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Best photo printers of 2021

 The best photo printers make it easy to get great looking photo prints at home, whether you need simple snapshots to remember a family vacation or professional portraits fit for framing. Whether you're in the comfort of your home or out on the go, there are photo printers that can meet your needs. The world may be going digital, but physical photos hold a special place in our world, and these printers are the best for getting picture-perfect photos that you can share or display with pride.

We've pulled together a list of the best photo printers we've reviewed, highlighting the most photo-friendly models from our best printers page. Every review includes some photo printing tests, and we evaluate those prints for both quality – looking at sharpness, color accuracy and lifelike images – as well as print speed. While these all-in-one models can be used for printing documents and even scanning and copying, these printers stand out thanks to the great photos they produce.

We've included our favorite mobile photo printers, as well. While they aren't made for landscapes and large portraits, these snapshot printers are built for mobility, with battery power and easy printing from your smartphone. If it's photo printing on the go you're after, these mobile photo printers are the answer.

Whether you need to print snapshots for fun times with friends or for printing professional-looking headshots, here are the best photo printers to buy now.

What are the best photo printers?

In our testing and review of dozens of printers, we found that the best photo printer overall is the Canon Pixma TR8620, one of our favorite all-in-one inkjet printers. It boasts an expanded color palette, with a five-cartridge design that adds pigment black ink for better color and subtle hues.

For a portable printer with excellent photo-printing chops, we have to recommend the Canon Pixma TR150. The printer is small enough to carry in a backpack, but will print documents and photos with great speed and quality.

For anyone printing a lot we recommend the HP Envy 7855, which is the best for printing photos in volume. It balances print quality and ink costs well, with good quality at a reasonable price per photo.

And if you want to print photos on the go from your phone or tablet, we recommend the Kodak Smile Instant Digital Printer, which is great for no-hassle, photo printing on the go. The tiny printer has a streamlined design with minimal buttons and moving parts, so it's perfect for slipping into a purse, backpack or pocket.

The best photo printers you can buy today

Canon Pixma TR8620 review

(Image credit: Canon)

1. Canon Pixma TR8620

A great photo printer

Specifications
Printer Type: Inkjet
Dimensions: 17.3 x 13.8 x 7.5 inches
Ink: Five cartridges (black, pigment-black, cyan, magenta, yellow)
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0, Bluetooth
PictBridge: Yes
SD Card Slot: Yes
Supported Photo Sizes: Up to 8 x 10
Print Resolution: Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi
Reasons to buy
+Fast photo printing and copying+High image quality+ADF and duplexer
Reasons to avoid
-Ink costs are above average-Does not make two-sided copies/scans via ADF

The Canon Pixma TR8620 offers plenty of office features, from scanning and faxing to a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF), a duplexer for two-sided printing, and two paper trays for keeping two types of paper at the ready. But this multifunction printer doesn't just offer document printing for homes and small offices; it also delivers great photo printing. A big 4.3-inch color touchscreen makes it easy to control, and the printer supports smart home integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

It's also a great printer, with faster-than-average print speeds and high print quality overall. Text and color graphics all look great, but we noted that glossy photos printed impressively fast, and the use of a 5-ink cartridge system with two types of black ink resulted in photos with high-quality accuracy: Natural-looking colors, sharp details and smooth transitions. Really, our only big complaint with the Pixma TR8620 is the above average cost of ink, due partially to the expense of the extra ink cartridge.

Read our full Canon Pixma TR8620 review. 

Canon Pixma TR150

(Image credit: Canon)

2. Canon Pixma TR150

Our favorite mobile photo printer

Specifications
Printer Type: Mobile inkjet
Dimensions: 12.7 x 7.3 x 2.6 inches
Ink: Two cartridges (cyan, magenta and yellow dye black, pigment black)
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n/a, USB 2.0
PictBridge: Yes
SD Card Slot: No
Supported Photo Sizes: Up to 8 x 10
Print Resolution: Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi
Reasons to buy
+Low ink costs+Attractive photo prints+Optional battery pack
Reasons to avoid
-Small, monochrome OLED display

The Canon Pixma TR150 is a portable inkjet printer that's small enough to carry in a backpack, but big enough to print everything from 4x6 photos to 8.5 x 11 documents, all with decent speed and quality. With a two-cartridge ink system, it's also got affordable ink that lends itself well to a variety of printing uses. But where the Canon really stands out is photo printing. 

In addition to its great mobility, the portable Pixma TR150 made high-quality photos faster than other competing portable printers, and delivered excellent color and detail. It can also handle larger photo prints, but unlike some of our photo printing favorites, there is no copy or scan capability. You do get a solidly-built portable printer with optional battery and even support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls, but we love it for the great photos and low ink costs it offers.

Read our full Canon Pixma TR150 review. 

Best photo printers: HP Envy 7855

(Image credit: HP Envy 7855. Credit: HP)

3. HP Envy 7855

Best for printing photos in volume

Specifications
Printer Type: Inkjet
Dimensions: 19.3 x 17.9 x 7.6 inches
Ink: Two cartridges (1 black, 1 tri-color)
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, USB 2.0, Ethernet, Bluetooth
PictBridge: No
SD Card Slot: Yes
Supported Photo Sizes: Up to 8 x 10 inches
Print Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
Reasons to buy
+Fast text and photo printing+Fast multipage copying+Dedicated photo-paper tray
Reasons to avoid
-Slow to print color graphics:Ink costs are above average, without a subscription-No physical function buttons

The HP Envy 7855 lives up to its name as a stylish all-in-one inkjet printer that offers solid print performance across the board. But in addition to printing documents, scanning and copying on the flatbed scanner, and even faxing, the Envy 7855 is also a very good photo printer, handling everything from small, wallet-sized photos to borderless 8 x 10s.

And it's that photo print quality that stood out to us, with photo samples offering accurate, well-saturated colors and clear detail. The Envy wasn't the fastest around for photo printing, but it's good quality at a reasonable price per photo. And if you use HP's Instant Ink subscription ink service, you can get photo-printing costs down to mere pennies for 8 x 10 photos — but only if you're printing a lot of them.

Read our full HP Envy 7855 review.
 

Best photo printers: Kodak Smile Instant Digital Printer

(Image credit: Kodak)

4. Kodak Smile Instant Printer

Great for no-hassle, photo printing in your pocket

Specifications
Printer Type: Mobile photo printer
Dimensions: 4.6 x 3.2 x 0.9 inches
Ink: ZINK Zero-Ink photo paper
Connectivity: Bluetooth
PictBridge: No
SD Card Slot: No
Supported Photo Sizes: 2 x 3 inches
Print Resolution: 1200 x 600 dpi
Reasons to buy
+Compact portable size+Distinctive pop-up design+Simple app+Rechargeable battery+Augmented reality support
Reasons to avoid
-Only comes with paper for five photos-Expensive photo paper

The Kodak Smile is a fun way to get photo prints on the go, putting inkless photo printing in your pocket or bag. The pocket-sized device with rounded corners, minimal buttons and ports, and elegant design touches, like a pop up design that lets you know the printer is on and ready, or a magnetically-secured paper loading slot cover that is easy to open but won't fall off.

Kodak's Smile photo app has easy tools for sharing and editing photos, along with wireless connectivity to the Smile printer over Bluetooth. In addition to letting you print and edit photos, it comes with fun features like embedded AR content and funky stickers and frames that add some pizzazz to your selfies and group pics.

Combine all this with the use of Zink inkless photo paper—which means no messes or smudged photos—and the Kodak Smile's quick print speeds and decent print quality, and the Kodak Smile should but a smile on your face.

Read our full Kodak Smile Instant Digital Printer review.

How to find the best photo printer for you

Choosing the right photo printer is largely a question of desired picture size and whether or not you want portability. Photo printing covers several subcategories of printer, ranging from portable photo printers for smartphones to multifunction all-in-one printers. Those offer photo printing alongside document printing, scanning and copying. 

Inkjet printers that offer photo printing will usually do so at sizes up to a full page, while dedicated photo printers may be limited to 4 x 6 prints or smaller. If larger prints are what you want, then no pocket printer will do – you need a desktop inkjet printer.

Portability is the other big concern. Many people find that the best time to print off those vacation photos is during the vacation, getting hardcopies of that day at the beach or that memorable museum tour printed right in your hotel room, instead of letting all of your photos accumulate until you have several hundred to sift through after your return home. Additionally, many people value the spontaneity afforded by portable photo printers, and many of the best photo printers market themselves as modern equivalents to the instant cameras of decades past.

Photo-capable all-in-one printers can be had for as little as $60 (£45/90 Australian dollars) for inkjet models, but more-professional printing options can scale up to hundreds of dollars. Smaller portable photo printers feature battery power and smartphone connectivity and generally sell for around $100 (£77/AU$70).

How we test photo printers

Every printer we review goes through a number of specialized benchmark tests as part of our evaluation, and photo printing is part of that package. Whether it's a large inkjet or a pocket-sized mobile photo printer, we print a handful of photos, timing how long each print takes and examining the quality of every picture. We pay close attention to color accuracy, transitions between different shades, and whether flesh tones are true to life. We also watch for clarity of fine details and realistic textures.

We also measure the time taken for every print, beginning the timer from the moment we hit "print" until the final photo is ejected from the printer. We do this for both individual prints and batches of multiple photos to get clear measurements of how long printing actually takes in various circumstances.

In addition to print quality and speed, we also calculate the cost of printing. By dividing the estimated yield of each cartridge or refill, we can determine the average cost for each individual page or photo print. Where high-capacity ink cartridges and value-priced packages are available, we make sure to include those in our calculations.

Check out all of our printer coverage:

Best printers | Best all-in-one printers | Best portable printers | Best laser printers 

Brian Westover
Brian Westover is an Editor at Tom's Guide, covering everything from TVs to the latest PCs. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.