After several hours of research, we have selected the 5 best photo printers of the moment, among the forty models currently available.
Our preference is for the Canon Pixma Pro-100 S which allows you to shoot images of impressive quality and integrates several kinds of papers and formats. It is also complete from a connector point of view.
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How did we choose?
It is always difficult to define the performance of a printer. On the one hand, because there are many models on the market and on the other hand because they are intended for different uses.
In order to better understand the characteristics to take into account for a photo printer, we have drawn up a buying guide that includes several criteria:
- The type of printer: In this comparison, you will find two types of printer. A photo printer is exclusively dedicated to photo printing, while the inkjet printer is specialized in photo printing. However, some models are multifunctional and are also used for office use including features such as copying and scanning.
- Print quality: it depends on the type of technology used and the colorimetry supposed to offer a good color rendering. The average Delta E measurement represents the difference between the original color and the one on the rendering. The smaller this number, the more accurate the colorimetry. A delta E less than 3 offers an invisible difference for the human eye.
- The format: it’s about knowing the print size of the device. The standard size of a photo is 10 x 15 cm, but some printers can also print A4, A3 and many other formats.
- The type of paper: it will have an influence on the quality of the finishes. Many support glossy papers but also masts. Of course, it remains the possibility to use granulated paper, smooth, fragile, thick … take care to know what the machine supports as paper.
- The options: most printers exclusively dedicated to printing photos will give you access to a multitude of options for retouching your images, often via a smartphone application, so that the device needs fewer buttons and thus takes less space (easier to transport). This is not often the case for inkjet printers which are heavier and nonnomadic, but which offer more printing possibilities (the type of paper, format …).
- The cost to print: If the cost per photo is very easy to calculate for dedicated photo printers, it becomes a little more complicated for inkjet printers because it depends on several factors such as the type of paper, the format used, the ink consumption … You can still get an idea by looking at the autonomy estimates provided by the manufacturer and comparing them with the price of the ink cartridges.
- Connectivity: Most dedicated photo printers can be connected to a computer via a USB cable, but they are designed to be used alone. Almost all new models come today with a Wi-Fi connection, sometimes an Ethernet port and / or the ability to insert a USB key , an SD card or to print via an online storage service (Cloud) . Many can print directly from a smartphone or tablet.
- Print speed: This can be important depending on the context. If you are going to release a large draw, it is better that the photos come out quickly. In this regard, also check that your machine is not a victim of heatstroke because depending on the printing technique, you may be able to take the time to cool after a few pictures.
- The “plus” : these include for example the number of trays (s) sheets, the presence of a touch screen or not, the ink refill, etc.
The different types of photo printer
Several types of printers are currently available on the market, but three models mainly attract users’ preferences.
The first is the inkjet printer. It projects ionized ink droplets guaranteeing excellent resolution. Versatile, this device can produce texts but also images. Its print rate varies from 5 to 10 pages per minute. It can contain at least 4 basic colors. This printer is certainly economical but it emits a lot of noise.
The second type of printer is the laser model operating with opto-magnetic technology. This is the device you need to print a photo or document in large numbers. Its printing speed is very high. It runs with toner and therefore does not use an ink cartridge.
The 3D printer came last on the market. It allows small models to be made via computer-aided design software. The drawings are cut and carved by slice before being assembled and glued together.
Criteria for finding a good photo printer
The first point to see is the quality of the photos produced by the photo printer. The device must be able to faithfully reproduce the printed image. And as much as possible, use good quality inks made especially for photos.
For a first purchase, acquiring a versatile printer is a very good initiative. In this way, it is possible to make personalized prints in both quality and format. The existence of Wi-Fi is a plus.
The third criterion is the printing speed. For one-off use, the average acceptable is 10 pages per minute. But for professional use, it will require a high enough speed that is to say at least 17 pages per minute.
With this exhaustive list, we reduced the choice to fifteen models that stood the test. Then we looked for consumer reviews or tests on reliable English and French sites to find matches between them.
As a result, we have selected the 5 best photo printers currently available on the market.
The best cheap photo printers
Under the $100 mark, here are two models that, without forcing you to break the piggy bank, allow you to obtain quality photos.
Canon Selphy CP1300: The Best Price
Canon’s Selphy line consists of a series of rather nomadic photo printers to print prints up to the standard 10 × 15 cm size.
The CP1300 is 18.6 x 13.59 x 6.33 cm and weighs less than 1 kg. Its compact and lightweight size makes it easily transportable. You can also use it without a charging cable, by purchasing an external battery. It has a 3.2 inch non-touch LCD screen that may seem a little complicated to use.
You can guide it directly from the application. Operating primarily on Wi-Fi, it is primarily designed to print images from a smartphone, camera, tablet , or PC. It also offers to print directly from an SD memory card or a USB key.
