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 so far is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. It 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.
It 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. It 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, and you may find yourself constantly running out of ink. Luckily, there are higher-yield cartridges available if you need it. Overall, this is the best printer for photos that we've tested to date. It's well-suited for printing photos while still remaining versatile enough for the occasional non-photo related task.
If you're looking for an even better cost-per-print ratio, try the Canon PIXMA G7020. While the photos it produces have some banding in the darker areas of its images, and it has a slower printing speed for black text and color documents than the Canon PIXMA TR8520, its performance is more cost-efficient. If you print a lot of photos, this supertank ink system helps to keep costs low. It uses refillable ink tanks that yield a high amount of pages before they need to be refilled again, resulting in a lower cost-per-print ratio, which is great for long-term affordability. On the downside, it's bulkier and doesn't support Bluetooth.
If you print off a lot of photos and you want them to look vibrant and detailed, go for the TR8520. However, if you're looking for something a little more versatile and cost-efficient, go for the G7020.
The best multipurpose printer for photos that we've tested to date is the Brother MFC-J995DW. This excellent model is best suited for home or small office use, but its overall performance and versatility make it a great option beyond simply a work environment. Thanks to Brother's high-yield INKvestment Tank system, which holds more ink per cartridge, you'll be saving as costs will be kept low. You can also purchase and install Brother's Ultra High-Yield cartridges if you're constantly printing.
It has a flatbed scanner, which is ideal for single-page scans, but also has an automatic document feeder if you need to scan multiple documents at once. The resolution and color depth on the scanner is very impressive, which is great if you need to make your copies larger, and the printer itself prints vibrant and detailed photos. Housing all this is a great design that feels sturdy, with the cartridges being easily accessible from the front. It has good connectivity options, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi, and you can also print files directly from a USB or SD card.
Unfortunately, it's quite slow with black and white printing, which may be frustrating. Also, while it has an impressive scanner, it doesn't support duplex scanning, meaning you'll have to manually flip double-sided pages. The color accuracy is just okay, and there can be some banding in the greyscale. There's borderless printing, but pictures often came out misaligned, so if you depend on quality colored photos, this printer may not be ideal for you. However, if you just want photos for your collection and need to handle lots of paperwork, this is one of the best all-in-one printers we've tested to date.
The best small photo printer that we've tested so far is the HP DeskJet 3755. This is an okay all-in-one inkjet printer that's quite compact and portable, making it ideal for small spaces. It has a reasonable design, with both the cartridges and paper jams being easily accessible from the front of the printer. Not only that, but photos are printed with good detail and impressive color accuracy.
The cartridges are reasonably priced, and there's an ink cartridge subscription available through the HP Smart companion app, which is compatible with both Android and iOS. From there, you can scan and print directly and use the app to fax scanned documents and print PDF files.
Unfortunately, you'll have to replace the cartridges often, which can quickly exceed the cost of the printer. The printer uses a single tricolor cartridge for color prints, meaning you'll have to replace the whole canister regardless of what colors you print. Also, while it lacks a flatbed scanner, it has a sheetfed scanner and an automatic document feeder, which is great if you have many pages to copy at once. Overall, if you want a compact printer for the occasional print, this is one of the best printers under $100 we've tested so far.
The best printer for photos in the budget category that we've tested so far is the Canon PIXMA TR5420. This compact, all-in-one printer is a decent choice for families who may want to print casual photos for fun. It has a flatbed scanner, which is great for delicate or bulkier items, and an automatic document feeder.
Despite a little bit of banding on the grayscale, the quality of printed photos is quite impressive due to clear colors and vibrant detail. Color accuracy isn't ideal for those who depend on printed media as a profession, but if you're simply adding a splash of color to the occasional document or printing photos for a scrapbook, this should be decent enough for most people.
Unfortunately, cost-per-print is quite high, and despite the low cost of the cartridges, they run out quickly, meaning you'll have to replace them often. Furthermore, it lacks a Bluetooth connection, and you can't print anything from an SD card or USB flash drive. Fortunately, it's compatible with the outstanding companion app, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY. Overall, this is a good choice for those who want to print photos on a budget.
08/28/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
08/07/2020: Added HP ENVY 5055 as Notable Mention.
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.