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Which instant photo printer is best? 

In our increasingly digital world, printed photographs can give us that much-needed nostalgia of a more tangible past. If you’re looking for a way to bring digital or smartphone photography back into your hands, look no further than an instant photo printer. 

These little printers are compatible with your phone to make printing off your photos a breeze. They can be used anywhere and most even boast connectivity to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, making the process that much easier. 

As a top choice, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Photo Printer is a great portable instant photo printer that’s versatile enough to print in various sizes. 

What to know before you buy an instant photo printer 

Paper type

Usually, each instant photo printer will come with its own specifications. Buying paper refills for instant photo printers can get pricey, so be careful to consider the cost of the paper refills before buying any one instant photo printer. A cheap printer won’t be so cheap in the long run if the paper refills are expensive. 

Smartphone compatibility 

Most instant photo printers come with some sort of wireless connectivity to smartphones, whether that be via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Android’s NFC (near-field communication) technology. If you’re an iPhone user, it’s probably best to steer clear of printers that only use some form of NFC. 

Some instant photo printers will need you to physically connect your smartphone to the printer via a cable. This is easy enough but tends to be more complicated than a wireless connection. 


While some instant photo printers are built to be used on the go, you will need to buy batteries for them. This can either be a pro or a con, depending on your specific needs and situation. 

If you don’t intend on traveling with your instant photo printer, it may be best to buy one that’s intended to stay plugged in and stationary to cut down on the cost of batteries. 

What to look for in a quality instant photo printer 

Wireless connectivity 

As previously mentioned, most instant photo printers will come with wireless connectivity. The important thing to consider is the type of wireless connectivity that your instant photo printer will use. If you have an iPhone, it’s important to look for instant photo printers that can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. 

Photo editing software and apps 

Some instant photo printers come with smartphone apps that not only help with getting connected to the printer but will also allow you to make minor edits to your photos to ensure you end up with a great print. Different printers, and by extension their respective apps, will offer different features. 

For example, the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer comes with an app that allows you to add fun embellishments like stickers to your photos before printing them. 

Different sizes of photos 

 Kodak Mini 2 HD

Every instant photo printer will come with its own specifications when it comes to photo size. Some printers, like the Canon SELPHY, can print photos in various sizes, while others, like the Kodak Mini 2 HD, will limit you to one size of photo. 

How much you can expect to spend on an instant photo printer 

Instant photo printers can range from the budget-friendly price of $30 for cheaper models to upwards of $150 for premium models with higher photo quality. 

Instant photo printer FAQ

Can I print photos directly from social media? 

A. Most instant photo printers will offer a feature that allows you to print directly from social media sites, such as Instagram or Facebook. But sometimes photo quality can take a significant hit when printing from the internet due to the compressed file of the photo. 

Do I have to use paper from the same brand as my instant photo printer? 

A. In short, yes. Using paper from the same brand will ensure that you are getting the highest quality prints. You can research to see if there are any cheaper off-brand paper options that are compatible with your specific instant photo printer. 

What’s the best instant photo printer to buy?

Top instant photo printer 

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Photo Printer 

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Photo Printer 

What you need to know: This is a heftier model boasting great print quality. Canon is a regular and trusted name in printing and photography. 

What you’ll love: Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi coupled with fast print times makes the Canon SELPHY stand apart from the competition. 

What you should consider: The printer can have some trouble maintaining a connection to smartphones. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top instant photo printer for the money

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer 

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer 

What you need to know: The ZINK printing technology is great and cuts down on print times. This is great for people that want a truly portable printer. 

What you’ll love: This printer is great for scrapbookers. The app for this printer comes with the option to add stickers to customize your photos before printing and the printer’s paper has an adhesive backside. 

What you should consider: You can only print 3×3 photos and you won’t get the best print quality. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Kodak Dock Plus Instant Printer 

Kodak Dock Plus Instant Printer 

What you need to know: This instant printer is outstanding for its printer quality but is less portable than other models. 

What you’ll love: The Kodak Dock Plus prints standard 4×6 photos with beautiful quality. The photos are fade-resistant and waterproof so that they’ll stand the test of time. 

What you should consider: There is no wireless connectivity. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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