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Photo printing: how to get the best cheap holiday prints

Don't leave your photos forgotten in your phone - get them printed instead. See the best photo printers, and alternative options for photo printing.

Photo printing: how to get the best cheap holiday prints

You probably have reams and reams of photos in your phone, taken on holidays or at weddings. But don’t just leave them there – print off your favourite snaps to put in a coffee-table album or hang on the wall.

The best photo printers will reproduce your precious memories in crisp quality, and won’t cost you a fortune in the process.

We show you what to look out for when buying a photo printer, and also suggest other options for printing your summer snaps, including snapshot printers and online photo printing services.

Printer reviews – see the best-rated inkjet and laser printers based on our lab testing

Photo printers to consider

Most inkjet printers can print photos, but not all of them are actually any good at it. You shouldn’t have to wait five minutes for your print to drop into the tray, only to be left with a blurry mess that bears no resemblance to the photo you took.

The best photo printers turn out crisp, vibrant and realistic-looking photos, and they won’t waste your printer ink. Here are three typical printers claiming to be good for photo printing:

Epson Expression Premium XP-7100

This all-in-one printer from Epson is feature-rich and comes from Epson’s flagship inkjet line. It has wi-fi and Airprint, along with an SD card slot, making printing photos easy. But is this Swiss army knife of a printer trying to be too many things? Read our review to find out.

Canon Pixma TS6250

Part of the popular Pixma inkjet series, this Canon printer has an SD card slot and a touchscreen, so you can preview images before you print them. It uses five inks – black, pigment black, cyan, magenta and yellow – which aim to produce rich and detailed photos But what’s the reality?

HP Envy Photo 7134

Just as the name suggests, this HP model is built for printing photos. It has wi-fi and an SD card slot, and it is compatible with HP’s Instant Ink printing subscription service. Is it really the model of envy among the many photo printers on the market?

Colour laser printers can also print photos, but we find that the quality isn’t as good as with an inkjet. Even Best Buy colour laser printers struggle to get more than two stars for photo print quality in our lab tests.

See the best photo printers based on our expert testing.

Photo printer features to look for

  • Wi-fi: It’s worth getting a printer with wi-fi, as you can print wirelessly and use features such as Apple AirPrint if you have an iPhone or iPad.
  • Multi-ink system: Some photo printers have additional ink cartridges, such as photo blue, pigment black and grey, claimed to give extra detail in printed snaps.
  • SD card slot: A photo printer may have a built-in memory card slot that enable you to print photos stored on an SD card, such as used in a digital camera.
  • Pictbridge: A PictBridge-compatible camera can be connected to some printers, either with a cable or wirelessly, to print photos.
  • Preview screen: A colour preview screen means you can view and even make minor adjustments to your photos before printing.

Snapshot photo printers

Portable, or snapshot, photo printers are designed to give you a quick, easy and fun way to print photos.

They’re usually compact and portable, and they print small images, often around 3×2-inches in size.

You download a companion printing app to your smartphone and then connect up your social media accounts, such as Instagram.

Snapshot printers sometimes have inkjet printing technology, but more frequently use specialist paper with the ink incorporated into it.

They’re fun to use, but the downside is that the cost of printing can be high, as you can see in the infographic below.

We’ve tried out some of the most popular snapshot printers on the market, so head over to this guide for our in-depth impressions.

What about online photo printing services?

An alternative to a standard or snapshot photo printer is to get your pictures printed at an online photo printing service.

Companies such as Bonusprint, Boots, Photobox and Snapfish, enable you to upload your photos online, edit them and then order prints to be professionally made and sent to your home.

Alongside prints, you can also get photobooks, calendars and gift items produced featuring your photos.

Many online printing services offer lower prices on bulk orders, so if you’re ordering a lot of prints in one go the cost-per-print may be reduced. They also regularly offer introductory deals and discount codes.

See our ratings of the best online photo printing services.

Photo printing costs compared

* Costs may reduce on bigger orders
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