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 125 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. It produces incredibly detailed, vibrant, color-accurate pictures without banding or other artifacts. It supports borderless printing and various paper sizes up to 13" x 19", making it a great choice for printing 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 Apple and Android 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 shift to printing documents or reports. That said, the cartridges are only good for about 400 color prints, and they're expensive, so you'll have to spend a fair amount of money on maintenance. If you haven't already noticed, this is a print-only model, so you'll need a separate scanner to digitize photos.
If you don't need a professional-grade printer but still want high-quality photos, get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 instead. Like the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300, it produces detailed and colorful photos, but it isn't as color-accurate as it tends to oversaturate colors to make them more vibrant. The pictures still look amazing, just don't expect them to be exactly like the original. As this is an all-in-one, you also get a scanner that produces high-quality scans, which is great for digitizing photos. It has the usual Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity and can print directly from an SD card.
What makes this printer great is its refillable ink tank. It yields thousands of prints, and replacement ink is cheap, so you don't have to worry about high maintenance costs. This printer is also a great option for printing posters, as it supports paper sizes up to 13" x 19". If you don't need wide format printing and would rather save money, choose the cheaper Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 variant. It performs exactly like the ET-8550 but only supports paper sizes up to 8.5" x 11".
For a more modest mid-range pick, we chose the Epson EcoTank ET-2800, also known as the Epson EcoTank ET-2803 at Walmart and Target. Like the pricier Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550, it's an all-in-one supertank model that yields thousands of prints with its ink reservoir filled to capacity, keeping costs of ownership very low. However, it only uses the usual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. It still prints very detailed photos, but because it has a narrower color gamut, some colors, like bright, saturated tones, don't come out as well.
You can connect via USB or Wi-Fi, and there's support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. This printer works with Epson's Smart Panel mobile app, which you can use to print, scan, and perform maintenance tasks. The scanner produces good-quality scans with nice coloring, but it has trouble capturing finer details, so it might not be ideal if you're looking to digitize photos. It also prints very slowly, taking around a minute and a half to print a single 4" x 6" photo.
For those on a tighter budget, we recommend 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 with a comparatively low page yield, so you'll be swapping them out pretty often. Thankfully, the cartridges are relatively cheap.
If you prefer a supertank model, get the Canon PIXMA G3260 instead. Its ink reservoir yields significantly more prints than the TR8620's cartridges, making it incredibly cheap to maintain. It has a slightly wider color range than the TR8620 but isn't as color-accurate, as printed photos have a noticeably warmer tone. It also prints much slower and isn't as well-built as the TR8620.
If you need a cheap printer to print the occasional photo, we recommend the Canon PIXMA MG3620. It prints good-quality, sharp photos with 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. Also, since it uses a tri-color cartridge, you have to replace the entire cartridge if only a single color runs out. XL cartridges are available, but this printer won't yield as many prints as a model with more cartridges or a supertank model like the Epson EcoTank ET-2800. 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 fully charge.
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, 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.
Jun 01, 2023: Verified that all picks are still valid and available. No change in recommendations.
May 04, 2023: Minor in-text adjustments. Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs.
Apr 07, 2023: Minor text changes. Replaced the Canon PIXMA G3260 with the Canon PIXMA TR8620a because the TR8620a has better color accuracy, prints faster, and can print off an SD card.
Mar 09, 2023: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Feb 09, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity. No change in recommendations.
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.