Best Compact Printers of 2018

Jessica Richards ·
Education Software & Printing Senior Writer
Updated
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After running compact printers through the same series of tests we use for our all-in-ones printer reviews – using high magnification to check each device’s print quality on hundreds of sheets of paper –  we think the HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 is the best one because it has the most features and is still portable. If you don’t need the extra heft of a scanner or copier, HP also makes the OfficeJet 200. Because both machines are made by HP, their print quality is similar. However, since the OfficeJet 200 has fewer features, it’s less expensive and even easier to carry around.   

Best Overall
HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250
The HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 combines the best in print quality with the most features. It fits in a standard backpack and, despite its size, makes copies and scans documents.
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Best Value
HP OfficeJet Mobile 200
The HP OfficeJet Mobile 200 is a slimmer, trimmer version of the HP 250, and while you can’t copy or scan documents, you get the same high-quality print results.
View on HP
Most Portable
Brother PocketJet 7 PJ723
The PocketJet 7 PJ723 uses special thermal printing technology, which makes it incredibly compact. Weighing in at just over a pound, it’s the lightest printer we tested in our lab.
View on Amazon
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Design
Output
Ink & Media
Features
Help & Support
Portability Score
Battery Life (Pages Per Charge)
Battery Power Option
Dimensions (WHD)
Weight (Pounds)
Print Quality
Black Print Speed
Color Print Speed
Photo Capable
Print Resolution
Max. Document Size
Print Technology
Cost Per Page (Standard)
Cost Per Page (High Capacity)
Paper Capacity
Scan & Copy
Connectivity
OS Support
Mobile Support - Apple
Mobile Support - Android
Mobile Support - Other
Print from Camera
Warranty
Phone
Live Chat
Email
Social Media
Online Manual
Troubleshooting Guide
FAQs
Forums
$349.99 HP
8.4 8.8 9.3 8.3 5.8 10
A-
500
14.96 x 7.8 x 3.6
6.73
A
8.57
7.35
4800 x 1200
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
0.21
0.16
50
USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Windows, Mac, Linux
-
-
HP ePrint app
-
1 year
$279.99
8.4 9.5 9.3 8.3 3.3 10
A
500
14.3 x 7.32 x 2.7
4.85
A
8.82
7.35
4800 x 1200
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
0.21
0.16
50
-
USB, Wi-Fi
Windows, Mac, Linux
-
-
HP ePrint app
-
1 year
$222.29 Amazon
8 9 8 5.8 8 7.5
A
290
$
12.7 x 7.3 x 2.5
4.3
B
7.14
4.04
9600 x 2400
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
0.15
-
50
-
USB, Wi-Fi
Windows, Mac
Canon PRINT app
1 year
-
-
$191.80 Amazon
7.5 9.3 8 5 6.3 5
A
100
12.2 x 6.1 x 2.4
3.5
A-
5.36
2.88
5760 x 1440
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
0.18
-
20
-
USB, Wi-Fi
Windows, Mac
Epson iPrint Mobile App
-
1 year
-
-
-
-
Check Price
7.4 6.3 7.5 7.8 8 10
B+
-
-
15.86 x 6.97 x 5.55
5.13
B
7.89
3.75
4800 x 1200
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
0.25
0.19
60
USB, Wi-Fi
Windows, Mac
HP ePrint app
-
1 year
$404.82 Amazon
7.3 10 3.5 10 2.5 7.5
A+
600
$
10.04 x 2.17 x 1.53
1.34
D-
5.0
-
-
300 x 203
8.5 x 14
Thermal
0.14
0.07
Varies
-
USB
Windows, Mac, Linux
-
-
-
-
1 year
-
-
$67.00 Amazon
5.9 3.5 7.8 8.5 8 5
C
-
-
15.4 x 11.8 x 5.7
9
B
7.69
3.40
5760 x 1440
8.5 x 44
Inkjet
0.26
0.18
100
USB, Wi-Fi
Windows, Mac
Epson iPrint Mobile App
-
1 year
-
-
-
-
$418.88 Amazon
5.8 9.3 4 1.3 3.5 6.3
A
350
$
11.4 x 6.5 x 1.8
2.8
C-
1.48
1.64
-
4800 x 1200
8.5 x 14
Inkjet
Black - 0.26, Color - 0.53
Black - 0.27, Color - 0.21
10
USB
Windows, Mac
-
-
-
-
1 year
-
-
-
Best Overall
It’s not the smallest mobile printer available, but the HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250 lets you print, scan and copy documents on the go. Even with this robust feature set, it weighs just under 7 pounds with the battery attached and fits in a standard carry-on or backpack.
The battery pack comes with the printer and holds enough charge to print 500 pages or to keep it working over a long weekend. You control all the printer functions with a 2.65-inch touchscreen on the front of the device. What’s truly impressive about this compact printer is that its print quality rivals that of a lot of standard-size inkjet models, likely because it has a 4800 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. When we tested this device, we found very few ink- or feed-related errors. For a mobile printer, the OfficeJet 250 also printed quickly – eight pages per minute for black-and-white documents and seven pages per minute for color documents. As a bonus, it’s also much quieter than other mobile printers. The machine uses a tri-color and black cartridge. Printers that use individual cartridges instead of tri-color ones tend to have lower ongoing ink costs, but this HP model also takes high-capacity cartridges, which can keep costs down. The printer’s copier and scanner also reproduced documents faithfully. With a scan and copy resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, text was easy to read. There was also a little color variance from the original documents. The only downside is that the scanner and copier can’t read double-sided sheets. You can use USB, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to send documents to the printer. The machine doesn’t directly support programs like Google Cloud Print or Apple AirPrint, but there’s an app you can download from HP that lets you print from your mobile devices.
Pros
  • Performed the best in our print quality tests
  • Has a large paper tray
  • Prints, scans and copies
Cons
  • Costs more than other compact printers
