Juli Asks: About Home Printers

Welcome to Juli Asks, a series where Juli, one of our Awesome Ladies members, who’s just getting into scrapbooking, asks rukristin for advice. Learn from this series and ask questions of your own.

Juli Asks: What are the pros/cons you see in the investment of buying a printer that will print decent photos at home? I’ve looked at the Canon Selphy, but then I don’t know if it’s better to get a printer that can print bigger photos like for 6×8 or maybe even 9×12. I currently do all my photo printing from either Shutterfly or CVS, but I often wish I had the immediate access to print things right away.

rukristin: Juli, this is such a great question. It’s definitely a question with a ton of answers as well, and as with any great question, I’m going to pose another question back at you. I think the biggest question you have to ask yourself is — how much are you willing to pay for the convenience of printing at home?

There is a cost to the convenience of printing at home. Some places will even break it down for you in cpp (cost per print) so that you can compare it to what it would cost you to get it printed somewhere else. I’m not going to break it down by cost per print, because I love printing in a bunch of different sizes, and this would be a totally different blog post.

It comes down to the type of scrapbooker you are. If you are the type of scrapbooker that likes to batch your work, then investing in a home printer might not be for you. You might be better off just trying to get ahead on your batching so that you always have an extra set of photographs to work from.

Now, here’s what I think about investing in an at-home printer (and this is from someone who has had a ton of at home printers over the years) I’m going to take a strong stance. It’s better to get a larger printer. The ink and the paper for the smaller printers can really add up (several of them have proprietary paper as well as ink), and while they are awesome, I wouldn’t want them to be my first at home printer.

You can do SO much more with a bigger printer aside from photos that you can’t do with the smaller format printers. You can print out journaling cards and PDFs for pages. There are awesome papers that you can use in those printers that you generally can’t use in the smaller printers. That being said, the smaller printers can have a smaller upfront cost. If you’re going to be using the printer more than just occasionally, that cost is going to go up very quickly.

My best advice is to figure out what you want in a printer, make a list of the top three features you want: whether that’s something that will print larger than 8.5×11, something with ultra-high quality, something with lower replacement ink costs, portability, the ability to use different papers or anything else that comes to mind, and then comparison shop.

I personally love the convenience of printing at home. I have a large format printer that I absolutely adore. I like that I can print my photos (whatever size I want — from little 2×2 photos all the way up to , journaling cards, patterned paper and anything else I want to put into my scrapbooks.

Here are a few review sites for photo printers, but I highly recommend that you do some more personalized googling based on the features you decide are important.

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