Best Compact Photo Printers in 2021 – A4 and instant options

Some of the best A4 photo printers have been released in recent years, making it easier than ever for us to be able to produce professional quality photos in our own home.

Many people also want a model that can print photos but and can also cope with occasional document printing as well. Plus, it’s always nice to have a printer that doesn’t cost a fortune to run (though there’s a reason why printer ink is so expensive).

So which photo printer should you opt for, with so many different options available? Well, let’s see some of the top options you can buy now.

Best Compact Photo Printers

ProductImageDPIGet More Info
HP SprocketHP 1AS85A#B1H Sprocket Portable 2x3' Instant Photo Printer (Luna Pearl) Print Pictures on Zink Sticky-Backedfrom your iOS & Android Device313x400dpi Check Price at Amazon
Canon Selphy CP1300Canon Selphy CP1300 Compact Photo Printer - Black300x300dpiCheck Price at Amazon
Epson Expression Photo XP-8600Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 Print/Scan/Copy Wi-Fi Printer, Black5760x1440dpi Check Price at Amazon
HP Envy Photo 6230HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One Wi-Fi Photo Printer with 4 Months of Instant Ink Included, Black4800x1200dpi Check Price at Amazon
Canon Pixma MG5750Canon Pixma MG5750 4800 x 1200dpi Inkjet Printer A4 Wifi Multifunctional - Multifunction (Inkjet Printer, Colour Print, Copy Colour, Digitisation Colour, Art Print, 4800 x 1200 dpi)4800x1200dpi Check Price at Amazon
Canon Pixma Pro-100SCanon PIXMA Pro-100S Inkjet Printer - Black, Grey4800x2400dpi Check Price at Amazon

HP Sprocket

HP 1AS85A#B1H Sprocket Portable 2x3' Instant Photo Printer (Luna Pearl) Print Pictures on Zink Sticky-Backedfrom your iOS & Android Device

Ink Costs: Low | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: No | Print Quality (DPI): 313×400 | Pages per minute: About 30 seconds per photo

The HP Sprocket has been the king of photo printers for a few years now, and it’s showed no signs of slowing down. Whilst not what many people’s idea of a conventional photo printer is, it is still one of the bestselling photo printers on the market.

The Sprocket 200 allows you to print your photos very quickly via Bluetooth, and the HP Sprocket app is very simple to use. Photos tend to take about 25-30 seconds to print, which is no time at all really considering their high quality.

It’s the perfect option for someone who’s looking to print out their Facebook and Instagram photos quickly. You can pick up the Sprocket photo paper, which is of a decent quality although it is expensive. You can buy then in bulk to make them cheaper (they’re still around 40p a photo, which is pretty expensive).

It prints on 2×3 inch paper, which means that they’re relatively small. Another good thing about the Sprocket is the size, which is similar to that of a smartphone, making it very portable. In fact, if you only want to print out small photos, then it’s probably the best portable photo printer on the market.

So who isn’t the HP Sprocket for? Well, as I’ve mentioned it’s going to be an Instagrammer’s best friend, and it’s perfect for those that want to print sticky photos that they can decorate their laptops or mirror with. However, if you don’t stick the photo, then eventually they tend to curl a little in the corners.

Of course, this isn’t going to be a viable option for those who are looking to print varied sizes of photos, or have the ability to print documents too. So, the Sprocket 200 has its perfect niche as the ideal gift for kids and teenagers, but it isn’t a “serious” photo printer.

Pros

Ultra portable.
Solid photo quality.
Set up with your phone in minutes.

Cons

Very high price per print.
Photos can be tinted.

Verdict: For most people, the best photo printer will be simple and easy to use. There’s none simpler than the HP Sprocket, which is ideal for any Instagram user.


Canon Selphy CP1300

Canon Selphy CP1300 Compact Photo Printer - Black

Ink Costs: Average | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: No | Print Quality (DPI): 300×300 | Pages per minute: Postcards take 47 seconds

Another good option for those looking for a good photo printer is the Canon Selphy CP1300. It is a similar price to the HP Sprocket, but it’s a little different in terms of performance.

