Are color laser printers good enough to print photos? Or they too expensive and produces low quality photos?

  • For consumer or professional level? For how much printing?
    – Troggy
    Jul 21, 2009 at 18:16
  • To print a lot of photo at home. Jul 21, 2009 at 18:20
  • Let's say 300 per month. Jul 21, 2009 at 18:21

4 Answers 4


Laser printers are great for speed and "business graphics" (think pie charts). For the rich color and glossy finish of photos you'll want an ink-based solution. When compared side-by-side the ink/bubblejet print will beat out the laser print every time.

For the best results try for a 4-color process (separate Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black cartridges) printer with a native resolution over 1440 dpi.

I've had decent luck with Epsons and HPs. I have heard good things about Canons but have not owned one myself.

  • 1
    I'm still waiting for a good "hybrid": laser for most prints and some of the black coloring of the photo, ink for full color and photos. Jul 21, 2009 at 19:12
  • @Joel - Lasers do produce a stunning black. I had to print brochures with a color photo on the front off a laser and while it looked decent, printing the same brochure on an ink jet made the colors more lifelike. But damn the text look good on the laser version. A hybrid would rock.
    – Rob Allen
    Jul 21, 2009 at 19:20
  • @RobAllen Are you saying besides black and white printing, inkjets pwn lasers? (quality)
    – Pacerier
    May 17, 2012 at 22:14
  • @Pacerier - Not exactly. It isn't that simple. When consumer and business lasers lay down a bunch of toner in a small space (like a photo) it has a thick matte finish to it, so color photos lose their shine, clarity and color definition. If you are producing a block of a single color like the charts I mentioned, or a logo, or other color application that doesn't have the complexity of a photo, Laser is hard to beat. You also have other factors in Laser's favor like speed and efficiency
    – Rob Allen
    May 19, 2012 at 15:13

Did you buy a printer yet? You might look into the dye-sub printers. There are several for making 6x4in prints. The output is indistinguishable from photographic, though the color does not pop quite as much. For larger prints, the Phaser line of printers are decent, though pricey.

Edit: I do not wish to promote any particular 6x4in printer model, but Google does list such printers with the search term dye sub photo printer .

Xerox has a list of Phaser dye sub printers here, along with a sales blurb on the benefits of solid ink. The Phasers can easily handle a 100 prints a day. Kodak also has some interesting printers, though I've never used them or seen their output.


From what I've found, no they are not good enough for decent photo prints. If you want to print at home, I would suggest the Epson PictureMate. It only does 4x6 printing, but the quality/value ratio is quite good.


If you're willing to invest in a laser printer (more than $500), it can produce decent prints, and last longer.

Before you buy, pay attention to the printer's density, measured in dpi (you'll want at least 300dpi ). Also, always ask to try the printer.

  • 1
    300 DPI will not produce good Picture quality. Oct 15, 2009 at 20:52
  • 1
    300 DPI is reasonably good for text, but you want a lot higher for photos. Oct 15, 2009 at 21:30
  • There is DPI and then there is PPI. The old fashioned prints from the film processor used approximately 300 PPI output onto photo paper. An inkjet will need considerably more DPI than PPI due to the dithering process to produce color.
    – casualuser
    Nov 24, 2009 at 1:56

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