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Best photo printers of 2020

The best photo printers make it easy to get photos in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere else you happen to be. The world may be going digital, but physical photos hold a special place in our world, and printing photos at home or on the go 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.

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 TS9120, our favorite all-in-one inkjet printer. It boasts an expanded color palette, with a six-cartridge design that adds photo blue and pigment black inks for better color and subtle hues.

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.

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.

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

Best photo printers: Canon Pixma TS9120

(Image credit: Canon Pixma TS9120. Credit: Canon)

1. Canon Pixma TS9120

Best printer for photos and more

Printer Type: All-in-one inkjet | Dimensions: 14.7 x 14.2 x 5.6 inches | Ink: Six cartridges (pigment black, dye black, photo blue, cyan, magenta and yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, Ethernet, Bluetooth | PictBridge: Yes | SD Card Slot: Yes | Supported Photo Sizes: Up to 8 x 10 | Print Resolution: Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi

Fast printing and scanning speeds
Very fast at making color copies
Six individual ink cartridges
Large, 5-inch color touch screen
Prints labels onto coated CD/DVD discs
Estimated ink costs are about average
Paper cassette feels a bit flimsy
Two-sided text-printing speed is about average

The Canon Pixma TS9120 is one of our favorite all-in-one inkjet printers and our favorite overall for document printing, scanning and other day-to-day tasks. But this multifunction printer doesn't just offer document printing for homes and small offices; it also delivers great photo printing. If sharp photo prints are important, but other printing demands take priority, then the Canon Pixma TS9120 is that smart choice, offering high-resolution photos that look great, while also delivering fast printing and scanning speeds, speedy copying, and versatile document printing. It's the best all-in-one printer we've seen, for photos and everything else.

An expanded color palette goes beyond the standard four-color inks, with the addition of photo blue, pigment black and dye black, alongside cyan, magenta and yellow. And there's no need to worry about print quality for your photos. This Canon will easily handle anything up to an 8 x 10 print. In our testing, photos had sharp detail and accurate color reproduction, and they benefited from the larger ink selection, which meant they could handle subtle gradients and hues with ease.

Read our full Canon Pixma TS9120 review.
 

Best photo printers: Kodak Photo Printer Mini

(Image credit: Kodak Photo Printer Mini. Credit: Tom’s Guide)

2. Kodak Photo Printer Mini

Our favorite mobile photo printer

Printer Type: Mobile photo printer | Dimensions: 3 x 6 x 0.9 inches | Ink: Kodak all-in-one cartridge (ink and paper) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC | PictBridge: No | SD Card Slot: No | Supported Photo Sizes: 2.1 x 3.4 inches | Print Resolution: 291 dpi

Affordable printer and refills
Convenient wireless connectivity
Very good photo quality
Fun app options
Unintuitive app
Removable tab mars photos
Some banding seen on prints

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.
 

Best photo printers: HP Envy 7855

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

3. HP Envy 7855

Best for printing photos in volume

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

Fast text and photo printing
Fast multipage copying
Dedicated photo-paper tray
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 Digital Printer

Great for no-hassle, photo printing in your pocket

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

Compact portable size
Distinctive pop-up design
Simple app
Rechargeable battery
Augmented reality support
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.