Best Photo printer 2021 • 7 Photo printers Reviews
Photo printers are devices that are built specifically to print digital images onto paper. Typically, prints are done in full colour, and sometimes a glossy paper is used to elevate the overall quality of the print. It is advisable to read a buyer's guide or reviews of several printers to have the best chance or buying the best photo printer for your needs.
Photo printer Leaderboard 2021
What is a photo printer?
A photo printer is a device you use in order to print a photo off your computer or mobile device with the best possible quality. Modern photo printers will print digital images. Even the best are not able to print film-based images. Some of the best photo printers may have a memory card slot and a USB slot, so you do not need to use a computer or a laptop to print off your photos.
In addition, some photo printers are able to connect to the internet or a local network so that you may load your photos wirelessly. Some of the best photo printers also have Bluetooth, which offers another method for wirelessly uploading and printing your photos. You are able to review your images and choose what size you want your photos to be, and you are able to print pictures in colour or in black & white for the best presentation.
How does a photo printer work?
- Makes the photos look professional for special occasions, such as weddings or birthdays
- Cheaper in the long run, as it will last for years
- The best printers are easy to use and simple to set up
- You can set it up to your mobile devices and to a computer/ laptop
- You can print off photos double sided need be
- More helpful having one at home so you don’t need to go to a photo shop or to the library
- Take the printer with you to the party to make memories
- The best printers inspire you to take and print more photos
- You get to look into your past with printing old photos for family and friends
- You will have your photos forever and bring them to life
- Print images of a private or personal nature
- Use it to print your images into paper-based photographs
- The best printers allow you to print off photographic posters and fliers
- You can print off wanted or lost photos for other people to see and review
- The best printers enable you to make photo collages at home
- You can make money taking and printing photos for people at nightclubs or work
- Run a practical test on photo-shopped images by printing before and after images
- Check and review how your graphic designs will look in real life
- For use if you have to add photos for your college coursework or examination
- The best printers are will print copies of already-exiting images
- Print off copies of artwork
- The best printers give you full control of the printing process
What types of photo printer are there?
Compact Photo Printers
These are typically smaller with very few functions. They are great for people who travel from place-to-place and require photos, and they are often reasonably priced. They are also very easy to store when compared with office and home photo printers that require their own shelf or space on an office desk. They are best used by infrequent users who need the machine every now and again.
Home Photo Printers
Larger than a compact photo printer, and more advanced, they typically have a range of settings that allows people to choose different sized pictures, use different types of printing paper, and even pick the quality level of their photographic printouts.
Under deep analysis, one cannot tell the difference in quality between these and office photo printers. Best used by people who wish to print several times per year.
These are smaller printers that easily connect to apps on a phone. It is small enough to carry around in a backpack but will typically print smaller and standard size photos. There usually have very few customization options, and they are often overpriced considering that a person may pay just a little more and have a compact printer that does far more than mobile-ready printers do. Best used by people who really enjoy photography.
Office Photo Printers
Wireless Photo Printers
More and more of the best photo printers are becoming wireless. There is nothing wrong with wireless printers, but there are small security concerns about other people being able to intercept signals between devices and printers.
However, these sorts of security concerns are only worrisome for famous people, influential people, or for businesses. When compared to non-wireless printers, the only difference is that these are slightly more convenient. Best used by people who care deeply about Internet connectivity.
These have many different names, but in essence they are small and compact enough to carry around in a small handbag, and they print a standard size or smaller sized photo. They often require specific ink cartridges and require the purchase of pre-cut paper to put into them. These printers are the fastest and most convenient photo printers, but they are also the most basic and are rarely the best. Best used by people who have money to spare and who love printing photos.
The big photo printers buyer’s guide
Which 10 typical defects/product faults/weak points must consumers especially take note of?
- Easily breakable printer trays and easily breakable attachments
Many cheap printers come with very weak and cheaply-made attachments, such as flimsy paper trays. You have to be very delicate and careful with these pieces because they are easily breakable. In juxtaposition, high quality devices shouldn’t have easily breakable parts. People love posting an Amazon review showing pictures of broken pieces in their review.
- Connecting to a printer wirelessly can sometimes be difficult
Occasionally, a wireless connection is faulty due to it containing cheap parts or has been poorly made and programmed so as to save money, which means it won’t connect to your computer, or it is a hassle to get it to connect. Even the best devices may have this problem.
