Getting the best compact printer to save you on desk and office space doesn't mean having to sacrifice quality or features. Nowadays, some of the most powerful printer features you may need in a home office have been condensed down into compact printer form.
That can mean you pay a little more for a compact model that packs in as many features as a full-sized printer. But if space is of the essence then these models will serve you well – and they can look impressive too.
By features, we mean beyond printing in black and white or color - some models also offer scanning, faxing and copying. For the latter, you traditionally needed a flatbed scanner, which takes up more room, but this now can be done using the printer's innards. That can mean feeding documents into the top of the compact printer, like you would plain paper, which can then be copied and printed out as if you were using any other copier.
Most of these compact printer options also look more minimal and sleek than larger options, making them a positive addition to your space. If you want more kit to get the most out of your new printer, do check out our guide to the best home computers (opens in new tab) and best laptops (opens in new tab) too.
The best compact printers
It should come as no surprise that the HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 still holds our top spot in the best compact printers rankings. Not only does this print high quality pages and images with almost no errors, but it also comes stacked with all the extra features that you’d expect on a full size printer, including an excellent scanner that lets you scan and copy documents on to go.
It’s a little bit heavier than we’d like for a mobile printer, but thanks to its in-built battery pack it can be taken out and about, so you can get great print quality wherever you are. The HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 prints quickly at between 7-8 pages per minute and it’s much quieter than the average printer, so you won’t disturb people around you if you need to use it in a busy office environment, or even a coffee shop at a push. All of that with a printing resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi, which is excellent for a printer of this size.
You can connect to the HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 via USB, WiFi, or Bluetooth and it works with just about any device, with a dedicated HP mobile app to get it working with your smartphone. You really couldn’t want anything more from a compact printer, which is why this takes our top spot.
- Read the full HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 review (opens in new tab)
The HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile is the smaller sibling of the HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-one, which we think is the best compact printer on the market. What makes the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile different and helps it stand out from the other model is that this is a truly mobile printer, with a built-in battery so it can be used on the go.
As you’d expect from a mobile compact printer, the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile supports wireless printing from your laptop, as well as have a wired connection for when you choose to use it like a regular printer with your home computer. What really helps the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile stand out though, is the amazing print quality that even rivals many full size printers. It’s also quiet and prints pages at a decent rate.
The main sacrifice you’re making for this mobility is the lack of a scanner, but considering the small size and weight of the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile, we’d have been amazed if they’d squeezed one into it. All-in-all, this is just a fantastic little printer.
- Read the full HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile review (opens in new tab)
Canon is one of the biggest names when it comes to printers, so you can rest assured that the Canon PIXMA TR150 comes from a strong lineage of excellent printers. Unlike most of its more conventional efforts though, this compact printer focuses on keeping its size down without compromising on print quality.
Out of the box, the Canon PIXMA TR150 isn’t technically a mobile printer since the battery pack is an optional extra, but either way it’s small, relatively light and prints to a high standard with a resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi. This means it’s good enough for printing some photographs, though you’ll still want a dedicated photo printer for high end DSLR shots.
There are some nice creature comforts too including wireless connectivity and Alexa/Google Assistant compatibility. Overall the Canon PIXMA TR150 is a solid choice if you need a compact printer.
- Read the Canon PIXMA TR150 wireless printer review (opens in new tab)
The Brother PocketJet PJ763MFI is a truly portable printer, with a built-in power supply that means you can print on the go, no matter where you are. It measures in at 10.04 x 2.17 x 1.18 inches and weighs just 1.25lbs - we’ve eaten sandwiches bigger than this printer. This makes it an ideal choice for contractors who often need to travel and visit customers directly. You can print an invoice or receipt using this printer no matter where you are.
As a thermal printer, it doesn’t need ink refills which helps to keep the size and portability down further. The downside is that you can only print monochrome documents from this device. You get sharp prints though, and the PocketJet PJ763MFI’s battery has enough power to print 600 pages at a full charge.
You’ll need to buy specific thermal printer paper for this device too, which drives the cost per page up significantly compared to more conventional printers. Still, these sacrifices are the price you pay for a printer you can take anywhere, and if that’s what you need then this is the best portable printer there is.
- Read the full Brother PocketJet PJ763MFI review (opens in new tab)
Technically we’re pushing our definition of a compact printer with this one, but while it doesn’t call itself one, the HP DeskJet 3755’s diminutive size speaks for itself… as does it’s ridiculously low price. This is hands down the best budget compact printer we’ve seen, costing just $89.99.
It’s not portable, there’s no built-in battery and at 5.5 lbs, you wouldn’t want to be lugging it around with you anyway, but if you’re looking for a small, cheap printer to fit into your apartment or office set-up without taking up too much space, this is the one.
It even comes with a built-in scanner and copier which operates by feeding documents through it (since it isn't big enough to have a flat bed scanner). The print quality is just OK, if we’re honest and you may get a few print errors but when you consider how affordable the HP DeskJet 3755 is, we think it’s still a great device.
