We live era full of digital everything. What we used to hold in our hand is now stored in our phone, and while this is much more convenient than the old-school method of photo collecting and sharing, it’s nice to have that physical touch now and again.
If you’re looking to print some physical photos for yourself or friends, there are quite a few companies that make the process extremely convenient. Gone are the days of needing to send your images in to be developed. Say hello to the future.
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Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 mobile printer
The Fujifilm Instax SP-2 isn’t the newest mobile printer from the company, but it’s personally my favorite printer it has produced so far. The SP-2 prints images in a 4 x 3 format, so if your pictures are a different shape, you’ll have to crop them through the app. You can print your photos from your phone or directly from a Fujifilm camera, which makes this printer quite a bit more versatile than a standalone Instax camera.
If you want to print items from your smartphone (even edited ones), you can connect wirelessly to the printer, via the Fujifilm Share app. The app will give you some basic filters and let you make simple edits like contrast and saturation, but if you’re serious about photo editing you should probably use a standalone app like Lightroom.
The SP-2 has an internal battery that charges over micro-USB, and while that isn’t ideal in 2019, it’s still better than non-rechargeable batteries. You can buy various types of Instax paper to print your photos on, from plain white to Hello Kitty in style. While the paper can be a bit pricey, it’s nice to have a physical copy of your photos.
FujiFilm Instax Share SP-3
FujiFilm’s Instax Share SP-3 is the newest mobile printer from the company, printing in a 1×1 square format. These photos are larger overall than the images from the SP-2, coming in at 2.4″ x 2.4″. Fuji says it used this format to make the printer ideal for printing Instagram photos, which default to the same 1 x 1 aspect ratio.
You can add filters and text to your photos through the app, and you can even search specific tags to find photos you want to print. This can be a really useful feature if you’re trying to add a certain mood to a party, though you’ll probably be printing your own pictures the majority of the time.
The SP-3 uses a rechargeable Fuji NP-50 battery for power, but you can also charge it with a standard micro-USB cable. While you’ll likely be charging it with a cable a majority of the time, it’s nice to have the option to replace the battery if you use a camera that shares the same battery format.
Canon IVY Mini mobile photo printer
Canon is a name nearly everyone should recognize, photographer or not. They’ve been in the photo industry for decades, and I can’t count how many photographers I know who started out on a Canon T5. It should be no surprise then that they would get into the mobile photo printing business, especially considering the high popularity of their full-sized photo printers.
The Canon IVY mini is quite a small printer, but prints photos only a bit smaller than the printer itself. The images from out 2 x 3″ in size, and don’t have any borders, unlike Fuji’s Instax options. There is a special adhesive on the back of each paper which you can use to stick the photos to things, in case you want to decorate a room with images from your printer.
Canon’s IVY mini uses “ZINK” zero ink printing technology that uses no ink or toner, meaning the photos won’t smear at all after printing. While this process works very well, it does mean the photos take longer to print – around 50 seconds vs the 10 seconds Fuji’s Instax printers take. That being said, these images come out fully developed, while Instax images take a couple of minutes. The IVY can print up to 20 photos on a single charge, and you can charge it with any standard micro-USB cable
HP Sprocket / Sprocket 2-in-1 Printer/Camera
HP has been in the printer business a long time. If you have a printer at home, there’s a pretty high chance it’s made by the company. And while they’ve traditionally focused on more home and office-based printing solutions, it has come developed a mobile printer to compete with the other giants in the market.
While the Sprocket can print photos just like the printers on this list, the 2-in-1 version is pretty special due to the fact that it doubles as a camera of its own. The Sprocket 2-in-1 has a 5MP sensor with a 24mm equivalent lens, which is fairly wide and should be good for group selfies. If you would rather use pre-existing photos you can still do that, and print them over the dedicated app.
If you have your own separate camera and would prefer to just use the printer portion, HP sells a regular Sprocket portable photo printer for $129.95.
Both options print using the same “ZINK” zero ink technology as the Canon IVY mini, so you won’t have to worry about smearing ink. It also prints its photos slightly faster at around 40 seconds vs 50 seconds on the Canon.
Kodak Photo Printer Mini
Kodak is legendary in the photography world, known for producing some of the most popular film to date. Unfortunately, the rise of digital photography has left the company a shell of its former self, but they’re still alive, if only barely.
The Kodak Photo Printer Mini is a wireless smartphone printer similar to the many mentioned above, with a few minor tweaks. The Photo Printer Mini uses 2.1″ x 3.4″ sheets, and take about one minute to print. They use a different printing method then most of the options above called DyeSub printing, which uses heat to transfer dye onto the paper material. This method was developed in 1957 long before laser-based printing options, and while it is technically more primitive, some people may prefer the look.
The printer uses Wi-Fi direct to connect to your smartphone, and built-in NFC helps to pair your phone with a single touch. Kodak’s app is also a bit more mature than many other mobile printer apps, giving you the ability to print directly from social media, create collages, and even pull individual frames from a video.
What about mobile printers that aren’t designed directly with photos in mind?
While truly portable printers are typically too small for printing documents, if you’re looking for the smallest traditional printers around, the two most popular options are the Canon Pixma iP110 and the HP OfficeJet 250. Both have been on the market for a while, but do a good job at printing normal documents while still being reasonablly mobile.
Canon Pixma iP110 wireless mobile printer
This printer came out several years ago, but not only is it still on sale, but it’s also still one of the best mobile printers you can buy if you are looking to print documents and not just photos. The Canon Pixma iP110 is pretty light at 4.7 pounds, which means you can take it on the road in case you need to do printing jobs while traveling. It can hold up to 50 sheets at once and can print both photos and documents as high as 8.5 x 11 inches.
If you need to print items from your smartphone, you can connect wirelessly to the printer, via the Canon PRINT app on Android, or Apple’s AirPrint if you own an iPhone. You can also print pictures directly from Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive and other services. You can even get an optional battery that will allow you to print without the need for a power outlet, up to 240 pages. All of this makes the Canon Pixma iP110 one of our best mobile printers. You can snap it up on Amazon for $189.
HP OfficeJet 250 all-in-one portable printer
That’s our look at the best mobile printers you can currently buy, but are there others that you think should also be on this list, and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!