Determining what the best portable photo printer on the market is a daunting task. Not only do we need a lot of research, but we also need to go through a lot of in-depth discussions.
At the end of it all, we may not even have a conclusive answer. There are many models out there and many factors to consider.
Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you about what I think are the best portable photo printers. In our world where taking photos and uploading them on social media have become a daily routine, having a kick-ass mobile printer has become a fundamental requirement for any adventure.
The convenience and entertainment that it gives you as it helps you capture memories and bring them to life are considered by many as priceless. Life is a fleeting moment, so having something to hold onto is something people value a lot. Having a device like a portable photo printer helps us achieve that goal.
Table of Contents
In this article, I’ll be presenting a collection of photo printers to you. I would be discussing not only their pros and cons but also their comparisons with one another.
To help in deciding which one to buy, I’ll be taking a look at the important factors of each. These include price, image quality, mobility, compatibility with other devices, and other features.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you won’t only have a deeper appreciation for this type of technology. But you would also have a better picture of which model you’d like to buy.
It’s a very good-looking portable printer with solid features, but the price is trouble some for me.
Rated by Phillip
A magnificent piece of equipment, with a multitude of uses, and produces high quality images
Rated by Phillip
If you can overlook the printing quality, the Polaroid Zip should still be a fun printer to own and use.
Rated by Phillip
The HP Sprocket is a great entry-level model that is easy to use and perfect for beginners. It has all the basic requirements of a portable photo printer.
Weighing about six ounces, the HP Sprocket is light, compact, and portable. It fits perfectly in your backpack, purse, and even in your pocket.
The size of the printer makes it a perfect companion for all your adventures.
Printing a photo is also simple with HP Sprocket. All you need to do is use a Bluetooth connection to pair your phone with the printer, download the app, and start taking your pictures. Once already set-up, you can easily control the whole process with your smartphone.
You can even edit all the images you took via the app by adding stickers, borders, or even text. After you’re done, just click on the print button and the image will be sent directly to the portable printer. Wait for a few seconds, and you’ll have your photo ready.
The whole process takes about 45 seconds excluding the editing part, of course. The images are printed using Zink (Zero-Ink) imaging which utilizes molecules embedded in a specialized paper to create the picture.
The heat from the printer triggers this process by causing these particles to move around and take the shape of the image on your phone. The end product is a vibrant photo ready to be used.
This is an efficient feature because it saves you a lot of money without buying an ink. Instead, you just need to buy the special re-fill paper, which would cost about 50 cents per piece.
Another added feature that HP introduced is the ability to sync the app with your social media accounts and download photos there for printing. It gives you a very convenient way to print pictures on your Facebook or Instagram account as well as upload photos you’ve previously edited there. This is a great way to re-invent your photos.
Finally, the HP Sprocket is compatible with both iOS and Android users. So, you don’t need to purchase any additional software to use this. Overall, the HP Sprocket portable photo printer is a user-friendly model to have and use in day-to-day activities.
Polaroid is a well-known camera brand that specializes in instant photography. So, it is not a surprise that they too have tried their luck in the portable printer industry.
Eerily similar to the HP Sprocket, the Polaroid Zip mobile printer also utilizes Zero-ink technology to create the picture.
The heat activates the molecules in the dye which changes colors to create an image. Sadly, similar to Polaroid cameras, the photo isn’t apparent and looks like it has a filter over it.
If you can overlook the printing quality, the Polaroid Zip should still be a fun printer to own and use. Similar to other models, this device is also lightweight and compact and can easily be transported from one place to another.
The Polaroid Zip photo printer is convenient to take to the beach or out hiking. You can use this in places where many nice photo opportunities are waiting to be snapped.
After taking a photo, you can also adjust the light, contrast, and warmth, and add stickers and emojis to your pictures. As compared to the HP Sprocket, the interface of the app is easy to understand.
Controlling the settings of the photo is a breeze. After you are done, click print, and the photo will automatically send from the app to the printer. It should all take an average time of 55 seconds, which is not exceptionally fast but not slow either.
Similar to the HP Sprocket with fewer features, this is an adequate entry-level printer you can buy for yourself or give as a gift. If you enjoy printing photos, editing them to your liking, and printing them for hard copies, you’re going to love this product.
