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Great Budget Photo Printers


Photo printers are a great buy. Nearly everyone has a digital camera, and while it’s easy to share digital photos online, there are still lots of good reasons to print out your photos. Photo printers are inexpensive (all the ones here are under $200, and some are under $100), easy to use, and do a great job at printing photos. Here are my choices for the Top Budget Photo Printers.

1. Canon Selphy CP790 Photo Printer

Canon Selphy CP790 Compact Photo Printer
Canon photo printers are typically excellent, and the Selphy CP790--the high end of the Selphy line--is no exception. It's also at the high end in terms of price for a photo printer, and worth it. That's not just because the printed photo quality is excellent, or that it's very easy to set up and use, but also because it's the coolest-looking and, perhaps with the exception of the Polaroid PoGo, the most fun, photo printer I've tried. The Bluetooth and battery options would make it even better. As of this printing, the CP790 is about $170, so it's slightly outside of our price range, but if you want a printer that comes in a big green bucket--and who wouldn't?--this is the one for you.

2. Epson PictureMate Charm Photo Printer

Photo courtesy Epson

Portable and easy to use, the PictureMate Charm photo printer also puts out some fantastic photo prints. There are some basic on-board photo-editing functions, though a somewhat clunky interface makes them a bit hard to find and understand. Like other portable photo printers, a battery and Bluetooth interface are both optional, which is a shame. Still, in terms of portability and picture quality, this printer is a Charm...

3. HP Photosmart A526 Photo Printer

HP Photo Printer
Photo © HP
Kid sister to the pricier Photosmart A626 photo printer, this HP photo printer does a lot for a little money (it retails for about $100). I think a very handy feature is the built-in Photo Fix that simplifies the process of making prints look their best, with simple adjustments for enhancing color, sharpness, and removing red-eye. It's compatible with PictBridge and can print 4x6 or 4x12 (panorama) photographs. You'll have to be patient in waiting for your pictures to come out, with decent prints taking over a minute, but one thing that's particularly handy with this printer is that it can even print wirelessly with an optional Bluetooth adapter. Now that's truly portable!
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4. Canon Selphy CP780 Photo Printer

Photo © Canon

Fantastically sharp and richly colored photos are typical for Canon photo printers, but for the price--under a hundred dollars--there was no reason to expect that pictures would look as good as they do from the Canon Selphy CP780 photo printer. A Bluetooth adapter and battery are optional equipment (if you wanted both, you'd add about $130 onto the price) so it's not the kind of printer you can bring anywhere--but the price and the quality of the prints are both fantastic!

5. Polaroid PoGo

Photo © Polaroid
Photo © Polaroid

For parties, outings, sports events, and anywhere else where you may want to print small photos quickly and without the hassle of wires, you're going to love the PoGo portable photo printer. If you want your pictures to look spectacular, you'll be dissatisfied; but this little printer is not meant to compete with a more expensive and full-blown compact photo printer. Carry your printer around in your back pocket, print wherever you are, and stick the photos anywhere they'll stick! A lot of fun in a small package.

6. Canon Pixma iP4600 Photo Printer

Canon Pixma Photo Printer
Photo © Canon
This photo printer is flexible and powerful enough to be your home office printer as well as your photo printer. It's not portable like some of the other picks, but I like that it has two paper trays (I load photo and plain paper at the same time so I don't have to keep changing paper). Colors look great, thanks to five ink tanks including two different black inks (one for text, the other for photos). The Pixma flies through photo printing, putting out a 4x6 picture in less than a minute, and an 8x10 in only a minute and a half. Text and photos come out sharp and clear, with document printing rivaling laser quality. The photos you print will last for 100 years, Canon claims, in an album (and 30 years for photos behind glass).
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