Whether you’re printing small photos to put up on your wall, keep inside your wallet or you’re the life of the party and love capturing every moment, a photo printer is a quick and easy way of achieving this. It’s a better option than instant cameras which can make a single printed picture very expensive and also compromise on the picture quality.
The best printer for 4x6 photos is the one that can combine an average purchase cost, a low print cost and a bright, sharp photo that will last a lifetime and not start fading in a few years.
With photo printers, you have the chance for second takes- something most instant cameras don’t allow for. Some of them also allow you to preview images, just like large scale printers so you print only the most perfect shots.
Most photo printers also have the option of installing battery packs making them great for your travel adventures so you can capture any sights all over the world. Some also offer connectivity to apps in your phone through which you can edit your pictures on-the-go and print from anywhere in the world.
It’s true that some photo printers that have extra features tend to be a bit bulky to carry around, but the high resolution images you’ll get will be worth.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or you just do it every now and then for fun, there are a range of different models that fit different requirements.
We’ve covered some of the best 4x6 printers on the market today covering a range of diverse features with some great value options.
Stick around till the end, where we discuss the main features you need to consider when buying a photo printer for both personal and professional use. We’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions in terms of buying and using compact photo printers.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Best Printer for 4×6 Photos - Reviews
Canon Pixma iP110 is a more diverse printer with the option of printing other documents apart from just JPEG images. It provides high quality printouts using a more advanced ink system than the other two for a better printout.
This 4x6 printer is compatible with a range of apps such as AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and obviously the Canon Print app. Apart from having Wi-Fi connectivity, a standout feature is that it also has wireless PictBridge support (not commonly found in small photo printers).
With the option of installing a battery pack, you can take this camera with you wherever you go.
Unlike most small photo printers that run on a 4-ink system, this one uses 5 inks. The more the cartridges, the more detailed your pictures will be (and will even more closely match the picture on screen). It has a resolution of 9600x2400 dpi which is truly incredible for printing graphics.
In less than a minute, this printer can print borderless photos. It also gives you access to PhotoPrint+ which will enable you to edit and print your pictures from anywhere with internet connectivity.
Perhaps the only feature to watch out for is that this printer is not as compact as the other two and is slightly on the heavier side. That being said, it has many features that are suited for professional use and the better photo quality makes it worth the weight.
With this Kodak printer, you can print professional quality pictures by simply sending a print command through your phone. It’s a favorite among travelers because you can print your pictures instantly on-the-go.
This printer is compatible with both Android and iOS devices (although you’ll need an adaptor of the iOS ones) and has Wi-Fi connectivity. With an external cable port, you can even connect it to your tablet. It has a mounted dock if you want to connect your phone directly. Loading your phone onto the dock also automatically starts charging it.
Despite being pretty small and portable, this printer also has flash drive support so you can save your pictures on a USB and print directly through your drive storage.
Although the picture quality isn’t quite comparable to larger printers, it’s pretty decent. It uses thermal print technology. You can even connect to the Kodak app for picture templates, scrapbook ideas, etc.
The only major drawback is that it runs on a lithium ion battery which needs to be recharged somewhat frequently so you’ll need to look for a power source if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
Overall, this 4x6 printer is ideal for instant, high quality photos no matter where you go.
The Canon Selphy Cp-1300 combines affordability with a range of great features. This portable printer allows you to instantly print out lasting memories.
This battery-operated printer has a 3.2 inch LCD screen so you can preview your pictures before printing them and save your film only for the best shots. This is particularly useful when you’re printing through the memory card slot or by inserting a flash drive into the printer.
Apart from this, you can also connect the printer directly to your smart phone. One of the standout features of this printer is that you can directly connect it to your Facebook account or other cloud storage and print pictures instantly from your online media.
You can even combine multiple photos into a single collage and get really creative with your printouts. This printer is an edge up from the Canon Selphy CP-1200 and even has a Photo Booth option where you can print two 2x6” pictures on a single 4x6” sheet (which makes for an excellent DIY photo booth at a party).
Overall, this photo printer is great for even those people who aren’t tech savvy at all. It is fun to use and the pictures are sharp in color because of the dye technology used by the printer.
The Epson PM-400 is a compact photo printer for printing sharp and vivid 4x6 photos. This snapshot printer is small and light enough to be carried around with you wherever you go.
It has Wi-Fi connectivity and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It’s so easy to print photos with this printer that anyone of any age can do it. Unlike most snapshot printers that can greatly affect the image quality in print, this one manages to capture all the tiny details.
However, this high quality does come with a higher price tag. Another drawback is that it runs on a single cartridge, so if you run low on any one ink, you’ll have to replace the entire cartridge which will really increase the printing cost drastically. This basically means that if you use this printer only for black documents at one point and you run out, you’ll need to replace the entire cartridge for any color printouts.
This printer has a pretty fast print speed- 36 seconds and the pictures it produces are weather resistant and long lasting. Instead of connecting to a smart device, you can print your documents by connecting your digital cloud service, etc.
This printer is certainly not as sleek and compact as some of the others on this list. It is somewhat on the larger and heavier side.
This photo-only printer doesn’t just allow you to print images up to 4x6”, but it also has the option of printing 5x7” pictures. For a premium quality photo, use good glossy paper for a long lasting memory.
Hp Tango has some truly great printing features that make it a great to use and allow you to explore your creative side. Probably one of its best features is the fact that this small photo printer also has a built-in copier.
Similar to Instant Ink in HP’s larger printers, this photo printer offers the Paid-For ink replacement scheme with which after a little initial investment, you can pretty much print your 4x6 photos for free after that.
