The best photo printers you can buy in 2024

Alan compares draft, standard, and high-quality photos from Epson's EcoTank ET-8500.
A comparison of draft, standard, and high-quality photos from Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

If you love sharing photo prints or building physical photo albums, you might want to upgrade to a photo printer. When manufacturers optimize printers for pictures, the results can match or exceed that of the best printers available.

If you decide a print would benefit from a photo adjustment, you can quickly make that change and print again with minimal delay. A printer that handles images well offers instant gratification and convenience, while saving you money on print costs compared to using a print service.

It’s even possible to take your printer on the road thanks to the availability of high-quality portable printers. A small, light printer makes events fun and helps preserve the memories.

Here’s a list of the best photo printers available, and it’s a diverse selection that should meet most needs.

At a glance:

Epson SureColor P700

The best photographic-quality printer

Epson SureColor P700 Printer
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why should you buy this? Excellent photographic print quality will impress the most demanding audience, without a huge upfront cost.

Who’s it for? Photographers who demand accurate color prints with good dynamic range.

Why we picked the Epson SureColor P700:

The Epson SureColor range goes far beyond the limitations of ordinary four-color inkjet printers. The P700 can use 10 ink colors to handle midrange shades and tones that other printers can’t to deliver professional-quality photo prints. The SureColor P700 offers outstanding quality at an affordable $800 price.

Epson’s UltraChrome Pro10 ink can recreate a wider color gamut closer to the original photo for great results. Epson claims color photos printed with this ink can last up to 200 years, with black-and-white photos lasting up to 400 years .

The Epson SureColor P700 automatically switches between photo black and matte black to provide the best result for pictures and documents. The SureColor series uses ink cartridges, so the cost per print will be higher than with a tank printer.

If you like the look of the P700, but need a wide-format version with the same great picture quality, Epson’s SureCoplor P900 will fit the bill. The P900 can handle 17-inch wide paper rolls.

HP Sprocket Select

Best battery-operated photo printer

HP Sprocket Select shown beside a photo and a phone.
The HP Sprocket Select beside photo prints and a phone. HP

Why should you buy this? It’s an inexpensive, portable printer that doesn’t require ink.

Who’s it for? Mobile photographers who want to share pics before they get home.

Why we picked the HP Sprocket Select:

The HP Sprocket is an inexpensive battery-powered printer that’s thin and light enough to bring wherever you go. It’s designed to work with your phone and connects wirelessly. This tiny printer requires HP Zink sticky-backed paper and print size is limited to 2.3 inches by 3.4 inches.

Everything about the Sprocket Select is small, including the price, which is about $100. It weighs less than a pound and can fit in your pocket.

While Zink doesn’t offer the best photo quality possible or the longest life span, but the ability to print on the spot makes it worthwhile. If you want a larger picture size, HP’s Sprocket Studio Plus is a larger model that costs more but can print up to 4 -inch by 6-inch photos.

Canon MegaTank Pixma G620

The best deal on an inkjet photo printer

Canon's MegaTank Pixma G620 is a 6-color inkjet tank.
Canon’s MegaTank Pixma G620 is a six-color inkjet tank. Canon

Why should you buy this? It’s a low-cost inkjet tank printer designed for photos.

Who’s it for? Home users looking for an inexpensive, all-in-one photo printer.

Why we picked the MegaTank Pixma G620:

The Canon Pixma MegaTank Pixma G620 is an all-in-one inkjet tank printer with two extra ink colors. With dedicated gray and red inks, it can handle photos better than the average inkjet printer that offers only cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Like the Epson SureColor series, Canon’s MegaTank Pixma G620 uses ink rated for extended life, up to 100 years. Your best-looking photos could retain their beauty for a century if stored in a photo album.

As an all-in-one printer, the MegaTank Pixma G620 can also scan and make color copies of photos and documents. Since it’s an inkjet, you’ll rarely need to replenish the ink and when you do, you refill the tanks with inexpensive bottles instead of cartridges.

Priced at around $300, the Canon MegaTank Pixma G620 is an affordable photo printer with low running costs. The only trade-off could be the slow print speed. Color documents print at just four pages per minute.

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-8500

The best inkjet tank photo printer

Walk-up printing is easy since the EcoTank ET-8500 supports SD cards and USB drives.
Walk-up printing is easy since the EcoTank ET-8500 supports SD cards and USB drives. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Why should you buy this? It’s one of the best photographic-quality tank printers.

Who’s it for? Photo enthusiasts who print frequently and demand top-quality pictures.

