Skip to main content

Best Photo Printers 2019

Best Photo Printers 2019 - Reviews of 4x6, 8x10 Photo Printers

After printing hundreds of photos of landscapes and portraits and comparing them under high magnification, we think the Epson Expression is the overall best photo printer available right now. It outperformed more expensive large-format printers in our quality tests, and it has updated connection options. Because it also has a copier and scanner for digitizing photos, it’s a great option if you want to print high-quality photos from your home office. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingOutputInk & MediaDevice & PortabilityConnectivityHelp & SupportSnapshot Print QualityLarge Format Print QualityMax Resolution (DPI)Snapshot Print Speed (seconds)Large Format Print Speed (seconds)Borderless PrintingPrint TechnologyInk CostsMedia TypeMax Media Size (inches)Total Media CapacityNumber of Ink CartridgesInk TypeBattery IncludedBattery Life (photos per charge)Portability RatingDimensions (inches)Weight (lbs)Preview DisplayStandalone PrintingWireless ConnectivityUSB ConnectivityEthernetProprietary AppPrint from Camera (PictBridge)Print from External StorageWarrantyPhoneLive ChatEmailOnline ManualTroubleshooting GuideFAQsForums
Epson Expression XP-960View Deal4/5107.33.3106.8A+A5760 x 144068154Inkjet$2.27 per mLPhoto Paper, Other Media11 x 17206Epson Claria Photo HD Ink-No BatteryNot Portable18.9 x 14 x 5.819.4Wi-FiEpson iPrintWiredUSB, SD Card, MS Duo, Compact Flash1 Year--
Epson SureColor P400View Deal3.5/58.81004.36.8AB5760 x 144088194Inkjet$1.29 per mLPhoto Paper, Fine Art Paper13 x 19308Epson UltraChrome HG2 Pigment Ink-No BatteryNot Portable18.9 x 14 x 5.827.1--Wi-FiEpson iPrint-1 Year--
Canon PIXMA PRO-100View Deal3.5/57.58.308.310BC4800 x 240097192Inkjet$1.31 per mLPhoto Paper, Fine Art Paper13 x 19208Canon ChromaLife Photo Ink-No BatteryNot Portable27.2 x 15.2 x 8.543.2-Wi-FiCanon Easy-PhotoPrint--1 Year
Epson PictureMate PM-400View Deal3/5745.386.8A+Snapshot Only5760 x 144039Snapshot OnlyInkjet33¢ per photoPhoto Paper5 x 7201Epson T320 PictureMate Color Ink-No BatteryC-9.8 x 15.1 x 7.94.0Wi-Fi-Epson iPrintWiredUSB, SD Card1 Year--
Kodak Dock Photo PrinterView Deal3/57.36.527.33.3B-Snapshot OnlyNot Available96Snapshot OnlyDye-Sublimation50¢ per photoKodak Photo Paper4 x 6201Kodak Mini Photo Printer Cartridge_PMC-No BatteryC2.7 x 6.53 x 3.941.7Wi-Fi-Kodak Photo DockUSB1 Year----
Canon Selphy 1300View Deal3/53.569.58.36.8C+Snapshot Only300 x 30091Snapshot OnlyDye-Sublimation35¢ per photoKP-180IN Color4 x 6181KP-180IN Color Ink/Paper Set$54B7.1 x 5.4 x 2.51.9Wi-Fi-Canon PRINT Inkjet/SelphyUSB, SD Card1 Year---
Polaroid Zip POLMP01View Deal2.5/54.856.83.83.3CSnapshot Only1200 x 60067Snapshot OnlyZink Inkless Media50¢ per photoZINK Zero Ink Paper2 x 3100Inkless25B2.9 x 4.7 x 0.90.41-Bluetooth--Polaroid Zip--1 Year----
HP Sprocket X7N08AView Deal2.5/54.52.37.83.85C-Snapshot Only313 x 40040Snapshot OnlyZink Inkless Media50¢ per photoHP Zink (R)2 x 3100Inkless30A+4.53 x 2.95 x .870.38-Bluetooth-HP Sprocket--1 Year----
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2View Deal2/533.39.521.8CSnapshot Only1200 x 60015Snapshot Only-3-Color Exposure with OLED74¢ per photoINSTAX Mini Instant Film3.4 x 2.1100Inkless100A+7.12 x 5 x 30.54-Wi-Fi--instax SHARE--1 Year-----
LG Pocket PD233View Deal1.5/51.836.53.85DSnapshot Only313 x 40063Snapshot Only-Zink Inkless Media50¢ per photoZINK Pocket Photo Paper2 x 3100Inkless20B-2.65 x 4.76 x 0.950.47-BluetoothMicro USB-LG Pocket PhotoUSB, SD Card1 Year---

Best Overall

Epson Expression XP-960

Epson Expression XP-960

Best photo print quality of the machines we tested
Features more connectivity options that other large-format photo-only printers
Prints on many types of paper
Doesn’t seal photos with a glossy coat
Isn’t portable
Largest photo size is 11 x 17

The Epson Expression XP-960 balances price with the best features found on photo-only printers.

It only uses six ink cartridge versus the eight many other high-end printers use, and it doesn’t leave a glossy protective coating on your photos or make prints larger than 11 x 17, both of which other prosumer machines can do. Still, it more faithfully reproduced bright and vivid colors in the test images we printed than more expensive machines. The printer’s high 5760 x 1440 resolution, no doubt, contributes to its ability to reproduce the detail we saw under high-magnification; however, it also created fewer print and feed errors than other devices.

The Epson Expression combines this high print quality with connectivity and speed, producing photos 30 seconds faster than other printers we tested. Many other machines are missing updated connection options, but this model can print from USB or Ethernet, Wi-Fi, SD cards, or Epson’s iPrint app, which lets you print images stored on mobile devices.

It’s small for a large-format photo printer – others are about 10 pounds heavier – but at 19.8 pounds and with dimensions of 18.9 x 14 x 15.8 inches, it’s not mobile. It also comes with a flatbed scanner and copier.

Read the full review

Best Value

Polaroid Zip POLMP01

Polaroid Zip POLMP01

Easy setup lets you print right away
Very portable
No ink cartridges to refill or replace
Only makes 2 x 3 prints
Lower print quality than other photo-only printers
“Zink” paper is more expensive than traditional paper

The Polaroid Zip is small enough you can carry it around in a large pocket. We think it’s the best of the small novelty printers we tested because of how easy it is to use and its portability.

It’s not very useful because it only prints very small pictures, but the Zip is a lot of fun. This small, fast printer makes 2 x 3 photos in just over a minute using zero ink, or “zink,” technology.

Although zink photos aren’t quite as high quality as those printed on inkjet or dye-sublimation machines, you only need to purchase new paper to keep zero ink devices running. Polaroid even has sticky paper you can use to hang your photos up after you print them.

While the printer is portable, it can only handle up to 30 prints before it needs to recharge. Also, there’s only one way to connect the device to a power source – by USB cable.

To use the printer, you download Polaroid’s Zip app, which lets you sync the device with your social media accounts over a Bluetooth connection. It’s easy to edit the photos in the app; however, you can’t make many sophisticated edits beyond adding text and emojis. There are also fewer ways to connect to the Zip than other portable printers, but that makes it easy for novices to get it up and running.

Read the full review

Best Snapshot Photo-Only Printer

Kodak Photo Dock

Kodak Photo Dock

Only one cartridge for all the ink
App lets you print directly from social media
Takes longer to print photos than zink and inkjet printers
Doesn’t come with a battery
Only prints up to 4 x 6 snapshots
Printed images don’t have clean edges

The Kodak Photo Dock printer had the best photo quality of the smaller, portable snapshot printers we tested.

The machine uses dye-sublimation technology, which isn’t as precise as inkjet but much more vivid than zero ink, or zink, print technology.

Dye-sublimation uses layers of color and heat transfer to create images, so you only have to install a single cartridge in the Kodak Photo Dock. Photos also take longer to print than with inkjet or zink machines because of the slow layering and feeding process each image undergoes.

The printer has a place for you to dock your phone to transfer photos and information. While we found this Kodak model’s print quality to be top-notch compared to other snapshot printers, we thought its design was a little clunky, especially since the dock accepts micro-USB and not the more popular USB-C connection. Once you connect your phone via an adapter, the printer charges it while it prints photos. You can also connect your phone wirelessly using Kodak’s app, making the physical docking unnecessary.

Kodak’s printing app was one of the more intuitive we tested, and it lets you print directly from your social media accounts. As with similar printers, the app has a few fun and simple editing tools.

While the Kodak Photo Dock printer is small and light, there’s no battery to make it truly portable. You have to find an outlet to use the device.

Read the full review

Most Portable

HP Sprocket

HP Sprocket

Portable and easy to use
Only prints wallet-size photos

The HP Sprocket is tiny compared to other photo -printers we reviewed, and its output is tiny too – the paper tray holds just 10 sheets, and the machine can only produce wallet-size, 2 x 3-inch photos.

The printer can be so small because of its zero-ink, or “Zink,” technology, which uses heat-activated paper instead of ink or dye sublimation. Zink doesn’t produce the most detailed prints, and in our testing, we found that some of the colors appeared washed out. However, the look of these filtered colors may appeal to you. For a novelty printer, the HP Sprocket is convenient and easy to use. In fact, it was the easiest printer to set up of the models we tested – we were printing photos within minutes of opening the box. The printer has a clean design and fits easily into a purse or backpack. Also, you control printing with your smartphone. We liked the HP Sprocket’s simplicity and fun design, even if it’s tough to come up with practical reasons for having it around.

Read the full review

Best for Large Photos

Canon PIXMA PRO-100

Canon PIXMA PRO-100

Prints large photos
Slow print speeds

The Canon PIXMA PRO-100 produces larger prints than even the best photo printer we reviewed. It can create borderless prints up to 13 x 19 inches and comes with plenty of paper choices.

