Portable printers have become popular among smartphone photographers, especially in the last few years.
They’re not only small and user-friendly, but they also make people appreciate the joys of having real photographs once again.
Let’s review the most in-demand iPhone photo printer options out there, and see which is the best photo printer in 2018.
Whether you’re using an Android phone or an iPhone, these could come in handy.
What’s on the List?
Portable printers for smartphones tend to be more expensive than average accessories. But they’re worth the investment if you love printing your Apple iPhone images.
There are several types available for different uses. So it’s important to know what kind of prints you’d like to create.
Zink (Zero Ink) printers are the most common when it comes to smartphone photography printing. In fact, three of them made it on our list.
These devices don’t use ink cartridges. Instead, they use heat to activate crystals in the Zink photo paper to create an image. As a result, they’re smaller and lighter than their regular counterparts.
The Zink printers included in this review are the HP Sprocket, Canon Ivy, and Lifeprint Hyperphoto. They’re all competitive when it comes to the features. But each one also has a unique offering that makes them stand out from the rest of the pack.
But Zink printers aren’t the only ones on our list. We also have the Fujifilm Instax with its digital to analog printing format. It’s different in that it uses instant film instead of paper to print.
And of course, we can’t forget about the Canon Selphy which is like your all-in-one office printer, but smaller. It even creates images using ink cartridges, which means its capable of high-quality output.
Now let’s detail the pros and cons of each one to figure out which iPhone photo printer is best for you.
If you love having physical copies of your photos from social media, HP Sprocket is the one for you. What makes it attractive to me is its portability and ease of use.
At 3 x 4.5 inches, you can stow it in your bag or pocket and take it anywhere you go. It also has a rechargeable battery that lets you print up to 30 photos per charge.
- No need to use a cable to print since it connects via Bluetooth. All you have to do is pair it up with your phone, and it prints your photos wirelessly.
- It’s one of the smallest Zink photo printers available right now.
- The photo paper for the Sprocket is affordable. You can buy a set of 20 for $4.99. That’s way less than you have to pay at a regular photo lab.
- At a little over $100, the HP portable printer can be a bit expensive especially if you’re only using it for fun.
- Prints 2 x 3 wallet-sized images. It’s too small for regular use.
- Doesn’t connect with a computer via USB cable.
This printer also comes with the HP Sprocket photo printing companion app. You can link up the HP Sprocket App with your social media accounts.
This instant photo printer is one-of-a-kind in every sense. It creates photos with Instax Mini film instead of using Zink paper or regular ink. You heard that right.
This nifty gadget converts your digital iPhone images into awesome “Polaroid” shots.
I admit the Instax Share is not for everyone. But it’s worth the price for what it can do: Turning your digital photos into analog prints. No other smartphone printer can do that.
If you like the film photography look but love the convenience of digital photography, invest in it.
- Best-looking smartphone photo printer on this list in my opinion. It has colorful options that include Slate Gray, Rose Gold, and Mint Green.
- No need to carry your Fujifilm Instax camera if you have this printer. It’s also more portable and lighter than any Fujifilm Instax models out there.
- Since it prints from your phone, you can edit your photos to make it look the way you want it. You can even include stickers if you want.
- Instant film gives your digital photos that legitimate analog look you can’t recreate with Instagram or VSCO.
- It comes with a price tag that might put off the average customer. And once you add the $20 10-print film cartridge on the list, your expenses can get out of hand fast.
- Instax Mini film is smaller than 2 x 3, which means smaller prints.
- Doesn’t print any other instant film formats from Fuji. It would be nice if they could produce a printer that takes Instax Wide in the future.
Need a real workhorse and not a fun toy? Then consider getting the Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer. At $109, it’s affordable and has a lot more options than other printers for iPhones.
It may not look as sleek as its counterparts but does a whole lot more. This device boasts fully functioning menu buttons, it should even have its own place in the office.
