The Best Photo Printers in 2024

Photographers rarely need to carry a portfolio book of their work to show potential clients these days, but even with constant access to photos online, there will still be moments when every working photographer will need or want a printer.

There are still corners of the photography world where clients and agents will ask for expertly created physical prints. This is especially true for the wedding and fashion industry, where it will be incredibly important to have access to a good photo printer. Likewise, if you want to sell prints, a printer is, of course, a wise investment.

At a Glance

What to Consider When Choosing A Photo Printer

Unless the plan is to outsource to a professional print lab, it will be important to have a high-quality photo printer on hand. A standard office printer will not cut it when printing high-quality photos, so it’s critical to pay close attention to the printer’s specs and capabilities before hitting that buy button.

While there is an incredibly wide variety of photo printers available on the market, ranging from the small battery-powered instant film printers all the way up to piano-sized large-format professional ones, this guide will help narrow it down to the best options for most photographers. Before diving in, though, there are some important things to think about before investing in a photo printer.

Maximum Print Size

Printers will, naturally, limit how large you can print, so it’s essential to put some thought into how large you will need to print. It’s best to give yourself some flexibility and room to grow, as well. You may only be working with 8 by 10 inches now, but in a year from now, may find yourself wishing you could print larger.

Most standard home and office printers can only print up to 8.5 by 14 inches, while most dedicated photo printers frequently offer sizes up to 13 inches wide. If you need larger than that, you’ll need to opt for a wide-format printer. You can find printers that support up to 60 inches wide, though be prepared to spend a small fortune.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that a printer that supports larger print sizes will also be a larger device. That machine needs to live somewhere, so be sure you have space for the printer you have in mind.

Accepted Media

Once you decide how large you plan to print, you should put some thought into the types of media you want to print on. There are a few different things to figure out related to accepted media. First, some photo printers will only accept single sheets of paper, while others are compatible with rolls. Rolls are ideal for long panoramic images, but they can also save you money on paper, allow you to get more creative with sizes, and offer more flexibility. However, sheets of paper are easier to store and work with.

Second, printer companies will specify the thickest media that a printer is compatible with. Printing on cheap glossy paper is very different from using thick watercolor-type paper. Likewise, some printers are able to handle unique materials like fabric or transparency film. Be sure to pay close attention to accepted thickness and media types if you think you’ll want to use anything more than basic photo paper. And again, you should provide yourself room to grow and try new things. You may only print on basic glossy paper right now, but could want to explore canvas prints or thick fine art papers down the line.

Printing Frequency

Every printer will have what is called a maximum monthly duty cycle. This phrase refers to the maximum number of prints per month a printer is built to handle. Any more, and it could wear out the printer much faster than intended. For most photographers, a standard photo printer will offer a monthly duty cycle that is plenty large. However, if you are a high-volume business, you should look into devices specifically built for that.

On the other hand, inkjet printers (the printing technology that photo printers use) need to be used on a somewhat regular basis to prevent ink from drying out and clogging the nozzles. Some printers only need to be turned on and allowed to cycle through an agitation cycle every week or so, whereas others will need to run through a print or two.

Operational Costs

Printers, especially photo printers, are not cheap. Most pro-level printers will cost at least $600, with many coming in much higher. Ink is also not cheap, and paper costs can be steep as well. Essentially, costs can add up well beyond the initial purchase price. Don’t forget to consider the ongoing operational costs before purchasing a photo printer to determine if it is worth it for you. Ink tank printers do offer substantial savings on ink, but there are not many dedicated photo printers that use this technology yet.

What We’re Looking For

The best printers for photography can tap into a few different fields. Whether the plan is to have something small that can travel well to locations or a large printer capable of fine-art prints that is meant to stay at the office or studio, here are our top pics for the best photo printers currently available on the market.

Best Overall Photo Printer: Epson SureColor P900

The $1,249 Epson P900 17-inch pro-grade wide-format photo and fine art printer is an impeccable choice for discerning photographers and graphic designers. Using 10 premium high-definition inks, it is capable of printing up to 17 by 22-inch photos in under two and a half minutes. It can also tackle up to 129-inch-long borderless banners and panoramas using the paper roll adapter (which is an additional $249). Despite the large print sizes, this printer has a smaller footprint than many of its competitors and weighs just 35 pounds while delivering a fast, easy, and color-accurate output.

