We snap tons of photos with our iPhones daily, and sometimes, we want to print those memories out. That’s why there are plenty of photo printers out there that let us connect wirelessly with our iPhone to print photos, but we think the Polaroid ZIP is one of the best options available.
This Black Friday, you should expect to find many great sales and deals on portable photo printers. You can find brands like Polaroid, Canon, and Kodak at popular retailers like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and many more, and even the manufacturers themselves. With Black Friday, there will be steep discounts on many of the printers that we mention here, among others, so it’s a great time to snatch up a portable photo printer for yourself for those holiday memories. We will be updating our Buyer’s Guides with the best shopping advice, and our deals team will be picking up those hot Black Friday deals and discounts, so make sure to check back often for the best prices right here.
Best Overall: Polaroid ZIP
When it comes to iPhone photo printers, the smaller they are, the better. The Polaroid ZIP clocks in at 0.87-by-2.91-by-4.72 inches, so it’s fairly small and compact enough to carry around daily, and the rechargeable battery prints 25 photos on a single charge. It connects to your iPhone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and all you need is the free Polaroid mobile app, where you select and edit the photos to print out, or connect it to your social media accounts. The app also lets you add fun things like stickers, filters, borders, create a mini collage, and more.
Prints from the Polaroid ZIP come out on 2×3 ZINK Zero Ink paper with sticky backs, which are the perfect size for scrapbooks, refrigerators, albums, and notebooks. Since the prints are on ZINK paper, that means there is no need for film, ink, toners, cartridges, or ribbons. Just connect, select, print! All of the printed photos come out colorful, bold, and lifelike, while also being water-resistant, tear-resistant, smudge-proof, and they dry within seconds.
- Small and compact
- Prints 25 photos on a single charge
- Connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- High-quality prints on sticky-backed ZINK paper
- Very affordable
- Only comes with 10 sheets of paper
- Paper refills can be expensive
- Prints only in 2×3 size
Great value and quality
Polaroid ZIP is a popular choice because it is compact, easy to use, and the ZINK prints are good quality.
Best Functionality: Canon SELPHY CP1300
While the Canon SELPHY is not the most compact printer out there, it does pack in a lot more functionality and features. The SELPHY connects via Bluetooth and is AirPrint compatible, so you can print directly from your iPhone via AirPrint or with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app. But that’s not all — SELPHY can also print directly from a USB device, or even your camera’s memory card.
The SELPHY also has a 3.2-inch tilting LCD screen, making it easy to choose, edit, and print out your favorite photos. But be warned that this screen may not be up to par compared with the screens on DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras, as it could be hard to make out fine details.
However, picture quality when printed is very good, as it can print up to Color256 levels per color (16.8 million colors). Canon SELPHY can also print your pictures out in multiple sizes, from Postcard 4×6, Large 3×4, Card 2×3, and Square 2×2 sizes. The prints also dry instantly, should last up to 100 years, and are water-resistant. The output tray capacity for the paper tray is about 18 sheets at once, and it has an optional battery pack to carry with you.
So while the Canon SELPHY works great with your iPhone, it is compatible with your digital cameras and USB devices, too, making it much more versatile.
- AirPrint, USB, memory card compatible
- Very high-quality prints
- Affordable price
- Prints in multiple sizes
- Dries instantly, water-resistant prints
- Bulkier and heavier than other photo printers
- LCD screen not that great quality
Canon SELPHY CP1300
Does it all
SELPHY is bulky but packs a punch. Connect via Bluetooth and AirPrint, or use a USB or memory card for high-quality prints.
Best Large Prints: Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer
A lot of the portable photo printers only print out in the small 2×3 size, which isn’t ideal if you want to frame them to display. If you want larger prints, like the standard 4×6 size, then the Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer is a good option.
While it is not as compact and even a bit bulky, it’s worth it for the 4×6 printing capability. The Dock connects directly to your iPhone via an adapter (and charges it while printing), or you can connect via USB cable or Wi-Fi. The Kodak Printer Dock app lets you put stickers, filters, card templates, and more on your photos for extra fun.
As far as prints go, the Kodak Dock uses thermal transfer technology, so there isn’t ink to deal with, but you do need to get the photo cartridges. Prints will be vivid in color, and high resolution, so fine details should appear. The thermal print won’t bleed or fade, so they’ll last quite a while.
