Digital Photo Printer Reviews:
Now that almost everyone owns a digital camera, printing quality photos at home is the next step. Sure, there are dozens of online photo printing and developing stores like Ofoto.com, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Walmart.com, but why not buy a photo printer and print our your own pictures. A few years back the paper was too expensive, the printers were too complicated and the color quality was not nearly as good as the professional places but technology has put more power in the hands of the user. Photo printers are now cheaper than ever and can print out quality color photos faster than before. HP photo printers and Canon photo printers are still rated the highest in consumer reviews, although Epson, Kodak, Sony, and Lexmark are slowly catching up with their newest photo printers. All the selection is great for consumers but at the same time it can be confusing with so much to compare between similar models. What should you look for in a digital photo printer? We created a list of features to consider and compared the latest models from all manufacturers to come up with our "best choice" awards down below.
First, how many photos do you plan on printing in a given year? That will determine if you go with a low end, mid-range or high end model. Many people find that they print a lot less pictures than they originally thought they would. People email or share photos on websites, but rarely print out any photo unless it stands out from all the others. What size photos do you want to print? Most photo printers will do 4 x 6, 5" X 7", and 4 inch by 12 inch panoramic photos. Some desktop and all-in-one photo printers will print borderless 8 1/2" x 11" and 8 1/2" x 24" photos. The professional photo printers are capable of giving you 13" x 19" photos with superb color quality. Some photo printers have image displays right on the printer so you can preview before printing. If you just want to print photos and nothing else, consider a stand alone digital photo printer where you insert a memory card and print pictures without needing a PC. Look for printers with editing functions like red-eye removal, borders, or color effects. I prefer to have a good digital photo editing software (ThumbsPlus, Picasa, etc.) to work with the photos on my PC first before commiting to printing them out. A photo printer will have a DPI (dots per inch) rating and that measures the print resolution. You want a minimum of 1000 X 1000 dpi, and some professional photo printers will go as high as 9600 x 2400 dpi. The higher the dpi, the sharper the image will be with realistic colors. If you plan on printing out larger photos (8" X 11" or larger) make sure your printer has a good dpi rating (this also assumes you are printing out digital images captured at fairly high resolution -- 6-12 megapixels). One reason why most people still get digital photos printed out using "professional photo printing services" is because they think it's too much of a hassle to do it themselves (it's not). Experts say the difference between cheap and expensive photo printers is not in color quality, but in speed of printing and added features. The main types of photo printers are inkjet photo printers, also called photo inkjets, and dye sublimation (thermal dye technology) printers. The inkjets are great for snapshots and everyday photo printing while the dye subs offer high, quality photo printing similar to those from photo labs. Inkjet printers for photos range from $50 to $300 and the professional photo printers start around $350 and go up from there. We read reviews from PC Magazine, on Amazon.com, CNET, and at Steves-Digicams.com website to compile our "best choices" down below. When you are ready to buy online, we recommend Amazon.com
. We are always impressed by their competitive prices, fast shipping, and customer service -- plus almost everyone already shops with them and trusts them. You can browse their up-to-date list (updated hourly!) of best-selling inkjet photo printers here
- we'll have links below to the recommended printers as well.
Compact/Portable Photo Printer:
The HP Photosmart Compact Printer A716
($150) is a compact photo printer that you can take with you wherever you go. Get 4 x 6 prints in under 40 seconds at about $.29/print. It gives you up to 4,800 optimized dpi and lets you print from flash drives, iPods, memory cards and PictBridge enabled cameras. The HP Photosmart A716 has a 4 GB internal memory so you can keep up to 4000 digital photos. The A716 will print wallet size photos and pictures up to 5 x 7 inches. Users like the fact the HP photo printer is easy to carry (lightweight and has a handle) and the picture quality is superb (what do you expect from HP). PC Magazine lists the HP A716 as a "Best of" product and the HP printer clearly outshines the competition like the Kodak Easyshare Printer, Kodak 500, and the Canon DS810. RUNNER-UP
: Another good choice is the Canon Pixma iP90v Photo Inkjet Printer
-- it's small, portable, and prints out incredible looking photos (up to 4800 x 1200 color dpi), and can connect to devices via Bluetooth. Good value, good printer.
Best Inkjet Photo Printer:
We've been using Canon Pixma printers personally for years, and have always been impressed by their output. RECOMMENDED
: The Canon Pixma iP4500 Photo Inkjet Printer
wins out as our selection for the best inkjet printer. It's affordable at less than $130 and delivers up to 9600 x 2400 color dpi resolution, spitting out 4X6 photos in just over 20 seconds (a larger 8X11 takes closer to 50 seconds, and for printing regular text documents this thing can really haul, cranking out almost 30 pages per minute). It's mid-sized at 15 lbs (11" x 17" footprint -- not tiny) and uses a 5 color ink system. Glossy photo paper produces crisp, professional looking prints. It can also print on CD and DVD labels. Overall, this is a great home printer for family use -- affordable, excellent quality prints, fast. Browse the entire Canon Pixma line here for other models
. If you are looking to spend a little less money, also consider the Epson Stylus C88+ Ink Jet Printer
($85) or the Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer
(around $80) -- a very compact, dye sublimation printer designed for printing smaller, lower resolution photos (it prints direct from memory cards or USB drives, no need to connect to computer).
Professional Photo Printer:
: The Canon Pixma Pro9000 Professional Large Format Inkjet Printer
($370) is just what photo enthusiasts should buy. The printer supports resolutions up to 4800 x 2400 dpi, which will give you professional looking prints. This high end photo printer will produce borderless prints from 4" x 6" up to 13" x 19" (and on fine art paper) in size. The eight color ink tank color system warns you when one tank is going dry and allows you the convenience of just replacing a single ink color (saves money). Reviews from graphic designers, photographer teachers, and professional photographers were all very positive saying the picture print quality is the "best" you can get for the money. There are more expensive photo printers that deliver faster print times, but few will deliver any better color quality in prints. And its not just for pros -- if you really want to print out your very own top-quality photos at the home or office, this is the machine for you. Other cheaper printers leave banding and miscolored areas when you look close enough, but not this one. Highly recommended.
Best All-in-One Photo Printer:
The Canon PIXMA MP600
($170) is the perfect solution if you need to copy, scan, print documents or print out color photos. The new 2.5 inch TFT display lets you preview images in high definition before printing (so you never print what you don't need or want). The Canon MP600 lets you print directly from camera phones, digital cameras, memory cards and bluetooth devices. Several owners described the Canon printer as "flawless" and "exceptional". This is truly a great all-around printer that will not disappoint for all your basic needs.
Photo Printer Paper:
One of the biggest costs in printing photos out at home is the price per sheet of paper. You can get Canon Borderless Photo Paper Plus (120 sheets) for about $15. They are glossy and 4 x 6. For 30 sheets of Canon Borderless Photo Paper Pro (8 1/2 x 11) it will run you $18. HP Premium Photo Paper is $15 for 100 sheets (glossy) and slightly more expensive than the Canon sheets noted above. I would suggest buying the cheaper photo printer paper at first until you get used to printing pictures and then switch to more quality Canon or HP paper when you are proficient at selecting the best pictures to print. You can browse all the best-selling inkjet photo paper here at Amazon