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What are the features that make for the compact printer? As the title suggests, you need to look for a smaller size than standard office printers. The added portability that comes from a smaller footprint and lighter weight is invaluable and one of the biggest selling points in this category.
A close second is the printers’ connectivity options. While virtually all small printers have physical connectivity in the form of a USB port, the best printer also offers wireless technology and connectivity. These printers should be able to connect to your laptop or mobile devices with ease to access your documents, images, and graphics for print jobs. They may even be able to connect to cloud storage options like Google Cloud Print or iCloud.
Finally, portable printers also offer built-in batteries and adjustable paper trays for use on the go, so you can use various paper sizes. Additional features may include the ability to print on both plain paper and photo paper or scanning functionality. Keep reading to learn more about the best compact printers.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: We love this printer’s excellent AI voice assistant support, which provides granular controls through the hands-free mode for fine-tuning your prints at the last moment. Being mainly an inkjet printer, it is also more power-efficient than its laser counterparts.
Being an inkjet model, the HP DeskJet 3755 Compact Printer is exceptionally efficient both in terms of its overall ink usage and electricity usage while in operation. It also has an ENERGY STAR certification to go along with that. In addition to that, you get four months’ worth of free ink through the HP instant ink subscription. However, this can also be a limiting factor as the cost of ink is pretty high.
Despite not having an auto document feeder (ADF), this inkjet printer is capable of printing out up to eight black and white pages per minute (PPM) and up to five and a half color prints per minute without facing any slowdowns. It has two high-volume input (60 sheets) and output (25 sheets) paper trays that help with substantial workloads. It also has a high-resolution flatbed scanner for digitally copying and storing essential documents for backups.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This printer features a high-capacity 250-sheet paper tray, which is fantastic for those who regularly perform high-volume printing. And it has a ton of connectivity options that allow the user to print from pretty much any device.
The Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer has many connectivity options, including NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi for wireless communication, and an extensive USB interface that allows the user to keep this printer connected with pretty much every device in their homes. This best wireless printer for home provides reliably fast printing without facing the hassle of reconnecting. However, it does not come with an auto document feeder that most printing shops require for extreme printing workloads.
Despite the lack of an ADF, it does have a high-capacity paper tray (250 sheets) which should be more than enough to handle the high volume workload of a small office. This best printer for a small business also has an excellent Wi-Fi range thanks to the built-in high gain Wi-Fi chip, and as a result, you can easily move this printer to any part of your room without losing wireless connectivity whatsoever, just like any other compact and portable wireless printer in its range.
Award: BEST COLOR PRINTING SPEED
WHY WE LIKE IT: It continuously has an extremely fast printing speed of up to 26 pages in a minute. Moreover, it has a 250-sheet paper tray, which helps out tremendously during high-volume printing workloads; excellent for a portable printer.
The Canon imageCLASS LBP6230dw Laser Printer is an excellent portable color printer for professionals that care about printing speeds. It is capable of printing up to 26 fully colored pages per minute continuously. Best of all, it has a monthly duty cycle of up to 8000 pages, which is some of the highest you can get in its range. However, its high printing speed does not come without any drawbacks, as its print quality suffers at those breakneck speeds.
Despite being mainly a portable and compact printer, it has support for auto-duplexing. And that allows this printer to automatically print content on both sides of a paper, reducing waste in the process. The brand’s printing ecosystem is also extremely easy to use, as it connects all your devices, including your laptop, desktop, and smartphone, to the same home network. It is also exceptionally easy to set up, even for a new user.
Award: BEST PORTABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: We adore this printer’s small size and lightweight body, allowing the user to easily carry it anywhere. Furthermore, the ecosystem blends well with supported devices and internet-based printing, enabling the user to print from anywhere.
As the Epson PictureMate PM-400 is an inkjet printer; it has a fairly nominal ink and electricity usage cycle. And that is partly due to its small and lightweight body and compact design. Another benefit its small body provides is portability, which is exceptionally useful for a photo printer of its caliber. But you might not be able to use third-party ink cartridges with this model, which are usually cheaper.
Besides ink refilling, the Epson ecosystem offers a net benefit to this system, as it pairs exceptionally well with supported devices for wireless and internet-based printing. And that means you can take a photo in anywhere in the world, and as long as your printer is on standby and connected to an internet connection at your home, you can directly send the same file over for printing. It is also capable of printing out a high-resolution photo within just 36seconds.
Award: BEST CONNECTIVITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This monochrome printer has a ton of connectivity options. In addition to that, despite being a portable printer, it supports a wide variety of paper types and sizes with a fast printing speed.
The Pantum P2502W Wireless Laser Printer is a supremely fast model, as it can print out up to 23 pages per minute. Moreover, this monochrome printer boasts a broad range of connectivity options, from WiFi to wired USB 2.0, for printing from a desktop PC. Furthermore, it is also exceptionally easy to set up for the first time. However, it gets very hot and loud after a while if you subject it to a continuous high-volume printing workload.
It automates most of the tricky parts in order to help novice users connect it to their existing home networks. And best of all, it comes with an included ink cartridge starter kit that is capable of handling up to 700 pages, depending on the content. Despite being a laser printer, this model does not consume too much electricity or ink during operation, which makes it a viable and economical option for those looking for an efficient laser printer.
Award: BEST BLACK AND WHITE PRINT SPEED
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is a speedy printer that can print up to 36 black and white duplexed pages per minute without any slowdowns. It also supports Google Cloud printing, allowing users to print from anywhere in the world through the internet.
