Only Canon and HP manufacture inkjet portable printers (Brother’s devices use thermal technology similar to cashier’s receipt printers).
Canon’s printer is the PIXMA iP100 (read more here).
HP’s printer is the OfficeJet 100 (read more here).
Interested in each manufacturer’s flagship printers?
- If you want to find out more about Canon (The brand WPP Recommends) we suggest you check out Canon’s page.
- If you want to learn more about HP you can also see their page.
Remember that HP and Canon are the only manufacturers of mobile inkjet printers.
Companies like Epson, Brother, Lexmark, Samsung and all the others do not produce them so they’re your only option.
Inkjet Technology Allows For
There are a number of advantages which inkjet technology has:
- Capable of photoprinting and color printing at incredible high resolution figures.
- Printing lab–quality photographs is easily done with most mobile printers.
- Creating luscious graphs, pie charts and images is quick and easy.
- Far faster printing speeds.
- Expect around 20 pages per minute for monochrome (black and white), thermal devices only allow for 4-6 ppm.
- Around 10 ppm is possible for color printing; their competitors can’t even print color.
Inkjet-based devices have:
- Great amounts of wireless connectivity options, Bluetooth, infrared and WiFi are available on most devices.
- Thermals are almost exclusively Bluetooth–only.
- Automatic Sheet Feeders.
- Longer battery lives.
What are their Downsides?
- Their downsides are mainly related to their portability:
- They tend to weigh significantly more (5-6 pounds on average).
- They’re significantly larger (comparable to a notebook in size).
- They’re considered slightly less reliable because they have moving parts.
The Best Inkjet Mobile Printer Manufacturers
You’ll find that the ‘best’ and only producers are HP and Canon, and we believe that Canon is the superior of the two.
- Just remember that they each only produce a new device every 2-3 years, so it’s very easy to make direct comparisons between each other’s printers.
- Our decision to herald Canon as superioris based on two aspects:
You will found if you research looking at their websites that on a specification basis that Canon’s ‘best’ device – the PIXMA iP100 – has superior printing capabilities.
You will find looking at reputable reviews on websites such as Amazon that their devices are significantly more reliable. That’s without even looking at reviews you could just look at the star ratings, but we do recommend an in-depth look.
Taking a look at Canon’s Mobile Inkjet Printers
If you’re looking for the best then we suggest that the Canon PIXMA iP100 is the best mobile printer in terms of:
- Photo Printing.
- Transportability (unless compared with a thermal device of course).
It’s our recommendation that Canon produces the best mobile printers out there, the best the technological world can currently offer.
Is HP really that bad at making Mobile Printers?
It’s really not a case of HP being bad at what they produce, a much more accurate way to describe them would simply be as ‘worse’. Their devices aren’t terrible, but since they’re easily and directly comparable with the competition – and the competition is literally just Canon, it’s very easy to disregard them a serious competitor.
If you want this kind of a device, why would you buy HP’s OfficeJet 100 when it’s more expensive, has lower specifications and is less reliable?
- It does everything that Canon can do, it’s just a little worse at everything – practically across the board.
Its only advantage is slightly improved printing speeds, but aside from this you’ll find that they’re:
- More costly.
- More susceptible to break downs.
- Inferior at photo printing.
It’s quite clear that their mobile printers just aren’t as good, however you can check out HP’s page if you want to find out more.
You can visit WPP to learn more about mobile printers which use wireless connectivity or learn about the different types of printing technology.
Further In-Depth Information on Inkjet Technology
Inkjet printers may seem outdated, but their working parts are much smaller than that of laser printers, meaning that from a portable aspect they’re perfect for the role. Not only this, but unlike thermal printers which are admittedly smaller they don’t need thermal paper in order to operate. Their operating costs are low, their power consumption is low, they’re portable and the product itself is generally a little cheaper too.
When it comes to portable printing, the majority of the devices you find that are for consumer use are definitely inkjet printers. The big companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Canon don’t even produce mobile printers which aren’t inkjet based and although they have advantages they also have disadvantages too.
Advantages of Inkjet Printers
To start with the working parts which are required for the construction of inkjet printers are much cheaper than thermal printers, and still cheaper than laser printers. So right away purely from a price perspective they’re much cheaper which is a clear incentive but they also have some added advantages. To start with portable thermal printers require thermal paper to operate which is about double the cost of regular inkjet/laser printing paper. Although this cost is to an extent offset by some other factors such as not needing ink cartridges due to thermal print mechanisms it’s still a put off for a lot of people.
