I know there are some very good inkjet printers around. They might be the way to go if you plan to frequently use whatever one you choose. If they aren't used frequently, the ink can dry up in the ink nozzles. Then quite a bit of valuable ink can be used in cleaning cycles, rather than for printing. I had an expensive Epson that suffered from this problem and in the end, the print-heads refused to clean up at all. An expensive Canon was the next one along but this one broke mechanically after about 18 months. All inkjet printers will need a cleaning cycle once in a while.
I know the printers going wrong could have been just bad luck but if the cost of printers and ink were divided by the number of prints I did, I'm sure the cost of each print would have worked out quite high.
Therefore, I wouldn't ever buy another expensive printer. The one I have at present is a Brother DCP-385C. The cost was about £50-00 and it does an adequate job for letters and the greetings card inserts that Mrs TW needs.
For printing photos, we switched to a dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printer. This uses a different system of printing altogether (see here
). It gives top quality prints of 6x4 every time. I don't think we've had a failure rate with that. It works straight from the camera and some basic editing (cropping - resizing) can be done before printing. A consideration when it comes to printers is how long the prints last without fading. Dye-sub prints are reckoned to be good in this respect.
A couple of alternatives to using an online service or printing at home. Perhaps you have already thought about them:
* Transfer the photos to the computer, choose the ones you want, put them on a USB stick and take them to a high-street printing service. Their printers are likely to be better than any that we might buy for home use. It could work out cheaper than buying a printer, ink and photo-paper.
* I believe some of the machines found in supermarkets give pretty good results too.