- The best pigment ink printers feature high resolution and plenty of color channels to match the result as you see it.
- The Epson SureColor P900 is one of the best pigment ink printers overall for its incredible print quality, versatility, and features.
- The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is an equally great pigment ink printer that prioritizes durability over compactness and offers pristine image quality for professional photographers or designers.
- The Epson EcoTank 8550 is one of the best pigment ink printers that uses bottles instead of cartridges, cutting the cost of supplies by nearly 80%.
- The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e is the perfect pigment ink printer for those taking their first step into the world of creative printing.
When you need to print imagery as accurately as possible, you want only the best pigment ink printers. These machines feature high resolution and plenty of color channels to match the result as you see it. You also want a model that can handle the paper medium that fits your projects.
However, with so many types of equipment with a variety of features, sizes, and speeds, how do you know which one you need? We’ve reviewed the best pigment ink printers and narrowed them down to a fine list that covers any scenario.
Whether you need accuracy, print speed, or large size, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks:
- Best Overall: Epson SureColor P900
- Best Overall Alternative: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Best for Ink Bottles: Epson EcoTank 8550
- Best Budget Printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e
- Best for Large Prints: HP DesignJet T630
Best Overall: Epson SureColor P900
- All-new UltraChrome PRO10 Ink with Violet
- New 10-channel MicroPiezo AMC printhead
- Carbon Black Driver mode
- Features a 4.3-inch customizable touchscreen
- Maximum print speed 1ppm for color and monochrome
The Epson SureColor P900 is one of the best pigment ink printers overall for its incredible print quality, versatility, and features. When you can’t compromise perfection in your prints, there’s no better tool than the Epson SureColor P900. At the top of its class, this printer uses PRO10 pigments, ensuring a beautiful, vibrant color gamut. One of Epson’s strongest tools for this involves automatic ink switching, which utilizes separate nozzles to nail your darks. This helps print your images consistently and efficiently.
The SureColor P900 also supports several types and sizes of paper. It works with cut sheets and paper rolls up to 17 inches wide, printing to the edge if needed. But Epson doesn’t sacrifice design for versatility; Nearly 30% smaller than ever, the P900 can fit in some of the tightest spaces. Just remember to account for the fold-out tray.
Now, investing in a professional pigment ink printer is worth consideration, especially when it runs over $1,200, alongside this, you’ll need to pay for new cartridges as you run out. But for the best quality product, it’s definitely worth the price. Check out the Epson SureColor P900 on Amazon.
|It has professional print quality.
|There is a high cost for quality ink.
|The prints are up to 17 inches wide.
|It may be more than necessary for casual or novice creators.
|This printer has 10 channels and automatic ink switching.
|It has a compact design.
Best Overall Alternative: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Can also handle other specialty media, like canvas
- The Lightroom plugin allows for quick image adjustments before printing
- Print on cardstock paper of up to 400 g/m²
- Anti-clogging technology
- Maximum color print speed 5ppm
For an equally great pigment ink printer that prioritizes durability over compactness, you may prefer the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000. Competing directly with the SureColor P900, Canon’s premier printer offers pristine image quality for the professional photographer or designer. While it doesn’t have the auto switch feature with the Epson model, it has an extra channel and software to optimize color patterns. This makes it ideal for many media types, especially high-gloss paper.
It’s also the right choice for those who don’t want to fuss with their equipment. The Prograf 1000 has an intuitive menu that makes setup easy. It connects to your devices and even syncs with design software such as Lightroom for straightforward printing processes.
Between the two models, you’ll notice most of the differences in design. While Epson created its printer to fit in tight spaces, Canon built it to last. The Prograf measures 10 inches longer than the SureColor P900 and weighs nearly twice as much. With both printers offering peak quality, you may make your decision on this factor. Check out the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 on Amazon.
|This model competes directly with the Epson SureColor P900.
|It is twice as heavy as the P900
|There are 11 color channels.
|The Canon is designed for professionals
|This printer automatically syncs with software such as Lightroom.
|It has a durable build.
Best for Ink Bottles: Epson EcoTank 8550
To save money on supplies, the Epson EcoTank 8550 is one of the best pigment ink printers that uses bottles instead of cartridges. If you’re a prolific creator, you may find yourself spending a fortune on ink. Epson’s EcoTank 8550 solves this issue with a simple adjustment: bottled ink instead of cartridges. This cuts the cost of supplies by nearly 80%, resulting in running costs of less than one penny per page.
The EcoTank isn’t just cost-efficient, however. It can print up to 19 inches wide (larger than our favorite models) and offers similar compatibility. In fact, the only aspect it falls short in is color channels. While it won’t produce at the same quality as the P900 or the Prograf 1000, it’s still detailed enough for any enthusiast or intermediate photographer. Check out the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 on Amazon.
|It has excellent photo print quality.
|The printer has no automatic document feeder.
|The printer offers a respectable print speed.
|There is only 120 sheet capacity.
|It offers wide-format printing (up to 13 x 19 inches).
