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Best Portable Printer [2019]

Canon Pixma iP110
  • High-Resolution Print Output of 9600 x 2400
  • Works With Canon Ink Cartridges
  • Small, Slim Design For Portability


If you want a pro-quality printer but don’t need scanning and copying, then the Canon Pixma iP110 is your best choice. Great image quality and a very portable, slim design for a more than reasonable price is hard to beat. Overall, there isn’t a more balanced option on our list.

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Polaroid ZIP
  • Ultra-Light And Compact Design
  • ZINK Technology Reduces Environmental Waste
  • Completely Wireless Connections Make It Easy To Connect Using Any Device


Looking for a powerful option that fits in a small package? Want a printer that doesn’t need ink cartridges? Want a printer that has been doing this for years? The Polaroid ZIP handles everything you can throw at it and keeps the price reasonable.

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer
  • Print, Scan, And Copy From One Device
  • Can Work With Standard HP Ink Cartridges
  • Has A 2.65” Color Touchscreen For Settings And Controls


If you do more work away from the office, then the HP OfficeJet 250 is one of the best on-the-go portable printers you can find. You can scan, copy, and print from this portable printer!

How We Picked

Do you remember the days of waiting for a picture to be developed? Probably not…because those days are long gone!

Today, we have professional-quality cameras sitting in our back pocket. Whenever the right moment is in front of us, we can capture it. And with the ability to share it to our social media profiles, we are set – or are we?

What about printing out those memories for everyone with us. Sure, we can share it to their timeline, but there is something about a picture in your hand that can’t be replicated. Today, we are going to discuss portable printers and which one’s are the best “bang for your buck”. A portable printer gives you the ability to print “on-demand” without any major waiting times. Plus, they give you the ability to take your office outside if you want.

Since there are so many options to choose from, we want to help you narrow down your search. We will go over our best picks, how we ranked each portable printer, show you the ten that we like the most, and even answer some questions about them too. When you are finished reading through our list, you should have a good idea of what you want (if you didn’t find it).

Polaroid ZIP

Polaroid ZIP

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 2×3
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 7 Ounces

When it comes to instant gratification, nothing can beat the Polaroid brand. They were the original pioneers of “on-demand” photo printing. And, they still know a thing or two about on-the-go photo printing today.

Polaroid ZIP and smartphone app

If you are looking for an ultra-light, portable printer, then the Polaroid ZIP has you covered. Weighing in at just 7 ounces, it is extremely light. Plus, it is rather small with a footprint of 2.9” x 4.7” x 0.9”. It comes with a rechargeable battery that takes approximately 1.5 hours to charge and will last for up to 25 prints on a single charge.

Polaroid ZIP in purse

There are several unique features available with the Polaroid ZIP, but the most notable is the ZINK technology (“zero ink”). This is a proprietary printing system that uses no ink. Instead, it used multiple layers of colored sheets that react to heat. When used in the ZIP, the colors are vibrant and bold without the use of actual ink. This means less waste that ends up in the landfill. However, it also means you will have to use special paper or this will not work.

Polaroid ZIP

The ZIP can print photos up to 2×3, which isn’t that large, but it is easy to carry around and print up some memories at any moment.

What We Like

If you are a selfie-fanatic, you will love the ultra-light ZIP. It can easily be stored in a purse or backpack and can print up to 25 images on a single charge. The downloadable app also gives you extra customization if you need it.

Overall

For those looking for a small, budget-friendly portable printer that works great for selfies and outings, this is perfect. It has wireless connectivity, will work with iOS and Android, plus other devices that work with NFC and/or Bluetooth. It might be limited in photo size to 2×3, but the pictures are bold and bright. If you don’t need a lot of features, this is a great portable option that you can’t ignore.

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Polaroid ZIP

  • Ultra-Light And Compact Design
  • ZINK Technology Reduces Environmental Waste
  • Completely Wireless Connections Make It Easy To Connect Using Any Device

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 8×14
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 6.51 Pounds

HP has been around for quite some time. They create desktops, laptops, and printers. And while this next printer doesn’t quite look “portable”, it is – and it’s ready to become your go-to printer for just about any situation.

