Best Metal Prints & Services Compared

In this article we review and compare the best metal prints you can get from a range of outlets found online.

But first off – a little background metal prints.

What are metal prints and what makes them so special?

Metal prints, or metallic prints, are as the name suggests, a piece of artwork that has been printed onto a metal sheet (usually aluminium). The artwork tends to be very high-definition and is usually hung without a frame giving them a sleek, low-profile and contemporary look.

What are the benefits of metal prints?

  • The artwork is incredibly durable, because it’s made of aluminium it is both waterproof and quite scratch resistant, and won’t tear or puncture. Meaning it will last a lifetime and reduce the stress of having to handle fragile frames or canvas when moving
  • Ready to hang once you receive it – no need for the extra cost or hassle of framing
  • Brilliant sharpness – your image literally comes to life as it is infused into the aluminium sheet

Are there any options when buying metal prints?

There are indeed a couple of options when buying metal prints. You will usually have the choice of a brushed metal surface, glossy finish, matte finish or a true color surface. A brushed metal surface gives some texture to the image and will let some of the metallic colors come through. A true color surface will have a white background printed first into the metal sheet before having the image printed which, as the name suggests, should make the images more true. Finally and as you’re probably already aware, matte = subdued and glossy = pop.

Are there any storage or handling issues?

Metal prints are still just like any other print in the way they use ink to display your image. If hung or stored in direct sunlight, this ink will fade over time – so be sure that you keep the item out of direct sunlight.

Metal prints will also typically be heavier than their canvas or framed counterparts. This just boils down to the material that is used in the creation of them. However, it means that you will need to hang the print on a stud in the wall and cannot place it just through the drywall.

Any other considerations?

Ensure you are using an image file with a very high resolution. Because metal prints can produce such sharp results, the file that is supplied needs to be good quality as well. If the file size isn’t large or sharp enough, this will show on your metal print.

Now onto the best metal prints online:

The Best Metal Printing Services Available Online

  1. Pictorem (Editor’s Pick)
  2. BayPhoto Labs
  3. Shutterfly
  4. Chromelux
  5. AdoramaPix

1. Pictorem

Pictorem are a high quality supplier of photo printing services and their metal prints selection is second to none. Just a quick search around online for Pictorem Reviews and you’ll find the satisfaction of countless customers.

One of my favorite services they offer is the epoxy metal printing.

The epoxy metal printing is done on a brushed aluminium surface and afterwards given a thick epoxy resin coating which gives the pop and slick modern look while maintaining the texture of the brushed aluminium.

Price List for the epoxy metal printing (prices include free shipping):

  • 24 x 16 – $182
  • 36 x 24 – $369
  • 48 x 36 – $706
  • 60 x 40 – $1,003

Pictorem also offer a range of different metal print options including:

  • Brushed Metal Print
  • HD Metal Sublimation Print
  • Metal Box Print (similar to canvas wrapping)
  • Disk Print

They have a fairly decent lead time of 10 days considering the handmade nature of the works and amount of effort that goes into each item. They also have a great refund policy and will credit you the full cost of the artwork (minus shipping fees) within 30 days if you are not satisfied.

Check them out – Pictorem.

2. BayPhoto Labs

BayPhoto Labs has some of the most flexible offerings and designs when it comes to your metal print. They offer a wide ranging of mounting solutions, epoxy resin thickness over the image, and a very wide range of sizes.

Price List for the epoxy metal printing (prices include free shipping):

  • 24 x 16 – $205
  • 36 x 24 – $426
  • 48 x 36 – $865
  • 60 x 40 – $1,013

Note that BayPhoto Labs do not offer free shipping. Some of the shipping solutions can become quite expensive too depending on the size of the item you are ordering. For instance, their website states that all metal prints over 30″ on the short side must be crated at an extra cost.

Their production times are excellent at around 5 days before having your order shipped. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a returns or policy from BayPhoto Labs.

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