Picking the best portable printers allows you to print out photos, documents and receipts without having to be physically wired to a printer.
Thanks to their compact and lightweight designs, this means you can carry them around with you, using batteries to power them, making them incredibly versatile devices.
You can then connect up devices you want to print from, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, either via Wi-Fi or by using Bluetooth.
This makes them ideal for printing off photos from your phone, for example. And, while portable printers are smaller than normal printers, that doesn't mean they aren't able to provide the same level of print quality. As we mentioned earlier, many portable printers are designed for printing photographs, so as you'd imagine, they offer excellent print quality, especially when used with photo paper.
We've compared these printers across numerous aspects, like their design, portability, weight, connectivity, and print speed. We've looked at their build quality, printing quality, and overall printing costs.
The best portable printers of 2022 in full
By using inkless thermal print technology, which relies on fewer moving parts, Brother has reduced this portable printer to the size of a small baguette. What’s more, the only consumable you need is the special thermal paper itself, making this pocket-sized device perfect for taking on the road, or carrying onto a plane.
It comes with both a power adapter and battery pack, so you can use it anywhere, and while Wi-Fi is built in, you don’t need to rely on finding a network to connect with your device because it also offers Wi-Fi Direct and a mini USB port. It prints quickly enough with the black and white pages emerging as sharp and detailed as any laser printer.
If you're primarily going to be printing text, then this printer will serve you well. But if you want complex graphics and vivid color-accurate photos, then you'll want to explore other options.
Epson has managed to distill all of the elements of a colour inkjet printer into something small enough to fit in a briefcase and possibly even a handbag. It uses four smaller-than-usual ink cartridges to produce up to A4-size prints at a very crisp and colourful 5,760 x 1,440 dpi resolution. The plastic casing is textured for grip and when unfolded, it becomes the paper input tray which can hold up to twenty sheets of plain paper.
The printer has a top speed of 7ppm, and using pigment ink as opposed to dye ink helps to deliver more smudge-resistant pages.
The lithium-ion battery can be fast charged with the bundled charger, or by connecting the supplied USB cable to any powered USB port. It doesn’t print quickly and unsurprisingly there is no auto duplex mode, but for mobile printing, this is excellent quality.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce WF-110
Canon has done well to shrink this full color inkjet printer to a size that will fit easily into a briefcase without compromising print quality. It comes with key features such as Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct connectivity, an OLED screen and the ability to store custom templates. These could be useful for repeat printing whatever forms your business uses regularly.
You can power it from any live USB port, like the one in your car for example, and an optional rechargeable battery is available. It’s compatible with AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, making it easy to print from your mobile device.
The TR150 is quite simple to setup. You start with lifting the lid and installing the print head, after which you can download the software online or insert the installation disc into your computer. Online setup is swift, you can use your phone to capture the included QR code and launch the installation process.
HP has managed to shrink the inkjet printer to the size of a cigar box while adding a battery compartment. The result is a highly portable device that can turn out crisp colour documents at a rate of 10 per minute in mono, or 7 in colour.
The portable printer has a 50-sheet paper capacity to hold up to letter-width sheets, and it can print up to 300 pages a month. There’s no duplex mode, unsurprisingly, but it can handle envelopes and photo paper and photo paper of any size up to A4.
With Wi-Fi Direct and a USB port available, you really can print from anywhere with this ingenious device. However, the OfficeJet 200 doesn't come with a USB cable, and you'll need to have one if you plan to print via USB connectivity.
This small and stylish inkjet requires a power point as there’s no battery option, but in all other respects, it’s the perfect portable printer. Weighing just 6.5kg, it fits easily in a bag and the ‘X’ edition seen here includes a fabric cover to protect it in transit. It also acts as a mat to catch your printed paper.
There’s no inbuilt scanner but the excellent companion app can harness your smartphone’s camera to grab, straighten and copy documents. It’ll print on envelopes or photo paper of any size up to A4 and turn out pages at reasonable rate of 11ppm.
HP has dispensed with the USB port altogether because its wireless skills include everything from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to AirPrint and Google Cloud Print making it perhaps the most flexible device for cloud printing that we have come across.
This pocket-sized printer will turn your smartphone into an instant camera, and one with far superior print quality. By using an evolution of Kodak’s instant film technology, imprints are seared onto special photo paper without using ink cartridges. This eliminates your ink cost and simplifies the printer enough to make it highly portable and battery powered.
