Taking family photos in the age of the smartphone is easy—but displaying them proves to be a little more difficult. Most families will take thousands of photos over the course of the year. Enjoying their physical prints, however, proves to be a more difficult task! A great at-home photo printer makes your family photos easily accessible, and lets you decorate your home and hearts with snaps of your loved ones in a pinch.

Though professional photo printing has gotten easier than ever, I love having the flexibility to print at home. It’s one less errand that you have to run, and it lets you finish the project in the moment. Printing at home means that you can finish an entire gallery wall in an hour. (And with no driving, at that!) In addition, printing your own photos helps you ensure that your private family photos are kept completely private—so even your silliest faces are seen only by you and your family.

Family-friendly inkjet printers

HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-In-One Inkjet PrinterFor big print jobs, I recommend using a desktop printer rather than something pocket-sized. Desktop printers are more cumbersome than instant or portable printers, but they have few big benefits. It’s easy to queue up large batches of photos in a variety of sizes on your at-home colour photo printer, and you can also use them to print documents whenever you need to.

Inkjet printers are your “typical” printer. They make up most of the at-home printer market, and they deliver reliable results with a low initial cost. Inkjet printers take longer to print than laser printers. However, their vivid photo printing capabilities have made them an industry staple. Inkjet printers also tend to use up their ink cartridges quickly, which can create higher operating fees over time.

My family has both a laser printer and an inkjet printer, and we replace the inkjet ink three or four times as often as our laser printer’s toner—even though we use the laser printer more often! Despite this fact, it makes sense for us to keep both models. We use our laser printer for everyday documents, notes, and files, while our all-in-one colour inkjet printer (a Canon PIXMA) is used to scan, copy, and print photos. The laser printer’s speed and precision is great for handling a large volume of text-based documents, but we really appreciate the studio-level results of an inkjet printer when paired with high-quality photo paper.

Instant printers for family photos on the go

Printing at home makes things easier than going to a photo shop to do it, but wait: there’s an even easier option available!

Instant printers are a great way to print your snaps on the go. They’re ideal for outings, birthday parties, and even road trips. You know that feeling that you got as a kid when someone whipped out their Polaroid and everyone ooh‘d and ahh‘d over it before having their picture taken? Well, that feeling is back.

ZINK technology in products like the Canon Ivy makes instant printing quick and affordable. I personally think these are the best option for families with kids, because each photo sheet is small and has a sticker backing. For teens and couples, analog printers like the Instax Mini Link offer a smoother quality. Instax prints are thicker, with longer-lasting results. They’re a little pricier per sheet than the ZINK paper used in the Canon Ivy, but analog Instax prints well-loved for their nostalgic feel and durability.

When purchasing, make sure to remember that instant printers are limited in their printing size. They only take one size of photo paper per model, which is typically much smaller than a standard 4″ x 6″ photo!

Portable and apartment-sized printers: The in-between option

To bridge the gap between instant printers and desktop options, look to products like the Canon Selphy. The Selphy’s quality is stellar, and it fills a unique niche. These portable photo printers print with studio quality from wherever you are.

There are also a number of photo printers available for small spaces. Compact photo printers like the HP Tango or Envy are designed to save space. They’re an excellent option for people who want to use their photo printer for the occasional document (or vice-versa) while still fitting it into a cluttered home office or a small apartment.

There’s no single, “best” way to print your family photos. However, portable and compact photo printers give you a space-conscious option for printing at home. For those who can’t choose what type of printer they want to use to print their family photos, a portable printer is an easy way to get the best of both worlds.

No matter what your choice is, a great home photo printer will help you fill your home with your favourite memories.

Shop photo printers online at Best Buy.

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at thenotice.net, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.