The top two brands for printers are Epson and Canon - in that order.
The two big advantages of printing your own images are the immediate feedback and the ability to use specialty papers. With print shops, papers are limited. Turnaround time often takes a week or more, so if you need to make an adjustment, you need to send out again for another print.
You can get good quality prints by using a print house, but they vary quite a bit. Most print houses use chromagenic prints - not inkjet. That has an impact on print life expectancy. Take a look at Episode 32 of the AskBC podcast. http://www.breathing...om/blog/ask-bc/
Printer ink is very expensive in small cartridges, but is not that bad in larger amounts. A set of inks for my Epson 4900 costs $900, but I can replace them one at a time over a couple of years or more, and they cover rolls and rolls of paper. Printing on your own is more expensive than outsourcing, but has benefits.
A printer needs to be used regularly - at least once a week. If you don't use your printer, it tends to have more clogs and you don't get the benefit. I make 8x10 proof prints to make sure my printer stays working and to test prints before I invest in a large size print.
Outsourced printers normally color correct. It's like putting your camera on Auto. But that accounts for a lack of color calibration and overcomes typical errors. They tend to increase contrast and saturation. You can instruct your outsourced printer to not color correct and see if there is any difference. If you don't calibrate your monitor, you'll need to start calibrating.
More than the cost of printing is the investment of time. You need to learn to print - it's not just pressing a button. It's just as challenging as making a photo. You need to learn to manage color through your workflow, understand the print module of your software, and understand how settings on your computer and printer interact.
Expect to invest 100 hours and $200-300 in your education. You'll buy supplies and have more discarded prints than I want to think about. There are books, podcasts, classes, etc. I had to be comfortable buying a 25 sheet pack of paper and just using it up printing 8x10 proof prints.
If you get a printer, buy for the size you use most often. Pick a printer with a print size that fits what you'll hang on a wall in your home or give to others. If you need something larger, you can still outsource it. But if you start small with a size you use, it will be gratifying.