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer

The OfficeJet 250 is not nearly as small as the Polaroid ZIP – that’s not what HP was going for. With a weight of 6.51 pounds and a footprint of 7.8” x 15” x 3.6”, it’s not exactly small. Even so, it is still portable, though it would fit better in a large backpack or duffle bag. It comes with a rechargeable battery that takes 1.5 hours to charge on AC or 2.5 hours to charge on USB ports such as a 12v automotive outlet; the battery should last around two hours on a single charge.

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer

What separates this from the rest of the pack is the ability to print, copy, and scan. Most of the other options are limited, but HP absolutely nails functionality with the 250. Another great feature is the ability to use standard HP ink cartridges instead of having to use smaller ink cartridges that run out faster. Plus, you can also use any size paper (up to 8×14) which is unheard of when it comes to portable printing.

While this is a portable option, it’s not exactly portable. The footprint and weight would make this a little cumbersome for most. For the on-the-go office user, this is a great way to move your office outside or to the park.

What We Like

The ability to print, copy, and scan makes this extremely useful for professionals who are on-the-go. With this, you won’t have to go to the library to print out those documents you forgot or pay Office Max to print them for you. The fact that it is a “full-featured” printer is amazing, especially considering that it will run completely from a battery when needed.

Overall

Business professionals will love the OfficeJet 250 from HP. Instead of leaving a formula that they know works, they stick to what they do best – everything! The 250 does everything but faxing, though you can fix that using a faxing service or by just sending the attachment through email. While it is not cheap, it is loaded with features that most standalone printers don’t even offer. If you want everything in a “smaller” package, the 250 from HP is perfect.

HP OfficeJet 250 All-In-One Portable Printer

  • Print, Scan, And Copy From One Device
  • Can Work With Standard HP Ink Cartridges
  • Has A 2.65” Color Touchscreen For Settings And Controls

Canon Pixma iP110

Canon Pixma iP110

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 8×14
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 4.3 Pounds

Another brand that is well-known for high-quality printing options is Canon. And they’ve created a masterpiece of a printer with the iP110. This is a small, easy-to-use portable printer that will fit well inside of a briefcase, laptop bag, and/or vehicle.

Canon Pixma iP110

Starting out, this has a footprint of 12.7” x 7.3” x 2.5” which is notably smaller than the OfficeJet 250 mentioned above. Plus, it weighs almost 2 pounds less at a weight of only 4.3 pounds. It does not come with a rechargeable battery, but instead works off of 1 “D” battery (remember those?). You can order a portable 12v adapter if you want to use it in your car without a battery.

Canon Pixma iP110 and smartphone app

What separates this from the others is the ability to print ultra-high-definition pictures with a DPI rating of 9600×2400 (in color). It can also print up to 9 pages per minute, which is slightly less than the OfficeJet 250.

Canon Pixma iP110 in car

It has wireless connectivity and can pair with the Airprint™ app built for Canon. Using select online cloud services, you can basically print from anywhere.

What We Like

This is a good mix between the ZIP and the OfficeJet 250. It has the ability to print large documents at a high-quality rate while still being small enough to fit into almost any bag. It may not have the ability to copy and scan, but if that’s not a feature you need, you’ll love this as much as we do.

Overall

This is a great option for business professionals that don’t need the ability to scan and copy. It is extremely small while not weighing a ton. The high-resolution printouts will look great and it can be used with just a “D” battery. This is a portable option that you don’t want to miss out on.

Canon Pixma iP110

  • High-Resolution Print Output of 9600 x 2400
  • Works With Canon Ink Cartridges
  • Small, Slim Design For Portability

Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer

 Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 3.9 x 2.7
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 8.6 Ounces

Fujifilm has been another film/camera manufacturer that has given other brands like Kodak, Canon, and even Polaroid a run for their money. The INSTAX Share SP-2 is here to ruffle a few feathers, and it’s extremely affordable.

 Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer

With a footprint of 7.1” x 5.0” x 3.0”, this is the absolute definition of a portable printer. Plus, it weighs 8.6 ounces which is lighter than a can of coke. Finding places to store this should not be a problem as it will fit in small purses and backpacks without any issues. It has a rechargeable battery that takes roughly 90 minutes to recharge.

 Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer and accessories

This is another printer that does not use ink, instead opting for specialized printing paper that uses a laser/heat transfer system to draw the colors out. The colors are extremely vibrant and as long as you have paper, you’ll have “ink”.

 Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer in café

Each picture takes around ten seconds from start-to-finish. Print quality is 800 x 600 with 320 DPI for extreme clarify. As an added feature, the Fujifilm app allows you to use specialized templates to add even more flair to your pictures.

What We Like

This is another “instant gratification” portable printer that makes it easy to go anywhere without having to worry about running out of ink. The specialized paper is a little more expensive, but if you have paper, you are good to go.

Overall

If you find yourself snapping pictures everywhere you go, you’ll want the INSTAX Share SP-2. Instead of tagging your friends, give them memories that they keep on them anywhere they go. If you have paper, you have ink! While this is not good for office professionals, it’s not marketed for that demographic area. Again, if you take pictures all of the time, you cannot skip the SP-2 from Fujifilm.

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Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2 Mobile Printer

  • No Ink System
  • Ultra-Light, Compact Design
  • Specialized Features From App Gives Extra Flair To The Pictures

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 2.1 x 3.4
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 8.0 Ounces

Kodak, another brand that has dominated the film and camera, has put out an ultra-portable printer that looks great and comes in a plethora of colors.

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer

One of the smallest on our list, this portable printer has a footprint of 1” x 3” x 5.2”. It weighs 8 ounces and comes with a Lithium-ION battery that lasts for up to 20 prints on a single charge. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to recharge a battery, so you can’t have a print party, but it will give you and your friends plenty of pictures to stick up on your wall or keep in your wallet.

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer color options

Some of the smallest portable printers skip the idea of using ink cartridges, rather opting for specialized paper that “magically” draws the hidden ink out. This is a much more efficient system and faster and who better to do it than Kodak? Using a four-pass system, the image quality is immaculate.

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer and smartphone app

Plus, this ink will stay bright and bold for up to ten years without any fading. Printing a picture will take about 50 seconds, which is average for printing speed.

What We Like

This is extremely small and easy to carry around. It’s barely bigger than a phone case and it can print up to twenty pictures on a single charge. Since it is so light, you’ll almost forget you have it with you. You can carry it in your pocket and it’ll look just like a wallet.

Overall

For those who trust Kodak products, the HD Wireless portable printer is a great addition to your “going out” package. You can easily slip this into your pocket or purse and have an on-demand printing solution for the guys/girls night out.

Kodak HD Wireless Portable Printer

  • No Ink System
  • Ultra-Light, Compact Design
  • Prints Pictures In Less Than A Minute Per Image

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Direct Thermal Printer

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Direct Thermal Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 8 x 14
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 8.0 Ounces

While most of the portable printers on our list are built for fun, there are a few that are built for more. Brother created the PocketJet PJ-773 for those who want a portable printer that can handle their out-of-office needs.

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Direct Thermal Printer and accessories

With a size of 10” x 2.2” x 1.2” inches, it will easily fit inside of a laptop bag, briefcase, backpack, and more! It only weighs 8 ounces which is less than a can of cola and it does come with a battery and power cord. The ink system is comprised of a thermal print technology which helps keep the size of the printer small while increasing speed per print.

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Direct Thermal Printer

Connectivity is both wireless and wired (using a mini-USB port). For those in a hurry, this can pump out 8 x 14 printouts at 8 pages per minute. While it isn’t the sexiest of options, it is one of the most versatile and professional options on our list.

What We Like

This is light and small, which gives you the option to print your office documents anywhere. It is not built for playing so much as functionality, but it is tough and has fewer moving parts thanks to the thermal print system.

Overall

For the business professional that wants a no-mess option, the PocketJet PJ-773 is perfect. While it is expensive, it is built to last and carries the Brother warranty which is nothing to sneeze at.

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Direct Thermal Printer

  • Thermal Print System
  • Small, Compact Design
  • 8PPM Print Rate

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Portable Printer

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Portable Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 4 x 6
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 1.9 Pounds

Is there a more appropriate name than the SELPHY from Canon? We can’t think of one. This portable printer is still portable, though you might need a little more room in your bag for it.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Portable Printer

It has a footprint of 5.4” x 7.1” x 2.5” and a weight of 1.9 pounds. While it isn’t a small as some of the offerings on our list, it gives you a lot more features to work with. While it doesn’t come with a battery out-of-the-box, you can get the optional battery pack to make it a truly portable option.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Portable Printer

Using a specialized Dye-Sublimation Print Technology, images will look bright and bold for up to 100 years! You can connect using AirPrint + the downloadable app, connect your printer to Facebook and/or Instagram, and even use memory cards from other devices too. The printer can print multiple images sizes from 4×6 down to 2.1×2.1 using ZINK paper.

