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Best Budget Photo Printer in 2024: Top Cheap Printers for Photos

Print affordable photos with one of our top budget printers!

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on May 10, 2024
Best Budget Photo Printer
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The one issue we had with many of our best photos printers was the price tag, which led us to pick out at least one best budget photo printer for those who – like us – don’t want to pay top dollar for their photo prints. We were in luck, and found a number of terrific options that all met or even surpassed our low-price and high-quality expectations.

Below, we’ve broken down our picks for the best budget photo printers, across a range of price points – but all being highly affordable and reliable photo printers. From large-format artworks through to postcard-sized 4×6 prints, we’ve got you covered with some cheap printers!

How We Picked the Best Budget Photo Printer

Beyond affixing a low price threshold, we also considered a number of core features of the printers: print speeds, print sizes and print quality were our key factors. We also considered the overall user-friendliness of each printer, and how easily they connected to external devices like smartphones or PCs. Finally, especially since the majority of our picks were InkJet printers, we valued the overall cost-per-print and ink economy.

We settled on four distinct products, each a highly-worthwhile budget photo printer for homes or businesses. We’ll break down the benefits of each one, whilst also highlighting any specializations or particularly features that make one cheap photo printer better-suited over the others.

Editor’s Pick
Specifications
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Technology: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: Yes
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Technology: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: Yes
Show more
What We Think

This printer offers some of the best value for money on the printer market, with incredible print quality for photos of any size.

Reasons to Buy
  • Versatile print options – from standard documents to borderless photos, you’ll be able to print far more than just images.
  • Affordable price point – the ET-2800’s price is just high enough to reach a quality threshold, but low enough to remain affordable.
Reasons to Avoid
  • Inconvenient design – the specialist media tray is inconveniently located on the ET-2800, making art printing more of a hassle.

We recommend the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 to everyone – from students to their schools – and this bestselling printer is bestselling for a reason. Boasting tremendous versatility at an affordable price point, this budget photo printer is suitable for anyone and everyone.

Though the ET-2850 is newer, the ET-2800 is more affordable given it’s age, and still delivers tremendous print quality and value for money. Setup is quick and easy, and you’ll soon be able to print anything from borderless photos through to art prints, all made highly affordable. The EcoTank Ink Tank system makes for larger reservoirs of ink, and vibrant color reproduction across the entire spectrum. As we said: there’s a reason this printer is a bestseller.

That said, the low price point may still be out of reach for some ultra-low-budget photo enthusiasts – and there are certainly cheaper options on the market. But for the median of price and quality, we still consider this the best budget printer for photos!

Best Low-Budget Photo Printer
Specifications
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Type: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing: Yes
What We Think

If you’ve got an extremely tight budget, the 6055e saves on money, space and time as a sterling all-rounder.

Reasons to Buy
  • Great starter printer – easy to set up and easier to use, the 6055e comes with a range of top features.
  •  Versatile print options – with an 8.5″ x 11″ print size across cardstock and other specialist media, you can create high-quality and varied designs with ease.
Reasons to Avoid
  • Status light – a bright and irritating blue LED bathes whatever room the InkJet printer is in in light and can’t be disabled.

If your budget is under $100, consider the HP Envy 6055e. These highly affordable printers are ideal for photos, and are capable of printing on a wide variety of media alongside this.

Once you have the 6055e, the setup is quick and painless. It connects easily over your wireless network for fast printing from any device. As mentioned, the print quality is great, with effective resolution and stellar color clarity for photos. And at such a low price, it’s hard to argue with the effectiveness of this printer – which is why it frequently makes the cut as the budget pick for our guides such as the best printer for greeting cards.

However, one issue damns this printer to a lower rung on our list: the LED status light on the front of the unit cannot be switched off, even when the printer isn’t in use, which is majorly detrimental to its overall value. It can be solved with some tape, but it’s an issue we can’t overlook with the 6055e.

Best Portable Budget Photo Printer
Canon DSLR - T1 - T2 - T3 - T4 and Canon SELPHY CP1500.
Specifications
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Type: Dye Sublimation
  • Connectivity Technology: USB, WiFi Direct, SD Card
  • Duplex Printing: No
What We Think

If you need an easy-to-use and portable printer, then the CP1500 has you covered.

Reasons to Buy
  • High price-to-performance – prints are rendered quickly and in great quality with the CP1500.
  • Highly compact – this photo printer is literally pocket-sized, making it ideal for taking with you.
Reasons to Avoid
  • Limited size and battery – the form factor somewhat limits the CP1500 to a small print size and limited battery life.