In a world where Zink technology is slowly taking over but not necessarily delivering on the results, Kodak teaches us that affordable inked printing is still the way to go.
In an effort to make both worlds meet, they have introduced their innovation to the market: D2T2 dye transfer method.
The Kodak Mini uses a special fade-proof dye to print the photos.
Kodak Mini is really nothing special except for the fact that it will last ten years guaranteed, and it has fingerprint and humidity-resistant qualities.
While the Kodak mini is basic compared to other models, you cannot argue with the results. Each image printed has a crisp and high-quality feeling which is almost similar to professionally printed photos. If quality is what you are looking for from your photos, the Kodak Mini can keep up with the best of them.
The Kodak Mini’s process is similar to other models. You pair your phone with the device using a Bluetooth connection or NFC for Android users. And after a few minutes of syncing, you’re now ready to print.
The application’s interface will give you the option to choose photos from your gallery or take new pictures yourself. Afterward, you will be given the option to edit your images and let your creativity run wild. When you’re contented, just click on print and wait for the finished product.
The images are printed on a 3.1 x 3.4 inches paper which is slightly smaller than the other portable printer papers. Personally, I like the added size because it helps me appreciate the photo more. The printer is also capable of making edge-to-edge prints, so there are minimal borders on your photos.
Lastly, my favorite feature about the Kodak Mini is its price at just below $90. Getting a mobile printer at that price, which produces real-looking images, is a dream come true. Just be ready to spend a little bit more on the photo paper used.
Compared to other choices, the price per print of this device is roughly 80 cents. If you’re okay with this setup, that's great because it seems like you have a real bargain on your hands.
The PICKIT 20 is one of the biggest portable printers we will be evaluating today, but with that size comes a fantastic image quality.
This particular model has an average dimension of 6 x 3 x 1 inches and weighs approximately 9.8 ounces which is a lot larger than its competitors. It can still be transported easily but might just be a little bulkier to carry around.
The reason why it is so big is this is essentially a pocket-sized sublimation printer which is similar to the big ones we use in the office.
It prints photos in four levels which help create its detail-oriented, real looking photos. To be specific, this printer produces 291 dpi glossy images.
Similar to the Kodak mini portable printer, the PICKIT 20 always uses a holder that has the ink and paper already pre-loaded in it. When you buy the cartridge, you simply load it on the side of the printer. The downside is, when the ink has already been used up, you’ll need to throw away the whole container which adds to unnecessary waste.
The printing process also takes about 85 seconds, which is a lot longer than other products. For me, I wouldn’t mind waiting that long, for as long as the quality of my image is top notch. I think the PICKIT 20 can reach that standard.
There are a lot more details in the photos, more accurate color, and more vibrant look. I am simply amazed at how such an incredible picture came from such a small portable printer.
As a whole, I think the high image quality is the best feature of the PICKIT 20. It is affordable and provides exceptional picture quality. If that is what you are looking for in a printer, you may want to consider buying this particular model.
Fujifilm is another popular camera manufacturer that has made its way into the portable printer industry. As expected, they did not disappoint.
The Fujifilm Instax share SP-2 smart produces images with 800x600 dots and a stunning 320 dpi. These specs will give you a more vibrant photo with sharp details on the background.
All images are printed on a 2.4 x 1.8 inches Instax photo paper which is disappointing because you won't be able to appreciate the photo at that size fully.
There also isn’t much you can do with that other than keep in your wallet as memorabilia.
Like other mobile printers, using it is quite easy. All you need to do is download the free SHARE app, pair the printer with your smartphone, and start snapping away. The app also allows you to edit your photos quickly before forwarding them to the device for printing.
The actual printing is laser fast at only ten seconds, but this can be deceiving because it would take another two minutes for the image to dry properly. You see, the printer uses a self-developing film which is what causes the delay.
The Instax share SP-2 is also quite bulky weighing in at 8.65 ounces. It is not small enough to keep in your pocket, but it is small enough to place in your bag or purse. Personally, I don’t prefer big models just because it’s more of a challenge to bring around.
The printer also comes pre-loaded with ten Instax films so when going out and using it, it might be best to bring extra film.