Why? Well instead of using the typical inkjet tech that most of us are probably used to, it uses thermal sublimation instead. What does this mean for us? Well, depending on who you ask, they’ll probably prefer one or the other type of printing technology.

A sublimation printer uses heat to transfer dye onto the photo instead of the standard ink method. This results in a more costly price per photo, but also a supposedly better quality too. However, I think there wouldn’t be much difference in the quality between these two printers.

Oh, and don’t be put off by the low dpi of this printer. It’s 300x300dpi, whereas you’ll see inkjet printers that are 4800x1200dpi and assume that this is better, or more detailed. Well, this just isn’t the case with thermal sublimation printers, and a sublimation 300x300dpi can be equal or even more impressive than an inkjet with more dpi.

So, the Canon Selphy CP1300 is another great photo producing printer that might be one of the best around. You’ll want to use this printer with glossy photo paper if you’re looking for the best results.

Pros

Ultra portable.
Solid photo quality.
Set up with your phone in minutes.

Cons

Very high price per print.
Photos can be tinted.

Verdict: For most people, the best photo printer will be simple and easy to use. There’s none simpler than the HP Sprocket, which is ideal for any Instagram user.


Epson Expression Photo XP-8600

Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 Print/Scan/Copy Wi-Fi Printer, Black

Ink Costs: Average | Sheet capacity: 100 sheets | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: Yes | Print Quality (DPI): 5760×1440 | Pages per minute: 32

This is a home printer that’s specifically been designed to be able to produce high quality prints. It has a 5760x1440dpi, which gives it the ability to produce some very in depth and detailed photographs.

What’s there to like about this printer? Well, aside from being easy to set up, it’s also very easy to navigate too – this is due to the large display which is quite intuitive to use.

It uses good quality inks to help produce vibrant photos, which you can print in a variety of different sizes too. So if you’re looking to print postcards and A4 sizes, then this has that ability.

It makes photo printing pretty easy, as you can set it up with the Epson iPrint app. This way, you can easily use a QR code to connect the two together, and it will allow you to connect more than just one device with this model too.

Other devices say they do this, but the reality is that it can end up being annoying when you have too many devices that tend to disconnect for no reason.

As well as being great for photos, it’s also pretty good as a standard printer, scanner and copier too. So if you’re looking for an inkjet printer that can be used to photo print, this is a good selection.

Pros

Option to print in different sizes.
Not too costly.
Good for scanning and copying too.

Cons

No borderless printing at smaller sizes.
Epson support isn’t great.

Verdict: Probably the best A4 photo printer you can find, at a pretty reasonable price too.


HP Envy Photo 6230

HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One Wi-Fi Photo Printer with 4 Months of Instant Ink Included, Black

Ink Costs: Average | Sheet capacity: 125 sheets | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: Yes | Print Quality (DPI): 4800×1200 | Pages per minute: 22

If you’re looking for more than just a photo printer, then you might want to think about the HP Envy Photo 6230. It’s still a good photo printer, but you get all the other features that you might need too.

It’s an all-in-one model, which means that it’s also a scanner and a copier too. It prints quite fast in monochrome at a rate of 22 pages per minute. However, in colour it prints a little slower, at a rate of 8 pages per minute. It’s easy to connect to via USB or via Wifi, with it having both Airprint and HP ePrint capabilities.

This printer is ideal for those who need to print photos often, but also need to print regular documents in black ink too. Whilst it isn’t the fastest printer, it definitely gets the job done.

The price is also something that stands out about the Envy 6230, with it typically being available for a reasonable price. It is also capable of two-sided printing, which is a definite plus.

Pros

Can use with the HP Instant Ink service.
Nice design and build.
Document printing quality is good.

Cons

Poor wireless connectivity.
Control panel is difficult to use.

Verdict: Nothing really stands out about the HP Envy 6230, but it’s still one of the most popular photo printers of the last 5 years.