- Runs out of ink very quickly
If the printer is cheap, and if you don’t use the correct ink for the printer, then the ink will run out rather too quickly, and using incorrect-unbranded ink may cause faults within the printer. This is the sort of thing you will not notice during a product test and is not a problem when you buy the best printers.
- Ink is sometimes very expensive to buy
You often need to check the price of ink prior to buying your photo printer because even if a machine is cheap, it may only accept the most expensive ink. It is sometime worth buying the best devices because they have the cheapest ink. If you do not use the printer frequently, and you leave it sitting for a few months, then the ink may dry up.
- Not a lot of stores will have the correct ink cartridges for your printer
When you purchase a printer, understand that not all stores in your area will have the correct ink cartridges. Finding the correct ink for your machine may be difficult. You may have to rely on a handful of sources. Sometimes it is annoying when you find ink cartridges that bare a similarity to your cartridges, and yet they do not fit your device.
- Photo printer LCD screens are very small
This will make it difficult to read when you are printing off something. Even some of the best devices seem to skimp a little when it comes to high quality LCD screens. The touchscreens can be too sensitive, so you may end up using the incorrect setting. The other problem you may have is that the screen maybe not be sensitive enough, and you will have a hard time getting the correct settings for your photos.
How can consumers themselves test their product before or immediately after purchase?
If you think about it, you can get a review on printers from many people. You can find a review online, you can get a review from friends, a review from colleagues and even read reviews via online printer stores. Be sure that you read reviews on reputable sites and don’t rely on just one, especially if you are looking to buy a more expensive printer. Look online for reviews that seem to match up, or reviews that offer similar sentiments and ideas. If several reviews are saying the same thing, and if those reviews are on different websites, then you should get a decent view from several consumers and various sources.
1) Ask friends
You can ask your friends and family what type of photo printer they have and ask what they like and don’t like about their printer. They may know a little bit about printers and be able to advise you on your choices. Will they allow you to run a quick suitability test?
2) Ask work colleagues
See if any of your work colleagues have a printer that they like, and if so, what did they like, and did they have any problems with it. They may have worked with the best photo printers professionally, or know somebody who does, and they may even know suppliers and reviewers of the best photo printers. Ask if they would juxtaposition their favourite and most disliked printers.
3) Watch YouTube reviews and demonstrations
Check out different reviews what people have made on YouTube. Watching other people use the photo printer and giving a product test will help give you an idea about its usability, and the quality of its output. Maybe they will run a suitability test that you can apply to your own buying process. Watch people experiment online with their printers.
4) Ask to see them in action in stores
When you find one you like in a store, ask the person who works there if he/she can show you how it works before you decide to buy it. See if there are any demonstrations going on in store, or if the store has comparative prints so that you may see the output of each machine. You may be able to experiment with printers in store.
5) Ask professional photographers which they use
Research some professional photographers and ask them what they use to print off photos. Photographers often push their service via social media, and they are often willing to answer questions on their YouTube videos and on their Facebook walls.
6) Check negative reviews by users on websites such as Amazon, Argos, Curry’s, eBay, Staples
Before you buy anything always check user reviews online (by people who have bought the product), so you are able to see which printer is the best and which is the worst one to buy.
Further considerations when shopping for the best photo printers
If you want texts printed with photograph quality, then you may be better off with a laser printer rather than a photograph printer. Photo printers may offer photographic quality, but laser printers can produce highly defined text that should be suitable for your purposes while being cheaper.
There are some companies that will charge you to get your ink refilled and are some that will tell you that you need a service plan or a contract in order to get the ink for your printer. Consider ink plans, ink availability, and the cost of ink prior to buying.
Results and experiences from other consumer tests
A company called Consumer Reports, Inc. sent out surveys and created a report based on the results they received from people who had photo printers. Tech Radar collected Amazon reviews, they drew metric data weighing things such as purchase numbers and Amazon rating scores, and they collected opinions that they edited into their report.
What was taken into account in these tests?
Consumer Reports searched out opinions and reviews from people who owned photo printers. They didn’t prompt people other than to ask what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they would like to improve. They use this method as a way of weighing public opinion and try to find some sort of reportable congruence.
