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The best compact printer in 2021: laptop friendly printers you can take anywhere

best compact printer
(Image credit: Canon)

Looking for the best compact printer, so you can take it on business trips, or so that you have a printer that takes up minimal space on your desk? This guide will help you choose the best compact printer for your specific needs - and also guide you to the best prices available today.

With more people working remotely for at least some the time, home printers have become must-have purchases in the last year or so. But you don't need to settle for something that takes up acres of room on your working surface - if you choose one of the increasingly popular compact printer designs.

Unlike the best portable printers, compact printers can print on normal-sized office stationery – so can be used for work correspondence and reports whilst you are on the move, or away from home.

Space saving is not the only benefit, some compact printers at designed with travel in mind - and can be taken to meetings and events, or used when working in a local coffee shop. Some designs even have their own rechargeable battery – and can be paired wirelessly to your laptop or tablet - for use wherever you may roam.

Best compact printers in 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Epson)

1. Epson WorkForce WF110

Expensive ink, but this compact printer delivers the goods

Paper type: Plain paper / photo paper | Approx paper cost: Varies | Print size: A4 | Connectivity: Micro USB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct | Footprint: 12.2 x 2.4 x 6.1im / 31 x 6.1 x 15.5cm | Printer weight: 1,600g | Battery: 1 x Li-ion | Compatibility: iOS/Android/Windows/Mac | Available colors: Black

Top-notch print quality
Wi-Fi direct connectivity
Comes with battery
Expensive inkjet cartridges
A little slow

Able to handle glossy photo paper as easily as it does plain A4, the Epson WorkForce WF-110W is a hugely useful compact printer, lighter than Canon's Pixma TP150, with a rechargeable Li-ion battery built in. Able to connect via Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, it's an easy printer to set up and get started with, producing prints that a highly detailed and look fantastic (albeit doing so a little slower than other printers on this list). Its inkjet cartridges are a little on the expensive side, so factor that in before making a decision as this is the kind of cost that will mount up over time.

• See also Best all-in-one printers


(Image credit: Canon)

2. Canon Pixma TR150

An excellent five-ink printer that's easy to transport

Paper type: Plain paper / photo paper | Approx paper cost: Varies | Print size: A4 | Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi | Footprint: 2.6x 7.3 x 12.7in / 322 x 185 x 66mm | Printer weight: 2,100g | Battery: Optional | Compatibility: iOS/Android/Windows/Mac | Available colors: Black

Optional battery power
High quality prints
Fits into a bag
Battery is optional extra

Producing five-ink prints of outstanding quality on ordinary or photo paper, the  Canon Pixma TR150 compact printer packs in a lot of technology for a device that can fit inside a standard backpack. Connecting easily to your laptop or other device via USB or Wi-Fi, this inkjet printer can manage up to nine pages per minute in black and white, which is not too shabby at all for a portable device (and color pages are delivered at 5.5 pages a minute)! It's also available at a respectable price, so no need to scrimp and save in order to enjoy top-quality prints from your laptop.

One important thing to note is that this printer can be battery powered –. which is particularly appealing for when traveling – but doesn't come with the rechargeable power pack as standard. In some places you can buy the TR150 with battery as a kit, and others the Canon LK-72 battery is bought separately.

(Image credit: HP)

3. HP OfficeJet 250

A ‘proper’ inkjet printer that can print on plain or photo paper

Paper type: Plain paper / photo paper | Approx paper cost: £10 / $10 for 100 6x4-inch sheets (about 10p / 10c per print) | Print size: Up to A4/8.5x11-inch | Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Footprint: 14.97 x 15.8 x 10.6in / 38 x 40 x 27cm | Printer weight: 2,0960g | Battery: 1 x Li-ion | Compatibility: Windows/Mac | Available colors: Black

Includes a built-in scanner
Built-in color screen
Rechargeable battery
Bigger than most compact printers
Photo print quality is mediocre

The OfficeJet 250 is understandably bigger and bulkier than most portable printers but it’s much more compact and lightweight than typical all-in-one or ‘multi-function’ printers. As a scaled-down version of a desktop printer, it enables full-sized printing on letter sized plain paper, as well as on glossy photo paper, and comes complete with a built-in color scanner and color screen, enabling easy photocopying on the fly. A must for portable printing, it also includes its own rechargeable battery pack, so you can print anywhere. The printer uses a pigment-based black ink cartridge and a tri-color dye-based cyan, magenta and yellow cartridge. Quality is good for color documents but not the best for photo output on glossy paper.

(Image credit: HP)

4. HP Tango X

A neat portable printer with its own wraparound cover

Paper type: Plain paper / photo paper | Approx paper cost: £10 / $10 for 100 6x4-inch sheets (about 10p / 10c per print) | Print size: Up to A4/8.5x11-inch | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Dimensions: 15.3 x 24.4 x 10.2in / 39 x 62 x 26cm | Printer weight: 3,400g | Battery: None | Compatibility: Android, iOS, Apple OS X, Windows, Chrome OS | Available color: White/gray

Full-sized letter printing
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
No battery pack
Heavier than most

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

5. Fujifilm ASK300

The best printer for events photography

Paper type: Fujifilm Quality Thermal Photo Paper | Approx paper cost: $120/£130 for 800 4x6in prints (15c/16p each) | Print size: 4 x 6inch (10x15cm), 5 x 7inch (13x18cm), 6 x 8inch (15x20cm) | Connectivity: USB | Dimensions: 10.8 × 17.6 × 6.7in / 27 x 45 x 17cm | Printer weight: 26.4lb / 12kg | Battery: No | Compatibility: Windows/Mac

Best dye-sub printer for pros
Reasonably compact footprint
Large prints (up to 8x6 inch)
Expensive to buy and run

If you're an event photographer looking to deliver a large number of prints on-site, then the Fujifilm ASK 300 is a solid choice of printer. It uses dye sublimation printing to deliver high quality photographic prints using ribbon cartridges - and can give you prints that measure up to 8x6in. It's significantly heavier than the other printers on this list (as it's 12kg, you're not going to be carrying it on the train), however it has a reasonably small footprint at 45 by 27cm, so won't take up too much space. Provided you have your own transport it's a perfectly portable choice, and it's able to spit out high-quality 4x6in prints in 12 seconds. Its ink packs may appear expensive, but one $120/£130 (ish) pack will do you around 800 prints, so the value for money is not bad at all. 

Read more:

Best portable printers
Best photo printer
Best Mac printer
Best large format printer
Best photo paper for inkjet printers
Best online photo printing services
Best wireless printer
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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist, that has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners!