Canon Pixma Pro 200 on table
Canon

What to Look For in a Photo Printer in 2022

When shopping for a good photo printer, consider how you’ll use it. A pro photographer will want a dedicated photo printer, but an all-in-one machine that can print documents and scan papers would work better for someone who just wants better home photo prints.

Of course, the image quality will be a top priority no matter what printer you pick. Good photo printers will use a combination of inks, either bottled or in cartridges, to produce their images. The best ones use 10 to 12 different inks to get high detail reproduction—even the budget photo printer on this list uses five inks.

You’ll want to avoid the run-of-the-mill home printers with one black and white and one color cartridge, as they won’t be able to capture the detail you’d want in a good photography print.

The physical footprint of your printer is another important factor. If you have limited space or just don’t like bulky pieces of tech, you’ll want to look for a smaller and lighter option. Several printers on this list can fit on a standard work desk, making it easy to find space for.

Both the up-front cost of the device itself and the long-term price of replacement paper and ink will factor into how much you pay over your photo printer’s lifetime. If you’re going to be cranking out a lot of high-quality prints, you’ll want to factor in the ink costs more often and go for a printer with refillable ink bottles instead of cartridges. It may also be worth it to consider a more expensive model with anti-clog features that’s less likely to need parts repaired or replaced.

If you need to make prints for a client, the print speed may also be important to you. Some of the pro-grade options here will crank out a great-looking print in no time, a plus if you’re looking for a quick turnaround.

Many photo printers will also offer additional features like Wi-Fi connectivity and card readers that make it very easy to transfer your files for printing. Touchscreens are also common, and all-in-one printers offer the added benefit of scanning old film negatives to share digitally.

Just make sure to check the specs on the printer you have in mind to see if any of those bells and whistles will be useful to you, or if it makes more sense to choose a less expensive option.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best photo printers on the market right now.

Best Photo Printer Overall: Epson SureColor P900

Epson Surecolor on blue background
Epson

Pros

  • Amazing image quality in an at-home printer
  • Makes prints quickly
  • A viable option for pro photographers

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Pro ink and photo paper replacements can be costly

The Epson SureColor P900 is a pro-grade printer that combines ten different inks to produce high-quality photos up to 13 inches. Not only does it make these stunning images at home, but the P900 can also turn them out quickly—you can make a fine art print in under three minutes.

The SureColor 900 can also print banners and has a relatively small footprint for its capabilities. A handy LCD screen also lets you adjust the settings before printing.

This printer uses high-capacity ink cartridges instead of bottled inks, unlike some other higher-end printers, so keep that in mind when factoring in the cost of replacement ink. Though expensive, the Epson is fairly efficient with its ink usage, so you should still be good for a while between replacements if you’re not cranking out a high volume of prints.

Overall, this printer is a good option for pro photographers who shoot events like weddings, family sessions, or fine art portraits that don’t always want to outsource photo printing services to a professional lab.

Best Photo Printer Overall

Epson SureColor P900

A highly capable dedicated photo printer for those serious about making prints at home.

Best Budget Photo Printer: Canon TS6420a

Canon Pixma TS6420a on pink background
Canon

Pros

  • Prints photos and documents
  • Includes a scanner that can be used to digitize old film prints
  • Low price point

Cons

  • Not as high-quality as dedicated pro photo printers

Canon’s TS6420a is an affordable everyday printer that produces great results. For someone who doesn’t want to shell out a grand but still wants nice prints of their vacation or family to frame, this printer is perfect. Even photographers just getting started printing their work will find the TS6420a to be a good entry point.

Since it’s designed for everyday use, this printer is an all-in-one with a built-in scanner. You can scan old film prints to share online—or just set it up in your home office for printing documents and the occasional photo.

It only uses five inks as opposed to the pro-grade 10 or 12, but that’s still better than your run-of-the-mill, two-cartridge office machine. You won’t be able to make super high-quality fine art prints with it—you’ll want a dedicated pro printer for that—but it’s a solid option for the money.

Best Budget Photo Printer

Canon PIXMA TS6420a

An affordable all-in-one home printer that makes great prints.

