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.
We've tested over 85 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers for photos you can buy. For other options, check out our recommendations for the best home printers, the best inkjet printers, and the best printers with cheap ink.
The best printer for photos we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. This all-in-one printer is relatively compact, making it suitable for homes or dorm rooms with limited space. It has decent build quality with easy access to ink cartridges and paper jams. It also has some useful add-ons like an excellent display screen and great scanning features.
It prints amazing photos with vibrant colors, clear detail, and no banding at all. Its color cartridge yields a high number of pages, so you should be able to print a lot of photos before running out of ink. You can easily connect to it wirelessly or print directly from a USB key or SD card. It also comes with a remarkable mobile app that allows you to print, scan, and copy directly from your phone.
Unfortunately, when printing photos, colors can come out a bit oversaturated, and their accuracy is only decent overall. While it's probably still fine for casual use, it might not be ideal for those needing more precise results. Also, it takes almost one full minute to print a single 4" x 6" photo. That said, it's a great and versatile printer that should satisfy most people wanting to print casual photos.
If you want a lower cost-per-print, consider the Canon PIXMA G7020. Although its photo printing quality isn't as good and its printing speed is much slower than the Canon PIXMA TR8520, it has a much higher page yield thanks to its supertank system, which results in an incredibly low cost-per-print. It has great connectivity options, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, but it doesn't support Bluetooth printing. Unfortunately, its color accuracy is mediocre at best, although it should be fine for most casual uses.
If you prioritize excellent photo printing quality and color accuracy, get the TR8520. If you want a supertank with a lower cost-per-print, go with the G7020.
The best multipurpose printer for photos that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J995DW. This all-in-one 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 for scanning old photos. You can connect to it over Wi-Fi or print directly from a USB key or SD card.
The cost-per-print is remarkably low, thanks to Brother's INKvestment Tank Ink System, which yields high quantities of both photos and black-only documents. You shouldn't need to replace the cartridges often, even if you print frequently. Printing speed is quite good, and while document printing is obviously faster, photos take 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. Also, while the printer has an automatic document feeder, it doesn't support duplex scanning, meaning you have to manually flip over double-sided documents. 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 small printer for photos that we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. This all-in-one inkjet printer produces good-looking photos with only a bit of banding and oversaturated colors, but otherwise, they're very detailed. It has great color accuracy, and while it may not be good enough for people who need exact color reproduction, it should be more than fine for casual photo prints.
This compact, brightly-colored printer takes up a small amount of space on your desk. Surprisingly, considering its size, it has an automatic document feeder to help you quickly scan multiple pages at once. Also, it comes in three vibrant colors that you can match with your office setup. There are a decent number of ways to connect to the printer, including through its support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, its page yields for both black and color ink are terribly low, so you may need to replace the cartridge often, especially if you print photos often. As a result, the cost-per-print is very high, so the price of replacing the cartridges quickly rises above the initial price of the printer. Printing speed is also very slow, which may not be ideal if you need to print multiple images. That said, if you're low on space but need a printer to print good-looking photos, this is a good choice.
The Canon PIXMA TR4520 is the best printer for photos in the budget category that we've tested. It's an all-in-one inkjet model that prints great quality photos, with only a small amount of banding in gray areas. Color accuracy is decent enough for printing family photos or arts and crafts. The input tray has a slider to accommodate different paper sizes, including 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photos.
It has decent wired and wireless connectivity options, and it's also compatible with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, which lets you print and scan directly from your mobile device, as well as order ink. The scanner features are great, including a high-resolution flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder to process multi-page documents.
Unfortunately, it has a very low page yield, so you might run out of ink often, especially if you print a lot. This results in a high cost-per-print since you need to replace the cartridges often. Also, it prints fairly slow, and paper jams aren't easy to get to. That said, this is still a good printer if you're looking for a budget option to print photos.
Apr 30, 2021: Added the Canon PIXMA G3260 and the HP ENVY 6055 to Notable Mentions.
Mar 31, 2021: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
Mar 01, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
Feb 12, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Dec 16, 2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product 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.