  • Weighs more than other compact printers
  • Missing some wireless connection options
$349.99HP
Read the full review
Best Value
Like its fancier sibling, the HP OfficeJet All-in-One 250, the OfficeJet Mobile 200 has great print quality for a mobile printer. The two models have the same print resolution (4800 x 1200 dots per inch) and print speed (about seven to eight pages per minute).
However, the OfficeJet 200 doesn’t have a heavy copier and scanner weighing it down. Because of its limited feature set, it’s cheaper and easier to lug around, which make it an easy choice for our best value pick. At 14.3 x 73.32 x 2.7 inches, the HP OfficeJet 200 weights less than 5 pounds if you use a cable to power it. With the included battery, it’s a little heavier, but it still fits easily into a bag. You can check the battery level anytime, and starting with a full charge, it can print up to 500 pages. This printer has a convenient document feeder so you don’t have to stand nearby to load each page one by one. However, there’s no output tray to catch your documents, so you should use the OfficeJet 200 on a flat surface. When we researched ink prices, we found that each page printed with this machine costs about 21 cents. If you invest upfront in the high-capacity ink cartridges, you can save just over 5 cents per page. Rather than having a touchscreen like the OfficeJet 250, the 200 has button controls. And, while you can connect to the printer via USB and Wi-Fi, you can’t print over Bluetooth.
Pros
  • Has the same excellent print quality as the HP Officejet 250, our top pick
  • Costs less than our top pick
  • Has a long battery life
Cons
  • Can’t scan or copy
  • Isn’t the lightest or smallest mobile printer we reviewed
  • Doesn’t work with Google Cloud Print or Apple AirPrint
$279.99HP
Read the full review
Most Portable
Easily the most portable printer we reviewed, the PocketJet 7 PJ723 sacrifices some features to be ultra-light. Weighing just over a pound and with dimensions of 10.04 x 2.17 x 1.53, it can fit into a large pocket.
Rather than having inkjet technology, which requires moving parts, the PocketJet 7 uses thermal technology to print. While this means you don’t have to purchase replacement ink, you can’t print in color with this device. Also, it can be hard to get your hands on the specialty paper it requires, which is similar to the receipt paper most stores use. You need to carefully select between long-lasting and regular thermal paper, depending on how long you want to archive documents, and it may be worth buying the kind that you can write on – because the surface is slippery, it can be difficult to write on normal thermal paper. The battery isn’t included with the printer, but if you choose to buy one, it allows you to print up to 600 pages on a single charge. You can also by accessories, such as a car charger, that give you some additional flexibility. This thermal printer produces documents more slowly than our top picks, reaching speeds of about five pages a minute. You also have hand-feed the documents through the printer unless you invest in a roll or a fan-fold stack of paper. The PocketJet 7 creates very sharp text, even with its low 300 x 203 dpi resolution. Because the device doesn’t use the most common printing technology you’re likely used to, you may find that your documents have a slightly odd smell. This printer doesn’t have as many connectivity options as our top picks. You can only print from a laptop, and you can’t do so wirelessly. Because of these limitations, we don’t recommend this printer for everyday use unless you plan to print invoices for clients or for some similar use.
Pros
  • Lightest mobile printer we reviewed
  • Optional battery pack prints 600 pages per charge
  • Printed text is sharp and clean
Cons
  • Has lower print resolution than some other mobile printers
  • Only prints in black and white
  • Thermal paper isn’t as easy to find as standard paper
$411.62Amazon
Read the full review
Best Scan & Copy
The HP DeskJet 3755 isn’t a mobile or portable printer. Instead, it has the all-in-one features, including a scanner and copier, you need for a permanent addition to an apartment or dorm room.
Still, at 5.5 pounds, it’s easier to move and stash than other all-in-one inkjets, which can weigh up to 40 pounds. The DeskJet 3755 also has a larger paper tray than many of the compact printers we tested, so you don’t have to reload it as often. During testing, we noticed it created a few more print errors than our top pick, but it’s much more affordable. The scanner and copier work just fine, but because of the printer’s size, you feed documents through the machine instead of using a traditional flatbed scanner. If you need a compact printer that can scan and copy, the HP Deskjet 3755 is a solid pick.
Pros
  • Large paper tray means fewer refills
Cons
  • No battery
$49.99HP
Read the full review
Best Battery
The Epson WF-100’s battery can print up to 100 sheets per charge. Our best pick can print up to five times more pages per charge, but the Epson WF-100 costs significantly less.
And unlike some printers, its battery is included in the initial purchase, which saves you money. The Epson WF-100 is also smaller and lighter than many compact printers we tested, weighing only 3.5 pounds. It includes all the connectivity options business travelers need, and our testing revealed it has better-than-average print quality, though it prints slower than other compact printers. Both its print tray and cartridge capacity are functional, but we would’ve liked to see higher capacities for both features. However, those limited capacity increase the printer’s portability.
Pros
  • Built-in battery makes charging easy
Cons
  • Slow print speed
Epson
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

