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Best Portable Printer

Let’s face it: sooner or later you’re going to need to print something. It could be an important form, a cherished photograph or even a screenplay (and we promise you, you don’t want to print THAT when you’re paying a per page fee at the library). These days, printers come in all shapes and sizes, but we’ve focused on finding the best portable printers on the market, since they’re usually pretty inexpensive and surprisingly versatile. In short, perfect for a home or office setting.

Best Portable Printer – Comparison Table

Take a look at the table below. It’s a brief overview of our highest recommendations and exists to give you an idea as to the sort of printers which are available.

Product NamePrinter TypeDPI
Epson Workforce WF-100WInkjet5760 x 1440
HP OfficeJet 250All-in-one4800x1200
HP DeskJet 1112Inkjet4800x1200
Brother HL-L2340DWLaser2400x600

Now that you’ve glanced over the products we’ll be reviewing, let’s jump straight in and take a closer look at each of them. We’ll start with the Epson Workforce WF-100W.
1

Epson Workforce WF-100W – Highest Quality Portable Printer

Epson is one of the big names in computer printers and for good reason. Their products are generally pretty long lasting and provide good value for the money spent, and we’re pleased to say that the Workforce WF-100W is no exception.

Let’s talk design. This printer is about as small as you can get whilst still printing on A4 paper. It measures just 12” across and is 6” deep, making it the perfect printer for taking on the road with you. The printer casing is glossy black plastic, which looks clean and professional, and also helps to keep the overall weight down.

As far as connectivity goes, this printer is pretty great. It scans for and connects to WiFi with no problems at all (although if you switch WiFi modes, it will forget your previous network settings). You can also choose to use the printer as a host in case you can’t connect to WiFi wherever you are.

This model is powered by AC adaptor or USB cable and can also build up a charge so that it can be used completely wirelessly, although it does have to be off or on standby whilst charging via USB. You should be able to print around 100 black and white pages, or 50 coloured pages on a single charge, which is probably more than you need to, thankfully, since each charge takes two and a half hours.

The WF-100W is pretty basic, we’ll admit. There is no double-sided printing, and it takes around ten seconds per page, but the quality of the printing is fantastic, despite the model’s small size. It boasts the highest DPI of any printer in this list, and as a result, images come out clean and well defined. It does have contrast issues when printing on glossy paper, but these can be fixed with a little tweaking in the menu, so they’re not a huge deal. Running costs are pretty low, though, which is a plus since ink isn’t cheap. You can get around 250 black and white pages per cartridge and 200 colour pages, and given that this printer is designed for small batch printing, that’s a decent amount.

One downside of this model is its limited paper capacity. You can only have 20 sheets of paper in at once, which seems a little low, even for a portable printer. We also noticed slight banding on some coloured printouts, which is disappointing.

Overall, this printer is perfectly suited to someone who travels a lot. It’s small and light enough to take with you and yet has a few features, like its rechargeable battery and wireless networking that really do make it invaluable.

PROS
  • High quality printing
  • Rechargable battery
  • Small and light frame
CONS
  • Limited paper capacity
  • Struggles to print on glossy paper
2

HP OfficeJet 250 – Best All-in-one Printer

If your office space is small, or you travel often and a standard printer just won’t cut it, you’re probably looking for an all-in-one printer, except for one thing: they’re often pretty bulky. Happily, HP has created an all-in-one that’s not only portable but actually pretty good to boot.

The OfficeJet 250 is a printer, scanner and copier with a 50-page capacity that takes just over six seconds to print a page. It features a touchscreen interface that can be clicked into the chassis or flipped up at an angle for easier viewing.

Printout quality is above average, and this model does a great job at showing thin lines and clean gradients. We experienced very little banding and photo prints were, whilst below professional quality, still pretty good. Freshly printed pages do have a tendency to smudge, so be sure to collect them as they come out. The scanner processes roughly four pages per minute, which is standard.

This model has the standard inputs, WiFi and USB, but also features Bluetooth functionality, which is great for printing directly from your phone or tablet. If you use your phone for business, the ability to immediately print out important documents or emails will be invaluable to you.

