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.
The best printer for photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. This all-in-one inkjet model is a great choice for families who want to print out photos for their scrapbooks. It's decently designed and made of solid plastic, with easy access to paper jams and ink cartridges. Also, it has a flatbed scanner, which is a big help for scanning photos, as well as an automatic document feeder to help scan lengthy documents.
The cost-per-print is great, no matter if you're printing in black-only or photos. Those photos look excellent due to vibrant colors, clear detail, and no banding on the grayscale. Color accuracy is decent enough for printing photos at home but might be a dealbreaker for those who work with print media. It has a wide range of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet, or Bluetooth, and has external storage support. Not only that, but it's compatible with the outstanding Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app.
Unfortunately, printing speed for photos is a bit slow, with a print taking almost a minute to complete. Also, the cartridge system is only okay and has a low black page yield, but thankfully has a better color yield. While photos look excellent overall, the colors appear slightly oversaturated. Overall, if you want a versatile photo printer that has outstanding connectivity options, then this is one of the best home printers we've tested.
If you want an option with a lower cost-per-print, consider the Canon PIXMA G7020. It doesn't have Bluetooth, and its color accuracy isn't as good as the Canon PIXMA TR8520, but it has a supertank ink system meaning it has a much higher page yield and a significantly lower cost-per-print. This all-in-one inkjet model feels very well-built, and it still has great connectivity options despite its lack of Bluetooth. Although photos present some banding in darker areas, they still look good, and although colors look a little oversaturated and inaccurate, it should still be fine for the occasional photos and splashes of color on a report.
If you want a printer with Bluetooth and better color accuracy, get the PIXMA TR8520, but if you want something with a lower cost-per-print and a higher page yield, go with the PIXMA G7020.
The best printer for photos that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J995DW. This all-in-one inkjet model is a great choice for printing casual photos and is versatile enough for other uses. It has a sturdy design with easy access to the ink cartridges from the front. Also, it has a flatbed scanner, which is very useful if you plan on scanning old photos, and an automatic document feeder. You can connect to this printer over Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB, and you can print directly from a USB key or SD card.
The cost-per-print is superbly low, even if you're printing high volumes or colored photos. The cartridge system features Brother's INKvestment Tank Ink System, which can yield high quantities of both black and white documents and colored photos. Printing speed is quite good, and while document printing is obviously faster, photos can be printed in less than a minute. Photos look highly detailed and great overall, despite some banding with certain colors.
Unfortunately, color accuracy is only okay and isn't recommended for those who work in print media or graphic design. It also lacks Bluetooth connectivity and can't be used with Mopria Print Service. Also, while it has an automatic document feeder, it doesn't have duplex scanning, meaning you'll have to manually flip over double-sided pages. That said, if you just want something that can print great looking photos and keep up with printing documents, this is one of the best all-in-one printers we've tested.
The best printer for photos in a small size that we've tested is the HP Deskjet 3755. This all-in-one inkjet model is compact and portable, making it perfect for tight spaces like a dorm room or small office desk. It also comes in three colorful variants in case you want to add a pop of color to your work setup. If ever you get a paper jam or need to change the ink cartridges, you can easily access them by lifting the front-facing cover. Surprisingly for its size, this small printer still has a sheetfed scanner that lets you copy pages without hassle.
Although there's a slight green tone in some darker areas, photos are printed with good detail. You may be a bit disappointed at the color accuracy if your work relies on precise reproduction, but the colors are impressively accurate if you're using it to print family photos or to add a splash of color to a report. It has decent connectivity options, letting you print via USB cable, Wi-Fi, and through AirPrint or Mopria Print, plus it's compatible with the HP Smart app to print from mobile devices.
Unfortunately, the cost-per-print is bad since its color page yield is awfully low, so you'll be replacing the ink cartridges very often. It also prints very slow, with photos taking over a minute and a half. Although there is a sheetfed scanner, you'll have to flip them manually if they're double-sided. Also, you can't scan bulky documents or textbooks since there's no flatbed scanner. Nevertheless, this printer is still a good choice if you want something compact that provides you with nice-looking photos now and then.
The best photo printer in the budget category is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. This all-in-one inkjet model is decent for printing family photos. It has decent connectivity options, letting you print via Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, Apple Print, and Mopria Print. It's also compatible with Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY, which lets you print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks directly from your mobile device.
Its photos look impressive and detailed, with only a bit of banding in gray areas. Colors look decently accurate, and it should be good enough if you're using it to print out family photos for a feature wall or photo album. It has great scanner features, including a sheetfed to automatically scan multi-pages documents, and it has a flatbed with great resolution and color depth to digitize fragile family photos.
Unfortunately, it has a poor page yield, and the cost-per-print is high since you need to replace the cartridges so often. It also prints documents disappointingly slow, and photos take over a minute for a 4x6. Also, it doesn't have Bluetooth support, and you can't print directly off of an external storage device, but at least there are many other connectivity options. All in all, this is a good option for photos if you're on a budget, and it's among the best printers under $100 we've tested.
11/27/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
08/07/2020: Added HP ENVY 5055 to Notable Mentions.
07/17/2020: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TS5320 with the Canon PIXMA TR4520 in 'Best Budget Photo Printer'. Added Canon PIXMA TS5320 to Notable Mentions.
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.