For photo printing on the go, the Canon SELPHY CP15000 is the ideal solution. Pocket-sized and powerful, this budget photo printer is highly suited for turning digital photos physical wherever you go.

The CP15000 is a quick and easy-to-use photo printer, with both WiFi connectivity and an SD card slot for the full-fledged photographers. Utilizing dye sublimation technology usually found in photo booth printers, the resulting 4×6 photos are rendered gorgeously and with great depth and detail. For even more versatility, the printer offers a separate battery that can allow you to print even without a power supply on hand.

However, the compact nature of the Cp15000 is a hindrance as much as a help, with limited print capacity and battery life making for frequent and frustrating refills. If you take the due care to pack spare paper and ribbon, however, this is still a highly versatile cheap photo printer!

Best Precise Budget Photo Printer
Specifications
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Type: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: No
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Type: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: No
Show more
What We Think

With incredible resolution thanks to its unique printing technology, the iX6820 guarantees high-quality and detailed photos for a low cost.

Reasons to Buy
  • High-resolution – with a print resolution of 9600 x 2400 DPI, prints are rendered with incredible detail on the iX6820.
  • Great color gamut – the five-color ink system and unique print nozzles, the iX6820 rivals professional printers for detailed shades and vibrance.
Reasons to Avoid
  • Slower print speeds – there is a cost to that quality, however, as the iX6820 sacrifices time for detail.

Canon are not to be left out of the budget photo printer market, with the Pixma IX6820 being their best offering. Employing Full-photolithography InkJet Nozzle Engineering (FINE) technology, photos are rendered with incredible color clarity and texture.

The results of this FINE technology is highly precise ink droplet placement, with photos rendered with as much as 9600 x 2400 DPI resolution. Considering the low price point, generally retailing under $200, this level of quality is unprecedented. With functionality for nearly every version of Windows and MacOS, you’ll be able to easily connect via USB.

However, the pitfall of the IX6820 is the wireless connection: though it has wireless functionality, the connection is difficult to set up and inconsistent when you do. It’s the only pitfall though, and the IX6820 is the best budget photo printer for outstanding color clarity!

Features and Considerations

If you’re looking at buying a cheap photo printer not on today’s list, here are some key things to consider:

Print Speed

Whilst photos are generally always slower to print than documents, the print speed can vary. If you’re wanting to print large quantities of photos quickly, make sure that your choice of printer can keep up!

Print Resolution

Resolution is measured in dots per inch (DPI), and is the metric for the detail of a photo. We generally recommend 600DPI as the minimum for photos – any lower and images don’t have the necessary detail.

Connectivity

Depending on how you choose to connect to your budget photo printer, you may want to check compatibility. For photographers using full-fledged cameras, many printers come with an SD card slot to enable you to literally plug-and-print your images. However, for optimum results, connectivity wired or wirelessly to a PC or laptop is the best solution. This allows you to configure your print settings in detail, so we highly recommend doing so!

Media Compatibility

Photos aren’t printed on standard paper, and photo printers will often use a secondary media tray for specialist media. If you intend on doing some more graphic design or creative printing, make sure your printer is up to the task.

Can you use a Laser Printer to Print Photos?

The short answer here is that you can, but shouldn’t. Color laser printers are best suited for documents, heating up powdered ink to transfer the print to paper. Whilst this means they are quick to dry and even quicker to print, the overall quality and color range isn’t as dynamic as an InkJet or dye sublimation printer. For this same reason, they also don’t tend to have specialist media compatibility – as the features would be largely redundant with overwhelming results. Considering the cost of the best budget photo printers, they are well worth the additional hassle of an extra printer in your home or business.

FAQs

What is dye sublimation?

Dye sublimation is a method of printing that chemically bonds colored ribbon to photo paper, leading to great color accuracy and quick drying. However, dye sublimation printers tend to be more expensive than InkJet printers.

What’s the difference between matte and glossy photo paper?

Matte photo paper is less reflective of light, making images less shiny but flatter in color. Glossy images tend to be a little brighter but reflect light. Depending on your desired photo print, you may prefer one over the other – or semi-gloss as a middle ground.

Verdict

Verdict
Specifications
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Technology: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: Yes
  • Printer Output: Color
  • Printer Technology: InkJet
  • Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, WiFi Direct
  • Duplex Printing?: Yes
Show more

Though it stretches the definition of “budget”, the Epson ET-2800 is our best budget photo printer. Boasting tremendous print quality and incredibly vibrant photos, this unit is well worth the extra expense!

If you’re looking for other great all-rounder printers for your student home, check out our guide on the best budget printers for students today!

As a tech and AI writer for PC Guide, Gloria is interested in what new technology means for the future of consumer electronics and digital and broadcast journalism.