Best Portable Photo Printer: Kodak Step Instant Photo Printer

Kodak photo printer on pink and yellow background
Kodak

Pros

  • Lower price point than competitors
  • Produces small, fun prints quickly
  • Highly portable
  • Doesn't need replacement ink

Cons

  • Prints are very small, so not great for professional use

The Kodak Step Instant Photo Printer is a cheap, fun, portable mini photo printer from a trusted name in photography products. It’s a great way to make photo souvenirs when out with friends or to make quick-vintage style prints for a creative project. At just under $70, it costs less than other portable pocket printers, making the Kodak printer a very reasonable purchase.

The Step uses Zink (zero ink) paper so you won’t need replacement ink cartridges, just Zink sheets that are relatively inexpensive. The prints this little machine turns out are smudge-proof and have a peel-and-stick back so you can put them up on a wall or photo board.

Plus you can use the Android or iPhone app that works with this printer to add customizations to your photo like filters and borders for a little added flair. It works via Bluetooth and is super easy to use, making it a good first portable photo printer for beginners.

Of course, as you can guess by the size, this wouldn’t be a professional’s main photo printer—the Step is built to make small fun novelty pictures.

Best Portable Photo Printer

Kodak Step Instant Photo Printer

Super small and lightweight, this portable photo printer from Kodak is great for fun creative projects.

Best Inkjet Photo Printer: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Canon imageprograf on purple backgound
Canon

Pros

  • Pro-quality prints that hold up over time
  • Wi-fi capability makes transferring files easier
  • Anti-clog function

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Goes through ink quickly

Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is solid pro-grade inkjet printer to look into. Its 12-ink mix makes photo prints that look great for clients. The professional ink this printer uses means it’ll give you great color reproduction and clarity that’ll hold up over time when paired with the right photo paper.

That said, because of the complexity of its prints, the PRO-1000 will go through ink pretty quickly, which can get expensive if you’re printing images often.

The PRO-1000 works with Wi-Fi devices, so you can transfer photos to it for printing from any connected device. It also has a built-in anti-clog function, an important feature if your photo printer isn’t always in use.

Like the Epson SureColor, the imagePROGRAF has a high up-front cost but is worth it for the pro photographer that wants to print images relatively often. If you’re more of a photo enthusiast looking for the occasional print, we’d recommend one of the less expensive options on this list.

Best Inkjet Photo Printer

Canon PROGRAF PRO-1000

A seriously capable photo printer from Canon that’s powerful enough for pro prints and still fits on your desk.

Best Mid-Range Photo Printer: Canon PIXMA Pro 200

Canon Pixma 200 Pro on desk
Canon

Pros

  • Decent price point for the quality you get
  • Makes prints very quickly
  • Creates deep, detailed colors with its eight-ink mix

Cons

  • Prints aren't as large as other options on this list
  • Won't produce quite as much detail as pro-grade

About half the cost of the Canon imagePROGRAF printer, the PIXMA Pro 200 is a solid option for photographers just starting out that want to make better prints for their client packages.

It uses an eight-ink combo to create images with a much higher level of depth and detail than a typical home printer and can make prints up to 13 inches (size A3+ paper). That’s a little smaller than many pro-grade printers, but it’s still great for most situations.

The PIXMA Pro 200 is also very quick, churning out those prints in about 90 seconds, as Canon states on the store page. You can also make bordered 8×10 inch prints in just under a minute, or print out eye-catching panorama shots.

All-in-all, this is a great printer for a serious photographer who needs to print their work on a budget.

Best Mid Range Photo Printer

Canon PIXMA Pro 200

A serious photo printer that offers much of what you get from pro-grade for less.

The Best Printers of 2022

Best Printer Overall
HP ENVY 6455e
Best Budget Printer
Epson Expression Home XP-4100
Best Home Office Printer
HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdn
Best Photo Printer
Epson Expression Photo XP-970
Best Portable Printer
Canon Pixma TR150
Best Ink Tank Printer
Canon Maxify GX6021
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John is a freelance writer and photographer based in Houston, Texas. His ten-year background spans topics from tech to culture and includes work for the Seattle Times, the Houston Press, Medium's OneZero, WebMD, and MailChimp. Before moving to The Bayou City, John earned a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Long Beach.
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