Printers are one of those household items that, though once so vital to everyday life, have become less common in recent times. But with the past couple of years changing the way we live, work and attend school, they've come into their own again.
The best small printers, especially, are designed to fit into the modern home by being slimline, lightweight, and portable. Some compact printers are even small enough to fit into your pocket, but these printers tend to be most suitable for printing photos on the go. We've included examples of both down below.
And if the size isn't your issue, boost connectivity with one of the best home printers, as ranked in our guide.
Many of us struggle to find a printer that will fit into our lives and not take up too much space while having all the features and specs we want. To help you choose, scroll down to see what we thought of some of the offerings from top brands.
The best small printers in 2022
Best small printer for home
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 the top spot for best small printer.
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 the Wi-Fi. Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print compatibility also make it super easy to print on the go.
At just 12 inches long by 2 inches 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 you're 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.
An all-in-one solution, the HP Envy 6020e is the best small printer/scanner for use at home. It's relatively wide, so make sure you have enough desk space, but its overall compact dimensions mean it's ideal whether you want to store the printer away or have it out permanently.
We tested the printer to see if it fit into a work from home lifestyle, and, in most cases, it'll answer the prayers of frustrated remote employees. Heavy users might struggle with its relatively slow printing speed, as the Envy 6020e can only manage 7-10 pages per minute, but this is unlikely to bother occasional users.
You'll also get six months of access to HP+ Instant Ink for free so, when the two cartridges included run dry, you won't be stuck without.
Everything from setting up the printer to printing documents from an email via our mobile was a doddle and done in under 15 minutes.
Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Save on this printer and accessories with our HP discount codes
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.
Whether it’s a last-minute boarding pass printout from the airport lounge or you find your client’s premises has 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.
What is HP Instant Ink?
A lot of newer HP printers (including the HP Tango X) are now compatible with the HP Instant Ink service, which removes the manual task of ordering replacement ink when you start running low. HP advertises a potential 70% saving and plans starting at 99p a month, which is good news for those who hate the extra expense of printer ink.
The HP Tango is similar to other models in terms of print speed and resolution, but it's lighter and offers a few more bells and whistles. Unfortunately, it's also more expensive, which is why it's not our top pick overall. You're essentially paying for extras that are "nice-to-have", not "need-to-haves." That said, if you want a cutting edge printer that works with the latest tech, this is it.
This printer works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Cortana and allows you to print photos directly from social media. It also works with the HP Instant Ink service, which is handy if you often find yourself running out of ink at the worst times.
If you fancy yourself an aesthete, the HP Tango is the small printer for you. It looks sleek on its own, but if you prefer to match your home tech with your décor (who doesn't?), you can order fabric covers for this printer in indigo or grey fabric or a cork with a wine-coloured interior. The printer could easily be mistaken for a large, selfie-enhancing reference book when the lid is on.
Best mini portable printers
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.
There's a digital display on the top that flips up to make keeping track of your pictures more easily and, because the printer offers a choice of sizes, creating a collage couldn't be simpler.
Canon promises 'lab quality results' so, if you're someone who still takes semi-regular trips to get their photos developed, this could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
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 a range of 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.
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.
While the DPI is nothing to shout about, the HP Sprocket isn’t marketed towards 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).
Like with the Sprocket, the resolution of the photos printed with this option from KODAK aren't going to be anything to write home about but, for a bit of fun while you're out and about, you can't go wrong. Peel the back off the paper, and you can print out a batch of personalised stickers that you can plaster around your room or on your 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 small printers, so make sure you're fully charged before leaving the house!
As with all mini printers, the idea behind the KODAK Step is to encourage us to print our photos instead of hiding them away in our photo reels. For this reason, they can't be used with PCs or laptops and only work via Bluetooth from a mobile device.
How to choose the best small printer for your home
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 kind of printing technology and is 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 specialised 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 'drops 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, but 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.
How much is a small printer?
Depending on your needs, a good small printer will set you back anywhere between £40-£700. In general, you will pay more for a higher DPI, more size options or even a display built-into the printer.
What is the best small printer?
The best small printer (in our opinion) is the Canon Pixma TR150, which offers wireless printing and a truly compact design that can be easily transported from home to office while not compromising on print quality. If you're looking for something with a scanner, then we would opt for the HP Envy 6020e or HP Tango X.
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