The 7 Best Mobile Printers of 2021

These portable printers will help you create professional documents on-the-go

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Mobile printers are ideal for anyone who wants to be able to print directly from their phone or tablet. The best mobile printers are lightweight, can connect wirelessly to multiple devices, and don't make major compromises in printing speeds. Printers like these are particularly good options for students and apartment dwellers who may not want to have a bulky printer taking up space on their desk.

If you're looking for something larger to use for your home or home office, check out our list of the best home printers. For everyone else, our overview of the best mobile printers should serve your needs.

The Rundown
Even with its small size, the OfficeJet 250’s battery lasts for up to 500 prints when disconnected from a power outlet.
At just 12.2 x 6.1 x 2.4 inches and 3.5 pounds, it’s lighter than the OfficeJet 250, making it easier to tote around.
Thermal dye-sublimation results in sharp, dynamic, water-resistant photos that can last up to 100 years.
You can carry it around in your purse, backpack, or even in your pocket, as it runs on a battery that lasts for up to 35 hours per charge.
Best for Home Office:
HP DeskJet Plus 4155 at Amazon
As an all-in-one, the 4155 allows you to easily print, copy, scan, or fax with minimal fuss.
Best Smart Features:
HP Tango X at Amazon
This AIO allows you to wirelessly print, copy, and scan from your smartphone, even when you're away from the device.
Its compact size and the inclusion of features such as a replaceable battery and car charging port makes it a good option for businesses.

Best Overall: HP OfficeJet 250

HP OfficeJet 250
What We Like
  • Feature-rich

  • Fast printing and scanning

  • Great photos

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky compared to others

While its price tag might cause you to do a double take, the OfficeJet 250 offers portable printing whenever you need it. Just stick it into a backpack or suitcase and you’re ready for on-the-go prints, as it includes a large battery pack to promote further portability.

Beyond printing, the OfficeJet 250 takes the portable printer feature set to another level with all-in-one features such as scanning and faxing in a package that’s just 6.5 pounds and 7.8 x 15 x 3.6 inches. Even with its small size, the OfficeJet 250’s battery lasts for up to 500 prints when disconnected from a power outlet, and it includes a 2-inch display for selecting the appropriate-sized print. It also has indicator lights for power, battery status, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The OfficeJet 250 has a ten-page automatic document feeder and 50-sheet capacity that produces both letter and legal-sized prints up to 8.5 x 14 inches. The included black cartridge is capable of 200 pages and the tri-color cartridge lasts for around 165 pages before requiring new ink. HP also sells a separate XL version of the OfficeJet 250 ink cartridges, bumping the page results to 600 and 415 pages, respectively. With added features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, printing from a smartphone or laptop is easy courtesy of HP’s companion app (available for both Android and iOS).

Type: Portable InkJet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wireless, USB | LCD Screen: Touchscreen display | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Copy, print, scan, fax

"The OfficeJet 250 has one of the fastest wireless printing speeds we’ve seen, even when running on the battery." — Eric Watson, Product Tester

HP OfficeJet 250

Lifewire / Eric Watson

Best Portability: Epson WorkForce WF-100

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Can print from PC as well as mobile devices

  • Good capacity for black and color prints

What We Don't Like
  • Slow print speed

Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 has been around for a while now, but it has continued to outshine much of the competition as an excellent wireless mobile printer. At just 12.2 x 6.1 x 2.4 inches and 3.5 pounds, it’s lighter than the OfficeJet 250, making it easier to tote around.

Size aside, the Epson is capable of printing directly from a PC, as well as iOS and Android devices through Wi-Fi connectivity. Printing itself offers both black ink and color cartridges with a rating of 250 and 200 pages, respectively, which is more than enough for printing out the latest invoices, contracts, or spreadsheets that might be required on the go.

When it comes to true portability, the 20-sheet capacity can handle life on the road by printing 100 black and white pages (and 50 color pages) while operating strictly on the battery. Prior to printing, the Epson requires a brief setup run-through via the small 1.4-inch color LCD display. It’s less than ideal sizing for a desktop printer, but for a printer built for portability, the LCD display assists with all the necessary functionality.

