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Where to Make a Personalized Photo Mug

What are the best digital photo printing companies for photo mugs?

Thinking about making a personalized photo mug? They make cool gifts and are really simple to design using digital photo printing companies on the web.

I've used 3 different companies to make personalized photo mugs, and here I'm going to share what I thought about them in terms of: Choice of mugs, image quality, website usability, design options and price.

They're all excellent printing services and I've used each of them for a range of jobs, but how did they fare with mugs...!? I decided to use the same photo for each of them in this case, to make it a fair comparison (luckily I knew 2 people who'd want my spare mugs!).

So, here’s what I found when I had a personalized photo mug made with York Photo, Vistaprint and PhotoBox.


1. York Photo


York Photo are one of the most well established digital photo printing services online. They’ve been around a long time and offer a range of good quality products at fairly low prices. My personalized photo mug from them was brilliant, and really simple to create.


General Pro's and Con's:

Pro's Con's
Very quick image upload times. No preview of your photo on an actual mug.
Excellent range of different mug types. No telephone support available.
Good mug quality.  
Impressive image quality.  
User friendly website.  
Low Prices.  


I thought York Photo had the best types of mug to choose from:

Mug Types
Thermos flask
Frosted glass mug
Tall latte mug
Magic mug (pictures appear and disappear)
Normal coffee mug


The price was the lowest of the 3:

Price of my normal coffee mug



York Photo have the best range of mug types of the 3 digital photo printing companies I used. I especially like the sleek latte mug and the thermos flask!

When my personalized photo mug arrived (it was a simple coffee mug) I immediately saw the image quality was excellent, and the mug itself was perfectly decent too.

Their website is one of those that just works. It’s simple and intuitive to make your way around. To get to the mugs just go Products>Mugs from the homepage.

There are lots of design options and you could easily get creative by using several different photos. The options for customizing the text are also pretty good.

One of the downfalls of even the best online photo printing services can be slow image upload times. York Photo, though, uploads images pretty rapidly. I really like this, and it’s partly why I’m using them more and more as my first choice for online printing generally.

The weak spot of York Photo when it comes to photo mugs is the lack of a preview of your picture on an actual mug. So you can see the mug and your picture next to each other, but not as one item.



Quotable Quote:

By furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.

- Susan Sontag


2. Vistaprint


Vistaprint are also one of the best online photo print services. They have a terrific range of products - photo gifts of all varieties. They're big and very low cost - but don’t let that fool you - because the quality of their printing is actually top-notch!


General Pro's and Con's:

Pro's Con's
Loads of designs/layouts to select from. Lots of designs/layouts but only 1 basic coffee mug type.

Clear preview of your photo on a mug.
As you place your order the process is interrupted annoyingly by attempts to sell you other products with your uploaded photos on them. No need for that Vistaprint!
Decent mug quality.  
Decent image quality.  
User friendly website.  


Just the 1 simple mug unfortunately:

Mug Types
Normal coffee mug.


They're renowned for very low proces, but this product was about average:

Price of my normal coffee mug



Like York Photo, Vistaprint have a nice simple website that is very easy for first time users. You wouldn't have to be familiar with ordering things online to make sense of it very quickly.

There are more design and layout options for personalized photo mugs than with either of the other 2 digital photo printing companies I used. There are masses of them - lots of ways to be creative and have fun designing it.

Just as when I've used Vistaprint for photo books and cards, the image quality on my personalized photo mug was excellent. The mug was good quality too, and I was basically very satisfied with it.

The biggest flaw with Vistaprint is their heavy handed approach to gaining your repeat custom. Even as you're placing an order for one thing they thrust other products on you and slow down the ordering process really annoyingly. They're slightly heavy on the email marketing too actually - constantly offering truck loads of free business cards!

In fact, they make every effort to seem like a naf, low budget, low quality printing company - which they're absolutely not! They are indeed low priced, but the quality has always been brilliant in my experience - right up there with all the best online photo printing services.


My Favourite Photo Book Printing Companies

Cookbooks, family albums, holiday scrapbooks, college yearbooks - they can all be made professionally and quickly online.


3. Photobox


I've used PhotoBox for lots of things and I think they're one of the best digital photo printing companies around. My personalized photo mug was very good quality and no problem to create on their site.


General Pro's and Con's

Pro's Con's
Cool choice of mug types. Frustratingly slow image upload times.
Nice design/layout options.
Cool mug designs - but not many of them.
Good quality ceramic mug.  
Clear and sharp image.  
User friendly website.  


Great mug designs, but not many of them:

Mug Types
Heart handle.
Penguin handle.
Normal coffee mug - coloured inside.

Same price as Vistprint:

Price of my normal coffee mug


My Thoughts

The Photobox website is just as user friendly as Vistaprint and York Photo. Everything is very self-explanatory and simple. Personalized photo mugs are one of the main items that Photobox produce.

The range of layouts and designs available from Photobox were my favourite of all the sites. Although I went for a plain, single photo with each of my mugs, the other options were very cool and I'm sure I’ll use some of them in the future!

The weakest point of Photobox's service for me is the length of time it takes to upload photos. Compared to York Photo it's pretty poor. I went and made a cup of coffee!

But once you're in business and the photos are there it's all hassle free. Plus, I was delighted with the vibrancy of the photo when my mug arrived. I've had some good quality posters made with Photobox in the past, and their printing seems to be strong all round.


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gift cards!

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Final Scores!


So how do I rate York Photo, Vistaprint and PhotoBox overall!? Basically, I was pleased with my personalized photo mug from each of them, but here's the summary of my experience:


  York Photo Vistaprint Photobox
Choice of Mugs 9/10 5/10 8/10
Image Quality 8/10 8/10 8/10
Website Ease of Use 9/10 9/10 9/10
Design Options 7/10 8/10 9/10
Price 9/10 8/10 8/10
FINAL SCORE 4.2/5 3.8/5 4.2/5


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