When it comes to decorating your home with something personal and meaningful, few options are as affordable and easy as photo tiles. If you're not already familiar, photo tiles are custom-printed photos that make creating your own unique gallery wall a breeze. They also typically don't involve using a hammer and nails, as the tiles are lightweight enough to stick to walls and come with an adhesive when shipped.
There are countless websites offering photo tile printing these days, but we wanted to compare three of the more popular ones:
Each service offers a little something different, and in order to see how the different approaches play out when ordering, we ordered the same three photos from each service:
One vacation photo with a lot of details
One photo with rich colors
One photo with people
Below we've reviewed the differences in quality and color in each, but also looked at certain aspects of the process, including:
Variety of products offered
You can also expect to find a few notes on what we loved and didn't love about each service. Without further ado, here are our impressions of the three photo tile services.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
Best Overall: Mixtiles
Price: Of the three sites, Mixtiles lands squarely in the middle, price-wise. Each 8-by-8-inch tile, regardless of your preferred framing option, is $11. Mixtiles does offer discounts for bulk orders, or what it calls "bundles." For example, eight tiles is $75; 12 tiles is $99; and 16 tiles is $125.
Our total price for three framed prints was $33.
Ordering process: Ordering photo tiles from Mixtiles is pretty straightforward and intuitive. There are import options from Facebook, Instagram, and Google Drive, but if you don't want to share your socials with Mixtiles (or if, like me, you were receiving error messages with connecting accounts), you can also just upload photos. You can upload all your photos at once, too, which is a convenient option.
There are no filter or edit tools on Mixtiles other than resizing and cropping (which is an easy process within the website), so users will need to make sure they like the photos exactly as they are before uploading.
Framing options: There are five different options for how your uploaded photos are framed:
Classic— Black frame, white mat
Bold — Black frame only
Ever — White frame, white mat (this is the style we ordered)
Clean — White frame only
Edge — No frame
When shipped, each tile comes with a piece of adhesive pre-installed across the entire top of the frame.
Shipping: No matter the number of tiles you order, shipping is free (including worldwide shipping) and the company promises your items will arrive on your doorstep within a week. We ordered our tiles on March 30 and they arrived on April 5 — promise fulfilled.
Packaging: Mixtiles' packaging also beat the competitors. The box was just big enough to hold its contents (yay for no wasteful packaging!) and was sturdy and well-sealed when it came to our doorstep. The tiles are stacked inside, but with a piece of thick paper between them so that they don't rub and do damage to one another.
Product quality: We were impressed with the quality of the company's printed photo tiles, and Mixtiles and Shutterfly nearly tied for us in this regard. Keep reading to find out why we give the slight edge to Shutterfly, but given the price of the two services, we still think Mixtiles is a better bang for your buck.
Variety of products offered: Mixtiles keeps it simple, offering just 8-by-8-inch photo tiles, but the five previously mentioned framing options give you more variety than you'll get from some other services. And, if you don't want to use your own photos, the company has a Mixtiles Art Collection offering work "by the best artists in the world," including photos, illustrations, and more.
What we love:
The frames stick to walls via an adhesive backing and the company promises they can be restuck to different spots on your walls "a few dozen times."
If the frames won't stick on your walls, Mixtiles offers a refund.
What we don't love:
You're required to provide an email to order anything on the site.
You will get a lot of spam following your order. We've received emails from them approximately every two days since ordering (that said, each email does include an "unsubscribe" option).
Our verdict: Spamming our inbox aside, we were impressed with Mixtiles and think it offers the best value for what you pay. Free, quick shipping is a nice perk, the price is reasonable, and the different framing styles give you some control over how the finished product looks.
Best for Variety: Shutterfly
Price: Shutterfly is by far the most expensive option of the three services. When we placed our order, each tile was $12.99. That's for anything 8-by-8 inches or smaller — anything bigger than that and the price goes up. Since our order, the prices have risen: You'll pay between $14.99 and $39.99 now, depending on the size of your tile.
The total for our order of three tiles was $55.62, which included tax and shipping — more than $20 what we paid at Mixtiles.
Ordering process: This was another part of the Shutterfly process we found less than ideal. Each photo had to be uploaded separately, and the process was more cumbersome and confusing than the other services we reviewed. So much so that it wasn't until our shipment arrived that we realized we'd ordered two framed tiles and one tile as a metal print. Not a huge deal for our purposes, but if you're trying to order a gallery wall full of matching styles, just be sure you're double-checking everything before hitting the "checkout" button.
You can upload photos directly from a device, but there are also options for a pre-existing Shutterfly account, Lifetouch, Art Library, Google Photos, Facebook, and Instagram. Once chosen, Shutterfly offers ways to crop, rotate, add text, and apply filters to photos.
