Inkjet Printers: Ratings of Sources
ComputerShopper.com is a great source for printer reviews. Tests are thorough (covering speed, print quality, features and more), and editors give each printer a star rating and pick the best buys. This site tests a lot of stand-alone inkjets, including pro-quality photo printers. The best earn Editors' Choice picks, but unfortunately, the top picks aren't corralled into one up-to-date list.
Consumer Reports editors test 13 standalone inkjet printers -- a wide range of prices and types, including office- and photo-centric printers (but not professional photo printers). Testers analyze speed and photo, text and graphics quality, as well as maintenance ink use, convenience, power saving, versatility and cost of ownership in a handy chart, before giving each printer an overall score.
Shutterbug regularly tests high-end home and professional inkjet photo printers from an image-quality-oriented perspective that's missing from many other reviews. Write-ups are illustrated with print reproductions and screen shots of driver controls, but products aren't rated or ranked, and most reviews are favorable. Text quality isn't addressed. However, if photo printing is your sole buying consideration and you want to examine the subtle differences between models, Shutterbug is an exceptional source for reviews.
Professional photographer and digital printmaker Amadou Diallo spends 76 hours researching and testing the latest high-end personal inkjet photo printers from Epson and Canon (single-function printers, capable of printing on 13-inch-wide paper, ranging from about $400 to $1,000). Diallo picks three winners at different price points, clearly outlining their strengths and weaknesses. However, he only publishes one test photo (a black-and-white coastline landscape) comparing their prints. Text quality isn't addressed. The most recent update adds feedback on long-term testing of one specific model.
PhotographyBlog.com reviews photo inkjet printers from a professional/enthusiast photographer's standpoint. The latest medium- to high-end photo printers are covered, along with snapshot printers. Well-illustrated reviews analyze (and rate, on a scale of 1 to 5) the printers' design, features, ease of use, image quality and value. Each printer gets an overall rating (1 to 5 stars), making it easy to pick the best ones.
This U.K. website is another outstanding source for photo printer reviews. Keith Cooper tests printers aimed at pro photographers and serious enthusiasts, with a keen eye for photo quality and a firm grip on which printer features can really make a pro's life easier (and which ones don't matter). Cooper doesn't pick any favorites, but his detailed, well-illustrated reviews provide valuable insight into each printer.
This pro photo website reviews few printers -- but its in-depth review of Canon and Epson's latest pro photo printers, the Canon imageProGraf Pro-1000 and Epson SureColor P800, is a must-read if you're deciding between these two. Although he doesn't compare them directly, tester Jeremy Gray covers every aspect of the printers in detail, with several color and black-and-white test images to show differences in color, richness and detail with various settings and papers.
PCMag.com tests lots of all-in-one inkjet printers (that can also copy, scan and fax), but only occasionally tests standalone inkjet printers (including high-end photo printers). The reviews are balanced, comparative and thorough, with detailed benchmark results and helpful comparison charts. Testers judge text, graphics and photo quality, then rate each printer. The best printers earn Editors' Choice awards.
Amazon.com customers contribute reviews and ratings of products they've purchased. However, all current and discontinued inkjets are lumped together without adequate sorting tools. Many printers score similarly, so reading the actual posts tends to be more illuminating than relying solely on the rating system.
Staples.com provides a 5-star rating system and a useful Pros and Cons breakdown. As with most retail websites, the quality of its owner reviews varies widely; some are in-depth and informative, while others are brief.
This photo, video and audio superstore in New York allows customers to post reviews on its website. Photo enthusiasts and professional photographers are especially keen to weigh in on photo printers. The site has a helpful filter that lets you choose features and specifications for your ideal printer.
Each year, PCMag.com surveys its subscribers to find out which printer brands they like best. Readers rate the brands on their reliability, tech support and frequency of repair. They also say how likely they would be to recommend the brand to others. Canon, a perennial winner, earns an Honorable Mention this year, "due in large part to its best-in-category technical support and repair services." It's the only standalone inkjet manufacturer to win an honor.
Editors of the Technical Image Press Association's 27 member magazines worldwide meet every year to vote on the best cameras, lenses, printers and other photo-related equipment. Each gets a one-paragraph explanation. TIPA says editors name the very best products in each category based on their own testing.