The 3 best portable photo printers

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by Anne Loreto Cruz
A collage with Fujifilm INSTAX Mini Link Smartphone Printer and HP Sprocket Select Portable Instant ...

In the era of smart phones, having a portable photo printer is a great way to preserve analog-style memories. The best portable photo printers easily connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB and have the ability to print vibrant photos on-the-go without discoloration or streaking.

When shopping for a portable photo printer, you'll want to consider both the size of the prints and the size of the printer itself. Dedicated photographers may not mind toting along a heavier printer in a backpack if it consistently delivers higher quality images, while those who are focused on traveling light may want to reach for a more compact printer that can fit in a pocket. What you plan to use the photos for will also affect which portable photo printer is best for you: an extra compact photo printer might not be best if you want full-size 4-by-6-inch images but is perfect if you only need wallet-size prints.

Most portable printers use Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone to minimize cables and maximize portability, but there are also models that have a built-in dock to make printing easy and intuitive. Many printers also have a free companion app that you can download to connect to your smartphone, allowing you to edit photos or add elements like borders and stickers before you print.

With that in mind, read on for the best portable photo printers, all of which are conveniently available on Amazon.

1. The best for Polaroid-style prints

  • Weight: 7.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.9 inches x 3.5 inches x 1.3 inches
  • Print size: 1.8 inches x 2.4 inches
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth with INSTAX Mini Link App
  • Power source: lithium-ion battery (up to 100 prints per charge)

This lightweight portable photo printer from Fujifilm is ideal for someone who likes the aesthetic of instant cameras but wants the flexibility to pick the perfect shot to print without wasting film. You can use the INSTAX Mini Link app to connect to the printer via Bluetooth with your smartphone, and the app also allows you to splice together multiple images or add special effects. The printer uses the same INSTAX Mini film that is used in Fujifilm’s wildly popular cameras, and the prints have a retro feel as if you’d snapped the photo with an instant camera yourself. If you have a Fujifilm X Series camera, you could also use the Fujifilm camera remote app to upload and print your images instantly.

One reviewer wrote: “I love this! Way better than getting a instax camera because now you can simply choose the best version of a smartphone picture. Pictures look GREAT!”

2. The best compact option

  • Weight: 10.72 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.57 inches x 2.95 inches x 0.91 inch
  • Print size: 2.3 inches x 3.4 inches
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth with HP Sprocket app
  • Power source: lithium-ion battery

If you’re looking for ultimate portability, the HP Sprocket Select is just about the size of a smartphone and produces quality wallet-sized prints. It uses HP Zink photo paper, which has a peel-and-stick backing that’s perfect for documenting travels or preserving memories in a scrapbook or journal. Connect your smartphone to the printer via the simple-to-use HP Sprocket app, which has a variety of augmented reality editing features.

One reviewer wrote: “Already seeing the usefulness of the new and improved HP Sprocket. The larger size gives me just the right sized photos. Has a long battery charge so I can take it out with me to print on site, which is great because you can see what the photos will look like on paper immediately, instead of just looking at the digital image. It makes a big difference in photography.”

3. The best for high-quality prints

  • Weight: 1.90 lbs
  • Dimensions: 5.4 x 7.1 x 2.5 inches
  • Print size: 4 x 6 inches
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, AirPrint, USB, SD card
  • Power source: corded power adapter or optional battery pack

If you want something that gets close to the quality of studio printing, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is the best way to achieve fully laminated prints on-the-go. This printer is larger and heftier than other options on this list, but it can still be easily packed in a bag to print photos while traveling or sharing with friends at a party. The easy-to-read LCD screen also makes it easy to see what you're printing and can even let you directly edit the photo before printing.

This printer comes with a corded power adapter, but it's also compatible with rechargeable battery packs for portable use (though you would need to buy one separately). Connecting to this Canon printer is easy no matter what you're shooting photos with — you can print photos directly from your smartphone using the Canon PRINT app, plug in a USB cord, or directly insert your camera's SD card into the printer.

Another great feature is the ability to use this printer and your smartphone to create a portable photo-booth experience, which is sure to be a hit with party guests or among friends. There's also the party shuffle feature, which combines images sent from multiple phones to create a collage of your group's memories.

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