The best photo printers give you prints of everything from spur-of-the-moment snapshots to professional portraits, all from the comfort of your home or out on the go. The world may be going digital, but physical photos hold a special place in our world, and printing photos has never been easier.
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.
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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 a photo printer for fun times with friends or for printing professional-looking headshots, here are the 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 Photo Printer Mini, a mobile photo printer you can use to print and share fun snapshots anywhere.
Another great mobile photo printer is 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
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.
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.
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.
You don't need a big printer to get tangible copies of your digital photos. The Kodak Photo Printer Mini is made for printing pictures on the go, aimed for use with the best phones and social media users who make up today's photo enthusiasts. The Kodak Mini prints credit card-sized photos, and with the handy app, you can browse and edit photos from your phone or social media. You can also print wirelessly using Wi-Fi Direct and pair the printer to your phone with a tap, using NFC.
The portable printer is battery-powered and uses a four-pass printing process. This lays down layers of vibrant color and a protective clear coat that makes the finished photos smudge- and scratch-resistant. You can even get paper refills with sticker backing, so you can peel and stick your photos anywhere. And quality is pretty great; compared to other photo printers, this Kodak offers sharper clarity, with a minimum of errors and print artifacts.
Read our full Kodak Photo Printer Mini review.
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.
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