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The best portable printer in 2022: share your shots instantly at social events!

Food and drink scattered across a table along with the best portable printer
(Image credit: Fujifilm)

The best portable printer is a great thing to have at a party, a wedding, or any other social event. Because when you've shot a great picture on your phone, it's great to be able to share it with people in a physical form. If you just post it on Facebook, it'll be quickly scrolled past and instantly forgotten. Prints, in contrast, are priceless souvenirs that people will keep and treasure.

With the best portable printer, you can give people a permanent keepsake. And while that does involve some expense – the printing packs can be expensive if you use a lot – the printers are usually quite cheap. 

There are three main printing technologies: 

• Zink photo paper: Short for zero-ink, this is the cheapest. The quality isn't the best but they do the job, and tend to be fairly damage-resistant too.

• Dye-sublimation: Also known as 'dye-sub', this uses heat to transfer dye to the printing material. The print quality is better than Zink printers.

• Instant film: Some portable printers use the instant film (opens in new tab) you find in instant cameras – the formats are often pretty small (instax, for example), and the costs can ramp up quickly.

Below, we've selected the very best portable printers available today, covering all three types. We explain what makes each one unique, and give you the information you need to choose between them.

Best portable printers for smartphones in 2022

(Image credit: Canon)
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The best portable printer for square photos

Specifications

Paper type: Canon sticker paper (dye sub)
Approx paper cost: $14.99/£14.99 for 20 sheets (about 75c / 75p per print)
Print size: 2.8 x 3.3 inch / 7.2 x 8.5cm
Image size: 2.7 x 2.7 inch / 6.8 x 6.8cm
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi
Printer weight: 445g (without ribbon or paper)
Battery: Rechargeable Canon battery
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Available colors: White, pink, green or black

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent print quality
+
Long-lasting prints
+
Extremely portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Prints are relatively costly

Instagram has brought the square photo back into fashion, and the Selphy Square QX10 is the best portable printer for this format. It produces 2.7x2.7 inch (6.8cm x 6.8cm) prints that are claimed to last more than 100 years if stored responsibly. They come with a smudge-proof, water-protected coating, too. Not bad for something that's produced in as little 43 seconds! 

The QX10 is also small enough to fit in a handbag, making it perfect for travel and parties, and thanks to its pro-quality dye-sub technology, its prints will look really great. Learn more in our Canon Selphy Square QX10 review.

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2. Kodak Mini 2

The best portable printer for beginners

Specifications

Paper type: Kodak Cartridge Printer Paper & Dye sublimation cartridge
Approx paper cost: £34.99 / $38 for 50 sheets (about 70p / 76c per print)
Print size: 5.33 x 8.63 cm
Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth
Printer weight: 322g
Battery: 1 x Lithium Polymer
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Available colors: Black, blue, pink, white or purple

Reasons to buy

+
 Fast connectivity with NFC 
+
 Excellent quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
 All-in-one cartridges 
-
 App can be unreliable 

Never used a portable printer before, and a little nervous of technology generally? Don't worry: the handy Kodak app for Android makes this printer a breeze to use. 

By making use of the Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities of this printer you can enjoy printing in seconds: it’s compatible with both iOS and Android via the Bluetooth connection. The prints it produces are first-rate, making use of Kodak’s all-in-one ink-and-paper cartridges for convenience and ease of use It uses 4Pass printing technology, also known as dye sublimation, to make its images, resulting in unmatched quality. The free app also provides access to loads of editing functionality, allowing you to tweak and filter your images to your satisfaction before hitting the print button. 

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3. Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer

The best zero-ink portable printer

Specifications

Paper type: Zink
Approx paper cost: £12.99 / $12.99 for 30 sheets (about 43p / 43c per print)
Print size: 2 x 3 in (5.08 x 7.62 cm)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Printer weight: 162g
Battery: 1 x lithium-Ion
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Available colors: Black, blue, red, white or yellow

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap to buy and run
+
Choice of colors
+
Pre-print customization options

Reasons to avoid

-
Frequently needs recharging

You’d expect a mini-printer from Polaroid to do the business well, and the Mint Pocket Printer doesn’t disappoint. Available in a range of stylish colours and portable enough to take everywhere, it uses Zink paper to produce colour-rich and detailed prints. It’s easy to load and use, and can be paired quickly and easily with a smartphone thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity.

The Mint Pocket Printer has a generous battery life, although it’s worth noting that the battery runs down quickly on standby (within a couple of weeks), so if you’re using the printer infrequently you’ll likely have to get in the habit of remembering to charge it before you use it. As long as this isn’t an issue, you’ll find this a wonderfully handy portable printer. Use the Polaroid Mint app to make stylish adjustments to your photos, and you’ll find the printer is not only useful but fun to use as well, as a Polaroid should be.

(Image credit: Kodak)
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4. Kodak Step Instant Printer

The best cheap portable printer

Specifications

Paper type: Kodak Zink
Approx paper cost: £12.99 / $12.99 for 30 sheets (about 43p / 43c per print)
Print size: 2 x 3 inch / 5.08 x 7.62cm
Image size: 2 x 3 inch / 5.08 x 7.62cm
Connectivity: Bluetooth, micro USB
Printer weight: 453g (without paper)
Battery: Rechargeable battery
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Available colors: White or black

Reasons to buy

+
Useful app connectivity
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Zink quality is average
-
Micro USB port

Not to be confused with the Kodak Step camera, the Kodak Step printer is a quick and simple way to bring your smartphone shots into the real world. Connect your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth, and you can use the Kodak Step Prints app to do a quick edit of an image, or add borders and stickers. These prints won't be the highest quality, but it is cheap, simple and a lot of fun, with Zink paper meaning you don't need to worry about messy ink refills. It's a shame that it only charge via Micro USB, which (as anyone who owned an Android phone a few years ago can attest) is less robust than other connection types. But this capable printer is extremely well-priced, with low running costs, and is fantastic for anyone looking to print on a budget.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)
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The best portable printer for tiny prints

