Best Photo Printers to Buy: Reviews, Buying Guide and FAQs 2022

by Alex W.

Instagram is great and all that, but there's nothing quite like holding a physical, printed copy of a beloved photo in your hands. Until recent years this required a bulky desktop printer and a tangle of unwieldy wires. Times have changed though, and one of my favorite developments is the birth of the portable photo printer!

Physical prints are coming back into fashion too. Just look at the rebirth of the Polaroid camera. The world is finally tuning in to the fact that viewing life through a 6-inch screen might not be overly great for your mental well being, so start bringing your photos back to life!

Portable photo printers aren't just for printing off your own little keepsakes either. They're also a fantastic way to set yourself apart as a wedding or portrait photographer, offering the client a few sneak previews in print form as you shoot.

Admittedly, portable photo printers are never going to produce the highest quality or the biggest prints. For that you will need one of those desktop behemoths. However, some of the best portable photo printers actually produce surprisingly good quality photos.

And that's what this article is all about - The best portable photo printers for your money:

Editor's Recommendation: Top Photo Printers in 2022

Top 6 Best Photo Printer Reviews 2022

Top 6 Best Photo Printer Reviews 2022

Canon Selphy CP1300: Overall Winner

  • Canon SELPHY CP1300 Compact Photo Printer Battery Bundle...

    Canon SELPHY CP1300 Compact Photo Printer Battery Bundle...

    • Not only will your photos be instantly dry, but they will also look great for up to 100 Years5 and are even water resistant!
    • Enjoy the simplicity of connecting your smartphone and tablet with ease, through the Canon Print App3. You can even Print directly from USB, or your camera's memory Card2.

Your favorite may vary depending on your specific wants, but my top spot goes to the wonderfully versatile Canon Selphy CP1300.

Why? Because it offers stunning print quality (300dpi) and has a larger than average maximum print size of 4×6 inches. The result is that the Selphy CP1300 offers bigger prints at better quality than the majority of other portable photo printers out there.

Of course, there are some sacrifices. Its portability is harmed (although it's still only 7.1 inches long and under 2lb in weight), and the standard version requires a power supply. The version above is the printer + battery bundle, but you can find the standalone version here.

Key Features

  • Optional battery pack offers up to 54 prints per charge.
  • 3.2-inch tilting color LCD screen.
  • Prints from smartphone or tablet (wirelessly or via USB) and SD card.
  • Prints using thermal dye sublimation, resulting in high quality, water resistant prints.
  • Extra features such as photo booth mode (creates two strips of four images) and Party Shuffle (collaborative collage images).

HP Sprocket (2nd Edition): Close Contenders

  • HP Sprocket Portable 2x3' Instant Photo Printer (Luna Pearl)...

    HP Sprocket Portable 2x3' Instant Photo Printer (Luna Pearl)...

    • PRINT PHOTOS ON DEMAND HP Sprocket 2nd Edition Printer Prints 2"x 3" Photographs from Your Smartphone or Social Media. For iOS 10-Plus & Android 5-Plus, Bluetooth 5.1
    • ZINK ZERO INK TECHNOLOGY No Expensive Toner or Ribbon Replacements Glossy Sticky-Back Photo Paper Has Colors Embedded Inside for Amazing Resistance to Water, Smudges & Tears

A close contender to the Canon Selphy CP1300, the only thing keeping the HP Sprocket from the top spot is the comparatively small prints on offer. The HP Sprocket prints at 2×3 inches on custom made sticky backed paper(although the HP Sprocket Plus ups that to 2.3×3.4 inches).

That being said, the print quality from these miniature photos is excellent, displaying good contrast and vibrant colors.

The small print size does increase portability as well, with it coming in about the same size as a modern smartphone. And while we're on the subject of smartphones, it prints via Bluetooth on Android 4.4+ and iOS 8.0+ and has an app that can pull in your social media galleries as well as the gallery on your phone.

The Sprocket app also allows basic editing and cropping functionality and the addition of filters, borders and other similar gimmicks. It also allows multiple users to connect and print at the same time. However, you can't print via any other method such as SD cards or USB drives.

Back to the printing aspect, the HP Sprocket, like many of the top portable photo printers, uses Zero Ink (ZINK) technology. What does that mean? Well, all the inks are contained in the paper itself, and are revealed by some magic technology inside the printer.

You don't need to know all the details. All you need to know is that the paper costs more (~$0.50 per sheet), but on the plus side there are no ink cartridges to worry about.

Key Features

  • ZINK technology means no ink cartridges to replace.
  • 2×3 inch sticky back prints at 313x400dpi.
  • Extra features allows the addition of borders, filters and other.
  • Rechargeable battery lasts for up to 35 prints.

Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer

  • Zink Polaroid ZIP Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer (White)...

