UPDATED (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JANUARY 13, 2020 2:26 PM)
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It’s almost impossible to find a printer that is easy to set up, works as it should, and produces perfect results. That challenge is even more difficult when it comes to printing photographs, since so many factors are at work, from an image’s resolution to its color. Whether you’re printing photographs for a family album or for your business, you should look for a printer that makes at-home printing economical, is compatible with your usage frequency, and provides smooth sailing from the get-go. Ultimately you’ll get the best results out of your printer if you also use good-quality ink and paper. Set up your personal printing station with our recommendations below.
1. Epson PictureMate PM-400
Reliable and designed to streamline the all-too-frustrating process of at-home printing, the PictureMate is our top pick. This printer is capable of producing 4-by-6-inch and 5-by-7-inch photographs with accurate colors, high resolution, and no streaking. It offers the convenience of wireless printing or an SD card slot for direct transfer, and because setup is quick, you can begin printing minutes out of the box. Although the ink cartridges are expensive, meaning that you’ll likely pay a little more per print than with other models, the ease of use and consistency of quality are well worth it. Unlike many other printers, this one rarely glitches or jams, ultimately helping you conserve paper.
2. Kodak Dock Plus Instant Photo Printer
If all you need are 4-by-6-inch photographs, Kodak’s compact photo printer is a worthwhile pick. It’s simple to use and delivers good results—about the quality you’d expect from a drugstore chain photo lab. All you have to do is connect a USB or your phone via Bluetooth and select your image; the device will spit out the physical reproduction in less than a minute. The results are even carefully laminated to resist fingerprints.
3. Canon Pixma TS6320
If you need to print photos only once in a while, we recommend getting an all-in-one printer that can fulfill this task but also serve other, more regular needs. Canon’s is our top pick in this class as it reproduces photographs very well, with prints coming out crisp and presenting vivid and accurate colors. It also runs on a five-ink system that is more efficient than a single cartridge. Its print speed is quite slow, however, making it less suitable for high-volume output, but it provides good functionality for its price point.
4. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
Epson’s XP-15000 delivers an impressive combination of frustration-free printing, brilliant results, and compatibility with different paper types. Offering wireless connectivity, this printer is easy to set up, prints photographs in seconds, and does so with little noise, to boot. The results, whether glossy or matte, are fast-drying and faithful in color and detail. In addition to regular photo paper up to 13 by 19 inches, the printer can handle cardstock, brochure paper, and adhesive sheets. The required ink is quite pricey, but the investment is necessary to achieve close-to-professional-quality prints.
5. HP Sprocket Photo Printer
For fun and low-key printing, the HP Sprocket is a scaled-down printer that produces 2-by-3-inch borderless photographs with adhesive backs. The little device connects through Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet and prints out the selected image in about a minute. These aren’t gallery-quality prints, but they’re perfect for scrapbooking, decorating backpacks or school lockers, or making mementos to give friends. Plus, the printer is small enough to take just about anywhere. It comes with 50 sheets of photo paper, and replacement paper is quite affordable, costing about 30 cents a sheet.