For its price, it is practical and offers several layout options such as photo booth printing or ID photos. Your shots can be retouched in any way (intelligent face and scene detection, color adjustment, skin smoothing, red-eye correction, color filters …).
As for image quality, you will not be disappointed. It is ensured by the automatic image optimization function. Canon gives you the choice of finishes between gloss and semi-gloss and after sending, in 47 seconds, you have your picture. If one wants to be a perfectionist, one still finds that the average delta E is rather high, since it revolves around 9.
In addition, it supports various formats (postcard, credit card, square format and mini format). You have access to several print modes allowing you to customize your print (individual photo, double …).
The cost of the photo will depend on the package you choose, but expect that on average, the standard format costs € 0.30 (which remains in the standard).
In the end, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is a nomadic printer that you can take away and use anywhere as long as there is Wi-Fi. Its options for correction and printing are significant for its price. So you get a good quality picture in less than a minute. This printer is an excellent economical choice especially as the price per unit of a photo is reasonable.
HP Sprocket Plus: The Cheap Alternative
From the first glance, the HP Sprocket Plus appears under a well-designed design with quality finishes. It is compact and thin (with dimensions of 14.2 x 8.9 x 1.8 cm) for a weight of only 200 gr. Only photos with dimensions of 5.8 x 8.6 cm are supported. There is no LCD screen, so you will need to refer to the LED indicator to inform you of the status of the printer.
However, its connectivity is limited to a Micro-USB charging port and does not include Wi-Fi. You must connect via Bluetooth. That said, she is not nomadic since she is busy, she can print sixty shots.
Regarding the application, it offers some traditional editing options, but it remains very basic compared to other models in this range. We also point out the fact that it is not compatible with all online storage services including Dropbox.
It is equipped with the revolutionary Zink technology that aims to print photos by heating a paper with crystals. The disadvantage of this technique is that it distorts the photo a bit, does not reproduce the details effectively but the result is still satisfactory. Also, it causes overheating within the machine and after three or four photos, it takes a while for the printer to cool down.
As for the average delta E, it rises around 10, which is even higher than on the previous Canon Selphy. The impression takes on average one minute.
At the pull mode, you can print on traditional photo paper or paper to make stickers.
HP is not Canon’s best competitor in terms of cost price of photos with a price twice as high. A pack of 20 sheets is worth € 14, or € 0.70 per photo. At this price, it is better not to be wrong in printing.
Ultimately, the HP Sprocket Plus is probably one of the most nomadic photo printers on the market with a format that allows you to take it everywhere but which results in printing in small formats. If the result is satisfactory, do not rely on it to print in numbers because of its tendency to overheat. In addition, the cost price of the photo is not given.
The best mid-range photo printers
Under the $150 mark, the machines offer some interesting complementary functions. In this price range, a multi-function inkjet printer caught our attention.
Canon Pixma TS9150: The Best Midrange
Through the Pixma range, Canon offers multifunctional inkjet printers originally designed for office applications but oriented towards photography. It is a 3 in 1 machine that in addition to print, photocopy and scan.
Its versatility has an impact on its design as it faces a more bulky model (372 x 324 x 140 mm) and heavier (6.7 kg). It is equipped with a touch screen color working perfectly.
The connection possibilities are numerous. Among them are Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, an SD card reader or the main cloud printing services.
The application, it offers you not only many retouching options, but also prints in different formats.
Where it shines especially, it is in terms of its photo quality that has a good colorimetry with an average delta E around 5.8. It also demonstrates its efficiency in printing speed because in 17 seconds, you get your shot on paper.
Of course, since this machine is called “multi-use”, you have a wide choice of formats, papers and inks. Always know that with XXL cartridges of the same brand, you pay around € 0.10 per page, not counting the cost of paper. It is therefore difficult to estimate the total cost, but this seems to be reasonable. There is of course a front tray that can load up to 100 sheets but for photo printing, we advise you to go through the back tray, more useful for this specific format.
In the end, even if it is not mobile, the Canon Pixma TS9150 is an excellent photo printing tool. You will also benefit from a powerful software, many printing and connection options, a reasonable cost, a good speed of execution but above all an undeniable quality ensured by a precise colorimetry.
The best high-end photo printers
The models in this section are offered at higher prices and are not necessarily intended for the same audience since they do not offer a simple satisfactory rendering but a true quality of professional printing.
Canon Pixma Pro-100 S: The best high-end
Canon continues to demonstrate its performance as a photo printer. Here she proposes a more professional model: the Canon Pixma Pro-100 S.
For this kind of machines, forget the “nomadic” side of low-range printers. It weighs around 20 kg for imposing measurements (689 x 385 x 215 mm).
Level connectivity, it offers a connection in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and via an Ethernet cable. You can print from a smartphone, tablet or PC, but also from a camera via the USB cable. Canon’s cloud printing options and traditional storage services are available.
