Have you just used your top of the range SLR Camera to take a range of new pictures, used your PC to adit the pictures and now need some way of printing the best pictures that you want to put in your picture album. If you decide that you do want to print your picture and don’t want to just use a digital photo frame, then you’re going to need to the best photo printer, however how do you choose it?
What makes one printer better than the others and more importantly, why don't you just use a normal printer to print these picture. Below we examine these questions, however the final question is very easy to answer if you have ever tried to print high resolution pictures on a normal printer. You will know the answer - It's so dam slow.
Why Buy A Photo Only Printer
Do you really need to buy a printer that your solely going to use with printing your photo’s. The answer is no you don’t but the fact is that a printer that has been designed specifically for printing photo will printer better quality pictures a much more affordable price meaning that you can printer more images that you usually would whilst using your normal printer.
Photo Only printers will typically print pictures at much higher resolutions and because this type of printer will also use specialty ink cartridges that contain both better ink for printing and cartridges that contain more colours with all this helping to print better quality pictures.
Best Photo Printer
If you don't want to read the whole review and simply what to skip to the best photo printer on the market, then check out the Canon SELPHY CP1200 Photo Printer which we have extensively reviewed over the last few years and until something better comes along firmly think it's the best photo printer on the market. The Canon Selphy is easy to use and set up whether your using Windows or an Apple Mac and comes with fantastic software that means if you don't have photo shop at home, will be able to help with basic photo corrections such as red-eye correction, cropping, date stamp, and colour corrections. Performance is simply brilliant, probably due to the fact that this second generation model has been improved and updated over the years. If you're looking for a colour printer for your picture, then check this printer out.
The Problem With Printer's
Apart from the quality, the other key problem with using your home printer to print pictures is the time that it takes to print. For our test’s we have found that we could print no more than 10 high quality pictures in two hours meaning that if you have 100 pictures to print, you could be waiting hours for it to finish.
Given that photo printers have been designed specifically for printing high resolution photo’s they also print much fast with the top of the range models printing a high resolution photo each minute.
Before You Buy The Best Photo Printer
The best photo printers are those that print a high quality in the fastest time, however like all technology products there is plenty of choice on the market and whilst a lot of these printers are fantastic, a lot promise the world, look fantastic but simply do not work. Take the Kodak Easy share as an example – it’s got 96 reviews, all positive, but we tested it a could not make it work. It just did not print quality products and instead made a mess of pictures and gave us more trouble that it’s worth. If you want to buy the best photo printer for your home then follow this advice;
- Print Size – Typical photo printers will print from 4x 6 to 9 x 12 meaning that the first choice is what sizes you want to print. Remember, the quality is likely to decrease slightly with the larger the print meaning that if you’re only going to print photo’s in 4X6, there is no point in buying larger printers.
- Resolution – means quality of the photo with the higher the resolution or DPI “dots per inch” the higher quality the pictures look. The top of the range printers will print in 9600 x 2400 colour dpi and will use “FINE Technology” where the printers ink drop injection system will drop microscopic levels of ink to generate an image - the more drops, the cleaner and crisper your image will be.
- Printer Speed – is important especially when it comes to printing lots of photo’s, however especially when you consider you're printing high resolution printers. Printer speed is not something that manufactures openly admit to which means that you need to read reviews to really see what the printer are really like.
- Photo Only Vs. Multi-Function – If you want to print with speed and quality then get yourself and a photo only printer as while a multi-printer are fantastic, the quality will be lower.
- Photo UpLoad – Typically all printers will allow you to insert your SD Card into the unit, but the top of the range models will have added flexibility such as WiFi Connection or Bluetooth support
- Brand Name – If you never buy another Brand Name, buy one here as the whole package will be better. Not only are you buying a product that will work well, but generally the support functions are also better when it comes to brand names as the offer both Online and Offline support.
- Price – Whilst as always price is very important when it comes to buying technology products it much better to spend slightly more than your budget and buy a product that works well, rather than buying cheap and having problems or a printer that does not work meaning that you have too replace it.
- Support – The best printers not only provide speed and quality, but also provide support for getting the best out of your printer and fixing any problems along your way.
Photo Printer Reviews
Below we have reviewed four of the top performing colour photo printers on the market and whilst we think the Canon Slephy CP1200 is firmly the best photo printer on the market, however we have also review colour photo printers from Epsom and HP which are all great printer manufactures and have designed and built great products. Here are our thoughts.
Canon SELPHY CP1200 Photo Printer
If you want to get your camera pictures printed in high quality on the go, this is a great (and affordable) product to invest in. It is easy to set up with both Windows and Mac computers and also comes with some basic helpful features such as red-eye correction, cropping, date stamp, and color corrections.
