Photo printers have their place, even when you can post images online in a pinch, or send them to a third-party printing service. A good photo printer (along with a good photo-editing software package) gives you customization and quality control that you’ll never get through other means. It also spares you the hassle of waiting for shipping or dealing with in-store pickup. During the holidays and at other special times, photo printers come in handy for slipping a few choice memories into a greeting card, a gift, or Grandma's purse.
Mainstream printers with impressive photo quality
Just about any mainstream inkjet printer or multifunction model can produce a nice photo, but the following models boast especially good image quality. Pay attention to media: Plain paper intended for inkjet printing, or special photo papers, will create better results than a general-purpose paper stock.
The is a home-oriented multifunction printer with a big touchscreen control panel and input trays for both plain and photo paper. This MFP also sports a few office-friendly extras, including an automatic document feeder for the scanner.
Robert CardinThe Epson Expression Premium XP-800 can print on specially coated CD and DVD media.
The Epson Expression Premium XP-800 Small-in-One Printer does the HP unit a few better, offering faster print times and adding CD/DVD printing (to specially coated media) to its long list of features. Its midnight-blue case coloring is a refreshing departure from the basic-black color scheme that’s currently trendy.
More ink colors, better images
Although the inkjet printers above have just the usual four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), a model with six or more inks is capable of producing photos with even better color. The extra two inks might be a lighter cyan and magenta to broaden the color palette, or additional black or gray inks to enhance depth.
ROBERT CARDINThe Canon Pixma MG6320 has six inks and an innovative front-loading design for replacing them.
The Canon Pixma MG6320 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One adds photo gray and photo black for a total of six inks. Its ink prices are just average—and sometimes a little expensive—but the results are vivid and smooth. The innovative front-loading ink design and a sort of shimmery black shell are nice extras.
Robert CardinThe Epson Expression Photo XP-850 achieves deeper colors with its six inks.
The six inks in the Epson Expression Photo XP-850 Small-in-One Printer include light cyan and light magenta. This high-end home multifunction printer boasts USB, ethernet, and Wi-FI connectivity, and it can print on specially coated CD and DVD media.
Specialized photo printers do what they do best
Epson America, Inc.The Epson PictureMate Show combines a photo printer with a digital frame.
HP laserjets are the best for
Documents, but only for black and white. Lasers print cleaner and usually cost less
per copy than inkjets. If you really need color make sure you figure out the cost per copy as on most color machines they "get" you with a super low price on the printer and kill you with the price of the ink cartridges. Also everybody's doing super cheap digital photo prints these days - Savon, Walgreens, Walmart, so consider how much color printing you really need. Good Luck. If there's a Fry's near you , they carry the HP lines.