Let's get straight to the point here: a small printer isn't the most exciting thing that you can spend your money on, but it will definitely help save you a lot of time. Whether it's for use at home, on your desk, or at uni in your bedroom, when it comes to printing memories, your dissertation, or some important documents, you needn't even leave the house. Talk about convenience.
Even better? Though they're not the most ~stylish~ thing you can have on your desk, the printers we've found are small, which means you can easily nestle them away or you can pop them into a drawer while they're not in use. These printers are wireless and Bluetooth-connected, lightweight, and some of them can actually fit in your pocket. These features are perfect for printing photos on the go or for taking your printer on holiday or staycation.
Keep scrolling for the printers we really rate. We've reviewed four of these small printers, and you can read our reviews for our full verdict.
The best small printers — 7 buys tried and tested by us
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Larger than some ultra-compact photo printers on this list but smaller than a typical small desktop printer, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is the perfect middle ground. Portable by design, the CP1300 wouldn't look out of place in a home office, either. Printing size is 148x100 (postcard size) and smaller, so it's best for photos, but the results will be more of a standard picture size than the smaller printouts from the Sprocket, Instax, and others.
A digital display on the top flips up to make keeping track of your pictures more efficient, and because the printer offers a choice of sizes, creating a collage couldn't be simpler. In addition, Canon promises "lab quality results," so if you're someone who still takes semi-regular trips to develop their photos, this could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Read our Canon SELPHY CP1300 review.
The Canon Pixma TR150 is perfect for those whose printing needs don't always arise at home, with its super-portable design and high-quality results earning our second-best spot. Thanks to its small size and decent 4800 DPI, you can print easily from a phone or tablet so long as it is hooked up to Wi-Fi. In addition, Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print compatibility make it super easy to print on the go.
At just 32.2 centimetres long by 6.6 centimetres tall, this small compact printer will easily fit into a backpack or carry-on for travel. In addition, there's the option to purchase a rechargeable battery, so you can print out your pictures even when travelling between destinations. Again, all you need is Wi-Fi. Note: previous models of the Pixma TR150 didn't come with a battery pack, which was a bit of a downside for a portable device! This has been rectified.
Read our Canon Pixma TR150 review.
Our top choice for the best mini printer, the Canon Selphy Square QX10, is designed more as a way to have fun and avoid a trip to the printers than anything more substantial, producing cute Polaroid-style snaps using dye sublimation technology. In addition, the Selphy app lets you customise your photos with frames, text, and more, and the printer is completely portable.
When testing, we had some trouble with the ink cartridge getting jammed, but before this, we were impressed by the quality of the printouts compared to some produced by other zero ink (zink) printers. The paper also has an optional sticky back should you want to place the snaps in a scrapbook or something similar.
Read our Canon SELPHY Square QX10 review.
Like other mini Bluetooth printers, the resolution of the photos printed with this option from Kodak isn't going to be anything to write home about, but perfect for a bit of fun while you're out and about. Peel the back off the paper, and you can print out a batch of personalised stickers that you can plaster around your room or belongings.
You can edit pictures using the app and easily print them from your mobile devices via Bluetooth. However, the battery life is lacking compared to other tiny printers, so ensure you're fully charged before leaving the house! The Kodak Step encourages users to print their photos instead of hiding them in their phones' photo albums. Unfortunately, for this reason, they can't be used with laptops and only work via Bluetooth from a mobile device.
Read our Kodak Step review.
More top picks
As long as you do not need to scan or copy documents, the Epson Workforce is the ideal printer for working from home or on the go. So whether it’s a last-minute boarding pass printout from the airport or you find your client’s premises have no printer, the trusty Epson Workforce is small enough to be kept by your side for instant use.
You can print wirelessly so long as there’s a Wi-Fi connection, and you can even charge the battery up via the USB car adapter in time for your next meeting. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control. The respectably high DPI promises excellent quality printouts, while the LCD screen allows for easy set-up and keeping an eye on ink levels.
The sweetest little printer we ever did see, the HP Sprocket is one of the best mini portable printers for your photos, allowing you to materialise those Insta and Facebook snaps that have existed online only until now. The HP Sprocket isn’t marketed toward the professional photography market. For taking on day trips or family holidays, on the other hand, it’s perfect. It prints snapshots and stickers using photo paper rather than ink cartridges, which means printing is instant.
You can use the HP Sprocket app to customise your photos with emojis, borders, and text, making each printout entirely personal and accurately representing the moment you took the picture. Connect the app to your Facebook account or connect the device to your phone via Bluetooth for easy, on-the-go printouts. The Sprocket also comes in four gorgeous colours: black noir, blush pink (pictured), lilac, and luna pearl (white).
Simple but perfect for use as an instant photo printer, the Fujifilm Instax Link allows you to print anything from the camera roll using thermal printing technology. Like other mini photo printers, the Instax offering is small and light enough to be carried in a pocket or handbag and comes in many lovely colours. It works with Android and iOS operating systems, but those looking for something that will print from their PC will need to look elsewhere.
The printer offers about 100 prints per single charge, so you're extremely unlikely to run short on juice while you're out and about. Our only note would be that thermal printing tends to run a bit more expensive long-term.
Real Homes review process — How we test small printers
We always try to ensure that everything we feature in our buying guides has been reviewed by a member of the Real Homes team or by a trusted freelancer. In the case of these small printers, our previous smart home editor has reviewed two from our list above, and a freelancer reviewed two others. Both reviews were carried out in real-life situations which means they were tested at home in day-to-day life, instead of in a lab.
As someone who has spent a good chunk of her working life in her own home office set-up, Caroline knows the value of smaller devices that perform as well as their larger counterparts. As the previous smart home editor at Real Homes, she puts that experience to good use having tested the Canon Selphy Square QX10 and the Kodak Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer.
Anete has reviewed two small printers for us, the Canon Selphy CP1300 and the Canon Pixma TR150 inkjet printer.
Inkjet vs Zink vs Thermal
Throughout this guide, you will have seen mention of various print technologies, including inkjet, zink, and thermal. Each has its pros and cons and will be suitable for some while not serving others.
Inkjet is the most popular printing technology and probably the one you're most familiar with. It works by putting tiny drops of ink onto the page at a rate indicated by the DPI.
Zink is short for "zero ink" and refers to a type of printing that requires no ink cartridges whatsoever. Instead, all colour required is embedded in the paper, making it popular for instant mobile printers. This means it's potentially better for the environment.
Thermal printing, like zink, uses specialized paper rather than ink cartridges to deliver its results. A thermal printer will heat the paper according to the desired image, causing the picture to show up.
What DPI should I look for in a small printer?
The DPI refers to "dots per inch" and indicates the quality of an image produced by an inkjet printer. In short, the higher the DPI, the better your printout will look, especially if you want colour photos. Conversely, a lower DPI means you'll spend less on replacement ink cartridges (which can get pricey). The DPI you require will depend on what you plan to use your printer for.
What is the best small printer?
The best small printer is the Canon Pixma TR150, which offers wireless printing and a compact design that can be easily transported from home to the office without compromising print quality.
For photos, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is an excellent choice for postcard-sized prints, while the Canon Selphy Square QX10 gets our vote for smaller pictures.