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. In our testing and review of dozens of printers, we found that the best photo printer overall is the Epson Expression XP-640.
For an even better all-around printer that still offers great photo printing, we suggest the Canon Pixma TS9120, our favorite all-in-one inkjet printer.
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.
Whether you need a photo printer for fun times with friends or for printing professional-looking headshots, here are the printers to buy now.
Best photo printer overall
We review a lot of inkjet printers, but the Epson Expression XP-640 wowed us, not only for the category-leading quality of its photo prints, but also for the speedy performance and healthy feature set it brings to bear on any printing job. Whether photos or text documents, we saw excellent print speeds on every test, and printing costs were a bargain compared to the competition.
But the Epson Expression XP-640 really stands out in photo printing, where high-quality glossy photos printed quickly and had superb image quality. We were impressed by the smooth textures, well-saturated color and crisp fine detail offered on both 4 x 6 snapshots and larger, 8 x 10 prints. That all adds up to make the Epson Expression XP-640 our top pick for photo printing in all-in-one inkjets.
Read our full Epson Expression XP-640 review.
Best printer for photos and more
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.
Our favorite mobile photo printer
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 at the smartphone photographers 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 for printing photos in volume
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.
Great for no-hassle, photo printing in your pocket
The Polaroid Zip is the most portable option we've seen for photo printing; it's a pocket-sized device with rounded corners, minimal buttons and ports, and an easy-to-use design that skips features for simplicity's sake. And the accompanying Polaroid photo app has easy tools for sharing and editing photos, along with wireless connectivity to the Zip printer over Bluetooth.
Zink inkless photo paper makes it easy to load more paper and enjoy printing without smudges or complicated ink cartridges. The thermal printing process used by Zink makes the process seamless, but you will need to get paper refills that are specific to the printer. The small prints are attractive, and any issues in print quality actually seem to give photos the sort of retro charm you might expect from a Polaroid product.
Read our full Polaroid Zip review.
How we test photo printers
Every printer we test goes through a battery of tests, 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.
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.
What photo printers cost
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. 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).