Compact shape is slimmer than others. Uses dye-sublimation technology for vivid, detailed photos on 2 x 3 paper. Prints are water and fade-resistant. Good speed at 1 page in less than 50 seconds. Connects via Bluetooth.
Only uses Polaroid Hi Print paper. Not compatible with Zink or other photo paper.
Uses Zink zero-ink paper technology. No need for ink cartridges. Adhesive Zink paper refills relatively easy to find. Connects wirelessly to iOS or Android via Bluetooth or NFC. Prints 1 page per minute. Battery lasts 25 pages on a full charge. Several fun color options.
Many customers feel Zink photos are inferior in quality to dye-sub.
Uses Zink zero-ink paper to forgo ink or dye cartridges. Self-sticking 2 x 3-inch paper is relatively easy to find. Can print up up to 35 sheets on a single charge. Can be shared with multiple devices for group printing. Uses Bluetooth 5.0; sleeps or wakes wirelessly.
Zink technology doesn't produce highest-quality photos. Software setup can seem intrusive.
Produces impressive quality prints due to unique dye transfer method. No complaints about color distortion, compared to competing brands. Compact and lightweight. Uses Bluetooth to print several feet away from your iPhone. Also connects through WiFi, and can even print on an airplane. Loved for how easy it is to use. Comes in a variety of colors.
Difficult to find refill cartridges online, but consumers were able to order them from local photo shops.
It can connect to multiple devices at once. It’s got a ton of features for decorating and captioning photos. Lightweight and iPhone-sized for compact printing while on the go. Includes 2-inch x 3-inch glossy photo paper with optional sticky back to turn your photos into stickers. Can connect to your social media accounts to turn online into IRL photos. Easy to use connection via Bluetooth and downloadable app.
It’s pricier than competitors with similar features. Reports of the result containing too much blue.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
It’s no secret that the iPhones have some of the best mobile cameras out there — but what do you do when you want to print your photos? Traditional printers can take forever to make prints, and they guzzle ink like crazy, so they’re not always the best option for printing your favorite memories. That’s where instant photo printers come in: they wirelessly connect to your iPhone and allow you to use an app to send photos for printing.
Instant photo printers are a throwback to the days of Polaroid Instant Cameras, but now, they can print any photo you’ve got on your smartphone or that you see on social media. Some deliver high-quality prints at traditional sizes, so you can print frame-worthy photos yourself, while others print pictures on sticker paper or only print to smaller sizes like 2 by 3 inches.
Whether you want scrapbook-ready photos or you just love the novelty of printing at whatever size you want, there are plenty of good options available.
There are a lot of instant photo printers for iPhones out there, but many of them are designed for specific use cases and lifestyles. Before you start looking, consider these questions — they’ll help you narrow your search.
This is the most important question to answer because most instant photo printers can only print to one or two sizes. Think about what you’ll be doing with your photos, and make the decision accordingly. For example, if you want to print photos for a physical photo album, get one that prints to larger sizes like 4 by 6 inches.
Just because your iPhone is mobile doesn’t mean your photo printer needs to be as well! If you’re planning on doing most of your photo printing at home, you can opt for a photo printer that isn’t portable, and usually save a few bucks in the process.
Different instant photo printers can look similar — they’re all small, nondescript boxes that have an opening on one end where photos come out. They’re definitely not all the same, though, and there are key features that set the best models apart.
Wireless printing. This is the crucial feature. Wireless printing makes the entire process easier. Most instant photo printers use Bluetooth to transmit photos for printing, but more advanced models have on-board WiFi, which means that your phone doesn’t even have to be in the same room — just on the same network.
Social media integration. If you spend a lot of time on social media, an instant photo printer can be a great way to preserve your favorite memories. Whether you want to print out pictures of your family barbecue or your favorite meme, some instant photo printers can print photos directly from your accounts.
Rechargeable batteries. Some instant photo printers for iPhones have built-in batteries, so you can recharge them as many times as you need. Others operate on traditional power sources like AA batteries or a wall outlet. The former has convenience, although it does mean making sure the printer is charged before taking it anywhere.
Photo editing. All instant photo printers for iPhones come with their own proprietary apps for sending your pictures to print, but some apps have more features than others. The best apps have photo editing capabilities, so you can crop your pictures, adjust the lighting, and, in some cases, add captions.
Between $50 and $100, you’ll find instant photo printers for iPhones that are portable and print to smaller sizes like 2 by 3 inches. Instant photo printers in this price range are fun for printing mini-photos, and even stickers, but the image quality isn’t always amazing at this size. If you’re a casual photographer or you just want to share small prints with your friends, you don’t need to spend much more than this.
Between $100 and $150, expect to see instant photo printers for iPhones that print full-size photographs and deliver image quality that rival what you can get from a professional photo lab. If you want archive-ready photos, this is the price range where you’ll find the best bang for your buck.
Between $150 and $300, you’ll find, for the most part, overpriced instant photo printers, and some bundles. Bundles can sometimes be a good deal, because you’ll end up saving on accessories, but in most cases, it’s not worth it to spend this much.
Before you get a specific instant photo printer for iPhones, check to see how much replacement film costs. Some instant photo printers for iPhones use standard sizes of photo paper like 4 by 6 inches, but others only print to unique sizes. Do some research ahead of time to find out how much you’ll need to spend to replace film in your instant printer — you may find that your best option changes when you factor in the long-term cost of ownership.
If you need to print fast, choose an instant photo printer that uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth. Instant photo printers for iPhones will use either WiFi or Bluetooth to transmit photos, and they’re both capable technologies — but WiFi is much faster. If you don’t like waiting for your pictures to print, get a model that supports WiFi printing.
Q. Do instant photo printers use ink like traditional printers?
A. No. Instant photo printers either use specially formulated ink that dries quickly or toner — in either case, there’s no risk of colors bleeding. Most instant photo printers for iPhones will brand their printing process, but that’s mainly so you’ll be required to get more printing supplies from the same company.
Q. Why do some instant photo printers list NFC as a connectivity option? What is NFC?
A. Near-Field Communication, also known as NFC, is a wireless protocol that can transfer data between two devices at high speeds, so long as the devices are in close range. While iPhones do have NFC chips inside, they’re used exclusively for mobile payments, and can’t be used for other accessories. However, NFC connectivity for printing photos is available on most Android phones.
Q. How expensive are replacement photo cartridges and ink for instant photo printers?
A. It depends. If you’re printing to standard sizes, photo paper is readily available and inexpensive, but if you get an instant photo printer that only works with proprietary replacement cartridges, it can get pricey. Expect to pay anywhere between $15 and $30 for a single replacement cartridge, although you can typically get a price break by getting supplies in bulk.