The 10 Best Photo Printers - May 2017
Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every photo printer on the market in the US to determine our top 10 list.
In total we compared over 51 photo printers, 645 reviews and 341 prices. Last updated 23 May 2017.
- More shops: 13
- $128.99 Overstock
- $129.99 Crutchfield
- More shops: 14
- $89.99 Adorama
- $109.99 Target
- More shops: 26
- $179.00 Adorama
$39.99eBaySave $926.25View Details
- More shops: 8
- $173.75 Overstock
$74.14eBaySave $80.81 (52%)View Details
$119.99eBaySave $30.00 (20%)View Details
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Photo Printer Buying Guide
Photo printers are a subsection of standard printers, specifically designed for printing photos taken from digital cameras. While most devices can still be used to print standard black & white documents, their real strength lies in their ability to print high-quality photos, posters and prints, with a colour depth and resolution far higher than most inkjet or laser printer. In this guide we will outline the main considerations when choosing a photo printer, allowing you to decide on the best model for your needs.
First up, cost. Photo printers are specialist peripherals, and the inks and components used are far higher quality than most other printers. Because of this, photo printers are generally far more expensive than a comparable inkjet or laser printer. Therefore in order to get the best value for money from a photo printer, you should be using it frequently specifically to print photos. Otherwise, you may gain more value from buying a high-quality inkjet or colour laser jet printer (which can still print photos, just not at such a high resolution), and using the services of a copy shop or print kiosk if you want to print especially high-quality photos.
Resolution & Colour Depth
Photo printers are largely defined by the resolution and colour depth they are able to print at. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi) and governs how detailed the resulting print is, especially when photos are blown up to larger sizes than they were originally taken at. If the printer has a low supported resolution, then the prints may look blurry or out of focus, whereas extremely high resolution photos (for instance, those with a DPI of 3,000 and above) will continue to look sharp and full of detail even when blown up to poster-sized prints.
Colour depth is a measure of the colours the printer can produce - a higher colour depth means a greater visual fidelity between the print and the original photo.
With both of these attributes, higher values lead to a better overall print output. However they also usually come with increased price, so you should balance the quality you design from your prints against your budget. Most of our photo printers have a detailed breakdown of these attributes, allowing you to choose more intelligently.
The other defining factor of a photo printer is the supported print size. Some photo printers are the size of standard inkjet or laser printers, and can print up to A4 size. Others are much smaller, and can only print dedicated photo sizes (e.g - 4 x 6, 5 x 7 or 10 x 4 inches). These ‘small format’ photo printers are generally cheaper and more portable, but are incapable of printing large photos.
On the other end of the scale, some photo printers are much larger, and come with the ability to print at A3 scale or even larger. These printers usually come equipped with a very high resolution & graphical fidelity… and a price tag to match. These models will most likely only be of interest to professional photographers or serious hobbyists.
While most photo printers work via a USB connection with your computer, several more advanced models have increased connectivity options. These can include:
Direct printing capability: Printers with this option can connect directly to digital cameras, allowing you to print photos straight from camera to printer, bypassing the need for a computer. This is extremely useful with small-format portable photo printers, since it means you can take photos then immediately print them out without having to upload the photos first.
Integrated card reader: Rather than a direct connection, some models of photo printer allow you to insert an SD card and print directly from there. This can save a substantial amount of time downloading and transferring print data, since the printer will have immediate access to all the photos on the SD card
Network capabilities: Though not common, some newer models of printer have wireless or bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to print photos without the need for a physical connection, making printing easier and more efficient.
Photo Printer Retailers, Prices and Features
Photo Printer Prices
In total we found 14 photo printers ranging from $29 to $799. The average price of a new photo printer is $179 and the 80% of photo printers are priced between $40 and $500. The cheapest photo printer that we found is the Vupoint Solutions Photo Cube at only $30, and the most expensive is the Canon Pixma Pro-1 at $799.
Photo Printer Brands - Price Range
Canon photo printers range in price from $90 to $799, and the highest average photo printer price out of all brands is Canon photo printers with an average price of $302.
The %8highest average photo printer price out of all brands is Epson photo printers with an average price of $200. Epson photo printers start at $200 and the most expensive Epson photo printer costs $200.
The average price of Kodak photo printers is $120 which is the third highest average price of all photo printer brands. Kodak photo printers range in price from $120 to $120.
Photo Printer Brands - Average Ratings
We have evaluated 141 expert reviews and 88 user reviews for photo printers written online and used this data to determine the average rating for each brand of photo printer. Polaroid is the top rated photo printer brand with an average rating of 86%. Epson is the second best brand with 84% and Canon is the third best brand with 80%.
Biggest Photo Printer Retailers
The biggest photo printer retailer by number of products currently for sale is eBay. We found 16 current photo printer offers from eBay. The second biggest photo printer retailer is Adorama with 5 offers. That means eBay is over 3 times bigger than Adorama when it comes to photo printers. Curacao is the third biggest retailer with 4 current offers.
When Are Most New Photo Printers Released?
We looked at the release dates for new photo printers over the last 3 years, but couldn't see any evident pattern. December was the biggest month last year for new photo printers, with five new photo printers released that month. The biggest month in 2015 for new photo printer releases was May, with four new photo printers released that month. In 2014 most new photo printers were released in January, with seven new photo printers released that month.
How Fast Do Photo Printer Prices Drop After Release?
New photo printers drop in price by an average of 57% in the first 6 months after they wer first released. On a typical new photo printer costing $179, by waiting 6 months before buying you could save on average $102.
The most frequently found maximum resolution amongst new photo printers is 300 x 300 DPI. We found 7 photo printers that are photo printers that have a Maximum resolution of 300 x 300 DPI. We found 5 photo printers that are photo printers that have a Maximum resolution of 9600 x 2400 DPI, making this the second most frequently found maximum resolution amongst new photo printers.
Biggest Photo Printer Retailers
We found 16 current offers for photo printers from eBay making it the biggest photo printer retailer. That is over 3 times bigger than the second biggest retailer, Adorama for whom we found 5 current offers for photo printers. The third biggest retailer is Curacao with 4 current photo printer offers.
Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Photo Printers?
The store that most frequently offered the cheapest price on photo printers is eBay and offers the cheapest price on 16 photo printers.
Proportion of Photo Printers for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?
With the cheapest price on 100% of its photo printers, eBay is most frequently the cheapest photo printer store.