The best portable printers give you the ability to print documents or photos at a moment’s notice, on the road or at home. The compact devices fit in a bag or backpack to provide easy access to a printer, wherever you go.
Most portable printers weigh around five pounds and can slide into a computer bag with ease. Although small, the best portable printers can boast full-size printer features like full-page printing, scanning and copying, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Some have optional battery power, which means that they don’t even need to be near an outlet to get the job done.
A good portable printer will have the features to fulfill your printing needs, all in a small and lightweight package. The best portable printer options ahead fit big printing capabilities into a compact device so you can print anytime you need from anywhere you are.
— Best Overall: HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer
— Best Budget: Workforce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer
— Best Scanner: HP OfficeJet 250
— Best for Photos: Canon SELPHY CP1300 Photo Printer
— Best for Smartphones: HP Sprocket Studio Photo Printer
How We Picked the Best Portable Printers
We narrowed down the best portable printers from over 20 products, considering each printer’s user-friendliness, print quality, portability, and price to find suitable options for most shoppers.
User-friendliness: We researched product specifications, reviews from trusted sources, and consumer feedback to determine ease of use, taking into account advertised features as well as how the printer performed in real-world settings. Good print quality and decent printing speeds were must-have qualities of a good portable printer. We chose printers with at least a couple of the following features to ensure easy control: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi direct connectivity, on-printer controls, and smartphone apps. The more connectivity options the printer had, the better.
Portability: We looked for compact and lightweight portable printers, but selected some larger and heavier options when the features justified the bump in size, like for scanning and copying printers. We included battery powered options on this list, since they offer ultimate portability; these printers can be used even in the absence of an outlet.
Price: A good portable printer doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. We selected models at several price points, ranging from around $150 to $400 so you can find an excellent option within your budget.
The Best Portable Printers: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer
Why It Made The Cut: As our pick for the best portable printer overall this printer is designed for business printing on the road, with great output quality, several connectivity options and print sizes, and a 50-page document feeder.
— Printer type: Inkjet
— Output: 10 ppm black, 7 ppm color
— Size: 14.3 inches L x by 7.3 inches W x 2.7 inches H
— Pages per minute (PPM): 10 BW, 7 color
— Several print size options
— 50-sheet paper feeder
— Includes battery
— Does not include a USB cable
The HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer is an affordable but feature-filled portable printer that is suitable for working on the go. Although portable, this printer’s output quality is excellent, rivaling that of some desktop printers. It boasts the ability to print a variety of documents in common sizes, including letter, legal and A4 sizes, all of which fit in the 50-sheet paper feeder. For more creative endeavors, this inkjet printer can also print 4×6 photos and other borderless prints up to 5×7 inches.
This printer’s included rechargeable battery reaches full charge in only 90 minutes, making this printer quick to charge before you need to take it on the road. Measuring 14.3 inches long by 7.3 inches wide by 2.7 inches high and weighing just under 5 pounds, it’s an average size and weight that can easily slip into a work bag or carry on. It will perform relatively well if you’re in a rush, printing up to 10 pages per minute (in black and white).
Connecting to the printer is simple. Using a USB cable or drive, a Wi-Fi network, or Wi-Fi Direct, this printer can connect to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Wi-Fi Direct connectivity means you don’t need to be on a Wi-Fi network to connect; the printer can connect directly to your Wi-Fi enabled device. You can also adjust settings and control the printer using the on-board mono display, giving you even more control options on this versatile printer.
Best Budget Printer: Workforce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This portable printer features an ultra compact and lightweight design for a reasonable price, making it an excellent option for travelers.
— Printer type: Inkjet
— Features: Prints documents and photos
— Size: 12.2 inches L x 6.1 inches H x 2.4 inches W
— PPM: 6.7
— Very compact design
— Weighs only 3.5 pounds
— Built-in battery
— Ink costs are relatively high
— Slow print speeds
This Workforce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer is designed for traveling professionals, squeezing excellent performance into a compact and relatively affordable printer. This printer is a utilitarian option with solid performance, and best of all, this all comes in a very portable body making it our pick for the best budget printer.
This printer measures 12.2 inches long by 6.1 inches wide by 2.4 inches high, which is nice and compact for a portable printer. It outshines other printers on this list with its weight: at just 3.5 pounds, this printer is very light and won’t weigh down your briefcase, computer bag, or carry-on suitcase.
To add to its portability, this printer has a built-in, rechargeable battery that prints up to 50 pages on a charge. If that isn’t enough, you can add an external accessory battery (sold separately) for even longer battery life. Connection options include USB, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct so you can print standard letter-size or A4 documents and 4-by-6-inch photos, right from your devices.
Although this printer comes at a very reasonable upfront cost for its features, its ongoing ink costs are a bit higher per page than most portable printers, making it a better choice for light-duty use. It also prints at 6.7 pages per minute, which is slower than other portable printers on this list. However, with it’s super compact and lightweight size, some shoppers will find this piack well worth these minor drawbacks.
