The 5 Best Portable Photo Printers of 2021

Print your favorite pictures wherever, whenever

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
The finished photos are water-resistant, high-quality, and can last up to 100 years.
Users have access to the free HP Sprocket app, which lets you add text, stickers, emojis, and borders to your photos.
Use Bluetooth or NFC technology to print directly from your smartphone or tablet with the help of the free ZIP app.
The SHARE SP-2 users laser printing on Instax photo paper—printing is quiet, easy to set up, and ready in a flash.
Best for Android Users:
Kodak Mini 2 at Amazon
Images are smudge-proof and waterproof, about the size of a credit card.

We take so many photos with our smartphones, but what becomes of them? They’re often forgotten about and lost in the camera roll. As an alternative, why not print out your favorite memories? The best portable photo printers let you make prints straight from your smartphone, social media, and Instagram grid. Using your iPhone, Android, or digital camera’s memory card, you can quickly print from these fun, portable printers, giving you instant copies of your photos to share with friends or display on the fridge. 

Unlike traditional Polaroid cameras, if you're out with friends, everyone can get a copy on demand without having to retake the picture, bringing a whole new meaning to sharable content. As long as your device is charged and stocked with paper, you can have a great time with friends and family, designing your perfect print on your phone before sending it to the printer.

If you’re in the market for a portable photo printer, here are the best on the market from brands including Canon, Polaroid, and HP. We’ve reviewed these devices based on a range of factors, including cost, print quality, cost-per-print, and ease of use, helping you find the perfect printer to bring your digital images to life.

Best Overall: Canon SELPHY CP1300

4

Our Ratings
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Speed
    3/5
  • Print/Scan Quality
    4/5
What We Like
  • High-quality, long-lasting prints

  • Affordable cost-per-use

  • Multiple connectivity options

What We Don't Like
  • Lacking an LCD touchscreen

  • Not super compact

The Canon SELPHY C1300 makes it easy to print gorgeous, clear, and bright photos, no matter where you are. Print photos by connecting your smartphone or tablet to the device over USB, your camera’s memory card, or the Canon Print app, giving you plenty of connectivity options.

Users have many fun ways to customize each print too, including photo booth mode, printing directly onto sticker paper, or Party Shuffle, which lets multiple people send photos that are automatically turned into a collage.

The C1300 measures just 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches and weighs under 2 pounds—while not the tiniest of printers, it’s still compact enough to fit in a backpack or accompany you to an event. Control your prints via the LCD screen, which is easy to use, but isn’t a touchscreen. 

The resulting photos are impressive, made from thermal dye-sublimation—this uses heat to bring out ink that’s already within the photo paper. The finished photos are water-resistant, high-quality, and can last up to 100 years. The C1300 is the perfect printer if you’re looking for a fun, easy way to print out all of your favorite photos at home or with friends.

Type: ZINK (The ink is in the photo paper and brought out by heat) | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi | LCD Screen: Yes, but not a touchscreen | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"Considering its features and print quality, the Canon Selphy CP1300 offers good value for the money." — Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Most Customizable: HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

What We Like
  • The free HP Sprocket App lets users customize everything

  • Attractive design is small and compact

  • Very simple to use

What We Don't Like
  • Can be slow to print

  • Limited to one size of photo paper

This fun, stylish printer is perfect for customizing your favorite social media snaps—check out the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer if you’re looking for a creative way to showcase your photos. Users have access to the free HP Sprocket app, which lets you add text, stickers, emojis, and borders to your photos. You can then instantly print out via Bluetooth.

It’s awesome at parties, as it means everyone can connect and print straight from their phones. The HP Sprocket is easy to use and set up, plus it’s an attractive, portable device that you can take anywhere—as long as the battery is fully charged.

The bundle option comes with the HP Sprocket Photo Printer, setup card, HP ZINK Sticky-Backed Photo Paper (10-sheets), a Micro USB Cable, and a limited one-year warranty. The resulting images are vibrant, clear, and lots of fun to make, but note that you’re limited to using one size of paper: 2 x 3 inch. As with all ZINK paper, it can be pricey, something to keep in mind. However, it’s an easy-to-use and versatile printer that is sure to be popular with kids and teens.

Type: ZINK | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Bluetooth | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"Extremely portable, the strength behind this printer lies in its full-featured app." — Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Most Portable: Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer

Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer
4

Our Ratings
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Speed
    3.1/5
  • Print/Scan Quality
    3/5
What We Like
  • Cute, portable device that's offered in various colors

  • Polaroid Zip app is easy to use and gives users lots of customization

  • Affordable cost-per-use

What We Don't Like
  • Can be slow to print

  • Not the longest battery life

Polaroid is the brand most users associate with instant photos, so it’s no surprise that they’re producing high-quality printers for our digital photo collections. If you’re looking for a pocket-sized printer that you can take anywhere, the Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer is your best bet.

This portable, easy-to-use device weighs only 6.6 ounces and comes in your choice of black, blue, red, or white. Use Bluetooth or NFC technology to print directly from your smartphone or tablet with the help of the free ZIP app, which lets you design your image with borders, stickers, and editing options. 

The result is vibrant, 2 x 3 inch, smudge-proof prints. With a sticky backing, you can use them as decorations, make your own cards, or attach them to notebooks. The rechargeable battery can handle about 25 prints per charge, so keep the charger handy if you’re planning to do lots of printing.

To get the best possible results when printing, make sure your photo is well-exposed, with a contrast of light and shadow. Polaroid enthusiasts are sure to be happy with the fun little camera that makes it easy to print all of your favorite social media snaps.