- Prints 4×6 size
- Simultaneous charging of multiple devices
- Connects via Dock adapter, USB cable, or Wi-Fi
- High-quality prints
- App lets you customize and edit photos before printing
- Not very compact
- Requires photo cartridges
Best Large Prints
Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer
Large prints from home
Kodak Dock can do 4×6 size prints. The Dock also charges simultaneously, and you can connect via USB or Wi-Fi.
Best Innovation: Lifeprint Portable Photo and Video Printer
Looking for a printer that can do more than just print photos? If so, then consider Lifeprint — it does some wickedly cool Harry Potter magic to your prints to make them come to life through augmented reality (AR).
The Lifeprint printer is small and compact enough for you to take anywhere and wow your friends, as long as you’re connected through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iPhone. With Lifeprint, you can print photos from your device from the Lifeprint app, or just connect it to your social media accounts and print directly from there. The app also lets you share your real photos to friends and family (as long as they have the app), so they can print your photos from wherever they are too.
Prints with Lifeprint use ZINK technology, so you don’t need ink cartridges or toner. The 3×4 size Lifeprint printer also means you get larger prints than the standard 2×3 sizes of other printers, though Lifeprint also comes in a smaller size if you want.
The real fun with Lifeprint lies behind the AR technology. This works by having the app embed a video inside of your photo print, and then you can view the video as you point your device’s camera at it through the Lifeprint app. Think of the moving pictures in the world of Harry Potter, because that’s what this is similar to.
It’s definitely different, and you shouldn’t expect high-quality prints from Lifeprint, but the added AR element spices things up from the norm.
- Small and compact size
- Two sizes available (2×3 or 3×4)
- Unique AR element
- Connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, one-touch printing
- Uses ZINK technology
- Definitely “gimmicky”
- Not the best quality prints
Lifeprint Portable Photo and Video Printer
Lifeprint’s AR implementation lets you be more creative. It’s pricey, though, and the prints aren’t the best quality.
Best Value: Polariod Mint Pocket Printer
Those on a budget should check out the Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer. It is small and compact, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.
Polaroid Mint connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can download the Polaroid Mint app for all of your photo printing needs. With the app, you can choose and edit the photos you want printed, and do fun things like adding borders, filters, drawings, and more before you print them out. The prints are on 2×3 sticky-backed ZINK paper, and there are no ink or toner cartridges to worry about. Plus, it’s simple to use, and the rechargeable battery lasts around 50 prints per charge.
- Super compact
- Charges fast
- Easy to use
- Decent prints
- Connects via Bluetooth
- Only prints in 2×3 size
- Starter pack only contains 10 sheets of ZINK paper
Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer
Simple and affordable
Polaroid Mint is small enough to carry every day. It’s easy to use and has good quality prints on 2×3 ZINK paper.
There are plenty of great portable photo printers to work with your iPhone, but our favorite is still the Polaroid ZIP. It’s not a new product, but it works very well and is a trendy pick in the market for good reason. The prints from it are high quality for the price, and it’s compact enough to be carried around everywhere you go.
It also uses ZINK Zero Ink technology in the paper, so you don’t need to worry about annoying ink cartridges and toner. Plus, the app lets you get creative with your photos by letting you add stickers, filters, borders, and even making collages to print out. The ZINK paper is also sticky-backed, so you can easily add it to scrapbooks or journals, or trade with friends and family.
How to find the best Black Friday deals on portable photo printers
The holidays are upon us, and that means a lot of photos with friends, family, and others who mean a lot to you (hopefully). What better way to remember and preserve these memories than with printed photos? Having a portable photo printer with you means you can connect to it and print your photos anytime, anywhere, and even let your friends and family get their favorite photographic memories printed out as well. After all, it’s the holidays, and a lot of precious memories are going to be made right now. The printers that we mention in this guide are highly rated and have their unique strengths and weaknesses, so we wanted to have a good variety depending on your own needs.
For Black Friday, you should expect lots of sales and discounts on big name brands like Polaroid, Kodak, Canon, Fujifilm, and more. Portable photo printers can be found at a lot of big-box retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Office Max and Office Depot, and more, along with online retailers like Amazon. Many of them are very affordable, and Black Friday sales will help you save even more. With portable photo printers being so cheap, there is little reason to not have one these days, especially after Black Friday.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Christine Romero-Chan is a big fan of iPhone photography and loves to go out and take pictures with her iPhone. She likes to get those pictures printed out now and then, so she knows about iPhone photo printers like the back of her hand.
Source of the article – iMore