The best photo printers are designed to take all those wonderful images from your digital camera or smartphone and turn them into physical prints that you can frame and adorn your home with, or even print out and share with family and friends. Photo printers range in terms of size, price and functionality, but most are fast and relatively simple to use.
While some all-in-one printers also offer a photo printing function, by going for one of the best photo printers you're getting the latest tech dedicated to the task of producing high quality prints at home. As a result, you'll naturally end up with a much better quality of printed photos, with features centered around producing the best images possible, rather than spending money on extra printer features like scanning and copying that you may not need.
The best photo printers produce images filled with all the color and vibrancy that you want in a print, but as with everything, you get what you pay for in terms of quality. So at the top end of the price range is the Canon PIXMA PRO-100, a machine designed to print off stunning photos at home. On the flipside, a photo printer such as the HP Sprocket has a lower printing quality, but it's fully mobile (so ideal for on-the-go use) and prints images straight from your smartphone.
If you already have one of the best cameras, it makes sense to spare no expense when getting one of the best photo printers to do your images justice. But if you're just printing casual snaps from your phone, the file sizes won't be that large and so you won't need the best print quality, so you could make a saving by going for a more entry level photo printer.
The Canon PIXMA PRO-100 is part of the company's high-end line of photo quality printers, with this model sitting at the most affordable end of that selection. As such you get a whole lot of printer for your buck.
This is a large format printer that's capable of printing off photo quality images at A3 8.5 x 11 inches as well as more standard 4 x 6 inch photos. The printer's impressive 4800 x 2400 resolution means quality is high with error free, crisp finishes found in our testing. The cost of this is that print times were slower than many other printers with full page photos taking 192 seconds.
Since this model uses eight dye-based ink colors, the end result is impressively professional, especially when used with fine-art or photo paper. These inks cost an average of $1.31 per milliliter making it a very affordable option for ink replacements.
The PIXMA PRO-100 also features wireless connectivity, Ethernet and USB for lots of easy printing choice. The unit comes with a one year warranty and has lots of online support.
- Read the full Canon PIXMA PRO-100 review.
The Canon IVY CLIQ+2 is a digital compact camera with a built-in printer that creates 2x3" physical images. It's a cheaper alternative to instant film cameras like a Polaroid or the Fujifilm Instax as it uses heat-based printing rather than film, meaning each print is about $0.44 instead of $0.70 with the Fujifilm.
The 8Mp digital camera combines with the printer to create high quality JPEG files and photo prints instantly. As such, you can point, shoot, and print on the go, or choose to back up and share your digital files as you please, something you don't get with instant film cameras.
The CLIQ+2 utilises ZINK (Zero Ink) technology which uses heat to create its prints so you don’t have to worry about replacing ink cartridges, clogged printhead nozzles or even worry about film expiration dates.
Our only gripes with it were that there is no button to cancel accidental printing, so once a print is starting, you have no option to prevent it. Additionally, we noticed during testing that the prints tend to curl up slightly over time. However, we liked the possibility of turning the prints into stickers, a fun feature for scrap booking.
- Read our full Canon IVY CLIQ+2 review
The HP Envy 6055 All-in-One is a great budget photo printer option that will get you decent quality prints without breaking the bank. This offers a scanner and copier function as well as the ability to print text, graphics and photos making it, as the name suggests, a true all-in-one device.
Everything is setup from the app making this super easy to get going in as little as 10 minutes. Then it's simple to use from there on out with no frills like a screen on this very small 11.5 pound printer.
Expect to get a good six pages per minute for text and four per minute in color with 4 x 6 inch color photos coming out in as little as a minute. Yup, this is fast when it comes to photo prints and the quality is still decent with punchy colors and bright, defined range on the 4800 x 1200 resolution prints.
- Read the full HP Envy 6055 All-In-One Printer review.
The Epson Expression XP-970 is another large format printer able to print up to A3 sized images. This uses six different inks to offer excellent quality prints. What this also offers is a flatbed scanner making this a real all round printer that just happens to be photo capable too. Considering this is also affordably priced, all that makes this a really impressive model.
So why doesn't this have the top spot? Print speeds could have been faster in our testing but with that 5760 x 1440 resolution it makes sense that it would take a while. A large format 11 x 7 inch print took 154 seconds while a 4 x 6 inch photo was out in 68 seconds.
The XP-970 also prints on CDs, supports wireless printing and has an SD card reader that's easily accessible. The inks are expensive at $2.27 per milliliter and you get a standard one year warranty with this printer.
- Read the full Epson Expression Photo XP-970 review
The Canon PIXMA TS8320 is a superb value for money option that doesn't scrimp on quality thanks to the six ink system. Despite being at the lower price range end this has great features like smart assistant compatibility for voice controls. It also offers really fast printing for the price, with a photo in letter size coming out in two minutes and two seconds.
