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Best 4×6 photo printer 2024: our top portable printers

Find yourself a suitable 4x6 printer and start printing those fabulous photos
Last Updated on January 4, 2024
Hp photo printer with the text 'best 4x5 photo printer' along with our top portable & mobile printer picks for 2023.

In a world where everyone is obsessed with digital photo sharing, there’s something about photo prints that makes them unique. While some of the best photo printers can be quite expensive, the best 4×6 photo printers tend to be a bit more affordable.

Small 4 x 6 photos, in particular, are just adorable. You can stick them on your fridge or put them in your wallet to remember your favorite people. They also make some great photo books. 

These days, printing your own 4 x 6 photos is very easy. You just need a color printer that can print on 4 x 6 photo paper.

Products at a Glance

How we choose the best 4×6 photo printer

We’ve narrowed down all the best printers into this list based on several criteria: print quality, portability, and connectivity.

Some printers have the upper edge in certain areas while lacking some features in other compartments. For example, a printer that offers excellent photo print quality may have limited connectivity choices.

Depending on your priorities, you may favor certain features and functionalities over others.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Produces high-quality, smudge-free prints
  • Has an LCD control panel
  • Supports Wi-Fi
  • Prints via cloud services
CONS
  • Slow

The Canon Selphy CP1500 is arguably one of the best instant photo printers that you can take with you on vacation.

It uses dye sublimation technology to print vivid 4” x 6” photos. The best thing about this feature is that the ink dries up almost instantly, so you don’t have to worry about ink smudges or streaks.

At just 1.9 lbs, this Canon printer is pretty portable and will easily fit in your laptop’s backpack. On top of that, the Selphy is water-resistant, and while you’re not supposed to swim with it (who does that, anyway?), it can protect your printer in case of an accident. 

In terms of speed, the CP1500 is somewhat slow, giving you just one print per minute. On the flip side, greyscale photos come out very quickly. 

And while you’ll likely prefer to control the printer and print photos using the Canon smartphone app, you still get a built-in 3.5” LCD display that gives you another way to interact with the printer. You can even use it to edit your photos and add cool filters before printing.

As for connectivity, the Selphy connects to your phone via USB and Wi-Fi. You can also print directly from supported cloud services like Apple AirPrint.

2
PROS
  • Portable form factor with rechargeable battery
  • Supports wireless printing
  • Has a built-in scanner
  • Up to 225 prints per full battery recharge
CONS
  • High running costs
  • Slow

The HP OfficeJet 250 is another portable printer that can do more than just print 4” x 6” photos. It’s basically a fully-fledged all-in-one printer crammed in a compact body that makes moving it around much easier. 

 

It also has a built-in rechargeable battery that gives you up to 225 prints before you need to charge it. But of course, you can connect it to a power outlet and use it as a desktop printer.

 

As you’d expect from a portable inkjet printer, running costs are high compared to regular inkjet printers, which aren’t really economical in the first place. Nevertheless, it’s not really designed for volume printing, so you won’t likely end up spending much on ink. 

 

Print quality is surprisingly good, especially if we’re talking about small 4” x 6” photo prints. The colors look bright and we can’t really complain about the sharpness. Additionally, the OfficeJet’s scanner lets you scan and copy photos and documents on the go.

There’s a 2.65” color touchscreen that lets you execute quick print or scan commands and choose printing mode and paper type. 

Connectivity options include USB and Wi-Fi. However, for some reason, the USB port doesn’t recognize external hard drives, but you can use it to connect your smartphone or laptop. 

On the other hand, we love that the printer supports Wi-Fi Direct, so when there’s no internet connection, you can establish a direct connection between your device and the printer to print your photos. It’s basically Bluetooth on steroids.

Unfortunately, the cartridge yield is very limited, but again, this isn’t a printer that’s designed for regular everyday use. Another thing we noticed is that this unit is somewhat slow. 

