The smartphone printer is one of the flagship products of the moment. Very practical, it allows you to organize photo evenings with friends, to print memories directly while traveling. The possibilities are numerous. But how do you choose between all these printers? What are the main criteria that should enter your reflection?
We hope to be able to answer your questions by means of this page, presenting our selection of the best portable photo printers. You will also find our buying guide which will allow you to better understand the technical terms of the industry.
At a Glance:
What is a portable photo printer?
A portable photo printer is a lightweight, battery-operated, or battery-less device that prints your photos instantly on paper sizes up to 10x15cm, the size of a postcard. Print photos from your SLR, mirrorless or smartphone camera, without having to carry a fragile, heavy, and bulky printer and without the need for an electrical outlet. This is what the needs of a portable photo printer meet.
What is portability? It’s the battery capacity and its recharging time, no more having to wait hours to print. There are other important things to consider such as height and weight. For example, the HP sprocket 200 is smaller than a smartphone which is convenient to have it always with you.
We must not neglect the different printing techniques but also the connectivity to transfer the photos without a hitch: via an app, Bluetooth, wifi, and an SD card. Finally, technologies such as color thermal printing with Zink technology, for example, will increase printing time to the detriment of price.
For superior print quality, choose sublimation. Many printers use Instax photo cartridges, it is a so-called “film” process like on Polaroid, rapid printing with a retro effect for a “hipster” price
- What is a portable photo printer?
- Our Recommendation Best Portable Photo Printers 2021
- Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3
- HP Sprocket
- Aibecy GOOJPRT
- Tomy Kiipix
- Canon Selphy CP1300
- Instax Link
- Canon Zoemini
- Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2
- HUAWEI Photo Printer
- Polaroid ZIP
- Buying Guide Best Portable Photo Printer
- What criteria should you base your choice on?
- Printing time
- Battery life
- Printer dimensions
- The weight of the object
- The different printing technologies
- Thermal sublimation printing
- Instant film
- Final Words
Our Recommendation Best Portable Photo Printers 2021
As promised, here is our pick of the best portable photo printers. You will find there the technical characteristics of each model as well as our personal opinion.
|Award||Design||Types of printers||Retailer|
|Best Photo Printer|
|Portable Photo Printer|
|PeriPage Mini Photo Printer|
|Best Polaroid Printer||Check Price|
|Best Portable Photo Printer||Check Price|
|Best Instax Printer||Check Price|
|Best Printer For Photos||Check Price|
|Best Mobile Printer||Check Price|
|Best Pocket Printer||Check Price|
|Mini Photo Printer||Check Price|
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3Best Pick
Best Photo Printer
It sports a great design that seems to come straight from the future. It is a beautiful object pleasant to take in hand. The fact remains that by digging deeper than appearances, we can only bow to the fact that this device is a technological gem.
It prints in square format on special Fujifilm filters. Printing is also very fast since it does not take more than 13 seconds for the Instax Share SP-3 to reveal your photo.
- Superfast printing
- Elegant Design
- Quality of prints
- Only compatible with “square” films
HP SprocketBudget Pick
Portable Photo Printer
Like most portable photo printers, the HP Sprocket lets you print from a smartphone or tablet. To do this, you bring your phone (Android or iOS), activate Bluetooth, and transfer your best shot to the printer. The special thing about this product is that it prints on self-adhesive photo paper.
We are convinced that this is a very good idea from HP since the size of the printing paper lends itself to it: 5 x 7.6 cm. By the way, we note that this portable printer works without ink since it uses ZINK Paper technology (see definition below, in our buying guide).
- Good quality borderless printing
- Sticker paper
- Slightly slow application (maybe due to our version of Android)
Aibecy GOOJPRTStaff Pick
PeriPage Mini Photo Printer
Here is a very original product: a bear-shaped multifunction nomadic printer. You read correctly. Multifunction since it allows not only to print photos but messages, QR codes, lists in text format… Anything you want to print. As for the design, it proudly sports a bear muzzle on the front facade. Even more original for a transportable printer, it works with a thermal paper roll (printing without ink). A cutter is integrated to tear off the paper once the print job is finished.
