One of the best ways to judge the quality of a photo is to print it out. And to do that we recommend buying a quality inkjet photo printer. This isn’t as simple as it seems though as the number of premium photo printers has shrunk with Epson and Canon being the only two companies still producing them.
The good news is Epson’s and Canon’s latest printers are excellent and will help you experience the joy of holding a freshly printed photo in your hands again. Even better is to hang that gorgeous photo print on a wall or give it to a loved one as a gift.
In this gear guide, we pick the top three photo printers of 2002 in our Good, Better, Best format. Check out our selections below and on the following pages and start turning those digital images into actual photos you can touch and feel today!
Editor’s Note: Good, Better, Best is a product guide series on Digital Photo where we suggest three buying options for our favorite photo gear. A product qualifies as “Good,” if it’s affordable yet still offers decent quality for the price. “Better” means it’s a solid medium-tier choice that we think will appeal to most photographers both on features and price. “Best” are top-tier photography products that offer the pinnacle in quality but also the highest price. See our Good Better Best guides to the best DSLRs here, the best cameras for beginners here, the best macro lenses here, the top camera backpacks here, the top superzoom cameras here, the top budget flashes here, and the top ring lights here.
GOOD: Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 ($249)
The Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 does it all for less than $250. For starters, the XP-8700 prints high-quality, borderless photos at up to 8.5 x 11 inches using Epson’s six-color Claria Photo HD ink cartridges. Detail in our photos was surprisingly rich with the XP-8700 capable of producing up to 5760 x 1440 dpi of print resolution. Meanwhile, 4 x 6-inch prints shot out as fast as 10 seconds. This compact and lightweight all-in-one is also easy to use, with a large 4.3-inch touch screen and intuitive controls along with router-free Wi-Fi direct printing. We also liked the Epson Smart Panel app, which lets you control the XP-8700 from your mobile device. In addition, there’s a voice-activated printing option, so you can output photos and documents hands-free. But that’s not all. This “all-in-one” printer can also scan and copy photos or documents, making the XP-8700 a handy assistant to have around the office. On the downside, this is not a true pigment printer since only the black ink is pigment based; the rest are dye-based, so your photos won’t be truly archival. Otherwise though, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 is a solid and affordable photo printer with a few tricks up its sleeve.