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Reviewed: The 10 Best Portable Photo Printers from Polaroid, Fujifilm Instax, and Canon

In the same way that vinyl record players have found new life among millennials and Gen Z, the best portable photo printers are making a comeback as well. And let’s be honest, there’s something about a physical photo that makes an image feel like a true moment captured forever in time. With the best phone photo printer, you can take those moments and put them in an album book, or proudly hang them on your fridge or wall to serve as a reminder of your favorite memories.

The idea of printing photos might seem archaic, and frankly, printing photos used to be a pain in the ass. In the days before apps, you would have to drive to the store and wait several days to get your pictures. Even in the digital era, the first home photo printers were clunky and awkward. Your photos might be cropped incorrectly, everybody in the photos might have the dreaded demon-red eyes, the color might be off, etc. With the best photo phone printers, you can say goodbye to all of those frustrating photo issues and get great looking photos printed practically instantly. 

Jonathan Knoder shaking photo waiting for it to develop.

Phone photo printers connect directly to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. And they aren’t big and bulky like the printers of old. In fact, many of them you can slide in your back pocket so you can have a printer available to you whenever and wherever you want. You can also do a lot of cool things to your photos through the accompanying apps like add graphics, borders and text to your photos, and you don’t have to be a Photoshop wiz either. Portable phone printers are a clever and convenient solution to taking photos off your phone and having physical printed copies of them. 

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To help you find the right product for your photo needs (or holiday gifting needs), SPY product reviewers tested 10 of the best printers for your phone to find the best mix of print quality, print speed, size and convenience.

Now, here are our picks for the best photo phone printers of 2022.

A note on photo size: Before we jump into our favorite portable phone printers, It should be noted that you are restricted by the size of the printer and the photo paper. So if you’re looking for big portrait prints, or even 5×7 prints, none of the below options are going to butter your bread. Only two of the printers below print 4×6 prints, while many of the others produce much smaller, classic Polaroid-style photos. In the review below, all photo sizes are in inches.)

The Best Photo Phone Printers at a Glance 

BEST OVERALL

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide

Buy Now On Amazon $119.95 Jump to Details
BEST PHOTO QUALITY

HP Sprocket Studio Plus

Buy Now On Amazon $149.99 Jump to Details
best for square photos

KODAK Mini 3 Retro

Buy Now On Amazon $89.99 Jump to Details
most portable

Polaroid Hi-Print

Buy Now On Amazon $69.99 Jump to Details
BEST FEATURES

Fujifilm Instax Square Link

Buy Now On Amazon $139.99 Jump to Details
BEST FOR PARTIES

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Buy Now On Amazon $74.95 Jump to Details
GREAT FOR 4X6 PHOTOS

Canon Selphy CP1500

Buy Now On Amazon Jump to Details
BUDGET PICK

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link 2

Buy Now $99.00 at Walmart Jump to Details
BEST CONNECTIVITY

Canon Selphy Square QX10

Buy Now On Amazon $103.99 Jump to Details
honorable mention

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

Buy Now On Amazon $79.99 Jump to Details
BEST OVERALL

$119.95 $149.95 20% off

Buy Now On Amazon

$149.00

Buy Now

Best For: Those looking for a portable phone photo printer that produces great polaroid-style prints. 
Why We Chose It: It’s incredibly easy to use, the picture quality is great and the price is right. 

  • Cost of Film: $18 for 20 prints
  • Print Size: 4.25 x 3.39

Most importantly, we were impressed by the picture quality produced by the Instax Link Wide. Not only do the pictures look sharp and with good color accuracy, but the printer also prints quickly, averaging about 10 seconds per print (of course, you need to give the photo time to develop). At that speed, you can essentially print 10 photos before the HP Sprocket Plus prints one. It is also super portable and lightweight, weighing less than a pound, and operates on a rechargeable battery. All things considered, this has the best balance of features and photo quality, and it’s our top pick for the best portable photo printer of 2022.

Good color saturation and detail from the Instax Wide.
BEST PHOTO QUALITY

Best For: Getting great 4 x 6 photos without sending them to a one-hour print shop. 
Why We Chose It: The prints are sharp with great color saturation without any additional editing. 

  • Cost of Photo Paper & Ink: $46.99 for two ink cartridges and 108 prints
  • Print Size: 4×6

After testing all of the best portable photo printers, the HP Sprocket Studio Plus had the best highest quality photo prints. The detail and color saturation was *chef’s kiss*. The quality is comparable to what you would have gotten from a professional photo studio back in the day. Unfortunately, that is where the good times stopped rolling.