Tech Radar took note of how many people reviewed each photo printer in their study, with a view that more popular printers would have more reviews, and they collected the star ratings that Amazon uses with five stars being the top mark. They also collected similar opinions and then created an edited document that described said opinions.
How did they work?
The company “Consumer Reports” sent out 113,959 surveys that revolved around photo printers, which is a large and reasonably good sample size. They gathered qualitative data about the best photo printers. Tech Radar took their information from Amazon reviews, which means they gathered a little bit of quantitative data and a robust amount of qualitative data for their study. Both studies were trying to find out how happy they were with their printers and were searching out positive and negative points about different photo printers.
What were the findings regarding weak points?
Both the Consumer Reports company and the Tech Radar study agreed with certain congruence that the most prominent weak points are born from cheaply-made printers. In such cases, things such as printer trays and paper-securing latches are easily broken because they are flimsy, and machine-breaking faults may occur through things such as paper jams and poorly aligned toner holders. Cheaply-made photo printers are never the best and are always a waste of money.
Which properties are there particularly large differences between the products?
Experts will tell you that the difference between image quality can vary quite a bit. Sadly, the Consumer Reports company was unable to express this in any meaningful way because most of the people they survey are lay consumers who have no expertise when it comes to image quality. Plus, much of what people write in surveys is subjective since. For example, one person may be impressed by saturated colours where another person may be put-off by them.
Tech Radar did a better job of expressing the vast differences between image quality, but in many occasions, image quality appears the same to the untrained eye. Though image quality is a big concern for most photo printer buyers, it seems that the best reviews were ones where printers had a solid build, were easy to use, were easy to set up, and were reliable.
Which properties are the products usually on the same level?
The amount of ink/toner usage seems to be the same across the board. Devices that claim to use less ink/toner are being honest, but the differences are negligible between the best photo printers. In other words, if you see an advert for a photo printer, and the photo printer claims to use the least amount of ink/toner than any other photo printer, then the amount its competitors use will only be a small amount more.
Are there concrete warnings of potential hazards mentioned?
Though most photo printers are far from hazardous, Consumer Reports has started lowering ratings for printers that are unreliable. They have found that some brands of inkjet printer are not as reliable as laser printers. As a result, the Consumer Reports company has started to heavily penalize photo printers in their reviews if they are less reliable than their laser printer competitors. When you are looking for the best photo printers and you are checking reviews, you should give more consideration to reviews that complain about shaky reliability.
Different Photo Printer Brands
Many times, it is unfair to run a comparison between these printer brands because their brand doesn’t guarantee quality. Many have run a comparison on printers one year and found a test winner, only to compare the brands again the year after and come up with a new test winner.
- Kyocera ECOSYS
Sadly, getting replacement parts and cheaper ink/toner cartridges is difficult for rarely home-based uses. Business will typically use whole sale suppliers for parts and ink, were home based uses will be unable to use whole sales.
History and facts about photo printers
Compact photo printers started coming into the market around the year 2000. Before that time, photo printers were large, noisy, and it was difficult to get reasonably priced printer ink. They were designed to be used for printing digital images now that developing film-shot photos was going out of fashion. Plus, using a standard inkjet printer to print photos still seemed lacklustre, so there was a growing demand for photo printers at the time. With compact photo printers in the year 2000, the most you would be able to print was only 4×6 sizes unless you were willing to spend hundreds on a top-of-the-line machine.
Nearly all compact printers share the same designs, they have large LCD screens that allow people to operate their printer without needing to connect their laptop or PC. The screen allows people to change settings and start the printing process. Compact printers are manufactured by the most popular brands such as Canon, HP, Epson, Kodak and Lexmark.
Contact your seller or printer manufacturer if:
- The plug or power cord is damaged
- If anything has gotten into the printer, such as liquid or food items
- The outer shell of your printer is damaged, or the printer has been dropped
- If you notice anything different when you turn the photo printer on
10 care and maintenance tips for the best photo printers
Useful accessories for your best photo printer
Travel protective carry case
Just like how you carry your laptop around in a case, some people carry their mobile-ready and even their compact photo printers around in special cases.
You can print on regular paper, or you can buy glossy paper. There are also printers that have their own cartridges that contain pre-cut and chemically-treated paper within. Some printers offer a free sample of their special paper that you can test out.
