Best Portable Photo Printer
Portable photo printers are a popular accessory with all levels of photographer, especially here in 2020, and it’s easy to see why!
Being able to instantly get a ‘physical copy’ of an image taken with a smartphone or wi-fi/Bluetooth enabled digital camera is irresistible, especially in this digital world we live in.
|Polaroid ZIPIt's hard to beat this vibrant and portable photo printer from Polaroid.||View Price|
If you take masses of photos only to later end up burying them on Instagram, Facebook, or even on your own hard drive, a portable photo printer is definitely for you.
Sure, a larger desktop photo printer is also great, but portable printers ensure they’re always with you – whether in a handbag, car glove compartment or just in your jacket pocket.
Here are the best portable photo printers of the year.
Best Portable Photo Printer in 2020
|Polaroid ZIP||View Price →|
|Fujifilm Instax SP-3||View Price →|
|HP Sprocket Portable (2nd Edition)||View Price →|
|Kodak Mini 2 HD||View Price →|
|Polaroid Mint||View Price →|
1. Polaroid ZIP
Most people associate Polaroid with instant photos and cameras from decades ago.
Polaroid are one of the original developers of instant film products and the Polaroid Zip instant printer is a testament to that heritage.
The Polaroid Zip is a portable and handy instant photo printer perfect for capturing memories directly from your smartphone or tablet.
The printer pairs seamlessly to your device through Bluetooth or NFC via a dedicated app.
The app itself offers an image gallery, the ability to edit photos and create collages, and also access to images directly from your social media accounts. It’s free to download and quite user friendly.
As for the printer, it is a neat little package at 74mm x 120mm x 22.8mm (2.9″ x 4.7″ x 0.9″) – just the right size to store in a bag or even slip into your back pocket.
The Zip has a stylish design with rounded edges and LEDs for device notifications. It’s available in four different colours.
Further to this, the tiny printer weighs in at 186g (0.41lb) making it a truly portable no-fuss addition to your daily carry gear.
The Polaroid Zip takes a pack of 10 ZINK® media that employs the ZINK® Zero Ink Printing Technology. This Polaroid-developed system does not require any ink cartridges and can print an image in a single pass – wizardry!
Each print is a 2″ x 3″ image that’s full colour and will not smudge. Another great feature is that the back of the print peels off to reveal a sticky underside for all your bumper-sticker-style branding.
A 50-print pack of the ZINK Zero paper will cost you around $25, making it only 50c a print. That means you can hand them out to your friends without concern over cost.
The Zip comes with a pack of 10 prints along with a USB cable to charge the device. Charging the lithium polymer battery will take about 1.5 hours – that will give you 25 prints.
If you’re looking for an instant printer that’s lightweight and doesn’t require additional ink, the Zip is one of the best available.
Fujifilm have been in the film business for decades and they’ve carried their unique colour science over to their instant film products.
The Fujifilm Instax SP-3 is an instant printer capable of producing framed 6.1cm x 6.1cm (2.4” x 2.4”) prints.
The Instax SP-3 uses older technology than the other printers in this guide. When an image is printed with the Fuji, the processing fluid contained within the frame of the print is squeezed across the surface.
A minute later and hey-presto, you have a print.
As a result, the prints possess an old-school film charm rather than a crisp digital print-out.
You can pair the Instax SP-3 to your smart device or Fujifilm X Series camera using Bluetooth or WiFi.
With the Fuji Instax app, you can apply filters and overlay text to get creative and style your images. You can also share images back to your social media platforms.
The app gives you access to your image library or to pull photos from social media accounts or Google Photos.
As the Fujifilm Instax SP-3 instant printer develops larger square prints, it’s a little bulkier in size. Although thanks to some clever design work by Fuji, it has an appealing modern look that would not be out of place sitting on an office desk.
The printer is 116 mm x 130.5 mm × 44.4 mm (4.56″ x 5.13″ x 1.74″) making is a little less pocketable but still compact enough to be carried in a small bag. It has a total weight of 312g (0.31lb) meaning it’s still portable and handy for parties or travel.
The Instax SP-3 takes a sealed cartridge of 10 prints – remember that the prints react to light so be sure not to open the printer partway through a cartridge.
The prints for this printer are a lot more expensive than others as it’s using film technology rather than just being a piece of paper. A pack of 10 is going to cost around $17 or $1.70 per print so it’s best to be selective of what you end up printing.
The printer is charged within 3 hours and will last for up to 160 prints before a recharge is needed. That’s fantastic endurance.
The Fujifilm Instax SP-3 is just one of many Instax products developed by the Japanese company. It will cost around $95 (check here for the latest price) making it a very affordable companion to your smartphone photography workflow.
