How Does a Portable Printer Work?

Portable printers can connect to computers and smart devices via USB, Bluetooth or WiFi and print using either thermographic or ZINK technology. Most come with their own apps but can also use other mobile printing apps.

While some portable printers require wireless connections to connect to laptops or mobile devices, others can also use USB. To set up to print, first check that you have the right kind of paper for your printer. Some mobile printers require special thermographic paper that uses the heat of the printing element to “raise” printed copy. Another common type of portable printer designed to print photos uses ZINK – “zero ink” – technology that requires a cartridge of paper containing embedded clear dye crystals that act as ink.

Using the app that came with your printer or another mobile printing app, choose a document and send it to the printer. Although mobile printing averages an impressive five pages per minute, it’s typically not as fast as conventional printers, opines The Tech Guy. Though the print quality might not be as clear, the technology is improving, as of 2015. Another issue with mobile printers is that supplies are much more expensive, sometimes approaching $.60 per print depending on the brand of printer.