The Lexmark B2236dw Monochrome Compact Printer is a portable laser printer that sports an exceptionally fast printing speed of up to 36 pages per minute on a continuous basis without succumbing to slowdowns. In addition, it also supports auto-duplexing, which is very useful for saving paper as it automatically prints on both sides of a sheet, depending on the printing content. However, as it is a laser printer, it isn’t very efficient in terms of ink and power usage.
This printer also features an LCD display on top of its central control panel that displays the printing modes and status in real time. Moreover, thanks to its WiFi, USB, and ethernet ports, this printer does not fall behind in connectivity.
Simply put, compact printers are smaller, or mini, versions of standard office printers. Many of these tend to be the best small printers for home. They still perform the same function as other printers: printing images and text onto plain paper. They just do it in a more portable and flexible way. And, some of these little printers can also rank as the best printer with cheap ink. One good alternative to a compact printer is the advanced Bluetooth printer which enables you to print documents from your other gadget using wireless connectivity.
While they can be used as traditional printers, some of these compact printers can be great printers for photographers or for printing on envelopes. It depends primarily on your needs.
Compact printers and traditional printers share the exact same function. Their purpose is to take an image or text document from your computer or phone and print it onto a piece of paper. And, because of their small size, they tend to be great small printers for a home office or a good compact home printer. However, the essential form factor of the two printers is fundamentally different.
The best small mini printer takes size and portability to the next level. Compact printers are meant to be either taken with you or placed in tight spaces with ease. However, it’s important to note that this decrease in size can sometimes mean a sacrifice when it comes to multi-functionality. For such a device with multifunctionality, have a look at the Brother Mobile Color Page Scanner DS-620.
Moreover, many of the best compact wireless printers don’t give you scanning or faxing capabilities. They also tend to have smaller ink reserves and minimal paper trays, if they even include a paper tray at all. So, if you’re considering using the best small wireless printer for home use, make sure you don’t need a printer with multiple functions. But, for those who just need a good small color printer for home photos or simple occasional printing, then a compact printer for home use is best.
As you might expect, compact printers function in essentially the same way as traditional office printers. Most commonly, mini printers are compact inkjet printers, which use ink cartridges to deposit tiny drops of ink onto the paper. Laser printers usually don’t make an appearance in the compact category since the printing technology inside them is larger overall. So, if you’re looking for compact laser printers, this isn’t the category for you. And, if you want all-in-one printers, then check out our comparison article on the Brother J805DW vs J995DW.
Some small printers are thermal printers, making them ultra-compact since they don’t require any ink. Instead, this printer type utilizes thermal paper to create your prints. The printer features a heating element to which the paper reacts. The downside of compact thermal printers is that they only print in monochrome. Therefore, avoid getting any compact desktop printer titled as a black and white printer. Otherwise, you won’t end up with the printer you want.
When it comes to power and connectivity, you have a wide variety of different options with small printers. You either get the best small Wi-Fi printer, which connects to your devices wirelessly, or the best small desktop printer, which connects via a USB cable. Small printers can be battery-powered but can usually be plugged directly into the wall.
While most compact printers sacrifice advanced functionality for a smaller footprint, there are some models that offer additional features. The most common addition you’ll find is scanning functionality.
Keep these tips in mind as you shop through the many best small home printers of 2023.
If you need mobile printing, a compact printer is an excellent option. Whether you’re a student, traveling business professional, or small business owner, the best small wireless printer can work wonders for you.
Additionally, you’ll need a small device if you’re using a printer for business, such as the best receipt printer. Using a compact printer also enables you to have more room in your home office. This can increase your office’s overall functionality, allowing you to have more elbow room and comfort.
Like most office printers, the best small home printer should last you anywhere from three to four years, according to a study conducted by InfoTrends. This fact assumes you are using your printer an average amount. If you use it less, you may get more life out of the printer. You may also see a decrease in lifespan if you use it more than average.
A compact printer’s lifespan can also be dramatically altered based on the environment in which you use it or in which you store it. For example, if your office space is dusty and dirty, you can expect some debris to make it into your printer and cause problems.
Similarly, if you carry our compact portable printer around in your backpack unprotected, it’s likely to get damaged in some way, shape, or form. Always use your printer in a clean environment and store it in a protective bag when transporting it.
Choosing the best compact printer ultimately comes down to determining your individual needs and finding an option that fits those needs. Before pressing that buy button, take some time to determine what you want your printer to do, including both your must-haves and wants.
Consider the following questions during your research. These questions will help you narrow down your compact printer needs so you can research options more strategically.
Your first order of business when purchasing a new compact printer is to decide how much portability you need. Consider these portability features:
Next, you’ll want to consider what compact printer type you want to purchase. There are two main types of printers to think about during this phase of your research:
Since most mini printers use inkjet printing technology, they are most often color and monochrome printers. However, some compact printers out there only print in black and white. Most monochrome compact printers are thermal printers.
Consider the types of prints you’re making and determine whether your need a black and white only option or if you also need color printing capabilities for color documents. Color printing for color photos will end up being more expensive over the long run, but you can’t beat the higher print quality.
While all compact printers offer the core printing functionality, many options offer more features and functionalities. While you may not be able to buy a true all-in-one printer in this category, you can still consider options with these features:
Finally, consider the type of connectivity you need. We touched upon this in the previous question, but it’s valuable to go further in-depth here. Let’s take a look at the most common types of connectivity: