As artists, we spend hours producing and tweaking our work so that it meets our expectations. Therefore, we owe it to ourselves to give the presentation just as much consideration as the piece creation! That is why, regardless of your art field, you should look into the best printers for art prints.
Maybe you haven’t given printing much thought in the past beyond shipping your files out to a private studio or print company. However, if you’re serious about your craft, it’s important to recognize that giving the job to someone else reduces your control over the work.
Taking on the task of printing your art may seem a little daunting. But it’s a great way to perfect your images, graphics, and reproductions. And it’s not as hard as you might think; below, we share everything you need to know to get started, and we also offer a rundown of the best printer options around.
Best Printer for Art Prints:
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What Do Artists Want in a Printer?
There’s a lot that goes into determining the best printers for artists. When researching our printer recommendations, here are a few factors we took into consideration:
- Color Accuracy: Even if a printer is perfect in every other way, what good is it if it can’t accurately reproduce the tones and colors of your artwork?
- Ink Longevity: Paper choice plays a big role in how long your print will last. However, it’s also important that your printer takes ink that can stand the test of time.
- Sizing Capabilities: Before falling in love with a printer, be sure it’s capable of making prints large enough for your needs.
- Price: This isn’t limited to the initial acquisition cost listed on your printer’s price tag. It’s also important to consider each device’s estimated lifespan as well as the cost of refilling ink tanks.
- Size Considerations: There are large-format printers capable of making truly massive prints. However, these aren’t very practical for most artists. We’ve limited our recommendations to printers that could feasibly live on a desk in a home studio.
- Ease of Use: The easier a printer is to use, the more success you’ll have!
- Print Speed: No one wants to spend an entire day waiting on a printer, especially if you plan to make lots of tweaks so you can create the perfect print. Keep in mind that printers designed to print photos and graphics generally move much slower than those designed to produce documents.
- Customer Support: If you’ve ever used a printer, you’ll know that issues crop up all the time. When your printer leaves you stumped, it’s worth having someone who can help you fix it!
1. Canon PIXMA PRO-100
This is a balanced choice that performs well even after years of use.
I can personally attest to the quality of the Canon PIXMA PRO-100. It’s what I’ve been using in my home studio and office for the past four years, and I’ve come to love it.
The PRO-100 couldn’t be much easier to operate. It has a grand total of two buttons, and all that you need to do to get printing is plug in your computer and send over a file. My home office isn’t much to brag about, but it wouldn’t be complete without my PIXMA PRO-100.
This printer is also great at what it does. Its FINE technology uses 6000+ nozzles to apply microscopic pigment droplets to the paper, which produces smooth transitions and ultra-fine detail. Though I primarily use my PIXMA PRO-100 for photo printing, it’s fully capable of rendering any art beautifully.
The PIXMA PRO-100 uses eight CLI-42 ink tanks. You can purchase them in a convenient bundle pack or order each tank individually on an as-needed basis.
Refilling the printer costs about $100, although the price does fluctuate. I recommend using a price tracker to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. And while the printer does cost a fair chunk of change, it’s not a horrible price for a professional inkjet model. Plus, each cartridge lasts me at least six months, so I don’t have to replenish the ink supply too often.
2. Canon PIXMA iX6820
This model boasts the lowest price and upkeep fee of the bunch, but it also produces surprisingly high-quality prints.
The hard truth about printing – whether you do it at home or at a professional studio – is that it’s expensive. None of the products featured today are cheap by any stretch of the imagination. However, the Canon PIXMA iX6820 sports a pretty reasonable price tag and doesn’t cut too many corners, either.
Much of what makes the Canon PIXMA PRO-100 a great printer also applies to the Canon PIXMA iX6820. It’s easy to use, it prints impressively large (all the way up to 13″ x 19″), and while it doesn’t offer quite the same photo quality as the PRO-100, the high-resolution results should satisfy beginners and most hobbyists.
One advantage that the Canon PIXMA iX6820 has over the competition is its compact size and reasonable weight. The iX6820 is far smaller than the PRO-100, and it weighs just 18 lb (versus the 40+ lb of the PRO-100). If you need a relatively portable printer, or if you plan to keep your printer in a small home office, these features can make a big difference!
The iX6820 utilizes five ink tanks in total. Four of them accept CLI-251 ink (black, cyan, magenta, and yellow). The printer also requires PGI-250 ink, but fortunately, Canon sells all these options together in a value pack! And the combined ink fee is low, too; at under $35 per refill, upkeep for the iX6820 is pretty affordable compared to many competitors.
3. Brother HLL8260CDW
Its ultra-fast performance and high-volume capacity make this Brother printer a great choice for preparatory prints.