Canon Pixma MG5750

Canon Pixma MG5750 4800 x 1200dpi Inkjet Printer A4 Wifi Multifunctional - Multifunction (Inkjet Printer, Colour Print, Copy Colour, Digitisation Colour, Art Print, 4800 x 1200 dpi)

Ink Costs: Average | Sheet capacity: 100 sheets | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: Yes | Print Quality (DPI): 4800×1200 | Pages per minute: 12

A good printer for those looking to print more than just photos is the Pixma MG5750. Whilst it does print colours to a high quality, it can also be used as a workhorse to print anything else you need.

If you need to print a variety of different sizes, like A5 and envelopes, then this model might suit you. It comes with an in built scanner too, and it’s very easy to set it up and start printing.

It’s also reliable, so if you’re looking for something to replace a broken printer, this could be the one for you. Whilst this isn’t a dedicated photo printer, it’s ideal for those that need to create a variety of different prints.

One of the main reasons why the Pixma line has been so successful is because they tend to be very easy to use. You can download the Canon print app for both iOS and Android, and this will allow you to print as and when you need to.

In general, Canon printers tend to be a little more efficient with ink than the cheaper HP and Epson models too. So, it’s a good choice if you’re after a fairly cheap printer that can do everything.

Pros

Print quality is above average.
Can use with any of your devices.
Simple enough setup process.

Cons

Quite slow to print.
Noisy when in use.

Verdict: This compact printer prints to a really high standard, ideal for art and photos.


Canon Pixma Pro-100S

Canon PIXMA Pro-100S Inkjet Printer - Black, Grey

Ink Costs: Low | Wifi Printing: Yes | Scanner: Yes | Print Quality (DPI): 4800×2400 | Pages per minute: About 34 seconds per photo

Another good printer from the Canon Pixma line is the Pixma Pro 100-S, which has the ability to print very high quality photo prints. It has solid connectivity whether you want to use a USB or wireless.

What’s great about this model is that it can actually print all the way up to A3 size, which means that if you want to create larger glossy prints, then you can pretty easily. It allows easy wireless printing, and although it doesn’t have the best print speed, it’s quality over quantity.

This model has a high print resolution, and it gives vivid colours ideal for those that need for than just black and white. It’s also compatible with a variety of different paper types and qualities, so if you want to print on specialist paper, this would be a wise choice.

All in all, the Canon Pixma Pro 100s is undoubtedly one of the better printers out there for those looking to print photos. It’s reasonably priced, and it will help you to produce some excellent colours.

Pros

Borderless photo printing.
Ideal for use with Adobe software.
Works well with glossy paper.

Cons

Quite expensive.
Not the best print definition.

Verdict: If you need an A3 photo printer, then the Canon Pixma Pro-100S should be on your shortlist.


Common Questions about Photo Printers

Are Inkjet Printers good for photos?

Yes, inkjet printers are generally the best choice if you’re looking to print photos, and perform better than other printer types. This is because they produce better colours, and they definitely print better onto different types of paper, like photo paper.

Are photo printers worth it?

Photo printers are worth the investment if you’re going to use them to their full potential! Whilst it’s all well and good having photos on your social media, sometimes it’s nice to have a tangible photograph as evidence of an occasion.

Should I get the HP Sprocket?

The HP Sprocket definitely has it’s niche – giving the ability to recreate small pictures very quickly. They’re portable and relatively cheap, and they suit most casual photographers. However, if you want to print larger and different sized photos, you’ll need to look at something else.

Can you print photos on a normal printer?

Yes, you can actually print photos on photo paper with a normal printer. This might prove to be a better choice for those who are looking for a printer that they can use for more than just photo printing.

Is it worth printing photos at home?

You might be wondering if it’s worth printing your photos at home instead of getting them professionally done. The answer is that if you’re looking to get photos printed as a one off and can’t see yourself doing it again anytime soon, go to a store and get them done. If you’re looking to print photos fairly regularly, then opt for a good photo printer and print them at home.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many different photo printers available that we can choose from, and depending on what you’re looking for, they may or may not suit you. Whether you’re looking to create your own postcards, or you just want to print out your Facebook pics, a dedicated photo printer is a good investment.

If you’re looking for something small and cute to use, then a printer like the HP Sprocket might work for you. But if you’re looking to recreate bigger photos, then there’s plenty of options for those here too.

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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