It can be used with several professional editing software such as Easy-Photo-Print or My Image Garden . Many types of paper can be inserted, including those from other manufacturers, provided it is glossy. The rear tray can accommodate 150 sheets while the manual feeder only one, in the case of more fragile or thicker papers.
The photo quality is really impressive and professional. This is mainly due to its eight color ink tank system (ChromaLife100 +), which offers balanced colorimetry. However, if it is not to your taste, you can make adjustments. It is difficult to estimate print speed because it depends on several factors but is generally good (according to users).
Canon allows you to print your photos from traditional size 10 x 15 cm up to A3 +. She can shoot clichés with different papers such as glossy, glossy, satin, matte and much more.
As with the Canon Pixma TS9150, the cost per unit is difficult to calculate because it depends on the cost of paper and the type of photos printed. The index is given on the basis of a pack of eight cartridges whose price is about 90 € per pack. It’s a bit expensive.
In summary, this printer comes out professional shots with a properly balanced colorimetry. Thus, you can shoot photos at your leisure with different types and sizes of papers. In terms of software options and connectivity, it is also well supplied. This model intended for professionals will however require a significant budget and this, even after the purchase of the machine.
Epson SureColor SC-P600: The High-end Alternative
Appeared in 2015, the Epson SC-P600 succeeds the R3000 and continues in its lineage in terms of quality. Its use is suitable for amateurs and semi-professionals of photography.
Simple to install, this machine measures 616 x 228 x 369 mm and with its 15 kg, it is not nomadic. Despite this, it does not seem robust but we will still note the presence of a touch screen.
In terms of connectivity, you have cable, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, but also Google Print Cloud and other storage space. Your smartphone, tablet or PC can trigger printing. Most photo software is compatible (including Photoshop).
The SC-P600 has excellent photo quality with good color distribution, thanks to DMax (which takes care of the black’s depth) and Ultrachrome HD ink. However, calibrations are necessary. In addition, black spots may occur during some draws. For information, it takes a little more than 2 minutes 30 to develop an A3 image, it’s not bad.
In terms of formats, she can shoot images in A3, 10 x 15 cm, on CD or on roll. It is very reliable for large runs and supports many different types of papers of all brands. Thus, for your photos, you will have the choice between gloss or matte. Know that the latter is perfectly effective. Two bins (one front and one behind, depending on the type of paper) are provided for this purpose.
An A4 photo print costs about € 0.33 while in A3 the price is double that value. Again, it all depends on the paper used and the print mode. But overall, it consumes a lot of ink.
In short, the Epson SC-P600 is also a multifunction printer. Do not be fooled by its rather cheap appearance, apart from that, it has serious advantages such as its excellent colorimetry, its formats and its modes of printing, which give qualitative clichés. More expensive than its competitor Canon Pixma Pro-100S, it offers no real more (if not details) that justifies this difference in price compared to its rival.
HP Envy Photo 7830 : This machine is multifunctional and includes two cartridges that deliver the correct print quality at a reasonable price. The printing of the pictures is done quickly. Still, users are seeing recurring connection issues and difficult compatibility. In addition, the cost per unit is important and if we want to be even more picky, we can say that there is a slight imbalance within its colorimetry.
Fujifilm Instax SP-3 : With its compact size and light weight, this nomadic model allows fast printing (13 seconds) from your smartphone, tablet or PC. With it, you get several editing options via its application. Nevertheless, its rendering is vintage with a delta E much too high (around 10). In addition, the classic photo format is not supported. Also, the cost is extremely high, the photo costing almost 1 €.
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000: This inkjet printer is primarily designed for photography and works with six cartridges as well as a beautiful LCD display screen. It offers a very convincing result in high resolution and has many connection opportunities including memory cards. It can also print up to A3 size. However, it requires significant costs to use and spots can occur on your shots if it is poorly calibrated.
Canon Pixma Pro-10S : from the same range as the Pixma Pro-100S that we recommend in this article, it offers this time ten ink tanks made of pigmented inks, which allows a beautiful rendering with more tones natural. Its connection passes via USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi. On the other hand, it is quite expensive, even during use. It also does not include a touch screen and is limited in support compared to other machines in its range.
In conclusion, which photo printer to choose?
This is the Canon Pixma Pro-100 S that wins our preference. While it requires a larger investment but you get a quality almost professional for your photos that can be improved with a powerful software. These can also be released in different formats and with several papers.
For an amateur who only wants to print photos and nothing else, we recommend a cheaper model. The Canon Selphy CP1300 offers you to customize your print to obtain pictures of a satisfactory quality for its price. It is basic but still effective.
A good alternative to is the Canon Pixma TS9150. Multifunctional, it allows a very fast printing and you will be useful for large prints of good quality with a perfectly balanced colorimetry.