In this age of Instagram and online photo printing services, photo printers can seem to be confined to a distant past with the daguerreotype and the camera obscura. After all, who needs a clunky printer taking up precious desk space and spitting out blurry images that smudge if you so much as look at the ink the wrong way?
Actually, it seems we’re printing more photos than we used to. In 2012, market analysts at InfoTrends conducted a survey of EU households with internet connections, and they found photo printing had increased 11% in the previous five years. People are printing everything from photo albums to professional photographs and photo cake decorations on edible paper, and it’s leading to a demand in high-quality, space-saving home and office printers that can handle everything the modern photo lover can throw at it.
Luckily, manufacturers are more than rising to the challenge. These are the top 3 photo printers of 2016 – so far.
Canon Selphy CP910 Wireless Compact Photo Printer – for great images on a tiny budget
The Canon Selphy CP910 Wireless Compact Photo Printer is ideal for anyone who needs a dedicated photo printer that they can take on the go with them, without breaking the bank. It costs around £76, making it the most affordable photo printer in this list. One of Canon’s thermal-dye dedicated photo printers, it uses heat to transfer dye to the page and then coats the dye with an overcoat to protect the image. That means no smudging, even right after you print the image.
The photo quality is great for such a little machine, easily matching the quality you’d get in high street shops, and they don’t cost much per photo, either. If you buy the economy pack of paper and dye roll, you will spend about 22p per photo with this printer.
All in all, it’s a great budget option for people who just need nice photos, without all the extra cost and space of a professional printer.
HP Designjet T120 ePrinter – for AEC professionals who don’t want to break the bank
Speaking of professional printers, you don’t get much more professional than the HP DesignJet T120 ePrinter. After all, the T120 was designed for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) freelancers and students. The smallest wide-format printer on the market, it can print up to D size (24 inches wide) using both rolls or sheets of paper.
The printer only has the standard four ink cartridges. Although it does sacrifice a little bit of colour quality, it is probably how it can save consumers so much space and money. However, it does still do the job when it comes to printing out the graphics AEC professionals need. It can even print out some lovely photos, with print quality that rivals most inkjet printers.
So if you’re a student or freelancer who needs large format images but doesn’t need the absolute top-end of image quality, the T120 is for you.
Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer – for printing without plugs
This year, the Canon Selphy range is dominating the photo printer market, and the CP1200 is no exception. A little larger than the CP910 (above), the CP1200 makes use of that extra space with a slot for an optional rechargeable battery pack, so you can leave the printer lead at home.
This printer really shines when it comes to image quality. The images come out even better than high street shop images, with richer brights and deeper blacks than many other photo printers on the market. There are also four size options: 4 x 6in, 2.1 x 3.4in, 3.5 x 4.7in, and 2 x 2in. That means you can print images up to a standard photo size in just seconds, wherever you are.
Combining outstanding print quality with superb portability and price, this little printer is such good value for money, in fact, that PC Mag named it their Editors’ Choice.