Choosing the best metal print company can be an intimidating process, but in this guide we’ve made the process simple. Before deciding on which metal print company to choose from, ensure they meet the following criteria– they use ChromaLuxe panels, have a variety of photo mounts, can print larger sizes, and offer competitive pricing options.
We’ve scoured the market to find the best possible metal print provider, and you can see our final choices below, along with how they score on our selection criteria. Enjoy!
What are Metal Photo Prints?
Metal photo prints are photos infused on a metal surface (usually aluminum) using either a dye sublimation process (for HD metal prints) or an Inkjet printing process (for standard metal prints).
Unlike a canvas print, metal prints are resistant to water and scratches, making them useful for indoor or outdoor displays. The best metal printing companies offer various image service options, use high-quality metal, and have excellent customer service.
Fun fact: Metal prints have up to four times more image stability than photo paper that is silver-based. They are also waterproof and scratch-resistant.
Types of Metal Prints
The right company will offer various aluminum prints like those outlined below, custom sizing options, and a variety of photo mounts like a frame mount or back frame mount.
Brushed Aluminum Prints
Brushed Aluminum Prints (also known as brushed metal prints) are the most common and most affordable version of metal photo prints. Images are printed directly onto brushed aluminum using Inkjet printing technology.
This option is best for landscapes and nature scenes that have a lot of white space. Brushed aluminum has a more matte finish that also makes the image appear silver. Brushed aluminum prints can be combined with finishes such as Epoxy Coating or Glossy Coating to give a glossy sheen.
Aluminum DiBond™ Metal Canvas
DiBond™ is a brand name and original brand of Aluminum Composite Materials (ACM), which combines two thin sheets of aluminum with a polyethylene core. Aluminum DiBond™ increases the stability of metal prints and have become an industry standard for signage. These are best used for Portraits.
HD Metal Prints
HD prints are created using dye-sublimation and ChromaLuxe technology, the industry standard for producing vivid images guaranteed to last decades under the proper care.
Dye-sublimation is different from Inkjet printing, and results in much deeper and vivid colors. The dye sublimation process is completed in two steps. The first step is that mirror images of the photos are printed on transfer paper, in order to transfer the ink. The second is the heat press that transfers the photo or images from the paper to the aluminum print. The heat from the heat press initiates a chemical reaction to infuse color directly into the metal at a molecular level.
For professional artists and professional photographers that need high-quality metal prints for your professional prints, HD metal prints using ChromaLuxe is the way to go. (Hint, these are available from our top pick, Pictorem.)
A glossy layer adds shine to an image. This finish comes in sheer gloss, mid-gloss, or high gloss options.
These prints coat a layer of high gloss epoxy onto a brushed aluminum print base. Epoxy coating is a combination of an epoxy resin and a polyamine hardener, that when combined catalyses a chemical reaction, the end result of which is a rigid plastic coating. This adds a glossy layer to the brushed metal image. This can improve the sheen of brushed metal, making them a bit closer to HD metal prints, but at a lower cost.
Types of Metal Print Mounts
There are many types of framing and mounting options for metal prints. The most important selection criteria for frames or mounts is to choose something. Don’t go without a mount or frame option, otherwise you may just get a metal slab in the mail, which is impossible to hang or display without extra steps. Below we’ve broken down some various types of mounts
- Box Mount – Good for smaller prints, the box mount is an aluminum box mounted on the back of your prints, usually 3/4 inches off the wall.
- Frame Mounts – Frame mounts are essentially like a metal or wood frame, but mounted on the back of the metal print. These can be “flush frame mounts”, which are flush with the edge of the metal print, or “rear frame mounts” or “inset frame mounts”, which are not mounted on the back of the print, but not flush with the edges.
- Float mounts – Float mounts make the print appear like it is ‘floating’ within a frame, raising it slightly off of the background.
- Easel Props – Easels props are like a ‘kickstand’ that you might be familiar with on a standard photo-frame. It allows metal prints to lean on a table/etc. Best for smaller prints. Types of easel props include: Metal Easel, Acrylic Easel (sometimes called an Acrylic Pedestal), and Bamboo Easel.
- Magnetic backing – A somewhat uncommon approach is the magnetic backing. Aluminum is not naturally magnetic, but it can have magnets mounted to the back of the print and to the frame. This is a good option if you want to swap out prints regularly.
