Top Consumer-Grade Photo Printers

Top-notch photos from today's inkjet photograph printers

For some folks, the only printing they do is photographs, especially professional photographers, while others print only business documents, especially small offices and workgroups. Many consumers, though, reside somewhere in the middle and require a printer that can churn out both documents and photos. Over the years I’ve looked at many photo printers that fit that description, ranging in price from well under $100 to well over $300, with several price points in between. Many of them print unbelievably good photos, often better than drugstore developer quality.

If you aren’t familiar with photo printers at all, you can get a crash course from this “Near-Dedicated Photo Printers” article. Otherwise, for a look at some today’s better consumer-grade photo printers, read on.

Canon’s Pixma MG7720 Photo All-in-One Printer

Canon's Pixma MG7720 Photo Inkjet Printer
Canon's six-ink Pixma MG7720 Photo Inkjet Printer. Photo courtesy of Canon

I’ve said time and time again that few, if any, photo printers turn out images as well as Canon’s higher-end, six-ink Pixma “MG” photo printers (MG is the company’s all-in-one photo printer designation, where MX signifies an office-, or business-ready AIO). As has been the case for a while now, every year or so, the Japanese imaging giant releases at least one “new” printer based on this ink system, but what they really come down to are essentially the same printer—or at least the same print engine inside. So, what you get is essentially the same machine with some feature add-ons.

Buy Canon's Pixma MG7720 Photo All-in-One Printer at Amazon

Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Printer

Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Review. Epson

Epson’s consumer-grade Small-in-One line of AIOs are aimed primarily at families and home-based offices. A photo printer, the XP-950 can print wide-format (tabloid-size, or 11x17 inches) pages one at a time via the override tray on the back. Three-hundred dollars is a premium price for just about any consumer-grade printer, suggesting a strong feature set or perhaps something else exceptional. Above all else, this AIO’s claim to fame is its 6-ink print system that prints great-looking photos.

Buy they Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Printer at Amazon

Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer

Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer. Courtesy of Canon

 A single-function printer, the Pixma iP8720 can only print; it has no scanner or ADF, so it cannot copy, scan, or fax. But, again, it does print some of the highest-quality images I’ve seen, and its ability to print both 11x17-inch and 13x19-inch pages makes it great for printing oversize images and posters. It can also print business documents when needed, but its high cost per page (CPP) makes it less than ideal for that application.

Buy the Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer at Amazon

Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer

Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer. Epson

When somebody asks me what the best consumer-grade photo printer is, I tell them to look at Canon’s six-ink photo printers. Still, Epson makes some rather decent six-ink printers, too, as demonstrated by this near-top-of-the-line Small-in-One.

Buy the Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer at Amazon

Canon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Inkjet Printer

Canon's Pixma iX6820 supertabloid photo printer
Canon's Pixma iX6820 supertabloid (13x19 inches) photo printer. Photograph courtesy of Canon

There are professional-grade photo printers and then there are those consumer-grade photo printers that do a darned good job, too. Canon's single-function Pixma iX6820 Wireless Inkjet Printer prints superb borderless images up to super tabloid, or 13 by 19 inches.  Granted, this Pixma can also print documents, but not cheaply, rendering it an occasional-use document printer. It doesn’t print photos cheaply, either, but then most photo printers don’t.

Buy the Canon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Inkjet Printer at Amazon

Canon's Pixma MG6820 Photo All-in-One Inkjet

Canon PIXMA MG6820 Wireless Photo All-in-One
Canon PIXMA MG6820 Wireless Photo All-in-One. Canon

Wasn’t it just the other day, when talking about Canon’s top-of-the-line consumer-grade photo printer, the $199.99 (MSRP) Canon Pixma MG7720 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer, I said that the Tokyo imaging giant’s 6-ink printers were among the best. Also great printers, although a little bit cheaper and not quite as vibrant as their 6-ink siblings, are Canon’s 5-ink Pixmas, like the topic of this review, Canon’s $149.99 (MSRP) Pixma MG6820 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer.

Buy Canon's Pixma MG6820 Photo All-in-One Inkjet at Amazon

Bottom Line

The good news is that any of these photo printers can print great-looking photos—as long as you start with a good quality image (or image file), that is. The truth is that some of these imaging technologies, even though we see new printers based on them every year or so, have been around for a while, and they work quite well. That’s one of the benefits of this technology. Inkjet photo printers are a mature breed of printers. There’s several of them out there that will serve you well.

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