The best portable printers can be life-savers when you need to print out documents, photos or artwork while on the move. Smaller than your office printer, a good portable printer should be compact enough to fit into your briefcase or small bag, and shouldn't weigh you down either. It should plug into the wall when a power socket is available, but run on battery power when one isn't. You probably won't use it often, but when you do, you'll be hugely grateful for it.
Unfortunately, a lot of portable printers aren't up to the job. So in this article, we've brought together six of the best portable printers you can buy today, and explain how to pick the one that's best for your needs. For a more standard printer, see our best printers roundup.
If you’re looking for the best portable printer for all-round use, the Canon Pixma iP110 (opens in new tab) has it all. It offers great quality prints at 9,600dpi (dots per inch) resolution, and superior colour reproduction based on five ink cartridges. You have the choice of using battery or mains power, and of connecting to your laptop via Wi-Fi or cable. And it’s small and light enough that you can take it virtually anywhere.
We also like that you can adjust printer settings to extend the amount of printing, by using 'Save Black Ink Mode’. This means that if you run out of black ink while on the go, the printer will create composite black from the other coloured inks. All this, at a decent price, makes the Canon Pixma iP110 our top choice as best portable printer overall.
THe HP OfficeJet 200 (opens in new tab) uses a four-colour, two-cartridge system to turn out high quality prints. It’s easy to set up, works on battery or mains, and you can connect via USB or wireless.
This versatile portable printer can handle normal paper, envelopes and photo paper up to A4. You can print from a smartphone or laptop via Wi-Fi, or via a USB flash drive. With HP Fast Charge, you can charge the printer in less than 90 minutes.
Best of all, it's impressively quiet in use, which is handy because no one wants to be deafened by their printer. Overall, this is an excellent all-round choice for a portable printer.
If you’re seeking an all-round portable printer that’s both light and precise, the Epson WorkForce WF110 (opens in new tab) is a very good choice. Weighing just 1.6kg, it’s no trouble to carry wherever you go. And it delivers highly detailed prints, using pigment inks. Not to mention that it’s the fastest on our list, delivering 14 pages per minute (black and white), and 11 in colour.
The integrated battery gives you the power to print 50 pages; if that’s not enough you can buy an external battery that lets you print up to 410. The 3.7cm LCD screen makes it easy to set-up a Wi-Fi connection without the need for a PC, and to check ink supply levels. The only thing, in fact, that stopped this being number one on our list was that its print cartridges are on the pricier side, as is the printer itself.
Looking for a super-small portable printer? Then meet the Brother PJ-773 (opens in new tab) A4 Thermal Mobile Printer. With miniscule dimensions of 25.4 x 5.6 x 3cm, this is about as tiny as you can get. Note, though, there are compromises made to achieve this. Notably, it prints only in black and white, and you’ll need special thermal-reactive paper rather than standard printer paper. (On the other hand, you won’t need ink cartridges.)
We’ll be honest, the paper isn’t cheap, and nor are the batteries. The quality of prints isn’t amazing, either, so we'd reserve this for printing documents rather than graphics, photos or artwork. It's also very expensive. That said, for sheer portability, you simply won’t find a device this capable that’s so small.
If you only want to print photos at postcard sizes, or smaller, then you may want a portable printer dedicated to that task alone. We recommend the Canon Selphy CP1300 (opens in new tab). Impressively lightweight at just 860g, this three-ink, dye sublimation printer produces top-notch photo prints, with rich, deep colours and lots of lovely detail. You can print directly from cameras and smartphones, as well as from SD memory cards and USB flash drives.
The CP1300 runs on either mains or battery, and you can get instant access to Wi-Fi settings for a quick connection using the dedicated Wi-Fi Button. It offers a wide range of layout options including photo booth strips and ID printing for passports and the like. There's even a 'Party Shuffle' feature which lets you print collages based on images from multiple smartphones.
If Instagram is your jam and you specifically want to print lots of lovely square photos, there are portable printers for that, too. We're big fans of the Canon Selphy Square QX10 (opens in new tab), which produces gorgeous sticker-paper prints in a 68 x 68mm square.
Prints come with a smudge-proof, water-protected coating to protect your memories for a claimed 100 years. You get 20 prints on one charge, and the accompanying app lets you add creative touches to your photos like text, borders, and filters. Best of all, the device is so small, it can even fit into a jacket pocket or handbag, for those Insta-glam occasions when you don’t want to be lugging a briefcase or backpack around.