Best Photo Printers For Everyone

What is the best photo printers for anybody in general? Answering that question is not an easy task considering we all have different reasons to use a photo printer.

This article focuses on reviewing the best photo quality brands and what they can accomplish.

I will also provide the main characteristics and differences to help you determine what is the best printer for your needs and budget,

Finally, I will detail the brand reputation and acquisition and printing cost for each of them.

The Giant Brands in Photo Printing

More than a decade ago, when I was a computer sales counselor, Epson was already famous for offering the most spectacular photo quality print results.

On the other hand, Canon had a great share of the market with a reliability and built-in robustness reputation.

Nevertheless, purists would say that Epson was the way to go for photo printing. At that time, at least.

7 Best Photo Printers

Here are the 7 best photo printers reviewed in this post.

(Click on the Images for Availability and Pricing)

SureColor P400

SureColor P600

SureColor P800

Canon Photo Printers

Pixma Pro-1

Pixma Pro-10

Pixma Pro-100

Pixma Pro 9500




Today

Canon uses top of the line technologies like pigment-based inks to provide the best photo quality.

Epson has an incomparable resolution quality (dpi) for the price.

Both offer the possibility of printing on diversified media like canvas paper, and roll paper (panorama).

This is very popular among artists exploring their creativity through different media.

Also, craft shops looking for ways to diversify their revenue streams by offering multiple fine art paper type of products love it as well.

Bottom line, Canon and Epson both offer very good options for museum-quality fine art reproductions.

However, both have their pros and cons.

Choosing the Right Printer for Your Needs

The first step to determine what are the best photo printers is to find out the printer model’s characteristics.

What is most important to you? Highest resolution, largest print size, space occupied by the equipment, loudness, printing cost, etc.

Finally, if you already know what you need and are familiar with all printer’s specifications, I suggest you read about buyer’s satisfaction level further in this post.

Best Photo Printers in Terms of Ink Expense

A well-known reference is Red River Paper’s ink consumption reports. They’ve measured print cost for various print size:

Canon:

Epson:

(Epson Surecolor P400 report was not available at the time of writing this post.)

Cartridge Cost Per Milliliters

A basic way to compare the cost of printing is, of course, to calculate how much your cartridge cost based on the amount of ink you get for the price.

I know, this is not a scientific approach. But since it’s hard to tell how much ink you’ll spend on printing your future print work, it gives a good starting point.

It may not always be an appropriate value. However, in this case, all printers use different ink tanks models with various capacities and costs.

Therefore, we can deduce which printer has the lowest print cost at purchase with a simple mathematical division (cost ÷ milliliters):

Here are the printers listed in order from lowest to highest *cost at purchase:

  1. Epson SureColor P800 80ml (T850) $70     ⇒ $0,88 per ml
  2. Canon Pixma Pro-1 35ml (PGI-29) $36         ⇒ $1.03 per ml
  3. Canon Pixma Pro-10 14ml (PGI-72) $15        ⇒ $1.07 per ml
  4. Epson SureColor P600 25.9ml (760) $32      ⇒ $1.24 per ml
  5. Epson SureColor P400 14ml (324) $18          ⇒ $1.29 per ml
  6. Canon Pixma Pro9000 (CLI-8) 14ml $12-$20     ⇒ $0.86 to $1.48 per ml
  7. Canon Pixma Pro 9500 (PGI-9) 14ml $12-$20     ⇒ $0.86 to $1.48 per ml
  8. Canon Pixma Pro-100 13ml (CLI-42) $17       ⇒ $1.86 per ml

What It Boils Down To

The Epson SureColor P800 has the lowest “cost per ml” with $0.88 per ml. This printer also has the largest tank capacity of all reviewed printers.

It’s followed by Canon’s Pro-1 35ml ink tank which costs significantly more with $1.03 per ml.

Note that Canon Pro9000 and 9500 have prices ranging from $12 to $20 depending on the color for no obvious reason.

* Prices provided here are for those featured of a genuine Canon and Epson single ink tank at the time of writing this article.

These will vary depending on as they depend on each store’s pricing policies, current discounts, etc.

Choose Your Printer Wisely to Save on Ink

There are many common ways to save on ink like buying multi-packs and using good quality photo paper.

Another aspect to take into account is that some printers have 8-9 tanks while other have 10-12 tanks to provide the best quality print.

The good part is that you rarely have to change them all at once but having more cartridges means buying more cartridges.

As a matter of fact, an inkjet printer will prevent you from printing if one cartridge is empty to avoid ink head clogging.

For those reasons, the number of cartridges is definitely something you must think of if you print high volumes.

What are the Best Photo Printers from an Acquisition Cost Perspective?

