Best photo printer 2024: Home, portable, & mini options
A digital photo just can’t beat the charm of a tangible photo print, period. Luckily, you can easily create your own digital darkroom with a computer/smartphone, the best photo printer, and some photo paper.
Whether you want to occasionally print some memorable photos or do photography as a hobby, the best photo printer will fulfill your photo printing needs. With so many photo printer models on the market, picking the right printer is basically a gamble, especially if you have little experience with these devices.
But since we don’t want your new shiny purchase to turn into a buyer’s horror story, we’ve reviewed some of the most promising photo printer models on the market, so you can pick the right one for your photo printing needs.
Products at a Glance
How we choose the best photo printer
There were a few factors that we focused on when we picked the best printer models to review. Our main considerations were print quality, paper choices, connectivity, and both the initial and running costs. However, depending on your needs and priorities, you may not necessarily need a printer that nails all of these factors if you’ll be saving some cash, so we’ve tried to provide options that cater to different photo printing requirements. If you are after more compact and portable options, we have also run through the best 4×6 photo printer models.
Best photo printer 2024: Home, portable, & mini options
- Has a built-in copier and scanner
- Good value for money
- Automatic power on and dedicated output photo tray
- Has an OLED control screen
- Supports voice-activated printing
- High cost per page
- Doesn’t take memory cards
- Doesn’t have a wide color gamut (compared to more advanced printer models)
Packing a printer, scanner, and copier in the same form factor, the Canon PIXMA TS6320 offers great value for your buck. It features a dedicated upright rear feeder for photo paper, so you don’t have to put your document paper away to print photos.
The PIXMA has 4 dye-based ink cartridges for color output, and while this ink system isn’t as sophisticated as more premium printers with a 6-cartridge setup, it still can produce vibrant and natural-looking photos.
Additionally, the Canon printer has an automatic output tray, which is a nice touch. You don’t even have to power on the printer for it to work; just send a printing command from your smartphone, and the printer will power on, extend the tray, and print your photo automatically. You can even make the printer print your photos with voice commands.
Connectivity-wise, the PIXMA supports Bluetooth, USB, and Wi-Fi. It also boosts an OLED display so you can check the print and ink status, as well as configure the printer’s settings.
On the downside, the TS6320’s running costs are somewhat high, which is normal for an inkjet photo printer in this price range, though. It also lacks memory card support.
- Excellent color and grayscale print quality
- Intuitive touchscreen control panel
- Affordable cost per print
- Comes with a companion iOS app
- Can take rolls and thick paper
- Somewhat expensive
- Bulky design
When it comes to photo printing, the Epson SureColor P700 ticks many of the boxes, especially if you’re a seasoned photographer who appreciates having prints that accentuate your photography masterpieces.
For starters, it can print up to 13 x 19” photos on paper with up to 1.5 mm thickness. It also has an auto roll feeder that can take 2 paper rolls, so you can print larger photos and posters.
What’s more, the P700 utilizes Epson’s Ultrachrome Pro10 ink that’s capable of producing a wide color gamut, ensuring that your photo prints come out as lively and vibrant as you want them to be.
On top of that, if you’re a fan of grayscale photo prints, the P700 won’t disappoint with its advanced black-and-white rendering mode. There’s also an app that enables you to retouch photos and print them directly from your iOS device.
In contrast to its hefty price tag, the P700 is relatively cheap to run, with a cost per print that gets you as close as possible to commercial rates. So if you’re planning to print a lot of photos, the P700 will definitely save you money in the long run.
As for connectivity, the Epson P700 supports Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB printing. The printer also features a built-in touchscreen panel that makes it easy for you to customize the print settings and check ink levels.
- Can product wide-format prints
- Longer-life photo prints with a pigment-based ink system
- Supports Wi-Fi and cloud printing
- Supports a wide range of printing media
- Has a touchscreen control panel
- High price tag and running costs
- No built-in scanner
In our book, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is one of the best wide-format photo printers. It can print borderless, pigment-based high-quality photos on paper sizes up to 13 x 19”, making it a great choice if you need to print wide-format photos like posters.
Additionally, the PRO-300 supports multiple media types, enabling you to print on canvas, card stock, and other types of thicker paper. We also like the 3-inch LCD control panel that makes checking the printing status, ink levels, and other settings easier.
In terms of connectivity, the PRO-300 leaves little to be desired, with support for USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and cloud printing via Apple AirPrint and Mopria.
However, despite the impressive photo quality, the PRO-300 does have some downsides. It uses 9 cartridges, which means its running costs will be hefty, and the high initial price tag isn’t helping either.
You should also keep in mind that there’s no built-in scanner, so if you occasionally need to scan your photos, you’ll need a separate device.
- Has a touchscreen LCD screen
- Has a scanner and a copier
- Compact design
- Supports voice commands
- Supports direct mobile printing via the companion app
- High running costs
- Color accuracy could be better
- Zero ink peel and stick paper
- Portable, user-friendly form factor
- Comes with a companion smartphone app
- Doesn’t require any maintenance
- Cheaper than larger printers
- Limited paper type and size choices
- The prints are very costly compared to traditional inkjet printers
If you have a thing for Polaroid photos, you should definitely check out the Canon IVY Mini 2 printer.
This little printer connects to your phone or camera via Bluetooth and uses ZINK paper with adhesive back to print your Polaroid photos. All it takes is a single push of a button. What’s more, it has a companion app that lets you add cool filters and create collage photo prints.
