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13 Printers For Photo With The Best Quality

Be it snapshots, vacation photos or documenting important papers, digital photos taken with cell phones or digital cameras have long been a part of everyday life for most people. Stored on a computer or smartphone, they are always available. But even the classic photos from the time of the grandfathers printed on thick photo paper, are becoming fashionable again. Neatly sorted into albums, printed photos not only make great memories or great gifts, but are also protected against possible data loss. Those who don't want their paper photos developed in a time-consuming and expensive laboratory can now easily print them themselves. Printers for photo provide lab quality and print high-quality photos in less than a minute.

photo printers

The following comparison shows the most important features of 13 printers for photo in different price ranges. This guide then explains the advantages and disadvantages of photo printing, explains the differences in printing technology and explains the differences between multifunction printers, dedicated photo printers, and mobile printers that work like instant cameras.

13 Printers for photo with different printing technologies

printers photo

1. HP ENVY Pro 6420 Printers Photo
  • Bluetooth connectivity technology
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Network special features
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • ENVY Pro 6420 . Series
  • Color printer output
  • Maximum print speed (color) 7ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 10ppm
The ENVY Pro 6420 from HP is a printer for photo that achieves a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 DPI using inkjet printing. As a multifunction device, it combines a printer, scanner and fax machine. A black ink cartridge and a combination cartridge are required for printing photos and color documents.
  • Print speed: 10 black and 7 color pages per minute
  • Format: 10 x 15 centimeters up to DIN A4
  • Connection options: USB port, WLAN, Bluetooth and AirPrint
Scanner with automatic document feeder: The HP photo printer scanner has an automatic document feeder that can hold up to 35 sheets. This allows multiple documents to be scanned one after the other without having to enter them manually.

The ENVY Pro 6420 is optionally available at an additional cost of completion with 6 months free access to HP's Instant Ink ordering service. It can be controlled via the app for easy operation and simplifies repetitive tasks with the Smart Task function, which can be used to set shortcuts through the app.

Printers for photo from HP are available in black or white. It is 43.2 centimeters wide, 17.4 centimeters high and 36.1 centimeters deep. It weighs 6.1 kilograms.

Note: HP photo printers are designed to use only cartridges with HP-made electronic circuits. Modified cartridges with non-HP electronic circuits may not work.

  • With scanner and fax machine
  • Ink ordering service
  • Control via app
  • HP cartridges only
2. Canon Selphy CP1300 Printers Photo

  • USB connectivity technology
  • Dye Sublimation printing technology
  • Bluetooth special features
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • Model name Canon Selphy CP1300 WLAN photo printer (dye sublimation print, 300 x 300 dpi) white
  • Color printer output
  • Maximum print speed (color) 25ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 41ppm
With the Selphy CP1300 model, Canon offers a printer for mobile photos that, according to the manufacturer, provides fast photo prints in laboratory quality. It works on the principle of thermal sublimation printing and produces photos with a resolution of 300 x 300 DPI. Ink ribbons stored in cartridges with the primary colors yellow, cyan and magenta are used. According to the manufacturer, high-quality photo prints are possible in less than a minute.
  • Formats: passport photo, postcard format, credit card format, 50 x 50 millimeters, 22 x 17.3 millimeters, 2 x 6 inches, 4 x 6 inches, and 10 x 15 centimeters
  • Connection options: USB port, mini-USB port, SD card slot, WLAN and AirPrint
With shuffle mode: Thanks to shuffle mode, the photo printer can receive image data from up to 8 smartphones at the same time.

When connected to a WiFi network, the Selphy CP1300 photo printer can be operated from a mobile phone, making it an effective mobile printer. The Canon PRINT application must be installed for this. Alternatively, it can be controlled via the folding display and the controls below. Power is supplied either through a battery or a power adapter. According to Canon, many layout options allow for high-quality photo prints - for example photo booth-style photo strips or passport photos.

This compact photo printer from Canon is available in black, white, and pink. Dimensions 18.6 x 6.3 x 13.5 cm in width, height and depth. The weight of the printer is 860 grams.

What are the disadvantages of missing Bluetooth functionality? Through Bluetooth the photo printer can receive print jobs wirelessly. Compatible Bluetooth devices include smartphones, tablets or computers. If the Bluetooth function is not present, wireless print jobs can only be performed if the printer is integrated into a WLAN network.