We experienced multiple issues with the printer disconnecting from WiFi, forcing us to retype the WiFi password into the app repeatedly. Also, you need about six to eight inches of free space behind the printer as the photo paper protrudes out the front and back of the printer during the printing process. Speaking of printing, it also takes about two minutes to print every photo.

If you want the highest quality 4×6 photo prints, then this printer is worth the investment. But for portability and convenience, we would recommend the Kodak Mini 3 Retro or the Instax Link Wide instead.

Great color saturation and sharpness from the HP Sprocket Studio Plus. There are perforated edges to trim photo.
best for square photos

$89.99 $149.99 40% off

Buy Now On Amazon

Best For: People that prefer square photos and modern quality rather than retro vibes.
Why We Chose It: This Kodak photo printer lets you create beautiful photo prints quickly and easily.

  • Cost of Prints: $25 for 50 sheets
  • Print Size: 3×3

Kodak still makes some great instant and disposable cameras, not to mention some of the best phone photo printers for sale today. This compact and colorful portable photo printer is unique in that it prints square photos, which may be a positive or a negative. The Kodak Photo Printer app lets you edit photos on your phone before printing, and you can aconnect easily to iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth. If you want high quality photo prints (or want to give a photo printer as a gift), then this is a great option.

most portable

Best For: Having a printer with you everywhere you go thanks to the slim and light design. 
Why We Chose It: Not only can you take the printer everywhere, but you can place the photos anywhere thanks to the sticky back. 

  • Cost of Film: $21.95 for 20 prints
  • Print Size: 2×3

Polaroid is the O.G. when it comes to instant cameras. Today, the camera company is still innovating, and this cute retro printer makes photos on 2×3 prints that you can peel off the back and stick to any surface. As you would expect from Polaroid, the prints have a retro look and feel to them and take about 55 seconds to print. The printer also comes with a free app that allows you to quickly make edits and even take a picture from your phone and immediately send it to print. With the Polaroid Hi-print, you get the best of both new and old. At around $100, it’s also one of the more affordable photo phone printers available.

Retro look and feel with more washed out coloration from Polaroid Hi-Print.
BEST FEATURES

Best For: Creating cool animations and AR that you can see using your smartphone. 
Why We Chose It: This portable printer can print classic photos but also offers fun AR technology for a unique photo-sharing experience. 

  • Cost of Film: $24.95 for 20 prints
  • Print Size: 3.4 x 2.8

This photo printer gave us the, “Wow, it’s so cool what technology can do nowadays,” moment. With the Instax Square Link, you can add AR effects like text, a doodle and special effects to your photos. When you print it off and view it through your phone’s camera, the AR effects will appear. Beyond the synergy between tech and tradition, the photos are good quality and the Square app is about as easy as it gets to use — heck, you can even swipe up on a photo to print. It’s a little bit on the pricey side at $140, but this is one of the coolest and easiest-to-use phone photo printers we tested.

Visual of AR graphics using Instax Square app.
BEST FOR PARTIES

Best For: Receptions, house parties, etc., where you want your friends and family to capture moments during the night. 
Why We Chose It: It’s a fun and nostalgic camera and printer combo that gives you an instant souvenir (though it’s more of a camera than it is a printer).

  • Cost of Film: $13.98 for 20 prints
  • Print Size: 2.12×3.38

Earlier this year, one of our resident photographers tested the best instant cameras, and this camera was far and away the best option. Admittedly, this camera isn’t the cream of the crop in terms of photo quality – but it doesn’t really matter because it gives your photos a real vintage look and feel that’s just plain fun. And that’s really the whole point of this instant camera — it’s a fun experience with an old-school feel. Snap a photo and instantly get a vintage-style photo print. To find out if this instant camera is right for you, read our full Instax Mini 11 review.

Bright and washed retro photo quality from the Instax Mini 11.
GREAT FOR 4X6 PHOTOS

Best For: Printing detailed and bordered 4×6 prints.
Why We Chose It: You can print larger 4×6 photos from anywhere in your home thanks to WiFi connectivity. 

  • Cost of Ink & Paper: $37.31 for 108 prints
  • Print Size: 4×6 

It’s only fair to compare the two 4 x 6 printers in the group. While we felt the HP Sprocket Studio Plus prints produced better color saturation and accuracy, the Canon Selphy CP1500 prints were more finely detailed and sharper. The HP printer also prints the photos edge to edge while the Canon printer leaves a small border around all four sides. The borders are rather nice for framing and it keeps all the contents of the picture within the frame. It takes about 44 seconds per print (much faster than the HP) and costs about $10 less than the HP. Plus, there were far less connectivity issues and it uses the same app as the Selphy QX10. Whether you chose this Canon or the HP, you’ll be getting great quality prints regardless.

Duller color than HP, but sharper detail from the 4 x 6 photo print.
BUDGET PICK

$99.99 at Best Buy

Buy Now

Best For: The most affordable way to get instant prints from photos on your phone. 
Why We Chose It: It’s compact, affordable and simple to use. 

  • Cost of Film: $13.39 for 20 prints
    Print Size: 2.12 x 3.38 

Coming in at under $80, this is the most affordable way to get instant prints from your smartphone photos. Beyond quick prints (it spits out prints in 11 seconds per photo), you can also use the app to add unique borders, draw on your photo, create mini collages from multiple photos and even take a still frame from a video and print it. The print quality isn’t as sharp as the other photo phone printers, or even the other Instax printers, but they’re fast and good enough. If you are looking for quick prints without all of the AR extras you get with other Instax printers, you can save yourself some coin by going with the Mini Link 2. 

Collage of dogs using Mini Link 2 app with retro and bright, washed look.
BEST CONNECTIVITY

Best For: Quickly connecting to your printer and printing detailed mini photos. 
Why We Chose It: Considering the size of the printer, it prints rather detailed and sharp photos. 

  • Cost of Film: $14 for 20 prints
  • Size of Prints: 2.7 x 2.7 

The extra size of the prints compared to the likes of the Instax Mini Link 2 and also the extra detail and clarity you get in the prints make the Selphy Square worth the extra money. The colors of prints are darker and more saturated on the Instax Square, but are more detailed and sharp on the Selphy Square. And with this Canon printer, you can connect to WiFi and print from wherever in your home. When it comes to printing, you can add borders, text and overlays to your photos in the app. It’s a little more expensive than others, but the extra detail and connectivity is worth it.

Border and snowflake overlay (which you can’t see IRL either) added using Canon Selphy app.
Courtesy of HP
honorable mention

Best For: Anyone looking for a decent portable photo printer for under $100.
Why We Chose It: This highly giftable portable printer can be used to create photo collages and 2×3 photo prints.

  • Cost of Prints: $12 for 20 sheets
  • Size of Prints: 2×3

Finally, we have the HP Sprocket, the 2×3 version of the Sprocket Studio Plus featured above. While the larger version of this printer offers the best possible quality, the same is not true with the pocket-sized Sprocket. While it’s cute and affordable (and thus makes a good gift for teenagers or college students), the photo quality is just so-so. It’s more like a retro Polaroid than a modern photo print. We also found that the battery drained quickly. With an $80 price tag, it’s an economical option if you’re creating a photo collage and don’t care overly much about picture quality.


How We Tested The Best Photo Phone Printers 

SPY testing the best phone photo printers for this review.

Our goal at SPY is to get you the best tech available and hopefully save you some coin in the process. We wouldn’t necessarily call these photo phone printer inexpensive, so we tested each printer using the criteria below to uncover which printers are the best performers and best value. 

Print Quality: We printed the same three photos and compared the prints from each printer. We looked for color accuracy, sharpness and details and any inaccuracies or artifacts created by the printer. The printers with the best photo quality received higher scores. 

Print Speed: Printing photos takes time, but we awarded printers that print quickly. Instax printers have a massive advantage here as they spit out photos quickly (around 10 seconds) and leave the photo to develop. Essentially you can print several photos from one of the Instax printers before the HP Sprocket Studio Plus prints a single photo. 

Connectivity: We favored printers that offered WiFi connectivity as opposed to Bluetooth, but we also took into account how easy it is to connect to each printer. Printers with connectivity issues were docked. 

Additional Features: We also looked for standout features that make each printer unique. For example, some Instax photo phone printers have cool AR capabilities to add special effects to each print, while Polaroid photos have a sticky back to place photos on any surface. These special features help differentiate printers and add extra value. 

Jonathan Knoder connecting printer to WiFi and phone.

About The Author

Jonathan Knoder is a contributing writer for SPY.com and covers a variety of topics from tech to lifestyle, but he has a particular affinity for audio gear and smart home tech. His writing has been featured in Top Ten Reviews, Security Sales and Integration and Salt City Hoops. Previously for SPY, he’s reviewed the Prosenic M8 Robot Vac and Lockly Vision Elite Smartlock. In his free time, he is usually playing guitar or drums, going for a run, or throwing the Frisbee to his dog.


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