You will need to buy packs of Instax film, rather than paper, and these are not cheap, but Fujifilm’s new wide format finally yields photos of a decent size and great full-color quality.
The printer uses Bluetooth 4.2 to connect with other devices. There is a micro USB port, but it is only for charging. Although you can link the printer to a computer, you need the Instax Link Wide app on iOS or Android to run the printer.
This is essentially a regular mains-powered color inkjet printer, but reduced in size and functionality so that it fits into a briefcase. There is no Ethernet port or scanner bed, but that flat top is perfect for scanning in documents using your smartphone and Canon’s iOS/Android companion app, while the inclusion of both Bluetooth and AirPrint makes it easy to connect wirelessly.
It prints on glossy photo paper or plain paper with room for sixty sheets of A4 in the main tray. Canon bundles the printer with two small inkjet cartridges, one black, one combined color – and these are unsurprisingly, a little less economical than regular cartridges. There is no auto-duplex mode, but if you are looking for an affordable printer that’s small enough to take with you, this is a great little solution.
The latest in HP’s portable photo printer line ditches ZINK for an inkjet-based system and prints on the slightly larger 10x15cm format. That means the Sprocket Studio won’t fit in your pocket, but it's also the one with the best image quality.
The proprietary ink/paper packages are rather pricey, but the system yields vivid results and it is lots of fun to use.
This printer uses "dye sublimation" to transfer layers of color onto a medium. Although it’s a slower process than the technology used in standard inkjet printers, the results are better than what you'll get from regular printers.
Up to three users can connect to it over Bluetooth and use the excellent companion app to print from. The app offers lots of templates and stock images with which to spice up your photos.
Read the full review: HP Sprocket Studio
This marvel of miniaturisation manages to combine a scanner and full color inkjet printer in a device that will fit in a travel bag. It also has a small display, an automatic document feed (ADF), Wi-Fi, and a rechargeable battery.
Its especially small inkjet cartridges produce a surprisingly high yield and the print quality and print speed are equal to the average office inkjet. In short, this is a decent all-round desktop all-in-one that happens to have been shrunk to the size of a washbag.
The OfficeJet 250 has a rear input tray that can hold up to 50 letter-width papers. Similar to the OfficeJet 200, it can print up to 300 pages a month and supports manual duplexing. This printer can perform one-sided scanning and save scans to PDF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and other formats.
This portable printer could almost slide into a jacket pocket and yet it is capable of printing onto A4-sized paper. By using thermal imprinting, instead of impact printing which requires ink and many more moving parts, this battery-powered device requires no consumables other than the special thermal paper.
What differentiates this model from most portable printers is the addition of MFi (Made For iPhone) making it easier to sync with Mac and iOS devices over Bluetooth. With a battery that lasts for 100 prints and no ink limitations, you really can print from anywhere with this rugged and highly portable device.
You can connect the printer to computers and smartphones through USB or Bluetooth, but since there's no Wi-Fi connectivity, you can't use Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, and other forms of connections that rely on Wi-Fi.
- Check out our picks for the best photo printers
How to choose the best portable printers for you?
When selecting a portable printer for yourself, you'll want to start with evaluating the machine's size, weight, and printing capacity. Smaller printers are not designed to meet heavy printing needs, so you'll want to check how many pages a month the printer can deliver.
You'll want to assess the connectivity options. If you want a hassle-free printing experience, go for a portable printer that offers wireless connectivity and support for protocols like Apple AirPrint.
Make sure to consider whether you'll be printing more text-oriented material or image and graphic-oriented files. Check the cost of the ink to get a clear idea of how much you could be spending each month. Some portable printers use thermal paper instead of regular ink, but despite the added cost, they'll offer greater portability.
Lastly, check the printer's speed, multi-function capabilities, and control panel, among other things.
The best portable printers: How we test
We assess all our printers on our printing test bench and compare the results against the other printers we've tested. There's a standard ten-page document we print across all the printers to get a clear idea of their performance. The test pages have fonts of different sizes and colors, with some pages containing both images and text.
We also calculate the running costs of the portable printers and evaluate their design, portability, build quality, connectivity features, and multi-function capabilities.