The best art printers offer a cost-effective way to produce high-quality prints of your work without having to turn to expensive repro houses. While outsourcing printing to the pros is a great idea to guarantee the best results, it comes at a price that's too high for many artists, especially when statin out. Fortunately, with the right art printer, you can make professional-looking prints on heavy fine art media yourself.
Of course, the average desktop printer isn't capable of this. You'll need one of the best art printers, and they're big, heavy machines that use lots of pigment-based (rather than dye-based) inks to print at scale with optimum clarity and faithful colour reproduction. We've rounded up the best options below, with direct links to the best prices currently available. Bear in mind that as well as buying the printer, you'll need to buy a regular supply of ink, but then if there's demand for your work that should soon work out in your favour.
Our list of the eight best art printers below includes options for different budgets, from cheaper models (which still turn out much better results than the best home printers) to serious players for maximum quality. If you're looking to print in 3D, make sure you also see our guide to the best 3D printers.
The best art printers in 2021
If you want to print large quantities, then you'll probably want to do it as cheaply as possible. The Epson EcoTank ET-7750 involves a large initial outlay, but if you print a lot, it'll save you money in the long run. That's because the biggest cost with printers is ink. The ET-7750 instead has five high-capacity ink tanks and comes with enough ink for up to 3,400 prints, which gets you off to a great start.
It can cope with paper up to 300gsm and up to A3 size, and it delivers fantastic prints thanks to its combination of CMYK dyes and an additional black pigment ink for improved contrast. For great image quality and low running costs, this is one of the best art printers available.
If you're looking for a cheap art printer, make sure you don't go too cheap. A really budget model is likely to give you poor results. The Canon PIXMA iP8750 strikes a good balance, delivering quality prints at a very reasonable price.
It'll print a bordered sheet of A3+ in full colour in around two minutes, and with five dye-based inks plus a pigment black the results are worth waiting for. If you want to save more money, you can buy high-yield ink cartridges that cost you less than standard cartridges. That makes this the cheapest art printer we can recommend.
For bigger prints, one of the best art printers is the Canon PIXMA PRO-200. It gives great colour depth at a not too crazy price. Yes, it'll cost you a good bit more than the PIXMA iP8750, but you get what you pay for with an 8-ink dye-based printer that's fairly fast and delivers beautifully crisp results that are dry as soon as they emerge from the machine.
The PIXMA PRO-200's set of eight inks make it perfect for getting colour reproduction just right, and it's capable of printing on anything from standard paper to heavier fine art media. Need to print wider than A3+? No problem; this printer's capable of creating panoramic prints up to 990cm wide.
If you want to go even bigger, you'll need to spend more, especially if you don't want to compromise on quality. That brings us to the Epson SureColor SC-P900. It's expensive from the outset, and its set of ten pigment-based inks aren't going to be cheap to keep filled (you're looking at £380/$420 for a full set of cartridges), but if you need big prints that look really impressive up close, this is one of the best art printers you can get and well worth the money.
Where the SC-P900 really comes into its own is when it comes to printing on fine art media or even poster board. These media give this art printer's pigment inks the chance to really show their stuff. It takes its time printing at top quality, but you'll be elated with the results.
The compact Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 comes at just the right price point for anyone who wants a versatile, capable printer that can stretch to larger prints without breaking the bank. Its front-facing tray holds A4 paper, but the rear paper feed can handle A3+ and heavyweight media more suitable for art prints.
With six dye-based inks you'll get great colour reproduction and contrast, and it needn't cost fortune to run the printer since it's compatible with Epson's XL cartridges, which give you more ink at a better price. And you can avoid getting caught out too: if you sign up for pay-as-you-go ink via Amazon Dash Replenishment, your printer will order new cartridges for you when it senses it's running low.
Another heavyweight that's well worth the investment if you need big prints that positively pop with colour, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 delivers A2 prints – plus panoramic prints up to 1.2m in length. The quality is excellent thanks to a set of no less than 12 pigment-based Lucia Pro ink cartridges, each of which can be replaced individually, as well as a chroma optimiser that gives your work a smooth top coating if you're printing on glossy paper.
It'll produce an A2 print in around six minutes, and thanks to the top-quality inks the results will be stunning. The best results are achieved when using matte and fine art media.
If you need the absolute best in print quality and colour accuracy and don't mind paying for it, the Epson SureColor SC-P5000 is a printer you want to consider. It's one of the best art printers around if price isn't an issue. It's a 17in device that can handle A2+ posters, fine art media and panoramic prints. It features an internal colour calibration sensor that means it's capable of reproducing 99 per cent of the Pantone solid coated colour range with its set of 10 Epson UltraChrome HDX inks.
It's by far the heaviest and most expensive option on our list, but it's perfect for printing exhibition work and high-end art prints that customers will want to hang on their walls. If you need perfect art reproduction and long-term reliability, you'll find it soon pays for itself.
Not your average art printer, the incredible-looking HP DesignJet Studio is an A1 plotter aimed at architects, engineers and anyone who needs to print out large-scale line work without going to a repro house. It delivers big, crisp results and comes in 'Steel' and 'Wood' options so that you can choose the model that fits best with your studio.
It also has brilliant eco-credentials since it's made with as many recycled materials as possible, using low and renewable energy construction processes. It only has a basic set of dye-based CMYK inks and will struggle with smooth gradients and photographic quality, but for plans, diagrams and line work at maximum size, this is a fine choice.
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