Inkjet printers aren’t too large, thermal printers are very small which admittedly makes them useful for compact portable printing, but they’re still significant smaller than laser mobile printers which are in my opinion not mobile at all. You can leave them in your car, or carry them around in a suitcase to set up later but you definitely wouldn’t want to be carrying it around all day. On the other hand inkjet print mechanisms are a reasonable medium, they’re still on the larger side of things admittedly but they’re still somewhat portable.
They print to much higher dot per inch resolutions than thermal print mechanisms and can easily hit 1000 dpi for black and 4000 dpi for color. In my opinion unless you’re an artist or photographer then reaching these high levels is a little extreme and I find it somewhat dubious to believe that people can actually tell the difference between 500 or 1000 black dots per inch. They’re incredibly high figures and it’s almost like having a 1,000 gigabyte hard-drive which some people will fill up the most people won’t come near to. On the other hand if you do need to print out especially graphically demanding photos then they do a fantastic job, and far exceed that of thermal printers.
Finally they’re what most people are used to dealing with and generally we like to stick to what we’ve always known. I’ve had mainly inkjet printers and although I’ll admit it can be annoying changing ink cartridges there’s a certain satisfaction in doing so. It’s also worth noting that because of their larger size it’s far easier for secondary functionalities such as Bluetooth printing to take place unnoticed. When you’re dealing with a much lighter and far more compact printer which is designed for true portability such as the Brother PocketJet range you have to sacrifice numerous secondary functionalities in order to retain the smaller size which can be an annoyance to some people.
Disadvantages of Inkjet Printers
Well right away a significant disadvantage especially because we’re primarily talking about portable printers is the fact that they’re quite large and hence genuine portability is reduced. Not only this, but they have significant moving parts which isn’t really a problem for stationary printers since they’re not being moved about, but for real wireless mobile printers which are going to be carried around in bags, potentially dropped every now and again and will definitely take the occasional bump there’s a much greater chance of them breaking down. This is one reason why thermal printing is usually used for true portability because it’s not just a compact mobile printer it’s durable too. If you want true portability then having a 5-10 pound printer which is somewhat likely to break just isn’t good enough. It would be a struggle to fit some of these printers in your bag, let along just whipping them out, printing and quickly storing them.
Secondly the changing of ink cartridges is just a hassle and although it may be one of those things which is annoying but almost enjoyable it certainly isn’t enjoyable if you’re travelling. The first thing is finding the correct ink cartridge which can always be a hassle, especially if you’re away from home using an inkjet laptop printer. Then of course there’s actually installing it which is ok to do at home where you’ve got immediate access to various cleaning equipment (soap) but if you’re out and about it’s hardly going to sit well with you trying to change it in a car, in a hotel room or on a train.
I think when it comes down to it there’s not one but several important conclusions to be drawn. It’s not as easy as me saying that a thermal printer or laser mobile printer is better because it really depends on your situation. If you’re going to be travelling and want a printer that has core functionalities such as printing in color at reasonable speeds as well as secondary functionalities such as perhaps scanning, high resolution prints and so forth then an inkjet printer is for you as long as you aren’t going to be carrying it around for too long. If you’re just taking it somewhere in the car, train, plane to set up for a few days, weeks or however long, to use it there without moving it then it’s definitely one of the best if not the best choice for you. However if you’re going to be carrying it on you, perhaps in a deep pocket like the PrintStik Mobile Printer then it’s going to be far too heavy (most weigh 5-13 pounds) and far too bulky.
If you want a printer which can genuinely fit into a deep pocket (not a metaphor), but is most comfortably classed in the category of wireless portable printers for laptops then I wouldn’t suggest it whatsoever. You need both the compact dimensions and lightweight aspects of a thermal printer otherwise you’re just not going to be able to comfortably carry it about. If you want to slot it into your bag alongside your laptop then I would suggest looking at the Brother PocketJet 6, which can use Bluetooth, store 20 sheets of A4 paper inside the printer, doesn’t require ink, weighs just 1.3 pounds and is absolutely tiny.
Check out our wireless portable printer homepage (WPP) to find genuinely portable and genuinely wireless printers.
If you were looking more towards keep the printer in your car, wanted primary and secondary functions and wanted rapid printing then I would suggest laser mobile printers would be the best option for you. However just as a brief heads up, they’re more expensive and much more difficult to find and as you would expect quite large for ‘mobile’ printing.
If you’re interested in learning more about the technology behind inkjet printers we suggest checking Wikipedia’s inkjet page to learn more.