The best printers for designers

Printers are essential tools for freelance designers and those now working from home, but how do you choose the right model for your needs?
A Canon PIXMA TR150 prints out a picture of a small blue vase, the inspiration for which is positioned next to it.

As the way we work becomes ever more flexible, it's increasingly important that your home office or studio is equipped with the tools you need to do your job effectively. For those working in the creative industries, particularly designers, a printer is an essential tool. From proofreading layouts to creating hard copies for client approval and taking care of day-to-day admin, a high-quality printer can save you time and help you win commissions. But what features should you look out for?

Sharp text and design details, smooth gradients, colour fidelity and print-to-print consistency are essential requirements for client proofs. Versatility is another vital printer attribute. As a designer, you may be tasked with producing everything from business cards and flyers to poster-sized prints, so a printer that supports a wide variety of media types and sizes will give you more creative options and mean fewer trips to your local print bureau. Reliability and ease of use are vital qualities too, as are convenience features such as wireless connectivity, automatic paper feeding and fast printing speeds.

To help you decide which is the best printer for your design needs, we've put together a selection of suitable Canon PIXMA printers to consider.

Best printer for big design projects: Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series

A Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series printer on a desk next to a laptop, notepad, photographs and pencils.

The Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series printer is capable of producing borderless A3 prints and yet isn't much bigger than a standard A4 printer. © Natasha Alipour

A woman's hand is shown turning over a sheet of paper to demonstrate the two-sided printing capabilities of the Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series.

Automatic two-sided printing and a 20-sheet ADF (Auto Document Feeder) are just two of the many features found on the Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series. © Natasha Alipour

The all-in-one Canon PIXMA TS9550 Series printer takes up much the same space as an A4 printer but it's able to produce borderless A3 prints, and has a host of features that allow designers to be more productive with their time. A 10.8cm LCD touchscreen makes it simple to adjust printing settings, while automatic two-sided printing and a 20-sheet ADF (Auto Document Feeder) for A4 paper reduces the amount of refills you need to carry out. It's a well-connected model too, with both Ethernet and wireless options, and support for AirPrint (iOS) and Mopria (Android) and the Canon PRINT app, so you can print, scan and copy ideas and inspiration straight from your smart device.

Of course, the ultimate test of a printer is the print quality itself, and the PIXMA TS9550 Series uses five individual ChromaLife100 ink cartridges, including a pigment black ink for sharp text, in order to produce detailed prints with an album life of up to 100 years1. The PIXMA TS9550 Series supports a wide range of creative media too, including Canon High Resolution Paper, Magnetic Photo Paper and 12x12inch cardstock.

For graphic designers who have no need to print larger than A4, the Canon PIXMA TS8350 Series all-in-one printer is as beautiful to look at as the prints it produces. The sleek design will complement any designer's workspace, and take printing performance to the next level, with a six single inks system that reduces graininess.

Best printer for low running costs: Canon PIXMA G6050

A Canon PIXMA G6050 printer printing an image of a logo

The Canon PIXMA G6050 is capable of printing up to 18,0002 pages from just three black ink bottles, making it a smart choice for those on a budget. © Jake Baggaley

A hand is seen topping up the black ink tank on the Canon PIXMA G6050 printer.

Canon's non-squeeze, no-mess ink bottles mean refilling the high-yield ink tanks on the Canon PIXMA G6050 is quick and easy. The bottles automatically stop refilling when the tanks are full.

For designers who have to produce a high volume of hard proofs, a model in the Canon PIXMA G Series MegaTank printer range is a very practical option. The Canon PIXMA G6050 has four high-yield refillable ink tanks, and is capable of delivering up to 18,0002 pages from three black ink bottles or 7,7002 pages from a set of colour inks. It also boasts a 350-sheet plain paper capacity and automatic duplex printing, so you can spend less time refilling the PIXMA G6050 with paper and ink, and more time taking care of the creative side of things.

The printhead technology in the PIXMA G6050 ensures sharp and detailed prints, and it also offers borderless printing from 89x89mm square up to A4. It's a versatile three-in-one option too, with both a copier and an A4 scanner, which enables you to import artwork and other source material into a design project without the need for additional hardware. The PIXMA G6050 is also cloud-ready, so designs can be printed from any location using compatible services, such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Best printer for designers on the go: Canon PIXMA TR150

A man seated at a table examines the picture his Canon PIXMA TR150 printer has just produced.

The Canon PIXMA TR150 produces vivid prints quickly thanks to its hybrid ink system and print speeds of up to 5.5 ipm3 (images per minute). © Jake Baggaley

A man packs a Canon PIXMA TR150 printer into a black rucksack.

Easily fitting into a rucksack and with wireless capabilities, the small and lightweight Canon PIXMA TR150 is the perfect portable printer. © Jake Baggaley

Whether you're a graphic designer who's looking to produce proofs for a client pitch while you're on the road or working remotely – or you simply want to reclaim some space in your home office – the lean and lightweight Canon PIXMA TR150 printer is a great choice. Able to deliver documents and borderless photos up to A4 size, this portable printer can be powered by mains or via an optional battery pack for a truly mobile solution.

The PIXMA TR150 uses a hybrid ink system that features a pigment black ink with dye-based colours for vivid archival prints. It's quick too, with print speeds of up to 5.5 ipm3 (images per minute) in colour and 9 ipm3 in black and white.

All the connections and cables are fixed to one side of the printer, so it's easy to accommodate in tight spaces, and it comes with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi support4, as well as Wi-Fi Direct so you can continue to print wirelessly without access to an internet router. There's even a 1.44-inch OLED screen, so you can check the connection status, access settings and ink levels directly too.

If your mobile printing needs aren't so demanding, the compact and convenient Canon SELPHY Square QX10 produces vibrant 68x68mm images with a caption-able border, so you can add notes or comments, which would be ideal for creating a mood board. Useful features include USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity, with SELPHY ink and paper refill sets enabling you to replace both in one simple step.

Written by Marcus Hawkins

  1. ChromaLife 100 compatible photo papers include Photo Paper Pro Platinum, Photo Paper Plus Glossy II, Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss and Photo Paper Glossy. Based on accelerated testing by Canon in dark storage under controlled temperature, humidity and gas conditions, simulating storage in an album with plastic sleeves. Canon cannot guarantee the longevity of prints; results may vary depending on printed image, drying time, display/storage conditions, and environmental factors.
  2. Page Yield is the estimated value based on Canon individual test method using the ISO/IEC 24712 chart and continuous printing simulation with the replacement ink bottles after initial setup.
  3. A4 document print speed on plain paper is measured based on average of ESAT in Office Category Test of ISO/IEC 24734 standard.
  4. Support for 5GHz may not be available in your region.

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