Being able to quickly print off your favorite photos from your smartphone is great for making instant memories or scrapbooking. These photo printers can be taken anywhere and do a great job of bringing memories to life.
Although these printers are small enough to take with you anywhere, they aren’t your only option for printing photos. If you want larger photos than what these portable printers can offer, which tend to max out at around 4 x 6 inches, or if you’re looking for super high-quality prints, you should upgrade to a bigger printer, though be warned that larger printers will cost at least double the amount portable printers do.
What to Look for in Portable Photo Printers
Although smartphone photo printers seem deceptively simple, there are actually a ton of factors to consider when buying one. By taking a moment to learn about the myriad options and features, it’ll be easier for you to choose the perfect photo printer for your needs.
- Paper and Dye Types: Most printers ship with a small amount of photo paper so you can start using it right out of the box, but it’s up to you to keep up with refills. The smaller photo printers use 2 x 3 inch photo paper for the most part, but there are a few that can print other sizes, ranging from 2.1 x 2.1 inches up to 4 x 6 inches. Dye and paper types vary by printer, as well, but most use ZINK—or zero ink—paper, which has dye crystals embedded in the paper that are activated by heat. Others might work like old-fashioned Polaroids, have all-in-one cartridges just like a regular printer (albeit a miniaturized version), or use four-pass dye sublimation to apply colors.
- Editing Options: The best portable photo printers have companion apps available through which you can import and edit your photos before printing them. Some of these apps focus on basic edits like cropping, brightening, and adjusting the color balance of your photos, while others go all out and let you add filters, emojis, text, and other fun elements for total customization.
- Connection Options: There are several ways these printers can connect to your phone to print photos. Some require a physical connection, like through a USB port, while others offer digital connectivity options like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The majority of printers also work with both iPhone and Android devices, though not all do, so double-check device compatibility with the printer you want before you make a purchase.
- Power Source: The majority of mini photo printers use rechargeable batteries. While those batteries make them highly portable, they still have a relatively short battery life. Expect anywhere from 10-35 photos per charge, so don’t leave the charging cable behind if you’re planning on doing tons of printing.
Best Overall: HP Sprocket
The HP Sprocket makes it easy to print all of the awesome photos on your smartphone anywhere you go. The free Sprocket companion app (for Android and iOS) lets you edit and decorate your photos with filters and emojis before printing. It also makes it easy to create custom photo albums and connect your social media accounts for instant printing. Multiple people can connect to the Sprocket at one time, and the app (along with a personalized LED light) shows who’s currently printing in the queue.
The Sprocket prints on ZINK photo paper with peel-and-stick backing, which measures 2 x 3 inches with a print resolution of 313 x 400 DPI. The Sprocket comes with 10 sheets of photo paper to start, and the battery can print about 35 photos per battery charge. The printer connects to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0, comes in four cute colors, and measures 3.15 x 4.63 x 0.98 inches, so it’s small enough to store in a bag or desk drawer.
Best Premium Option: Canon Ivy
If you want a mini photo printer with features as premium as its design, look no further than the Canon Ivy Mobile Mini Photo Printer. It comes in three gorgeous colors—rose gold, mint green, and slate gray—and its Android and iOS companion apps offer powerful editing tools, including image filters, frames, effects, AR live filters, collage prints, and tile print options, plus you can add text, stickers, emojis, drawings and more to make every photo look absolutely perfect. Print photos from your phone’s gallery, or directly from your Instagram or Facebook page.
You’ll connect to the printer via the app and Bluetooth, and your pics are printed on 2 x 3 inch sticker-back ZINK photo paper, using a print resolution of 314 x 400 DPI. The photos are water-resistant, smudge-proof, and tear-proof, so they’ll be able to keep up with your adventures. The Canon Ivy is also super portable, as it measures just 3.2 x 4.7 x 0.70 inches.
For Higher-Quality Prints: Fujifilm Instax
Serious photo lovers will find something to love about the Fujifilm Instax. It offers photo prints in a higher resolution than its competitors (800 x 680p with a print resolution of 320 DPI), which means more details, sharper details, and better color gradation. You can apply light edits to your photos before printing them on the companion Android or iOS apps, apply a collage template, and apply filters and text.
The Instax’s prints measure 2.4 x 1.8 inches and its laser exposure system means fast printing (rough 10 seconds). Its rechargeable battery can charge via the included micro USB cord. You can keep an eye on the film and battery with the LED lights on the side or even reprint a photo in an instant with the handy Reprint button.
Best Budget Photo Printer: Kiipix Portable Photo Printer
The Kiipix Portable Photo Printer takes a slightly different approach to printing pictures from your smartphone. Instead of connecting with a cord, with an app, or over Wi-Fi, it simply scans photos directly from your phone’s screen, so remember to turn your phone’s brightness all the way up. Although the Kiipix’s convenient design means you don’t have to deal with an intermediary app or worry about the device’s battery dying on you, it also means you’ll have to edit your photos elsewhere before scanning them.
Many user reviews on Amazon claim that prints from the Kiipix tend to have a retro look to them, which could be because the Kiipix scans your images off a screen rather than processing the digital image directly. That may be the trade off for its lower price point. Nevertheless, the printer supports two sizes—2.1 x 3.4 inches and 1.8 x 2.4 inches—and it uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film.
Best Heavy-Duty Portable Photo Printer: Canon Selphy CP1300
If you don’t mind trading off a bulkier frame for more features, the Canon Selphy is a seriously good pick. The photo printer measures 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches, and it has a built-in 3.2-inch LCD screen that’s perfect for navigating the menu options and editing your photos. There’s even an optional battery pack you can buy for the Selphy if you’re planning on bringing it with you on your next road trip. The Selphy is also compatible with an impressive four photo print sizes: 2.1 x 2.1-inch, 2.1 x 3.4-inch, 3.5 x 4.7-inch, and 4 x 6-inch prints, so you can have both wallet-size memories along with larger photos for a scrapbook.
You can connect to the printer via the Android and iOS companion app or by connecting your device via USB. The app has a fun Party Shuffle feature in which all of your friends can send images from their phones to the printer and it will combine them into a fun collage you can print. It can handle square Instagram prints (hence the 2.1 x 2.1-inch paper option), and even create vertical photo booth prints on 4 x 6-inch paper you can cut in half and share with a friend.
Best Photo Printer for iOS: Prynt Pocket
The Prynt Pocket has a cool feature you won’t find anywhere else: the ability to embed a video inside your photo print. It uses augmented reality to add a video inside your photo, and all you have to do to see it is hold the Prynt app on your iOS device over the photo and watch. It’s a refreshing way to add some extra fun to the photos you decorate your apartment with or share a secret memory with friends. Or, if you just want to keep it simple and not bother with a video, the app lets you add fun borders and filters to your photo before you print it from the app.
Photos are printed on 2 x 3-inch ZINK photo paper with a peel-and-stick back, and to print a photo, just physically plug your phone into Prynt’s dock and get started. You can pull photos directly from your iPhone’s gallery or your Instagram feed at that point, or take photos and videos in real time with your phone connected to the device. The only real downside of the Prynt is that it’s only compatible with iPhones (sorry Android users).
Best Photo Printer for Android: Kodak Mini 2
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of connecting to your photo printer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (or physically connecting it), the Kodak Mini 2 you can keep things simple with NFC One Touch … if you’re an Android user. Apple users can only connect with Bluetooth. The mini smartphone photo printer creates 2.1 x 3.4-inch color or black and white prints using a four-pass D2T2 dye sublimation method, and prints dry instantly. Kodak’s cartridges combine paper and ink, and can be purchased in increments of 20, 30, or 50. There’s also a companion app for Android and iOS where you can crop, add filters to, and otherwise edit your photos before printing them.
Most Portable Photo Printer: Polaroid ZIP
With the Polaroid ZIP, you’ll have a teeny tiny photo printer that packs a punch. The pocket-sized printer is a godsend for travel bloggers and party-goers alike, and its vibrant prints bring your prints to life. The free companion Android and iOS apps give you the power to edit your photos (think: brightness adjustment, blurring, color temperature adjustment) and even customize them with cute stickers and filters with a dash of creativity. Then all you have to do is zip them over to the printer directly from the app over Wi-Fi.
The ZIP prints pics on 2 x 3-inch ZINK photo paper, which has an adhesive back and is tear-proof, waterproof, and smudge-proof. The Zip’s rechargeable battery handles up to 25 prints on a single charge, and includes the charging cable you’ll need when it’s time to recharge.