The best portable printers mean you can print documents or images from anywhere. More compact than their traditional counterparts, these printers are built to be taken on the go.
"For true portability, you'll not only need a printer sufficiently small and lightweight to carry around easily, but it will also need an internal, rechargeable battery, or at elast compatible with a battery pack that's sold separately." - Matthew Richards, Printing Expert and Reviewer
Whether you're a remote worker, digital nomad, or simply need a printer to capture your memories on the go, portable printers are a great option. Although they're smaller, the best printers don't compromise on print quality and produce high-quality images and documents.
Some models need to be plugged into the mains, while others come with a charger or battery pack. Depending on how portable you want your printer to be, this as well as the weight is worth taking into account when making a purchase. You'll also want to think about whether you're going to use this product for printing black and white document or images.
If you're in need of a larger printer with more horsepower and capacity, check out our guide to the best all-in-one printers. If you're looking to produce high quality photo prints, you can read our guide to the best photo printers.
Best portable printers
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Whatever your needs, this list lines up the best portable printer models out there right now, each with their special features laid out for you to easily pick the perfect printing partner.
While we endeavor to review every product that we highlight, some of the reviews for this guide are still in progress. However, any unreviewed products will sum up the key specs, features and user reviews to help you make the best decision for you and your household.
Best portable printers
The Canon PIXMA TR150 is an amazing printer, weighing only 4.5 pounds and folding down into a compact size that can be tucked away neatly in a drawer, or carried in a bag. Despite the small size, this printer can still hold up to 50 sheets of A4 paper, which it can print on a detailed 4500 x 1200 DPI.
This printer has a number of smart features available, including being Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatible. This means that you can print with voice commands alone. Alternatively, if voice commands aren't your thing (or you're working from a busy cafe and don't fancy holding a conversation with your printer), you can also print directly from your smartphone with 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi connectivity.
During our testing process, we found the photo print quality to be excellent. However, the main drawback if this printer is the price of Canon ink - it's expensive. Due to the price of the ink, using this as your main photo printer might not be sustainable. However, it's still a great option as a portable photo printer.
This printer will print 15 pages per minute in monochrome, and 10 pages per minute in color, making it a viable daily-use printer. It will even work using battery power with an optional power pack, making it a good option for people who want to take their printer with them wherever they work.
- Read our full Canon PIXMA TR150 review
The HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 is a mobile printer that's jam-packed with features. It's admittedly on the larger side of portable printers, but it makes up for this with the battery power it features. The battery will last for around 200 prints before needing a recharge, and you can load up to 50 sheets into the feeder at once.
Due to its wide range of connectivity options, including WiFi and Bluetooth, it will connect to almost any device that you need it to. Meanwhile, you can print at 4800 x 1200 DPI quality, copying and even scan with this printer. During our testing, we found that the color quality was excellent for printing. However, we did find that the scanning producing slightly faded reproductions when scanning lighter colors.
The printer comes with a full-year warranty, and their responsive customer support will be there to help if you run into any problems. The cost is higher than the others on the list, but with the print quality and the sheer number of features, it is easy to see why.
- Read our full HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 review
The HP Tango X packs a large number of features into an attractive, sleek design. With a size compact enough to be slipped into a bag or a drawer, this portable printer will produce high-resolution prints on A4 that are adequate for photo printing.
During our testing process, we found photos to have rich color and detail, and the text came out crisp and clear. This printer does have a copier and a scanner, but we found the text to be a little blurry when using Android, with some color distortions present as well.
This portable printer is WiFi connected and is operated via the HP Smart Print app for printouts from multiple devices, wherever you are. There's no screen on the printer itself, which is good for keeping it minimalist and portable, but you will need to use the app for more complex tasks. Ink isn't the cheapest, but there are subscription options available if you wish to keep costs to a minimum. If you want a portable printer for photos and texts, this is a great option, but for scanning and copying, it is not the best.
- Read our full HP Tango X review
The Epson WF-110 is one of the smallest, most compact printers on the market, yet it still manages to produce professional-quality prints. This is one of the highest-resolution printers on the list with an amazing 5760 x 1440 DPI quality. When we tested this printer, it produced super detailed lettering and rich detail on colorful images. The 5GHz WiFi connection allows you to print from most devices, with full support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa included. We found the print speeds to be fairly average, which is fine as it more than makes up for the speed in print quality.
