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Best 6 Portable Photo Printers to Document Your Memories

Photography has gone almost completely digital now, but that doesn’t mean the importance of analog, hard copies of pictures have been rid of meaning. To print your photos on the go, many digital photography giants like Canon and Kodak have released portable photo printers for everyday use.

You don’t need to invest in a Polaroid instant camera to get hard copies of your pictures anymore. Using the same smartphone or DSLR that you normally grab, you can now print pictures instantly with portable photo printers that fit in your bag or even in your pocket.

Best Portable Photo Printers in 2018

There are many portable photo printers available and choosing the right one for yourself will depend n many factors, such as the frequency of use, how often you travel, and what size you’re looking for.

We’ve reviewed the 6 best portable photo printers on the market right now. To help you with your purchase, we’ve also added a buyer’s guide at the end of the reviews so you know what to look for when you’re out searching.

Our Top Pick

Our Top Pick

Kodak Mini 2

Great Photos from a Portable Device

The Kodak Mini 2 is the successor to Kodak’s 2016 portable photo printer. This pocket-sized photo printer uses small cartridges for the ink, dishing out 2.1×3.4-inch images of great quality.

With the Kodak Mini 2, you’re getting the best of both worlds. You get great connectivity, great image quality thanks to its cartridge, and great connectivity options in a small, compact size.

Great Alternative

Great Alternative

Canon Selphy

The Best Quality, But in a Larger Device

The Canon Selphy isn’t like pocket-sized portable photo printers, but it’s still small enough to fit in a bag. With its fantastic cartridge and larger 4×6-inch films, the Canon Selphy is capable of printing pictures that are unparalleled in quality by other portable photo printers.

If you want a portable photo printer that produces high quality pictures but not necessarily one that fits in your pocket, then the Canon Selphy is the best choice. You’ll need a small table for it and a power plug, but you’ll also love the pictures it spews out.

Kodak Mini 2

KodakMini2

The Kodak Mini 2 is our favorite pocket-sized photo printer because of its ease of use and great image quality. Compared to the rest of the ultra-small mobile portable photo printers, Kodak’s Mini 2 has the best image quality.

It uses a small dye sublimation ribbon cartridge like the Canon Selphy printer, albeit at a smaller scale. With it, it is able to print 2.1×3.4-inch images.

What we love about the Kodak Mini 2 travel printer other than its small size and great image quality is the connectivity. You can connect your smart devices as well as DSLR cameras with this print through near-field communication (NFC) technology. There is also Bluetooth available on this printer.

The quality of the images on the Kodak Mini 2 are outstanding for a small portable printer. However, the additional details in the images also makes it slower compared to others on this list. If you can wait a bit longer for better picture quality, then there’s no better compact option than the Kodak Mini 2.

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Great connectivity
  • Available in five colors

Cons

  • Slow printing
  • App isn’t as versatile as other photo printers

Canon Selphy

CanonSelphy

If you don’t mind packing portable photo printers in a larger bag, then there’s no better portable photo printer out there than the Canon Selphy. The color and black-and-white prints produced by the Selphy are incredible. The images are of high quality, and printed on larger 4×6-inch paper.

Despite looking like a desktop photo printer in many ways, the Canon Selphy is a lot smaller. When closed, it can easily fit in a bag, though don’t expect to carry it around in your pocket like the Kodak and other ultra-compact printers. It also requires a power outlet to operate, meaning you won’t be able to print photos on the go.

Yet its performance is unmatched among portable photo printers. It utilizes a cartridge system that produces a limited number of photos before needing to be replaced. One cartridge however features all the major colors, so you won’t need to buy ones separately for this printer.

The connectivity of this printer is also great. It can connect to your Wi-Fi network, or print from an SD card or a USB drive. There’s no app for this printer though, so you’ll need to transfer your files to a memory card or computer before printing if you’re unwilling to do so through Wi-Fi.

Pros

  • Incredible image quality
  • Prints large, detailed photos
  • Great interface

Cons

  • Larger than other portable photo printers
  • Not many connectivity options

Fujiflim Instax Share SP-3

FujiFilmInstaxSP3

The FujiFilm Instax SP-3 produces photos that will remind you the classic (and much loved) Polaroid instant cameras from the 70s and 80s. These are purely square-shaped photos with 2.4×2.4-inch dimensions, producing image quality that is pretty good.

The SP-3 doesn’t require any cartridge to produce photos. Instead, it uses its own special film that can be bought separately. The photos print quickly compared to other portable photo printers, needing just under a minute for a single print. While Fujfilm advertises a 10 seconds difference from print data to print output, in reality it is slightly longer.

The app that comes with the Fujifilm Instax SP-3 offer plenty of options to users. You can edit photos and add various filters for modifying the images. There is also an intelligence filter that will automatically adjust the image for the best possible colors and quality.

You can connect to the Instax Share SP-3 through Wi-Fi for fast printing. There is no NFC in this model, so Wi-Fi is the only option to print.

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • No cartridge needed
  • Decent app
  • Good printing speed

Cons

  • Limited connectivity options

Polaroid ZIP

PolaroidZIp

There’s no surprise that the company that invented instant photo printing makes one of the most well-known portable photo printers. The Polaroid Zip is incredibly lightweight and compact, easily fitting in a pocket to dish out photos on the go.