The SHARE app also allows you to download your photos from social media and print it on this device. Just be careful because other consumers have encountered a glitch in the Wi-Fi because the internet seems to disconnect when you pair with the printer. It might be best to save all your photos on your smartphone first before starting to print the images.
All in all, it’s an awesome portable printer with solid features. But it's quite overpriced at around $145 which makes me doubt whether it’s a good investment or not. If you want outstanding photos, check this particular model out.
The final portable printer that we will be reviewing today is the Lifeprint 2 x 3 portable photo and video printer.
A unique feature it gives users is the inclusion of AR or Augmented Reality. This device allows you to create hyper-photos which are still frames of video that come to life when you direct your phone’s camera at them.
The Lifeprint portable photo printer is like a magic wand that allows you to bring inanimate objects to life.
If you’re not a fan of the AR feature, you can still print regular photos using the app which is similar to how other printers do it. The printed copy size is about 2 x 3 inches. This is quite small to be fully appreciated.
Lifeprint also introduced another feature which is a network intended exclusively for their users. This means you can share content on the app with your friends or family who also use the Lifeprint application.
Regarding the photo quality, the device uses zero ink technology, which is beneficial because you don’t use ink but at the expense of the clarity of the image.
Many other users have complained that similar to the HP Sprocket and the Polaroid Zip, the Lifeprint has sub-par image quality. While you can adjust the lighting and color before printing, the difference between the actual printed photo and the one on your phone is pretty far.
The Lifeprint app also allows you to add different designs to your photos. Not only can you add stickers and smileys but you can also create memes and moving GIFs. I think younger users will appreciate this technology more.
Finally, the price of this device is pretty affordable. Currently having a price tag of less than $100, it’s a small investment to make for a lot of innovations. If you want to try something fun and out of the ordinary with your picture-taking skills, you might want to try out what the Lifeprint portable photo and video printer has in store for you.
The Canon SELPHY CP1200 printer is among the best portable printers currently available in the market. This printer comes with a dedicated WiFi button which activates the WiFi and connects the device to available networks at your office or home.
This best portable photo printer is compatible with the Canon print and the PictBridge. It is also compatible with the AirPrint. This means that one can always print without experiencing issues from all the apple devices.
This printer also comes with an Access Point mode as a bonus. The Access Point mode helps in ensuring that in the event you are in a place without any wireless network, you are still in a position of making prints.
It contains a Canon print app for both the iOS and Android that allows one to print directly from their smartphone. This app can also be used in setting up the device when you are using it for the first time.
It does have an optional battery that allows on to take their printer practically everywhere either at a school, party of even an outdoor event. It also allows you to make hand out prints and images as souvenirs, marketing materials, etc. Its battery is capable of storing enough power that can last for up to 54 hours when on a full charge.
This best portable photo printer has an SD card slot and a flash drive as well just in case you decide to put in the SD card or camera to the device to print. It also has a 2.7″ tilting LCD screen which functions as your reviewing window. It is also possible for you to carry out some light editing works before you finalize on the prints.
This Canon SELPHY CP1200 is in a position of printing up to a maximum size of 4 x 6″. However, this is just one of the sizes you can print. It is also possible to print the squares, label sizes and the small stickers 8 at a time. This printer is never your typical office or home printer. However, in case you love printing from time to time, you will definitely love using this printer.
This device makes use of a special ink and paper type. One interesting thing about it is the ink quantity this printer comes with, the right amount for the number of papers loaded into the device.
You are definitely familiar with the Zink technology that some of the iPhone photo printers have previously used. Zink Company does make all of the thermal dye paper that is used by printers although they also make their own printing options as well. Zink Happy Phone Printer is their rendition of a top portable printer. Despite being a technical label marker, it performs very well as a printer and it is comparable to the other types of printers in the market.
Transporting Zinc Happy is very easy since it weighs less than 2 pounds. Despite coming with a power cord, it is still possible for you to pay extra charges for the rechargeable battery which makes it to be fully compatible. This battery also does add a little weight and height to the printer although that is never enough to make it less portable.