  • Mobile printer
  • Lab quality photos
  • App control
  • Multiple layout options
  • No bluetooth
  • No A4 print format
3. Fujifilm Instax Share SP 3 Printers Photo
  • Instant film type movie format
  • Item Weight 0.31 Kilogram
  • Dimensions of the item W x W x H 11.6 x 4.4 x 13 centimeters
  • Model name Instax Share SP-3
  • Color film
  • Smartphone compatible devices
Fujifilm's Instax Share SP 3 by comparison is a printer for mobile photos that works with an inkless printing process. It works like an instant camera and prints photos as soon as they are taken in 62 x 62 millimeter Polaroid format. It works with selected smartphones and digital cameras from Fujifilm. The printer reaches a resolution of 318 DPI.

Images are transmitted from the smartphone or camera to the printer via WLAN. The compact instant printer displays battery status via an LED light at the top. It is charged via a micro USB cable. Another display indicates whether there is still enough photo paper in the printer.

Fujifilm Instax Share SP 3 is available in black and white. With dimensions of width, height and depth of 13.0 x 4.4 x 11.6 centimeters, it is smaller than a regular digital camera. The printer weighs 312 grams.

What is a Polaroid photo? Polaroid is a polarizing filter manufacturer founded in 1937 in the US for cameras and later instant cameras, the brand name being a general term. A special feature of Polaroid analog cameras is the small fully automated photo lab inside the camera, which can quickly develop the captured photos and print them directly on the camera, which is a sensation in the analog world. A Classic Polaroid photo measures 107 x 88 millimeters and shows a wider white border at the bottom. This results in a rectangular image section with an edge length of 79 millimeters. Due to their nostalgic character, now almost forgotten Polaroid photos are enjoying great popularity again today.

  • Instant printer
  • Supports smartphones and digital cameras
  • Only one format
  • Photo paper not included
4. Epson EcoTank ET 2750 Printers Photo
  • Connectivity technologies USB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Special features Standard output capacity: 30 sheets, Warranty card, Security algorithm: WEP 64-bit, WEP 128-bit, WPA-AES, WPA-PSK, WPA-TKIP
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • ET2750 . Series
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 15ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 33ppm
The EcoTank ET 2750 from Epson is a printer for photo that achieves a resolution of 5,760 x 1,440 DPI using inkjet printing. This is a multifunction printer with an integrated scanner. Unlike most inkjet printers, it does not require a color cartridge for the printed image.
  • Print speed: 33 pages per minute in black and white and 15 pages in color
  • Format: 10 x 15 centimeters up to DIN A4
  • Connection options: USB port, SD card slot, WLAN, AirPrint
With EcoTank: The eponymous EcoTank replaces ink cartridges. The printer is pre-loaded with black, cyan, yellow and magenta inks. According to the manufacturer, the lock and padlock principle prevents the filling of the wrong color.

With the Epson Connect function, the printer for multifunction photos can be controlled via a mobile phone or tablet. Epson's email print function allows you to issue print jobs by email. There is a small screen for direct operation of the printer. The scope of delivery includes ink bottles that fit the contents of 88 ink cartridges. According to the printer manufacturer, this is a 3-year supply. Epson's ReadyPrint EcoTank reorder service automates ink reordering.

The EcoTank ET 2750 is available in black and white. It is 37.5 centimeters wide, 18.7 centimeters high and 34.7 centimeters deep. It weighs 5.5 kilograms.

  • Ink tank - no cartridge needed
  • ReadyPrint EcoTank reorder service
  • Operation via smartphone and tablet
  • Print order via email
  • Includes a 3-year supply of color ink
  • No bluetooth
5. HP Sprocket 2FB96A Printers Photo
  • USB connectivity technology
  • Dye sublimation printing technology
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • HP Sprocket Series 2-in-1
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 1
  • Monochrome max print speed 1
  • Item weight 0.19 kilograms
The Sprocket 2FB96A from HP is not a classic photo printer. It combines an instant printer and camera in one device. The integrated camera takes photos at 5 megapixels and instantly prints images with a resolution of 313 x 400 DPI. Photo paper in 5 x 7.6 cm format is used for this.

With the HP sprocket app: With the HP sprocket app, text, frames, emoji, and more can be added to photos.

Via Bluetooth the Sprocket 2FB96A photo printer can be connected to a mobile phone or tablet. Not only can he print images from the integrated camera, but he can also receive print jobs from mobile devices. This printer is also optionally available without an integrated camera. Upon request, the manufacturer can provide 20 or 40 sheets of photo paper.

HP offers the HP Sprocket 2FB96A in black, white, and red. With dimensions of width, height and depth of 7.7 x 2.8 x 12.2 centimeters, this camera has the dimensions of a standard compact camera. It weighs 190 grams.

What is 5 megapixels? The resolution of a digital camera is given in megapixels. 1 megapixel equals 1 million pixels. Thus, a photo from a 5 megapixel digital camera consists of 5 million pixels. In a small 5 x 7.6 cm format, it allows for high resolution images.