What We Like

The touchscreen interface is a nice “touch”, especially for the price. You can navigate through all the settings with just a flick of your finger. The ability to print multiple image sizes makes this unique as most of the others don’t give you this option.

Overall

If you want a little bit more for your SELPHY printer, then you can skip out on this portable printer. It doesn’t weigh a lot, has a decent footprint, great image quality, and the pictures will outlive you.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Portable Printer

  • Prints Last Up To 100 Years
  • Multiple Printing Sizes
  • Optional Battery Pack

Lifeprint 2×3 Portable Printer

Lifeprint 2x3 Portable Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 2 x 3
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 6.4 Ounces

When life happens, you need to make sure you can capture it. While a smartphone can capture the memory, it can’t leave you with a copy to keep in your car or look at on your mirror. Lifeprint has fixed that with their latest portable printer.

Lifeprint 2x3 Portable Printer and smartphone app

With a footprint of 0.9” x 3” x 4.6”, it almost looks like a cellphone. In fact, you can carry it the same way you do your phone and no one would be wiser. It weighs 6.4 ounces, which makes it one of the lightest offerings on our list. It is powered by an internal Lithium-ION battery that takes a little less than two hours to charge; it can handle around twenty prints on a single charge.

Lifeprint 2x3 Portable Printer

Equipped with ZINK technology, as long as you have paper, you have a printer. What separates this from so many of the others on our list is the Augmented Reality ‘Hyperphotos’ option. Whenever you use the app, the AR software can look at the photo and allow you to see the video that was created/attached to the picture itself. Now you can make memories that go way beyond “a moment”.

What We Like

The Augmented Reality software really makes this stand out in a crowded market. The picture quality is good and the printouts don’t take forever.

Overall

If you like to do more than just live in the moment, you’ll love the AR feature of the Lifeprint 2×3 portable printer. Of course, life tends to happen at the oddest of times and being able to capture (and share) those memories is what Lifeprint is all about. So, are you ready to take Lifeprint on your next adventure?

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Lifeprint 2×3 Portable Printer

  • Augmented Reality Software
  • About The Size Of A Smartphone
  • Works Using Bluetooth Technology

SereneLife PICKIT22BK Portable Printer

SereneLife PICKIT22BK Portable Printer

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 3.5 x 2
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes
  • Weight: 9.6 Ounces

The PICKIT22BK from SereneLife is another ultra-small portable printer that prints high-quality images without breaking the bank. With a footprint of only 1” x 3.1” x 6.2”, it’s roughly the size of two iPhone X’s stacked together. It does have a built-in battery that lasts around 20 to 30 pictures on a single charge and only takes about 1.5 hours to recharge.

SereneLife PICKIT22BK Portable Printer

Using a cartridge-style system, the printing paper and ink are one and the same. As such, you just need to make sure you have a cartridge of sheets/ink and you are ready to go.

SereneLife PICKIT22BK Portable Printer

Image quality is a staggering 291 DPI, which is impressive considering the size, the price, and even the off-brand name.

What We Like

This prints out high-quality images for around .50 cents per print. The images are clear, and they even have a protective laminate layer to keep the images from smudging or losing color.

Overall

If you want a good, inexpensive portable printer for selfie-nights, SereneLife has you covered. The high-quality images, ZINK technology, and the ultra-small design make this one of the best portable printers on our list.

SereneLife PICKIT22BK Portable Printer

  • Budget-Friendly
  • Compact Design
  • ZINK Technology

Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Portable Printer (for iPhone)

 Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Portable Printer (for iPhone)

Specs:

  • Max Print Size: 2.0 x 3.0
  • Wireless Connectivity: No
  • Weight: 5.8 Ounces

Last on our list is a specialized portable printer that is iPhone specific (sorry Android fans). Prynt is a startup that is pushing the limits of what we think of portable printers. While this doesn’t have wireless connectivity, it looks like it belongs as part of the smartphone itself.

 Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Portable Printer and iPhone

Size is a little irrelevant here as this slips over/around iPhones. It is extremely light with a weight of only 5.8 ounces. There is no battery to work with as it uses the iPhone for its power. As long as your phone has power and you have paper, you have an on-demand printer.

 Prynt Pocket Instant attached to iPhone

Again, this uses a ZINK paper to remove ink cartridges, helping the environment (and you). Image quality is not as high as some of the other ZINK printers on our list, but this is still a good medium-quality printer for a fairly easy-to-stomach price. Each image takes around one minute from start-to-finish.

What We Like

We’re already used to sticking cases on our phones, and now you can attach a printer instead. This is extremely light and easy to connect (even if not wirelessly). We really like that the battery is dependent on your smartphone, meaning you have power as long as your phone does.

Overall

For those who missed out on the “old” Polaroid system, now you get another chance to see it in action. Of course, the technology has been improved and the image quality is better too. For those who have an iPhone, this is an attachment you don’t want to skip over.

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Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Portable Printer (for iPhone)

  • No Ink System
  • iPhone-Specific Device
  • Does Not Require Recharging

Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Portable Printers

To help you understand our ranking process, these are the features and functions that we considered. Doing this helps to weed out the “marketing jargon” that is designed to make you buy their product. If you don’t find the best portable printer for your needs on our list, this will help you narrow down your search results.

Size / Portability

The first factor that you need to consider when looking at a portable printer is its size and portability. Since this should be portable, it should be small enough to transport easily between point A to point B.

Now, portability and size are subjective when it comes to transportability. If you only have room in a backpack, then a very small portable printer is probably the best option for you. However, if you are not an on-the-go office user, then a larger portable printer will probably do better for you. But the larger the printer becomes, the less portable it becomes too,

Think about your needs and the features that you must have. Smaller printers tend to leave out special features and functions in order to remain small. Again, size and portability are just one factor to consider when it comes to portable printers.

Battery Life

Not all portable printers come with a built-in battery. However, portable printers are much easier to use when they have a built-in battery. But it can become quite frustrating if the battery does not have a decent life expectancy.

Some portable printer batteries are very minimal, with the expectation that they are going to be used for instant gratification rather than necessity. The average portable printer battery life is between thirty minutes and two hours. Again, portable printers are generally not used as out-of-the-office solutions.

Print Quality

Since portable printers are fairly small, this should be expected that the print quality would be lower than their larger desktop counterparts. Even so, the print quality should be good enough that you do not plans when you see the picture (or document). While you should not expect professional quality results for your 8 x 10 printouts, it should still be good enough for basic printouts.

Print quality will be affected by a lot of factors, with ink and printing mechanisms being the largest factors. If you use substandard ink, your print quality will be affected negatively. The smaller the portable printer is, the easier the printing mechanisms will be affected by an inordinate amount of up/down and in/out issues (too much movement).

Ink Life

Being that portable printers are generally small, how much ink they can hold is a big factor to consider. Small portable printers are not vehicle nearly as much ink as a larger portable printer. If you feel like you will be printing a lot of pictures and/or documents, then you may need a larger portable printer.

This is a good time to consider your needs and factor that into your purchasing decision. While a small portable printer is easy to transport, that life expectancy could be more of a negative that a slightly larger portable printer. Sometimes you have to sacrifice size for battery life and/or ink life expectancy.

Connectivity

With wireless technologies getting cheaper and cheaper, it is easy to expect a portable printer to have wireless connections available; this is not always the case.

If you are a mobile-only user, having the ability to connect wirelessly from your phone and/or tablet is an absolute must. But there are more options than just wireless connectivity. In fact, you can have USB-A, B, and C connections plus Lightning connections for iPhones.

While this is not nearly as big of a factor, it still matters a good bit. If your device will not work with your portable printer, you are going to be very upset with the lack of support (and wasted money). So, make sure that the devices you want to use will work with the portable printers you are looking at.

Speed

And finally, the speed at which the printer can print is a factor that cannot be ignored. Right off the bat, we want you to understand that portable printers are not going to be as fast as their desktop counterparts. This is for several reasons, with the majority being the quality of the components and the size of the components.

