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Best A3 printer 2023: Supersize your printing from £220

If you regularly need to print on paper that’s larger than A4, why not upsize your printer? Here’s our guide to the best A3 printers

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want an A3 printer, from publishers proofing pages to photographers printing photos large enough to be seen across a room. Even for the home user there’s plenty of call for poster-sized prints. However, most standard printers can’t manage anything larger than A4.

The main drawback with A3 printers is that they’re significantly larger. Most normal-sized printers take an A4 sheet on a path that’s barely wider than the paper itself. A3 printers do the same thing, but the printer needs to be much wider – the width of an A3 sheet being the same as the length of a regular A4 page.

This tends to bulk up the price of the printer too, not to mention that printing larger pages will inevitably use more ink. However, balanced against using a specialist printing service every time you want to produce an A3 print, you may find it soon pays its way.

All of the printers we’ve listed below have been tested by a member of the Expert Reviews team. We run the same set of tests that we run on our A4 printer reviews, so we can compare these A3 models against each other while also making sure they’re keeping up with their A4 counterparts.

READ NEXT: The best printers you can buy

Best A3 printer: At a glance

How to choose the best A3 printer for you

A3 printers come in all types, with both inkjet and laser models widely available. Because A3 pages are twice the size of A4 pages, printing A3 pages is likely to get through ink faster. They’re also likely to be slower to print for the same reason – there’s simply more space to cover on an A3 page.

Inkjet printers store their ink in cartridges and operate by spraying the paper with thousands of tiny ink dots. When the ink cartridges run out, they need to be removed and replaced with new cartridges, which are simply clipped into place.

A3 printers are also available as ink tank models, which use voluminous wells to store ink rather than keeping it in a disposable cartridge. These can be more economical to run than standard inkjets because the replacement ink is supplied in basic bottles, rather than complex cartridges with built-in electronics. The tanks can also hold a lot more ink, so you can keep printing for longer between refills. This is particularly useful in A3 printing because of the extra ink needed to print larger pages.

Laser printers tend to be faster, particularly with larger prints. They electrically fuse the ink in their cartridges onto the paper, which is more efficient than the inkjet printing process. The toner cartridges for A3 laser printers are bigger than their A4 counterparts, so they can be packed with more ink and tend to last longer.

Should I get a printer with more than four inks?

If you’re likely to be printing a lot of photos, particularly on photo paper, it’s worth looking at printers that have additional inks as well as the usual black, cyan, magenta and yellow. The extra colours vary depending on the printer, but they’re often subtler shades of existing colours. If most of your printing is just going to be standard office documents rather than photos, the four basic colours should suffice.

Can I get an A3 MFP?

Multifunction printers, or MFPs, have a built-in scanner and can operate as a printer, a scanner and a copier. Many A3 printers come with all these functions, particularly if they’re designed for an office or home office. However, make sure your MFP has the right size scanner for your needs, as some cheaper A3 MFPs only have A4 scanner beds; if you want to make A3 scans as well as prints, you’ll need a model with an A3 scanner.

For making rough copies, you don’t necessarily need an MFP any more. Most printers come with an accompanying smartphone app that you can use in conjunction with your phone’s camera to make simple copies. While it may not be as high quality as a scan from a flatbed, you might be surprised how well your smartphone operates as a scanner.

Are A3 printers economical to run?

This can vary from printer to printer and follows a similar pattern to regular A4 printers, in that inkjets with ink tanks tend to be the cheapest to run, while cartridge-based inkjets are the most expensive. Laser printers usually sit somewhere in between, though economies of scale can also apply, and a good professional laser printer will be more cost-efficient in a busy office that prints hundreds of pages a day.

How we test A3 printers

Expert Reviews puts every printer through a series of demanding tests. These are designed to measure the speed of the printer, and produce prints we can use to compare the print quality of each model against printers we’ve reviewed in the past. Speed tests are run with multiple copies of a mono letter, a colour business document and a selection of photos of different sizes.

When reviewing MFPs we test the speed and quality of the copying and scanning functions, too.

