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 100 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 that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR8620. It's the replacement to the Canon PIXMA TR8520, with a similarly decent-feeling plastic build with easy access to the ink cartridges and potential paper jams. It has a flatbed scanner with lid hinges that raise for scanning thicker items, an automatic document feeder, and built-in fax.
It has a good color document yield, and its cost-per-print for photos is excellent and should help keep costs low over time. It prints photos satisfactorily quickly, with excellent detail and vibrant colors that are acceptably accurate. The connectivity options are incredible, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it can also print directly from SD cards. You can use the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SEPHY app to access the printer functions directly from your phone, view scanned documents, and order ink.
Unfortunately, its black page yield is poor, so if you're going to be printing lots of black text documents frequently, you'll need to replace the cartridges a lot. It's also very slow to print documents, so you'll have to wait a while for long reports or essays. All in all, it's very good for casual photo printing, and it's also one of the best AirPrint printers we've tested.
If you want to pay less for each photo print, check out the Canon PIXMA G7020. It doesn't print as fast as the Canon PIXMA TR8620, and the photos it prints don't look nearly as good, but it has significantly higher page yields at a far lower cost-per-print thanks to its supertank ink system. It also feels solid and better built, and the scan lid stays open by itself to make refilling the ink tanks and dealing with paper jams much easier. It comes with three black ink bottles, which should last a very long time, which is great if you print frequently in black. Unfortunately, it can't print via Bluetooth or SD cards, and although its color accuracy is mediocre, it should still work well for casual use.
If you prioritize photo quality and faster printing times for documents, get the TR8620. However, if you prefer a lower cost-per-print and don't mind a few compromises, go with the G7020.
The best multipurpose printer for photos that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J995DW. This is an all-in-one inkjet model featuring Brother's INKvestment Tank Ink System, a hybrid between ink cartridges and tank systems, which gives superb print yields. It also has great scanning features, including a flatbed scanner and automatic document feeder for digitizing images and documents.
It prints photos out at a very good speed, and it has a fantastic cost-per-print thanks to its cartridge system, which makes printing photos very affordable. It produces images that are detailed and have great quality, though some fine banding is present in certain colors or shades of gray. While it has good connectivity options, you can't use Bluetooth to print, and Mopria Print Service wasn't working with our unit.
Unfortunately, its color accuracy is only okay, so it isn't recommended if you need professional-grade color reproduction. It also doesn't support duplex scanning, so dealing with double-sided multi-page documents might be inconvenient. Nonetheless, this printer is great for printing your important memories while also being able to perform other tasks, and it's also one of the best all-in-one printers we've tested.
The best compact printer for photos that we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. It comes in three different colors and has a sheetfed scanner for digitizing documents despite its small size. It feels reasonably well built, with easy access to the ink cartridges and paper jams underneath the front-facing cover.
It prints photos with good quality and detail, with only a little banding in grayscale. Colors are impressively accurate but aren't adequate for professions requiring precise color reproduction. The printer has decent connectivity options, including Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service, while you can use the HP Smart app to scan and print directly from your phone, use mobile fax, and check ink levels.
Unfortunately, it has a terrible page yield and cost-per-print, so you might end up paying more for cartridges than the printer itself if you print frequently. It also prints at a poor speed, so you'll need to wait a while for photos or long documents. All in all, however, this is a good choice if you need to print quality photos but are low on space.
The best printer for photos in the budget category that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. This is all-in-one model has a flatbed scanner with a good scan resolution and color depth, as well as an automatic document feeder for processing multi-page documents. It has decent connectivity options like an Ethernet port, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service.
It produces impressive-looking photos with vibrant colors and clear details, with only a little bit of banding in grayscale, and its color accuracy is decent and should be fine for casual use. Also, you can use the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app to print, scan, and copy directly from your mobile device, as well as to order replacement ink cartridges.
Unfortunately, it has a poor page yield, so you'll need to replace the cartridges often, resulting in a disappointingly high cost-per-print. Paper jams are also difficult to get to, and it prints very slowly. All in all, however, this is a good option if you're looking to print great-looking photos on a budget.
Jul 23, 2021: Verified availability and accuracy of picks, and updated text for clarity.
Jun 23, 2021: Verified availability and accuracy of picks, and updated text for clarity.
May 28, 2021: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR8520 with the Canon PIXMA TR8620 and moved the TR8520 to Notable Mentions. Verified availability and rewrote text for clarity.
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.
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.