Type: InkJet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wireless, USB-C | LCD Screen: Yes | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print

“The textured exterior adds a professional quality to the design.” Eric Watson, Product Tester

Epson WorkForce WF-100

Lifewire / Eric Watson

Best for Photos: Canon SELPHY CP1300

What We Like
  • Geared for smartphone users

  • Small and light

  • Supports apps

What We Don't Like
  • Additional accessories required for optimal performance

Weighing less than 2 pounds and small enough to easily pack into a bag or luggage, the portable, wireless SELPHY CP1300 can print high-quality photos—up to 4 x 6 inches in size—on the go at a competitive per-print cost. Geared toward smartphone snappers, the CP1300 doesn’t look like your typical mobile printer. It has several on-device controls, as well as a 3.2-inch LCD screen, so it resembles a tiny all-in-one printer. 

You can print using AirPrint, a USB card, or the Canon Print app on your smartphone or tablet. Thermal dye-sublimation, a type of printing technology, results in sharp, dynamic, water-resistant photos that can last up to 100 years. You’ll get much better quality on the SELPHY than you would with a portable photo printer like the HP Sprocket, but you won’t get the same level of portability with the SELPHY, as its battery is sold separately and doesn’t have the same pocket-style design as other portable photo printers.

On the bright side, you can use photo booth mode to get two strips of four photos each, opt to print on sticker paper, or even have your friends send photos to the SELPHY CP1300 to create a group collage.

Type: Dye Sub | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: iOS, Android, Mopria, AirPrint | LCD Screen: Yes | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print

“Some of the test prints looked better than many we’ve seen from the do-it-yourself kiosks in local stores.” Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Canon SELPHY CP1300

Lifewire / Theano Nikitas

Most Compact: HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

What We Like
  • Geared toward smartphone users

  • Extremely compact

  • Prints on adhesive paper

What We Don't Like
  • Requires additional accessories

HP’s Sprocket is a tiny photo printer that measures 3.15 inches wide, 4.63 inches tall, and less than an inch in thickness. You can carry it around in your purse, backpack, or even in your pocket, as it runs on a battery that lasts for up to 35 hours per charge. It lets you print 2 x 3 inch photos on sticky paper that you can stick on lockers and notebooks, or you can leave the backing on. However, prints sometimes curl when you don’t stick them on surfaces and just use them as traditional photos.

There are a lot of mini photo printers on the market now, from the Polaroid Zip to different Sprocket models such as the Sprocket Plus, and each of them have their own benefits. The Sprocket is relatively affordable and has a durable build quality. It won’t easily break when you put it in your backpack or bag.

Plus, the free app offers cool features like borders, text, emojis, and stickers, so you can add even more fun to your photos. The Sprocket also has pretty good printing quality. You won’t get the same quality as a high-end photo printer by any means, but the photos are better than some of the other cheap Zink printers available.

Type: Zink Zero-Ink Technology | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Bluetooth | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print

“The HP Sprocket 2nd Edition is sure to pique people’s curiosity when you take it out at a party or family event.” Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

Lifewire / Theano Nikitas

Best for Home Office: HP DeskJet Plus 4155 All-in-One Printer

HP Deskjet Plus 4155
What We Like
  • Solid AIO capability

  • Supports mobile printing and apps

  • High savings for ink costs

What We Don't Like
  • Not as portable as others

The HP DeskJet Plus 4155 won’t fit comfortably into a backpack, but if you’re on a road trip and want something powerful without compromise, the 4155 is perfect for sticking into your car or setting up at a hotel or coffee shop and printing before that big meeting.

At just under 11 pounds and measuring 16.85 x 13.07 x 7.87 inches, this all-in-one is small enough to serve its purpose as a mobile printer. Additionally, printing using a smartphone or tablet is offered through a variety of methods, including Wi-Fi, HP’s Smart app, Apple Airprint, or via USB.

As an all-in-one (AIO), the 4155 allows you to easily print, copy, scan, or fax with minimal fuss. Setup out of the box is a snap, too. Just pull the printer out, power it on, connect to a device and print away, and the Smart app will guide you step-by-step to connecting to additional devices. As for prints itself, the 4155 offers a respectable eight pages per minute (ppm) for black and white prints, and 5.5ppm for color copies.