The printer can easily connect to a network via the Wi-Fi which you can then connect to your tablet or phone. It also has a Direct Connect Mode that connects automatically to your device and printer when you download the Zink Design Studio app.
After installation of the app, it is now possible to print your photos. It is possible to have the creating images such as business cards and labels options. Anything you choose to print can be as large as 17 inches long. You can use anything you print as a sticker by removing its back.
Although this app is straightforward at first, it will take you some time to figure the more advanced options.
According to Zink, this best portable photo printer prints at a rate of .15 inches in a second when it’s in default mode and .3 inches in a second when in standard mode. It takes only one minute to print 2×4 inch photo.
The quality of the photo from Zink Happy Printer is decent. Although it is not that special, it is enough to offer one with enough prints which are not damaged or blurry.
Almost all the best portable printers we have reviewed have a similar set up. However, the Prynt does change things a bit. Prynt resembles a camera case more than a printer. It goes around your phone and functions like an instant camera that prints out your iPhone pictures whenever you are interested.
This Prynt is almost vintage and stylish. Its case is thick and available in a variety of bright color options. It does not require pass for a phone case due to its odd shape. However, it does give your phone a great look. It comes fully equipped with a non functional shutter button which makes your mobile phone look like a completely new yet vintage camera.
This printer charges with the USB cable and does snap into your mobile phone. You can always load this printer with paper and load the application on your mobile phones which are easier tasks to achieve. You can thereafter use this application to print out the photos you need.
Ability of this printer to print a video is one of its coolest features. In case you have a video on your phone, it is always possible to print an image from the video by using the application. After the image has been printed, you can always scan the photo using your phone and view the video.
However, the Prynt app is still under development although there are already bigger plans for it. You can always add frames and filters to the photos before printing them out. Whenever you are low on paper, this application will alert you and make it possible for you to order it.
The Prynt is compatible with the iPhone 5s/SE, 6/6s/7 plus, and 6/6s/7. However, it is important that you ensure you order the right case or it will never fit.
This printer makes use of the Zink technology to print out the photos. However, the quality of the photos is not that good although clear. The photos do come out in 2×3 size although they are small in size but fun.
LG Pocket Photo Printer is a very small iPhone photo printer that has a stylish look and uses the Zink technology in inkless printing. It is a very light printer weighing only 212 grams. It occupies very little space and is considered to be among the smallest printers in the market. In order to load the paper into the device, remove its top lid and replace the lid and it’s all set.
This printer features a mini USB port for charging and a power button. Whenever you print something, it does come out from the base.
Its set up does involve installing the LG photo printer app. After installation, you will have to turn the printer on and ensure your mobile phone’s Bluetooth connectivity is on. Get the LG printer and have it paired with your mobile phone. You can select a photo to print, thereafter click the print in order to print it immediately.
This printer uses Zink technology hence; you will need a Zink paper. Whenever you place the paper on the printer, ensure the blue side of the paper faces down while the white side faces up. After loading the paper, click on print and it will take you a maximum of two minutes for your photo to be printer.
The process of setting up the printer is very simple; however, the process of pairing on your mobile phone to the printer can at times be very annoying. Using this app is very easy and it allows one to set the timers to the end of the Bluetooth connection or change the print margins.
Although the LG pocket makes use of the impressive technology, it does have some flaws. One on a budget might get the printer paper to be too expensive although Zink never comes cheap. The images poor quality and the prints small size do make this printer to be a poorer choice especially when looking for a high grade printer.
For quick prints and fund, this LG Pocket will get the job done. Its sticker paper is of great fun and its great portability makes it possible when printing anywhere.
The Pickit M2 Photo Printer is very similar to the Prynt. It is a much smaller printer that does resemble the old Polaroid camera in functionality. However, this option does not look like the old Polaroid and one cannot even compare the qualities of the photos. The wallet size, the device pairs with any devices through the NFC or Wi-Fi.
However, this devices’ dimension are small measuring 15.5×7.5×2.5 mm. and it comes inclusive of a magnetic sleeve. The sleeve helps in preventing scratches and protecting the printer from any type of damage.
This printer uses the 640 mAh battery which recharges with USB cord. This battery is capable of lasting for several prints before running out. When it dies, all you will need is plug it in and let it recharge.