    Zink Polaroid ZIP Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer (White)...

    • SMARTPHONE MEMORIES MADE REAL - Using the Polaroid ZIP is fast and easy. Just connect a smart phone or tablet via Wi-Fi and watch your portraits selfies and social media photos transform from digital images to physical pictures in an instant
    • STUNNINGLY VIBRANT PRINTS - ZINK ZERO INK printing technology eliminates the need for film ink toners cartridges and ribbons The premium 2x3ʺ sticky peel-back paper prints are not only colorful bold and lifelike but are also water-resistant tear-resistant smudge-proof and dry to the touch

Unsurprisingly, the company that brought us the very first instant printer makes our list of the best portable photo printers.

The Polaroid Zip is almost exactly the same as the HP Sprocket. Both use ZINK technology, both print 2×3 inch sticky-back prints, and both look almost identical.

There are a few differences though. Firstly, the battery life of the Polaroid Zip is slightly lower than the HP Sprocket at 25 prints per charge, and while the app is relatively easy to use it doesn't include many of the features of the HP Sprocket.

What's more, the print quality actually seemed inferior to the Sprocket. It might have simply been a sample issue, but the prints looked flatter and lacking in vibrancy compared to the Sprocket and the Canon Selphy CP1300.

Key Features

  • ZINK technology means no ink cartridge concerns.
  • 2×3 inch sticky back prints.
  • Up to 25 prints per battery charge.
  • Prints via Bluetooth and NFC from smartphone or tablet.

Kodak Mini 2

  • Kodak Mini 2 HD Wireless Portable Mobile Instant Photo...

    Kodak Mini 2 HD Wireless Portable Mobile Instant Photo...

    • Easy print technology - mini smartphone printer lets you print 2. 1 x 3. 4" photos direct from Android or iOS device; No cables or buttons necessary
    • Wireless connectivity - NFC one touch for Android Launches Kodak app to print in seconds; also compatible with iOS/Android via Bluetooth

We (briefly) move away from the ZINK portable printers now and head to the realms of higher quality prints, although that does come at a price.

The Kodak Mini 2 utilizes their all-in-one ink and paper cartridges and prints using thermal dye sublimation, much like the Canon Selphy CP1300. The result is unparalleled print quality and a claim that they hold their quality for up to 10 years, but there are some tradoffs.

For example, it seems to take an age to complete the 2.1×3.4 inch prints. The included Android app, while excellent at times (it allows ultra fast NFC connectivity and has tons of editing options), can be very unreliable as well. Battery life is rather mediocre at 20 prints per charge too.

If all else fails Android and iOS users can revert back to Bluetooth printing though, and at 8.3 ounces it's very portable.

Overall this is a top quality portable photo printer that produces some of the best prints around, but it's held back by the dodgy included app.

Key Features

  • NFC one touch for Android app lets you send photos to print in seconds.
  • Thermal dye sublimation printing results in better image quality.
  • Produces 2.1×3.4 inch prints.
  • Uses Kodak's all-in-one paper and ink cartidges.

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-3

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 is a follow on from their very similar SP-2 model, although this new version prints 2.4×2.4 inch square prints rather than the SP-2's 2.4×1.8 inch format.

Prints are still produced using the ZINK technology and the SP-3 has a lightning fast print time of 13 seconds at 318dpi. The prints themselves are very good quality, although I did encounter some issues with prints being overexposed unless I toned down the exposure prior to printing. Overall, not quite on the same level as the Kodak Mini 2 or the Canon Selphy CP1300.

This is all done via the instax Share app on Android or iOS, which lets you add a couple of filters such as black and white or sepia to your image. The gimmicky side of it isn't quite as well developed as other portable printers though, but that's not an issue for me personally. However, what is an issue is that everything is done over the printer's own dedicated WiFi network, meaning you can't do anything else online while you're printing.

That being said, they do claw back some bonus points with a very useful feature for Fujifilm shooters like me. The Instax Share SP-3 allows you to print images directly from your (compatible) Fujifilm digital camera, so it's not just a smartphone printer!

Key Features

  • 2.4×2.4 inch square prints at 318dpi.
  • Prints using ZINK technology to avoid the need for ink cartridges.
  • Ultra fast printing time of 13 seconds.
  • Print via WiFi on Android or iOS app or compatible Fujifilm devices.

Prynt Pocket

The Prynt Pocket, quite literally, won't be for everyone. In fact, it's aimed solely at iPhone users, but if you sit on the Apple side of the smartphone fence is definitely worth taking a close look at.

Basically, it's an iPhone case come printer, with an Android version reportedly being developed.

The Prynt Pocket uses ZINK sticker paper, like many other portable photo printers, and prints at 1.89×3 inches. Print quality is good, if not spectacular, but the main selling point is the fantastic functionality with iPhone's.