The P900 is good at preventing clogs but better when it comes to the value of ink. Epson’s replacement cartridges are almost half the price of Canon’s (its closest competitor), and it does a better job of not wasting ink. Plus, there are dedicated nozzles for photo and matte black, cutting ink waste even more and saving you time.

The Epson P900 can operate via a USB 3.0 connection, ethernet, or WiFi. It features a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD panel for easy menu navigation and print configuration right on the device without the aid of additional software. With a smaller footprint in terms of weight, size, and cost, along with superb print quality, the P900 is the best all-around pro-grade printer most professionals will want to buy.

Best Photo Printer for Color Accuracy: Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000

At just a slightly higher base price than the Epson SureColor P900, the $1,249 imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 from Canon will satisfy the needs of nearly every professional photographer with its incredible 12 high longevity pigment ink system. This bulky printer provides a wide color gamut and enhanced gloss uniformity in the ink, providing incredibly accurate color reproduction and clarity.

This inkjet printer can handle a max paper size of 17 by 22 inches while achieving a resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi. The Pro-1000 can print a full-color 17 by 22-inch print in roughly four minutes. It is one of the best Canon printers for creating professional-grade photo prints with deep and detailed blacks and incredibly accurate colors.

The Canon Pro-1000 features a three-inch LCD monitor. It offers USB 2.0, ethernet, and WiFi-based connections and can use the PIXMA Cloud Link for direct access to cameras, mobile devices, and cloud files for direct printing.

Possibly its best feature is the anti-clog functionality, which means that it doesn’t matter how long the printer stays idle; it will always be ready to print in a few minutes without issue. The downside of this feature, though, is that the printer absolutely tears through ink, which is extremely expensive to replace and holds us back from giving the Pro-1000 our top pick. It’s also not compatible with roll media, which is a downside for some. Still, it’s an outstanding printer that makes some magnificent prints.

Best Photo Printer Under $1,000: Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-300

The Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-300 photo printer sits on a shelf.

If the Canon Pro-1000 and Epson P900 are more printer than you need, but you still want highly accurate colors with superb levels of detail, the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-300 is your best best. It tops out at 13 inches wide for print sizes, which is the main reason for the lower price. But it can print borderless at that 13-inch width so that you can take advantage of every inch.

The Pro-300 uses nine pigment-based ink that are gallery-quality, resulting in durable, vibrant prints. That includes two different blacks and a gray, making this a great choice for photographers who work in black and white. Colors are highly accurate and well-saturated, and the 4800 by 1200 dp resolution results in plenty of detail. Plus, it supports a variety of media from matte to glossy up to 380 gsm thick.

This Canon photo printer offers wireless and wired connectivity options. The WiFi connection is easy to set up and very stable to keep you printing continuously. A three-inch color LCD allows you to adjust settings on the printer itself, and prints are reasonably fast, so you aren’t stuck waiting around.

Best Mid-Range Photo Printer: Canon PIXMA Pro-200

Canon’s $599 PIXMA Pro-200 is one of the best overall “budget” printers for professional photographers, delivering great photo quality at a much more affordable price. It’s also 15 percent smaller than the PRO-10 or PRO-100, saving you room in your workspace.

The Pro-200 inkjet uses eight ChromaLife100+ CLI-65 inks for impressive color reproduction and clarity on the page and is capable of printing up to 13-inch prints (A3+) or even 39-inch long panoramas. And those A3+ prints can be completed in just 90 seconds, which is a plus if you don’t like waiting around for prints to finish.

Best Budget Photo Printer: Canon TS6420a

The Canon PIXMA TS6420a photo printer sits against a white background.

The $129 Canon PIXMA TS6420a is a fantastic secondary printer to have at your disposal on top of the larger fine art printers listed above. Capable of printing a maximum size of A4 at 4800 by 1200 dpi, the TS6320a also has one of the better built-in scanners for photographs on the market. If you have a collection of old film prints that you want to convert to digital, this system is one of the best you can find for the price and functionality.

