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24 June 2021

Top five best photo printers for 2021

Want to print excellent quality photos at home? Our guide to the best photo printers reveals which ones produce superb photo prints without high printing costs.
Hollie Hennessy
Best photo printer

You don’t want to be left waiting for 15 minutes while a print creeps out, only to see a blurry mess appear in the tray and to then run out of ink.

The best photo printers speedily turn out crisp, vibrant and realistic-looking photos, and won't drain your printer ink in the process. 

You can see a selection of five fantastic photo printers in the table below, and three to avoid further down.

Only logged in Which? members can see our recommendations below. If you're not yet a member, get instant access by joining Which?.

Top five best photo printers

  • 74%
    £249.97

    If you want cheap and good quality prints, this big-brand inkjet printer will be right up your street. It has ink tanks that you refill with a bottle when they run out, meaning your printing costs will be extremely low.

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  • 71%
    £148.96

    Instead of traditional ink cartridges, this printer has tanks that you refill with ink. This system means it is extremely cheap to run, and its print quality is great, too, particularly with colour photos. The lack of automatic double-sided printing is a shame, though.

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  • 68%
    £113.99

    This big brand all-in-one inkjet printer prints crisp, punchy photos with natural-looking colours. It’s packed with features, too, including a document feeder, wi-fi connectivity and automatic double-sided printing.

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  • 66%
    £149.70

    If you're looking to print in colour, this printer excels. Photos photos appear crisp and vibrant, while office graphics, such as bar charts, leap off the page. Bear in mind it's not as good with black text.

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  • 51%
    £225.68

    Don't want your printer to take up too much space in your home? This small printer could be the answer. Despite its compact size, it produces great-looking photos and images. It's not the best for office documents, though.

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Some of the models we've selected aren't recent launches, but they're still some of the highest performing printers out there. You can check our printer reviews page for new reviews monthly. The table above was updated in April 2021. Not found the product for you? Browse all our printer reviews

And here are some photo printers to avoid

If you're going to go to the trouble of printing your photos at home, you want to ensure that the end results are excellent. The printers below all fail on print quality. 

Our expert testing unearths the low-scoring printers that'll leave you out of pocket and frustrated, including Don't Buy printers. Don't get stuck with one of these poor-quality machines.  

Photo printers to avoid

  • 46%
    £389.99

    Average is every possible way, this bog-standard laser printer from a well-known brand doesn't justify its price tag. It has mediocre print quality, is light on features and isn't even that fast for a laser printer.

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  • 39%
    £44.49

    There are a lot of printers in the Canon Pixma range, and some are of excellent quality, but not this budget model. Although not the worst for photo print quality we've featured here, it won't do justice to your holiday snaps.

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Photo printer features to consider

Good photo print quality is obviously a must for a photo printer, but it's worth getting a printer with wi-fi, too. That means you can print wirelessly and potentially use features such as Apple AirPrint if you have an iPhone or iPad.

Most photo printers also have free apps for printing from your smartphone or tablet.

Some printers have built-in memory card slots to print photos stored on an SD card. They may have a USB connection for hooking up a PictBridge-compatible camera.

A colour preview screen is a useful feature as it makes it possible to make minor adjustments to your photos before you print. If you go for an all-in-one printer, you can also scan or make copies of existing photos.

Online photo printing service vs Best Buy printer

Many modern printers can print photos in various sizes, particularly inkjet-type models. But is this a better option cost-wise compared to using the best online photo printing services?

A Best Buy printer can be a more convenient option and possibly cheaper, too. Print a 10x8-inch size image, for example, and it could cost around 35p from a Best Buy printer. You could pay more than triple that from an online photo printing service, with delivery costs on top. 

However, online photo printing services can be much more cost effective if you want to print a lot of photos in one go, as they often offer a discount. 

So, for printing the odd photo here and there, use a Best Buy home photo printer. For larger photo printing jobs, such as your holiday album, go for our Which? Recommended Provider online photo printing services instead.