  • Integrated camera
  • Photo printing possible soon
  • Print jobs from smartphones and tablets possible
  • Only one printable format
6. Epson Expression Photo XP 8605 Printers Photo
  • WiFi connectivity technology
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Features of the Epson T378.
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • XP-8605 Series Expression Photos
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 32ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 32ppm
With the Expression Photo XP 8605, Epson offers a printer for multifunction photos with inkjet printing. The print resolution is 5,760 x 1,440 DPI. The printer has an integrated scanner for copying and duplicating documents. To make color prints, he needed six ink cartridges in black, cyan, light cyan, yellow, magenta, and light magenta. In addition to printing photos and documents, this multifunction printer can also be used to print CDs.
  • Print speed: Six photos 10 x 15 cm per minute, 32 black and white documents or 9 color documents per minute
  • Format: photos measuring 10 x 15 centimeters, 9 x 13 centimeters, 13 x 20 centimeters, 20 x 25 centimeters or 13 x 18 centimeters and documents up to DIN A4
  • Connection options: USB port, SD card slot, WLAN, and AirPrint
With the Epson Creative Print app: With the Epson Creative Print app, photo printers can be controlled via your phone or tablet. At the same time, many other functions are available, such as creating greeting cards or printing photos directly from Facebook.

As an alternative to using a mobile phone, this photo printer from Epson can be controlled via the touch screen on the front. The screen can preview photos before printing. This printer comes with two paper trays - one for A4 paper and one for photo paper. Thanks to the email print function, it can receive print jobs by email. Multifunction printers are available with and without ink cartridges.

Epson only offers the Expression Photo XP 8605 in white. The device is 34.9 centimeters wide, 14.2 centimeters high and 34 centimeters deep. It weighs 6.7 kilograms.

  • Touch screen
  • App control
  • Two paper trays for documents and photos
  • No bluetooth
7. Canon Pixma iP7250 Printers Photo
  • Wi-Fi connectivity technology
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Special features Duplex: Duplexing: Yes, Mac compatibility, warranty card, operating temperature range:5 - 35 °C, photo sticker, ISO standard size: B5, DVD/CD printing, LED indicator
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • IP7250 . Series
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 6
  • Monochrome max print speed 7
The Canon Pixma iP7250 is a printers for photo that achieves a high resolution of 9,600 x 2,400 DPI using inkjet printing. According to the manufacturer, it offers fast photo printing in laboratory quality. The printer can not only print photos and documents, but also print CDs. Five printer ink cartridges are required in pigment black (pigment ink), black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
  • Print speed: 10 x 15 cm photo in 21 seconds, up to 15 black and white documents and 10 color pages per minute
  • Format: Photos measuring 10 x 15 centimeters, 13 x 18 centimeters or 20 x 25 centimeters and documents up to DIN A4. Large format is not possible.
  • Connection options: USB and WLAN ports
Included My Image Garden software: Printers for photo from Canon are equipped with My Image Garden software. According to the manufacturer, this is computer software that makes it easy to organize and print photos. It organizes photos chronologically by date they were taken and makes it easy to find specific images using facial recognition.

Printers for photo can accept print jobs from your phone or tablet via the Canon PRINT app. The prerequisite is an existing WLAN connection. It does not come with an integrated display. This printer is equipped with a paper tray for documents and photos.

The Canon Pixma iP7250 features an all-black design and measures 45.1 x 12.8 x 36.8 centimeters in width, height and depth. It weighs 6.6 kilograms.

  • High resolution
  • App control
  • No screen
  • No bluetooth
8. Kodak PD460 Printers Photo
  • Bluetooth connectivity technology
  • Dye sublimation printing technology
  • Portable special features
  • Recommended use for home
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 1ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 1ppm
  • IOS, Android operating system
The PD460 photo printer from Kodak is specifically designed for printing photos and prints using an inkless printing process combined with an integrated color cartridge. A photo can be printed within 50 seconds. Images can be printed in 10 x 15 centimeter, 3 x 3.4 inch and 2.1 x 3 inch formats.

Protected photos: Photo printers from Kodak can not only print photos, but also laminate them. This protects them from fingerprints and moisture.

The Kodak PD460 can be operated via a smartphone and is therefore equipped with a Bluetooth function. It has no integrated WLAN or control functions. The printer is available paperless or with 90 sheets of photo paper.

The Kodak photo printer features a white design with yellow accents and measures 16.5 x 10.0 x 6.85 centimeters. It weighs 760 grams.