Some people prefer a printer stand, especially if they are heavy users and/or they need to print off many images and they are worried about overheating.
Printer cleaning kit
Some printers require cleaning on a semi-regular basis, and there are cleaning kits that people can buy if they wish to keep their machine in tip-top condition. Only dedicated hobbyists will need any sort of cleaning gear.
Are there any photo printer alternatives?
The only alternatives to photo printers are regular printers, which is fine, but photo printers are designed to be the best at their job. As a result, you may find the image quality of photographic printers to be far superior to that of other colour printers. In addition, some printers are not built for the excessive use of colour, which often results in printer’s coloured ink draining very quickly.
Photo printers are also best suited for printing on glossy paper, which many other printers are not able to do as well as a photo printer. Many types of printing company may offer you a trial subscription where you may buy printer ink for less.
Examine how much you will need printer ink in the future before you accept a free trial because there is no point in receiving ink every month if you are not going to use it.
Is a photo printer difficult to use?
Even though it may be tricky to set up, basic every-day use should be rather easy. When you use a photo printer and a computer, you will first need to connect all the plugs and USB ports from the printer to the computer. Once that has been completed you make sure the prints brand is showing up on your computer, check you have the correct ink and it is full and you have the paper placed in the printer cradle. Make sure the printer is on and go to the photo or work you want to print, click on the print button, choose the size, colour and press the start button.
What is photo paper?
Some printers have pre-cut paper that you can buy, and others allow you to print on glossy paper. However, it is up to you as to the type of paper you use so long as its size is suitable for your machine. People use glossy and chemically-treated paper for their photos because they believe it brings out the best in their photos.
How good are photo printers?
Even poor quality photo printers are able to produce high quality photos that are good enough to please most lay people.
Even if your printer is not the best, it is very difficult to judge the difference between best quality and regular quality devices. The differences in image quality between photo printers is only something that trained eyes are able to notice.
Can photo printers also print documents
The best photo printers typically use more ink and power in order to produce their prints. Even though it is possible to print documents with your photo printer, it is a little wasteful if you do. Experiment with documents if you wish, but the test result will be a little pointless.
Are photo printers laser printers?
Some are laser printers, and some are inkjet printers. It really depends upon the type and brand of printer that you buy.
Are photo printers worth it?
They are worth it if you make them worth it. If you use them to print off your best pictures and then put them in correctly arranged books, and if you hang them up, then they are a great buy. Having your own printer also means you can print off your more personal and private pictures, and it means you may keep elements of your life private from people who work at photo shops. In addition, people often like to receive framed photos as presents, so a printer may help save you some time and effort with presents in the future.
Is photo printer ink more expensive?
It is the same price as regular ink. The cost of printer ink is going to vary from machine to machine and from brand to brand, but there is nothing special about a photo printer that would require a manufacturer to charge you more than it does for regular colour printers.
Can photo printers print in black and white?
A photo printer is able to print in black and white, but it is a little bit of a waste because a printer will use hints of blue in its blacks in order to give it a more rounded appearance.
Do photo printers break more easily?
Yes, they do. A photo printer is a sophisticated colour printer, and colour printers will often break down more frequently than black & white printers. It may not be often, but even the best devices will break down more often than a standard black & white only device. The fact that the colour printer has more moving parts than a black & white printer is why it is more likely to break, plus you are using more printer cartridges than you do with a black & white printer, which increases your chances of printer-ink problems such as clogs.
Do home photo printers create photos the same quality as professional photo stores?
Yes, they do. You may use a kiosk in a store and print off your images. If you print them off at home, your prints will be the same quality.
Unless you buy a very cheap, very old, or very faulty machine, then the prints you create at home will have no discernible difference in quality to the ones you print off in a store. If you are looking for the best quality, then you may look to your home photo printer.
Do I have to recycle ink cartridges?
Yes, you cannot reuse printer ink cartridges, and it is illegal to put them in your bin. They contain chemicals that leech into the soil and water table. In addition, printer cartridges are very easily recycled by the manufacturer, and cartridges take a lot of effort and money to create. That is why some of the best companies will pay you to return your empty cartridges. Check reviews to see if the company offers money for returns.