READ NEXT: Our selection of the best photo printers available

The best A3 printer you can buy in 2023

1. Canon Pixma PRO-200: The best A3 photo printer

Price: £449 | Buy now from Wex Photo VideoIf you’re in the business of producing great-looking A3 photo prints, you owe it to yourself to consider the Canon Pixma PRO-200. This inkjet printer uses eight colours – the usual suspects plus grey, light grey, photo cyan and photo magenta. This combination, when used on Canon’s A3 photo paper, produces beautiful photos that are worthy of hanging on the wall.

The downside is that printing isn’t cheap (we worked it out to about £2.19 per A3 photo), so you may still need a regular printer for general printing. The printer itself is also rather large, particularly when you’ve got the in- and out-trays fully extended, which increases the depth from 379mm to 837mm, so it really needs a desk of its own. But the rear-loading in-tray can hold 100 sheets of A3 at a time.

Read our full Canon Pixma PRO-200 review for more details

Key specs – Technology: Thermal inkjet; Maximum print resolution: 4,800 x 2,400dpi; Scan specifications: N/A; Recommended monthly duty cycle: N/S; Dimensions (HWD): 200 x 639 x 379mm; Weight: 14.1kg; Maximum paper size: A3+

Buy now from Wex Photo Video

2. Epson EcoTank ET-8550: The best A3 ink tank printer

Price: £679 | Buy now from John LewisThe Epson EcoTank ET-8550 has a lot going for it, but at a high initial cost. It uses ink tanks instead of the more common cartridges, which means it’s cheaper than most to run, particularly if you intend to use your printer a lot.

It also uses a six-colour ink system, designed to provide good results when printing photos and, while the colours aren’t quite as vibrant as you’ll find on the best cartridge-based A3 photo printers, they’re not far behind. However, with each print costing much less than most A3 rivals, it can be used as a regular home office printer too, without having to worry that you’re overpaying.

Read our full Epson EcoTank ET-8550 review for more details

Key specs – Technology: Thermal inkjet; Maximum print resolution: 5,760 x 1,440dpi; Scan specifications: 1,200 x 4,800dpi; Recommended monthly duty cycle: N/S; Dimensions (HWD): 169 x 523‎ x 379mm; Weight: 11.1kg; Maximum paper size: A3+

Buy now from John Lewis

3. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000: The most affordable A3 photo printer

Price: £280 | Buy now from AmazonThe Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 sits snugly between the professional A3 photo printers, with their higher price tags, and the wallet-friendly consumer A3 printers that are better suited for general printing work. It still does a superb job at printing large-scale photos onto A3 paper, but at a more affordable price.

It uses a six-colour ink system – adding grey and red inks to the usual black, cyan, magenta and yellow – which, combined with the sharp print resolution of 5,760 x 1,440dpi, produced great-looking prints on photo paper during our tests.

It has a generous 200-sheet paper tray for A4 paper but can only store A3 paper in the rear feed. While it isn’t quite as adept at printing on plain paper as you might hope, it will certainly cope if your main focus is large photos and you don’t want a second printer for all your other print jobs.

Read our full Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 review for more details

Key specs – Technology: Thermal inkjet; Maximum print resolution: 5,660 x 1,440dpi; Scan specifications: N/A; Recommended monthly duty cycle: N/S; Dimensions (HWD): 159 x 479 x 370mm; Weight: 8.5kg; Maximum paper size: A3+

4. Epson Expression Photo XP-970: The best A3 MFP for occasional large prints

Price: £220 | Buy now from John LewisThe Epson Expression Photo XP-970 performs a remarkable balancing act of features, with a decent 6-colour cartridge-based printing system in a device that can handle copying and scanning (though only up to A4) as well as photo printing.

There are two paper trays, one for up to 100 A4-sized sheets, the other for a secondary store of photo paper or envelopes. The rear tray is where you can put A3 paper, for those occasions when you need a larger print, though it will only take one sheet at a time.

The print quality isn’t up to the extremely high standard of the most expensive photo printers on this list, but still produces impressive-looking results.

Read our full Epson Expression Photo XP-970 review for more details

Key specs – Technology: Inkjet; Maximum print resolution: 5,760 x 1,440dpi; Scan specifications: 1,200 x 4,800dpi; Recommended monthly duty cycle: N/S; Dimensions (HWD): 148 x 479‎ x 356mm; Weight: 8.7kg; Maximum paper size: A3

Buy now from John Lewis

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