Polaroid uses the ZINK paper to print photos, meaning there is no cartridge used by this photo printer. This is a popular inkless printer design used by most portable printers. However, as with most ZINK films, the 2×3-inch prints look a little darker and flatter than cartridge prints or Fujifilm’s custom photochemical variants.

You can easily connect to the Polaroid Zip using Bluetooth or NFC technology to print directly from your smartphone, tablet, or DSLR. The connectivity combines well with its light weight of only 6.6 ounces, allowing you to print pictures anywhere and everywhere.

Each purchase also comes with a free download of the ZIP application for Android and iOS. The app is well-designed and intuitive, making it fun to use and edit your photos by adding things like borders and stickers before printing.

Pros

  • Highly portable
  • No cartridge needed
  • Great app
  • Comes in various colors

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Image quality isn’t the best

HP Sprocket

HPSprocket

You wouldn’t be able to tell the HP Sprocket and the Polaroid ZIP apart if it weren’t for the logos. Both portable photo printers have similar design, and the performance is almost exactly the same too.

Like the Polaroid ZIP, the HP Sprocket photo printer uses ZINK paper to print out 2×3-inch photos on sticky-backed paper, in case you want to use the photos as stickers. As with all portable photo printers using ZINK, you don’t need a cartridge that has to be replaced after every few dozen prints.

There isn’t much to differentiate between the Sprocket and the ZIP. The Sprocket has fewer connectivity options than the ZIP as it can only connect via Bluetooth. Although this should make printing slower, it actually doesn’t – the Sprocket can print most phots in about a minute.

The app associated with the HP Sprocket was initially limited, but a firmware update has added options to make it much better. We also found the Sprocket’s battery life to last much longer than the Polaroid’s.

Pros

  • Highly portable
  • No cartridge needed
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Limited connectivity options
  • Image quality isn’t the best

Lifeprint Portable Photo Printer

Lifeprint

The Lifeprint printer sets itself apart from other portable photo printers with the company’s own Augmented Reality technology. It might sound like something from science fiction, but it’s just a fancy name for a neat trick that few other portable photo printers can pull off.

The Hyperphoto technology allows the Lifeprint compact printer to turn still images into movie clips, which Lifeprint has coined as “hyperphotos.” It dishes out 2×3-inch prints utilizing the well-known paper-infused ZINK method, meaning there is no need for any sort of cartridge.

Surprisingly, Lifeprint’s performance on ZINK films seems to be superior to that of Polaroid ZIP and the HP Sprocket. However, there is still a lack of depth due to the absence of blank ink in the films.

When it comes to connectivity, the Lifeprint pocket printer doesn’t offer many options. You can only print photos through Bluetooth transfer. The battery is also average, lasting about 15 prints before full depletion.

Lifeprint’s app is designed to mimic Instagram’s filters and options, so anyone familiar with the social media app should feel home. The printing process itself is quite fast, on average taking around 30 seconds to print a photo. This is much faster than all the other pocket-sized portable photo printers on this list.

Pros

  • Highly portable
  • No cartridge needed
  • Fast printing
  • Hyperphoto technology

Cons

  • Small battery life
  • Images lack depth
  • Limited connectivity options

Buyer’s Guide

    You wouldn’t be researching portable photo printers if you weren’t looking for portability. Almost all the products we’ve listed in this article (save for the Canon Selphy) are highly portable, fitting in your pocket or backpack with ease.

    If you’re not looking for one that necessarily fits your pocket but still want something you can carry around while traveling, the Canon Selphy is the best choice. You could spend a day taking photos, then come back to your room, whip out the Selphy, print a few pictures, and put it back in your bag.

    If you love creating pictures on the go though, you’ll want the pocket-sized portable photo printers that run on battery.

    What type you go for largely depends on your frequency and place of use.

    Connectivity is one of the most important features to look out for in a portable photo printer. Ideally, you want multiple ways to connect to your printer for ease of use. Almost all portable photo printers come with Bluetooth, which is the most popular choice.

    However, Bluetooth data transfer is often slow. Other great options are Wi-Fi, which is faster. Our utmost favorite is NFC because of its ease of use with most smart devices and many DSLR cameras. You don’t need to go through any hassle – just place your device on top of the photo printer and that’s all there is to it.

    The output quality is the quality of the pictures. This is limited by the film’s dimensions, the printing method, and the resolution of the film. Additionally, you can also adjust the picture’s colors and add various filters to improve the quality of the picture.

    Many portable photo printers come with associated apps that allow you to do that, and while they may seem like gimmicks at first, it’s always nice to add fancy borders and adjust the images based on the printer to get the best quality possible.

    Why do I need a portable photo printer?

    Portable photo printers are great if you want hard copies of your memories. Having digital shots of yourself and great memories is wonderful, but it can’t always match up to a good ol’ physical picture. Portable printers allow you to print out great moments on the spot to share with your loved ones.

    How much time does it take to usually charger portable photo printers?

    Time required to charge a photo printer will depend on its battery. On average, most photo printers can be fully charged within one to one-and-a-half hours.

    Is ZINK better or cartridge?

    ZINK is more convenient because you don’t need to spend separately on film and cartridge. Fujifilm has its own set of films as well that use similar technology. However, ZINK portable photo printers don’t produce pictures of the same quality as cartridge ones.

    Cartridge portable photo printers aren’t as cost effective and some are bulkier than ZINK ones, but the print quality is superior.

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