The Quest to Find the Best Photo Printers in the Age of Instagram

In the age of Facebook and Instagram, who would need a photo printer? While digital photos allow you to share your favorite moments with the world easily, I’m sure you will miss the experience of flipping through the photo albums. Otherwise, you would not be here looking for the best photo printer. Further evident of this is reflected from the sheer number of printing kiosk mushrooming all over the world.

With the ultimate photo printer comparison chart below and the subsequent discussions following it, you will be all good to go and choose what the best photo printer is for you.

In an opinionated world such as ours, each of us would have our own preferences on what makes a good photo printer. But since photo printer is something that we buy once in a few years, you don’t want just ANY photo printer and so we’re here to help you find the best photo printer.

Ultimate Photo Printer Comparison Guide

There may be only few big printer brands but each brand usually has a wide range of offering. We could have listed everything but instead, we have shortlisted some of the most popular models to help you narrow down your choices.

One criteria that we have used to construct this list is the release year. By applying this criteria, we want to make sure that you are looking not only at printers that are able to produce great quality pictures but also they will still be available in the market.

How is a photo printer different from normal printer?

When talking about photo printing, we are talking about pictures and images that have captured our hearts. These are beautiful images which are composed of rich and vibrant colors. The ink type that is used to power a photo printer is very important as it determines the printed photo quality.

In general, there are two types of inks that are being used in most of the great photo printers selling in the market today. The first type is dye-based and the second type is pigment-based. I’m not going to go into the technical details of how each ink type works, but I’m just going to highlight the high and low points associated with type.

First of all, it is good to put a bit of history into perspective. Epson is the pioneer who first popularized inkjet printers based on dye inks. Later on, both Canon and HP jumped into the bandwagon and started their own inkjet printer design based on dye inks.

The main edge that dye-based inks have over pigment-based inks is the superior color vibrancy. While dye-based photo printers are supposed to produce superior printouts, special care is required to keep the quality intact or otherwise, notable signs of fading may be observed. A recent study concluded that if kept well under the glass and away from the sunlight, dye-based printouts can last between twenty to thirty years.

I’m not sure if placing hundreds of your photo prints under the glass is a practical thing to do. That is why if you want your photo prints to last longer, getting a high quality photo printer is vital. The same study cited earlier suggested that there has been strides of improvement introduced by the leading printer makers such as HP, Epson and Canon.

Review of the Top 3 Photo Printers

Canon SELPHY CP900 Black Wireless Color Photo Printer

Canon best photo printer - Selphy CP900

The rise of smartphones and tablets has created a havoc in the PC consumer markets. At the pace that printer technology is evolving, it can be considered a laggard. This is until the release of Canon’s latest Selphy CP900 color photo printer. Let me tell you why.

First of all, Selphy CP900 is well-equipped with wireless connectivity, a key feature that allows it to communicate seamlessly with the smartphones and tablets. But this is where most people do not realize how great a feature the CP900 has until they have a real hands-on on it. Usually, you need to first connect your printer to the network before it allows you to dispatch your print job from your mobile phones or tablets. This is great if you have a WiFi network at home but what if don’t?

In the case of Canon Selphy CP900, it lets you establish adhoc connection with your mobile devices even in the absence of a WiFi network. If you are wondering if this capability is important at all, the answer is a yes if you plan to bring this printer around. Ordinary folks might not appreciate it but if you are doing a sales job and you need to regularly print invoices and such while on the move, this is a feature you will love.

On top of that, the printer offers optional battery. If you think a printer should be portable in order to keep itself relevant with the mobile evolution, this battery option is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind that the battery is not included as standard package and it has to be purchased separately. Give them a bit more time and I can see in the horizon where the battery capacity is big enough and the printer power consumption is low enough. It is only when the two converge that we will get a printer that is truly portable.

Another cool feature of the Selphy CP900 that is often highlighted in most Canon photo printer reviews is the preview LCD panel and red-eye correction intelligence.

So, if you think printer should be mobile just like the phones and tablets, Canon Selphy CP900 is definitely one of the best bet at this point of time. Do check out our CP900 vs CP800 reviews if you want to find out what features set the two Selphy models apart.

VuPoint IP-P10-VP Color Photo Printer

The reason why I made VuPoint IP-P10-VP color photo printer as my top pick is easy. I think most of us resonate well with a recent ads from Apple that claimed more photos are taken using the iPhone than any other camera. Yet, you can rarely find a printer that comes with with an iPhone dock. VuPoint IP-P10-VP is an example of such rarity.

The effort required to set up VuPoint IP-P10-VP is minimal and the learning curve is quite a flat one. What you need to do is install the app from Apple’s AppStore, dock your iPhone and you are good to go. This photo printer works especially great during parties where you want to let your guests print and share the pictures on their iPhone.

There are two main considerations though when you want to make this purchase. Based on VuPoint photo cube reviews from those who have purchased this printer, the picture print quality is not spectacular and might not make the cut for professional photographers. But to be honest, do you expect the pictures taken from your iPhone to be of professional grade? I certainly don’t think so. The second consideration is the docking type. As you know, starting from 2012, all Apple’s iOS devices come with the new lightning connector. The connector found on VuPoint IP-P10-VP is still the old type.

If you have iPhone 5 or newer iPad models, you may no longer be able to enjoy the convenience of docking your phone or tablet into the printer. However, you can still connect them via the USB port. And by the way, the USB port also works for Android devices.

If you love the idea of a photo printer that lets you dock your iPhone or iPod, check out our reviews on other VuPoint photo cube printers also.

Epson WorkForce WF-3540 Wireless All-in-One Color Photo Printer

If you have been using Epson printer for all your life, you probably would not want to switch. Not every Epson printer is a hit but if you have done your homework right, your last Epson photo printer might have lasted you for 5 years at least and more importantly, with little complains.

Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is a successor to the highly popular WorkForce 845 model. Based on most Epson photo printer reviews, the WorkForce WF-3540 carries one of the strongest attribute that has become the hallmark of any Epson printer – fine photo print quality.

One nice thing about the WF-3540 is the AirPrint feature. What this means is if you have an iPhone or an iPad, no set up is required. If you have ditched the camera and all your photos are now taken using your iPhone or iPad, Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is one of the coolest photo printer that you would want to consider.

If you are an Android user or maybe you have both iOS and Android devices and you want your photo printer to work with all your mobile devices, Kodak Hero All-in-one and Espon Expression printers are some of the popular alternatives.

Your Pick

You have now seen the top photo printers that carry with them numerous positive ratings. The way we expect our image printer to work and how we plan to use it is unique. Therefore, only you yourself understand which printer best fits your needs. Price should only be one but not the most important considerations as there are other equally important factors such as ease of use (especially with your mobile devices), durability and print quality that need to be considered.

Let me reiterate that the computing paradigm that we live in is constantly changing. While the use of smartphones to capture images is becoming prevalent today, no one can predict if it is going to stay that way in the future. Therefore, we will update the above list regularly as and when we deemed necessary. And talking about the list, do let us know if you find any superior printer that we have missed and you think ought to be included in the list.