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 120 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 we've tested is the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300, a professional-grade photo printer that produces excellent-quality photos. Printed pictures look incredibly detailed, vibrant, and color-accurate, with no banding or other artifacts. It supports borderless printing and various paper sizes up to 13" x 19". Its printing speed is slow, as it takes nearly two minutes to print a 4" x 6" photo, but this is part of the cost of high-quality photos. You can connect to the printer via Wi-Fi, USB, or Ethernet; however, it doesn't support printing from USB flash drives and SD cards, which might be inconvenient for photographers.
This printer has nine cartridges and uses specific photo cartridges that work only on glossy photo paper, so you won't have to worry about depleting the photo ink if you shift to printing documents or reports. That said, the cartridges are only good for about 400 color prints, and they're expensive, meaning you'll have to spend a fair amount of money on maintenance. Another downside is that it's a print-only model, so you'll have to get a separate scanner if you want to digitize old family photos. Nonetheless, if you're looking for the best print quality, it's the one to get.
If you don't need a professional-grade printer but still want high-quality photos, get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 instead. The main difference in print quality between this model and the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is color accuracy, as the ET-8550 tends to oversaturate the colors to make them appear more vibrant. Printed photos still look visually pleasing, just not as color-accurate. It's also a great option to print posters, as it supports paper sizes up to 13" x 19". It has the usual Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity and can print directly from an SD card.
As you may have guessed from its name, it's a supertank model, meaning it has a refillable ink tank instead of cartridges. A full tank yields a large number of prints, and the ink bottles are cheap, so you don't need to worry about high maintenance costs. Its flatbed scanner supports sheets up to 8.5" x 14" and produces very high-quality scans, which is great for digitizing photos. Lastly, it's compatible with Epson's Smart Panel mobile companion app, allowing you to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks right from your smartphone.
If you find the ET-8550 too expensive, there's a cheaper variant you might want to check out, the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500. It performs exactly like the ET-8550, meaning you'll still get amazing-looking photos, but it only supports paper sizes up to 8.5" x 11".
For a more modest mid-range pick, we chose the Epson EcoTank ET-2800. It's also an all-in-one supertank model that yields thousands of prints from a full tank, meaning your maintenance cost will remain low over time. Unlike the picks above, it only uses the usual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. It still prints very detailed photos, but because it has a narrower color range, some colors don't come out as well, like bright, saturated tones. You still get Wi-Fi and USB connectivity and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. Unfortunately, it's slow, as it takes a minute and a half to print a single 4" x 6" photo.
Our best budget pick is the Canon PIXMA G3260. It's very similar to the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 we recommend above, as it's also a supertank model with identical connectivity options and a flatbed scanner. It has a good color gamut and decent color accuracy; however, it isn't as good as the Epson when it comes to reproducing fine details, and there's a bit more grain in printed pictures. The scanner produces scans that look washed out and lacking in detail, which isn't ideal for digitizing photos. On the bright side, its ink tank yields thousands of prints, making it very cheap to maintain over time.
If you need a cheap printer to print the occasional photo, we recommend the Canon PIXMA MG3620. It prints good-quality photos with lots of fine details and decent color accuracy, and it 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, and since it uses a tri-color cartridge, you have to replace the entire cartridge if only a single color runs out.
There are XL cartridges available, but again, it won't yield as many prints as a model with more cartridges or a supertank model. 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, meaning 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 it won't cost too much to maintain over time. The internal battery is good for around 330 prints and takes about two hours to fully charge.
If you want something even more compact, get the Canon SELPHY Square QX10. It's significantly more compact, so it's easier to fit into a handbag, and it 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 polaroid-like photos. Unfortunately, its cost per print is much higher, 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.
Jan 11, 2023: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR8620a with the Canon PIXMA G3260 because the TR8620a has increased in price.
Dec 15, 2022: Replaced the Liene Amber M100 with the Canon PIXMA TR150 because it prints better photos, supports more paper sizes, and has more connectivity options.
Nov 17, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Oct 21, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Sep 23, 2022: Replaced the Canon PIXMA G7020 with the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 because the Epson prints better photos. Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR8620 with the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 because the Epson has a better page yield and prints better photos. Replaced the Canon TS6420a with the Canon PIXMA TR8620a because the TR8620a has better color accuracy and yields more prints. Added the Canon PIXMA MG3620 as the 'Best Cheap' pick.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best photo 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.