Specifications

Paper type: Instax Mini Film
Approx paper cost: £14.05 / $15 for 20 sheets (about 70p / 75c per print)
Print size: 2.1 in × 3.4 in / 54 × 86mm
Image size: 1.8 in × 2.4 in / 62x46mm
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Printer weight: 209g
Battery: 1 x Lithium-Ion
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Available colors: Dark Denim, Dusky Pink and Ash White

Reasons to buy

+
Prints in 12 seconds 
+
High-quality, 320 dpi 

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive per sheet 
-
Small prints 

With the Instax Mini Link, the image size is a tiny 62x46mm (1.8 in × 2.4 in). If that sounds like something that interests you, read on...

The Instax Mini Link makes printing pictures fun – and is a brilliant alternative to using an instant camera. It uses the same film the most popular Instax Mini cameras – but the advantage here is that by taking the pictures with your camera phone, you get more control over your results, and can just print our the edited highlights of your night out!.

The app enables you to add borders, fun overlays, and even combine several shots into a montage. And not only can you print directly from your phone, you can also use the Mini Link SE app to print Instax photos from your Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab)!

The Instax Mini Link is about 20% lighter and 23% smaller than the previous Instax SP-2 (opens in new tab) – and is undoubtedly one of the most stylish looking portable printers around.  Note that printing on Instax is a little on the expensive side, though. 

(Image credit: Fujifilm)
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A hybrid digital camera that can print straight from your smartphone

Specifications

Type: Digital instant camera + instant printer
Sensor size: 4.9MP
Film type: instax Mini
Approximate paper cost: £14.05 / $15 for 20 sheets (about 70p / 75c per print)
Image size: 1.8 in × 2.4 in / 62x46mm
Print size: 2.1 in × 3.4 in / 54 × 86mm
Lens: 28mm f/2
Minimum shooting distance: 10cm
Flash: Built-in
Self-timer: Yes
Viewfinder: LCD screen
Compatibility: iOS/Android
Colors available: Black/gold, white, or blush

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in instant camera, as well as instant printer
+
Standard Instax Mini film
+
45-image internal storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Clunky app 
-
App doesn't edit photos

The Fujifilm instax Mini LiPlay is not marketed specifically as a portable printer, so this one may be easy to miss. Instead it's one of a new breed of hybrid instant cameras – that offer the functionality of an instant camera, a digital camera, and a portable printer in the same device. 

Unlike standard instant cameras, you therefore have the choice of which pictures you actually print out – as you can look at them on the screen first. But just as usefully, this can be used to print pictures from your smartphone (just like other pocket printers). The camera has a modest 4.9 megapixel sensor, but it does allow you to store up to 45 images internally (or more with a microSD card).  

• See other digital instant cameras (opens in new tab)

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7. HP Sprocket Plus

Another great Zink printer

Specifications

Paper type: HP ZINK S2 photo paper
Approx paper cost: £10 / $10 for 20 sheets (about 50p / 50c per print)
Print size: 5.8 x 8.6 cm
Image size: 2 x 3 inch / 5 x 7.6cm
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Printer weight: 204g
Battery: 1 x Lithium-Ion
Compatibility: iOS/Android

Reasons to buy

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Pocket-sized 
+
Beautiful print quality 
+
Prints from video

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight crop of images

Providing a fantastic balance between portability and quality, the HP Sprocket Plus is a printer that’s small enough to take everywhere with you. It produces fantastically detailed prints on HP Zink S2 photo paper or HP Sprocket Plus Photo Paper, and it’s simplicity itself to set up. Simply load the paper in the back, pair the printer with your phone using the built-in Bluetooth, and you’re away.

The HP Sprocket app is easy to use and offers a multitude of cool features to make printing more fun – one of the most intriguing is “Embedded Experiences”, which lets you print a frame from a video and tag it with details of the people in it or the place it was taken. Once this is done, you can then scan the print with your phone and see it “come to life” in-app, with the video playing and the metadata displayed. It’s a cool little feature. 

The prints themselves are gorgeously high-quality, with plenty of detail and rich colours. The vibrant memories you’ll make with this printer will look wonderful on display, and given that it’s the size of a mobile phone, you’ll have no trouble taking it everywhere with you.

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8. Kiipix Portable Smartphone Picture Printer

The best portable printer that's battery-free

Specifications

Paper type: Instax Mini Film
Approx paper cost: £14.05 / $15 for 20 sheets (about 70p / 75c per print)
Print size: 5.33 x 8.63 cm
Connectivity: No
Printer weight: 404g
Battery: No
Compatibility: n/a

Reasons to buy

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 Cheap asking price 
+
 No battery required 

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires maximum phone brightness
-
Uses more expensive film  

There’s no charging the Kiipix Portable Mini Printer, nor any need to plug it in. Simply load it with Instax film, place your phone face down on the scanner (with the brightness cranked all the way up – trust us), using the reflective mirror to ensure it’s properly aligned, and then you can manually crank out the prints yourself.

Cheap and cheerful, the Kiipix printer also folds up for easy transportation. It’s cheap asking price makes it more attractive than some of the other printers on this list, though it’s worth noting that it requires the more expensive Instax film to run, meaning it could work out more expensive in the long run if you plan to make lots of prints (though to be fair you’d have to make a lot of prints before approaching the cost of something like the Sprocket Plus).

Read more:

Best photo printer (opens in new tab)
Best digital instant hybrid cameras (opens in new tab)
Best online photo printing services (opens in new tab)
Best wireless printer (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.

With contributions from