For nearly 10 years, we’ve looked for the best compact and mobile printers. We’ve run extensive hands-on tests in our lab to evaluate each one’s design, battery power and print quality, and the results allow us to make informed comparisons between the machines.

We test machines and update our compact printer reviews regularly to make sure we don’t miss the newest models that hit the market. Since ink or thermal paper is an ongoing expense when you own a compact printer, we broke down their prices to give you a sense of how much it will cost you to print with the machine over time. We also compared the printer's specifications to narrow down our selection to the top performers. 

How We Tested 

Because portability is important to consider when choosing a mobile printer, we used hands-on tests to evaluate each machine’s weight and size, then assigned it a score. In addition, we researched each printer’s battery life and checked to see if the battery was included or had to be purchased separately, which affects the device’s value. Batteries that print a lot of documents on a single charge fared better in our comparison.

We examined hundreds of sample documents, dozens printed with each device we reviewed. During our tests, we printed the same samples on each machine and compared their output quality, looking for frequency of printing errors such as spotting, streaking or bleeding. In addition, we compared the machines’ print resolution side by side.

After looking at the machines' output quality, we assigned each one a grade based on its performance. Printers that produced readable test with some noticeable errors received a C grade, while with B grades performed about average with only a few errors. We reserved A grades for printers that create easy-to-read text with few to no errors. Most users won't be satisfied with a printer that earned a grade lower than a C. 

Ongoing ink or thermal paper costs are important to consider when buying a compact printer, so we noted which ones require specialty paper and which use standard 8.5 x 11 printer paper. We also compared the cost of ink for each printer we reviewed – we broke this information down to how much it costs per page to print with each machine so it’s easy to compare the long-term expense of owning each one.

Finally, we looked at the rest of the printer’s features, noting if it includes Wi-Fi and other connectivity options like USB or Bluetooth. Online support is essential for printers these days, and some printers connect to mobile devices with popular cloud programs, while others use proprietary apps. 

How Much Does a Compact Printer Cost?

Compact printers tend to be pricier than all-in-one models because of their size and how portable they are as well as their batteries. The compact printers we tested range from around $75 to just under $400, and the average price of a compact printer is around $250 – a little more than double the cost of an average all-in-one model. However, the priciest compact printers aren’t necessarily the best investment. You can get great print quality and functionality without paying a premium. For the best value, look at models that cost around $200.

Key Features to Look for When Buying a Compact Mobile Printer 

Printer Design
Generally, the lighter a mobile printer is the better. However, we looked for models that balance features and quality with their compact size. As you look at a mobile printer, check its dimensions to see if it’ll fit inside of the carrier you typically use, like a laptop bag or backpack.

Another important consideration is the battery life. Check to see how many documents you can print or days you can go before you need to recharge the battery. If you have to plug the battery in regularly, it impacts the printer’s overall portability.

Output
Print quality is one of the most important considerations when buying any kind of printer, so we looked at documents printed by each machine under high magnification. Since you likely won’t compare sample documents side by side in person as you choose a printer, we suggest comparing their print resolutions, which is a good indicator of how much detail a printer can recreate in images. The higher the numbers, the better the resolution. Smaller, high-resolution printers usually cost more. So, you may have to compromise on resolution and portability to find something in your price range.

We looked for printers that can standard-size, 8.5 x 11 documents, but the more flexibility you have in your paper choice the better. While all the printers we considered handle standard-size paper, watch for special paper requirements. For example, the Brother PocketJet PJ723 uses thermal paper.

Manufacturers list printer speed in the machines’ specs, but we timed the models we reviewed to approximate their speed in real-world conditions. Based on what you’re using the printer for, speed may be important to consider.

Ink & Media
You want to check to see what types of cartridges your inkjet compact printer uses. If it takes high-yield cartridges, you can usually shave off a few cents per page. Or you might consider a printer that uses thermal print technology like the PocketJet PJ723, though the specialty paper these machines use comes at its own expense.

Pay attention to the printer’s regular output specifications, including the maximum number of pages the manufacturer suggests printing per month, called the monthly duty cycle. Regularly printing above this number can wear the machine down faster and cause damage, so make sure the duty cycle matches up with your needs.

Connectivity
Printers that connect to a variety of online storage and cloud systems are more useful, especially now that so much is stored digitally. Check to make sure you’re preferred cloud storage program is supported by your printer.