There's a 4.3-inch LCD display with touchscreen controls, an SD memory card slot, USB and wireless connectivity. This will print CDs but also has a duplexer for dual-sided paper prints. There are two paper trays with an auto detect to use what's needed for the size of the job. This even features a scanner and copier mode thanks to a flatbed that supports up to A4/letter sized paper.
There are varying capacity ink cartridges available with savings to be made on the larger XXL option. Expect to pay about six cents for text and 16 cents for graphics. Everything has a one year warranty as standard.
- Read our full Canon PIXMA TS8320 review.
The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is the updated version of the CP1300. The new model gets a fresh look with a more boxy appearance, as well as a textured top face, simplified button configuration and new larger and fixed LCD display.
It comes boxed with a wall charger and users also have the option of powering it from a NB-CP2LI battery pack which is sold separately at an extra cost, though provides truly mobile printing - handy if you’re going to places where you can’t rely on mains power.
A common issue with inkjet printers is that print head nozzles can get clogged when not consistently used. The CP1500 uses dye sublimation technology so you never have to worry about this problem with this printer. During our testing, we were impressed by the print quality - the Canon SELPHY CP1500 delivers fantastic detail and bright, vibrant colors.
Our main issue with the printer was the large cost of peripherals, including the battery needed to make it truly portable. A built-in battery feels like the logical next improvement for future instalments of this line.
- Read our full Canon Selphy CP1500 review
The Epson SureColor P900 is the latest in a long line of the company’s high-end, large-format photo printers, aimed squarely at professional and enthusiast photographers. It’s a significant upgrade over the preceding SureColor P800 model, and a step up size-wise from the 13-inch/A3+ SureColor P700.
This printer does full justice to the relatively high megapixel count of current and recent digital cameras, while outputting prints of around 17x22-inch/A2+, large enough to frame and exhibit in a gallery or hang on your wall at home. The P900 can output even larger, panoramic prints if you buy Epson’s roll feed adapter, which is sold separately as an optional extra.
As with any pigment-based photo printer, the P900 is best suited to printing on matte photo paper and fine-art media, so prints on glossy paper can be susceptible to bronzing and lack uniformity in reflectivity. That said, we were impressed with the printer's performance on glossy, semi-gloss and luster photo papers during our testing.
When we tested the P900, we found it delivered extremely high color quality and immaculate black and white output alike. Transitions in subtly graduated colors were also very smooth. That said, this high quality comes at a price when it comes to printing speeds; in our tests creating 16.5x23.4-inch/A2 photo prints on fine art media, the P900 took 9 minutes 53 seconds in its ‘basic’ quality setting for both color and Advanced Black & White, extending to 12 minutes 26 seconds at the ‘high’ quality setting.
- Read our full Epson SureColor P900 review
The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank is the ideal photo printer for anyone that wants to print lots and doesn't want to worry about replacing ink cartridges regularly. Thanks to the ink tank, which offers five inks, this is a rare photo printer, catering to larger needs while remaining high quality. As such it's not cheap upfront but that covers you for thousands of photo prints before needing more ink.
This large printer manages to print out a 4 x 6 inch photo in just under 32 seconds, making it one of the fastest on this list. Quality was high with a crisp finish that offers solid and rich colors. There was a little blue hue to it though.
This also comes with a flatbed scanner making this a versatile printer and copier which can print to the likes of CDs, cards, envelopes and more. There is Wi-Fi as well as USB, Ethernet, an SD card slot and AirPrint support.
An expensive upfront cost that will make you savings on the ink in the long run makes this ideal for those planning to print a lot of photos, and fast.
- Read the full Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank review.
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 HP Sprocket review.
Why trust us on the best photo printers?
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
We’ve kept up with the best in photo-only printer technology for close to 15 years. As technology advanced we’ve 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 compare the print speed and quality with other photo printers to help you find the best option. We also consider factors like ink cartridge cost, ease of use, and styling.
What to look out for when buying a photo printer
First up, do you want more features than photo printing? If copying, scanning, document printing and doing all that in bulk are on your need list, then check out the best all-in-one printers as there may be a model there which better suits your needs.
If it's all about photo quality then you will want to keep an eye out for the highest resolution printer, meaning you have more dots per inch to create the highest possible quality end result. That said, color saturation and quality are also worth keeping in mind.
Cost is a big decision factor as this can vary quite wildly with this type of printer, the top end catering for professional needs in terms of quality. There are more affordable models but generally photo printers are all about premium quality and so you will pay more than other types. Ink and paper are also ongoing costs you'll want to look into, making sure this printer takes all the paper sizes you need and that you can afford to keep refilling it with ink as you use it.
Connectivity is another area for concern. Most modern printers now offer WiFi as the main method of connection, which means you can print from many devices over your local network. Some also offer cloud printing, meaning you can print from wherever you are in the world. Others also feature Bluetooth and some have physical inputs like SD card and flash drive USB ports to print directly.
Print speed and portability may also be areas of interest. If you want to print photos right after taking them, from wherever you are and quickly, then a mobile printer may be ideal. Check out the best portable printers for all those specific models, including battery powered options.