Product Reviews

Welcome to Consumer Reports.

We’re so glad to have you as a member. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.

Best Small Printers of 2019

When desk space is tight, these models from Brother, Canon, and HP can help

An illustration of a small printer.

Printers can take up more room than some apartment dwellers and space-strapped homeowners want to spare. But if you can live with a few compromises, a number of compact printers may meet your needs.

In fact, some printers take up less than a third of the space of some inkjets without sacrificing performance.

One option is to choose a portable printer. These are designed for on-the-go use and can run on battery power, and they're small enough to stash in a drawer.

They're good choices for some people, but many portable models lack convenient features such as an LCD screen, a memory card reader, and support for PictBridge software, which allows you to print photos directly from a camera without the use of a computer.

Most portable printers are also expensive to buy and operate, with per-page ink and maintenance costs sometimes running two to three times higher than other inkjets, according Rich Sulin, who leads CR’s printer testing program. The cartridges tend to be smaller, too, so they hold less ink, which means more trips to the store.

“Unless someone really needs the printer to be portable or needs to stow it away in a very small space, such as a mobile home, I would consider one of the smaller conventional all-in-one models, such as the Canon Pixma MG3620," Sulin says.

We've picked out three of the best small printers in our ratings, including the only portable printer we currently recommend. All of the models in our ratings have been scored by our testers on nearly 250 data points. To make sure the one you buy is no different from the one we test, we purchase every model that enters our labs from a retailer—just like you would.

No matter which printer you choose, keep in mind that manufacturers often cut down on size by shrinking the capacity of the feed trays. Many small printers can handle only about 10 to 50 pages at a time.

The measurements we list for each printer are taken when it’s ready for operation, with paper trays in place.