- Read the full HP DeskJet 3755 review (opens in new tab)
If you’re a business professional who needs to print high quality documents on the go, then the Epson WF-110 is the best compact printer for you. With a stylish and yet dignified design that fits in both a professional work setting just as well as it does on your desk at home, the Epson WF-110 offers a great blend of high print quality and mobility.
In fact, the print quality is do good that the Epson WF-110 even advertises itself as a photo printer, with the capability to print 6 x 4 borderless photos, which very few compact printers offer. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery should be able to keep you going for around 100 printed pages, but you can also buy additional external batteries for bigger jobs.
The Epson WF-110 is easy to use thanks to it’s intuitive controls and LED screen which means you won’t have to mess around with complicated settings while you’re trying to print a last minute document for a meeting, or keep customers waiting while you print an invoice. If you’re running a business on the go, this is the printer for you.
- Read the full Epson WF-110 review (opens in new tab)
The HP Tango X is a universally praised device that sits firmly as one of the best compact printers. While it might not be a flawless machine, the $199.99 printer is a small, sleek desktop product that perfectly fits an office environment.
As far as smart features go, the HP Tango X is a remarkable clever printer. Not only is wireless printing included, but voice control printing is also included when paired with supported smart home setups.
Unfortunately, scanning isn't included as a hardware feature, but you can still scan and print. However, scanning documents requires you to take a picture and send it via the HP's Smart App control app.
With that said, the Tango X is only a cosmetic upgrade over its X-less counterpart. For an additional $50, the X only adds a fabric wraparound for the printer — presumably to keep it cozy. If a fabric jacket for your printer is unnecessary, it's perhaps worth saving the $50.
- Read the full HP Tango X review (opens in new tab)
What to look for in a compact printer
It might go without saying that size is a primary concern when picking the best compact printer, but not all are created equal. As such it's worth reading the exact sizing to make sure the model fits where you need it, and there is enough room around it for loading paper and printing out. This can also apply to paper size limits, so be sure you know what top end size limits you can afford to take. The look is also worth consideration if this is going to live front and center on your desk – with quite a few color choices to pick from these days.
Do you need a screen? Some will offer this, for quick controls, but many now use an app or the device you're printing from to take care of controls. If you go for a model with an SD card slot for example, you may want a screen so you can print directly from that memory card – ideal for photos.
Print quality and capabilities
On the matter of photos, do you need that high-level quality or are you mainly using the printer for documents with the odd image? Be sure you don't overspend on a photo printer grade model if you're not likely to use that feature in the future.
Connectivity is worth considering as many offer WiFi, Bluetooth and wired connections so you can print from lots of different devices, including your smartphone – from anywhere. That print speed may also be a need for you so take a look at both the black and white as well as color speeds to be sure this is going to serve your needs. Some also offer a quiet mode, that's great for printing while on a call, or at night, for example.
Longer term costs are worth keeping in mind by taking a look at the type of ink cartridges you'll need to replace, or if the printer has an ink tank for topping up. Whatever it is, check the company's own rates as well as third-party options on ink costs before you commit to a particular brand. Some printers cost more up front but ink is cheaper longer term and vice versa.
Compact printers FAQs
How much does a compact printer cost?
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With the best compact printers you're paying extra for a number of things, so they work out more expensive than regular all in one printers. Not only are you paying for portability and wireless features, you also need to factor in the cost of batteries and replacement ink. What's more, stock is relatively scarce at the moment, so we've actually seen retailers increase the price of some printer models.
Compact printers start at around $100 for the budget models from reputable brands like HP and Canon, and they can run to about $500+ if you want the most feature-packed, or ultra-portable models.
We've been reviewing compact printers for years, and think that you'll get a decent model for around $200, which offers both portability and good quality printing, without the need to compromise on important features.
What smart features do compact printers have?
Over the past few years, the best compact printers have gotten a little smarter. Whereas printers used to be plugged into home computers (opens in new tab) to enable them to print, many now work wirelessly, and can even connect direct to smartphones (opens in new tab) and tablets to print direct from these smart devices.
Some compact printers can also print via voice commands, and many are now compatible with things like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The HP OfficeJet 250 (opens in new tab) - our top overall pick - has this feature.
The fact that some printers are able to operate via a rechargeable battery makes them truly portable, and it enhances their smart WiFi features. In theory, a printer that has smartphone printing built-in, and operates via a rechargeable battery, could be taken to any location and used to print off documents from your phone immediately. Ideal for anyone who travels for work, for example.
What kind of ink do compact printers use?
Almost all the compact printers you see on our list are inkjet printers, which use cartridges as their primary source of ink. While you can get tank printers, which allow you to buy ink in bottles to fill a central reservoir in the printer, the smaller nature of these printers mean that most of them employ a cartridge system.
There are a few exceptions, though. The ultra portable BrotherJet Pocket actually prints without ink, as it impresses your document onto a special kind of thermal paper. While this may suddenly seem like a more cost effective option, be aware that thermal paper is expensive, and the print quality is both basic and very limited on printers of this type.
You don't tend to get compact laser printers, as the primary technology in them is ink, and laser printers are larger, more efficient models.