  • Custom photo printer
  • Photos in various formats
  • Photos can be laminated
  • No WLAN
  • No integrated controls
  • No document printing
9. HP Envy 6020 Printers Photo
  • Bluetooth connectivity technology
  • Thermal printing technology
  • Network special features
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • ENVY Series 6020
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 7ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 10ppm
The HP Envy 6020 is a printer for photos with an integrated scanner. It works with inkjet technology and reaches a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 DPI. Multifunction printers require a black ink cartridge and a combination cartridge to print.
  • Print speed: 10 pages per minute in black and white and 7 pages in color
  • Format: 10 x 15 centimeters up to DIN A4
  • Connectivity options: USB port, WiFi and Bluetooth
Printers for photo can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet via the HP Smart app. HP's Instant Ink ordering service ensures that the printer automatically reorders ink when it is low on ink. Inkjet printers are optionally available with HP+ – meaning 6 months of HP Instant Ink.

This photo printer from HP is available in black and white and measures 43.2 x 13.2 x 36.1 centimeters in width, height, and depth. It weighs 5.2 kilograms.

Note: According to the manufacturer, this printer is designed for cartridges with HP electronic circuitry. Third-party ink cartridges might not work.

  • With scanner
  • App control
  • Ink ordering service
  • No integrated view
10. HP Envy Inspire 7220e Printers Photo
  • WiFi connectivity technology
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • ENVY Inspire 7220e Series All-in-One Printer
  • Printer output color
  • Monochrome max print speed 15ppm
  • Item weight 6.91 kilograms
  • Product dimensions 15.1D x 18.1W x 7.5H centimeters
  • Included parts HP ENVY Inspire 7220e All-in-One Printer
Printer for photo The HP Envy Inspire 7220e is a multifunction inkjet printer for printing, copying, and scanning. Print at a maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi and at speeds of up to 15 pages per minute in black and white and up to 10 pages per minute in color. The model prints the first page in 16 to 18 seconds. This printer has 256 megabytes of internal memory and an 800 megahertz processor. It is equipped with a 6.85-centimeter color touchscreen with three buttons, which are tilt-adjustable. Photo printers allow photo printing, borderless printing and automatic duplex printing. The maximum input capacity is 125 sheets of A4 sheets or 15 photos (4 x 6).

Six Months Free HP Instant Ink: The HP Envy Inspire 7220e Photo Printer comes with a free six month HP Instant Ink trial. According to the manufacturer, HP customers can save up to 70 percent of ink costs with HP Instant Ink.

The printer for photo supports mobile printing via smartphones via the HP Smart App via WLAN (Apple AirPrint or Wireless Direct). This model is made from a sustainable design that, according to HP, is made up of more than 45 percent recycled plastic. This multifunction printer has an energy consumption of 14 watts in normal mode and is equipped with the following connections:
  • 1 x USB2.0
  • Bluetooth
  • Wireless Internet Access
This printer comes with a starter set of HP303 inkjet cartridges, which should be sufficient for approximately 125 black pages and 120 color pages. The printer supports Windows operating systems from Windows 7, macOS from macOS 10.14 Mojave and Chrome OS. No stack feeder, but optionally available from the manufacturer.

  • Six months free HP Instant Ink
  • Color touch screen with tilt adjustment
  • Mobile printing via HP Smart App and AirPrint
  • Sustainable design (45 percent recycled plastic)
  • No NFC function
  • No LAN connection
11. HP Envy Photo 6220 Printers Photo
  • WiFi connectivity technology
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Special features Copy control: 25 - 400 %., Maximum temperature 5 - 40 °C., Maximum number of copies (50 copies), Supported text formats: PDF, Maximum copy resolution: 600 x 600 DPI, Standard printer language ( PCL 3 ), standard output capacity: 25 sheets, ISO standard: B5, touch screen
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • Series 6220
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 8ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 22ppm
The Envy Photo 6220 is a photo printer that uses inkjet technology to achieve a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 DPI. As a multifunction device, it combines printer and scanner in one device. This means that photos and documents can not only be printed, but also digitized and reproduced. For this, the printer needs a black ink cartridge and a combination cartridge in cyan, magenta, and yellow.
  • Print speed: 13 pages per minute in black and white and 8 pages in color
  • Format: 10 x 15 centimeters up to DIN A4
  • Connectivity options: USB port, Wi-Fi, and AirPrint
The Envy Photo 6220 is equipped with a touch sensitive touch screen for direct operation on the device. Control via smartphone or tablet is possible via the HP Smart app. To ensure that ink supplies don't run out unexpectedly, photo printers support HP Instant Ink, HP's automatic ink ordering service. It is optionally available with 6 or 12 months free access to the ordering service.

The HP photo printer is only available in black. It measures 45.3 x 15.5 x 41 centimeters in width, height and depth and weighs 7 kilograms.

