Whether you're printing off photos to save in your scrapbook or want to have some glossy prints 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, the best printers for pictures can accurately and vividly reproduce colors while still retaining detail from your original photo. 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 135 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers for pictures 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 we've tested is the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300. This professional-grade model produces incredibly detailed, vibrant, and color-accurate pictures. It supports borderless printing and various paper sizes up to 13" x 19", making it a great choice for large-format prints, like posters. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet, and there's support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, so you can easily print from your mobile devices without installing any drivers or a third-party app.
This printer uses nine cartridges, including specific photo cartridges that work only on glossy photo paper, meaning you won't have to worry about depleting the photo ink if you need to print the occasional plain document or report. A special Chroma Optimizer cartridge also seals photos for improved longevity and shine. The downside is that the ink cartridges are only good for about 400 color prints and are expensive, so you'll have to spend a fair amount of money on ink. Another downside is that it's a print-only model, so you'll need a separate scanner to digitize photos.
If you want something cheaper, get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500, a variant of the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 we tested. It performs identically to the flagship ET-8550 but can only print on paper up to 8.5" x 11" in size, whereas the ET-8550 supports up to 13" x 19". It also has a smaller 8.5" x 11.7" flatbed scanner (8.5" x 14" on the ET-8550). Wide-format printing is more of a niche use, so the ET-8500 probably makes more sense for most people. If you need wide-format printing or a larger flatbed scanner, the ET-8550 is an excellent choice; just expect to pay more.
Like the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 above, this printer produces detailed and colorful photos. The main difference is color accuracy. It isn't wildly off; it just oversaturates colors to make them more vibrant. The pictures still look amazing, but don't expect them to be exactly like the original. One major advantage it holds over the Canon printer is its lower ownership costs, as it uses a refillable ink tank that yields significantly more prints. You also get a scanner to digitize photos. In addition to the usual Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity, this model can print directly off a USB flash drive or SD card.
For a more modest mid-range pick, we chose the Epson EcoTank ET-2400. Like our Epson pick above, this is also an all-in-one supertank model, so it's a great option for those with a large print load. However, unlike the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550, which uses six different inks (with the addition of gray and photo black), it has a more traditional setup with the usual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. It has a wide color gamut; it just struggles with bright, saturated tones, meaning some bright highlights won't come out as well compared to more expensive photo printers like the ones above. Printed pictures still look detailed and reasonably color-accurate, albeit slightly grainy.
You can connect to the printer via USB or Wi-Fi; just know that it doesn't support Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, so you may need to download the Epson Smart Panel companion app to get full functionality on mobile devices. The mobile app lets you print, scan, and perform maintenance tasks. It also gives you easy access to Epson's image gallery, which contains patterns you can use for crafts, like house decorations and greeting cards. Unfortunately, its printing speed is pretty slow, taking almost a minute and a half to produce a 4" x 6" photo.
Our best budget pick is the Canon PIXMA TR8620a. This all-in-one produces detailed and vibrant photos and supports various paper sizes up to 8.5" x 11". You can connect to the printer via Wi-Fi, USB, or Ethernet and print directly from an SD card. It has a high-resolution scanner, but the scan quality is only okay, so it isn't the best for digitizing photos. The main downside of this model is that, unlike our EcoTank picks above, it uses more traditional ink cartridges that run out much faster, so you'll be swapping them out pretty often. Thankfully, the cartridges are relatively cheap.
If you have a larger print load, get the Canon PIXMA G3260/G3262 instead. It costs a little more upfront but yields significantly more prints than the TR8620a, so you won't have to spend as much on replacement ink. Although it has a slightly wider color range, it isn't quite as color-accurate as the TR8620a, as printed pictures have a noticeably warmer tone.
If you need a cheap printer to print the occasional photo, we recommend the Canon PIXMA MG3620. It prints sharp, detailed photos with decent color accuracy and does so fairly quickly, taking only 50 seconds to print a 4" x 6" picture on glossy paper. The main drawback is that it only uses two ink cartridges: one black and one tri-color. These ink cartridges don't last very long, meaning you'll have to replace them often. Also, since it uses a tri-color cartridge, you must replace the entire unit, even if only a single color runs out. XL cartridges are available, but you'll get fewer prints than a supertank model like the Epson EcoTank ET-2800/ET-2803. Thankfully, the cartridges are cheap, so your overall maintenance cost won't rise too quickly.
If you're looking for the best printer for printing photos on the go, check out the Canon PIXMA TR150, a print-only inkjet model with a built-in rechargeable battery. It has USB and Wi-Fi connectivity and supports Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service; you can easily connect your smartphone and start printing without installing any drivers or third-party apps. Printed photos look detailed and colorful, albeit slightly grainy. You'll have to replace the ink cartridges often, as they yield only about 190 color prints; however, they're relatively cheap, so you won't have to spend too much to maintain them over time. The internal battery supplies enough power for around 330 prints and takes about two hours to charge fully.
If you want something even more compact, get the Canon SELPHY Square QX10. It's significantly more compact, meaning it's easier to fit into a handbag. It also has an internal rechargeable battery. However, it uses dye-sublimation to print photos and can only print on Canon's 2.84" x 3.35" proprietary paper. The print quality isn't as good as the TR150, though that's to be expected, as it's designed to produce more photos with a polaroid-like appearance. The cost per print is much higher than the TR150, so it can get very expensive if you print a lot. Also, you can only print about 20 photos before the battery runs out of power.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers for pictures 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.