Sometimes, you don’t need a high-tech precision printer. Test prints are just as important as the final product, and that’s precisely where the Brother HLL8260CDW comes in handy.
Aside from its blazing speed, one of the Brother HLL8260CDW’s greatest assets is its overall ease of use. A color touchscreen makes giving commands and receiving alerts quick and intuitive. The printer is also capable of making multiple single- or double-sided prints in black and white or color.
Of course, there are some features that the Brother HLL8260CDW lacks compared to more traditional art printers. You’ll see a definite decrease in print quality, and there are also fewer compatible print sizes to choose from. However, if you’re not actually printing your final product (or you’re not too worried about quality), this Brother printer will be more than capable of getting the job done.
One especially awesome benefit of this particular printer? You can direct Amazon Dash Replenishment to measure your toner levels. When it begins running low, an order for a replacement cartridge will automatically be submitted.
4. Canon imagePROGRAF TA-20
This wide-format printer offers independent artists the opportunity to make large-scale reproductions.
Most printers designed for home users can’t handle sheet widths beyond 13″. If you’re looking for something that can go a little bit larger but isn’t too big, the imagePROGRAF TA-20 may be a suitable solution.
The TA-20’s versatility easily makes it one of the best printers for art prints. Whether you’re working with text, photos, or graphics, this wide-format option will do a great job. Unlike many of the options featured on this list, the TA-20 can handle roll media as well as standard sheets.
But it doesn’t end there. The TA-20’s pigment-based inks are weather-resistant, and you can print up to 104 24″ x 36″ sheets in as little as an hour. Because of these features, the printer is an ideal choice for posters and other signage.
The imagePROGRAF TA-20 accepts five PFI-030 ink cartridges, and they are on the pricier side. Luckily, the TA-20 has a few qualities that help you get the most out of your ink. The tank system allows you to change empty cartridges while the printer is in use; that way, you can work with every last drop. What’s more, an economy print mode reduces your ink consumption by as much as 40 percent.
5. Epson Expression Premium XP-7100
It’s not the fanciest option on the market, but for multitasking artists, the XP-7100’s low price and wide range of capabilities hits the sweet spot.
Epson is one of the most trusted names in printing, and the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 shows why. Capable of printing photographs as well as documents, this versatile machine can be whatever you need it to be.
Though it’s a bit limited in a few areas, the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 includes a built-in scanner and copier. It’s also capable of working with a wide range of media. Along with a standard 100-sheet input tray, there’s a dedicated 20-sheet photo tray as well as a 10-sheet rear feed slot for larger prints. This Epson printer can even support banner printing up to 44″ long!
One of the XP-7100’s biggest draws is its EcoTank technology. Rather than relying on standard ink or toner cartridges, this printer uses internal reservoirs to store more ink. Not only that, the printer is able to make up to 9000 color prints before it needs to be refilled.
EcoTank refills are available at brick-and-mortar retailers like Staples as well as online. However, you probably won’t need to worry about a refill for a while. Every printer purchase comes stocked with a two-year supply of ink.
6. Epson SureColor P900
With a huge dynamic range and the capacity to produce large-scale prints, there’s a whole lot to love about this printer.
Last but not least, we have the Epson SureColor P900, and it’s plenty capable of producing any exhibition-ready print you might require.
For this printer, Epson took a lot of the best aspects from our Canon selections and rolled them into one. Like the PIXMA PRO-100, the P900 offers gorgeous print quality. And like the TA-20, the P900 can handle multiple media types, including roll paper (with the help of an optional adapter).
No matter your area of expertise, this is one printer that you can depend on to deliver awesome results. Better yet, the device is small enough to work in your home studio, and it’s (reasonably) affordable, too. One caveat: Before buying a P900, it’s important to factor in ink prices. At around $500 per bundle pack, replenishing your supplies can really add up.
The good news? The UltraChrome HD ink utilized by the P900 delivers some seriously superb results. Needing to buy 10 ink cartridges isn’t ideal, but they do provide deeper and richer tones. It may not sound important, but side-by-side comparisons illustrate just how much of a difference the right ink can make.
Pick a Printer and Get Started!
With so many great choices, which printer should you purchase? Well, if beautiful color is your priority, the Epson SureColor P900 is a spectacular choice. On the other hand, budget-conscious artists should go with the Canon PIXMA iX6820; it offers surprisingly good print quality but won’t break the bank.
Finally, our overall best printer for general fine-art prints is the Canon PIXMA PRO-100, which combines almost everything you could possibly want into one nifty device. You’ll never have to use an artist printing service again!
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