  • Touch screen
  • App control
  • No bluetooth
12. Epson Expression C11CD36402 Photo XP 55 Printers Photo
  • PictBridge connectivity technology, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Inkjet printing technology
  • Duplex special features: Yes, ISO standard: B5, indicator light
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 32ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 32ppm
  • Windows Operating System
Epson Expression C11CD36402 Photo XP 55 is a printer for photos that uses inkjet technology. Prints photos and documents at a resolution of 5,760 x 1,440 DPI and, according to the manufacturer, is ideal for photo lovers who want high-quality photo printing. Six individual ink cartridges in black, cyan, light cyan, yellow, magenta, and light magenta are required for operation. According to the manufacturer, the six colors allow for smooth color gradations and natural black tones.
  • Print speed: 10 seconds for 10 x 15 cm photos, 32 pages per minute in black and white or color
  • Format: 10 x 15 centimeter and 13 x 18 centimeter photos and documents up to DIN A4
  • Connection options: USB port, LAN port, WLAN and AirPrint
Claria Photo HD Ink According to the manufacturer, this printer is specially developed for photo lovers. It works with a special ink set of six separate colors, which, according to Epson, enables high-quality, long-lasting color prints. According to the manufacturer, prints in photo albums will last up to 300 years.

Printers for photo from Epson have a PictBridge function, which can accept print jobs from smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. Thanks to the Epson Connect function, the entire operation can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet. The ReadyPrint-Go ink ordering service automatically orders new printer cartridges when the ink level is low. In addition to photos and documents, this printer can also print CDs.

The Epson Expression has a completely white design and measures 39.0 x 14.1 x 33.8 centimeters wide, high and deep. It weighs 5 kilograms.

  • Custom ink set for high-quality photo prints
  • Printing CD
  • App control
  • LAN ports
  • No bluetooth
printers photo

13. Polaroid ZIP POLMP01W Printers Photo
  • Bluetooth connectivity technology
  • Zinc printing technology
  • Special feature indicator light
  • Recommended use for home, office
  • Zip model name
  • Printer output color
  • Maximum print speed (color) 1ppm
  • Monochrome maximum print speed 1ppm
The Polaroid ZIP POLMP01W is a mobile photo printer for use with smartphones. It works with an inkless printing process and, according to the manufacturer, prints a photo in 2 x 3 inch (5.08 x 7.62 centimeter) format in less than 60 seconds.

High-quality self-adhesive paper prints: Printer photo paper has an adhesive backing. According to the manufacturer, the prints are colorful, water-resistant and tear-resistant.

All printer controls can be managed via a smartphone or tablet via the Polaroid mobile app. The connection is via Bluetooth. According to the manufacturer, up to 25 images can be printed on a fully charged battery. 10 sheets of photo paper are included. The mobile photo printer is optionally available including 50 sheets of photo paper.

Polaroid photo printers have a compact format that is easy to carry. It is available in black, white, blue and red. Its dimensions are 7.3 x 2.2 x 11.9 centimeters in width, height and depth. This small printer weighs 180 grams.

  • Mobile photo printer
  • According to the manufacturer, high-quality photos in less than 60 seconds
  • Printable format only
What are printers for photo?

photo printers

The term photo printer encapsulates all printing devices that are also suitable for printing photos, among other things. Most models are multifunction printers. They print photos or documents and often have an integrated scanner with which photos or documents can be digitized and duplicated. There are also models that specialize in photo printing.

Photo printer types - different printing processes

How a photo printer places color on the paper depends on the printing technique. There are four different printing processes that differ in terms of printing costs and print quality. The following sections explain where the advantages and disadvantages of each lie:
  • Inkjet printing
  • Color laser printing
  • Thermal sublimation
  • Zinc mold
Inkjet printing

Most printers for photo use inkjet printing technology. Most models use four ink cartridges each in magenta, cyan, yellow and black, and some models also have two more cartridges in light cyan and light magenta. Some inkjet printers work with combination cartridges that contain all colors.

The heating element heats the ink to about 300 degrees Celsius. This creates steam, which is applied to the paper in the form of ink droplets through hundreds of microscopic nozzles. The resolution of the printed product depends on how many nozzles the printer uses. Cheap inkjet printers reach around 300 to 360 DPI. Most models offer 1,200 DPI or more.

  • Inexpensive
  • High photo quality possible
  • High printing costs - expensive printer cartridges
  • Low print speed
Color laser printing

Color laser printers work with the eponymous color laser and image drum. The paper to be printed is rolled on the drawing drum. It is not printed with ink, but with toner powder, which is also used in magenta, cyan, yellow and black colors. The advantage of powder is that the print does not fade and compared to powder ink it does not dry quickly if it is not used for a long time.

