Whether you’re a digital artist, architectural visualizer, or simply a hobbyist, there will come a time when you need to print out your artwork, and unless printing large scale formats, taking your work to a print shop quickly becomes the least economical approach to this.
A good quality printer that is tailored towards printing high-quality art prints therefore becomes the most efficient option, both through convenience and long term cost.
However like most things, there are an abundance of tailor-made options for this, from a huge range of alternative brands, that to make it even harder, are all more than capable of successfully printing high-end artistry.
So how do you find the right (and best) one?
From our own experiences and through conversations with fellow digital artists, in this guide we provide a shortlist of our 5 favorite printers that are specifically designed for printing artwork, in the hope that it at the very least, this helps to limit the amount of options for you to choose from.
…so what are the best printers for artists?
Epson Expression ET-7750 EcoTank Printer
Equipped with a five-color refillable ink tank system, multiple external connectivity ports, and the ten bottles of ink that on average will last artists over two years (printing 3600 colored photos), this printer comes in at the top of our list.
Although sitting at the higher end of the market, the Epson Expression ET-7750 EcoTank Printer has incredibly efficient ink-usage, and is capable of printing high-quality art prints in bulk.
With the added advantage of being able to print up to 17 inches wide without compromising on its resolution, it is also more than capable of printing one-off works.
- Accommodates A3/Tabloid sized media
- Highly Cost-efficient printing
- Some will find it too large
- No automatic document feeder
Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Inkjet Photo Printer
With support for heavy weight fine art papers and an ambient light correction feature, this printer can print 11 x 14 inch prints in approximately a minute and a half.
For larger art works, it will print up to 13 x 19 inch prints, and can also handle much smaller paper sizes down to 4 x 6 inches.
Considering this is a professional grade printer, its weight and dimensions are not over sized, and it will therefore comfortably sit on a desk or table.
comparably with its range of output and features, this printer is very competitively priced, however is missing a wireless connection.
- Supports fine art papers
- Competitively priced
- No wireless connection
Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Printer
The Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Printer is a wide format printer using highly durable claria-dye inks with a wide color gamut. This enables the printer to produce exceedly high quality prints, and if printing photographs, at a very fast rate too.
Despite the comparable affordable price tag, this printer prints almost flawless artworks on a variety of paper finishes, with even a borderless option.
However in spite of its affordable cost, its overall running cost does come in higher than several of the other models on this list.
- High-speed and high-quality borderless printing
- Supplied paper tray
- Higher printer costs than others
- Some users may find installation difficult
Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Wireless Inkjet Printer
The high-quality output of this printer is thanks to its eight individual dye-based inks and FINE technology, which are perfect for artists who prefer dye-based ink over pigment-based varieties.
With support for glossy and lustered papers, on either bordered or bordeless formats, the dye-link technology produces some of the highest-quality prints in this review.
…And combined with a generous sized paper tray, this is a great all-round printer for a variety of artists’ applications.
- Dye-based ink system
- Its Image Generating System automatically detects which color combinations to use.
- Ink refills are expensive
HP ENVY Photo 7855 All-in-One Printer
The price tag of this printer is more inline with a standardized home printer, however its excellent high-quality output makes it a very worthy contender for artists on a tight budget.
The drawback of this however is that it only supports regular sized paper and will struggle with thicker types of media. So whilst its printing system isn’t compromised, some artists may find its output to be.
- Very affordable initial and running costs
- Above average print quality
- Only supports regular sized paper
- Struggles with thicker media
What makes a great printer for art prints?
Laser or inkjet – As explained here in our in-depth guide, laser printers are designed to print high volumes of text based documents at fast speeds. But can also be useful for printing simple vector based graphics and draft copies.
Inkjet printers are specifically designed for printing high-quality imagery and art work.
Quality – When it comes to printers, you get what you pay for, and to be honest in most cases this is a good indication of the quality a printer will print at.
Cheap printers are able to offer a minimum resolution of 600 dots per inch (dpi), but for high-quality prints this number will need to be a lot higher. Which increases with price.
Connectivity – Consider if you will require a wifi and/or a physical connection, as both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, having the ability to connect and print external devices can be a huge benefit when in a hurry.
Media size – This comes down to personal preference and how you work as an artist. However if for example you predominantly work on one singular size of paper, then there’s no need to pay extra for other options.
Media type – as mentioned, when printing artwork an inkjet printer is the best option, and these are also capable of printing onto more than just paper. However, be mindful to check each printer’s specification, as not all inkjet’s are the same.
Size – Printers that are specifically designed to print artwork are larger than more standard home based models, and therefore take up considerable more room. So when it comes to size, be prepared to give up more desk space to house it.
Budget – Before purchasing, establish the printers running costs, as the initial outlay is not the only sum. Replacement ink can be expensive, especially if not bought in bulk.
Ready to choose your next printer?
Combined with the above recommendations and products, it’s still difficult to provide one singular printing solution that’s suitable for every artist.
As whether you’re a part or full time creative, or simply someone who enjoys creating artwork for leisure, we all have alternative mediums and ways of producing digital work.
However whatever your discipline, by asking yourself several key and useful questions, you can quickly narrow down your defining requirements.
Begin by asking yourself:
- What is the maximum paper size I require?
- Am I limited by space?
- What is my maximum budget?
- Is a wireless connection important?
- Is there a specific paper type and thickness?
- Is speed important?
We’re fairly confident that armed with the answers to at least some of these questions, at least one of the above recommended printers will be more than adequate.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post them below…