It is however limited to printing through your phone and doesn’t have PC connectivity and is ideal for people who do almost everything through their smartphones. It doesn’t even offer a USB port which means you can plug in a flash drive to print directly from.
This printer also has a built-in copier- you will need to scan documents through your phone, but this is a plus regardless. Through connectivity to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, you can then print your scanned images.
With the voice activation feature, you can print your photos without even lifting a finger. You even have the option of printing 5x7” borderless photos. Using the printer can be so much fun and the print cost is so low, that you’ll want to print out more of the pictures lying in your phone’s storage.
Best Printer for 4×6 Photos - Buyers Guide
Here are some of the main factors you’ll need to look at when selecting the printer that fits your requirements:
Type of Printer
The two main choices are between an inkjet and laser printer. Laser printers tend to print faster and use ink more efficiently, but they can be quite expensive. Inkjet printers are somewhat lower in cost and are known to be the better option for printing graphics.
If you intend to print your pictures out when you are traveling, then size is a very important factor. The printer you choose should ideally be small and light enough for you to carry to parties and wherever else you’re headed.
If you’re using a portable printer, make sure to check the battery type and battery life before going anywhere. Ideally keep backups in case you run out.
Unlike when you’re printing text-based documents (like reports at work, etc.), with pictures, you need to ensure that the printed image has a very high resolution. For solid picture quality, the minimum dpi you should even consider is 4800x1200 or more.
Most photo printers use either inkjet or thermal dye technology. With the inkjet technology, you need to buy the ink and paper separately and the quality of both of these will also affect the quality of the printed image.
With the thermal dye printers, the paper and ink come together so you don’t have too many choices.
Another new and popular technology in photo printers is ZINK (or Zero Ink). It uses chemicals in the stock to leave an impression on the paper and its use is currently limited to small-sized printers (like our 4x6 ones). However, these pictures aren’t exactly high quality and they’re not quite worth framing. Similar to most instant camera pictures, these ones are better suited for the inside of your wallet.
Gone are the days when you had to connect your printer to your PC or smart device through a USB cable. While pretty much all photo printers have this option, everything is based on wireless connectivity these days which is why your printer should have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It should ideally be compatible for all users, including both Android and iOS so that its usage is not limited. Some models have Ethernet in case you need to connect your printer to a LAN network.
Some printers also have memory card slots so you can print the pictures you’ve taken from your camera instantly.
For professionals, another major connectivity feature is PictBridge compatibility to allow them to print images directly through their image editing software. However, the most common 4x6 printers don’t offer this feature.
Since pictures are printed on different pages, your printer should be compatible with any of them. Some of the common types include:
Glossy Paper- this paper has a shiny finish and makes printed images look sharper and more vibrant.
Matte Paper- doesn’t have any shine and brings out the true colors of the image. It is ideal for serious occasions such as corporate documents.
Canvas- canvas is the most commonly used medium for framed photos. It is similar to matte paper but has better color contrast.
Pearl (Luster) Paper- this is a semi-glossy paper that is used by professionals for a vibrant, high quality image.
Art Paper- adds a textured look to printed images and is commonly used by professionals.
Metallic Paper- this paper adds a chrome finish to your pictures and makes them very clear. It is quite expensive and is better suited for special occasions such as gifting someone a photo frame, etc.
Most personal use photo printers aren’t designed for bulk printing- if you have any large scale projects in mind, you’ll have to look for more heavy duty printers. However, given the small-sized sheets used in 4x6 printers, the printing cost is automatically much lower than it is for larger printers that use larger sheets (and therefore more ink) for a single printout.
This will depend on the type of ink and paper you use. If you go for more expensive materials like metallic paper, then obviously printing your pictures will also be more costly. Generally, most inks and papers are sold for a fixed number of pictures so you can easily obtain a per picture cost.
Availability of Supplies
If your printer is only compatible with certain types of ink and paper, then make sure they are readily available. Otherwise you might find your photo printer gathering dust on your shelf with nothing to print on.
Is print speed an important factor in photo printers?
Unlike with larger printers for diverse purposes, with small photo printers, speed isn’t really important. Even the slowest ones will take at most 2 minutes to print a single image which is fine as long as the image quality is up to the mark.
Do photo printers print in black-and-white?
While most photo printers can print in both color and black-and-white, the monochrome images appear in shades of grey and the quality of the printed image is generally lower. This is where the printer’s resolution (dpi) becomes even more important, especially if you have entire projects requiring only black-and-white printouts.
Are compact printers and pocket printers the same?
Pocket printers are the ones that you can take with you wherever you go and they most commonly use ZINK technology for quick and easy printing. With most of these, you can just send a wireless print command through your smartphone.
Compact printers are a bit bigger and heavier and are better for office and home use. They often have additional features such as built-in scanners and fax machines.
Can photo printers print documents?
Mobile photo printers can’t print documents (unless you save screenshots of them). However, desktop inkjet printers can. But keep in mind that their diverse usage also makes them more expensive than the mobile ones.
This isn’t much of a concern if you’re only printing photos, but for documents with a combination of text and graphics, inkjet printers are the better choice.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who loves taking pictures, a photo printer can become a valuable addition to your equipment- whether you’re traveling the world and want to make a holiday scrapbook, or you’re spending time with your friends and want to cherish every moment, you can print great photos worthy of putting into small frames or to stick on your fridge.
Most photo printers produce pictures that are weather resistant and last a lifetime so every time you look at them, you’ll be reminded of the special moments in your life.
Make sure you choose the best printer for 4x6 photos o that you can print pictures worthy of putting up on the wall.