The laser is responsible for marking the areas where you don't want the powder to stick. Then the toner powder is applied. Color laser printers work quickly and quietly. However, the print quality is lower compared to inkjet printers. The DPI value of 600 is the standard resolution.

  • High print speed
  • Silent printing
  • Prints don't fade
  • Low printing cost
  • Expensive
  • Lower print quality than inkjet printers
Screenless thermal sublimation process

printers for photos

With this printing technique, color is applied by changing the temperature. The printer produces a temperature of 300 to 400 degrees Celsius. The main benefit of dye sublimation printing is the ability to print borderless on paper. There will be no formation of droplets that will smear the photo, because the paint is applied by evaporation of the wax. A carrier film is attached to the printhead. By heating the targeted individual pixels, the dye evaporates and settles on a special paper.

Compared to inkjet printing, colors are not applied simultaneously, but are applied one after the other. The brightness of each printed dot is determined by temperature because different amounts of dye are applied by changing the heat conditions. High color depth and increased color saturation can be expected from thermal printer printing with thermal paper. However, the acquisition and consumption costs are higher compared to conventional inkjet printing with low ink consumption.

  • Brilliant, bright color
  • Durable photo prints
  • Does not fade prematurely
  • No supplies such as cartridges and toner needed
  • Printing technology ideal for on the go
  • High acquisition cost
  • Relatively high consumption costs
  • Photo printing is currently only possible in small format
Zero Ink - Zinc Printing

The zinc printing process does not require ink and is therefore also known as inkless printing. All the color pigments are located directly on the zinc photo paper and are activated by the heat effect. Therefore, toner, cartridges, ribbons, or printer cartridges are not required. Zinc foil consists of seven layers containing different emulsions. Photo paper contains crystals in cyan, yellow and magenta colors. Before being heated, they appear in white. Through the use of targeted heat, you pick up the colors needed to create each image. A long heat pulse of 100°C activates the cyan dye. A moderate heat exposure of 150°C is required for the magenta emulsion. Yellow is heated briefly to 200 °C.

  • Compact design
  • No accessories needed
  • Low printing cost
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Image quality is lower than other methods
  • Weak color representation
How much does a printer cost for photo?

Printers for photo are available in different price ranges. Cheap photo printers that don't offer high print resolution and can't be used on the go are readily available in double-digit quantities. High three-digit costs can be incurred for high-quality multifunction printers with scanners or mobile printers with inkless printing technology. Basically, photo printers can be divided into the following price ranges:
  • Photo printers in lower price segment - 80 to $150
  • Mid-range photo printer - $150 to $300
  • Photo printer in high price range - from $300
Internet versus specialist stores: where is it worth buying a new photo printer?

Photo printers are available at electronics stores, department stores, and sometimes as an option in supermarkets. If you want to take personal advice as the biggest advantage of local trade, you should visit a specialist shop. The selection of photo printers in local shops is always limited.

On the other hand, almost all the models available today are available on the Internet, and they are often cheaper. Customer reviews provide information about the quality and cost of maintaining the device in practice.

What to consider when buying a printer for photo?

printers for photos

Printers for photos are complex technical devices. If you want to find a model that fully meets your individual needs, you should consider the following factors:
  1. Printing technique
  2. Print resolution
  3. Format
  4. Print speed
  5. Ink cartridges or other printing elements
  6. Connection
  7. Function
  8. Volume
  9. Size and weight
Printing technique

The first thing to do is determine which printing technology the new photo printer should use. Most models are inkjet printers. They are cheap in comparison and give good printing results. If you want to print on the go, we recommend using a compact printer with an inkless printing process. For the highest possible print quality, models with a thermal sublimation process are recommended. If you're not sure, see the "Photo printer types - different printing processes" section. The advantages and disadvantages of different printing techniques are listed there.

Print resolution

Print resolution in dpi is specified. It stands for "dots per inch" or "pixels per inch". Small photo printers usually have a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi. The first value is the horizontal number, the second value is the vertical pixel count. Large printers in the upper price range reach resolutions of up to 9,600 x 2,400 dpi.

Print quality indicators: Print resolution is the most important indicator of photo image quality. The more pixels that make up a motif, the sharper and more vibrant it looks. In this context, it is important to always consider resolution in relation to print size. Small A5 prints don't require as high a resolution as large A3 prints.


Printers for specialty photos can often only print small formats up to 10 x 15 centimeters. If you also want to print large documents and photos, you can use a multifunction printer. Most models print in maximum A3 format and in all smaller formats.

