The best compact printers are ideal for placing on a desk or in a small home office setup because they don’t take up too much space. Some can even be battery-powered for on-the-go printing. Despite having a small form factor, compact printers don’t compromise on features, print quality or speed.
But there are many options on the market, all with different specs, features and prices, which makes it confusing to know which one is right for you. In this guide, we’ve picked the best compact printers available and reviewed them to give you real-life insights.
To get started, consider what it is that you need from a compact printer and who will be using it. Do you need a multi-purpose model with copy and scan capabilities so that you can share documents? Is it important for you to be able to print out family photos? Will the children be using it for homework? Do you want a printer that you can take on the move?
Some of the most helpful printer features – think WiFi, photo printing and an integrated scanner – have now been incorporated into compact printers, so that you only need to buy one device instead of several. With that in mind, you might be able to stretch your budget and get a better-specced all-in-one printer. Lastly, compare those boring but important specs like printing speed, paper sizes and connectivity to ensure you find a model that meets your needs.
Memorial Day compact printer deals
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With Memorial Day coming up, there are a number of great deals on the best printers from well-known retailers like Best Buy. We have rounded up some great deals on the best printers so that you can get a great Memorial Day bargain for your office or home. Some of these printers are suited for busy professionals and businesses, while others are a great choice for families and students with a lot of homework to do - there's something for everyone.
iDPRT thermal label printer |
was $174.99, now $119.99 at Amazon
Perfect for small businesses that print a lot of labels, this thermal label printer has one-click setup on multiple systems, including Mac OS and Windows. Its intelligent paper return function can automatically adjust label position and is designed to be so portable that it can be lifted by one hand. And currently, you can save 20% on ticket price.
Canon - PIXMA TS6420a Wireless All-In-One Inkjet Printer |
Was $129.99, Now $79.99 at Best Buy
This compact color printer is easy to set up and can be controlled directly from your smart devices. It is wireless and comes with a front and rear paper tray for easy use. The display screen is minimalistic and easy to navigate, making this a perfect printer for people of all ages. This printer is ideal for families with professionals and students.
Best compact printers
We've tested and reviewed the best compact printers to help you find the right one for you and your home office. We've summed up our findings based on features, specs and performance, so read on below to find the right printer for you.
The best compact printers
The HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 still holds our top spot among the best compact printers. Not only does it 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 the go.
Weighing just 6.5 pounds without the battery (and under 7 with it), it’s small and light enough to fit into a backpack should you need to carry it around with you.
There’s a color touchscreen for easy operation, and a built-in power meter tells how much life is left in the battery. The battery itself will last for around 500 pages worth of printing, which means you should be able to get a few days of use if you take it along on a business trip. Plus you can just recharge it using the power cable in the evenings.
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.
It uses a two-cartridge system, with one cartridge for black ink and the second for cyan, magenta and yellow ink. Tri-color ink cartridges aren’t recommended on normal printers, but in a compact printer, it’s to be expected. In any event, HP offers a pretty good page yield for each cartridge, with a standard black cartridge producing some 200 pages and the tri-color cartridge lasting 165 pages
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. Overall, it offers an unbeatable combination of excellent print quality and portability.
- Read the full HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 review
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 that sits in a compartment on the back 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 having a wired connection that you can use it as a regular printer with your home computer.
In terms of operation, this mini printer opens up with an extendable input tray and features a sleek-looking control panel that has physical buttons integrated into its surface. It is capable of printing 500 pages between charges, with each full charge taking around 90 minutes thanks to the HP Fast Charge function.
Like most of the portable color compact printers we’ve reviewed, this pairs a single black cartridge with a tri-color cartridge to print in a full range of colors. Standard-size ink cartridges have yields of 200 pages for black-and-white prints and 165 pages for color prints, making the price per page 21 cents. HP also offers high-capacity cartridges that increase the yield to 600 and 415 pages, respectively, which reduces the cost to 16 cents per page.
The printer’s input tray holds up to 50 pages at a time, matching the highest-capacity portable printers available. Like most mobile printers, it ejects finished pages onto whatever surface it’s sitting on, with no output tray to speak of.
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 compact printer.
