Thanks to smartphones, capturing memories has never been easier. But for many of us, most of our photos stay stuck in the camera roll. And when we do share our photos, whether on social media or through online messaging apps, our snaps can get buried under everyone else’s content very quickly.
But having physical prints done at a shop can take some time, and heavy-duty home printers can be clunky and expensive. Plus, the latter can’t be taken around with you wherever you go.
Enter portable photo printers. Just as instant film cameras have regained popularity in recent years, so have portable printers. Lightweight, portable, and user-friendly, these photo printers combine all the great things about digital and analog photography. With most portable printers, you can snap as many photos as you like on your phone (unlike film cameras), choose the best one, hit print, and voila – you have a physical photo print in your hands.
But in a market saturated with instant cameras and portable photo printers, where do you even begin to look? Here, we list down 10 of the best portable photo printers available today. To narrow down our list, we considered factors like portability (size and weight), availability of photo paper, connectivity options, battery, and compatibility with operating systems.
Requiring no batteries, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi, the KiiPix Portable Printer & Photo Scanner is the most affordable photo printer on this list. The KiiPix works like an analog scanner-slash-instant-camera of sorts – to use it, you load the pocket printer up with film, position your phone’s screen directly above the scanner, take a shot, and manually crank the dial to release the film. To get the best image quality, you’ll have to turn your phone’s brightness up 100%.
The best thing about this mini printer is that it’s basically compatible with any phone that can fit onto the grip band. It does take a bit of time and effort to print images, but the process is all part of the novelty.
This instant printer uses Instax Mini film. While this type of film is readily available online and in most photo printing shops, it’s not exactly the cheapest type of film or photo paper. The KiiPix is also a little bulkier and requires a bit more time to set up than the other printers on this list. However, when it’s not in use, it can fold down nice and neat and fit in a small bag.
The Kodak Mini 2 Instant Photo Printer is a wireless compact photo printer that is about as big as an external hard drive or a power bank. As such, it’s one of those portable printers that you can just throw into your bag and whip out at parties and events.
Manufactured by one of the biggest film camera brands in the world, it comes as no surprise that the Kodak Mini 2 photo printer produces high-quality prints. This is made possible by its all-in-one cartridge system that combines ink and paper together, as well as its dye sublimation 4Pass printing technology.
This photo printer offers two connectivity options: Bluetooth connection and NFC or Near Field Communication. With NFC, you can connect the device to your phone and print photos in a matter of seconds.
The Kodak Smile Instant Digital Bluetooth Printer does more than just print photos. When connected to the free Kodak Smile app, the pocket printer allows users to edit their digital photos and add filters. The fun features don’t stop there – the app also comes with an augmented reality feature that lets users create animated videos with their stills.
This portable printer uses affordable Zink paper (no ink required) that has a peel-off, sticky back. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery and can produce up to 40 prints per charge. That way, you can print multiple copies of the same photo in one sitting.
Like many other mobile printers on this list, the Kodak Smile has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. On top of this, the printer also has its own USB port.
If you’re looking for professional-level print quality, look no further than the Canon Selphy CP1300.
First of all, let’s get this out of the way. This is not a pocket printer. Weighing at 3.95 lbs, this is one of the heavier devices on this list. However, it is still considerably lighter than most standard printers.
Where it lacks in portability, it makes up for in print quality and versatility. When it comes to printer paper size, you can go all the way up to 6 x 4 inches. And because it utilizes dye sublimation technology, the Selphy CP1300 is capable of producing vivid details and rich colors.
Despite being a portable printer, however, the Selphy needs a power outlet to operate. But if you need to use it on the go, you can purchase a separate battery pack.
Connection is done through Wi-Fi, and unlike the other portable photo printers on this list, the Selphy CP1300 is also compatible with Canon DSLRs. As such, this printer could be a great tool for event and wedding photographers who want to offer prints on the spot.
For professional photographers who want instant results, the Canon Selphy CP1300 might just be the best portable photo printer.
Unlike its bigger brother, the Canon Selphy QX10 Portable Square Photo Printer is a wireless mini photo printer that can fit in a small bag.
Like the Kodak Smile, the Selphy Square QX10 comes with a free app that lets users edit their digital images on their Android and iOS devices, add stickers, filters, and templates, and print pictures wirelessly. As a square format printer, the Selphy QX10 can only produce a square 2.7 x 2.7-inch printed photo.
Using dye-sublimation printing technology, this printer produces printed photos that can last up to a century! So say goodbye to faded photos and hello to high-quality images that last a lifetime.
Is this the best portable wireless printer on the market? Quite possibly.
The only printer on this list that doubles as a camera, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Liplay Hybrid Instant Camera is more akin to a Polaroid camera.
Unlike old-school Polaroids, however, this digital instant camera lets you see your photos on a screen before printing. Its internal storage can manage 45 photos at a time, but it also has a microSD card slot if you want to increase its storage capacity.
If you don’t like the quality of the 4.9-megapixel sensor, you can always use the Liplay as a pocket printer for your smartphone photos. You simply have to connect the device to your phone via Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, the Liplay app doesn’t measure up to the likes of the Selphy QX10’s or the Kodak Smile’s. But other than that, there is little to dislike about this portable printer-slash-camera.
