This page is going to quickly highlight the best options for durable mobile printers which are based on my personal recommendations. My recommendations take into account user reviews from multiple different sources, my own review of the products (I am a printer nerd after all) as well as the specifications of the durable portable printer and advantages and disadvantages of the aforementioned specifications. Basically this article is what I like to call a ‘winner’.
Best options for durable mobile printers
The main reason that portable printers break are because the moving parts inside get bumped around too much whilst travelling. Laptops and cell phones don’t have many moving parts which are vulnerable to this kind of damage, so they can take a blow or two or three. You can drop your cell phone on the floor and it’ll probably be okay… don’t try this with most battery printers.
The best durable printers are those without moving parts or air spaces, they have to be as compact as possible without room for the parts inside to tumble around and come loose.
Thermal technology printers are the most durable type
If you’re looking for a device which will stand the test of time and will last decades then printers utilizing thermal technology are what you should be buying. Ever seen an aging yellow cash register (generally accompanied by an aging yellow cashier.. but I digress) which looks (and probably is) about 30 years old? That’s a thermal printer. All receipt printers are thermal printers (it’s why the paper feels smoother and different) which is why almost all of them last for so long.
Why are thermal printers so sturdy and strong?
They don’t have moving parts, and they don’t have air spaces. Moving parts require hardware similar to ‘miniature’ motors which are easily susceptible to breaking. Air Spaces allow the internal mechanisms and hardware to become looser and looser and makes it more susceptible to taking damage if it gets hit.
Thermal printing technology makes use of high temperature diodes to print. This doesn’t require moving parts. Moving parts require open spaces… but no moving parts equals no air spaces equals fewer problems. You Digg?
But what are the drawbacks?
There are basically two main drawbacks. The first is that they’re black and white only. For many businessmen or professionals this will be fine… but I would say an equally large amount probably do want color printing. It basically comes down to whether you’re trying to impress someone with cool graphics and photographs which you can magically produce right in front of them… or whether you want receipts, plain documents and forms being printed out. You choose.
The second drawback is that all of the available options do not have access to WiFi for printing. This rules them out for AirPrint or ePrint because at the moment these both require WiFi as a mandatory addition. Unfortunately a printer app cannot save you now. They do on on the other hand have Bluetooth which can communicate with laptops and smart (or cell) phones. Just remember though that due to the limitations which Apple has on their iPhone and iPad devices, that you can’t print from these Apple products. Everything else is just about fine though (although I’d probably check on the manufacturer’s website or contact them to see if they’d be any compatibility issues. Of course you can always just use a good old fashioned usb cable too.
Two thermal battery printer options
Of course you have more than two options, in fact the second option I’m about to present to you is one of the more inferior options – but since there’s only one recent manufacturer of thermal battery printers it would seem unfair to listed their last 4-5 devices as being the best (even though they are in every sense of the word).
Brother PocketJet 6 Plus (with Bluetooth)
Brother’s PockJet range is what I like to call a winner. They’re a bunch of winning winners. Essentially there are four different offshoots of basically the same product.
There’s the PJ 6, PJ 6 with Blueooth, PJ 6 Plus and PJ 6 Plus with Bluetooth. Basically the only difference between the PockJet 6 and PocketJet 6 Plus is that the ‘Plus’ versions have 300 dpi resolution monochrome (black and white) printing instead of just 200. 300 is fine as long as you’re not trying to impress anybody.
The ‘with Bluetooth’ options are… I hope, self-explanatory.
These babies come with Bluetooth, thermal technology, durability that makes English castles look puny… and finally an incredibly small size. These bad boys (bad boy babies) are ultra ultra-compact and ultra-lightweight. They’re as large as a laptop battery (apart from being A4 sized in width) and just as heavy to boot.
The paper is stored in rolls inside each printer so you don’t even need to worry about where you’re going to store it… or buy it… or if it will get crumpled in your bag.
PlanOn PrintStik Thermal Printer
If you’re interested in the only other manufacturer to (recently) manufacture similar devices to the PJ 6 Plus then PlanOn’s PrintStik is the next contender.
It’s very similar to its main rival apart from it has lower dpi printing, and its Bluetooth is very limited to the devices it can connect to (although it can still of course manually).
It’s also much slower at actually printing the documents and reviews have pointed out that its far less reliable – it’s also much older – it was released over 5 years ago whereas the PJ 6 Plus was released just a year or so ago.
Thermal printers are very cheap over a long period of usage
Using thermally powered printers is one sure-fire way of saving money over the long term. To start with their general retail price is approximately five hundred dollars for ‘with Bluetooth’ options. On the surface this seems more expensive than Canon or HP’s mobile printers which are 200 and 250 dollars respectively, but it’s more complicated than that.
Instead of arriving with battery and wireless capabilities the OfficeJet 100 (HP’s leading product) and iP100 (Canon’s leading product) both require them to be purchased as additional extras. This means you’re going to be set back around 100 dollars for the battery and 50 dollars for WiFi and Bluetooth – that’s 50 dollars each.
- Ultimately the cost comes to around 400-500 dollars no matter what you buy. Brother’s PJ printers are purchased as kits with the battery, a paper roll and Bluetooth internally installed. So the prices are actually very similar.
On the other hand remember that thermal devices need special thermal paper rolls which are slightly more expensive… but they don’t need ink. Ink cartridges are why inkjet printers are so cheap, because the companies are prepared to lose money selling the printers but recoup the losses and move into profit with exorbitantly expensive ink refills. Thermal devices are not just durable they’re ink-less, and even though the paper’s slightly more expensive you’re going to be making massive savings on ink. Then you need to factor in the fact that that they’re sturdy and durable little chestnuts which are going to last a long time. They’re not going to break after a few years which is a theme very common with past and present mobile printers. Just like those aging cash registers they’re going to stand the test of time and save you a heck of a lot of money in the long run.
WPP Portable Printer Website
If you found this article useful (although certainly not entertaining) then you can find out more about portable printers at out portable printer homepage. This will help you in choosing the product which is right for you.
You can find nuggets of useful information on this website pertaining to rarely discussed topics such as why there are almost no moving parts in thermal printers and how they’ve benefited you.
If you have any questions then feel free to utilize the ‘contact’ page of this website and you can direct any questions to myself, Jonathan Bell. All emails are sent straight to my inbox (they’re forwarded to me) which I personally use so you can be pretty much guranteed a reply.
Thanks a lot for reading.