You also get manual double-sided printing, although if you plan on doing this, bear in mind that the monthly duty limit is only 300 pages per month, which is halved if you’re printing on both sides of the sheet. We’d have liked to see a higher number here, especially given the high price of the unit.

The 250 also includes a rechargeable battery that’s capable of printing 225 pages on a single charge, which is pretty impressive given that’s almost the monthly limit. It takes an hour and a half to fully charge via a standard outlet and unfortunately doesn’t support charging by USB, but given the increased amount of power the printer needs, that’s a reasonable compromise.

Given its versatility and good overall printout quality, this portable all-in-one printer is perfect for a mobile office. Maybe you like to invoice clients on site or your job requires you to travel to various places and create reports. Either way, if you don’t mind paying a little more for reliability and convenience, HP have got you covered and the OfficeJet 250 might be just what you’re looking for.

PROS
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Higher than average print quality with little banding
  • Includes scanner, copier and printer
CONS
  • Low monthly print limit
  • A little expensive
3

HP DeskJet 1112 – Best Budget Portable Printer

Not everyone is going to have the budget for a big, fancy printer, but it’s still possible to find a portable printer in a more modest price range. The HP Deskjet 1112 is one such piece of hardware.

Due to the low price, some of the features you might be expecting are noticeably absent: there’s no wireless networking and doesn’t come with the USB cable that you’ll need to connect it with. However, this is a printer with one job, and it does it well. Colour prints are of a good quality, but not outstanding. They could be a little sharper, but overall they’re about what you’d expect from an average home printer. Where this printer really shines is in the speed department: it only takes three seconds to print a black and white page, and a little under four seconds for a coloured page. That’s even faster than the high-end models we reviewed earlier!

This model has a paper capacity of 60 sheets, and a tray holding capacity of 25 sheets. We noticed no smudging on freshly printed documents, which is a good sign. We would have liked a higher (or even more accurate) monthly duty limit since HP only provided us with an estimate of between 50 and 200 pages per month. We sincerely hope that it’s capable of more than 50 pages a month, and in fairness, we encountered no issues printing more pages than that in our tests, but these problems generally occur over a longer stretch of time, and as such are difficult to evaluate.

As far as portability goes, the printer itself is pretty light thanks to its plastic construction and relatively small frame. It measures a little under 17” across and is 8.5 inches deep, weighing around 4lbs. The casing itself looks fresh and modern, if a little simplistic, although this is typical for low-end printers due to the main priority being how well it performs, as opposed to creating something that looks fancy.

Overall, this printer is a decent foray into the world of portable printers. We like that it’s inexpensive and believe that thanks to its simple and straightforward setup and features, this printer is perfect for people who just want to print on the go with a minimal amount of hassle. We also like that you don’t necessarily have to be tech-literate to use this model since printing is just a case of installing the driver software and connecting to your device.

Some people might be put off by the lack of more advanced features like wireless printing, and whilst we’d recommend those people look at models on a higher budget, anyone else would be well served by the HP DeskJet 1112.

PROS
  • Very inexpensive
  • Very fast printing speeds
  • Quick and simple setup
CONS
  • Vague monthly printing limit
  • No wireless printing option
4

Brother HL-L2340DW – Best Printer for Office Use

If you’re looking for a mini laser printer for your office, you can’t go wrong with the HL-L2340DW from Brother. It measures at 14×14.2×7.2 (inches) and is made of matte black plastic, giving it an understated appearance, whilst ensuring it won’t take up too much space.

Let’s be clear: this printer is not great at outputting images. For a start, it’s a monochromatic printer, meaning it only prints in black and white. As a result, image quality is acceptable for a PowerPoint or use in a business setting, but lower resolution images appear blurry and a little confusing to the viewer. Text, however, comes across perfectly well, and as such, we’d recommend using this mostly for document printing.

There is no Ethernet port, although you can connect to this model via WiFi or WiFi Direct, and the printer holds up to 250 sheets of paper at a time which makes it perfect for shared use in an office setting. Further reinforcing this point is the high monthly printing limit, which is 10,000 pages. Unless you have a massive office all sharing one printer, this is bound to be far more than enough.