Best Printer Scanner: HP OfficeJet 250
Why It Made The Cut: This inkjet printer is a portable all-in-one device, with the ability to print, scan, and copy.
— Printer type: Inkjet
— Features: Print documents and photos, scan, and copy
— Size: 15 inches L x 7.8 inches W x 3.6 inches H
— PPM: 10
— Prints, scans, and copies
— 2.65-inch touchscreen control
— 10-sheet automatic document feeder
— Rather large and heavy for a portable printer
With the best printer scanner like the HP OfficeJet 250, you can fulfill all your major printing needs wherever you go. Beyond printing documents and photos, this compact inkjet printer is also a scanner and copier. Its print, scan, and copy modes are easy to control via the built-in 2.6-inch touch screen interface, and you can connect your devices using USB, Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi Direct.
Instead of a flatbed scanner, this printer uses a 10-sheet automatic document feeder for hassle-free scanning and copying. This feature means you’ll need to give the printer space so as to not damage documents and photos while it’s feeding into the printer. But that’s a worthwhile tradeoff for the ability to scan and copy documents from anywhere.
If this printer doesn’t already sound convenient enough, it boasts fast print speeds at 10 pages per minute and has a long-lasting battery that reaches full charge within 90 minutes of plugging in.
This printer measures 15 inches long by 7.8 inches wide by 3.6 inches high and weighs 6.7 pounds (with its included battery), so it’s larger and heavier than most portable printers. But considering it’s one of few options with scanning and copying capabilities, the extra heft is a worthwhile tradeoff if you need these functions.
Best Photo Printer: Canon SELPHY CP1300 Photo Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This portable photo printer rivals desktop models, creating high-quality photo prints up to 4 by 6 inches in size almost instantly.
— Printer type: Dye-sublimation
— Features: Photo printing
— Size: 7.1 inches L x 5.4 inches W x 2.5 inches H
— PPM: 1
— Good print quality
— Various print sizes
— Excellent connectivity options, including USB, SD card, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct
— Large compared to most portable photo printers
— Does not come with a battery or USB cable
The best photo printers easily fit in a bag or purse and can spit out instant prints anywhere, whether that’s on vacation or at a party, wedding, or other social event. The Canon SELPHY CP1300 Photo Printer prints up to standard 4×6 photos, making it an excellent pick for memorializing all your favorite moments, on the spot.
This portable photo printer works with dye-sublimation technology, which uses heat and a dye-transfer process to create each photo. This usually results in better-quality prints compared to other portable printing methods like Zink or instant film printing, which tend to have lower print quality.
This printer prints postcard-size photos in around 47 seconds, a worthwhile wait for the superior photo quality. The printer can also create l size (3.5 inches by 4.7 inches), card size (2.1 inches by 3.4 inches), and square label (2.1 inches by 2.1 inches) prints.
Measuring 7.1 inches long by 5.4 inches wide by 2.5 inches high, this printer is larger than most instant photo printers, but is still very compact as far as portable printers go. It can connect easily to a smartphone or device using Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, or Apple AirPrint. Or you can connect a USB drive or SD memory card and control the printer using the 3.2-inch flip-up touchscreen (a sizable upgrade from the 2.7-inch screen on the Canon Selphy CP1200) to print directly from your camera or other devices.
Best for Smartphones: HP Sprocket Studio Photo Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This photo printer offers full control from your smartphone using the HP Sprocket app, which also includes a range of photo-editing features.
— Printer type: Dye-sublimation
— Features: Photo printing
— Size: 6.7 inches L x 10.8 inches W x 2.7 inches H
— PPM: 1
— Full control from a compatible smartphone or tablet
— Edit and print all from the HP Sprocket app
— Prints high-quality 4×6-inch photos
— No USB or SD card ports
— Lacks on-board controls
— Does not include a battery
Smartphones make capturing a memory easier than ever, and a portable photo printer like the HP Sprocket Studio Photo Printer makes them even simpler to print. This portable photo printer is designed specifically for smartphones, connecting via Bluetooth for full control from your phone.
The printer is easily controlled through the HP Sprocket app. Beyond printer control this app has a host of photo editing features, which includes simple photo adjustments and the ability to add text, borders, and emojis, as well as create collages, custom stickers, and more. This makes it simple to edit and print your favorite photos all from one interface — no extra apps, exporting, or saving photos needed. You can also use the app to view and print photos from your social media accounts.
Using dye-sublimation technology, this printer creates high-quality 4×6-inch glossy photos.This is a step up from other HP Sprocket printers, which only offer smaller prints. Each print dries nearly instantly so you can share it with friends and family right away. They’re also water- and tear-resistant so you can cherish the memories for years to come.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Printer
When choosing a new portable printer, start by considering your printing needs. Portable printers can print documents and photos and even scan or copy papers and pictures, so start your search by taking note of the functions that you’ll use most. Other important features to consider include the printer’s portability, battery options, and connectivity and controls.
