The best photo printers: from instants on the go to professional quality

Keen photographer or memory hoarder, we’ve put together a selection of the best photo printers for super high quality and on-the-go print outs

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So you’ve decided on which camera you want, now you want to know what’s the right photo printer for you? Well, that depends on what you want to use it for. An amateur, or perhaps a professional photographer, should look at the Canon Pixma series for high resolution and colour accuracy. But if all you want is a handy printer for instant images on the go, consider the Canon Selphy or the pocket-sized HP Sprocket.

The resolution comes down to the dots per inch, or DPI for short. Simply put, the higher the DPI the better. The Canon Pixma TS8050 clinches the top spot for precisely that reason with a fairly hefty DPI of 9600 x 2400. If you’re looking for super colour quality, the more ink cartridges the printer can hold, the better. The Canon Pixma PRO-10S can hold a whopping 10 cartridges, which is pretty handy if you’re looking to print on anything larger than A4.

An instant, on the go photo printer isn’t designed to deliver exceptionally high resolution and it doesn’t even use cartridges. Photo paper isn’t going to provide you with the same colour accuracy as cartridges but, to be honest, when you’re out and about snapping memories with your mates, it’s the sentiment of the image, rather than the nitty gritty of the quality of it that matters – and it’ll certainly be good enough to blue tac to your bedroom wall.

You may come across the term AirPrint on your photo printer search - this term is largely associated with cartridge printers and essentially means you can print directly off an Apple device. Instant photo printers usually exist alongside an app that you can use for editing, and are Bluetooth compatible for convenient printing.

Finally, before we go ahead and give you a list of the best photo printers, consider your expenses – both cartridges and photo paper are fairly expensive but some are cheaper than others, so take a look at the printer’s compatibility before you buy.

Best photo printers 2018

Photo printer

1. Canon Pixma TS8050

With a high DPI and a decent 6 cartridge count, this photo printer is worthy of our top spot

Specifications
Best for: Print quality
AirPrint: Yes
DPI: 9600x2400
Cartridges: Six
Reasons to buy
+Vivid colours and detailing+Touch screen interface for clever, simple usage

Promising vivid colours and exceptional detailing, this is one of the best photo printers for high quality print outs in its price-range. It can hook up to your smartphone, access photos on cloud and print off from Blu-ray discs and memory cards. It’s compact, stylish and promises to be simple to use; plus, you can scan and copy documents, too, making it ideal for home offices.  With one of the fastest print speeds in the Pixma range and 2-sided print capabilities, this is a fantastic all-rounder that isn’t actually that expensive. 

Photo printer

2. Canon Pixma PRO-10S

For exceptional colour quality and bigger prints, take a look at the Canon Pixma PRO-10S

Specifications
Best for: A3 prints
AirPrint: Yes
DPI: 4800x2400
Cartridges: Ten
Reasons to buy
+Print in exceptional monochrome and full colour+Integrates with professional editing software

If you’re an ambitious amateur or a professional photographer, A4 is just the start. For bold, colour accurate A3 images, the Canon Pixma PRO-10S is your printer. With Canon boasting professional quality prints, integration with professional editing software and dedicated cartridges for black and white printouts, this printer is certainly worth the additional expense. When it comes to compatibility, mobile printing, cloud printing, disc printing are also possible. And it’s also compatible with a range of printer papers for the perfect finish. In our opinion, this printer is well worth the additional expense. 

Photo printer

3. Epson Expression Photo XP-760

Looking to combine your photo printer with general office printing? Then this one is ideal.

Specifications
Best for: Preserving old photographs
AirPrint: Yes
DPI: 5760x1440
Cartridges: Six
Reasons to buy
+Scans old photos to a res of 2400 x 4800dpi+A good combination printer for home offices and photographers

While its DPI isn’t quite up to the resolution of the Canon Pixma TS8050, Epson promise rich colour and smooth tonal gradation with its respectable six cartridge count. One of its unique selling points is its ability to capture and preserve old family photos, thanks to its onboard software and 2400x4800 dpi scanner. With both an A4 paper and photo paper tray, there’s minimal faff when using it as your office printer and your photo printer. It’s compatible with plenty of connectivity mediums, including AirPrint, Google Cloud, Email Print, in addition to wired and physical connections, making it, all things considered, pretty damn good for its price tag. 

Photo printer

4. Canon Selphy CP1200

This perfectly sized, miniature printer is perfect for selfie printing and more

Specifications
Best for: Bedroom accessory
AirPrint: No
DPI: 300x300
Cartridges: Ink paper
Reasons to buy
+Photo, square or credit card sized prints+Includes an LCD preview screen

Whether it’s an accessory for the bedside table or a backpack necessity, this small and perfectly formed photo printer is renowned for its smartphone printing capabilities. It can hook up to the Wifi for cloud-based printing or you can download an app and send over files via Bluetooth. It may be small, but it’s got some mighty intelligence installed. In addition to printing ID quality photos, it features Scene and Face Detection software, which detects and corrects image imperfections. You better get the blu-tac ready!

Photo printer

5. HP Sprocket

Conveniently pocket-sized, take this handheld printer with you everywhere!

Specifications
Best for: Insta prints on the go
AirPrint: No
DPI: 313x400
Cartridges: Ink paper
Reasons to buy
+Customise images with borders, emojis and text+Resolution pretty high for a instant photo printer

Roughly the same size as your mobile phone, this pocket-sized printer is ideal for snapping on the go and printing when the moment takes you. Hook your phone up via Bluetooth and use the app to customise your pictures for the perfect memory snapshot; the printer also uses auto correction software to ensure the highest quality images are printed. If you’re taking it out and about with you, users say the battery should last long enough to print ten photos, which is its maximum capacity. 

Photo printer

6. Prynt Smartphone Case

Potentially the most expensive smartphone case yet, but certainly the most intelligent

Specifications
Best for: Novelty photo printer
AirPrint: No
DPI: 313x399
Cartridges: Ink paper
Reasons to buy
+Print saved and real time photos+Compatible photo paper has a peel off sticky back for stickers

Spelling ‘print’ with a ‘y’ rather than an ‘i’ in this case certainly makes a difference. Realistically, this is not your everyday phone case; it’s way too bulky for that. It is however, one you can handily latch around your phone when you know it’s gonna be a day for snapping. Once connected to your phone, simply press the shutter button and the printer will spit out a printed image in seconds. With a DPI similar to the HP Sprocket, expect similar quality in photo, however print size is generally small.