The Pickit will print images that are of the same size as the credit card. Its paper is both waterproof and scratch proof. However, this is never what makes the printer to stand out. One great feature about this printer is its printing technology. It uses the dye sublimation technology to enable it print images of high quality out.
This dye sublimation does embed colors into the paper making it resistant to tearing, water and smudging. Its quality is also much better that the photos which have been printed using the Zink technology there by giving it a bigger edge.
Concerning its usability, Pickit is highly ranked. In order to use this printer, you will have to download the app from the app store and turn the device on. Connect to the Wifi of the printer and start printing. This app will enable you to choose a photo to print and it also comes with editing options that include frames, text and filter effects. However, this entire printing process does take place under one minute.
There is nothing perfect in the world and Pickit is no exception. The same type of technology that offers this printer high quality images are the same that offers it high cost of maintenance.
It is only possible for you to slim down this printer before it loses its functionality. For any person who is interested in printing large images, small or wallet sized printer is never an option. However, we do have a printer that is in a position of printing legal sized photos and it is compact enough to be referred to as being portable. This is the Canon pixma iP110 printer.
It is not that portable as the other printers listed in this review. You cannot keep it inside your pocket or briefcase. However, it does run on battery power and can be connected to other devices via Wi-Fi. It is a type of printer that you can always carry while going for a business trip.
You should never be fooled by the fact that printer does print letter sized paper. It can easily meet all your printing needs.
The Pixma ip110 Portable Printer is of similar size to a tissue box and is available in rectangle shape. It is slightly larger when you open it for printing. Measuring 12 inches across, 9 inches long, and 8.5 inches tall, this printer weighs 4.3 pounds. It also requires space for the paper to come out at the front and lacks the paper tray.
Papers sit at the front of this printer making it much easier to load. You don’t have to get a power source or any other type of cable since this printer can easily connect through the Wi-Fi. You do have an option of connecting it using a USB cable and can charge its battery using the USB.
Pixma ip110 Portable Printer features a battery which is an excellent feature despite not being included in the purchase price. It also features Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print together with the Pixma Printing Solutions. It is possible to print from cloud sites like Dropbox, Facebook and much more.
The process of assembling this printer is different from assembling the typical printer. You will be required to install two cartridges although there is no real assembly that is required. This printer performs very well and can print a 4×6 photo within 60 seconds which is quite impressive.
You can never miss the Photobee Portable Photo Printer among the list of the top best portable printers. Although you should never go by its look alone, one way you will be defining it is by referring to it as cute. It is a very useful printer capable of printing at 2.3″ x 3.5″ unique Photobee stick at a resolution of 310 DPI.
You can connect this printer to any tablet and Smartphone thanks to it’s built in Wi-Fi connectivity. It also contains a rechargeable battery that charges itself via the micro USB cable.
However, this best portable photo printer only works when this special paper has been inserted. Are you interested in a series of emojis for your school project? Are you interested in a sticker with your favorite photo? The Photobee Portable Photo Printer should be your first option. It can print a full page under four steps in just 45 seconds.
One cartridge does contain enough photo paper for 12 prints. All the three cartridges have been bundled together. This basically means that one can easily make 36 prints using a single pack.
The prints produced are tear resistant, water proof and smudge free immediately they get out of the printer. The fourth stage of the printing process uses weather proof coating which will help prevent damage when exposed to sun.
Are you interested in sticking this print of your house wall or for your school project book? Just peel off the sticky back and you will be able to stick them wherever you want. Photobee Portable Photo Printer dimensions are 5.8″ x 3.8″ x 1″ and it weighs 12.8 ounces.
As I said a while ago, various things should be considered when purchasing a portable photo printer. After going through all these different models, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities as well as differences.
I realized that some factors seem to outweigh others, and those are what I want to focus on in this segment. These are my recommendations on what you should look out for buying a mobile printer.
Having high-quality pictures with great attention to detail seems to be a basic requirement for consumers. If that’s the case, I believe you should first decide whether you want to use an ink-less or an inked printer.
There seems to be a growing trend with portable, ink-less printers that are cheaper but produce low-quality images. However, some people prefer inked printers that print high-quality of images although they are a little bit more expensive.
