10 Best Portable Printers of 2021

portable printer

Staff, Courtesy of Canon

Though printers may be known as bulky boxes that take up too much space in your office, modern printers are getting slimmer and more compact. Combined with wireless connectivity options and built-in batteries, this means some printers are even portable enough to take with you. Check out the variety of options below, whether you want to hand out photos while memory-making with friends and family, or have the flexibility to bring your printer with you from home to the office.

Types of Portable Printers

The type of portable printer you get largely depends on what functionality you need: for small photos (typically 4×6 or smaller) or for printing documents.

Portable photo printers can be a lot more compact and affordable, and typically use either Zink or dye sublimation technology. Zink, or zero ink, printing uses special paper that holds the ink, which is then released through a pressure-printing process. Dye sublimation photo printers are similar, but use actual ink cartridges (which will have to be replaced) and can make more vibrant images by doing more passes on the photo paper. Another perk of dye sublimation is that the photos are water-resistant and durable enough to last up to 100 years in the right storage conditions.

If you want the flexibility to print more than just photos, there are compact printers for standard text documents too. Though they might not fit in your pocket, some of these options are small enough to pack up in your work bag, or just easily move around your home or office when you need to. Most of these printers use standard inkjet technology, but there are some higher-end thermal printers that use special paper that can change color when heat is applied. Also keep in mind that some of these printers must be plugged into an outlet, while others have options to run on battery for on-the-go printing.

How We Selected

We researched expert reviews on portable printers from reliable sources like Tech Radar, PC Mag, and Tom’s Guide, as well as relied on our previous reporting on the best photo printers and polaroid printers to select these printers. Because there’s no singular type of portable printer, we made sure to include all types of compact printers for photos or documents at varying price points. We also considered over 20,000 consumer reviews from retail sites like Amazon and Walmart to check for how user-friendly and reliable these options are for regular users like you.

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Best Inkjet

HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer

Printing technology: Inkjet
Paper sizes: Up to 8 x 10 in.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB
Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 3 in.

Thanks to its small size and battery compartment, this HP OfficeJet can really print from anywhere. It functions like a standard inkjet printer, though it doesn’t have auto two-sided printing or a scanner bed. We also like that instead of replacing batteries, you can charge the printer via USB.

Thermal Printer

Brother PocketJet PJ763MFi



• Printing technology: Thermal
• Paper sizes: Up to 8.5 x 11 in.
• Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
• Dimensions: 10 x 2 x 1 in. 

Thermal printing technology, which applies heat to special paper to print color, is able to produce similar sharp detail for text as a laser printer, but without all the added bulk or need for replacing ink cartridges. Brother’s PocketJet is ultra compact and lightweight (only 1.3 pounds!) and can still print full-size documents. In addition to printing from Bluetooth or USB, it can be powered by its built-in battery or plugged in through USB for ultimate flexibility.

  • Optional battery power
  • Bluetooth and USB
  • Sharp text with no ink
  • Pricey
  • Requires special thermal paper

Best for Photos

Sprocket Select Portable Instant Photo Printer

Printing technology: Zink
Paper sizes: 2.3 x 3.4 in.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Dimensions: 5 x 3 x .7 in.

This portable photo printer by HP uses Zink technology, so it requires HP’s Zink 2.3 by 3.4-inch sticky-backed paper. But the perks of this technology mean that the Sprocket is super portable at only 5 x 3 inches, so you can use Bluetooth to print right from your smartphone and hand out photos to your friends and family while making memories.

  • Super portable
  • Prints right from smartphone
  • Works with HP’s sticky-backed paper only

Best Value

Epson Workforce WF-110

Printing technology: inkjet
• Paper sizes: up to 8.5 x 11 in.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 8.5 in.

This mini inkjet printer can print full size paper documents or color photos from anywhere after charging it up via USB. Epson has managed to pack in most features people need in an inkjet printer without adding to its size or price tag. The main trade-off for going with this portable printer is really its slower print speed of 7ppm compared to regular home office printers at about 20ppm or higher.

  • USB charging
  • Full size documents

Stylish Smartphone Printer


Printing tech: Dye sublimation
Paper sizes: 2.4 to 2.7 in.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB
Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 1 in.

If you care about the style of your printer as much as the prints themselves, it’s hard to beat the Canon SELPHY QX10. Using dye sublimation printing, this small photo printer can produce vibrant images on square photos from 2.4 to 2.7 inches in size—though you will need to replace the ink cartridges. The adhesive paper backing allows you to easily stick your photos to card, scrapbooks, and other projects. Plus, it can connect to your devices via Wi-Fi or USB instead of just Bluetooth like most portable printers.

  • Vibrant and durable photos
  • Only makes square photos under 3 inches

Vibrant Colors

Canon PIXMA TR150



Printing technology: Inkjet
Paper sizes: up to 8.5 x 11 in.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 2.5 in.

Canon’s Pixma line of printers are known for their ability to produce vibrant colors thanks to extra color ink cartridges added to the standard CMYK inkjets. The Pixma TR150 similarly boasts a 5-color ink system for high-quality color, whether for photos or other paper documents. Its compact size and optional battery power make it actually portable, though keep in mind that the battery kit is sold separately.  

  • Optional battery power
  • 5-color ink system

For Polaroids

Polaroid Originals Hi-Print



Printing tech: Dye sublimation
Paper sizes: 2 x 3 in
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 1 in.

With its dye sublimation technology, the Polaroid Hi-Print can create vibrant polaroid-size prints right from your phone in under a minute. However, you do have to purchase Polaroid’s photo paper cartridges separately. Like HP’s portable printer, Polaroid similarly offers an app for you to apply filters and more customizations to your photos.

  • Small enough to take anywhere
  • Only works with Polaroid’s paper

Best Style

HP Tango X Smart Wireless Printer

Printing technology: Inkjet
Paper sizes: up to 8.5 x 14 in.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Dimensions: 15 x 8 x 4 in.

The HP Tango X is a compact printer that can compete with most all-in-ones. Though it doesn’t have a scanner bed, HP’s smart app can handle the occasional scanning and copying through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. Best of all, it comes in a fabric cover that can fold it up into a book-like package that’ll look inconspicuous on your desk or a bookshelf when not in use. It’s not necessarily the most capable printer for its price point, but it’s a great option for storing away and pulling back out quickly for convenient, if infrequent, printing.

  • Stylish fabric cover
  • Easy wireless printing
  • Not battery powered
  • Relatively expensive for capability

Fast Photos

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer



Printing technology: Laser
Paper sizes: 2 x 3 in.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 2 in.

Super portable, fast, and fun, the Fujifilm Instax is one of the best smartphone printers. It comes in a variety of color options and the Instax app allows you to add fun filters and frames, though it only connects to devices via Bluetooth. When held vertically, you can print right from your smartphone, while turning it horizontally allows for “Fun Mode” to print from friends’ devices too.

  • 12 second print speed
  • Multiple color options
  • Only connects via Bluetooth

Most Compact

Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer

Printing technology: Zink
Paper sizes: 2 x 3 in.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Dimensions: 4 x 3 x .7 in.

Like other portable photo printers, the Canon Ivy can only connect via Bluetooth, though that shouldn’t be an issue for most smartphone users. Its advantage, however, is its majorly compact size at just 4 by 3 inches, which allows you to fit in a pocket and pull out on-the-go to print 2 by 3-inch photos on sticky-based paper. Canon also offers its own Mini-Print app that allows you to add fun filters and effects to your photos before printing and sharing them with friends.

  • Extra compact
  • Mini-Print app
  • Only connects via Bluetooth

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Ellen C. McGowan

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