After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 5 best photo printers among more than twenty devices available on the market, including laptops. My preference is the Canon Pixma Pro 100S which offer excellent value for money. However, if you are looking for a dedicated photo printer that can be taken everywhere, in this case, I will advise the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 … provided you have the budget to buy the refills! You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to help you find the printer that will highlight your photos!
The best cheap photo printers
This entry-level printer is a great solution for people looking for quality photo prints without breaking the bank.
Canon Selphy CP1300: the best price step
- Affordable price
- Compact design
- Nearly professional print quality
- Battery sold separately
This wifi photo printer is both stylish and portable. It’s perfect for creating unique prints from a smartphone, a camera or even a compatible tablet.
You can also print your photos from a memory card. Be careful, if you intend to use it with your computer you will need to get a standard USB cable if you do not want to go through the integrated wifi system.
You can quickly enjoy wireless prints from your smartphones and tablets with Canon PRINT, MopriaTM, Apple AirPrint TM applications, or even with the wifi button. It’s even possible to combine images from multiple devices with the Party Shuffle app!
Featuring sublimation printing technology, this photo printer can create vibrant and lasting prints in less than a minute. An automatic image optimization function is also integrated to ensure that your photos look excellent in any circumstances.
This photo printer also has a wide range of presentation and layout options, so you can print photos such as photo booths or even passport photos without having to go through software. image processing like Photoshop.
This Canon Selphy printer is both small and unobtrusive, making it very easy to carry, allowing you to have a photo printing solution wherever you are. You can print up to 54 photos with a high-capacity battery that you can purchase as an option.
This device has a large, tilting 8.1 cm screen for making your edits and applying the layout that’s right for you. It has a multilingual user interface that includes an option in French for maximum clarity.
You also have access to several print modes, from the classic “selection and printing” allowing you to print individual photos to printing identity photos in different formats (standard, custom and double).
Several print settings are also available. Regarding the finishing of photos, you can choose between gloss and semi-gloss.
Regarding the layout of the images, you can choose to add margins to your photos or to turn your images into photos like photo booth for example. You can also edit your images directly with useful options such as Intelligent Face and Scene Detection, Color Adjustment, Smooth Skin Mode, and Red-Eye Correction.
You can also apply color effects like sepia or black and white.
The best mid-range photo printers
These printers are slightly more expensive than entry-level photo printers and offer quite interesting performance. However, pay attention to the price per photo, because some refills are extremely expensive.
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3: the best mid-range
- Affordable price
- Modern design
- Professional quality photo format
- Price at the extremely high photo
This device is Fujifilm’s new portable photo printer. This is the little sister of the Instax Share SP-2, released a few years ago
This printer supports the Instax Square movie format, which is pretty good news. This SP-3 printer is a bit bigger than its big sister SP-2.
Level design this printer is much more angular than previous versions of this device. This photo printer has a solid overall manufacturing quality, which is very important for a device to be often transported.
This SP-3 printer uses a rechargeable battery that is thankfully removable. It charges with a micro-USB port and it takes about 3 hours for a full charge of the device.
This photo printer can output up to 160 shots on a single charge, which is far more than the HP Sprocket Plus printer we saw together above. In fact, it’s more than all its competitors running with ZINK technology and much more than photo printers using thermal sublimation.
We could almost consider starting a weekend with this device without having to load it! The icing on the cake, it is also possible to launch impressions during charging USB.
The grip of the printer is very simple. Simply open its main cover to discover the cartridge compartment which is provided with a keying and a visual indicator to prevent you from mishandling.
Only two buttons are present on the device, each on the one hand and the other of the notch by which the photos come out. They are used to turn on the printer and restart the last print.
Several indicator lights are present above the notch, indicating respectively the battery charge levels and the number of views remaining in the cartridge. Each refill offers 10 views.
The “Reprint” button doubles your photos. The reason that there are only two buttons on this device is that it works exclusively with the Fujifilm Instax Share app, which is compatible only with Android and iOS.
Windows Mobile users are, once is not customary, left on the roadside.