We’re not sure this printer is for everyone, especially since the print quality for photos isn’t the best we’ve seen. On the other hand, the PeriPage application that you have to use to transfer files via Bluetooth works very well. We did not notice any bugs at this level.
- The super cute design
- The featherweight of the set (188 grams with the paper roll)
- Unparalleled versatility
- Quality in photo printing… We have seen better
Best Polaroid Printer
We were initially a little skeptical towards this product, being used to being confronted with high-tech products requiring at least an electrical supply to function. This printer is an exception to the rule. Her flashy pink dress (also available in blue or black), flocked with the model’s name in a pretty girly font, we quickly understand that this printer is finding its market among young consumers.
The principle is quite simple and perfectly logical: anyone who is used to smartphones knows that many applications have appeared, offering tons of filters to apply on selfies. This is exactly what the manufacturer of the Kiipix is rightly saying. Its application does not, therefore, offer a lot of filters but is limited to the essential: performing the printing.
First, we lock the orientation of the screen, second, we turn up the brightness of the screen to the maximum. We launch the Kiipix app, we place the phone in the printing box. You then turn a dial on the side of the printer and the magic happens. We really like this concept, as much for the ease of use as for the idea. We are sure that it will make people happy under the Christmas tree!
- The concept
- Utilization facility
- The very affordable price compared to more “classic” printers
- The photo quality is correct, but it is still a bit “vintage”
Canon Selphy CP1300
Best Portable Photo Printer
We thought it was impossible to come across a portable printer that combines smartphone and Windows support on a computer. With Selphy, Canon shows us the opposite. This product prints good quality photos: from artistic snapshots to driver’s license photos.
This last functionality is possible thanks to the homologation of the device for official titles. No need to empty your change in the approved photo booths! The prints stand out in exemplary quality and the colors are vibrant. We appreciate Canon’s effort to offer a very good portable printer. The printing is done by sublimation and the photo paper comes out in less than a minute.
- Approval for official photos
- Windows and Smartphone compatible
- Photo quality
- A little noisy for our taste
Best Instax Printer
We particularly like the Instax Link in its Denim color. With a sober design, this all-purpose pocket printer. Faster is not possible, 12 seconds: it’s time for her to print your photo, once transmitted of course. To send him photos, we will of course use our smartphone with the dedicated application.
This printer is social: the “party print” application promises us excessively fun evenings. In fact, everyone just has to install this app on their phone in order to be able to create collaborative collages to print using Instax Link. We note that it is possible to navigate on Instagram and Facebook to retrieve photos to send to the printer.
- Particularly successful design
- Party print app concept
- Compatibility with certain Instax device models
- No Complains
Best Printer For Photos
With the Zoemini and its attractive design for the youngest, Canon achieves a perfect shot. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it fits easily in a pocket or a small handbag. No need to worry about ink leaks, the Zoemini uses ZINK printing technology which simply does not use ink. Even better, the photos are printed on sticker paper. We can then imagine creating walls of memories, without requiring supervision.
The Zoemini prints good quality photos on 5 x 7.6 cm sized paper. The application which allows the transfer of photos is well developed which allows Canon to offer a product that is very easy to use. We just regret the fact that the colors are slightly saturated, especially for the colors tending towards red.
- Easy to use
- ZINK printing without ink
- Sticker paper
- Slight color saturation, especially for reds
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2
Best Mobile Printer
Being iOS and Android compatible, the Instax Share SP-2 is the queen of print speed. Indeed, it will take an average of 10 seconds to release a print in “Instax Mini” format. It is also thanks to these printing films that the rendering is of very good quality. Here, the connection between the device and the smartphone is via WiFi.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use and above all very fast smartphone printer, we can only recommend this one. A little extra for this model: an indicator light indicates the number of films remaining in the product as well as the battery charge.
