Printers for art come in many different options and price points. From just over $100 to, well, the sky is the limit.
Since around 2005 I've printed a crazy amount of limited edition prints. From postcard sized prints to prints over two meters wide.
Over the years, I have also tested and pushed printers to their max. Irresponsibly printing for long periods of time and neglecting how I maintained the printers. Often until they had to be put in their colorful printer graves.
In this article, I'm going to share with you the printers for art I've used and would recommend. Also, which printers for art are on my wish list to buy someday.
What are the best printers for art prints?
First, you have to know I am partial to Canon printers. They have more experience in research and development in color and image creation. They're dedicated to helping artists make great images. Through their inks, cameras, and printers.
The list of the printers for art below is in order of the least expensive to most expensive. Also in order of smallest print size to largest.
The Canon Pixma range of printers for art offers the best quality for an inexpensive price. The Pixma IX6820 is one of the best low-cost printers to get you started. Capable of printing up to 13″ x 19″.
I currently use this printer for making art prints. Slightly more expensive than the IX6820, the Canon Pixma Pro-100 is also able to print up to 13″ x 19″. The only difference is the Pixma Pro-100 uses a more archival dye-based ink system. A great printer to start with.
This Epson SureColor P600 prints on rolls 19″ wide using 8 ink cartridges. A great option if you would like to start offering fine art prints larger than the common 13″ x 19″ size.
Large format printers for artists
If you want to be able to make art prints larger than 13″x19″, you'll need to start looking at large format printers for art.
Be aware, large format printers have higher expenses. Such as more expensive inks, costly rolls of paper, and additional time cleaning and maintaining them. Investments of time and money you'll definitely have to keep in mind as you price your art prints.
Below are two large format printers I would recommend if you wanted to begin offering art prints larger that 24 inches wide. I have never owned these. Only having used them at my friends studio who was nice enough to let me use them when I had large art print orders to fulfill.
The HP Designjet T120 offers a great price for being able to print on rolls up to 24″ wide on rolls of paper.
Finally, for those of you who wish to print your art on paper rolls up to 36″ wide, the Canon ImageProGraf offers up the best value for its size capabilities.
Is inkjet or laser better for art prints?
Generally, there are two types of printers:
- Laser printers
- Inkjet printers.
Laser printers are ideal for printing a lot of text in black and white.
Inkjet printers are better printers for art. When you use a inkjet printer for art prints you'll achieve a higher quality of print. Especially if you are using an inkjet printer capable of using archival inks on high-quality paper.
Should you even buy a printer?
If you're just starting out, purchasing any of these printers for art prints is a big upfront expense. Not only do you have to buy a printer, you have to think about how often you have to replenish the ink cartridges, and paper supply as well.
On top of investing money in a printer regularly, you also have to spend time printing, packing, and shipping your art prints.
If printing your own art prints seems daunting to you, I recommend NOT buying a printer at all. Instead, I suggest you go the print on demand route.
Print on demand is where you use a third party manage your orders. Since I've been travelling more often throughout the year, I currently use a print on demand resource called Printful.
Printful links up with my store. When someone purchases a limited edition print during an art launch, Printful automatically gets notified to print, package, and ship.
The only downside with any print on demand service is that you can't sign the prints or make any other hand-embellishments.
Final thoughts on picking printers for art prints
Once you have the ability to make high-quality prints, you'll have a whole new way to make money as an artist. Printing your own art prints can become a key income source for you.
Ultimately, high-quality art prints are a result of three things:
- An inkjet printer
- Archival inks
- Archival paper
Which is why I recommend the Canon Pixma Pro-100 Wireless Color Professional Inkjet Printer.
With this printer you can use archival dye-based inks and a museum quality, acid-free paper. Which will offer added longevity and more durability to your work.
For paper, always use Hahnemühle brand of paper and canvas for your art printer.