Best Home Photo Printers 2019
We review the Epson SureColor P600 / P800 and Canon Prixma Pro 10 photo printers for printing at lab-quality levels at home. For under $500 you can print standard- or custom-sized photos on nearly any materials including archival-quality photo paper, canvas, poster board, art board, plastics, CDs and more.
We recommend choosing a photo printer from either Epson or Canon. These are the two leading brands which have consistently provided reliable printers for reasonable costs. While you may not think having your prints rated for 200 years (yes, Epson does) is necessary, you can be sure of having a stable image for a least a few generations.
Related – digital frames are also a great way to view your photos – Best 9 Digital Photo Picture Frames Under $50
Epson – Printers
The SureColor P600 (about $650) and SureColor P800 (about $1,200) are two favorites. The P600 is best of everyday use, and makes prints as large as 13″ x 19″. There is a roller-cartridge adapter for panoramas, but it’s a bit cumbersome at times. Also, at only 13 inches wide, this isn’t the best for long-format images.
Upgrading to the P800 allows for 17″ wide paper, and it accepts paper rolls in addition to individual sheets. We prefer this wider size for panorama prints or banners. The roll feature works well on the P800.
Here are the details:
We like the relatively small footprint of the P600. Measuring 24.2 x 14.5 x 9 inches, it easily fits on a desk or workspace for convenient printing.
With a maximum Media Size of 13 x 19 inches, the P600 has a maximum Print Resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi (dots per inch).
For most users, this will cover all the sizes typically needed.
It’s nice that the P600 will print on just about anything you can put into it:
- Plain Paper
- Photo Paper
- Glossy Photo Paper
- Fine Art Paper
- Roll Paper
- Cut Sheet
It has all the wireless communication interfaces you would want:
- Epson iPrint,
- Apple AirPrint
- Google Cloud Print
- Wi-Fi Direct printing (802.11n non-proprietary )
And you can also plug in an Ethernet cable for wired printing, as well as printing directly from a USB.
The screen is a workable 3.5″ LCD, and touch responsiveness is good. However, most everything you’ll be doing isn’t from the screen.
Overall, the P600 is a good professional quality entry level photo printer that also works well for the serious hobbyist / enthusiasts. It covers all the necessary features, and is a value-based price point.
You can get more details, as well as the current pricing and ordering, using this Amazon link: SureColor P600
We go one level up from the P600, and nearly double the price, to the SureColor P800 (about $1,200). This is an excellent professional photo printer, and a work-horse for a studio, agency or serious photographer.
We really like that the ink capacity jumps from about 26 ml in the P600 to 80 ml in the P800. This means a much longer time between needing to swap out cartridges, and a better value at a per-print cost.
Cost savings with ink also happens with built-in auto-switching between photo ink and matte black ink.
With this feature, you not only use a less expensive ink, but the printer can easily double for non-photo printing of emails, web-pages, documents, etc.
The major benefit to the P800 is the much larger standard print area – 17” x 22” compared with 13″ x 19″.
Using the optional paper roll feeder, you can still print border-less panoramas up to 10-feet long. At 17-inches wide, these can be spectacular!
The P800 is still a good size, 24.5 x 12.8 x 8.6 inches, but should probably have it’s own dedicated space.
Connectivity is similar to the P600, with both wired and wireless options available.
The same goes for all the various media you can print on – papers, canvas, posters, DVDs, etc.
We find that the print quality and through-put are definite pluses for the P800. When you are ready to get one for yourself, check the latest pricing and delivery on Amazon using this link: SureColor P800
Epson – Inks
Second to the hardware of the actual printer is the ink. While you can buy 3-rd party inks, we don’t recommend this since you won’t be getting the best image quality and these non-manufacturer inks can sometimes (often!) clog the print heads.
Epson has their “UltraChrome HD” Inks. These are pigment inks rather than dye-based inks. Pigment inks are generally higher quality, provide archival durability and preferred by professionals. Camera company Adorama has a great article explaining pigment vs. dye inks.
Epson offers 9 ink cartridges, with capacity of 25.9 ml (P600) and 80.0 ml (P800):
The Primary Color Ultrachrome HD Pigment Inks are:
- Light Cyan
- Vivid Magenta
- Vivid Light Magenta
Equally important to the primary colors are the blacks:
- Matte Black
- Photo Black
- Light Black
- Light Light Black
With these you can achieve advanced black-and-white quality for professional level B&W prints, as well as superior full color imagery. With archival papers, Epson rates the UltraChrome inks for print permanence of up to 200 years for color and in excess of 400 years for B&W prints.
The Pixma Pro 10 (about $450) is our low-priced alternative, which is less than the P600. You get the same page format size of 13″ x 19″ and the photo quality is comparable to the P600. It even has a similar footprint (15.2 x 27.2 x 8.5 inches).
However, there is not option for a paper-roll attachment, so no panorama with the Pixma.
Both Epson and Canon use 9 pigment based inks (6 color + 3 black), but Cannon has a dedicated Red ink while Epson creates this from color mixing.
- Photo Cyan
- Photo Magenta
- Matte Black
- Photo Black
Additionally, Canon LUCIA system has a 10-th cartridge they call “Chroma Optimizer (CO)” . This solution is applied over the photo print to cover the bumps between the ink droplets and to level the ink droplet height.
The effect is to enhance the glossiness and flatten the print surface, as well as expand the visual perception of the color gamut.
The prints are good, especially in the smaller formats, but not the same level as the Epson. One factor in this is the difference in the print resolutions: 4800 x 2400 dpi for Pixma compared with 5760 x 1440 dpi for P600.
Similar to the Epson printers, the Pixma prints on papers, canvas, CD/DVDs, etc.
You also get similar wireless printing connectivity options.
We do like the lower price for this printer, and it does a good job for home use or small agency. Get more details or order through Amazon using this link – Canon Pixma Pro 10
In addition to the printer, you’ll need to consider what photo paper to buy:
Check out some of these most used sizes:
Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy – 4″ x 6″ (100 sheets) – about $15
Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy – 5″ x 7″ (20 Sheets) – about $7
Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy – 8.5″ x 11″ (25 Sheets) – about $20
Epson Professional Media Premium Photo Paper Glossy – 13″ x 32 Feet (1-Roll) – about $35
Epson Professional Media Premium Photo Paper Glossy – 16.5″ x 100 Feet (1-Roll) – about $60
You can also find photo print paper in other finishes (Matte, Super-Glossy, etc.), other sizes and package quantities. And, of course, Canon photo paper is available in the same sizes with similar pricing.
Use the links above to get started with pricing and researching on Amazon.
Nozzles / Heads
And at some time down the line, you may need new print heads (these are the tiny nozzles / jets that precisely spray the ink onto the paper). Canon wins this one since their print heads are affordable (around $50) and easy to replace in the printer. Epson is pricier (around $75) since their heads are part of the print mechanics (which means a slightly higher quality print).
You can save some money using a lower-cost printer for the test prints, etc. The HP LaserJet Pro M477fnw Multifunction Wireless Color Laser Printer is a nice all-in-one that can easily handle printing photo “proofs” until you are ready to print the display / archival version on the high-quality paper.
Lastly, don’t let the ink dry up in the printer. Make sure to use all the colors, even just for a test pattern, at least every two weeks. This will keep the ink flowing, and the heads from clogging with dry, hardened ink. Letting a photo printer sit unused for a month, and you run the risk of getting imperfect prints or in some cases a completely dead device.