Best Metal Print Company 2022: $100 Secret Shopper Print Shootout
- How Does the $100 Secret Shopper Metal Print Shootout Work?
- Whitewall Metal Print Review
- Costco Metal Print Review
- Shutterfly Metal Print Review
- Bay Photo Metal Print Review
- Artbeat Studios Metal Print Review
- 2022 Best Metal Print Shootout Winner
- I sent the same image file to each of the five companies featured in the 2022 shootout.
- I ordered the same-sized metal print from each company (or as close to the same size as possible).
- I unboxed each metal print and immediately reviewed each print on camera. The YouTube video for each metal print company is available in this article.
- I judged each print on various metrics, from the colors and sharpness to the mounting hardware and the packaging of the print.
It's time to once again crown the winner of our best metal print company $100 secret shopper shootout!
This buyer's guide started back in 2020 as a way to help you find the highest-quality metal print for your images. Artbeat studios was the big winner in a field of six contestants in the 2021 metal print shootout and in the 2020 metal print shootout as well.
So, the question is, will Artbeat Studios three-peat as the winner, or will one of the other four companies in this year's shootout take the crown? Find out below!
Table of Contents
We have announced the winner of our 2022 Best Metal Print Company $100 Challenge. Find out which company came out on top!
How Does the $100 Secret Shopper Metal Print Shootout Work?
Since it's been a year since the last time I crowned a best metal print champion, here's a quick refresher regarding how this shootout works:
It's a simple process but one that yields great results for you, the reader. You can see each metal print up close in its feature video, get detailed critiques on each print, and see how they stack up against one another. Armed with all that information, you can make an informed decision about how to spend your hard-earned money!
This is not how many other high-ranking "best metal print review" websites work. If you have a look at their reviews, there's no hands-on inspection of the print. In fact, many of those review sites simply use stock images from each manufacturer's website to populate their articles!
At the end of the day, you might not agree with my assessment of each metal print, and that's okay! At least you're getting an informed, hands-on, real-world opinion from me!
Whitewall Metal Print Review
Whitewall did a decent job in my 2021 metal print shootout review, and they did a decent job in this year's shootout, too.
On the positive side, the Whitewall metal print I ordered had excellent colors (when I remembered to pull the protective plastic off the print!) and a superb frame. The production time to get the print was also fantastic and garnered a 5/5 rating.
Whitewall also did a fantastic job with packaging the print to ensure that it arrived at my doorstep in tip-top shape.
However, as I discuss in the 2022 Whitewall metal print review video above, an orange peel finish appeared after I remembered to pull the protective plastic coating off. That texture is very distracting and takes away from the truly excellent quality of the print.
Another downer about this print is that the detail just wasn't there - I rated it 3 out of 5. In some cases, the saturation levels seemed to be way off, and there were some areas where noise seemed to be a bit of an issue.
Nevertheless, while this isn't the best metal print of the bunch, it is a solid option!
Costco Metal Print Review
If you check out my 2021 Costco metal print review, you'll find that I was not impressed...
But, I'm a firm believer in giving companies another chance to improve on their mistakes, so, a year later, I ordered another print from Costco to see if the quality was better than in 2021.
On the plus side, the 2022 Costco metal print was very clean with no added noise and excellent sharpness. The shine on the print was next-level good, too - it gives a great first impression. The packaging was also on point, as was the production time and fast shipping.
Unfortunately, that's where the accolades stop for this print.
As you can see in my 2022 Costco metal print review video above, the color and detail of the print just weren't there - I gave both metrics a 3 out of 5 rating. As I said, the shine is great and gives a nice first impression, but when you dive into the detail of the print, there's not much to back up that initial impression.
Even worse was the frame, which had gobs of glue all over it. Sure, you don't see the back of the print, but it just doesn't present well and makes you wonder what other quality control issues are happening.
In other words, this print isn't much of an improvement over last year's and it's certainly not in contention for the best metal print of 2022.
