Whether you're a professional photographer who needs the best photo printer for work or an amateur picture-taker who wants an easy and accessible way to create physical copies of their most cherished memories, a good printer for pictures can be an essential and cost-effective addition to the home office set-up.
Instead of sending your pictures off to a company to complete the service for you (for a price), you can bring the process 'in-house' and have the ability to print out pretty much anything at a moment's notice. It's worth noting, too, that most photo printers also work brilliantly as general-use printers, scanners, and copiers, so serve multiple purposes across the household.
We love Epson printers because of their focus on affordability when it comes to ink prices. While most of us have probably purchased an inexpensive printer and gone on to spend a small fortune on replacement cartridges, Epson's cartridge-free system promises to save quite a bit of cash along the way - with a larger initial cost for the device itself.
But the cartridge-free (which also happens to be more eco-friendly) design combined with the general quality of the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 is enough to make it our choice for the best photo printer, with the option to also use it as an everyday printer, copier, and scanner.
The resolution is stunning at 5760 x 1400dpi, which Epson describes as 'lab quality', and the speed for color printouts is a respectable 12 pages per minute. If you need to print on different materials, you can do so up to 1.3mm thick, and it supports paper sizes up to A3.Best all in one photo printer (runner up)Mobile printing?: YesConnection: Wired, wirelessResolution: 2800 x 1200dpiSpeed: 10ppmDimensions: 7.5 x 17.3inWeight: 17.5lbs+Energy Star certified+Also a copier, fax, and scanner+Touch screen display+Compact design-Average printing speed
Another all-in-one offering, this time from Canon, the PIXMA TR8520 is a great little printer, scanner, and copier that should fit into even the most crowded of workspaces. It also has a touch screen display for easier printing even without loading the app up on your phone.
At 10 pages per minute, printing speeds are just okay, which keeps the TR8520 from the top spot, but black and white printing is a little faster at 15 pages per minute. Really, with solid resolution and the added presence of a scanner, the selling point of the printer is its small size, which is attractive in a world when some of us are working from the kitchen table.
There's also Canon's My Image Garden app, which offers extras like filters and layouts for your snaps.Best smart photo printerMobile printing?: YesConnection: Wired, wirelessResolution: 5760 x 1440dpiSpeed: 8ppmDimensions: 11.6 x 18.9 x 26.3inWeight: 19.4lbs+Energy Star certified+Also a copier and scanner+Touch screen display+Works with Alexa and Google Assistant+Great printing resolution-Slower printing speed-Expensive
If you're looking for a photo printer that fits into your existing smart home set-up, then the Epson Expression Photo XP-970 could be the one. The printer works with both Alexa and Google Assistant (providing you already have a smart speaker at home) and allows you to print things like shopping lists on demand.
But, as a photo printer, the XP-970 is also solid. Resolution is excellent at 5760 x 1440dpi, but you'll sacrifice printing speeds - which sit at just 8 pages per minute. If you don't mind the slower pace, however, you'll be adding convenience in a variety of ways. Not only can you use your voice to control the printer, but the touch screen display also means you don't need to rely on an app.
There are separate paper trays for A4 and photo size, as well as a memory card slot to print directly. The XP-970 also includes a scanner, while staying compact enough for most home offices.Best photo printer for photographersMobile printing?: YesConnection: Wireless, wiredResolution: 4800 x 1200dpiSpeed: 0.34ppmDimensions: 16.4 x 33 x 25.2inWeight: 31.6lbs+Energy Star certified+Good printing resolution+Supports custom photo sizes-Slow printing speed-Quite large-Expensive
Designed for professional or amateur photographers looking for a way to get 'gallery' quality printouts at home, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 has all of the bells and whistles that you'd expect.
Promising outstanding images indistinguishable from those created professionally, the printer uses its Lucia Pro Ink system to produce deep, nuanced prints that are also both scratch-resistant and uniform in their glossiness. The new matte black ink will work wonders with monochrome images, and you can print in custom sizes up to 13x39 inches.
The catch is that the printer is on the expensive side, and printing speeds are by far the lowest on this list. That's a reasonable trade-off for quality, but we would recommend the imagePROGRAF PRO-300 only for those who are passionate about their photography.Best small photo printerMobile printing?: YesConnection: Wired, BluetoothResolution: 300dpiSpeed: 1ppmDimensions: 10.7 x 6.6 x 2.6inWeight: 1lbs+Portable with rechargeable battery (sold separately)+Energy Star certified+Compact design+Affordable price tag-Bad printing resolution-Slow speed
The largest iteration of HP's popular Sprocket range, the Sprocket Studio is a compact Bluetooth printer that's designed to produce 4x6" photos, rather than the wallet-sized ones of other models. This makes it a useful device to have around for those who want to have physical copies of their Instagram/family snaps, but aren't overly worried about things like resolution.
The drawbacks of the Sprocket Studio - slow speeds, 300dpi resolution - shouldn't bother casual users, and you may find that the unique features it offers make up for those flaws. The printer really prioritizes fun, offers tools to create collages, cards, and stickers within the Sprocket app.
There's also a portable battery (sold separately) that means you can take the printer with you on trips, though it's not nearly as easy to carry around as the Sprocket Select.
You know that not all printers are created equal, but you may still be asking – is buying a specialized photo printer actually worth it? This question becomes more potent when you consider that photo printing is something you can pay others to do, whether that's taking your camera to a shop or using one of the many online services now available.
Why should you buy a photo printer?
The benefits of having one of the best photo printers in your home are vast and, as most of us are trying to complete as many of our tasks from home and as cost-effectively as possible, getting a printer for your home office or just for occasional use could be a fantastic idea.
First and foremost, it means that you can get your photos printed out on-demand, and even cheaply create art prints to enhance your decor. Let's be honest - while most of us promise ourselves that we will eventually send our Instagram and family snaps to be printed, often we never get around you it.
With a photo printer at home, you can tick off this task in ten minutes and eliminate the risk of losing your precious memories due to a technology failure.