The connection between your smartphone and the printer is via the wifi with ease and once pairing is done, it will be sufficient to connect to the printer wifi to be able to launch new impressions.
The application offers quite wide editing possibilities. It offers a large number of templates and mounting templates.
In addition, the publishing possibilities are complete and efficient and you can easily access photos posted on social networks. It’s even possible to save custom filters so you can reuse them later.
The only downside that can be important for your choice: the price of each photo that is extremely high. Indeed, the Instax Square refills of 10 are sold at € 12.99 (sometimes a little less for some sellers).
Each printed photo will cost you at least € 1, a somewhat high price that may weigh on your choice.
HP Sprocket Plus: the compact
- Affordable price
- Nice design
- Extremely compact
- Render less faithful than the average
It will probably be very difficult for you to find a printer finer than this one. Indeed it is barely bigger than a large format smartphone!
You can instantly print your snapshots and stickers to share in 5.8 x 8.6 cm format.
Indeed, this device measures only 89 x 142 x 18 mm, which is a little more than the previous Sprocket model. This is still small enough to be carried with you in any circumstance and fits perfectly in a bag, even in a coat pocket as this printer is extremely fine.
The device has a single power button that is located on the edge of the device. It also has a micro-USB port for charging and a LED that changes appearance depending on the use of the printer.
It is very easy to load paper into this machine, just slide the printer cover back to access the slot for storing your paper. A small diagram is placed to help you place your paper refill in the right direction.
Each refill can print 10 photos and printing a photo takes about a minute. It’s a bit more than the classic Sprocket, but it’s still largely tolerable.
Another advantage of the Zink technology is that the printer consumes very little power, so up to 60 prints can be made in one charge! Recharging the device takes a little less than two hours.
Pairing the printer with your smartphone is done exclusively via Bluetooth. Once this operation is performed, the printer is very quickly ready for use after ignition.
In order to launch an impression, it is essential to pass via the HP Sprocket application compatible with Android and iOS operating systems (sorry for fans of Windows Mobile, who find themselves once again left behind).
The application is fully functional, but it is a pity that online storage services like Dropbox are not supported.
The editing options built into the app are somewhat limited compared to other photo editing applications available on the market.
On the other hand, all photos in memory are immediately available for printing. Be careful not to print too many pictures in the chain because this device tends to heat up very quickly, only 3 or 4 prints in the chain make appear the message “Cooling down”.
Regarding the quality of the image, there is no miracle, the format of this printer does not allow to use cartridge or ink ribbons, but passes through ink pigments directly embedded in the paper, which has the defect of not producing a detailed and faithful photo rendering.
The print resolution is 313 x 400 dpi, which is sufficient considering the size of the printed photos but also partly explains the lack of detail of the final result.
The lack of contrast of certain impressions can be quite obvious if we look at them closely.
It will therefore sometimes think to exaggerate the contrast in editing before launching an impression. Finally, the cost of printing is quite high, the refills 20 sheets Zink being sold at 14.90 €, which brings to a cost per photo of 74.5 euro cents.
The best high-end photo printers
These printers are the end of the end of photo printing and you can expect here results of professional quality.
Canon Pixma Pro-100S: the best high-end
- Modern design
- Professional print quality
- Good autonomy of the ink tanks
- Rather expensive
This professional quality printer is equipped with an 8 ink tank system to offer you prints of excellent and professional quality.
It has full wifi and cloud connectivity, making it easy to integrate with the workflows you already use.
You can print photos directly from Cloud Photo and Storage Services. You can also print wirelessly from your computer or your tablet or smartphone.
This device is easily integrated with professional editing software. In addition, it supports a wide range of paper both Canon and other suppliers.
The system of 8 dye-based ink tanks with three monochrome inks is designed to ensure optimal color reproduction and superior durability.
This high-end printer is able to print borderless photos in just about 34 seconds and print in A3 + with margin in about 90 seconds.
If you have an iPad, you can use the Pro Gallery Print application to seamlessly integrate with professional cloud photo services like Zenfolio or SmugMug. You can also print from your favorite cloud storage services like Facebook, Dropbox or Google Drive via PIXMA Cloud Link.