If you’re after an instant printer that prints images more like the old school instant printers, then the Instax SP-3‘s your best option.
Hewlett Packard is a household name for computers and not so well known as a developer of instant printers – yet here we are.
The HP Sprocket (New Edition) is a neat and simple instant printer that’s compact and highly portable.
It has rounded edges and a slick design meaning that you can carry it in a pants pocket or tuck it into a carry bag – the printer is only 80cm x 117cm x 25 mm (3.15″ x 4.63″ x 0.98”) in size
As you would expect, the printer pairs quickly and confidently with your smart device to allow you to use the HP Sprocket app to manage your photos and control the printer.
The app will allow you to print to a friend’s Sprocket, select photos from your gallery or social media and produce a range of artistic applications such as collage and even video.
The battery is charged via an included USB cable and will give you up to 45 prints.
The Sprocket connects to your device via Bluetooth and also has a sleep mode that keeps the connection ready even after you turn your device off.
A single print from the Sprocket takes about 30 seconds to generate and the image quality is more than adequate. There’s a great balance of brightness, colour and contrast.
As there is no ink used to create images, the only consumable you will use is the HP Zink paper. It costs around $20 for 50 sheets – that equates to 40 cents per print which makes it the cheapest so far.
The Sprocket easily makes the cut as a best portable printer – it ticks all the boxes for design, performance and affordability.
Kodak is another one of those old-school champions of the film photography era. So it only makes sense that they have an instant printer worthy of being picked as one of the best portable photo printers.
It uses a four-pass system that requires an ink cartridge.
When you print an image with the Mini 2 HD, the print paper slides out and back into the printer four times. Each pass applies yellow, cyan and magenta ink finished off with a clear protective layer.
Kodak employs its MC Cartridges that combine paper and the colour ink combined in a refill. It costs around $35 for 50 prints including the necessary ink making it 70 cents a print.
While the print quality is a little higher, my concern with a printer of this nature is dust causing print lines or ‘scratches’ in the finished product. Plus there are more moving parts that can wear over time.
The Mini 2 HD prints 2.1″ x 3.4” photos directly from your smart device in under a minute. If you’re using Android the NFC function starts the app up instantly on your phone by touching it to the printer.
The app for this portable printer has some great features to maximise your experience. It features the ability to select images from your gallery, social media or Google Photos.
Plus, you can edit images or apply one of the quick templates (for example, you can use a business card template to create a simple card with your details and image).
Despite the mechanical process involved in the four-pass system, the Kodak Mini 2 HD is not much bigger than some of the other printers – 78.2mm x 132.4mm x 25.4 mm (3.0″ x 5.2” x 1”).
I found it amusing that the ink cartridge and paper pack that comes with the printer only has 8 prints and not the standard 10.
If you want to be able to print high-quality photos on the run, then the Kodak Mini 2 HD is certainly a worthy option.
We kicked off this guide with a Polaroid so it’s only fitting to finish up with another entry by Polaroid.
This time we’re looking at the Polaroid Mint – by far the smallest and lightest portable printer of them all and one that can easily hang out in your jeans pocket.
Where the Polaroid ZIP was soft and curved, the Mint is more square and stately. Its dimensions are 116mm x 77mm x 18mm (4.5” x 3” x 0.7”) and weighs just 162g (5.7oz).
In terms of design aesthetics, this is probably my favourite design out of the five photo printers we have covered in this guide.
The ZINK paper is instantly smudge-resistant and has the sticky backing so you can use your prints as stickers. I love this application as it opens up your prints for instant creative applications.
The Mint comes in three vibrant primary colours as well as black and white – surprisingly it does not actually come in Mint.
The Mint app has pretty much the same features as its counterpart – you can access galleries, apply filters and add creative effects like text, drawings and boarders.
A reminder that a 50-print pack of the ZINK Zero paper will cost you around $25, or 50 cents a print.
The Polaroid Mint portable photo printer is clearly one of the best on offer thanks to its compact size and low print cost. The printer itself will cost you around $60 (check here for the latest price).
At that low price, you are looking at a serious bargain for a brilliant little pocket printer.
If you’re looking for a simple and creative outlet for your smartphone or tablet photography, then picking up one of the best portable photo printers is the way to go.
With any of the printers we’ve discussed here, you can take great photos and instantly edit them, add effects and print them for yourself and your friends.
What’s more, a photo printer is a relatively inexpensive and convenient alternative to going to a printing kiosk – not to mention that it’s much more fun.
With such a broad range of printing styles, you can go for the old school instant film look or the latest in high-tech digital image reproduction.
Either way, having an instant photo printer in your pocket empowers you to take your photography in a new direction.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.