As an added benefit you also have the option to add borders or not, depending on the need of the hour. What really like is the speed and performance of this model given that it can easily print a high resolution 6X4 picture in under a minute which for a photo printer is very impressive. Apart from being a great printer, it's also offer fantastic value for money both to buy and run.
Since it also allows you to print pictures using the camera memory card alone, this is probably one of the best products to invest in. It promises to print the image just the way it appears on the computer screen - with wonderful resolution.
However, while it does provide quality picture prints that are a lot better than a regular printer, it is not always as good as the print outs you get done from professionals.
Furthermore, the pictures printed from the computer also appear a little darker, but this could depend on the brightness level of the screen. Overall, for a compact printer, this is as good as it gets. So if you're looking to print a few pictures without making a long trip to the photolab, this is the product for you. But too many prints, and it becomes too expensive.
As a result, this is ideal for photographers. But if you have high demands, it is better to look for one of the bigger printers available on the market.
Epson Expression Photo XP-760 All-in-One Photo Printer
This may not be the most compact photo printers out there, but it is not one to be left behind. It comes packed with a variety of irresistible perks guaranteed to make your day.
It produces high resolution images using Claria Photo HD inks to provide long lasting, highly details results. The smart device takes the technological generation into consideration and provides easy printing options through to Wi-Fi and ethernet connectivity. Additionally, mobile printing is also possible for whenever you need it.
Moreover, the dual paper trays mean you no longer have to mix up your regular printing paper with your photo paper. And that's not all - now you can print images on thicker paper, CDs, as well as DVDs.
But while this printer has rave reviews from most consumers, be warned that the installation isn't a piece of cake. It takes a while due to the seven separate programs it requires to download and install in order to work properly. But once this is done, the rest is a breeze. It is quicker, quieter, and the high resolution prints give you a better result than most home printers available in the market today.
Moreover, its scanning software is also much more advanced, as is its ability to copy images and documents, giving you quality results each time. As the cherry on top of the cake - the printer also has its very own email ID if you ever want to print documents form far away!
A word of caution, however, if you end up with a faulty product, just remember that Epson isn't known for its customer service.
Canon PIXMA MG5250 All-in-One WiFi Color Photo Printer
Other than the quality, it's also prints slightly slower than the Canon and the Epsom above. This printer's USP is its ability to produce images that can rival those created at a professional photolab whilst at the same time allowing you print out a your usual daily printing using the same model.
The Pixma comes with five single inks, it gives you quality results every time. It can give you faster, better prints right at home, using just your Wi-Fi network.
While the set up may take a while, everything after that is as easy as can be. You can copy documents directly onto a USB stick in various formats. Additionally you can also print directly from your USB stick or a memory card.
These can be done either in color or black-and-white, and come with a plethora of options. This way, you can decide what the print is for, and the printer will make the appropriate modifications. Whether it is an ID card, sticker, CD, or anything else, you just need to click on the appropriate option.
On the downside, the paper feeding can be a little noisy, but everything else is smooth sailing. So if you're looking for incredible picture details on printed paper from the comforts of your home, this is the option for you. The two paper trays also allow you to separate the printing paper from the photo paper - just don't forget which tray you allotted to which paper!
HP Photosmart 6520 All-in-one Colour Photo Inkjet Printer
The HP Photosmart 6520 Colour Photo Inkjet Printer is HP's colour printer and has been designed and manufactured to produce printing results whilst keeping in with HP's reputation for quality printing at value for money prices.
It provides high resolution printing along with the option to scan and copy images whenever necessary. Since it is a high performance printer with easy accessibility, you can get print outs from online albums, cloud storage, social media websites, as well as devices such as your mobile phones.
All this is done due to the easy connectivity achieved through Wi-Fi and other wireless networks. However, if these aren't always feasible options, you can even get print outs using your USB sticks or memory cards.
Furthermore, you can also download their HP Photosmart Printing Solutions' app so that you can authorize print outs from remote locations. To complete the package, this printer is available in a classy black or a sleek bronze finish. Both these options ensure that the printer exudes an aura of elegance, no matter where you place it.
But while this printer seems perfect, it has a darker side as well. Not only does the installation take a while, but it also takes its own sweet time to fire up. Moreover, it keeps settling into the standby mode, making it especially annoying when you need something printed within an instant.
To top it off, the paper tray appears a little too delicate, and the reception tray, a little inadequate. As a result, the printed paper frequently floats off instead of landing perfectly into that tray. Lastly, it is noisier than expected, so if that's a concern, then you better keep looking for other options.
Overall, however, the pros trump the cons, and this printer is definitely a worthy purchase.