- Read the full HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile review
The Canon PIXMA TR150 is the latest in a line of reliable portable printers from Canon. The resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi is good enough for printing basic photographs, though you’ll still want a dedicated photo printer for high-end work. There are five print settings on offer - regular single-sided A4, borderless A4, First Print Out Time, Simplex, and black letter/document (essentially, colorless printing).
It works via WiFi, and it can connect to a range of devices, including home computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and Alexa/Google Assistant. As such, it's a diverse device with plenty of practical applications – from printing off holiday snaps when you're actually on holiday, to generating last-minute print-outs when you're away from home on business.
In terms of design, the printer has a neat 1.44" screen to display messages and ink information, which doesn’t spoil the overall aesthetic. The machine is small enough to fit inside drawers and even larger items of travel luggage. It's 4.5 lbs too, which is light enough to carry. When you take out the front tray and paper feeder it's larger, but still suitable for smaller office spaces.
The Canon PIXMA TR150 is a great compact printer if you're mobile and want to generate physical copies of photos and work documents. It's small, light, and produces good results across a variety of papers. There are so many ways to connect to devices, and the connection is stable enough to print off batches of items. It costs about the same as the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile, for comparison.
The main drawback is the lack of included battery (charged at around $100 when bought separately) for cord-free usage, the lack of a scanner, and the fact that you pay more here for fewer features when compared to regular home printers.
The Brother PocketJet PJ763MFI is so compact it can slip into the pocket of a coat or laptop bag. It measures in at 10 x 2.2 x 1.2 inches and weighs just 1.25 lbs – making it an ideal choice for contractors who often need to travel and visit customers directly.
It’s the only printer we’ve seen that has the same sort of mobility you get from the best smartphones, and if that is important to you, it may outweigh the compromises that come with this printer – like the fact it can only produce monochrome prints.
If you just get the printer on its own, you simply plug it into a laptop or a home computer via a USB cable. The battery is optional (and usually in a separate package), but when equipped it should provide enough power to print 600 pages per charge. The other downside to its size is the lack of other features such as scanning or copying. If you're looking for a portable printer with more options, especially for photos, try the Canon PIXMA TR150.
As for print quality, it’s good. The resolution is very low (300 x 203 dpi), but the text clarity is among the sharpest of any compact printer we've reviewed – with no actual ink to bleed into the paper, the text has sharp, crisp edges. Black-and-white documents print at around five pages per minute.
As a thermal printer, it doesn’t need ink refills which helps to keep the size and portability down further. You’ll need to buy specific thermal printer paper for this device, which drives the cost per page up 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, albeit in black and white.
- Read the full Brother PocketJet PJ763MFI review
While the HP DeskJet 3755 doesn’t call itself a compact printer, its diminutive size speaks for itself… as does its low price. This is the best budget compact printer we’ve seen, currently costing just $69.99.
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 best buy.
The input tray holds up to 60 pages at a time, and it comes with a fold-out output tray that can hold up to 25 printed pages. That’s lower than many models in this guide, but should be enough if you need to print off a long report or essay in one go.
The HP DeskJet 3755 also comes with a built-in scanner and copier, which operates by feeding documents through it (since it isn't big enough to have a flatbed scanner).
It connects to your home computer or laptop in the usual ways; via a USB cable or WiFi connection, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices. There is also support for printing from your smartphone thanks to Apple AirPlay and Google Cloud Print compatibility, along with HP’s own ePrint app which works with an array of smartphones and tablets. It does lack media card slots, but that’s not surprising given its price point.
The print quality is average 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
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 dignified design that fits in both a 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.
To suit life on the move, there’s a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be charged via USB or AC adapter, plus wireless connectivity in the form of 5 GHz WiFi, so you should be able to connect it to any gadget. You can also buy an optional external battery, which greatly improves the print capacity of the Epson WF-110 on to go.
The print quality is good, with instant drying ink to help you avoid smudges and on your important documents. The max resolution is 5760 x 1440 with optimized DPI – more than good enough for work documents and presentations. It prints documents up to A4 size with print speeds up to 6.7 ISO ppm in black and white, or 3.8 ISO in color. It’s a decent photo printer (though not a specialist), that’s versatile enough for work presentations and posters.
Using the Epson WF-110 is easy enough thanks to the simple and straightforward 1.4-inch color LCD control panel. If you’re looking for something with more complex options, we’d recommend the Canon PIXMA TR150.