3
PROS
  • Good print quality
  • Compact design
  • Wireless Wi-Fi hotspot to connect multiple devices
  • Comes with 20 photo papers
CONS
  • High running costs
  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth

The Liene photo paper is one of the few instant printers that support true wireless printing with Wi-Fi. Using this printer, you and your friends can simultaneously connect your phones and print your favorite photos.

And no, you don’t need an external internet connection to use the Liene printer. The Wi-Fi module in this unit is actually a mobile hotspot. In other words, it acts as both the source and the target for the Wi-Fi connection. However, the Liene doesn’t support Bluetooth. 

The Liene photo paper uses thermal dye sublimation to print beautiful 4” x 6” photos with top-notch clarity and bright colors. The tech used in this printer ensures durable, long-lasting printers that resist fading. 

The printer comes with 20 photo paper sheets out of the box, so you can get started right away. However, as is the case with these types of printers, the photo paper can get quite costly. 

Setting up the printer is fairly straightforward. You just need to install the cartridge and load up the printer with photo paper to get started. 

The Liene smartphone app has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to print your photos. You can also use the app to add filters, frames, and other cool effects. 

4
PROS
  • Good print speed
  • Slim design
  • Supports Bluetooth and NFC
  • Can print off cloud storage services
  • Custom print job templates
CONS
  • High operating costs

The Canon Pixma TR150 is yet another 4×6 photo printer with many tricks up its sleeve. 

It features a slim, portable design that makes it easy to move around with. It can print 4” x 6” with sharp details and great color reproduction at a speed of 6 photos per minute. The TR150 can also print mono documents as fast as 9 pages per minute. 

Moreover, it has a built-in touchscreen panel that lets you make quick prints and configurations. Plus, you can create and save predefined templates to save time and effort in repetitive tasks. 

Connectivity is where the TR150 really shines. It supports printing via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC. Surprisingly, there’s no USB port, but you won’t likely need it anyway unless you want to print off a USB drive directly. On top of that, you can print via supported cloud services like Mopria and Apple AirPrint.

On the downside, the cost per print is pretty high, especially when it comes to 4” x 6” photo prints. Also, keep in mind that the rechargeable battery, once its performance drops, will be costly to replace. 

5
PROS
  • Works with voice commands
  • Compact design with scanner and copier
  • Supports Wi-Fi
  • Excellent print quality
  • Good print speed
CONS
  • No touchscreen display
  • No wired connectivity methods

The HP Tango X isn’t a normal printer. It’s a smart printer that’s designed to work seamlessly with other smart devices and installments in your home. 

Featuring Google Assistant and Alexa voice commands, you can easily print your photos by simply asking the printer to print them.  As a fully wireless model, the Tango X only supports Wi-Fi, so there are no USB or Ethernet ports. 

You can easily control the printer from the HP Smart App on iOS or Android devices. Using the app, you can set up custom printing workflows to print your photos more quickly.

The printer’s form factor is pretty compact; you can easily find a place for it anywhere in your home. Moving it around is no issue either as it weighs roughly 7.5 lbs. 

There’s no screen on the printer, so the only way to configure it is with the HP smartphone. That’s a bit off, considering that it’s a Smart printer. The likely reason here is that HP wanted to make this printer more affordable, and for most users, printing 4” x 6” photos is usually done via their smartphones anyway. 

The print quality is amazing. The colors are deep enough for our taste, and it doesn’t make any compromises in the sharpness compartment. You can also use this printer to scan photos and documents, but this isn’t really one of the Tango’s strongest points. 

In terms of speed, the Tango X is surprisingly fast for a compact 4” x 6” photo printer. It can print up to 8 photos per minute. 

Best 4×6 photo printer: features and considerations

Some of the key features and considerations that you need to keep in mind before buying a 4” x 6” printer include: 

Print Quality

Print quality is an important factor that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a 4” x 6” photo printer. Ideally, the printer should produce sharp, color-accurate, and smudge-free photo prints. 

