Whether you're printing off photos to save in your scrapbook, or you just want to have some glossy photos of your best pictures handy, a good photo printer can make a huge difference when you're saving those important images. While most printers can print images, a dedicated photo printer can accurately and vividly reproduce colors while still retaining detail from your original image. Inkjet printers also tend to be better suited for printing photos and some inkjets even include special photo cartridges to give you an even better color reproduction.
We've tested over 30 printers to date and if you're still looking around, check out our recommendations for the best home printers.
The best photo printer that we've tested so far is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. This printer has excellent photo printing quality, which helps to create vibrant and detailed photos worth displaying. It uses five cartridges, including a dedicated CLI-281 photo black cartridge, so you don't have to worry about running out of black ink if you need the occasional black-text document printed.
This printer has a low cost-per-print ratio for black and color, making it an affordable choice when you're always printing something off. Although it isn't the fastest at printing black-text or color documents, it takes just under a minute to print out 4" x 6" photos, which is pretty decent. This printer also has a flatbed scanner with a max 2100 DPI, which is great if you want to copy some old family photos in high detail. If you're looking for more versatility, this printer also has a sheetfed scanner with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) so you can process multiple single-sided pages quickly.
On the downside, some may find its photo printing quality to be slightly oversaturated. Its black page ink cartridge also has a low page yield, so if you also need to print off a lot of text documents, you may find yourself constantly running out of ink. There are higher-yield cartridges available, which is nice. Overall, this printer is well-suited for printing photos while still remaining versatile enough for the occasional non-photo related task.
If you prefer an even lower cost-per-print ratio, check out the Canon PIXMA G7020. It's slower at printing black-text and color documents than the Canon PIXMA TR8520 and its photo printing quality has some banding in darker areas of your photos, but it has a more cost-efficient performance overall. As it uses a refillable supertank ink system, it can yield a lot of pages before it needs to be refilled. It also has an outstanding cost-per-print ratio, making it an affordable option if you need to print off a lot of photos. However, it's slightly bigger and heavier than the other Canon and it lacks Bluetooth support.
If you care only about photo printing quality and you're using your printer primarily to print photos, get the TR8520. However, if you're looking for something that's more cost-efficient over time, and you may want to print items other than photos, get the G7020.
The Brother MFC-J995DW is the best multipurpose photo printer that we've tested so far. This versatile all-in-one printer has a high-yield INKvestment Tank so you can print off photos or documents at a low cost. It also has handy features like a scan sheetfed with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) as well as an integrated fax feature, making it a suitable choice for processing office work or school assignments.
This printer has an extremely low cost-per-print for black and color and it can yield a lot of pages before any of its ink tanks need to be replaced. If you're in a rush, it can fully print off photos in under 50 seconds, which is pretty quick, and it can also print off black-text and color documents at a good speed. As this printer has both a flatbed and sheetfed scanner, you can copy or scan a variety of items easily. Its scan flatbed also can reach up to 1200 DPI, ensuring you get detailed, high-quality scans of your original artwork or photographs. Thanks to its external storage support, you can print photos directly from a USB thumb drive or from a camera's SD card. Its photo printing quality is great, too, producing photos that are both detailed and vibrant.
On the downside, there's some fine banding found in gray areas of your photos and if you're trying to do borderless printing, your image can come out misaligned, which can be a little frustrating. While its color accuracy should be okay enough for home use, those who need more precise color reproduction may find this disappointing. However, this printer has well-rounded features that still make it suitable for printing photos or processing paperwork.
The best small photo printer that we've tested to date is the HP DeskJet 3555. If you're low on table space, this compact printer still allows you to print photos without taking up too much room. It's also one of the lightest printers we've tested so far, so you can easily take it with you if you need to print in different places.
This printer has a simple and straightforward design. While its small size is because there isn't a flatbed scanner, there's still a sheetfed scanner, so you can process some documents and forms. It has a good photo printing quality, though, and although there's a slightly green tone in darker areas of your image and the reds are a bit oversaturated, there's still a good amount of detail to your photos. There's also an optional ink subscription available, which is nice if you tend to forget to buy ink.
As it uses only one tricolor cartridge, if you run out of a specific color, you'll need to replace the entire tricolor cartridge, which makes its cost-per-print for photos higher than other printers on this list. It also takes over a minute and a half to print off one 4" x 6" photo. Still, if you're never in the same place but still need a small printer, this is a solid choice.
If you're looking to spend a little less, the Canon PIXMA TS5320 best budget photo printer we've tested so far. This affordable printer may feel a bit cheap or clunky than other printers on this list, but it still manages to produce surprisingly nice photos. It's also fairly compact, so you can easily store it on a shelf or on your desk, and you can even connect to it using Bluetooth to limit cables.
Although there's a small bit of color appearing in grayscale images, it still has great photo printing quality, and images have a natural-looking tone to them. There's also a flatbed scanner with a 1200 DPI, which is nice if you want to save old family photos or scan artwork for printing in high quality. Printing 4" x 6" photos takes just under a minute, which is quite decent too. If you're a fan of more colorful tech, it also comes in fun colors like pink and mint green in addition to more work-safe styles like grey or white.
However, this printer is slow at printing off black-text or color documents. It also has a bad ink cartridge system as both the black and tricolor cartridges don't yield a lot of pages before they need to be replaced, so you end up paying more in the long-term to keep printing. On the upside, there are high-yield cartridges available, which can help extend your page yield.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best home printers for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our printer reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no printer is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.