Framing options: Shutterfly offers three framing options:
A metal tile — the print will cover the entirety of the tile
Framed — no mat, the frame is about 1/2-inch thick, and comes in black, white, and brown
Canvas — includes a satin finish and wrapped edge
Like Mixtiles, Shutterfly's frames come with adhesive backing pre-installed on the top-edge of the tile.
Shipping: Shutterfly was the fastest when it came to shipping. We ordered from all three services within 10 minutes of each other on March 30 and our Shutterfly photo tiles arrived on April 3 (two framed tiles) and April 4 (one metal tile). However, given that we paid nearly $16 for shipping and Mixtiles was only a day or two later and its shipping was free, there's really not much of a value-add here.
Packaging: There's no doubt Shutterfly has its shipping game down when it comes to branding — one of its taglines is, "There's magic in that bright orange box!" Both boxes we received were sturdy and well-packaged to avoid product damage. Our only complaint is that the boxes are too big for the product, and we would have loved to receive our shipment in one box rather than two to avoid waste.
Product quality: As previously mentioned, we found the quality of Shutterfly's photo printing to be slightly better than Mixtiles — the photos just looked closer to what we actually uploaded and seemed to take into account qualities like skin tone, contrast, and other features better. That said, you had to look pretty closely between the two services' final products to notice a difference.
Variety of products offered: This is where Shutterfly far outshines its competitors when it comes to photo tiles. Whereas Mixtiles and Mixpix offer one size of a single tile, Shutterfly offers seven, including one non-square/rectangle option. As previously mentioned, it also offers photos printed on metal tiles and lots of different ways to print and frame tiles (click the "Shop Now" link above for examples). There's also a way to print tiles that are not your own photos using the Art Library integration, which includes categories like nature photography, abstract art, graphics and illustrations, animals, and more.
What we love:
So many options in sizing and styling.
If you don't want to pay Shutterfly's higher prices, you can always keep an eye out for specials. On the day this was written, it was offering four tiles for $40 with a special code.
What we don't love:
No free shipping.
An unnecessarily complicated ordering process.
Our verdict: If you don't want a matchy-matchy gallery wall, Shutterfly is definitely the way to go — just remember it'll cost you.
Best Budget Option: Mixpix
Price: Mixpix is definitely the cheapest option of the three services we ordered from. Each tile cost $5.33. That said, there are some features you're losing for that price — read on to find out more. Our total order for three Mixpix photo tiles was $23.89 (including shipping and tax).
Ordering process: While there are no options to connect social media or other photo-sharing accounts, uploading photos to Mixpix is super easy. You can upload as many at a time as you want, and you can click on each photo once uploaded if you want to change the size, crop, etc. There are no editing options like filters or adjusting brightness/contrast.
Framing options: Herein lies the secret to Mixpix's cheaper pricing. There are no framing options for the company's photo tiles. They are all printed on 1/4-inch-thick "lightfoam material." Unlike Mixtiles and Shutterfly, Mixpix photo tiles come with two Magnofix magnets, each with an adhesive side. You stick one to the wall and one to your photo tile and then bring them together.
Shipping: For orders of fewer than 12 tiles, shipping is a flat rate of $7.90. Shipping is free on orders of 12 or more tiles. Of the three orders, Mixpix arrived last — as noted previously, we ordered on March 30, and the tiles arrived on April 7.
Packaging: Mixpix didn't impress us here. When our tiles arrived, the box was crunched and half-open. The tiles were wrapped in a layer of padded plastic sheeting and taped inside an oversized box. Luckily none of the tiles were damaged, but Mixpix could certainly take more care with how it ships its products.
Product quality: Another area where Mixpix comes in third, and a pretty distant third, too. While they weren't horrible, the Mixpix printed photo tiles were much darker than the others, and there seemed to be more magenta in all three of them, which was especially noticeable in the photo with people in it. That said, it's only really jarring when placed next to Mixtiles' and Shutterfly's prints of the exact same photo, but it seems you will compromise quality printing for price when ordering from Mixpix.
Variety of products offered: Nothing but 8-by-8-inch light-foam photo tiles offered here, and you must use your own photo or image files.
What we love:
The tiles are made in the U.S.
No post-order spamming of our email inbox. We received three emails: one to let us know the order was received, one to let us know the products were being made, and one to let us know it had shipped.
What we don't love:
While we do love the simplicity (not to mention the price) of Mixpix's photo tiles, it would be nice to give customers at least one other option for framing.
The Magnofix system for affixing your tiles to your walls seems unnecessarily complicated. Why not just add an adhesive strip like other services do?
Our verdict: If you don't have much of a budget for wall art or want to hang a gallery wall without spending a ton of money, Mixpix is likely your best choice. Just keep in mind its limitations and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Photo Tile Competitors
Mixtiles, Shutterfly, and Mixpix are certainly not the only sites offering photo tiles. Below are a few others you can check out:
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