Type: InkJet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wireless, USB | LCD Screen: Yes | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print, scan, copy, mobile fax

Best Smart Features: HP Tango X

HP Tango X Printer
What We Like
  • Smart home integration

  • Good print speeds

  • Attractive design

What We Don't Like
  • Difficulties with restricted networks

HP's Tango X is a wireless printer that includes a truckload of unique features. This AIO allows you to wirelessly print, copy, and scan from your smartphone, even when you're away from the device. This is made possible using a cloud-based, two-way network connection that works in tandem with the companion "HP Smart" app, ensuring a smooth user experience. In fact, the printer doesn't offer any wired connectivity options (e.g. USB ports) at all.

There's only dual-band Wi-Fi, which is used for everything from completing initial setup to managing settings. The HP Tango works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa virtual assistants, allowing you to print hands-free using voice commands. This means you can say things like, “Alexa, ask my printer to print my shopping list.” Other printers from HP, such as the DeskJet 3755, also work with Alexa, but the HP Tango has a linen cover that looks a bit more elegant in a home office.

The Tango X is rated for print speeds of up to 11ppm/8ppm (black/color), and has a monthly duty cycle of up to 500 pages. The printer is also eligible for HP's "Instant Ink" ink subscription service, and is backed by a one-year warranty.

Type: InkJet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wireless | LCD Screen: Uses mobile device | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print, scan, copy

Best High-End: Brother PocketJet PJ773 Direct Thermal Printer

What We Like
  • Compact size

  • Battery-powered

  • Built-in memory

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive and specialized

The Brother PocketJet PJ773 is a monochrome direct thermal printer that prints in black and white with a resolution of 300dpi, rivaling larger printers in terms of clarity. Its compact size and the inclusion of features such as a replaceable battery and car charging port makes it a good option for workers in retail, enterprise, and accounting. 

It supports Wi-Fi and AirPrint, in addition to a USB plug-in. You can also buy accessories like more batteries and a carrying/mounting case. However, the paper feeder on this printer is different from your typical InkJet, so the paper tends to roll slightly. It takes some getting used to, but once you do, the printer is well worth the investment because you don’t have to deal with ink cartridges or ribbon.

Type: Thermal | Color/Monochrome: Monochrome | Connection Type: Wireless, USB | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Print

Final Verdict

The best mobile printer you can buy is the feature-packed HP OfficeJet 250 (view at Amazon). This AIO printer is not only portable, but can also handle your home office needs. It has fast printing and scanning, great photo quality, and black and color cartridges that can last for hundreds of pages. For those who want something tried and true that's a bit more lightweight, the Epson WorkForce WF-100 (view at Amazon) is the way to go.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 150 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

Eric Watson is a tech writer who specializes in video games and gaming. His work has appeared in PC Gamer, Polygon, Tabletop Gaming Magazine, and more.

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

FAQs

How do inkjet printers compare to laser printers?
Inkjet printers are generally better at printing photos, while laser printers excel at document printing. Laser printers use toner instead of ink, which lasts significantly longer and is generally cheaper to replace, while inkjet printers tend to be less expensive up front but cost most per page than their laser counterparts.

What size prints can portable printers produce?
Many portable printers, due to their compact size, can produce only 4 x 6 prints or smaller, 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 a much higher resolution (and thus image quality and fidelity) than 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 such as centering and cropping.

What to Look for in a Mobile Printer

Photo Printing Quality

Are you planning to primarily print pictures? If so, you’ll likely want an inkjet printer (as opposed to a laser printer) to ensure the highest degree of detail in your photos.

Speed

When you’re downsizing your printer, you might need to make some sacrifices when it comes to speed. As opposed to full-sized printers, which can score you up to 50 pages per minute, mobile printers hover around five pages per minute for color and eight pages per minute for black and white.

Connectivity

Mobile printers don’t make much sense if they need to be wired to a computer or smartphone to print. Look for a printer that can connect to your devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. It’s also best to see if the printer offers AirPrint, Wi-Fi Direct, a companion app, and other features that make printing easier from your specific mobile device.

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