Whether you're printing off photos to save in your scrapbook, or you 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 110 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best photo printers you can buy. For other options, check out our picks for the best home printers, the best inkjet printers, and the best all-in-one printers.
The best photo printer for casual use we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR8620. It replaces the Canon PIXMA TR8520 and produces similarly excellent-looking photos with good detail, vibrant colors, and no banding present. Colors look accurate enough for filling up a photo album or putting pictures on a wall, but we don't recommend it for professional use.
It uses four color cartridges, including a photo black cartridge for deeper blacks and more accurate shades of gray. It prints a good number of color pages, so the operating costs of printing lots of photos is low. Because it prints 4" x 6" photos in under a minute, you'll save time when making multiple prints. If you want to scan some old photos, it has a flatbed with a good scan resolution and color depth, so your scanned image will look sharp and colorful.
Unfortunately, while it prints via Bluetooth, it only works with the Canon mobile companion app and not directly from the printing options. It isn't the best choice if you also need a printer for work since it doesn't print many black pages, so you'll need to replace the cartridge often if you print a lot, and it prints black text documents very slowly. That said, it's a very good casual photo printer, and it's also one of the best wireless printers we've tested.
If you're a professional looking to produce prints, the best-quality photo printer we've tested is the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300. This printer-only unit produces outstanding photos that are clear, vibrant, and full of detail. It can produce a wide range of colors and gradients, and colors are extremely accurate, so it can handle color reproduction if you're printing out logos, graphics, or other print media.
It has nine cartridges and uses specific photo cartridges that will only work on glossy photo paper, so you won't have to worry about depleting the photo ink if you shift to printing documents or reports. There's a "Chroma Optimizer" cartridge, which Canon claims coats and seals photos for extra shine and longevity. It can print tabloid-sized photos and documents, and it has built-in maintenance features like a deep printhead cleaning and a proprietary Nozzle Recovery System to keep the printer working correctly.
Unfortunately, its print speeds are very slow, and it takes nearly two minutes for a photo to come out. It also lacks a scanner, which could be a deal-breaker if you need to digitize materials frequently. It also lacks a USB port and SD card slot, so you can't print directly from external storage devices. With that said, it's an excellent option if you're a professional looking for a printer that can produce outstanding prints.
The best multipurpose photo printer we've tested is the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830. While this model is designed for small offices, it's still a great option for many uses, like printing photos at home. It prints decent-looking photos with lots of detail, and colors are accurate enough to print casual photos to decorate your room or add a graphic onto a report or assignment.
If you have old photos that you'd like to digitize, the flatbed scanner has a high resolution, which helps your photos look crisp and sharp. There's also a copy feature if you want to instantly make multiple prints of the same image, and the input trays have width sliders to let you accommodate different photo paper sizes. You can print directly from your device using Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, or Mopria Print Service, and you can also print and scan from a phone or tablet by using the mobile app.
Unfortunately, it's a bit slow at printing out a 4" x 6" photo, but this should only be a problem if you're printing multiple pictures in a row. Also, it doesn't print too many pages before the cartridges run out, so if you're frequently printing images that need a lot of black ink, you might need to replace the cartridges fairly often. That said, the relatively cheap price of the cartridges helps keep running costs low. Overall, if you're looking for a photo printer that's versatile enough for other tasks as well, this is a very good option.
If you're tight on space, the best printer for pictures that we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. Its small size and lightweight make it optimal for use in dorm rooms or those working in small spaces. It comes with a removable power cord that's easy to replace if it's damaged or stored away when not in use.
It produces good-quality photos that are detailed and clear, although there's some banding in gray areas. While colors are accurate enough to print photos to dress up your dorm room, it's not recommended for exact color reproduction. There's a sheetfed scanner on the top, so you can easily digitize photos and class notes.
Unfortunately, its color page yields are awful, so you may quickly end up paying more than the cost of the unit if you print photos frequently. Also, it only uses one tricolor cartridge, which means you'll have to replace the whole cartridge even if only one color runs out. Its print speeds are slow, and it takes over a minute to produce a photo. With that said, it's a good option if you're looking for a compact photo printer for casual use.
In the budget range, the best printer for printing photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. Photos come out vibrant and detailed, and colors look good. Although there's a bit of banding in grayscale areas, the photo quality is impressive overall. It can also perform borderless printing, so it's a good choice if you're also looking to print casual graphic design documents.
As a budget home office printer, it includes office features like a flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder. The flatbed scanner has a very high resolution, so you can easily digitize your old photos and documents with good detail. You can also connect to the printer wirelessly with Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, or a Wi-Fi connection, and you can also directly connect the printer to your home network with an Ethernet connection.
Unfortunately, it only uses one tri-color cartridge for color printing, so you'll have to replace the entire cartridge even if only one color runs out. Although the cartridges are relatively cheap, the printer's poor page yields mean that the cost-per-print is disappointingly high, and you can quickly end up paying the cost of the printer in ink if you print frequently. It takes a little over a minute for photos to print, meaning you may be waiting a while if you're printing many pictures at once. With that said, it's a good choice if you're looking for a budget printer for casual photo printing.
Jan 07, 2022: Removed the HP ENVY Photo 7855 from picks as its color accuracy score dropped due to the test bench update. Added the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 as the 'Best Photo Printer For Professionals', renamed the "Best Photo Printer" category to 'Best Photo Printer For Casual Use'. Removed the Canon TR8520 from Notable Mentions due to availability.
Dec 10, 2021: Replaced the HP ENVY 6055 the HP ENVY 6055e in the Notable Mentions since the 6055 is discontinued.
Nov 12, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy; no changes to picks.
Oct 15, 2021: Verified picks for availability and accuracy; added Canon PIXMA TR150 to Notable Mentions.
Sep 16, 2021: Made the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830 'Best Multipurpose' and moved the Brother MFC-J995DW to Notable Mentions. Verified availability and accuracy of picks.
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.