The best photo printer in 2024: top A4 and A3 desktop printers for photography

Canon Pixma G620 / Canon Pixma G650
(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)

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I’ve been testing and reviewing desktop printers for decades and have come to the conclusion that, nowadays, the title of best photo printer is essentially a dogfight between two names: Canon and Epson. While there are other printer manufacturers, Canon and Epson are the only contenders when it comes to desktop printers for high-quality photos. When I want to frame, mount, or display my photos, this is where I need to be.

Key factors to consider are the size of the photos you want to print, and the type of ink you want to use. For this guide, I’m starting off with the best regular Letter-size (A4) photo printers, then moving on to larger-format 13-inch (A3+) printers, and finishing off with 17-inch (A2) printers. Naturally, if you want to create photo prints to hang on the wall, bigger tends to be better. Scroll to the bottom of this page for my top tips on how to choose and use a photo printer.

When it comes to cost, there’s more to it than the price of a printer. Ink refills are infamous for being eye-wateringly expensive. Even so, it’s worth it in the long run if you plan on creating a lot of photo prints, compared with the cost of using the best photo printing services. Better still, I find that making my own prints takes just a few minutes and puts me in full control of the whole process.

I hate wasting ink, so all of the printers on my list use individually replaceable inks. That way, I only need to replace cartridges that have run dry. Alternatively, the more recent breed of Canon MegaTank and Epson EcoTank printers run on bottles rather than cartridges, which can be more efficient, less wasteful and much less expensive over the lifetime of the printer. However, models with refillable tanks rather than cartridges are still much less common when it comes to large-format photo printers.

Matthew Richards
Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal printer reviewer – and has tested all the printers on this list. His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers, and inks, and just about anything imaging-related.

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Print qualityTonal range is impressive and very accurate to real life. perfect for A4 prints ★★★★½
Cost to runWorking out as an eighth of the cost of most cartridge-based printers★★★★★
Overall valueFor the initial price, cost to run and its print quality up to A4, this is a great investment ★★★★★
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Print qualityQuality is good for photos and documents, but does take a little time to print its larger sizes★★★★
Cost to runRunning costs are inexpensive for those that print both documents and prints★★★★
Overall valueTo run this is a great printer for those that want one printer to do it all, but it is a rather costing investment upfront compared to others★★★★
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Print QualityWith unbeatable blacks and outstanding print quality this is perfect if you want a A3+ table top printer★★★★½
Cost to runWhile using 10 separate inks will be more expaensive the results speak for themselves and offer a pro-grade performance ★★★★
Overall valueWhile its investment might be high for a "do-it all" print. However, as a dedicated photo printer its worth it for those amazing colors★★★★½
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Print qualityGreat for printing color on gloss paper★★★★
Cost to runWith eight inks it can be a little pricey depenging how much you print, but they will be the best prints you have seen on glossy paper★★★★½
Overall valueWith a lower upfront cost than many this is a great option if you just want to print on glossy paper★★★★½
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Print qualityFor color and B&W this printer excells best of all paper stock expect gloss★★★★
Cost to runInitial 'setup' inks are small and go quickly, but once stocked up on all 10 inks its cost comes with amazing performance ★★★★½
Overall valueThis is a serious invesment for someone who want to print exceptional prints for sale of their home★★★★½
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Print qualityPrint quality to great for both prints and doucments and makes a great all-round printer★★★★
Cost to runIt is cheap to rum, but more expensive that its A4 version and uses the same 70ml ink tanks★★★½
Overall valueFor the initial investment its a good median across the range★★★★
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Print qualityOutstanding print quality on matte and fine-art paper ★★★★½
Cost to runThis is a pro-grade printer and comes at a high cost per print. However, its worth the cost when you see the results★★★★
Overall valueA high cost to buy upfront and inks are not cheap, but this pro-grade printer is at the top of its class★★★★½
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Print qualityGreat on most most media except gloss★★★★½
Cost to runWith 10 inks, this will be slight ore to run than those with 4 - but you get what you pay for ★★★★
Overall valueIt's a good investment for those seeking a pro-grade solution, but want it keep it to a compact size on their desk★★★★½
Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.