Unfortunately, you can't scan or copy with this printer, and only 20 sheets of paper can fit in the feeder at once, and we also found that this device used a lot more ink than the others. All of this is to be expected from a printer of this size, and the printer quality really shines through most of the cons. If you simply want exceptional quality prints from the most compact portable printer then this may be the option for you, but if you want to be able to scan and copy then you may need to go for one of the larger options on the list.
- Read our full Epson Workforce WF-110 review
The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is the updated version of the CP1300. It has a fresh look and a more boxy appearance, simplified buttons, and a larger, fixed LCD display. During our testing, we wished the screen could be tilted, but that's only a small detail.
The printer comes boxed with a wall charger and users also have the option of powering it from a NB-CP2LI battery pack which is sold separately at an extra cost but makes it truly portable.
A common issue with inkjet printers is that print head nozzles can get clogged when not consistently used. The CP1500 uses dye sublimation technology so you never have to worry about this problem with this printer. In our testing, we were very impressed with the fast printing speeds and the vibrant colors achieved by the CP1500.
- Read our full Canon SELPHY CP1500 review
The new Canon IVY CLIQ+2 is a digital compact camera with a printer built-in to create instant 2x3” physical images. It combines an 8Mp digital camera with a built-in printer, all housed in a single compact unit. You also have the added benefit of storing your digital JPEG files on a MicroSD card so you can back photos up, share them or print duplicates.
Film is known for being pricey, about $0.70 for a single Fujifilm Instax 2.1x3.4” (1.8x2.4” actual image size), or a steep $2 per classic Polaroid Color 600 print. The IVY CLIQ+2 however uses heat-based printing rather than film so its prints are notably cheaper at about $0.44 per 2x3” print.
At 50 seconds per print, it takes a little while to create your print but it’s not unreasonable. It’s also relatively quiet when printing. The only time we ran into issues with the print speed was when a photo was taken accidentally as you then have to wait a minute before being able to try again - we wished there would be a cancel button for these situations.
The image quality isn’t the best we’ve ever seen, but it was perfectly fit for purpose and while the colors weren’t completely accurate this did help it mimic the retro charm of the old instant film cameras.
- Read the full Canon IVY CLIQ+2 review
The Fufjifilm Instax Link Wide, as the name suggests, is ideal for wide format photo prints on the go. The app works well to allow you to edit pictures on your device before sending them to print in high quality 800 x 1260 dpi resolution on printer paper. This comes in 10 packs where the ink is part of the package – not cheap but very easy to use.
While this does print rich color photos it also has a smart QR code feature, allowing you to embed links to websites, sounds, locations and even hidden messages into the photos that can be accessed using a smartphone scanning that image.
The app features lots of templates, allowing you to create your print finish with ease before sending it from your phone to the printer via Bluetooth. You can even create collages for multiple images on a single sheet print.
Designed as a mobile photo printer that runs on a rechargeable, internal Li-ion battery pack, the QX10 creates 2.7-inch square prints on slightly larger paper, with a border along the bottom that’s ideal for adding captions. The paper has a peelable backing, so you can stick your prints into a scrapbook or onto any hard surface. Using a dye-sub printing process, each print passes through the printer four times, adding different color dyes and a final protective top coat. This makes the prints robust, smudge-resistant and gives them a longevity of about 100 years.
Keeping the size manageable, the dye-sub cartridge and the paper tray both slot into the printer to avoid protrusions. At a little more than an inch thick, the QX10 is just about small enough to qualify as a pocket printer. Prints are of good quality and take about 43 seconds to produce, at a cost of around 75c/80p each, based on packs of 20 sheets of photo paper and the accompanying dye cartridge. The battery also has enough juice for creating 20 prints from a full charge.
The companion Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets makes printing quick and easy. Ultimately, the QX10 is quite pricey to buy but the build quality and performance is good. It’s fine if square prints are your thing, but you might prefer the more typical photographic aspect ratio of the Polaroid Hi·Print 2x3 Pocket Photo Printer, which creates larger 2x3-inch photos and is cheaper to buy.
