Finding the best printers for graphic designers can be a struggle if you really care about how your prints come out. With so many little details that make up the design, getting the right printer can make or break any designer’s project.
When you are creating your designs, you spend a lot of time creating every line, color, and shape in a specific way to make sure it appears spectacularly. No designer wants their work to be misrepresented in any way, especially in the final, printed product.
Spending a little extra time researching (and a little extra money buying) the best printer for graphic designers is time (and money) well-spent for you and your graphic design business.
Looking at the best printers for graphic designers can be easier said than done. There are hundreds of options on Amazon alone. And a good-quality printer is not cheap, so it is something you want to consider carefully. To help you do that, we’ve created a list of the top 10 options to make your work come to life.
The 10 best printers for graphic designers
Released in 2014, this photo printer from Canon is still one of the most highly-rated, best printers for graphic design on the market. A step above a basic photo printer, the PIXMA graduates you from the 8 by 10-inch print size, and gives you 13 by 19 inches to work with.
Epson makes a great “small-in-one” printer option, which is one of the best printers for graphic design if you need a more compact solution for working on the go or in a small office space. The Epson Expression prints up to the A4 size, perfect for card makers or providing samples quickly.
Epson also offers their ReadyPrint subscription ink service, which mails cartridges directly to you when your ink starts running low. If you use your printer often and hate having to worry about running out of ink, this is a great option.
Brother printers are known for being sturdy, dependable and efficient at high-volume printing. So if you’re looking for a laser option, the Brother HL-L8360CDW is definitely worth considering.
The toner cartridge printer can churn out 33 pages per minute, whether in color or black and white. Add that to the wireless function, advanced security, touch screen, and optional multi-level trays that can handle over 1,000 sheets at a time––and you have hands down one of the best printers for graphic designers who do large printing runs.
4. HP ENVY 6075
HP’s ENVY line is marketed towards families in need of a high-quality printer at home. Don’t let that fool you. The pro version, the HP ENVY 6075, has plenty of power and quality to put it on the list of best printers for graphic designers, especially if you’re in the market for a more affordable option.
With a speed of up to 7 ppm and 1200 dpi resolution, you can get beautiful photos and documents with mobile capabilities (including Alexa compatibility) without the pro price tag. It will also print a range of sizes, from 4×5 up to 8.5×14, and will do a full bleed/borderless image. The last bonus? This model comes with two full years of the HP ink subscription.
Psst: Have you heard about Hectic? It's our new favorite tool for freelancing smarter, not harder. Client management, project management, invoices, proposals, and lots more. Hectic's got it all. Click here to see what we mean.
While the PIXMA Pro is pricier than some of the others on this list, it is one of the best printers for graphic designers because of the unique, dye-based ink system. It also gives you a larger canvas to play with, with a full bleed up to 13”x19,” and a custom print size up to 13” x 39.”
Reviewers love the quality and setup is easy. You can use a variety of paper types and even other mediums like canvas and rag. If you are a graphic designer who regularly prints physical products like photos, stickers, fine art prints, greeting cards and more, investing in this higher-end machine might be a good fit.
Another Brother option that makes the most of your toner, this model may be among the best printers for graphic designers who print a LOT of pages. It doesn’t have the high-resolution quality of some higher-end printers, so this is a solution that works well for things like flyers, proofs, or black and white documents.
Depending on your field, a traditional printer just may not cut it. Large format printers can cost thousands of dollars, and if you’re a large operation, a high-end machine that can print huge posters, large scale photo prints and even banners might be totally worth it. For a one-person freelance shop, though, there’s another solution.
The Epson Expression Photo HD printer is a compromise between needing to print larger files and working on a budget. You can print full resolution images with a full bleed up to 13”x19” at a very competitive price point.
If color is your thing (and, as a design, why wouldn’t it be?), Lexmark printers have an added advantage of their Named Color Replacement technology. You can save brand colors, or use common labeling systems such as Pantone, DIC, HKS or TOYO to ensure that the colors you spend so much time calibrating on screen look the same every single time they are printed.
This model has a bit of a larger footprint, so it is probably not the best printer for graphic designers with a very small home office space.
How many of us are constantly working from the road, moving between workstations, or using a cramped office space? This small scale printer from Brother is a novel tool for small projects like labels, stickers, cards and up to 4”x6” photos. One reviewer determined the size to be “between a Big Mac & Double Big Mac,” so this small machine can travel just about anywhere with you.
While the quality may not create fine-art prints, unique packaging options for physical products are nearly unlimited. This might not be the best printer for graphic designers when it comes to versatility, but it’s a fun one to take a look at to get some new ideas flowing.
5 Things to consider when deciding on the best printer for you
So which one is the best printer for graphic designers? That boils down to the age-old question. Which is best for your needs? Is it the inkjet printer or the laser printer? Large format or compact? Budget or top-of-the-line? Here are some of the key considerations when making your choice.
Purchase Cost: An inkjet may be cheaper upfront in comparison to a laser printer. However, the total lifecycle costs including costs of operation are actually higher.
Type of documents: Laser printers are known for producing better-written documents than photos and graphics. The opposite is true for inkjets. However, the organization you are working in also matters. If it is a startup or you’re working from home, the laser printer will offer more value in comparison to an inkjet.
Running costs: A printer is a key business tool. What you produce on it has a cost attached to it. So, if you are printing a large number of documents or graphics, the best printer for graphic designers is likely to be a laser printer, which will offer you massive savings over what the inkjet will cost you through its lifetime.
Room: If you are working from your home office, space may be at a premium. Laser printers have been known to be huge, and can take up the space of a cabinet.
Even the smaller ones are generally large in comparison to inkjets. If you work in a separate office this probably isn’t an issue, but an inkjet might be the best printer for graphic designers sharing a room with family or working in a co-op space.
Durability: Between the two types, laser printers are known to be much more sturdy. They can take a beating and still churn out quality work, whereas an inkjet will require more maintenance.
Looking at the best printers for graphic designers isn’t just a matter of thinking about the here and now. Yes, you need a printer to fulfill orders and get the business running. However, a printer is a long-term commitment.
Don’t pick something that will fulfill your needs now and then be a problem down the road, or will struggle to fulfill your work needs. You’ll wind up spending more when you have to upgrade.
When it comes to picking the best printers for graphic designers, anticipate what your needs will be a year or two down the line. Do you just want to print logos, or are you also looking at expanding into other areas of graphics?
Pair the answer to that question with your financial objectives on operational costs, and pick the printer that will work best for you for years to come.
Keep the conversation going...
Over 10,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!