- Ability to print at different sizes. Unlike other printers which have a limit of one print size, it can produce 4 x 6, 2.1 x 3.4, 3.5 x 4.7, and 2.0 x 2.0.
- 2.7-inch color display with plenty of menu options.
- Features an SD card slot and a thumb drive port if you want to print files without a phone or computer.
- Includes a USB cable in case you want to print photos straight from your laptop or desktop.
- Wifi connectivity lets you connect with more devices, especially computers.
- Connects with a PictBridge camera. That means you don’t have to take out your SD card to print. Comes with a power adapter too, so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice.
- Uses an ink cartridge for better quality prints.
- Cost per print is about 33 cents, which is among the cheapest on this list.
- At 2.5 x 7.1 x 5.4 inches, it’s quite bulky for an iPhone printer.
- The design makes it look like a dull, miniaturized desktop printer.
- Weighs 2.5 pounds which can weigh you down after carrying it around for a while.
- The battery is optional. But the Selphy still ends up being the most expensive printer on this list.
- A single battery can only print up to 54 prints per charge. That’s a decent number of photos, but I expect more out of it since it’s a more professional device than the Zink printers.
- Wireless printing can take longer than a minute, especially if the connection is weak.
Do you like the Canon Selphy but not its size and weight? Then try the Canon Ivy, instead. It’s true, the Ivy is not in the same category as the Selphy. But I’m showing you that Canon also has other printers to offer for more basic needs.
This Zink printer is small, portable, and user-friendly. Like its competitors, it’s perfect for printing your online photos using your phone.
It has simple features, but it gets the job done anywhere you may be.
- Sleeker design than the Canon Selphy. It comes in classy colors such as Rose Pink, Slate Gray, and Mint Green. The stylish look makes a lot of sense to young social media photographers.
- Way smaller than the Canon Selphy at 0.7 x 3.2 x 4.7 inches. It also weighs 5.6 ounces as compared to Selphy’s 2.5 pounds.
- Tiling feature allows you to connect up to four small images to create a large photo collage.
- Doesn’t offer wifi connectivity. That means you can’t connect it using your computer.
- Apart from tiling photos, it doesn’t offer anything else to set it apart from its competitors.
- The use of Zink paper instead of an ink cartridge equates to subpar colors.
At a little over $100, it’s more expensive than the basic Selphy package (sans battery).
Earlier, I showed you Fujifilm Instax Share’s retro features. Now, let me introduce you to Lifeprint Hyperphoto Printer’s futuristic concept. What makes it different from others is that it creates augmented reality animations out of still images.
To create a hyperphoto, you’ll need to take a snapshot of your videos on your phone. Once you print that “thumbnail,” the printer embeds some of the video information onto the paper.
When you view the image through the Lifeprint app, you’ll see a video playback on the screen. And the coolest part? The video only plays within the borders of the photo.
You actually see your hand holding the photo paper and whatever else is in the background in real time.
If you ask me, it’s one of the most creative uses of augmented reality. Definitely a great conversation piece at parties.
- The app does a good job animating the photos. It makes you feel that the images in the picture are moving in real life.
- 3 x 4.5-inch prints are bigger than most Zink printers of its kind.
- At 4.5 x 6 inches, it’s relatively small even though it prints larger photos.
- Its own social media platform allows you to share and enjoy photos with fellow users.
- $30 price for 20 prints means a single Lifeprint photo costs more than its competitors’.
- Since it uses bigger photo paper, it prints slower since it has to deal with the extra surface area.
- You’ll need to convince your friends or family to download the app to enjoy hyperphotos.
- Without the app, the hyperphotos are useless.
In the end, deciding what the best photo printer is all boils down to what you want to do with your color photos. If you’re going to print iPhone photos for fun, then consider buying the HP Sprocket or the Canon Ivy.
If you’re feeling creative and adventurous? Try the Fujifilm Instax Share or Lifeprint Hyperphoto, instead.
For serious work, you should get the Canon Selphy as it does anything a regular printer can but on a small scale.
You can find all of these printers over on Amazon.
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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