Best Budget Printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e
- 18ppm maximum color print speed
- Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity
- Remote print and scan
- Auto two-sided printing, scanning, and copying
- 250-sheet capacity
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e is the perfect pigment ink printer for those taking their first step into the world of creative printing. Now, if you’re just getting into professional printing and you’re not ready to invest hundreds of dollars in equipment, you should start with the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e. Although it doesn’t meet the standards of other pigment ink models, it uses the best HP cartridges for crisp results.
As an added benefit, the OfficeJet prints at lightning speed. It makes a great option for those putting together portfolios or other large documents. Plus, at just $289 it’s hard to beat the value. Check out the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e Wireless Printer on Amazon.
|It has fast printing speeds (up to 22ppm in monochrome)
|The printer has a small touch screen.
|The printer delivers good print quality for office settings.
|There are limited color channels.
|An Instant Ink subscription results in low running costs.
|This printer has only one paper input source.
|It is incredibly affordable.
Best for Large Prints: HP DesignJet T630
- Up to 36-inch wide media rolls (large format) and 13 x 19-inch sheets
- Automatic sheet feeder accessory
- Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity
- Max color print speed 2ppm
- Print from your smartphone, tablet, or computer with the HP Smart app
Capable of handling 36-inch projects, the HP DesignJet T630 is the perfect tool for those needing large-format prints. The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e makes for a great small-office tool, but if your business works with large designs, you may need something bigger.
HP makes a professional plotter printer — the Design Jet T630 — that can take on everything from technical line drawings to precise renders. Whether you work with sheets, rolls, or both, you can rely on this printer to support it.
Plus, just because your prints are large, doesn’t mean your wait times are too. The DesignJet T630 can produce A1-size designs in less than 30 seconds. This means you can have your image ready when you need it. Of course, equipment of this size and caliber comes at a price. Running nearly $1,900, it’s the most expensive model on our list. Check out the HP DesignJet T630 Large Format Printer on Amazon.
|This printer can handle rolls and sheets.
|The printer is expensive.
|It prints up to 36 inches wide.
|It may be larger than needed.
How to Pick the Best Pigment Ink Printers: Step by Step
When searching for the right pigment ink printer that meets your needs, there are four main aspects to consider:
- Color Channels
- Media Compatibility
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
A printer’s resolution — measured in Dots Per Inch, or DPI — determines the overall sharpness and detail in your images. With more DPI, your equipment will place more pigment in a space. It’s important to consider if you work with professional photos or large documents. However, if you print small images, having too much resolution may prove detrimental.
Generally, 1200 DPI results in good-quality images. However, if you can settle for no less than the best, look for printers with resolutions of 2400 DPI or higher.
Alongside resolution, pigment ink printers match color truer to nature based on the number of channels they have. You can achieve great quality out of a machine with six channels, which typically include a black and gray. However, professional-grade printers can come with 10 or more. This allows them to broaden their color gamut.
When printing for photography or design, you may find yourself using different types of paper. Commonly, photo paper comes in matte, gloss, or satin finishes that can affect the weight and thickness. Additionally, specialty paper can measure even thicker. Before you choose among the best pigment ink printers, ensure that the model can support your favorite medium.
The initial cost of equipment can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. And no one factor carries that cost. Aspects such as color channels, resolution, print speed, media compatibility, and a list of unique features drive the price. Generally, however, you can find a photo-quality printer for around $600-$700.
Alongside your up-front investment, you’ll need to purchase pigment inks (and these are not cheap). For cartridges, you may find yourself spending $20 whenever you need to replace one. Plus, the more channels, the more cartridges to replace.
What to Know Before Buying a Pigment Ink Printer
Pigment ink contains tiny particles of ground color pigments, which dry on top of your paper instead of absorbing like dyes. This makes it a great tool for printing images that will last for years. Creators prefer pigment ink for its color accuracy, water resistance, and media compatibility.
Because of these attributes, however, it’s much more expensive than dye. Therefore, it’s worth considering if you really need pigment for your projects.
Now, when it comes to photo printers as a tool, you don’t want to compromise on quality. Two brands primarily set the standard: Epson and HP. The former tends to lean more on the creative side, while the latter is on the business side.
So if you’re looking for design integration and unique features, consider Epson brands. If you’re working with quantity and efficiency, HP might suit your needs better.
Using Pigment Ink Printers: What It’s Like
When testing the best pigment ink printers, users first compared setup and ease of use. The Canon Prograf 1000 allowed for printing in a matter of minutes, with its functions connecting seamlessly to Wi-Fi and design software. The HP DesignJet 630 proved more difficult to set up, if only for its size and maneuverability.
Next, users tested print quality. As expected, the SureColor P900 and the Prograf 1000 provided stunning, true-to-life imagery, with the former having deeper blacks. Comparing the OfficeJet Pro to our top picks, the difference was stark. With only a few color channels, the results were basic.
Finally, users tested print speed. This is where the OfficeJet Pro shined, capable of printing up to 18 pages per minute in color. The SureColor P900 comes nowhere close to this speed, only producing one page in about 90 seconds. This demonstrates the difference in color accuracy versus quantity.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Photology1971/Shutterstock.com.