The problem is that you need pigmented inks for durable images.
The costs for the original printer is low, but you pay a fortune for the inks unless you buy an expensive printer with large tanks. For example the Epson 4xxxx series, which can print 17" wide.
More and more manufacturers chip the ink cartridges that only their product can be used and you can't use cheaper inks from third party. (Sometimes they are even more expensive than the original, this is dependent of the product).
The question is how many images and what size do you want to print. Calculate the costs of printer, paper and ink for about 3 years and compare it with costs you have from the lab.
If you have a good lab, it saves you a lot of work and trouble, as your printer should be profiled with ink and paper too that the colors are correct.
I have an Canon i965 which can produce photo quality (even if I don't print many images due the dye ink), but it's very useful for printing direct on CDs.
All BW printing is done with a laser printer, which has toner cost of about 1 cent per page.
Prints are done by the lab. If I order to 12:30 pm, I have it next working day in the mail.