What do you need out of your portable printer? Portable printers can offer black-and-white printing, color printing, and photo-printing capabilities. Some options can also scan and copy documents (although this feature usually comes at the cost of a larger printer size and a higher price).
Regardless of the printer functions, look for a printer that provides decent print quality and print speed. It’s best to shop from reputable brands and gauge consumer reviews to find a printer with reliable print quality. If print speed is important to you, look at the printer’s advertised pages per minute (ppm). Portable printers are slower than their full-size counterparts, so units that print over 9 black and white pages per minute are considered a decently fast option.
A portable printer should be just that: portable. The smaller the printer, the easier it will be to carry around, but keep in mind that very small printers usually sacrifice some features for their small size. A good portable printer should be easy to slide into a laptop bag or backpack so you can carry it anywhere with you.
Portable printers can range from around 10 inches to upwards of 15 inches across, and depth can vary widely from 2 inches up to around 10 inches. Very slim portable printers can be close to a mere inch in height.
Size isn’t the only feature to consider; weight can also make or break your decision, depending on your needs. Weight is less important if you’re looking for an ultra-compact printer to store in your car or office. For traveling or commuting by transit, a lightweight printer is the best choice. Most portable printers are under 10 pounds, but an extra lightweight one will be under 5 pounds, which is ideal if you need to bring the printer in a work bag or a carry-on luggage.
Many portable printers have the option to use battery power so you can print when there’s no outlet nearby. The battery can be a rechargeable built-in battery or a separate battery pack, sometimes included and other times sold separately. If the battery is sold separately from your chosen printer, take that into account when budgeting.
Connectivity and controls
Portable printers can be just as smart as their desktop counterparts, offering a variety of connectivity options. USB ports, SD card slots, Wi-Fi connectivity, Wi-Fi direct, and smartphone apps provide different levels of convenience. Some portable printers can only be controlled via another device (such as a computer or phone), while others have on-board controls (which can look like a button pad or a touchscreen interface). Consider if you prefer a simpler or a more advanced option, taking into account the types of devices you tend to bring along while working or traveling.
Q: What should I look for in a portable printer?
When shopping for a portable printer, first look for an option that suits your printing needs. Are you printing documents, photos, or a mix of both? Do you need color printing or just black and white? After narrowing down your must-haves, consider user-friendliness. Take into account the printer size and weight for portability, and pay mind to connectivity options to find the best portable printer to suit your work or travel requirements.
Q: Do portable printers need ink?
Most portable printers are inkjet printers, which means they require ink — and ink refills. Keep the cost and accessibility of ink refills in mind when shopping for an inkjet portable printer. Even though there are ongoing costs, inkjet portable printers are a popular choice since they are generally accessible and can provide vibrant and high-quality color prints. Thermal portable printers and many designated portable photo printers do not need ink.
Q: How can I recycle my old printer?
Keep your trusty old printer out of the landfill by donating or recycling it — there are plenty of recycling options so there’s no excuse for your printer to end up in the trash. If it’s still in working condition, donate the printer to a suitable organization (reusing is always better than recycling!). If the printer is out of commission, several big box stores like Best Buy, Target, and Staples have recycling programs nationwide. Some jurisdictions also have electronic recycling or disposal programs and accept printers at their local recycling center.
Q: Should I get a portable printer with a battery?
A battery can make your on-the-go printing setup more flexible since it gives you the ability to print in the absence of an outlet. Some portable printers have built-in, rechargeable batteries while others require a separate battery pack (which can be included or sold separately). Keep your budget in mind; if you usually find yourself near an outlet, buying an additional printer battery or a pricey unit with a built-in battery may not be worth the cost.
Q: How much does a portable printer cost?
Expect to spend between $200 and $500 for a good portable printer. Consider ongoing printer costs as well; since most portable printers are inkjet printers, they will need new ink cartridges from time to time.
Q: Are thermal printers any good?
Instead of using ink, portable thermal printers use heat to print, either by activating thermal paper or transferring pigment via heat. They can be a good choice for some users. Thermal printers often have less moving parts (since there’s no nozzle moving about) which can improve printer reliability and durability. They also tend to have lower running costs since there’s no ink or toner to refill. Even though portable thermal printers are low-maintenance, their main drawback is that they don’t offer as much printing flexibility; they are usually limited to black and white prints and cannot print high-quality photographs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Portable Printer
The HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer offers excellent print quality, common print sizes, and great connectivity options, making it the best portable printer for most users. The addition of an included battery and a built-in 50-page document feeder makes it all the more portable and convenient to use.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.