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Best Printers for Printing Canvas


As the largest inkjet canvas manufacturer in the USA Breathing Color knows canvas which means we also know what makes a great canvas printer. No matter which printer brand you choose, Breathing Color has a canvas product that will produce spectacular results, so let’s go over what you should be looking for in a printer for canvas:

  • Tolerance for thick media: Not every printer can print canvas, which is often the thickest and heaviest media for a printer to feed. It’s important to make sure your printer is capable of feeding canvas through it before printing. 

  • Pigment ink: Pigment ink is meant to last many decades, while dye ink will fade significantly faster. 

  • Dilute and HiFi inksets: The cheapest printers will offer just CMYK ink sets. High end art printers include dilute ink, such as Light Cyan, Light Magenta, and multiple shades of Light Black, for subtle details and the smoothest gradients. They may also offer HiFi ink sets, with additional channels such as Red, Blue and Violet for the widest color gamut and colorful prints. 

  • The wider the better: When wrapping canvas around 1.5” stretcher bars, you typically lose 2” from each side which makes the printer’s width an important consideration. While there are many great printers on the market 13” and smaller, we recommend a minimum of 17” width so that you are not too constrained when wrapping your canvas prints. 

For entry level models, Breathing Color recommends the Epson SureColor P5000 Standard Edition. This 17” wide printer produces professional quality canvas prints and is compatible with every canvas Breathing Color makes. Pigment inks guarantee a long-lasting print (Epson claims up to 200 years for color and 400 years for black-and-white). The 11 color ink set, including Orange and Green inks, provides a wide color gamut with smooth gradients for outstanding print quality. Whether you choose to print on a matte canvas like Lyve for the best possible quality, or a no-lam canvas like Crystalline for fast turnaround, the P5000 will have you covered. 

You may also consider the 17″ Epson SureColor P900 paired with the optional roll adapter. This 17″ Desktop printer is comparable to the Epson P5000 with a few differences. The P900 has a smaller footprint (24.2″ x 14.5″ compared to the P5000’s 34.0″ x 30.2″) which makes it easier to fit in your office or print shop. The P900 features dedicated nozzles for both Matte Black and Photo Black inks, saving you time and money when switching between prints on matte and glossy media. While print quality is similar between the two, the P900 prints slower and uses smaller ink cartridges with a higher cost per milliliter. This may make it the more attractive option for printmakers who are just getting started, or don’t need to fulfill as many jobs. 

For wide format printers, Breathing Color recommends Canon’s PRO 2100, 4100, or 6100 printers. Otherwise identical, the 2100 offers 24” printing, the 4100 offers 44” printing, and the 6100 offers 60” prints. Like the Epson P5000 and P900, the Canon PRO 2100/4100/6100 series are compatible with all of Breathing Color’s matte, satin and glossy canvases. These Canon printers deliver phenomenal results on canvas, and the wider format can produce larger canvas wraps. With an 11-color pigment ink set, including Red and Blue inks, these Canons deliver the highest possible quality canvas prints. Additional features, like printing directly from a USB key using Breathing Color’s ICC profiles, make the Canon PRO series a breeze to operate even for inexperienced printmakers. And with user-replaceable printheads, (changing an Epson printhead requires a technician) there’s no need to schedule and wait for repair service while your machine is down, saving you time and money. 


What About My Printer?

We can’t address every single printer model in this article. Maybe you’ve got your eyes on a particular model, and you want to know if it can print canvas? No problem. Here are a few things to look for when seeing if a particular printer can print canvas. The simplest way is to google your printer model followed by “canvas” in quotes. There’s a chance someone out there has tried to print canvas and reported their results. Don’t stop at google either as YouTube often produces good results for this search. No hits for those searches? Take a look at the product page on the manufacturer’s website. Look under the specifications section for information like Media Handling and Maximum Paper Thickness. Look for media the manufacturer says is compatible and see if any type of canvas is listed. Look at maximum thickness and weight, you want to see around 0.5mm, 20 mils, or 400 gsm.  Already own a printer? Why not test out a canvas trial roll or order a Breathing Color Master Sample Pack so you can have a hands-on opportunity to see if our canvas works in your printer. And even if it doesn’t, there are plenty of Fine Art and Photo Papers to enjoy printing on as well. 


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