For me, it all boils down to how or where you will use the photos. Are you just planning to play around and use the photos for a scrapbook? Or do you prefer crisp and clear photographs? I think answering these questions will give you a clearer idea of what type of printer you should buy.
In the same way that choosing ink-less or inked printers help you narrow down the choices, then the size is also a big deal. Mobile printers seem to come in all shapes and sizes and even designs. Deciding whether you want a compact and lightweight model or something a bit bulkier can affect what device you end up buying.
Normally, the printing machinery of small printers is basic as opposed to bulkier brands that use more advanced technology.
The design or material used also affects the weight of the printer. Lighter models use hard plastic while bulkier ones use metal and have a nice matte finish. Each of the designs also adds a specific dimension to the portable printer. Bigger photo printers look more professional than smaller ones while lighter products are more juvenile than darker ones.
All these, in some way, affect the type of portable printer you want to buy.
As with anything we purchase, the price is always going to be a major factor. Like I said earlier, portable printers are mere luxuries that we don’t necessarily need to invest in. However, they add a lot of fun and entertainment to our lives, so having one is not a bad idea.
It is important to remember to set a budget, but looking for the right model must also fit our requirements. Something that is expensive doesn’t always mean that it's of top quality. We can always find models that aren’t top of the line but answer your needs just right.
Finally, we have reached the most important factor: what fits your needs. I want you to ask yourself this question: "why are you buying a portable printer in the first place?" Once you answer this, everything will be more precise because you will be able to prioritize what specific benefit you are looking for.
One of the important things you should consider before buying the best portable photo printer is how often you will be using the printer and how much you intend to print. You need to know if you will be using the document is your day to day adventures of if you will be going to reserve it for travel of special events.
It is important that you also consider the volume of the prints it is capable of producing in a single charge, average time of printing per photo together with other factors that you will have to allow in order use your portable photo printer.
Would you be interested in something that has higher resolution or would a basic print be enough? Would you be interested in getting your photos printed on a paper with different designs and patterns? Would you a plain old photo be okay? Are you in need of a photo that resembles something out of a camera or will you need it to look like a regular photo?
There are several options you can explore. All you have to do is think carefully on the print options you would like your camera to have.
Ensure the best portable photo printer you choose is compatible with the digital storage device you are using. There are consumers who assume that all the photo printers offer similar type of connectivity.
Photo printers such as the versatile Kodak ESP3 or the previous HP Photosmart D7560 do have built in slots for, MMC cards, Micro Drives, SD cards and more. There are others like the Polaroid PoGo which will offer direct connectivity or USB. There are also photo printers such as the Epson Artisan which don’t feature any direct from camera printing type. Such models can still be important when you do a lot of photo editing on your computer and do not mind spending some few minutes uploading images before you start printing.
In this article, we’ve discussed a lot of different brands and models of portable printers on the market. Now, let's go back to the initial question: Which among them do we consider the best of the best?
I can’t say for a certain nor can I speak for anyone, but after doing my research and analysis, I would have to go with the Kodak Mini Portable Mobile Instant Photo Printer. Out of all the models we’ve talked about today, I believe this one best answers the factors needed to be considered in a practical, portable printer.
Firstly, it can provide the users with high-quality imaging through its D2T2 dye technology which is guaranteed to last for at least ten years. It has clear imagery and accurate details and is comparable to professional-looking photos.
Aside from that, the size of the photos is just right. They’re small enough to be portable but big enough to appreciate the intricate details of the image. The printer itself is also lightweight and convenient to bring around with you or store in your bag.
The Kodak Mini is not bulky and carrying it in your pocket is not a challenge. It is also coated with a matte or metallic finish which gives it a professional look. I like that about the Kodak mini photo printer.
Lastly, it is an affordable portable printer. With a price tag of less than $100, it is a complete bargain to own. I don’t need to break the bank to buy a quality piece of machinery such as this. Simply put, it is worth far more than its price, and I like that about this product.
All in all, it is these factors that affect my choice for Kodak mini photo printer to be the best portable photo printer. It is a magnificent piece of equipment with a multitude of uses and produces high-quality images. I am sure any person who buys it will be glad they made that purchase.