So you want to buy a printer to bring all your photos and artwork to life, but you cannot decide which model or brand to choose. With the vast array of options available these days, it is very easy to make a mistake and end up buying the wrong printer. The wrong printer is not necessarily bad rather it doesn’t suit your needs. To get the right printer, first you must identify what you wish to do with it, and how much money you can spend on a printer that prints photos and artwork.
What to look for when buying a printer for art prints?
If you are a home user then there are plenty of choices to print your photos and artwork at cheap prices, provided you don’t print too much each day. If you are a more heavy duty user and wish to print on multiple sizes of papers to create posters, banners, etc. then you should choose an office grade dedicated photo and banner printer for the task, since it will output high-quality work, and do it fast.
Most of the tie you cannot distinguish between the print quality of a powerful home inkjet printer and a business grade inkjet printer. The ones who can differentiate are the professionals who this stuff for a living, so if you are an amateur or hobbyist then you are probably fine with an entry level prosumer color inkjet.
If you want to step it up, you have machines that produce amazing photos but are not meant to be used as photo printing stations chiefly because of the high per photo print costs. Then you have the machines with incredibly fast print speeds, capable of printing on all sizes of paper and photo paper along with cardstock and canvas. You probably also want your new printer to have features such as Photobridge so that it can directly print from your camera.
Having features such as Ethernet allows you to connect the printer to an office network so that multiple users can access it at the same time and queue up their tasks. Wi-Fi lets you remote print with your phone, tablet or laptop.
After you make sure your printer has some or all of these features you can move on to other stuff such as the loader and tray capacity, the print resolution, and printing speed. Your new artwork printer must be able to print good black and white photos because some printers can handle color very well but they produce varying shades of gray while printing in black and white. While looking for an artwork printer, you might also check out if it has any features such as an LCD screen.
Try to make an estimate on the ink costs and per month operation costs for your printer as some tend to have low initial costs but end up costing a lot more through ink expenditure. Now that you know what to look for, let us begin our lists of the best printers for art prints and artists.
Epson Artisan 1430
You may have to wait a long time to get your photos out of this machine, however, the results are definitely worth the wait. It prints with amazing precision and produces lifelike colors, thanks to the Claria six ink cartridges, which also ensure that your prints last for up to 75 years under glass, and an insanely long 200 years in an album, with proper care of course. No one knows whether the paper will even be a thing 200 years from now, but one thing is for sure- this printer packs some serious bang for the buck. It prints rather slowly, just 2.8ppm ISO speeds for both color and monochrome. Fortunately, the black and white photos are just as detailed as the color ones and the wireless capabilities of the Artisan 1430 make it a great choice for artists who like to use tablets or phones to edit and store their artwork or images. Even better, you can use the printer to print labels on your inkjet printable CDs and DVDs.
Epson Stylus Photo 1400 Wide Format Color Inkjet Printer
Capable of printing in paper sizes ranging from 4″x6″ to 13″x19″, each print that you get from this device is smudge free, stain resistant and waterproof. In fact, Epson claims its ink allows the prints from this printer to be more waterproof and long-lasting than those produced by equivalent HP printers. While that may or may not be true, it definitely produces crystal clear and extremely sharp looking photos with an insanely high software-optimized print resolution of 5760×1440. Capable of pumping out a 4″x6″ photo in just under a minute and a giant 13″x19″ takes less than 3 minutes. Unfortunately, it does not come with wireless connectivity, so you will have to rely on the USB port alone to connect it to your PC. Also, some customers reported it has a serious issue with the nozzles, although that might be related to a certain manufacturing batch rather than the printers themselves.
Canon Pixma Pro9500 Professional Large Format Inkjet Printer
When it comes to pumping out high-quality photos at insane speeds, nothing beats the Pixma Pro9500, and its 10 color ink cartridges ensure superior precision and quality in every color print. It is one of the few printers that you can buy exclusively for its amazing black and white photo quality, and the large format paper acceptance allows you to print on all sort and sizes of paper. It can print on art paper, 4″x6″ paper, all the way up to 13″x19″. The printer has a maximum print speed of 26ppm in ideal conditions, although it can vary a lot in real-world usage scenarios, depending on the color and size of the print. In terms of connectivity, the printer comes with USB and Ethernet. So there’s no wireless for all you tablet and phone users, also the printer has some issues with printing on glossy paper.
Epson Stylus Photo R2880
The Epson R2880 is a professional grade printer that produces studio quality work at a price much less than a photo studio. The printer delivers great shades of gray and black thanks to its advanced nozzle technology and 8 colors of ink, which include three shades of black to provide unmatched black and white printing on both glossy as well as matte surfaces. It can output multiple sizes of paper, up to 13″x19″ and can even print panoramas up to 13″x 44″ long. The ink technology is optimized to deliver more vibrant shades of reds, blues, and purple, creating exhibition grade prints. This Epson printer is capable of printing on a lot of mediums, including photo paper, glossy or matte surfaces, canvas, cardstock, roll paper, fine art paper, 1.3mm thick art board and many more surfaces. Where it does fall behind is a poorly designed nozzle cleaning system, which results in clogged nozzles and ink spillage in some batches of this model. However, it appears that Epson has fixed that issue by now and if you are unfortunate enough to get one of those faulty printers, then contact Epson support for a replacement or fix, and they will instantly diffuse the problem.
HP DesignJet T520
For those of you who want a machine that can handle high volume, serious business this is the one you need. It’s tremendous workload capacity and ultra-sharp poster and banner printing mean you will never look at another art printer ever again. The best part is that this printer can print really large size paper, up to 24″ D size, and paper rolls. It delivers outstanding banners and canvas prints along with great poster prints. The machine is wireless capable so you can print your favorite pictures and drawings right from your phone or laptop. It can print banners up to 80 ” in length and does of all the above stuff at really fast speeds, guaranteeing that your productivity increases by keeping one of these giant printers these nearby. Prints to all sorts of papers, cards, and canvas along with poster and banners. There is one slight issue- if you run out of ink while printing a banner or poster and the printer pauses work while you replace the cartridge, it cannot resume from where it left off. This might be a non-issue for those who constantly check the ink levels before every task, but for the people who print in large volumes and are not accustomed to this kind of mechanism, this can be a serious problem.