This is the *acquisition cost in an ascending order for all the printers reviewed:

  1. Canon Pixma Pro-100 ⇒ $500
  2. Canon Pixma Pro-9000⇒ $500
  3. Epson SureColor P400 ⇒ $600
  4. Canon Pixma Pro-9500 and Canon Pixma Pro-10 ⇒ $700
  5. Epson SureColor P600 ⇒ $800
  6. Canon Pixma Pro-1 ⇒ $1000
  7. Epson SureColor P800 ⇒ $1200

* Prices fluctuate a lot and merchants often have interesting discounts. Check the prices frequently.

Picking the Right Brand for Your Needs

The last step before deciding between two renowned brands is to gather reputation information.

This refers to how satisfied their customers are with the specific product you want to buy.

To do so, make sure to assess the quality of their customer service and also determine the known issues. You can find out about the buyer’s opinion on public and social media platforms.

Asking colleague’s and relatives about their recent experience with Canon or Epson photo printers is another good way to evaluate how reliable a product is.

Take the Pulse of Past Customers

General public satisfaction is easy to find on the vendor’s social pages like Facebook through follower’s comments and questions.

Another good source of information is your local photo equipment shop.

Ask them what is the best photo printer based on your needs. They have real and extensive hands-on experience.

Other information like buyer’s opinions can be read directly online on retailer’s product pages.

The next section summarizes the information I’ve found on this matter.

Pros and Cons of Both Brands

Unsurprisingly, the majority of customers are satisfied with both brands.

The most common complaints are execution speed and ink consumption and that goes for Canon as well as Epson.

Ink Consumption:

If you are new to printing high-quality photos on a professional printer chance are you will find it drinks up the ink fast.

Especially if you compare it with All-In-One or laser printers.

However, there are ways to minimize ink consumption.

Some Canon reviewers reported that their printer ink levels would drop when the printer was left unused,  goes offline or switching ink cartridges.





This happens because the printer performs a maintenance and clean ink heads to ensure they stay clean.

It’s the type of process that is necessary to keep your ink heads from clogging due to dry ink.

In fact, changing ink heads are very expensive. In other words, this is for the best. So expect ink levels to go down even if you don’t print.

Make sure to calibrate your monitor and printer. Install free ICC profiles available on the manufacturer’s website rather than the default settings.

ICC profiles are optimized print settings meant to be used with specific inks and papers.

It ensures print quality and great color rendition. You will save ink, paper and time!

Printing Speed:

One should not expect a professional photo printer speed to be as fast as a regular All-In-One home printer.

Especially for large printing formats like 13X19 and above. The type of print used to make exhibition pictures for instance.

Remember, these printers were made to perfectly reproduce museum-quality paintings and that takes time… and patience!

Tips to Make the Best of your Printer

  • Make sure you buy from Epson or Canon when buying online.

Some Epson reviewers reported that their printer warranty could not be honored because they bought a gray market product.

  • Use genuine inks and quality paper to save on ink and protect your printer.

Ask your local office supplies shop for advice. You can also have a look at redriverpapers.com website and send them an email.

  • Calibrate your monitor and your printer and spare yourself the frustrating experience of printing deceiving photos… and save on paper and ink!
  • Install manufacturer’s ICC profiles available on their website for free rather than the default settings.

This will greatly enhance your the user experience!

  • Read the manufacturers manuals.

Finally, take advantage of online discounts on Amazon. If you can wait, it’s possible to buy your printer at a hundred dollar less than the retail price!


Conclusion

Obviously, you must know what your needs are in order to understand what are the best photo printers

Use the specification sheets on Canon and Epson reviews to verify dimensions, connectivity limitations or any other aspect that might not be suitable for you.

As I mentioned earlier, you can avoid lots of frustration in using high-end printers by accepting that there will be a learning curve.

Don’t be afraid to ask the customer support and read the guides and manuals provided with your printer.

I’ve chosen to look at the best photo printers from a self-employed or small business perspective.

Canon and Epson offer other products for high volume and large scale prints if you’re interested in production units.

These are worth a thousand dollars for an entry-level equipment.

Printing at Home is the Joy of Bringing Wonderful Pictures to Life!

At least, these brilliant shots won’t stay hidden in your memory card until the end of time.

If you have any questions I will gladly answer!

2 Responses to “Best Photo Printers For Everyone

  • Wow, I think you’ve cover a lot in tips and pointers for the best photo printers for photographers!
    I think the main point is how much you will print and the quality you want is the main issue, and of course your budget. I don’t need one for myself but looking for one as a gift.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Carolyn
      2 years ago

      Hi Dinh, what your willing to pay, the print quality you expect and printing frequency are important. Though the quality is excellent for all the printers I’ve reviewed.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

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