Print speed

If you often want to print multiple photos at once, you should also pay attention to the printing speed when buying a photo printer. Multifunction printers are usually faster than dedicated photo printers. They often print photos in less than 60 seconds. Dedicated photo printers often take longer, but offer higher print quality. Printing technique also affects printing speed. For example, inkless photo printers run slower than laser printers .

Ink cartridges or other printing elements

The need for ink cartridges and photo paper affects the cost of printing later. This is advantageous if the printer works with individual cartridges. This means that only completely empty colors should be replaced and not the entire multi-color cartridge if only one color is out of stock. It is also more environmentally friendly. If you want to find out more about printing costs, check how much printer cartridges and photo paper cost for each photo printer. If both are included in the scope of delivery as initial equipment, this is initially a cost advantage.

Expected printing costs: On average, photo printing costs between 10 and $50. Follow-up costs depend on the manufacturer and model. But the printing technology used also determines the cost of follow-up.


photo printers

Printers for photos can receive image data for printing through various interfaces. This includes:
  • USB port: Almost every photo printer has a USB port. It can be connected to a computer through this. Another USB port is useful for printing images directly from a USB stick or external hard drive.
  • LAN connection: The printer can be connected to the Internet via a LAN connection. So it can receive data from all devices connected to the network through the network port.
  • WLAN: Wireless connection to the Internet network is possible via WLAN.
  • Bluetooth: Through Bluetooth the printer can receive orders via radio technology from a Bluetooth-enabled end device such as a smartphone or tablet.
  • AirPrint: The AirPrint function is a radio transmission technology from the manufacturer Apple. The printer accepts orders from an iPhone or iPad.
  • Memory card slot: Photo printers with memory card slots can print images directly from a memory card - for example from a smartphone memory card or digital camera.

Printers for special photos usually do not have additional functions. You can only print photos. If you want a greater range of functions, you can use a multifunction printer. Depending on the model, the device may have the following functions.
  • ePrint: If the printer has the ePrint function, it can receive and run print jobs via email. In this way, photos and documents can be viewed anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop printed from
  • App control: Printers with app control can be operated from anywhere using a smartphone app. It is often possible to print photos and documents directly from cloud services or social networks. Some applications are used to scan documents with smartphones and print them directly.
  • Ink ordering services: Ink ordering services such as HP Instant Ink use sensors in the printer to determine how much ink is left in the cartridge or tank. As soon as a certain value is reached, the printer notifies the manufacturer online and automatically reorders the ink. This prevents the printer from refusing to work because it is out of ink.
  • Voice control: With language assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, print jobs can be controlled with voice commands - for example "Alexa, print last photo from my smartphone".

For most users, the printer volume plays a small role. If you print a lot and don't want to disturb others with noise - for example at the office, you should look for a device that is as quiet as possible. Laser printers, which work almost silently, are recommended for this. Most manufacturers indicate in decibels how high the noise emission is when printing documents and photos.

Size and weight

Printers for photos come in a variety of sizes, with multifunction printers usually much larger than dedicated photo printers. For example, a large printer is 50 centimeters high, 50 centimeters wide, and 30 centimeters deep. Depending on the model, the weight can vary between 4 and 11 kilograms. A dedicated, mobile-ready photo printer is smaller. Their usual dimensions are 12 x 3 x 8 centimeters in width, height and depth. They often weigh less than 300 grams, which makes them easy to transport

Which photo printer manufacturers are famous?

There are three manufacturers in the photo printer market that are known for their high-quality devices:
  • HP
  • Canon
  • Epson
Service the photo printer regularly for long life and scratch-free photo printing

In photo printers, continuous cleaning protects the printhead nozzles from clogging. Dust in the drive can cause paper jams and prevent paper feeding. Nozzle tests can be performed before the photo is printed on the precious special photo paper. Cheap plain paper is also suitable for this than photo paper which is much more expensive. The printer will issue a warning or error message if the individual nozzles are clogged. In this case, nozzle cleaning is required. Most printers do this automatically via an option in the printer menu.

Clean carefully: In order not to damage the photo printer during cleaning, it is important to do it carefully with a soft cloth and without harsh cleaning agents.

If print quality is still unsatisfactory even after cleaning the printhead nozzles, carefully remove all color cartridges according to the instructions in the manual. In this case, the cause of unsightly printouts is usually dry ink stuck to the print head. This often happens when the photo printer is rarely used.

The ink cartridges and printheads can be removed and cleaned separately

The cartridge itself may have sticky ink and should be cleaned with a lint-free cloth and water only. Distilled water is best, as tap water in some areas is very chalky or contains heavy metals due to worn pipes. The printhead itself can be cleaned of contamination with hot water.

