You have three choices if you want a portable printer. You have Canon’s, HP’s and Brother’s devices.
In most instances I recommend Canon’s iP100.
But occasionally I recommend HP’s OfficeJet 100.
For those who are in need of the most portable device and do not mind if the printer is only black and white then Brother’s PocketJet 6 is the best option.
- Work related mobile printers capable of black and white (monochrome) as well as photo printing.
- Complete wireless interface information (Bluetooth, WiFi and IrDA) with specific products.
- Scanner and printer combinations for complete flexibility for travelling and working.
- The best manufacturers (HP, Canon and Brother) as well as their best devices.
- Solutions to complex requirements which are usually difficult to find.
In most cases you’ll want an inkjet based printer such as Canon and HP exclusively produce.
- Check out our inkjet technology mobile printers page to quickly get to grips with inkjet printers and their advantages.
- If you already recognize that you want one we recommend visiting Canon’s mobile printing page, we believe that they’re currently the best manufacturer.
- Although we heavily recommend Canon, some people do still choose HP.
- Overall the WPP Team believe that specifically Canon’s PIXMA iP100 is ahead of HP’s best – the OfficeJet 100.
Most people will find that mobile printers based on thermal technology are not for them, however a minority will find them uniquely useful.
- You can check out our thermal technology mobile printers page to quickly learn who this technology type will suit.
- The best manufacturer Brother, there’s no real competition as the Printstik is now four years outdated and Brother has just released a new model line.
- If you already want a thermal-based device we recommend Brother’s thermal pocketjet 6 Plus printer over everything else currently available.
Important Facts about mobile printers using wireless technology
Here are a few things that you probably didn’t know, but probably should:
- There are only printers based on inkjet and thermal technology, not laser technology. This is because they’re far too large to be considered portable, as well as having greater power requirements not suited to being powered by just a battery.
- Contrary to popular belief you’ll find that in all cases the lithium (or in older models nickel) ion batteries are optional, and not inclusive in the price (for inkjet technology).
- This is also true of wireless adapters for Wifi and Bluetooth (again in the vast majority of cases, the OfficeJet 100 is an exception with built-in Bluetooth).
- Printers based on thermal technology have batteries which are built–in already, they’re included in the price always.
- The vast majority of thermal devices are Bluetooth–only and allow for in-built or external adapters equally (whereas inkjet devices in almost all cases require external Bluetooth – and WiFi adapters).
- Infrared interfaces are always built–in and inclusive of the price (if they’re included in the model at all), you cannot buy a separate adapter.
- The latest devices are PictBridge enabled allowing direct to printer transfer of photos from the camera to the printer without an intermediary device.
- All inkjet devices made in the last 7-8 years are capable of lab–quality photo printing, easily equal to what you purchase in the stores.
- Thermal devices are exclusively monochrome (black and white) and are incapable of colors (not even red which is used on some devices mainly aimed at receipt/ticket printing).
- Contrary to popular belief there are no such things as portable printer scanners, you have either portable printers and portable scanners – there is no one device which can ‘do it all’.
- The above point isn’t strictly true, it is possible to purchase one of the very old Canon BubbleJet printers by Canon and attach a 300 dpi scanning cartridge. However this device is nearly a decade old, and so dramatically obsolete it makes far more sense in terms of specifications and price to simply get two separate devices.
Our Complete Mobile Working Recommendations
If you’re looking for an inkjet-based printer then our suggestion (out of all the models by HP and Canon possible) is the iP100 produced by Canon. It is our strong belief this is better overall than the OfficeJet 100.
If you’re looking for portable scanners to be used in conjunction with mobile printers then check out this page for excellent mobile travelling scanners.
If you’re looking for a work related printer which is incredibly transportable, we recommend Brother’s PocketJet 6 Plus due to its incredibly small size.
In-Depth Portable Printers Guide…
What is a Wireless Portable Printer?
There are lots of different types of wireless portable printers because there’s significant variation within the meaning of the phrase. Generally you’ll find most devices are either a Bluetooth portable printer or WiFi portable printer – or a combination of the two. Those are generally the main two types of wireless connectivity but (generally in older models) you’ll still see IrDA (infrared) as an option for transferring data. These are aimed more at either a wireless portable printer for laptop device or just as commonly PDAs – however both PDAs, and IrDA are very outdated and have been mainly supplanted by Android tablets and Bluetooth wireless.
That covers the ‘wireless’ aspect of the name but what about the ‘portable’. The printer’s portability is derived from a combination of its mass (weight in pounds) and physical dimensions (size in inches). The ultra-lightweight thermal portable printers can weigh as little as 1-2 pounds but of course sacrifice core functionalities. On the other hand most people won’t want this whatsoever and they’ll be looking far more too inkjet-based mobile printers. Some people think that there are such things as ‘laser portable printers’ – there aren’t, the hardware involved would be far too big not to mention the power consumption. There are only thermal and inkjet mobile printer devices available at the moment as well as for the foreseeable future.
When it comes to the weight of inkjet-based printers you’re looking at a range of weights with the lowest being 3.5 pounds for some of the lightest Canon designs and around 8-9 pounds being the highest. On average you can expect weights to be from 4.5-7.5 pounds, with 7.5 pounds being a little on the heavy side and 4.5 pounds being very reasonable. 7.5 pounds is still find to carry around, but any higher then that and your wireless portable printer is starting to lose its portability.
Looking at the dimensions of wireless mobile printers you can expect them to be around 12-14 inches long (just large enough to accommodate A4 size paper), 2-3 inches thick and around 4-6 inches deep. This is a very standard size for inkjet based printers and you’d be hard-pressed to find one much smaller. You can of course find thermal-based printers which are smaller but these sacrifice the resolution, usually color and other important capabilities. These types of thermal printers are far more for ‘in the field’ work, where the inkjet ones are essentially still incredibly versatile scaled down versions of their stationary counterparts. Their resolutions are still very good and although you can expect there to be sacrifices you’ll find products such as a Canon portable printer do a fantastic job in retaining most of the functionality while creating a rugged, mobile product.
Which are the Best Wireless Portable Printers?
Well if you’re looking for the ‘best’ portable printers which are also wireless then just scroll up because I’ve listed what I consider to be the best. I’m going to be somewhat brazen when I say that on average a HP portable printer is more likely to be inferior to its Canon counterpart. No I’m not working for Canon. The truth is their designs are simply superior on most fronts when it comes to what people what in a printer and technological devices in general.
They want something which is reliable and durable which is by far more important for mobile devices which are going to be carried and potentially bumped around. Printers weren’t designed with portability in mind and most of their earlier versions were simply scaled down versions of their stationary counterparts which were given batteries. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you start move around printers a lot you’re going to break them which led to a lot of problems with the earlier versions – simply put, they just broke after a short amount of time.
If you’re looking for a portable printer the difficulty you’re probably going to have is in deciding what’s best for your printing needs. If you need a genuinely tiny portable printer, for basic printing of files and documents then I’d recommend checking out a Brother portable printer. These are thermally which allows for such a small weight and size, the thumbnail for this page wasn’t actually one of their printers but a similar type – but it’s about that size. They weigh from 1-1.4 pounds so they’re very lightweight, and furthermore they’re so small that they can comfortably fit into a deep pocket – and easily slot into a backpack, briefcase or laptop bag.
Just be warned because when it comes to thermal printers you’re not going to the ease-of-use which modern stationary printers provide. The resolutions are quite low, manageable but generally quite low – they’re generally around 200-300 dots per inch which sounds very bad when compared with their inkjet competition. But the truth is that 200-300 dpi is completely fine for basic text documents, and unless you’re wanting to print out photographs or high resolution pictures then you’re going to be absolutely fine. There are lots of different types of this kind of printer but I’d suggest looking at the PrintStik Mobile Printer as well as the Brother PocketJet range.
Different Brands of Wireless Portable Printer
The best way to categorize printers is first by their brand and then by their functionality, portability, durability and finally their extra features. Functionality refers to what exactly it can do, such as color printing or not, portability encompasses both the size and weight (mass) of the product, durability relates to how long it will last and if its strong enough to survive a drop for example and finally extra features refers to anything which makes the product unique amongst its competitors. Below is a list of the main printing manufacturers:
Who are they for?
The honest answer is everyone. People seem to think that if they’re not going to be printing out of the house or don’t mind wires than it’s not for them, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Laptop sales now exceed desktop sales, tablets are becoming more and more popular and these products are used predominantly indoors. Why? Convenience. Imagine how much easier it would be printing something of at home, by just having to hit print. Your computer and printer are already attached to your wireless network and instead of having to transfer the file onto a memory stick, plug it into the computer the printer is attached to and then finally print – you just hit print; that’s it. That’s one application within the home and yet it encompasses everything that is modern technology. Modern technology is convenience, ease-of-use, hassle-free, wire-free, clean and quick and this is a wireless portable printer incarnate.
Take a look at Smart Phones, what can they do that desktop computers can’t? They play games, access the internet, emails, send text messages and make calls – but you can do all this quicker and easier on a computer. So what’s different? I’ll tell you what, they’re easy, portable, wireless, convenient and the latest gadget and that’s all, and yet everything, a wireless portable printer is. A great example of this are the portable printer for Ipad devices which you can purchase and allow mobile printing from your Ipad which is obviously a massive convenience.
What’s right for me?
I would say the first question you need to ask yourself is where you want to use your printer, in the home, in the car or in your bag while you walk around? If you’re using your printer in the home, or keeping it in the car where you’re keeping it constantly charged by the cigarette lighter than I’d say mass and bulk isn’t a big issue. On the other hand if you’re carrying it around in your pocket or bag then both size and mass is going to factor in. If you’re fine with carrying around something which is heavy then mass doesn’t matter, but if carrying around a heavy irksome product will soon wear thin your patience then I’d recommend going for a small printer.
If necessary then read the Printer Reviews Resource Page for a to-the-point look into what’s the best for you.
Then you need to decide how much printing you’re going to be doing, because regardless of how advanced printers are they’re still limited by the battery life just like anything else. Furthermore a more complex printer is going to drain its battery charge much quicker than simpler printer, so that’s something which needs considering.
Finally you need to choose your printer’s attributes, do you just want black and white printing or color too? Will this affect your battery life too much for the amount of printing you want? Does this mean you’ll need a larger battery or to buy a car charger?
As you can see every decision you make creates potential problems so you need to think long and hard about what it is exactly you want to pick – I’d recommend going to the different types of wireless portable printer section and scanning through the brands because I gave concise details which will allow you to find what you’re looking for. All major brands are included.