So I have a similar question to this one, but it's about 5 years old now: printer recommendations

Since printing technology is always developing, consider this the updated question for late 2018.

My parents do not have a lot of money but they want to be able to print a bunch of photos from home on occasion. Since they don't print very frequently, they often have the ink-drying-up problem that leads to clogs/poor print quality, which means more maintenance routines that use up even more ink and cost them a lot of money in the long run. So I'm planning on getting them a new printer for Christmas.

My question has two parts:

  1. What would you get them today if these were your parents (presuming you love your parents)

  2. In 2018, are toner photo prints usually good enough these days that they could be a good replacement for ink prints?

I was thinking about getting them a color laser printer + backup toner + laser photo paper bundle, but I'm hoping for some feedback on quality and models (or even feedback that suggests a better inkjet).

So far, I was looking at either a Canon imageClass MFC or a Samsung Xpress. The Xpress seems "simpler" which would be great for my parents and has cheaper toners but worse yield (roughly $0.044 per page vs imageClass's $0.038). However, I have no idea what the image quality for a printed photo is truly like on either of these, and I rarely print photos from my own color laser (a Brother MFC).

There's another part of me that whispers, "If you want good photo quality, laser can't compete with pigment ink..." so I've considered a printer that might be more geared specifically to simple printing of 4x6 photos, like the Canon SELPHY. While it sounds like the print quality is great, I assume (maybe incorrectly?) they would be susceptible to the same kind of ink-drying issues that my parents face on their current printer. Also, the cost per print is much higher (roughly $0.28), but if it doesn't dry out and clog like other inkjets do, maybe it's more feasible... (EDIT: One of the reviews for the SELPHY said the ink doesn't dry out like inkjets do)

So all that said, what would you guys suggest today (or if there's something new and better coming out between now and Christmas 2018) ?

closed as off-topic by mattdm, scottbb, Philip Kendall, xiota, Hueco Oct 22 at 17:28

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking specific product or service recommendations, where the answer is likely to be either entirely personal or short-lived as a result of changing markets, are off topic here. Please rephrase your question to describe the problem you're trying to solve or what you do not understand that prevents you from determining the answer yourself." – mattdm, scottbb, Philip Kendall, xiota, Hueco
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Note that product recommendations are off-topic here, as they are on most Stack Exchange sites. See this blog post for more. And speculating on something new coming before Christmas is doubly so.... – mattdm Oct 21 at 17:44
  • I thought the concern was primarily about product recommendations due to the changing product market, which is why I tried to caveat this by specifying the time frame. – jhilgeman Oct 21 at 18:06
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    The basic goal is to have timeless questions that will help people forever, or at least close to it. Having different questions for every year doesn't really help that. But I think more fundamentally, there's unlikely to be anyone who has really reviewed all the printer options out there; we're just going to get random personal experiences rather than comprehensive advice. Better to go to a printer review site — they do review lots and lots of models, and strive to keep up as things change. – mattdm Oct 21 at 18:14
  • I've read through several printer review sites prior to posting, but those reviews tend to lean towards being generic to a wide audience and they often review each printer independently (so it's hard to get a thorough answer on toner vs. ink, for example, since they want to cover scanning capabilities). I understand the desire for timeless questions, but given that certain technologies adapt over time, it seems worthy to occasionally ask for new answers. I'm looking precisely for anecdotal, random experiences from people who are more likely to have a wide range of printing experiences. – jhilgeman Oct 21 at 19:49
  • The question will have lasting value if rephrased "What was considered state of the art in economical home photo printers in 2018" :) – rackandboneman Oct 22 at 10:44

Since they don't print very frequently, they often have the ink-drying-up problem that leads to clogs/poor print quality, which means more maintenance routines that use up even more ink and cost them a lot of money in the long run. So I'm planning on getting them a new printer for Christmas.

Given this, I'd suggest a gift card to an online printing service. The cost of a decent printer will instead go a long, long way towards just getting results without the hassle of printer maintenance.

Note that the cost per page for the non-dedicated printers you are looking at assumes an average cost for general-purpose documents on non-photo paper. If you are doing full-page (or even quarter-page!) prints on photo paper, your cost per page will be much, much higher. That puts online services into a competitive range, and with no initial outlay or ongoing work.

  • That sounds like two different recommendations. If the cost of a decent printer will go a long, long way, wouldn't that be the better choice? – jhilgeman Oct 21 at 17:31
  • No, I mean exactly the opposite. :) Rephrased. – mattdm Oct 21 at 17:37

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