Unsurprisingly, a Prynt app is included which brings with it a heap of the usual functionality, plus a HP Sprocket-esque feature that allows you to embed videos within the photo. These are unveiled when a user scans a print. It's a gimmick, but a pretty nifty one I must say.

Key Features

  • 1.89×3 inch prints using ZINK technology.
  • iPhone case come printer, although it is iPhone only.
  • Feature-rich Prynt app.

Buying Guide for the Best Photo Printer

It can sometimes be difficult to decide which photo printer is best suited for your needs. There are many different factors that you will need to consider when making this decision, including the type of prints that you want and how often you plan on using the printer. In this buying guide, we will cover some of the important features that you should look for in a new photo printer, as well as give some tips on how to select the right model for your particular needs.

An Inkjet or a Laser Model

When it comes to selecting a photo printer, one of the most important considerations is whether or not you want an inkjet or a laser model. Inkjet printers are generally cheaper than laser models and they produce high-quality printouts with vibrant colors. However, they are prone to clogging up if you print a lot of photos and they require frequent replacement of the ink cartridges. Laser printers are more expensive than inkjet models but they produce sharper text and images, have higher page yields, and can be used for printing documents as well as photos.

Paper Handling Abilities

Another important factor that you will need to consider when choosing a photo printer is its paper handling abilities. Some printers allow you to load only one sheet at a time, while others have trays that can hold several hundred sheets. If you plan on printing lots of large format prints, then it is important to choose a model with an automatic document feeder so that you can easily place larger sheets into the printer without having to manually feed them through.

The Type of Connectivity

Finally, you will also need to decide on the type of connectivity that you want your photo printer to have. Most models these days come with both USB and Ethernet ports, which means that you can connect them to both your computer and your camera. If you only plan on printing photos occasionally, then a USB connection should be sufficient. However, if you plan on using your photo printer more frequently, then an Ethernet connection would be a better option as it offers faster data transfer speeds.

Benefits of Using a Photo Printer

Create High-Quality, Professional Looking Photographs

The main benefit of using a photo printer is that you can create high-quality, professional looking photographs. Traditional film and printing methods are much more time intensive and the results are typically not as crisp or clear. A photo printer is also a great investment if you take pictures frequently because it allows you to print photos on demand, eliminating the need for expensive processing costs.

Can be used with a wide range of technologies

Another benefit of using a photo printer is that they can be used with a wide range of technologies, including digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, and memory cards. This means that there are many different ways to access your photos and it gives you more flexibility when creating prints at home. And finally, investing in a photo printer helps protect your images from loss or damage since they won't be stored on external devices. Whether you need to print photos for your family album or are just a collector of memories, using a photo printer is an excellent choice that will give you great results each time!

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a photo printer. Whether you're looking for professional-looking photographs or greater flexibility when printing pictures, this type of device is definitely worth considering. So why wait? Head on over to your local electronics store today and see what types of photo printers they have in stock!

Types of Photo Printers

Photo printers are specialized types of printers that produce high quality, glossy prints. There are many different types of photo printers on the market today, and they range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. So what is the best type of photo printer for you? That depends on your budget, how much time you want to spend with maintenance and setup, and other factors such as color matching capabilities or printing directly onto media like CDs and DVDs. Read on to learn more about the various types of photo printers available today so you can choose the one that's best suited for your needs.

The Inkjet Printer

One popular type of photo printer is an inkjet printer. Inkjets are great for users who need good-quality prints at an affordable price. Most inkjet printers come with a variety of different ink cartridges that can be replaced as needed, so you only have to buy the color you need when it runs out. Some inkjets are also capable of printing directly onto CDs and DVDs, so you don't have to waste your time using label sheets to create customized discs.

The Dye Sublimation or Thermal Direct Printer

Another popular type of photo printer is a dye sublimation or thermal direct printer. These types of printers use special photo papers instead of regular letter-sized paper for prints, and most require their own specialized printer drivers and software for setup. Dye sublimation printers produce high quality glossy prints with excellent detail, but they are also fairly expensive compared to other options on the market.

The Laser Printer

A less expensive option is a laser printer. While laser printers are not designed specifically for printing photos, they can still produce very high quality prints when used correctly. Most laser printers today are also very fast compared to inkjet and dye sub printers, so you don't have to wait as long for your prints. Because of this speed, however, many users find the cost of consumable supplies such as toner cartridges to be quite high.

As you can see, there are many different types of photo printers available today that cater to a variety of needs and budgets. Whether you need an affordable printer for producing good-looking everyday documents or special photo papers for holiday cards and other special occasions, there is sure to be a photo printer that's right for you. Do some research and compare features to find the perfect model for your specific needs.