Our Top Online Metal Print Company Picks
- Best Overall Metal Print Company: Pictorem
- Most Affordable Metal Print Company: Canvas Champ
- Runner-Up Overall Best Metal Print Company: ShinyPrints
- Best Metal Print Company for Size Options: Mpix™
- Best Creative Metal Print Company: Bay Photo Lab
- Best High-Definition Metal Prints Company: ChromaLuxe HD Metal Print Company
- Best Display Options Metal Prints Company: MetalPrints.com
- Honorable Mention Best Aluminum Prints: BumbleJax
1. Best Overall Metal Print Company – Pictorem Metal Prints
- Price – ~$93 (Was $155) – Our score: 9/10
- ChromaLuxe – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – 100+ – Our score: 9/10
- Largest size – up to 96×60-inches – Our score: 10/10
Of all the metal print companies we evaluated for this guide, Pictorem came out as the best overall. We absolutely love Pictorem, with its variety of printing options, including custom metal photo prints in different shapes and sizes from round or rectangle to murals or wall art (excluding HD prints).
They also use the highest quality inks that are resistant to water and UV rays, making them perfect for outdoor displays. Their HD prints use dye sublimation and are produced through ChromaLuxe, a company known for having the best HD prints. In addition, Pictorem also offers canvas prints and acrylic prints.
Pictorem’s epoxy metal prints are also of the highest quality. They use a high gloss layer over a brushed aluminum frame that gives the silver an extra shine and adds another layer of protection.
What’s more, their floating frames collection offers dozens of options, including back float mounts and a frame box. We all know the final decision boils down to price, and Pictorem provides a variety of competitive prices and usually has promotions for up to 40% off with free shipping in North America.
- Uses 1200 dpi resolution
- Great customer service
- Can print larger prints, like a bay photo, mural, or wall art
- All substrates are made from recycled materials
- Museum-quality materials, ideal for art gallery exhibits or home decor
- Does not have free shipping outside of North America
2. Most Affordable Metal Photo Print Company – Canvas Champ
- Price – ~$54.30 (24×36”) – Our score: 8/10
- Chromalux – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – 25+ – Our score: 9/10
- Largest size – up to 24×36-inches – Our score: 8/10
When looking for a company with the reputation to back up its products, look no further than CanvasChamp. This company offers incredibly competitive discounts, like a whopping 87% off on some prints and other promotions offering up to 60% off all metal prints. Their metal printing services include sepia or grayscale images, along with the standard original images.
The metal prints offer rich colors, and are great for abstract painting, like the one we ordered:
Pro Tip: Absolutely order these with a frame or mount attached. We made the mistake of ordering just the print, hoping to save a few dollars, but we received just the aluminum slab. It’s a beautiful abstract art piece, but we can hang it!
Print options include brushed aluminum, epoxy metal prints, wall displays, photo collages, or mosaics, among other prints.
- Rich colors, excellent for abstract art or nighttime photography.
- Does offer metal prints for highly discounted prices.
- The shipping took a while, but you can expedite for an extra charge. Unless you’re in a rush, it’s worth it for the price.
- Can’t print the very large prints that Pictorem can. Perfectly fine for most home decor options, though.
3. Runner-Up Best Overall Metal Print Company – ShinyPrints
- Price – ~$224.00 (24×36”) – Our score: 8/10
- Chromalux – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – 5+ – Our score: 8/10
- Largest size – up to 48 x 96-inches (along with Custom sizes) – Our score: 10/10
ShinyPrints is a company dedicated to HD Metal Prints. It has a team of expert photo professionals that have been in the industry for years, and their specialization in metal printing gives them edges over the competitors. For example, they use CNC cut aluminum panels, providing smoother edges than sheer-cut panels. Because they cut their own panels, they can also provide custom sizes.
They use ChromaLuxe, which is now an industry standard in HD Metal prints. They have fast turnaround and shipping times, and from our experience so far, the custom service is superb. Will and the team at ShinyPrints are extremely passionate about metal prints and it’s comforting to trust them with professional artwork and large bulk orders.
They also offer EXT metal print panels which are specifically designed for outdoor use.
- Specialization in metal prints
- Custom sizes and CNC-cut panels
- EXT metal panels for outdoor use
- Fast Shipping
- No image gallery to choose from
4. Best Metal Print Company for Size Options – Mpix™
- Price – ~$149.99 (20×24”) – Our score: 7/10
- ChromaLuxe – No – Our score: 8/10
- Variety of photo mounts – Two – Our score: 7/10
- Largest size – 40×60-inches – Our score: 9/10
With 27 sizes to choose from, including 40×60 inches, Mpix offers one of the largest varieties of readily available print sizes. Using a dye sublimation process, all prints are retouched and printed on a 1/16-inch mounted aluminum plate with the option of either a metal easel or float mount base. Float frames have three colors available, including black, white, or Oxford. There are two metal options– a natural metal or white color that offers more vivid photos with either a glossy or matte finish. Text can be added to the image by the customer prior to printing for a more customized feel. Mpix suggests leaving a ⅛-inch margin to ensure a full framed photo.
Retouching to ensure color quality is completed by a number of expert technicians on-site to ensure the printed colors match. Photos are printed using RBG files, but JPEG files can be submitted. Customers who have more experience with photo printing can choose not to have the color of the photos corrected. Note that the photo cannot be reprinted free of charge if this option is chosen. Lastly, files should be submitted in RAW format for the highest quality image for larger print options.