Using five inks, this all-in-one system can produce great-looking photo prints using its USB, Bluetooth, or WiFi connection on a computer or through the Android or iPhone companion apps.

Best All-In-One Photo Printer: Epson ET-8550

The EPson ET-8550 sits on a white desk in front of a window.

Traditionally, an all-in-one printer meant you had to sacrifice photo print quality. That’s not the case with the $799.99 Epson ET-8550, however. This wide-format all-one-one offers a print resolution of up to 5760 by 1440 dpi and a scanner resolution of 1200 by 4800 dpi, which is high enough for scanning reproductions. As a result, it’s a great choice for artists of all types.

As a wide-format printer, it is capable of printing up to 13 by 19 inches, including borderless prints of that size. It uses five dye-based inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, gray, and photo black) and one pigment-based ink (black), and produces very accurate colors with just the right amount of saturation and detail.

Beyond the excellent print quality, this printer is also a top choice because of its use of ink tanks. Instead of expensive ink cartridges that hold small amounts of ink, the printer relies on larger tanks that you fill with bottles of ink. This type of printer makes it possible to purchase ink less frequently, which is a plus on its own. But the bottles of ink also save you money and cut down on your plastic usage substantially. A set of inks is around $90 and will last a very long time.

Best Small Print Photo Printer: Canon SELPHY CP1500

The Canon Selphy CP1500 printer sits against a white background.

The $139 “Snapshot” SELPHY CP1500 printer is one of the best (and smallest) printers for printing directly from your phone. The compact system can print small 6 by 4-inch images at a max resolution of 300 by 300 dpi over a wireless connection (or SD memory cards to connect directly).

If the plan is just to print out fun-sized images to give to friends and family or even to stick on the fridge, the SELPHY CP1500 dye-sublimation printer will deliver fantastic and well-defined postcard-sized prints. The paper cartridge systems are very easy to swap for quick refills, and the printer allows you to print with glossy, semi-gloss, or satin finishes. This particular model even has a battery pack available for an extra $89.99, making it truly portable.

Best Photo Printer for High Volume Printing: DNP DS820

The dye-sublimation DNP DS820 Printer is targeted at commercial and large-volume printing situations that require photographers to churn out vast quantities of quality prints with consistent and accurate results. Wedding or event photographers who want to offer prints on site will benefit from this device.

This small but heavy printer can push out a maximum of 300 by 600 dpi and can print an 8 by 10 in as fast as 29 seconds. It is capable of printing a range of sizes, including 4 by 8, 8 by 10, 8 by 12, and even up to 8 by 32-inch panoramic prints by using the free Hot Folder software. The DS820 can create prints in four different types of finishes, including glossy, matte, luster, and fine matte styles, and works via a USB 2.0 connection.

The great thing about this dye-sublimation printer is the images will be 100 percent consistent from start to finish since there is no worry about a particular color ink running low before another. The downside lies in the limited sizes and media types that can be printed. It’s clearly specialized for large volumes of smaller prints, and in that area, it does extremely well. The DNP DS820 is available for $1,049, and the media kits run from $49 to $350, depending on the type and quantity of prints.

Best Compact/Travel-Ready Photo Printer: Fujifilm Instax Link Wide

A Fujifiml Instax Link Wide photo printer sits on a shelf with two prints in front of it.

Sometimes, you want the ability to create prints even when on the go. The Fujifilm Instax Link Wide is one of our favorite options because of the quality of prints. Unlike compact photos that use ZINK technology, this Fujifiml printer produces instant photos. The result is much higher quality images with better color and finer levels of detail. But, like ZINK printers, there’s no need to worry about ink cartridges since all the colors are embedded in the instant film.

This little device features a Bluetooth connection, allowing you to print directly from your phone. It is easy to pair, and the Instax Link Wide app is very easy to use. You can even edit your photos in the app, adding stickers and QR codes. The printer puts out 2.44 by 3.89-inch photos, which are large enough to see details but still easy to tuck away in pockets. It comes with a useful stand, though can be used without. Should you want something even smaller, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link 2 offers the same functionality but with a more compact design. It puts out the popular two-by-three-inch Instax Mini size prints.