Color cartridges should under no circumstances be stored under running water. Otherwise, water will enter the cartridge and dilute the ink making intensive color printing impossible. Boiling water should also be avoided. This will cause deformation of critical components and, in the worst case, permanently damage the printer.

Optimal print results require little preparation

A working and clean printer with the latest drivers is a basic requirement for high-quality photo printing. If hardware functionality is guaranteed, each image can be enhanced and modified via digital post-processing. This comprehensive image editing program is Adobe Photoshop software, which was developed for professional image editing. However, ordinary people can be put off by its various functions. Alternatively, there are also cheaper alternatives, even free software offered on the Internet. Apart from that, the most important thing for good photo printing is the resolution of the image material.

photo printers

Most images on the internet have a resolution of 72 dpi. This resolution is perfectly adequate for a perfect display on the monitor. Photos for the Internet should take up as little storage space as possible. This allows the page where the photos are displayed to load quickly by the browser. However, for good photo prints, a minimum image resolution of 300 dpi is required. 600 dpi is desirable for printing large A3 pages.

Print posters and large sizes

Higher resolutions are required for larger formats and posters so that image sharpness and contrast are maintained. 1,200 dpi resolution is suitable. Modern digital cameras and today's smartphone cameras take photos at such high resolution that the images can be printed without further processing.

The size of a photo must always be considered in relation to resolution. The larger the format, the higher the resolution required for photos to appear sharp and detailed.

Optimizing image material digitally

There are several ways to prepare digital images for photo printing. The first thing to do is to check the brightness of the image. In certain circumstances, a test print on a photo printer can be useful. If the image is too dark or if the individual color areas cannot be clearly defined and the color gradients blend into each other, gamma correction can be applied. Depending on the image processing software, the light, medium, and dark areas can be changed separately and instantly.

The sharpness of the source material is also important. It's important to know that unsightly fragments can appear in different parts of the image if the focus is too high. Experienced photographers create a mask around the center of the image and blur the background. This creates an interesting dynamic in the photo, the details are very emphasized.

How long have printers for photos been around?

printers for photos

20 years ago, digital photography is still in its infancy, most people are still shooting with analog cameras as in previous decades. Smartphones and compact digital cameras have not yet been invented. Instead of sensors that capture light, analog cameras have film that must first be chemically processed after the photo is taken before a paper print of the captured photo can be produced. Photos are taken without being able to view the captured photo until the full movie, with available film for 24 or 36 exposures. The film must then be replayed completely into the film cartridge and then carefully and properly removed from the camera - anyone who makes a mistake will lose all or part of the footage.

Under no circumstances should the exposed film be exposed to direct light. It was a complicated task to send the film to a laboratory and develop it. The size of the image to be created and the desired paper type are pre-selected: Photo paper is generally available in matt or high-gloss versions. Photo development, like the film itself, is associated with significant costs.

With today's digital photo and printing technologies, it's no problem even for an inexperienced photographer to create a wide variety of photos, edit them, and perfect them for home printing. Due to the continuous improvement of inkjet technology, high-quality photo prints can be produced without professional support. Borderless printing with strong colors is possible thanks to innovative new printing processes such as thermal sublimation or zinc printing technology.

Frequently asked questions about printers for photos

Which photo printer is the best?

The question of the best photo printer is often answered with a model from HP, Canon or Epson. But the "best photo printer" that is equally suitable for all users does not exist. Each prospect has a different budget and has individual requirements in terms of print quality, range of functionality and mobility. That's why the best printers are only for individuals.

Which printer for professional photos?

If you want to print professional photos, you should use a special photo printer that works with high-resolution, high-quality photo paper.

Resolution is very important for professional photos. An inkjet or dye-sublimation printer with a resolution of 9,600 x 2,400 works best at the most suitable dpi or more.

Is there a printer that can print photos?

Yes, in principle photos can be printed with all printers. But not every model achieves a resolution that makes photos appear in high quality. Printing on photo paper is also not possible on every model.

How fast do inkjet printer cartridges dry?

How quickly an inkjet printer cartridge dries depends on the model and processing of the cartridge. Cartridges can dry out in just a few days or even weeks without using the printer. If you want to prevent dryness, you should do a test print at least once a week.

Which printer is best for a "light printer"?

If you rarely print, a laser printer is a good choice. Since no ink is used here, neither cartridges can dry out or stick together. This means that the printer still delivers the same print quality even after months without a print job.


What is your opinion after reading our article? Have you found the photo printer you want? Photo printers can indeed help your activities. However, do not make the wrong choice because it can make you hassle.

We hope that our tips will help you learn more about printers for photo. You can also use the thirteen products we recommend as a reference.

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