechargeable battery.
Variety of connectivity options
Easy to use and to charge
Hard-to-find and high priced cartridges
Low print quality compared to other brands
At an incredible 3" x 5.2" x 1" in size, the Kodak Mini 2 HD more than lives up to its name. This ultra-portable option prints 2.1" x 3.4" images directly from an iPhone or Android smartphone. The Mini 2 also offers a slew of connectivity options for printing, giving you your choice of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth or NFC with each print. For enabled smartphones, NFC prints are as simple as touching your phone to the printer.
With each smudge-proof print, 4Pass printing takes over. This technology allows Kodak to incorporate 16.7 million colors to most closely match the original photo source. At the end of each print, 4Pass adds a specialized layer to each photo. Once complete, each photo dries instantly and stays bright for up to 10 years.
Charging the Mini 2 is done via a power adapter (not included) or through USB. Taking around 1.5 hours to charge, once fully juiced up, the printer is good for around 20 prints. Prints take around 60 seconds to complete.
Prints with a clear overcoat to protect photos
Perfect size and weight for portability
Can print up to 54 prints on a single charge
Slow transfer process
Given that most dedicated photo printers are often too large to be carried around, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is a welcome choice. If you’re looking for mostly Facebook and Instagram-ready prints, the aptly named Selphy is an amazing choice. We love Canon’s functionality, especially the ability to print images simply by tapping a button on your smartphone through Canon’s Selphy app.
In fact, Canon’s entire buying proposition may be based on the idea that you have a smartphone that you regularly use for photographic purposes. They’re banking on you finding happiness with prints that closely resemble exactly what you see on your smartphone display. For a printer that’s compact enough at 1.9 pounds to carry around, that’s exactly what we could hope for. As a bonus feature for compact prints, Canon features a clear overcoat on each print that helps protect against dirt or liquids.
Capable of printing up to 54 prints on a single charge, options for postcard, passport and square label are also available to complement the 4”x6” selling point. Printing wirelessly is a snap via Wi-Fi, and for you Apple users, Airprint. The printer also offers an optional battery for traveling.
Prints quickly and quietly
Capable of printing large prints up to 17x22
Delivers crisp and clear images
Goes through ink quickly
Slow to start up
Marked with the trademark red stripe seen on Canon lenses, the PRO-1000 printer delivers the exceptional print quality desired by photo professionals. The LUCIA PRO 11-color plus Chroma Optimizer ink system achieves crisp images with remarkable glossiness across all media types. It features four monochrome inks that minimize bronzing and create deep blacks for dramatic grayscale prints. On top of it all, Canon’s FINE (Full-Photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) technology enables printing with microscopic droplets and high resolutions up to 4,800-by-2,400 dots per inch.
Printing photos up to 17 x 22 inches, the PRO-1000 delivers the largest size photos of the imagePROGRAF line. It prints quickly and quietly, producing a color bordered 13 x 19-inch photo in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s also easy to connect to with USB 2.0, Ethernet and Wi-Fi options available. The latter means you can use with the Canon PRINT app to wirelessly send files from your smartphone or tablet, as well as monitor ink levels and printer status remotely.
At 28.5 x 17 x 11.2 inches and weighing a hefty 70.5 pounds, this machine is a beast by all measures. But if it’s quality you crave, it’ll deliver frame-worthy art, assuming you took a frame-worthy photo to begin with.
Small and light for portability
Supplies up to 160 prints on a single charge
Compared to its predecessor, the SP-2, the SP-3 wireless printer handles the larger, Instax Square film format without adding much size to the printer itself. You’ll have to pony up a little more money, as the film itself is more expensive but other than that it’s a wonderful choice.
Measuring 5.1 x 4.6 x 1.8 inches and weighing a light 11.1 ounces, you can slip the printer into your bag without a problem. It’s battery powered (chargeable via a microUSB port), which makes it even more portable, and will supply about 160 prints per charge. It prints square images up to 2.4 inches that are reminiscent of old Polaroids but with better quality. You can use the Instax Share app to send pictures to the printer, as well as add filters and make small edits. However, if you’re looking to make larger edits, we recommend downloading a dedicated editing app.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Canon dominates our list, with the Pixma Pro-100 snagging the top slot based on its perfect balance of quality, features, and value. If wide format is a priority, however, you'd be better served by Canon's iP8720 which specializes in larger prints but is also an excellent all-around choice.
David Beren is a tech journalist who's been covering the industry for more than a decade. Back in 2008 he launched his own tech site, and has also produced and managed content for mobile tech companies like Sprint and T-Mobile.
Jeffrey Daniel Chadwick has been writing about tech since 2008 and has produced hundreds of insightful articles, reviews, and videos focused on technology and media. Amongst his specialties are photography equipment and accessories, making him a perfect candidate to review some of the photo printers on our list.
Gannon Burgett is passionate about photography and brings a decade of experience covering photography gear and a broad gamut of other tech to his reviews of a pair of the photo printers that appear on our list.
Photo quality - If you’re buying a dedicated photo printer, your main consideration should be photo quality. While all claim to produce excellent color accuracy and detail, some are still better than others. Look for a printer that uses dye ink over pigment ink to ensure crisp and vibrant colors.
Photo format - Planning to print out your favorite Instagram photos? You’ll be fine with a square format photo printer. But if you want to print photos larger than the 4-by-6-inch standard, you should look for a wide format printer, most of which can print out pictures up to 13 by 19 inches.
Size - Printers can take up plenty of space, so it’s important to consider how much room you have. Portable and mini printer options can be as small as an iPhone, but larger professional and wide-format models can demand up to 17 x 27 x 12 inches of space. And the fact that they can weigh around 40 pounds means you won’t be moving it around very often.