- Offers free shipping on orders over $35
- Images are stored free of charge online for over one year for easy reprinting
- Quick processing time
- Has a lot of promotions throughout the year
- Excellent return policy and 100% customer satisfaction
- Matte Modern finish is only available in sizes smaller than 20×30 inches
- Doesn’t have a selection of photo mounts
5. Most Creative Metal Prints – Bay Photo Labs
- Price – ~$99.65 (20×24”) – Our score: 8/10
- Chromalux – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – 80+ – Our score: 9/10
- Largest size – 48×96-inches – Our score: 9/10
About Bay Photo Labs
Bay photo labs use innovative photographic printing techniques with dozens of customizable options. They are one of the few metal printing companies that offer curved metal prints and what’s called a “double float” print, that is, two images mounted on a Gatorfoam float mount that makes the photo appear to float. They also offer 14 floating frame options for their double float prints alone and over 80 different handcrafted frames, from bamboo and barn wood to modern or ornate frames.
Bay Photo also offers acrylic metal prints that are presented on large posts with the option of adding ½-inch or ¼ inch acrylic coatings for added protection. In addition, they have over 34 different shapes and 18 size choices that include heart-shaped, triangles, and flower shapes. Lastly, this company offers six different finishes on their metal photo prints.
- Have the largest custom size options
- Fast production time
- Excellent customer service
- Offers curved or double-float metal prints
- Excellent for home decor or professional presentations
- Shipping isn’t free
6. Best High-Definition Metal Print Companies – Chromalux HD Metal Prints Company
- Price – Varies – Our score: 8/10
- Chromaluxe – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – Handful – Our score: 8/10
- Largest size – 96×60” – Our score: 9/10
While customers order through third-party partners, ChromaLuxe provides the industry standard for all HD metal prints. HD metal images produced by ChromaLuxe are guaranteed to last longer due to the high-quality inks they use. The extra cost for these HD metal prints is well worth it for the practically flawless image results.
Professionals will appreciate their team of designers and photographers who provide more information about their cutting-edge printing techniques. Further, the gallery page on their website inspires with seemingly unlimited possibilities of metal prints from tabletops to dry erase boards.
- Materials are 100% recyclable
- Ships internationally with offices in Europe, the USA, and Australia
- Must go through third-party partners to order (hint hint: Pictorem!)
7. Best Display Options Metal Print Company – MetalPrints.com
- Price – ~$109.15 (20×24”) – Our score: 8/10
- ChromaLuxe – Yes – Our score: 10/10
- Variety of photo mounts – Dozens – Our score: 9/10
- Largest size – 48×96-inches – Our score: 9/10
MetalPrints.com is another high-quality printing company offering one of the widest variety of display options for home decor. Options include a metal easel, acrylic, or bamboo stands and more traditional frames options such as inset, flush, or a back frame mount. In addition, their wall art section provides over ten types of wall-size art with an additional 60+ sizes, and dozens of different styles.
MetalPrints.com is the right company to choose from when looking for wall displays, a variety of home decor framing and display options, or even metal Christmas ornaments. They are currently offering 25% off the first order when you create an account with them.
- Provide a range of display options
- Specialize in metal prints
- Offer competitive prices
- Includes high-performance EXT metal for added protection on outdoor prints
- They don’t ship internationally
- Shipping can be expensive within the US
8. Honorable Mention Best Aluminum Prints: BumbleJax
- Price – ~$283 (20×24”) – Our score: 7/10
- ChromaLuxe – No
- Variety of photo mounts – 2 – Our score: 7/10
- Largest size – 48×96-inches (on Di-Bond only) – Our score: 9/10
BumbleJax is a professional photo lab with over 30 years experience. Their parent company is Revolution, Inc., which has been around forever, so they know what they are doing. However, unlike most all the other companies on this list, BumbleJax doesn’t print directly on metal, they actually print on a high quality metallic paper and mount the paper on an aluminum panel. It’s not low quality, but it’s also not what most customers are looking for when they think of metal prints.
- Experienced photo lab.
- Vibrant colors.
- Lots of different material options.
- Does not print directly on the metal.
- Website experience is a little kludgy.
This concludes our guide to the best metal print services. We discussed how you could evaluate different kinds of metal printing companies, but we’ve also shared our recommendations in various contexts.
We’ve discussed how you can choose the best metal printing services and why using ChromaLuxe for HD Metal Prints, offering various photo mounts, competitive pricing, and a variety of large size printing options are key deciding factors.
Lastly, we’ve combined our recommendations for buying metal photo prints in different situations. So whether buying the best epoxy metal print, best HD quality image, or the best customizable metal print, we’ve discussed it all.
Thanks for reading; we hope our suggestion helps you decide on the best metal print company for your next printing project.