You should also consider the prints’ durability. Some printers, especially the ones that use pigment-based inks, produce more durable prints that resist UV exposure and other elements.

Size

Portable 4” x 6” photo printers are small and easy to travel with. However, they tend to have a higher cost per page. Their functionality is often limited too. On the other hand, normal-sized photo printers with support for 4” x 6” tend to run cheaper and offer more features. 

Running Costs

Instant 4” x 6” photo printers tend to have the highest cost per print. Most of these printers use a special type of photo paper that lets you print photos without requiring you to fill the printer with ink. The problem is it can be pretty expensive.

On the other hand, inkjet 4” x 6” photo printers will cost you less to keep running. They still aren’t considered economical compared to laserjet printers, for instance, but they fall within the acceptable range. 

Connectivity

Most 4” x 6” photo printers support wireless printing over Wi-Fi. Some models support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct too. As for wired methods, some photo printers come with USB or Ethernet ports. NFC is also offered in certain models.

Depending on what devices you’ll use to print photos, some connectivity options may be more important for you than others. 

Smartphone App

Since it’s not uncommon for compact 4” x 6” to lack an LCD screen, the companion smartphone apps that come with them are even more important to consider as a buying factor. 

Some manufacturers offer apps with basic functionalities that just let you send commands to the printer and monitor ink status, while others take it one step further with additional functionality. For example, using HP’s smartphone app, you can set up workflows that consist of multiple steps and commands to save time when you need to print photos. 

Just make sure that the manufacturer’s app is available for your smartphone’s operating system. 

Print Speed

Small inkjet printers tend to be slow (as slow as one photo per minute in some portable models), but some models offer acceptable printing speeds. 

If you need to print a couple of photos every now and then, the print speed may not be that important to you. But if you plan to print large quantities of photos, a fast printer can definitely crank up your productivity.

Do I need to buy ink for 4×6 photo printers?

That really depends on the tech used in your printer model. If the printer utilizes sublimation printing, you don’t need to buy ink for it as the ink is actually present in the photo paper. 

On the other hand, a traditional inkjet 4×6 photo printer that uses ink cartridges will require you to replace the cartridges every once in a while. 

Is it worth getting a 4×6 photo printer?

Yes! A 4” x 6” photo printer is definitely worth it if you occasionally need to turn your memorable moments into tangible photo prints. However, this only works for limited printing needs. Don’t expect a 4” x 6” photo printer to be designed for larger printing jobs. You’ll probably end up spending a fortune on ink and photo paper. 

How many devices can I connect to a 4×6 photo printer?

It depends on the printer’s connectivity. With a Bluetooth photo printer, you can only connect one device at a time to print photos. On the other hand, a wireless 4×6 printer that has built-in Wi-Fi lets you connect multiple phones or laptops simultaneously. 

How does a portable photo printer work?

A portable photo printer connects to your phone through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so you can print photos on the go. They have rechargeable batteries that allow you to use them without a power outlet. 

Many portable photo printers offer companion mobile apps that make it easier to interact with the printer.

How do I connect a 4x6 photo printer to my smartphone?

If the photo paper uses Bluetooth, turn the printer on and look for it in your smartphone’s Bluetooth list of available devices. On the other hand, if the printer is a Wi-Fi model, you need to turn on Wi-Fi on your smartphone to connect the printer.

Our Verdict

That was our two cents on the best 4×6 photo printers.

If we had to pick, it’d be the Canon Selphy CP1500. It’s portable and produces high-quality photos, making it the best photo printer we’ve tested. Not to mention, it supports Wi-Fi printing. 

On the other hand, the Canon PIXMA TR150 can be a good choice if you need a portable and affordable 4” x 6” printer that gets you as close as possible to a fully-fledged inkjet printer.  The HP OfficeJet 250 offers a similar package too. 

Finally, you might want to take a look at the Liene 4×6 photo printer if you’ll be using the printer with other people. You can connect multiple devices to it at the same time thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.