2023 Update: Costco has shut down its printing division and is now working with Shutterfly to fulfill prints.
Shutterfly Metal Print Review
Shutterfly is perhaps the best-known company on this list. Unfortunately, in the past, the name recognition didn't translate to a high-quality metal print.
If you peruse the original metal print shootout from 2020, you'll find that Shutterfly was at the bottom of the pile when all was said and done. In fact, that print was so bad that I didn't even bother including Shutterfly in the 2021 metal print shootout. So, the question is, how'd they do this year?
On the plus side, the green and blue tones in the print looked nice. The lightning-fast production time was also a bonus.
However, the rest of the print was just not impressive at all. The colors were off, the detail was poor, and there seemed to be a little bit of noise introduced into the print. That's not what I want to see when I'm judging prints for the best metal print of 2022!
Furthermore, the presentation just wasn't impressive. This was especially evident in the frame, which looked hastily thrown together (this print has the lowest score for the frame of any print in this year's competition). There was even tape left on the frame, which points to some quality control issues with this print.
All around, this metal print just wasn't that good - unfortunately, just like in 2020!
Bay Photo Metal Print Review
Bay Photo was one of the strongest contenders last year. As I discussed in the 2021 Bay Photo metal print review, the print had good colors and sharpness, clean metal edges, and various hanging options, and it was packaged very well.
This year, Bay Photo improved on its performance last year with a print that was nearly perfect. The colors of the print were beautiful and accurate, and the overall presentation of the print was top-notch.
I also appreciated the frame, which I describe in the video below as being built like a tank. It's sturdy, well-made, and will do well on your wall for years and years to come!
Another point of pride for Bay Photo is the short production time. Unlike some of the other companies in this year's metal print shootout, Bay Photo managed to produce the print quickly and produce a beautiful print!
Honestly, the only downsides to this print are that there's a little bit of noise that's evident upon close inspection and the detail of the print is just a little diminished from what I would consider to be perfect.
Other than that, Bay Photo really impressed this year!
Artbeat Studios Metal Print Review
Last, but certainly not least, Artbeat Studios is back to defend its 2020 and 2021 titles as the best metal print company...
As in 2020 and 2021, Artbeat Studios delivered a print of exceptional quality. This is simply an astonishing print. With colors that are spot-on, beautiful, and vibrant, gorgeous detail, and no added noise, Artbeat Studios really impressed me with this metal print.
As I note in the video below, the whole purpose of using the stock image that I chose for this year's shootout was to put each company through the paces. The image I chose has a wide range of colors, saturation levels, and areas where I could really drill down and inspect the noise, sharpness, and detail of the print. Artbeat Studios knocked it out of the park on all of those fronts.
Beyond the superb printing, this metal print is well put together with tight corners, smooth edges, and an absolutely killer frame that's the best of the bunch. Not only is the frame well constructed, but I really appreciate the attention to detail that Artbeat put into the frame - there's a nice contrast between polished and brushed metals that give it an extra visual appeal.
Now, I know that when the print is on the wall, you can't see these frame details, but, as I note in my video review, if you dropship this print to a client, it's little details like this that make your clients think, "wow, that's a great print!"
From A to Z, this print is wholly impressive - there's nothing I'd change about it, in fact! That's saying something given the deep level of critique I give each print in this metal print shootout.
2022 Best Metal Print Shootout Winner
As I point out in the video above, while it was close between Bay Photo and Artbeat Studios, the 2022 crown for the best metal printing company once again goes to Artbeat Studios.
I could not be more impressed with the print I got in the mail from Artbeat Studios. Once again, they've proven to be the printing company to beat with outstanding print quality, attention to detail, and fast service.
Whether you want to print a personal image to display in your home or you need a high-quality printing company to support your professional photography business, I can safely say that based on my evaluations, Artbeat Studios is the best option of the bunch.
Visit Artbeat Studios today to get started printing your favorite images on a high-quality metal print!