This printer outputs a page every two seconds, making it the fastest printer in this list and it’s worth mentioning that double-sided printing is performed automatically, so there’s no need to manually turn each page over and reinsert it.

Another couple of good things about this printer: it has three separate environmental accreditations and is very quiet. This means it uses a very small amount of power (less than one kilowatt-hour each week) and when in use, outputs a little over six decibels of noise. For context, ten decibels is as loud as someone breathing.

The main disadvantage of this product is one that most laser printers share: the cost of replacement toner. It’s considerably more expensive than replacement ink, but given that you can print around 2,500 pages per cartridge, you’ll have to replace it far less often. Additionally, since it’s a monochromatic printer, you only need to buy black toner, whereas a full-colour printer would require black and colour toner to print at all.

Ultimately, Brother saw a niche in the market to fill, and this printer does a great job in doing so. Whilst it doesn’t do a very good job at printing images, for general office use, it’s everything you could want: high monthly duty limit, high paper capacity, small size and weight, wireless printing and exceptionally speedy performance. If the lack of colour printing doesn’t faze you, this printer would fit right in at your workplace.

PROS
  • Fast printing speed
  • Very quiet and energy efficient
  • High monthly printing limit, high capacity paper tray
CONS
  • No colour printing
  • Replacement toner is expensive

Best Portable Printer - Buyer's Guide

If you haven’t shopped for printers in a while, you’d be surprised by the advances they’ve seen in recent years. Gone are the days of single purpose printers, now you’ll find printers with all sorts of additional features and functions. We’ve put together a short guide to help keep you in the know and let you know what exactly you should be looking for in a new printer.

Printer Type

There are two main printer types: inkjet and laser. Inkjet is your standard “home” printer and uses a black/colour cartridge system to provide the ink. These are usually pretty low-cost and a decent solution if you don’t print all that often. Laser printers, however, use toner instead of ink and as a result, are more expensive to maintain, but provide much more printing per cartridge. Laser printers tend to be used in professional settings, but depending on your situation, you might be better off in the long term if you buy one of these.

All in one printers

If you’re prepared to spend a little more, you can buy what’s called an “all-in-one” printer. This is a printer with a scanner and copier built in. They’re great for home offices since they vastly reduce the amount of space taken up by independent devices. It’s possible you won’t need one of these models, though, so have a think about how you intend to use your printer, and if you can see yourself using these features, they might be worth consideration.

Print Quality and Maintenance

Each product will specify a dots-per-inch (DPI) number. This is the number of dots of ink the printer can fit onto a square inch of paper. Higher numbers mean more detailed prints, so this is definitely an important specification, although less so if you don’t intend to print pictures. Another number to pay attention to is the monthly duty cycle. This refers to the number of pages the printer can output each month without overworking the hardware. Now, nine times out of ten, the limit will be several times the amount you actually print, however, if you’re purchasing for an office setting, or you plan to print in large amounts, we’d advise buying a model with a high duty cycle.

Connectivity

Some printers have wireless networking which allows you to place it just about anywhere you like, but some require a connection to a PC to work at all. Consider whether you need a WiFi connection, and if not, think about the layout of your computer area. Is there anywhere to put the printer? Where will it go when not in use? In most cases, we’d advise getting a wireless model, since they’re generally more versatile and often come with other features like remote printing (this can work in a number of ways, but commonly, you’ll give your printer an email address and it’ll print anything sent to it).

Conclusion


As you can see, printers come in all shapes and sizes. Each product on this list has earned its place by being better than its competition in some way, and in truth, it was difficult to choose just one as our top pick. That said, the HP OfficeJet 250 gets the highest recommendation this time, thanks to its high versatility and ease of use. It does cost a little more, but the resulting prints are a sight for sore eyes and worth every penny.

Purchasing new hardware doesn’t have to be stressful. We’ve done our best to bring you up to speed on printers, and you may have even found the perfect model to boot. We hope you’ve found this article helpful, thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you the next time you need product advice.