My old printer, Canon Pixma MG 5220, might be havi... (
Like Lenses and Cameras there are a vast number of different opinions on printers. It will likely always cost more to print at home than sending off your images to be printed, but, if you do print at home you can change the image, reprint and get what you want right away.
I do up to 13" x 19" at home and use a Canon Pixma Pro-10. There is a difference in different printers and their ink, some are dye based (most printers) and some are pigment based. The pigment based usually hold their color much much better than the dye. If you want pictures for your kids and grandkids to have for a long time get a pigment based printer.
I have used several brands of ink and honestly don't think one is better than the other, perhaps slightly different but not better or worse. Generic ink is a major cost savings for me.
I'm on my 3rd Pixma Pro printer, I wore two others out and the cost of repair was nearly the same as buying new so I did.
I like being able to print right after post production instead of having to send the image somewhere and waiting. I also like being able to make minor changes right away after seeing a print.
I have used Epson, HP and Brother image printers. I liked all but the Epson's kept having clogged head issues. I used the monthly charge for HP but when I went over the charge got to be pretty high. I eventually dropped the monthly ink and put generic in and HP remotly turned off the printer. Someone sued HP and then they sent out a patch to fix it so that it could work with generic but they made it difficult to use so I just got mad one day and threw the printer out into the trash. So far the Canons have been far and away the best printers for photo images.
I found out about the difference between the dye and pigments after deciding to remount a picture I had hanging in my den. When I pulled it out of the frame the part of the image protected by the edge of the frame was much more vivid than the part you could see when framed. That is when I got the Pixma Pro-10 instead of the Pro-100, the 10 has the pigments instead of dyes.
The Pro-10 is a thousand dollars retail but you can find it in the price range you are looking. There are sales and overstock or even perhaps used but they are available.
I've included a post from Ebay as an example of what you can find..