Why we picked the Epson EcoTank ET-8500:

Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 is a fantastic all-in-one inkjet tank printer that can output pictures with photographic quality. It features a six-color ink system that adds gray and photo black to the standard CMYK palette of most inkjet printers. Epson claims photos printed with these Claria ET Premium inks can last up to 300 years in a photo album, making your photos a multigenerational record.

The EcoTank ET-8500 includes a high-resolution flatbed scanner and can create color copies with excellent fidelity. Epson’s photo inkjet tank means business and can print color documents at up to 12 pages per minute and roll out up to four 4 x 6 photo-sized prints each minute.

At around $700, the EcoTank ET-8500 might be a bit expensive for home use, but if you demand the best while keeping ink costs low, this printer is hard to beat. According to Epson, the included ink will last up to two years. When it’s time to add more, you refill from inexpensive bottles.

Epson also sells a wide-format model, the EcoTank ET-8550, which can create borderless photos up to 13 x 19 inches.

Canon Selphy CP1500

The best portable photo printer

Canon's Selphy CP1500 is a portable dye-sublimation printer.
Canon’s Selphy CP1500 is a portable dye-sublimation printer. Canon

Why should you buy this? Instant mobile photos with the technology needed for higher quality

Who’s it for? Mobile photographers who want their instant photos to last.

Why we picked the Selphy CP1500:

Don’t let the cute name of the Canon Selphy CP1500 fool you. This small printer takes photo printing seriously. Many portable printers, like the HP Sprocket mentioned above, use short-lived Zink paper, a specialized photo paper with embedded dye crystals. The Selphy CP1500 is different, as it uses dye sublimation that provides better-quality photos that last up to 100 years.

Priced a little over $100, Canon’s portable printer handles a variety of paper for pictures up to 4 inches by 6 inches. Like other portable printers, the Selphy CP1500 is easy to connect to your phone. You can also connect it to a Windows PC or Mac.

You won’t be able to shove the Selphy CP1500 into a pocket, but with a weight of about 2 pounds, it’s easy to carry. It comes with a power adapter that you need to plug into a wall outlet to print. A battery pack is available if you want to use it on the road.

Dye sublimation offers crisp images and vibrant colors, but requires special ink cartridges and paper. That means costs will add up in a hurry if you print frequently. That’s to be expected for a specialty printer of this quality.

Are laser printers good for photo printing?

Generally speaking, laser printers match the image quality of inkjet printers or dye sublimation printers. Photo printers often use more ink colors and print smaller dots in a liquid form that blends better. Photo printers also support a greater variety of paper types. Laser printer paper must withstand high temperatures, and glossy coatings might not survive.

However, the best color laser printers handle photos much better than early models. While we wouldn’t recommend buying a laser printer specifically for photography, the HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw is one of the best color laser printers for color documents that feature pictures.

If you want a nice photo printer that’s as quick as some laser printers, check out the speedy Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850.

Can photo printers print documents?

Almost any desktop inkjet printer can print pictures, documents, and labels with an acceptable quality. That’s what makes an inexpensive inkjet such a tempting purchase.

Some photo printers are versatile enough to handle document printing, but not all. For example, portable photo printers often require small paper with an adhesive backing. For documents, you need letter-size and legal-size paper.

Desktop photo printers can print documents and offer the same high-quality print for text and images, making color documents look great. A potential downside is the cost of ink. If you get a cartridge-based photo printer like Epson’s SureColor printers, you won’t want to waste ink on monochrome documents and labels at a high cost per page.

With a photo printer based on inkjet tank technology, like the Canon Pixma MegaTank Pixma G620 or Epson EcoTank ET-8500 mentioned above, your running costs will remain low for pictures and documents.

Is it worth buying a photo printer?

The value of a photo printer is a personal decision. If you print photos frequently and cherish your collection, it’s worth considering an upgrade. Every picture you print adds more value to the investment. Just be aware of ink and paper costs.

If you don’t print pictures that often or rarely need photographic-quality prints, you can print most photos on well-rated, budget-priced printers. A photo lab or office store can make high-quality prints when you want top-quality pictures. However, there are more possibilities with a photo printer.

Portable printers are easy to carry, so you can use them to set up fun photo booths at events. Printing photos from your smartphone can evoke nostalgic memories, like the old instant film camera photos that developed before our eyes. For that same reason, many people love mobile printers.

Desktop photo printers offer big improvements in speed and quality, but take up space and have higher upfront costs. An all-in-one inkjet photo printer is versatile and long-lasting, offering good value in the long run.

Artists and photographers will love owning a photo printer. You can make fine adjustments to images to get the best possible print, experiment with different paper types, and explore different sizes. A photo printer will give you the quick feedback you need to create the results you want. 

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