The Canon IVY is fun to play around with, but as you’d expect, its functionality is pretty limited as it only prints in one size and supports one type of paper. Not to mention, the cost per print is high.
Nevertheless, it’s a solid choice if you don’t really need a full-blown inkjet and prefer portable, easy-to-use printers with almost zero maintenance requirements.
Best photo printer for ink-saving: Try the Canon PIXMA G620
Inkjet printers often have a reputation for costing a fortune to run, but the Canon PIXMA G620/G650 has proved that you don’t really need a part-time job to keep using your photo printer.
It features a refillable-bottle ink system that will cost you much less than traditional ink cartridge replacements. Not to mention, it comes with lots of ink right out of the box; it’ll definitely take you a while before you need to buy any ink for this printer.
Another good feature is that it works with Alexa, enabling you to use voice commands to print photos and even order ink bottles.
With 6 dye-based inks, the G620 doesn’t make compromises in color consistency and dynamicity. What’s even better is that you can print on many different types of media, including card stock, fabric, and even magnetic photo paper.
The bad news is that the G620 doesn’t have a memory card. We couldn’t find an Ethernet port anywhere either, and there’s no touchscreen control panel. It does support Wi-Fi and USB printing though.
Features and Considerations
When comparing different photo printer models, consider the following differentiations:
Pigment vs. Dye Inks
For photo printing, manufacturers traditionally used two types of ink: pigment and dye. Today, most printers use both pigment and dye ink. Dye-based inks produce higher-quality photo prints with richer colors, whereas pigment inks produce crisper black text documents. Some models are based entirely on either pigment or dye inks. If you’ll exclusively use the printer for photo printing, a hybrid or dye-based ink model would be your best bet.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t any pigment-based models that produce high-quality photo prints. Premium pigment-ink printers with 6 or 9-cartridge systems can actually produce some of the best photo prints you can get from a home printer.
Some inkjet printers can be pretty costly when it comes to cartridge replacements. This is especially true for printers that have more than four cartridges in their ink systems. Printers with refillable tanks tend to be less costly to run, making them suitable for those who need to print lots of photos on a regular basis.
All-in-Ones vs Printer Only
Photo printers come as either all-in-one or printer-only models. All-in-one printers allow you to copy or scan your photos and documents. If these functionalities aren’t important for you, you can opt for a printer-only model that focuses more on print quality instead of functionality.
Many printers now have at least one wired and one wireless connectivity choice. USB and Wi-Fi are standard for most printer models. Some models also have memory card slots and Ethernet ports, giving you more ways to print your photos.
Cloud printing has also gained popularity in recent years, so if many of your photos are stored in the cloud, getting a printer that supports it will save you time and effort.
Do you need to print large photos or posters? Will you use a special type of photo paper? Every printer model supports different types and sizes of paper, so it’s important to check the printer’s supported paper before making a final decision.
Wide-format printers typically can print on paper sizes of up to 13 x 19”. The exact types of supported paper types and thicknesses vary greatly between different models.
How do I choose the right photo printer for my needs?
If you need a high-yield photo printer, you’re better off with ink-saving photo printers that have refillable ink tanks. On the other hand, if quality is your primary concern, choose a printer with 6 dye inks for the best color accuracy and vibrance.
You should also consider the type of paper you want to print on, as well as the size of the prints. Different printers have different paper size and type limitations. For example, if you need to print posters, you should go for a wide-format printer.
What is better for photo printing: inkjet or laser?
Inkjet printers are better suited for printing photos than the best color laser printers. Since inkjet printers utilize liquid ink, the photo prints naturally come out crisp and rich.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are better for high-volume document printing. They tend to be faster and cheaper to run than inkjet printers. They barely require any maintenance since there are no cartridges to replace or refill.
However, the technology used in laser printers won’t give you the results you’re looking for in photo prints.
Is it worth printing my own photos at home?
Definitely! Printing your own photos at home is fun and enables you to print your photos just the way you like whenever you want.
Depending on your printer model and paper type and size choices, printing a single photo at home with a photo printer can cost you anywhere from $1.20 all the way up to $5 for larger-format prints. If you want to cut costs as much as possible, it might be a good idea to invest in a photo printer with refillable ink tanks to cut costs.
Do inkjet photos fade?
Yes, inkjet photos do fade, to some extent at least. However, this happens over a very long period, provided that you take some basic precautions in preserving your photo prints, such as keeping your photo prints away from direct sunlight and storing them in UV-protected photo galleries and frames.
If you want to minimize this effect, consider getting a printer with a pigment ink system. Photo prints printed with pigment ink tend to fade less aggressively than those printed using dye-based inks.
It was a tough call, but if we had to pick a winner in this round-up, it would be the Canon PIXMA TS6320. It offers great print quality and color accuracy for the hobbyist photographer, without costing a fortune. It also has all the other bells and whistles you’d expect in a printer, including a copier, a scanner, vast connectivity choices, an OLED control panel, and automatic power on.
That said, it may not be your best option if you’re looking for professional-grade print quality, as the Epson Surecolor P700 is the clear winner in this compartment, if you’re willing to shell out some extra cash, of course.
Finally, you might also want to consider the Canon PIXMA G620 if you frequently need to print large quantities of photos as its running costs are a fraction of what many other inkjet printers would cost you.