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 slim, 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 you're in the process of setting up a home office, boost connectivity with one of the best smart plugs, 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 2021
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 traveling 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.
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 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.
What is HP Instant Ink?
Many 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 50% saving and plans starting at $0.99 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 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-colored interior. The printer could easily be mistaken for a large, selfie-enhancing reference book when the lid is on.
There are lots of reasons to love the HP Envy 6055. For one, despite its compact size, this Wi-Fi-enabled printer prints in color and black-and-white scans, copies, and faxes, too—other pluses: the sleek look and value price point.
As mentioned, this printer can scan, copy, and fax, so it's suitable for both home use or a small business. Besides its essential functions, the Wi-Fi-enabled HP ENVY 6055e also connects to Apple AirPrint, Bluetooth, HP Smart, and Mopria Print Service, can print from Dropbox or Google Drive, and has a USB 2.0 connection.
At 17 inches long, this isn't the smallest printer on our list and wouldn't be ideal for traveling or printing on the go, but if you're looking for a compact printer for your home office or kitchen countertop, this is an excellent pick.
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 efficiently 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.
Printing your snaps on the go has been made easy thanks to this option from Polaroid. Print photos onto photo paper while you're on the go with this hand-sized photo printer.
Like with the Sprocket, the resolution of the photos printed isn'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 personalized stickers that you can plaster around your room or on your belongings.
You can edit pictures using the Polaroid 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 Polaroid ZIP 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.
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 colors. 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 materialize 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 customize 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 colors - 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 personalized 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.
Black Friday small printer deals
Black Friday is the perfect time to think about upgrading your tech and home office essentials, and luckily we are edging closer to the big day. Taking place on Friday 26 November this year, we will be keeping an eye out for the best small printer deals and collecting them right here for your convenience.
Past Black Fridays (and, of course, Cyber Mondays) have shown that the biggest brands are still offering really good savings to customers, which is great if you have been meaning to invest in a great portable photo printer, home office printer or something between the two.
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 color 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 '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 color 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.
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 6055e or HP Tango X.
For photos, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is an excellent choice for postcard-sized prints, while the Instax Mini Link gets our vote for smaller pictures.