The printer also has a special tray for printing labels for discs. Because it can print large photos, the PIXMA PRO-100 is bulky. It weighs over 40 pounds and takes up a lot of space on a desk. We didn’t find any errors in the photos we printed using this machine – each photo had quality detail and solid coloring. However, creating high-quality prints takes time, and this Canon model was one of the slowest photo printers we reviewed. It took over a minute and a half to print snapshots and just over three minutes to create full-page prints. Despite it having a lot of ink cartridges to maintain, on average, it is more affordable to print with the PIXMA PRO-100 than other printers.

Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We’ve kept up with the best in photo-only printer technology for close to 10 years. During that time, we’ve developed standard image tests that put these printers through their paces. We’ve also seen printers with more connectivity options and higher print resolutions become accessible for home offices.

As we test, we look for professional print quality and spend hours evaluating each machine’s strengths and weaknesses. We don’t just test them once, either. We make sure each printer can reproduce the same quality photos again and again, without errors or wearing down.

We look at the photos printed by each machine side-by-side to directly compare quality from one printer to another. We also archive prints for later use so we can compare them to photos printed on newer models or all-new devices.

How Much Does a Photo-Only Printer Cost?

When we reviewed photo-only printers, we looked at both portable and professional models. It’s worth mentioning that even at the higher end of the price range, home photo printers don’t quite match the quality of professional printers. On average, the desktop photo-only printers we tested cost around $350. The snapshot printers were a little less expensive, with prices between $100 and $150. The most portable printers were a little more expensive than the snapshot printers by a small margin, costing just over $125.

How We Tested

We unboxed the printers, installed all their mobile applications and explored the machine’s connectivity options. The best models can print over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB or SD card. We also noted which applications let you sync the printer with online accounts, such as Instagram or Facebook. At a basic level, we checked to see that each app can successfully connect the printer to your phone when you follow its instructions.

We printed a variety of photos, including portraits and landscapes, to test the printers’ capabilities and all-around quality. We also printed some images with colorful objects to test how well the printers reproduce detail and depth. We evaluated whether each printer separated objects with clean lines and noted banding or visible lines made by the print head. We also put the photos under lighted-magnification to see if the printers reproduced the quality of the original, digital images.

Print speed is important for smaller snapshot printers, especially if you plan to use some of their party or social features, like the Canon Selphy’s Party Shuffle mode. We printed the same images on all the devices and timed how long it took to print each one. We averaged the print speeds, taking photo size into account.

While print quality was our number one consideration, we also looked at each machine’s physical dimensions, portability and value.

What Key Features to Look for When Buying Photo-Only Printers

Print Quality
A good way to know what kind of print quality to expect is to check the kind of printing technology a machine uses. Inkjet printers create the highest quality photos, but there are also dye-sublimation printers, which aren’t quite as good but simplify cartridge installation. Zero ink, also called “zink,” models are speedy but produce prints that aren’t very bright or vivid.

Print Speed

Based on how you plan to use your printer, whether in a classroom or at social events, speed can be important. Manufacturers often provide information about speed in the printers’ specifications, and we also tested print speed in our lab.

Portability
As with speed, how you plan to use your printer affects how portable you need it to be. If you need to use yours on the go, we recommend finding a machine with a battery pack included in the initial purchase. Also, look at how many images the device can print before it needs to recharge. It’s also worth mentioning that more portable devices don’t have the same high print quality as stationary printers.

Connectivity
Even some of the smaller snapshot printers we tested have a lot of connectivity options. Photo printers may offer any combination of wired, USB and Ethernet connections as well as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so you can print directly from your social media accounts and cell phone.

If you are looking for a large-format, desktop photo printer, look for one that has a lot of connectivity options, especially if you plan to share it with other users. On the other hand, if you want a portable printer, often less is more – we liked portable printers that have simple connectivity options that make it easy to start printing right away.

Best Photo Book Services 

The photo printers we tested are the perfect solution for printing single high-quality images for framing. However, if you want to combine multiple images in a nicely bound keepsake photo book, we also compared 13 of the best photo book printing services by evaluating print quality, pricing and book template options. Here are a couple of our favorite photo book sites.

Mixbook
This online photo book service has the largest selection of pre-designed book templates, and our test project arrived faster than any other online service we tested. The interface is easy to use and includes a guided virtual tour highlighting the important features and tools. Mixbook offers a 20-page 8 x 8 hardcover photo book for $29.99 plus shipping and handling, and each additional page is $1.29. That’s an average price for our test group, but the print quality of this service was among the best we evaluated.

Walgreens Photo
The print quality of Walgreens’ photo books isn’t on par with the best services we tested, but an 8 x 8 book only costs $19.99 and is available to pick up at Walgreens stores the same day you design it. There are six different sizes to choose from with six cover options, including hardbound, softbound, leather and fabric. The photo editor is easy to use and includes tools for adding embellishments and text alongside the photos.