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Question Good inkjet for 4x6 photos and inexpensive ink


Senior member
Oct 3, 2010
Currently have an Epson XP-640 printer and it does a great job at printing 4x6 photos. The issue is it seems to go through alot of ink and the ink is expensive. Most places I have looked is around $73 for a set. It seems to go through ink like crazy. It doesn't get used all the time but it seems every time we go to use it, it is asking for ink.

May look into a printer that is cheaper on ink but also does a good job at printing 4x6 photos. We sell x-mas trees and do pics with Santa and we print out pics for the customers so it needs to be good quality. Printing speed is also something to consider, don't want something that is real slow, the speed of my Epson is fine. Is there certain printer brands to stay away from if looking for good 4x6 photos? It does need to have a copier and scanner as well.


Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
Not quite what you asked, but I'll offer comments. For our own use at home I have used for a long time Epson PictureMate printers.These are small units that do only one thing - print 4 x 6 photos. They cannot handle any other jobs or paper sizes. The photos they make (I always use their glossy heavy photo paper) have very good colour and detail, and are stated (by Epson) to last 100 years when you use THEIR paper and ink supplies.They emerge from the printer totally dry to the touch and do NOT smear. Typical print time is less than 1 minute - they claim "as little as 37 sec." A genuine Epson kit of one ink cart and 100 sheets of paper generally gave me slightly more than 100 prints, so I'd also keep handy a spare package of just their 4 x 6 Glossy Photo paper. With that I often bought third-party compatible ink carts and Epson paper packs separately. Colour and detail of the photos, and prints per cart yield, were usually very good, but I have no way of testing for 100 years. Certainly 10-year-old prints from it are just fine.

I used their original PictureMate for many years, then bought some used ones and scavenged a few parts when they were discontinued. Ultimately those failed, and I got the newer replacement unit, a Picture Mate Charm PM225 model. It does the job just as well, although some people complain that, when not used for a while, the jets clog and you can use up a LOT of ink "cleaning" it. Refill kits of 1 cart and 150 sheets of paper also produces for me about 156 prints using some spare paper sheets. I have tried a couple of third-party ink cartridges for this and, although print quality seemed quite comparable, the yield was often substantially less - a little as 50% of what I get from a genuine Epson cart. So the best cost came to be using only Epson ink and paper kits.

That Charm PM225 model now also is discontinued. The replacement model suggested by Epson is their PictureMate PM400 Personal Photo Lab that can do 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 prints. Input can be via USB from a computer or USB memory stick or by WiFi. Refill packs of one model 320 ink cart and 100 sheets paper are sold. You also can buy the ink cart alone. The paper I have used in my printers is Epson's S041727 Premium Photo Paper Glossy 4 x 6. That paper's basis weight on the package is 68 lb or 256 g/m², but there are lighter and heavier papers also from Epson. My guess us that buying the kit of cart plus 100 sheets is better than buying separately, unless you find you need extra paper OR you find a good cheaper ink cart supply. If my experience on yield - that is, you do get all the prints they claim from a printer pack - you can calculate cost per print easily. I have NO experience on 5 x 7 prints because I never had this printer.

Of course, this unit has no scanner or copier capability.

Oh, a small note. With those two printers I have used, each came with a "starter" set of an ink cart with only a little ink and 20 sheets of paper. Quite sufficient to get the printer loaded up and prove it works. But you WILL need more paper and ink almost immediately.
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