Type: ZINK | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"Only slightly thicker and not quite as long as most smartphones, the Polaroid Zip measures a mere 4.72 x 2.91 x 0.75 inches—small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and in larger pockets." — Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Fastest Print Time: Fujifilm INSTAX SHARE SP-2 Smart Phone Printer

Fujifilm INSTAX SHARE SP-2 Smart Phone Printer
4

Our Ratings
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Speed
    3/5
  • Print/Scan Quality
    4/5
What We Like
  • Print in a flash, with photos ready in 10 seconds

  • High print quality

  • Easy to set up and use

What We Don't Like
  • Instax film is pricey

  • Printer design isn't the most stylish

With the Fujifilm INSTAX SHARE SP-2, you can print high-quality images in no time at all—your photos will be ready within ten seconds. Unlike most instant printers that use ZINK paper, the SHARE SP-2 users laser printing on Instax photo paper—printing is quiet, easy to set up, and ready in a flash. The Instax printing technology develops color accurately, transferring the sharpness of your image onto the photo paper. This printer produces great high-resolution images with print pixels of 800 x 600 dots and print resolution of 320dpi, so you don’t miss any details.

It pairs with the free Fujifilm SHARE app, which provides templates and filters that you can use for customizing your prints. On the printer itself, you have a high luminance LED indicator, letting you know how much paper and battery life is left, along with a reprint button, handy for making multiple copies of the same photo.

When printing, keep in mind that Instax paper runs around $0.60 to $1 per print, so you might want to use the camera sparingly. However, the higher cost might be worth it, since the resulting images are of better quality than ZINK prints.

Type: Laser printing on Instax film | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"From the app, you can access images from multiple sources including your device’s camera roll, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr and more." — Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Best for Android Users: Kodak Mini 2 Instant Photo Printer

4.4

Our Ratings
  • Setup Process
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Speed
    5/5
  • Print/Scan Quality
    5/5
What We Like
  • Kodak app pairs beautifully with both iOS and Android

  • Compact and easy to use

  • NFC connectivity makes it easy to print from multiple devices

What We Don't Like
  • Bluetooth can sometimes disconnect

  • Holds only eight sheets of printing paper

Android users can sometimes struggle with compatibility when it comes to apps, so if you’re looking for a portable photo printer to pair with your Android phone, the Kodak Mini 2 Instant Photo Printer is a winner. Kodak’s app works with both iOS and Android, making it easy to design and print all of your shots.

The Mini 2 connects wirelessly to your Android or iOS device via the NFC One Touch app—no cables or manual set-up necessary. The printer itself is compact, with a weight of 8 ounces and 1 x 3 x 5.2 inches in size. You can also select from a range of bright colors when purchasing.

Images are smudge-proof and waterproof, about the size of a credit card. Kodak also makes a bold promise that your memories will stay perfectly preserved for at least ten years. Your device is powered via an included Lithium ion battery. When printing, paper comes in a cartridge that holds eight sheets, making this printer best for occasional use only. However, Android (and Apple) users will find it simple to use, with impressive, accurate prints.

Type: Dye sublimation thermal transfer | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: NFC/Bluetooth | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"The Kodak Mini 2 Instant Photo Printer produces credit-card sized images with excellent image quality in a wide color range—a 256 gradation with 16.7 million colors." — Hayley Prokos, Product Tester

Final Verdict

When purchasing portable photo printers, it’s hard to look past the Canon SELPHY C1300 (view at Amazon). It offers beautiful photos at an affordable cost-per-print, plus, it’s easy to use and control. Another great option is the HP Sprocket (view at Amazon), which gives users lots of fun ways to customize their photos and offers a small, compact size that’s perfect for travel or taking along to parties.

About Our Trusted Experts:

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist and tech writer who frequently covers cameras, photography, and printers.

Theano Nikitas is a Maryland-based tech writer whose work has appeared on CNET, DPreview, Tom's Guide, PopPhoto, and Shutterbug, among others.

Hayley Prokos is a tech writer and former Newsweek reporting fellow. Her articles have appeared at SELF.com, Kathimerini English Edition, and others.

What to Look for in a Portable Photo Printer

Print size - Truly portable photo printers can’t match the size of big studio prints, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with wallet-sized photos. If you want to be able to print larger photos, make sure to choose a printer that’s up to the task.

Connectivity - Different portable photo printer models are designed to work with everything from phones to desktop computers, so if you want to print from a specific mobile device, it’s important to make sure that’s supported. Some portable photo printers are designed specifically to work with phones via Bluetooth and NFC, while others can work with a wide variety of devices over a wired USB connection.

Battery power - There are plenty of photo printers out there that are small enough to technically be classed as portable, but you need one with a decent built-in battery to truly print your photos wherever you want. Some portable photo printers come with a battery, and others have a compatible battery pack that you can purchase separately.

FAQs

Can a photo printer only print photos?
Not necessarily. While there are dedicated photo printers that will exclusively print photos, many portable photo printers can also produce text or other graphics, and some can even scan, fax, or provide other typical printer features.

What size prints can portable photo printers produce?
Many portable photo printers, due to their compact size, can produce only 4 x 6 prints, but there are options available for printing "full size" 8.5 x 11 or larger photos as well.

What are the advantages of a photo printer over a standard printer?
Broadly speaking, photo printers provide much higher resolution (and thus image quality and fidelity) than most traditional printers. This means they're capable of rivaling even pro-style prints you'd get from a photo kiosk, but with additional control over things like centering and cropping.

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