The 6 Best Portable Printers
This wiki has been updated 36 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Whether you're a student, a traveling business professional, or just want the convenience of something compact and easy to take with you on the go, one of these portable printers will keep you both productive and mobile. The following models can accommodate up to letter-size paper or sometimes larger, offer convenient wireless connectivity, and in most cases, can operate off a built-in battery. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 22, 2021:
Just to be clear, we wanted to focus mostly on full-size letter paper printers in this wiki, but if you're looking for an instant photo printer, there are plenty of them to choose from.
Both the HP OfficeJet 200 and HP OfficeJet 250 are pretty similar, but the 250 is the one with the scanner, which turns it into a portable copy machine. The HP DeskJet 3755 is about the most affordable, and the Epson WorkForce WF-110 is particularly lightweight and compact for its price. The Brother PocketJet 773 is considerably more expensive than most, but it's also quite a bit smaller and lighter than even the Epson.
December 25, 2019:
For this update, I wanted to prioritize adding newer models as much as I could, without compromising on quality. This was a balancing act, because some of your older options released within the past couple of years are still recommendation-worthy. I naturally introduced newer models that were as good, if not better than their predecessors.
For instance, the Epson WorkForce WF-110 doesn’t really add any noticeable improvements to its previously-listed predecessor, the WF-100. However, I have retained and updated it here for the following reasons: Firstly, it’s still a great model that’s definitely worthy of recommendation, and I would easily list it in my top 5 portable printers for larger documents currently on the market. Secondly, newer versions in the electronics categories usually introduce improvements to previous models, even if it’s not transparent as to what these improvements basically are. It’s likely that Epson has fixed any bugs that the WF-100 had in this newer model– even if they haven’t outrightly stated this anywhere.
By contrast, the update I made from the OfficeJet 250 to the HP OfficeJet 200 was not novelty-based. The OfficeJet 200 shaves off over 1.5 lbs and about over 100 cubic inches in volume, making it by far the smallest A4 printer on the list – the OfficeJet 250 was already the smallest and the 200 is even smaller. You do sacrifice the all-in-one functionality (meaning no scanning), but you also save a lot in price, and obviously portability. Plus, I find that the basic monochrome user interface on the OfficeJet 200 is actually much simpler to navigate than the OfficeJet 250’s fancy LCD. All things considered, I definitely feel that this is the best A4-scale printer on the market.
Aside from updating some of the older models to newer versions, I wanted to avoid exclusively including tiny pocket printers in the list here, which can inevitably happen if you’re not really thinking about practical product choices, since models like the Lifeprint LP001-3 and SereneLife PickIt21 are significantly more portable. Many people however may be in the market for a handheld printer when they think portable, and I’ve included some good options, like the above-mentioned ones, as well as the Polaroid Mint Pocket.
The World Still Needs Printers
Design and photography businesses need high quality printers that accurately reflect the beauty of their work.
Some form of printing is necessary for nearly any business to run smoothly. In today's fast-paced business world, it is often necessary to be mobile, but still be able to perform all of the functions as an average, stationary office. Maybe you need to print receipts or reports while you're out of town on business or perhaps you don't work in the same place every day.
The most common types of printers you're likely to encounter are laser and inkjet printers. The average laser printer produces standard black and white documents such as contracts and written research reports. Many Xerox machines use laser printing. Inkjet printers perform the same functions as laser printers with the additional advantages of printing full color photos and being compatible with photo paper.
While the modern business world is rapidly moving toward electronic documents, email, and file sharing services to send these to recipients, many businesses are still in need of printed copies for a number of their files. Design and photography businesses need high quality printers that accurately reflect the beauty of their work.
Some try to say that printers are becoming an obsolete piece of technology, but they are still necessary in many areas of life and business. For example, consider a document requiring a signature. Even if that document is sent electronically, it must first be printed and signed before being scanned into a separate electronic document and returned to the original sender.
Many of the portable printers you will encounter are inkjet printers that are designed to perform a wide variety of functions to help you keep your business running smoothly. They can be easily transported from one place to another, take up very little space, and often have Bluetooth capabilities so you can work from nearly anywhere.
Print On The Go
If you own a laptop, then you already know why it's great to be able to move from one place to another and still be able to do your work. You can go from room to room, from your office to the coffee shop, or from one country to another taking along all of your necessary files and contact information using one compact piece of technology.
Regardless of all the mobile technology available to us today, many people still prefer to hold paper in hand to review documents.
The same idea applies to investing in a portable printer. The right portable printer is going to connect to your laptop or mobile device and allow you to print documents, photographs, and presentation reports from anywhere you might be. Are you on a business trip and just realized that you forgot to pack the handouts for your presentation? No problem! Just use your portable printer.
Aside from its obvious portability advantages, a portable printer will help you stay organized. Regardless of all the mobile technology available to us today, many people still prefer to hold paper in hand to review documents. A portable printer will allow you to do just that from your hotel room or even the airport lounge. Additionally, many portable printers also double as scanners, so you can save any written information you receive directly to your laptop and the cloud. Gone are the days of losing important documents during travel.
A portable printer allows you to keep a more flexible schedule. If your office is mobile, then you don't have to be tied to your desk to perform certain work activities. You can schedule meetings far away, you can hit up the local coffee shop, or you can stay home with your sick child and still maintain your productivity. Because you take your office with you wherever you go, you're always prepared for the next big occurrence.
A Brief History Of The Portable Printer
The first computer printer was invented in the 19th century by Charles Babbage. Babbage was a mathematician who also invented a computer to help calculate equations. He used metal rods imprinted with characters and paper pressed against the rods for printing. Subsequent printers then used a system similar to the typewriter - pressing symbols against paper.
It also improved the functioning of home offices where families could better track their books and finances using computer programs and printing.
In 1984, HP presented the first affordable laser printer to the public. These printers eventually eliminated the need for archaic typesetting systems, and by 1990, many paper office products were being created on personal and office computers and being printed with a laser printer.
This streamlined the production of contracts, brochures, fliers, and other important documents, resulting in improved file organization in offices. It also improved the functioning of home offices where families could better track their books and finances using computer programs and printing.
By the turn of the 21st century, printers had become common household and office items and were being sold for surprisingly little money in many office supply and department stores. Today, inkjet printers are most commonly used for printing photographs and artwork that is electronically generated. While they may not be completely necessary in all business settings, portable inkjet printers have become especially popular among designers and businesses that still rely on paper documents for appropriate filing.