The Canon PRINT app allows you to print directly and easily from your tablet or smartphone. In addition, an Ethernet connection simplifies the integration of your device into your workflow.
Canon’s Print Studio Pro plug-in lets you tailor your print settings to any situation. In addition, it is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to allow you to print directly from your professional editing software.
You can also print labels directly on compatible CDs with the Direct Disc Print system that gives your media a professional look.
The print resolution of this printer is up to 4800 x 2400 dpi, which is far better than the resolution of these mid-range portable photo printers.
This unit has a rear tray that holds up to 150 sheets. The manual feeder can only handle one sheet at a time, and the CDD can handle one printable CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray at a time.
Canon imagePrograf PRO-1000: extremely expensive, extremely effective!
- Classy design
- Professional quality
- The ink is incredibly expensive
This desktop photo printer can print up to A2 (!). Its advanced 12-ink system makes your photos as accurate as possible.
This is the first model of a new series of professional quality printers at Canon. Its dimensions give it a rather compact appearance, although it can print paper up to A2 format. It has a control screen of 3 inches (7.6 cm).
This device is based on a system of 12 pigment inks, which allows it to receive cartridges of 80 ml of the new series Lucia Pro. You can enjoy a photo black and a matte black as well as classics yellow, magenta, cyan, light magenta and light cyan to which are added red and blue.
It also contains two gray shades to ensure good neutrality and gradual gradations for black and white prints, while the Chroma Optimizer system ensures a brilliant, consistent result.
The print head is wider than the average (3.25 cm), which allows for fast prints while maintaining a high resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi. A new print engine is included, it is designed to ensure a precise placement of ink drops, whose size is only 4 pl.
You can install any type of device with built-in wi-fi connectivity and USB 2.0 and Ethernet connections.
In the closed position, the printer is rather compact and is only 70 cm long, 43 deep and 28.5 high. She holds without any problem on a desk. 70 cm long is a great feat when you know that the A2 format is already 42 cm wide.
This is possible because the 12 ink cartridges are placed under the print area along the entire length of the machine.
In terms of weight, it is still damn heavy with its 32 kg on the scale. But for a model of this type, it is not a problem or even an advantage because it gives it greater stability and limits the risk of vibration during operation.
At the interface level, Canon has integrated a small control screen on top, which is 6.7 cm diagonal and in color. It is not tactile, but it allows to make some basic settings as well as start maintenance operations or set the wireless network.
The front of the interface contains a large power button and a task cancel button.
But back to the ink cartridges, because there is a catch. Each of these cartridges is 80 ml and is offered at the price of … .. 56,49 €.
Which means that full of the machine will cost you about 680 €. This printer is, therefore, a significant investment in the short and long term and not everyone can afford such a luxury.
How to choose your photo printer
First of all, you will have to choose between two types of photo printers:
the photo printer exclusively dedicated to photo printing and the inkjet printer specialized in photo printing.
If you want more information on all the features to consider for a printer, you can take a look at our buying guide for the best printers.
Most photos printers exclusively dedicated to printing photos give you access to full editing options for your images, often via a smartphone application until the unit needs fewer buttons and thus take up less space to be transported everywhere.
Photo inkjet printers usually do not offer these kinds of options, but they will often offer better quality prints and will also allow you to print normal documents.
However, you must be careful to choose a machine that is not too complicated to use when it comes to glossy paper to normal paper (ink change etc).
The cost of printing
If the cost per photo is very easy to calculate for dedicated photo printers, it becomes a little more complicated for inkjet photo printers. You can still get an idea by looking at the autonomy ratings provided by the manufacturer and comparing them with the price of the ink cartridges.
Attention, the cost of printing can vary from simple to double, even more!
Most dedicated photo printers can be connected to a computer via a USB cable, but they are designed to be used alone. Almost all new models come today with a wifi connection and many can print directly from memory cards or your smartphone/tablet.
If you plan to use your printer in class or at events, the print speed may be important. Manufacturers usually provide fairly accurate information about it so you should not have too much trouble finding the right one for you.