A Photo Printer vs Portable Photo Printer

When it comes to printing photos, there are two main types of printers: photo printers and portable photo printers. Photo printers are designed for home use and typically connect to a computer via USB. Portable photo printers, on the other hand, are designed for on-the-go use and usually connect wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet. So, which type of printer is right for you?

Photo Printers

Photo printers are ideal for home users who want to print high-quality photos. These printers typically have a higher resolution than portable photo printers, meaning they can produce prints with more detail and accuracy. In addition, most photo printers come with built-in editing features that allow you to crop, rotate, and adjust the color and lighting of your photos before printing them.

However, due to their larger size and higher price point, photo printers are generally not a good fit for casual photographers who need to print photos on the go. Plus, most photo printers must be physically connected to a computer in order to function; this can be inconvenient if you want to print something without first sitting down at a desk or laptop.

Portable Photo Printers

On the other hand, portable photo printers are ideal for mobile photographers who need high-quality prints while out and about. Because they're small enough to easily transport (usually no bigger than the size of your smartphone), these printers let you take high-quality photos with you wherever you go. In addition, most portable photo printers connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, making them extremely easy to use.

However, portable photo printers generally have a lower resolution than photo printers, meaning they can't produce prints with as much detail and accuracy. In addition, because they're designed for on-the-go use, these printers typically don't have built-in editing features; this means you'll need to edit your photos on your smartphone or tablet before printing them.

So, which type of printer is right for you? If you need to print high-quality photos and don't mind being tethered to a computer, a photo printer is a good option.

Expert Tips for Getting the Best from Your Photo Printer

If you're serious about photography, then you know that having a great photo printer is essential. But with so many different types and models of photo printers on the market, how do you choose the right one for your needs? Here are some expert tips to help you get the most from your photo printer:

1. Know Your Printing Needs

The first step in choosing the right photo printer is to determine your printing needs. Are you an occasional photographer who just wants to print out the occasional snapshot? Or are you a professional photographer who requires high-quality prints on a regular basis? Knowing your printing needs will help you narrow down your choices and choose a printer that's best suited for your needs.

2. Consider Your Budget

Photo printers can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. So, it's important to consider your budget when choosing a printer. If you're on a tight budget, you may want to consider an inkjet photo printer. These types of printers are typically more affordable than laser photo printers. However, they don't produce prints that are as high in quality as laser photo printers.

3. Consider the Features You Need

When shopping for a photo printer, it's important to consider the features you need. For example, if you plan on printing photos on a regular basis, you'll want a printer that has built-in memory so you can store multiple prints. Additionally, if you often print out large photos, you'll want to choose a printer that has high-quality printing capabilities.

4. Do Your Research

When narrowing down your choices for the best photo printer, it's important to do your research first. There are numerous online reviews and articles that can help you compare different brands and models of printers in order to find the right one for your needs. Additionally, most photo printers today come with user manuals that will give you more information about their features and functions. By doing your research, you can be sure to choose a great photo printer that's perfect for your needs.

Which Portable Photo Printer is the Best?

This all depends on your wants and needs from a portable printer.

If you want bigger prints and excellent quality, but don't mind stumping up extra for the optional battery (or don't mind using mains power), then the Canon Selphy CP1300 is fantastic.

However, if you prefer to be a little more portable something like the HP Sprocket, the Kodak Mini 2, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 or the Polaroid Zip is probably more up your street.

Finally, if you're an iPhone user I'd definitely recommend taking a look at the Prynt Pocket. It's a fantastic design and delivers print quality that is more than acceptable.

Buy now at Etsy, Walmart, eBay (quality guaranteed)

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Compact Photo Printer Battery Bundle - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

HP Sprocket Portable 2x3' Instant Photo Printer (Luna Pearl) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

custom made sticky backed paper - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Zink Polaroid ZIP Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer (White) - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Kodak Mini 2 HD Wireless Portable Mobile Instant Photo - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Prynt Pocket, Instant Photo Printer for iPhone - Graphite - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Photo Printer Buyers

The conclusion for photo printer buyers is that there are many different types of printers available today, each with its own unique set of features and capabilities. Whether you're looking for a high-quality inkjet printer or an affordable laser printer, you'll be able to find one that meets your needs. To choose the right one for you, consider whether you need a large device or if a smaller option would work better. You should also evaluate how much print volume you'll need as well as the type of paper that will be used. Additionally, take note of any other features that might be important to you, such as wireless connectivity, fast printing speeds, or high resolution printing. With all these factors in mind, it's easy to pick out a printer that will be the perfect addition to your home or office.

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About Alex W.

Alex is the owner and lead writer for Click and Learn Photography. An avid landscape, equine, and pet photographer living and working in the beautiful Lake District, UK, Alex has had his work featured in a number of high profile publications, including the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, and Amateur Photographer Magazine.

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