With so many fun and creative features, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer is one of the best portable printers on the market. Here’s what you can do with this instant printer:
- Edit and print photos from your phone using the dedicated app
- Print frames from videos
- Collaborate with friends to create unique collages
- Add sketches and text to photos
- Print up to 100 photos continuously when fully charged
- Connect with Fujifilm X Series cameras to print Instax photos
The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link SE version also lets you print photos from your Nintendo Switch!
If you’re super creative, like to collaborate and share photos with your friends and loved ones, and have no qualms about the price of Instax film these days, then you’ll have a lot of fun with this portable photo printer.
Because Polaroid is such a well-known brand of instant cameras, most people expect their portable printers to be top-notch. So does the Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer live up to expectations? Just like most of Polaroid’s cameras, this portable printer is intuitive, affordable, and reliable.
It delivers vivid, full-color images printed on 2 x 3-inch glossy photo paper. The photos – which have an excellent print quality, by the way – are smudge-proof and have a sticky back “for extra fun”.
Thanks to Zink’s Zero-Ink technology, users don’t need to buy ink cartridges or ribbons for the printer. All you need is the Zink photo paper and you’re good to go.
The portable printer is compatible with iOS and Android devices through Bluetooth. It also comes with a long-lasting rechargeable battery that lets you produce up to 50 prints per charge. One notable downside, however, is that, while the battery life is quite long, it can drain quickly if left on standby mode.
Overall, the Mint Pocket Printer is a solid and reliable device and a great candidate for the best portable wireless photo printer.
According to HP, the HP Sprocket Plus Instant Photo Printer is “the world’s thinnest portable photo printer”. This sleek printer is about as big as a smartphone and can fit in most pockets!
Portability aside, this mini printer utilizes Zink technology to print instant photos with impressive colors, details, and an overall high print quality.
It’s also one of the more user-friendly photo printers out there. Setting up the photo paper, connecting to your device with Bluetooth, and basically, the whole printing process can be done in seconds.
The HP Sprocket app also gives other printers’ apps a run for their money, with its “Embedded Experiences” features. With this feature, you can print a video frame and tag the photo with details. Afterward, you can scan the printed image using the HP Sprocket app and unlock a whole new world of content.
1. Epson Workforce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer
The Epson Workforce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer is our top choice for the best portable printer of 2021. Unlike the other photo printers on this list that can mostly be considered pocket printers, the WF-110 is bigger, heavier, and has the capacity to print documents as well as photos.
Like the Canon Selphy CP1300, this printer is still considerably lighter than most home and office printers. It has a built-in battery that can be charged through a power cord or via USB.
Users can connect to the WF-110 using Wi-Fi Direct or USB, so you can print from practically any mobile device, including your tablet or your laptop.
This printer does use Epson-brand ink or dye cartridges, so you will have to spend on that on top of printing paper.
The Epson WF-110 is touted as a “fast, wireless mobile printer for professionals on the go”, so it doesn’t have all the fun apps and features that the other portable printers on this list do.
What To Look For In A Portable Photo Printer
What factors do you need to consider when looking for the best portable photo printer? When we put together our list, we considered the following elements:
Most mini printers will only be compatible with one or two types of paper. Some will require special ink and paper cartridges. Ultimately, what you’ll want to look at is the price of the paper. Some printers will seem affordable upfront but require expensive printing paper, thus becoming more costly to maintain in the long run.
If you’re mainly printing photos for fun, size shouldn’t really matter that much. As with printing paper, most portable mini printers will only be able to print in one size or format. Some printers produce rectangular photos, while others print in square format, just like Instagram photos.
If you want a portable printer that can give you a variety of sizes to choose from, you might have to look at the bulkier, more “professional” options like the Selphy CP1300 or the Epson WF-110.
Connectivity And Compatibility
How easy is it to connect your photo printer to your smartphone or laptop? How many options do you have to connect? These are some of the things you have to consider in terms of connectivity.
Some printers will only offer Bluetooth connection, while others will allow Wi-Fi and NFC connection. It would also be nice to have a portable printer with a USB slot. That way, even if you have poor internet access, you can still make prints.
When it comes to compatibility, you will want a printer that works with both Android and iOS devices. Some printers may also work with some cameras. The Canon Selphy CP1300, for example, can connect to Canon DSLRs, allowing professionals to instantly print RAW images from their cameras. The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link printer also allows users to connect to a Fujifilm X Series camera for direct printing.
What kind of batteries do you need for your printer? Some printers can only run on disposable batteries, while others are more convenient in that they come with rechargeable batteries.
It’s also a good idea to look into battery life, especially if you’re looking to use your mini photo printer for work. Whether you’re an event photographer or someone who needs to print full-color documents while traveling, having a printer with a decent and reliable battery can make your job easier.
With so many portable printers on the market today, narrowing down your options can be overwhelming. There are printers that come with loads of unique and fun features, and others that are better suited to professionals on the go.
We hope this list has been helpful in your search for the best portable photo printer. And if you want to learn more about photography, printing, and restoring photos, feel free to explore our blog!