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Photo printing

Best compact photo printers

By Katie Waller

Article 4 of 4

While pricier and less versatile than all-in-one photo printers, the best compact photo printers are great for printing snaps. We round up the best compact photo printers.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Interested in printing other documents or photos at larger sizes? Take a look at our full printer reviews.

The best compact photo printer for you

Many of us take snaps with our smartphone cameras and post them to social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Compact photo printers are designed to make it just as quick and easy to print those images, too.

A compact photo printer produces small photos, usually in 6x4 or 3x2-inch sizes. They generally use inkjet or a specialist printing technology.

Below you can find out which of the compact photo printers we've tested do the best job. To produce our test score we rate each printer on its print speed and on the quality of the photos printed, not to mention features such as built-in editing options and a colour screen. 

We also take a thorough measure of print costs, to ensure these printers won’t empty your wallet every time you print your holiday snaps.

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Printer Our verdict Guide price Score
Printer logged out
£129 73%

This Best Buy compact photo printer turns out great quality small photos whether you're printing from a computer, camera or memory card. The controls are incredibly easy to use and a high capacity ribbon is available to keep printing costs as low as possible if you print a lot of photos. 

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Printer logged out
£70 72%

You'll get high quality small photos from this Best Buy compact photo printer and once dry, prints won't smudge even if you get a drop of water on them. It may not have built-in wi-fi, but you can purchase a Bluetooth adapter separately for printing from smartphones and you can also get a portable battery pack for it. 

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Printer logged out
£145 69%

It doesn't score highly enough in our tests to trouble our Best Buys, but this printer is easily portable and fairly quick to print small photos too.

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Printer logged out
£122 45%

 Proof that not all compact photo printers can print great photo prints, this slimline portable printer produces slightly low contrast prints that are more expensive than the competition. 

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How we test compact photo printers

Compact photo printers will connect to a computer, but they’re really designed to print direct from a camera or memory card. We test the printers in both scenarios, to see whether the prints taken directly from a card match those you might get from your computer, and whether print speeds are much slower, as can sometimes be the case.

We print and carefully assess a range of photos, enabling us to compare print speeds and photo quality between rival printers, so we can find one that will do your snaps justice.

Some compact photo printers are expensive to run, requiring not just print cartridges but a special photo paper, often bundled together in a pack. Many will also print from a smartphone through a wi-fi or Bluetooth connection, though you may need optional extras to make this work. We highlight these additional costs in our reviews.

Compact photo printers are becoming an endangered species. That’s partly because of the affordability and versatility of standard A4 inkjet printers, which have become a more popular choice for printing both documents and photos. If you’re determined to print quality photos, don’t rule out an A4 inkjet printer.