That out of the way, a portable printer should be able to print between two and five pages per minute; this is considered the average. If printing speed is important to you, then you may want to consider a larger portable printer which would have larger mechanisms which could help improve speed.

When it comes to portable printers, the smaller the printer, the less likely it will be as feature-driven as most people would desire.

Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Printers

When it comes to portable printers, there are a few questions that get tossed around a lot. Instead of making you look everywhere, we’ve compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about portable printers. If your question isn’t on this list, let us know so that we can answer you and help our future visitors too.

Q: Are portable printers wireless?

A: By default, people expect portable printers to be wireless. In fact, with technology moving in the direction it has, it would be easy to expect portable printers to be wireless. However, while a majority of portable printers are wireless, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Wireless connectivity is still a fairly expensive add-on that can make a relatively inexpensive product line unaffordable.

Some portable printers are built with a lot of extra features. When this happens, wireless connectivity is an absolute must. However, some portable printers are extremely small and featureless – including wireless connectivity. Overall, a wireless portable printer more expensive than a corded portable printer. If price and budget are factors in your purchasing decision, you might want to look at corded portable printers first.

Q: Are portable printers battery-powered?

A: When the word portable is used in conjunction with an electronic device, the expectation is that it is battery-powered. And while some portable printers are in fact battery-powered, the majority bulk of them are still dependent on a corded electrical connection. However, these corded connections can be used in multiple outlets including US and EU power sockets and even 12V automotive power sockets.

Generally speaking, portable printers with a corded electrical connection tend to be more feature-driven than their battery-powered counterparts. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest reason being battery capacity, battery output, and battery life. Printers use a lot of power to print beautiful images in constant succession. As such, if you prefer features over function, you should be looking for a corded portable printer. Plus, corded portable printers tend to be less expensive than their battery-powered counterparts.

Q: Is the print quality the same as a standalone/desktop printer?

A: Most portable printers are not built for ultra-high-quality images. Instead, they are built for functionality (for the most part). As such, they are limited in their print quality and/or DPI output. Plus, some portable printers are only designed to print small documents and/or images such as 5’x7′ and smaller.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule (as always). A few companies do put out portable printers that are able to print up to 9600 x 2400 dpi in color; this is rare and should not be expected.

Portable printers are not afforded the same protections that a desktop/standalone printer have. For instance, a portable printer is probably being transported in a backpack or duffel bag in a vehicle and/or motor transportation such as a bike. It will encounter a lot of bumps while being transported and could possibly lose its calibration which would affect its output quality. Even if you recalibrate portable printer, the likelihood that it will print as well as your standalone printer is minimal at best. Again, portable printers are primarily designed to give you instant gratification; they are function-driven, not feature-driven.

Q: Can portable printers be used for other functions too (i.e. fax, scan)?

A: While printers can be used for other functions like scanning, copying, and faxing, portable printers do not currently offer these same functions. With printers being “all-in-one”, it is hard to imagine a portable printer not being able to do this same thing. However, all of these extra features require a lot of power, of which portable printers generally cannot produce (especially battery-powered portable printers). Plus, the scanning and/or copying mechanism could easily be not out of alignment and be rendered useless.

Portable printers are designed to provide fast, easy access to a printer for instant gratification. They are not designed to be a one-stop-shop for all of your in-office needs. If you need a full-featured printer while on the go, then you should carry around a power inverter with a standard desktop printer in your backseat.

Q: Can portable printers print in color?

A: Most portable printers can print in color. However, there are some which are considered value-focused and/or budget-friendly which cannot print in color. While the colors will still look good, the dithering process might be affected if it is handled/transported a lot. Not to mention, heat can affect the flow rate of the ink, causing ink runs and possibly splotches.

Colored portable printers tend to cost more than their black and white counterparts. If you are on a budget, then you will most likely have to give up color printing option. If you are using a portable printer for pictures while on the go, then you should expect to pay around twice as much for the ability to print in color.

Q: How fast are portable printers?

A: Some desktop printers can print up to 50 pages per minute in black and white. However, the average is around 5 to 10 pages per minute in most applications. With that being said, most portable printers will never catch up to a desktop printer. In fact, most portable printers will take up to a minute per page.

Is that fast? If we are comparing desktop printers to portable printers – no. If we are considering the fact that we Instant gratification “on-demand” – yes. Again, unless you are using your printer as an out-of-office solution, this speech should be sufficient. If you need to print a 50-page essay out while you are driving to class, then this is pretty much unacceptable.

Overall, portable printers are fairly slow with the fastest being able to produce around five pages per minute in black and white.

Q: Why are portable printers more expensive than standalone/desktop printers?

A: Technology has made numerous strides over the past 50+ years. In that time, we have seen computers that took up a whole city block shrunken down into a small, wearable watch. In fact, that wearable watch is more powerful than the computer that took up a whole city block. And, we have become very complacent in the idea that portability should be inexpensive.

Portable printers are more expensive standalone/desktop printers because their components are smaller with fewer tolerances involved and they need a way to remove heat better than their counterparts. When portable printers first came out, they were extremely expensive. As time has gone on and the technology has been refined, the costs have come down. Even so, they are more expensive than their standalone counterparts.

Portable printers are generally equipped with built-in batteries to give them a truly portable feeling. Plus, some of them are even equipped with multiple connectivity options that aren’t on a standalone printer. While they do not have the features that a standalone printer would have like scanning, copying, faxing, they still tend to cost more simply because everything has been miniaturized.

Q: Can I use ink refills with a portable printer?

A: Most portable printers can use ink refills without any issues. However, ink refills tend to be considered “b-grade” inks and have a tendency of clogging up printer ports. Being portable printers tend to be transported in hot vehicles, this could become even more problematic than normal. Some manufacturers have even gone so far as to use proprietary-only printer cartridges in order to maintain quality (expensive option). As such, not all portable printers can use ink refills.

If you are dead set on using ink refills, then you should make sure that the portable printer you are considering has the ability to work with ink refills.

Q: How small are portable printers?

A: Portable printers, by default, are expected to be fairly small in design. However, portability is subjective here. Some portable printers are extremely small, barely wider than a sheet of paper with a height and depth of only two inches. But other portable printers are not so small – some being as large as a standard desktop printer.

Smaller portable printers tend to be less feature-driven and more function-focused. As such, they can leave you wishing you had bought a bigger portable printer. Just because a portable printer has the word portable in its name, that does not mean it is small. Instead, it just means that it is designed to work away from a desktop environment. This is generally achieved using a battery and/or built-in power inverter for 12V applications.

Q: How heavy are portable printers?

A: Again, portable printers are expected to be fairly light. But portability is still subjective. Some portable printers are very small, but there are a few that could work in an office environment without any trouble too. The smallest portable printers tend to be very light and easy to transport. Larger portable printers tend to be heavier like their standalone counterparts.

If you need a light portable printer, then you will most likely have to give up certain features that are only available on larger portable printers. Again, the argument becomes features versus functions. If you need more functions, you will have to accept the fact that a heavier portable printer will meet your needs better.

Q: How long will the battery last in a portable printer?

A: This depends on a number of factors, with battery size and capacity being very important. A small battery is not going to last as long as a larger battery. If the portable printer you are using is very small, then the battery most likely will not last long. In fact, one of the portable printers on our list is capable of printing up to ten pages before needs to be recharged.

If battery life is a big factor for you, then you will need to look for a larger portable printer and/or a portable printer with optional power cords for 12V applications. Portable printer batteries tend to last between thirty minutes to two hours of continual use.

Conclusion

As you can see, portable printers are convenient, in-a-pinch printing solutions that can provide a form of instant gratification. In the past, we used Polaroid cameras to get pictures in “real-time” without having to wait days for the picture to be processed. Now, we just have to wait for the picture to be printed from one of our portable printers. For the most part, a portable printer can be used as an on-the-go solution as long as you do not need a ton of documents printed at one time.

Today, we have shown you ten portable printers that easily outranked hundreds of other options. To help you understand our ranking process, we provided a guide/outline help you understand our thought process and also to help you narrow down your search too. We even tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about portable printers. And while we did our best to answer every question, we might have missed yours. If we get, please let us know so that we can answer you and also all of our future visitors.

Ultimately, our goal was to help you find a portable printer that is perfect for your needs. We hope that this list did just that. If not, we hope that our guide has helped you narrow down your search results.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API