- Read our full Canon SELPHY Square QX10 review
The Brother PocketJet 8 is a thermal printer meaning it uses special paper and heat to print and so doesn't require separate ink. As such this can be super compact and lightweight making this highly portable. It is also very decent quality with a high 300dpi resolution and can print quickly at 13 pages per minute. On the downside you can only print in monochrome and many of the extras cost more, like a battery pack, paper tray, and that specific thermal paper.
This is one in a long line of this printer type and as such is near perfected with lots of connectivity including USB, WiFi, Bluetooth and WiFi Direct. But it's also good for peace of mind thanks to a 2-year warranty and a lifetime customer support backing.
The Canon IVY 2 Mini photo printer, not to be confused with Canon’s similarly-named IVY CLIQ+2, is a pocket-sized portable printer that connects to your smartphone wirelessly which can produce 2x3” prints in under a minute.
You can take photos on your smart device or browse through images in your gallery and print them wirelessly. The prints also have an optional backing that you can remove to turn them into stickers, perfect for scrapbooking or to add some flair and decorate to your devices such as laptops, phones or even a fridge.
We love how easy the linked app is to use and connect to a smartphone. It makes the printer great to capture parties and social events. The Canon IVY 2 Mini uses the same 2x3” ZINK photo paper as the CLIQ+2, however it has a 17% lower resolution at 313x500 dpi. Images aren’t the highest quality we’ve ever seen but they’re absolutely fit for purpose and have some of the retro charm you get with instant film cameras such as a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instax.
- Read our full Canon IVY 2 Mini review
Buying advice for the best portable printers
What should you look out for in a portable printer? We asked our Matthew Richards, printing expert reviewer, and this is what he advised:
"For true portability, you’ll want to use it anywhere and everywhere, without the need to plug it into a mains socket", Matthew told us. "If so, you’ll not only need something sufficiently small and lightweight to carry around easily, but the printer will also need an internal, rechargeable battery, or at least be compatible with a battery pack that’s sold separately."
Weight and dimensions
All printers in this guide are suitable to use on the move and can be set up pretty much anywhere. Some are considerably more compact and lighter than others, such as the Polaroid Mint which is only 6 ounces, or the Brother PocketJet which is only 15 ounces. Ideally, you want a device that can easily fit into a bag or be tucked neatly into a drawer when not in use.
Print options and quality
Print quality varies significantly between different printers. Depending on whether you want to print high-resolution images or black-and-white documents only, you'll want to look at a few different machines to find one that suits you. Some portable printers exclusively print in black and white, while printers such as the Canon Selphy are specialized for photo printing.
"For small-format photo printing, chemical inkless and dye-sublimation technologies are ideal, the latter typically giving better quality results", according to Matthew Richards. "In both cases, there are no ink cartridges involved. This can be a bonus as there’s no risk of ink spillage, or of the print head not being properly ‘parked’ when the printer is being carried around, which can lead to ink drying out in the nozzles and causing blockages. For larger letter-sized output, however, inkjet technology is a better fit."
Slow printing speed can be a hindrance when completing admin tasks if you choose the wrong printer. If you are looking to do a lot of urgent, high-speed printing then you will want to choose a model that can accommodate your needs; more modern (and thus more expensive) printers tend to offer the highest print speeds.
Many of printers, especially portable ones, will only print in A4 and below. A lot of photo printers are restricted to even smaller sizes than this. If you want a printer that can produce A3 pages, then you may want to look out for specialized printers that can do this.
Budget and running costs
Ink can get very expensive. Your personal budget will have to be considered when upgrading your current printer. Due to their smaller size, many people may think that portable/compact printers are cheaper to run, but a lot of them can go through ink at an alarming rate which may make them more expensive to run than regular printers. However, a number of the options on our list do suit a smaller budget, and some even come with free ink saving you that additional cost.
"A good range of connectivity options can be important when you’re on the move", Matthew told us, "so you can print from a laptop, smartphone and other devices. Many portable printers therefore feature Direct Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as being compatible with supporting apps for Apple and Android devices, and cloud-based services."