- Presence of a physical button “Reprint” which allows reprinting the same photo a second time
- Nice colors and quality in general
- The cost per photo (compatible films are not among the cheapest)
HUAWEI Photo Printer
Best Pocket Printer
With its new smartphone photo printer, Huawei is offering here a product using ZINK technology. The latter means that the printing process, that is to say, the ink, is directly incorporated into the printing paper.
The paper used by the brand is intended to be self-adhesive. This function is not mandatory, you are free to decide whether to remove the self-adhesive film or not.
To communicate with the printer, the smartphone must connect via Bluetooth to the Huawei Share application. Autonomy is limited to 40 minutes max in intensive use. A portable and compact device appreciated by users as demonstrated in our comment section.
- Economical price
- ZINK technology
- Short battery life in intensive use
Mini Photo Printer
Here is a beautiful object pleasant to hold in hand. Available in several colors, the Polaroid ZIP printer promises 25 prints per battery cycle. Note that a recharge takes only 1 hour 30 minutes, a very respectable score. Wanting to be plug-and-play, all you have to do is download the dedicated application on your phone and connect via the application in Bluetooth or even NFC (for smartphones with an NFC chip).
Operating with the Zero INK printing protocol (without ink), so just turn on the printer, slide the compatible paper in and start printing. We really appreciated the “easy to use” aspect. We did not find any bugs that could have hampered creativity. The quality of the photos seems good to us, we recommend this printer for anyone who wants to print in a simple and efficient way.
- Fast recharge
- Inkless printing
- Easy to learn
- No battery life reminder: if the battery drains in the middle of a print, you will only have half of the photo
Buying Guide Best Portable Photo Printer
We have written this guide to help you guide you in choosing your smartphone printer. In particular, it covers the various criteria to be taken into account, from printing time to the weight of the device, while including the different technologies used by printers. On the other hand, if you want to make prints with a larger format, we advise you to go to a photo printer dedicated to A4 and even A3 formats for larger budgets.
What criteria should you base your choice on?
There are a lot of smartphone printers. However, the design is not the only element to vary depending on the different printers. Certain iterations of the targeted product are required to change from one model to another.
This is not necessarily the most important criterion for everyone. However, it is very variable since it is between 10 seconds for the most efficient models and… 1 minute for the slowest.
Who says smartphone printer also says portable photo printer. The notion of autonomy therefore often comes up in the technical characteristics. It is to be taken into account if you want to use your device while traveling, not necessarily having access to electricity every day.
A smartphone printer is, by definition, a printer that you can take with you. This object can be qualified as a pocket printer, provided that it can be slipped into the latter. It is for this reason that it is important to study the dimensions well, especially if you want to take it everywhere with you!
The weight of the object
After the dimensions, the weight. The latter displays an average of 200 – 300 grams between the various portable printer models.
We find lighter as we can find heavier. It remains to analyze your needs, especially in terms of travel, to be sure to choose the right device.
The different printing technologies
There are different printing modes used by mobile printers. Each will have its own specificities and this will affect the final printed rendering.
Thermal sublimation printing
This process makes it possible to achieve exceptional print quality compared to stationary inkjet printers (the ones you have at home). We get more details and the latter much more precise. The only negative point is the impossibility of printing black very clearly. This process is therefore to be avoided for those who love black and white photos.
We no longer present it, powered by the first Polaroid cameras. It will have the particularity of varying the rendering according to its reactive properties. That is to say that from one brand to another, the instant film will not look exactly the same.
Zink paper is a form derived from instant film. It contains neither ribbon nor ink and is based on thermal technology directly integrated into the paper, itself composed of several layers.
The smartphone printer is a safe bet and a gift that will always please. In recent years, many portable photo printers have been released. The most advanced and more reliable than the others. Today, most models are equal in terms of reliability. The differences between the products can be found in particular in terms of functionality. Some printers will see their dedicated application more filled with filters and retouching tools than others.
Some will have only a reduced tool panel but more autonomy of prints… etc. It is therefore up to the buyer to summarize his needs and to orient oneself towards the model which is as close as possible to it. Anyway, one thing remains certain: the portable printer will always make people happy at the foot of the tree!