It also prints 6 x 4-inch borderless photos, which is perfect for printing off a quick photo to commemorate a successful business deal or just a few holiday snaps if you decide to take this with you on a more relaxing trip.
The vast majority of user reviews for the Epson WF-110 are positive, with a 57% five-star rating on Amazon. The main complaints mentioned that it can be quite thirsty in terms of ink usage. Overall, we found Epson WF-110 to be easy to use and efficient. If you’re running a business on the go, this is the best compact printer for you.
- Read the full Epson WF-110 review
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 fits well into an office environment.
It closes down to a super desk-friendly 15 x 9.7 x 3.5 inches. Lift the paper feeder and this grows to 11 inches – to hold 50 sheets of A4 – but at just 7.5 pounds you can easily move it to find the right space. That said, the Tango X is also very mobile. It comes with an attractive outer case that folds around the unit leaving a carry handle. The Tango X is only a cosmetic upgrade over the original Tango printer. If a fabric jacket for your printer is unnecessary, it's perhaps worth saving $50.
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 with your smartphone and send it via HP's Smart App control app.
Printing performance is better than scanning. During our testing, we found that the text was clearly defined with dark and well-formed lettering, and for graphics, the finish was excellent, displaying saturated color, fine detailing and great tonal transitions. Photos also came out bright, with punchy yet natural colors. Print speeds are around with 11 pages of plain text per minute or a full-color image coming out in just under half a minute.
The HP Tango X is a good-looking printer and the print quality is high. As a stand-alone printer that's compact and portable, this is a great option, but it’s not the ideal choice if you’re on the move a lot or want a high-quality scanner.
- Read the full HP Tango X review
The Canon PIXMA TS6320 is a multi-purpose printer designed for photos and documents, thanks to its five-ink design and separate trays for photo and plain paper. With a built-in flatbed scanner for documents up to A4, it’s a versatile choice for family and home-office use alongside the best home computers.
Duplex printing allows printing on both sides of the paper automatically, and the print speed is decent too – at 21 seconds for a 4 x 6 borderless photo or 4 seconds for a black document.
Regarding design, the PIXMA TS6320 is attractive and available in Black, White and an unusual Navy. The paper input trays can be set to accommodate different paper sizes such as 3.5 x 3.5 inches and Legal (8.5 x 14 inches), with the front holding up to 100 sheets of plain paper. There’s a 1.44-inch OLED display and LED status bar to navigate and view the status of prints, although this sadly isn’t a touchscreen.
This inkjet printer is wireless and connects via Bluetooth, your home WiFi, or AirPrint and Mopria from a smartphone. It can also be controlled with smart devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Forget wires – the whole family should be able to print from virtually anywhere in the house. Indeed, online reviews comment specifically on how easy it is to set up and operate, making it a great choice for busy families and users of all ages.
The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is the best compact printer for portability, not to mention one of the best photo printers. It comes boxed with a wall charger, but it can be powered from an NB-CP2LI battery pack (sold separately) for truly mobile printing.
A common issue with inkjet printers is that print head nozzles can get clogged when not consistently used, but as the CP1500 uses dye sublimation technology you won’t have to worry about this issue.
Like its predecessor, the CP1500 is available in black, white and pink colorways and overall the cosmetic changes to the new iteration give it a more stylish appearance. It’s got a boxy appearance, as well as a textured top face, simplified button configuration and a fixed 3.5-inch 230k-dot LCD display for scrolling through and selecting images and settings.
It features an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot for easy printing directly from a camera’s memory card (microSD/SDHC/SDXC cards can also be used via an adapter), and a WiFi connection allowing you to print through the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app. There’s also Apple AirPrint and Google Mopria compatibility.
Its maximum print size of 6x4” might be limiting for some, but it’s a good option for scrapbooks, projects, homework, or even as a fun centerpiece at a party so that friends and family can print their own pictures off.
If you’re in the market for a portable printer and don’t need to produce large prints then the CP1500 is definitely one to consider. During testing, we found that the image quality was fantastic and the print speeds very reasonable.
- Read the full Canon SELPHY CP1500 review
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?
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 to enable them to print, many now work wirelessly, and can even connect direct to smartphones 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 - 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.