You may not have heard about ZINK printers. They are small printers that use Zero Ink. There are no ribbons or cartridges needed, as they rely on heat transfer from the special paper used.
They are like a modern version of a Polaroid camera. Some of you might be too young to remember them; they were cameras where once the picture was taken, it would print out immediately. The image would take some time to appear, though.
So, if you’re looking for truly instant photo prints, we’ve put together this review to help you find the Best ZINK Printer on the market.
- 1 Top 7 Best ZINK Printer In 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 FujiFilm Instax Mini Link – Best ZINK Photo Printer
- 1.2 2 Polaroid Zip – Best Budget ZINK Printer
- 1.3 3 Brother VC-500W – Best ZINK Label Printer
- 1.4 4 HP Sprocket – Best Compact ZINK Printer
- 1.5 5 LifePrint – Best Value for the Money ZINK Printer
- 1.6 6 HP Sprocket V2 – Best Smartphone ZINK Printer
- 1.7 7 Kodak Portable Mini 2 HD – Best Wireless ZINK Printer
- 2 Best ZINK Printer Buying Guide
- 3 Looking For Something Else?
- 4 What Is The Best ZINK Printer?
Top 7 Best ZINK Printer In 2021 Reviews
1 FujiFilm Instax Mini Link – Best ZINK Photo Printer
This simple little battery-powered printer connects and works from your smartphone. Instead of using the typical heat thermal paper used in these styles of printers, FujiFilm takes a more premium approach.
Instax uses instant film, which uses a chemical process. Don’t worry; it’s not dangerous. Even though the film is a little more expensive, the results are superior with sharper images and higher color accuracy.
Portable and easy to use…
Measuring only 4.1 x 2 x 0.9 inches (10.4 x 5 x 2.3 cm), the printer is small enough to slide into your pocket or bag. It is constructed from lightweight plastic and is available in three colors. Choose from Ash White, Dark Denim, or Dusty Pink.
Connecting to your smartphone is easy and pairs via Bluetooth. There is no WiFi option available. Because it relies on an App, this means the printer is only compatible with smartphones and tablets, not laptops or PCs. This makes it one of the best portable ZINK printers available.
The power of an App…
There is a rechargeable battery onboard that will last for around 100 prints once charged with the included micro-USB cable. The film is easy to load into the rear of the printer and can be purchased in packs of 10 prints.
The Instax Mini Link App can be downloaded for both Apple and Android devices. There are some cool features like adding filters, creating collages, and printing stills from a video. Using the app is straightforward, with it taking around 20 seconds to print an image.
- Instant film instead of thermal printing.
- Sharper details with accurate colors.
- Easy to use interface.
- More expensive per print.
- Only compatible with smartphones and tablets.
2 Polaroid Zip – Best Budget ZINK Printer
Up next, we have a very similar device, this time from the original instant print brand Polaroid. Instead of instant film, the Zip uses heat thermals to produce its pictures. The advantage is cheaper and faster prints with a slight loss in picture quality.
It is an inexpensive wireless printer that is easy to use, has a comparatively low running cost, and provides great results. Connect to your smartphone or tablet and have 2 x 3 borderless prints available in seconds.
On this compact little printer, there is only a single button as a power toggle and a micro-USB port for charging. You will notice that the top slides off, revealing an area to load the paper, which can hold ten sheets at a time.
A full charge will only provide around 25 prints, which is one of this printer’s downfalls. However, some big advantages are the affordable refills and speedy prints. Unlike the instant film, pictures are presented dry and are less likely to smudge.
Making a connection…
Just like the previous device, the Zip connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth pairing via an App. It is compatible with both Android and iOS but not compatible with laptops or PCs either.
Within the Zip App, you can add filters and create collages from images in your gallery. It is unfortunately not so easy to navigate, and hopefully, Polaroid can provide some updates. The print results are of high quality, and details only begin to lack when examined closely.
- Affordable with low running costs.
- Portable and easy to use.
- Dry, smudge-free prints.
- Short battery life of around 25 prints per charge.
- The Zip App needs some updates to make navigation easier.
3 Brother VC-500W – Best ZINK Label Printer
While the previous products have been designed more for fun, the Brother VC-500W has a more practical application. Add some color, fun, and excitement to your labels by adding fun pictures and fonts.
This printer is a bit larger and heavier than its portable counterparts. The other main difference is the paper. While it still uses ZINK-type paper, instead of being sheets, it is on a roll held within a cartridge.
Easy to operate…
Once again, there is a minimalist design, and most functions are controlled using the App. On the printer itself, you’ll find three buttons, including power, WiFi, and cassette. Besides the buttons, there are two LED indicators for WiFi and cassette, along with a paper cutting slider.
Rolls of paper are simple to load and are inserted into a cartridge at the rear of the printer. Labels are then rolled out through a slot at the front. Once printing is completed, you simply slide the cutter across and remove your label.
Multiple compatibility options…
Unlike the previous two devices, the Brother uses WiFi to connect with either your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Brother features a range of label-making Apps, including P-Touch Editor, iPrint&Scan, and Color Label Editor. As a result, this is one of the most versatile ZINK printers out there.
While it is possible to print photos from this device, which are of decent quality, that’s not its main focus. This printer is aimed towards making fun, bright, colorful labels for things like jars and textbooks, making this one of the best label makers you can buy. Just remember that each label can add up in cost quickly, though.
- Easy to use and operate.
- Compatible with Android, iOS, and PC.
- High-quality label results.
- Costs per label prints are high.
- Not so great for printing photos.
4 HP Sprocket – Best Compact ZINK Printer
Next in our Best ZINK Printer review, in the compact portable printer market, HP’s Sprocket is one of the most popular ZINK printers available. HP has released an updated version of their device, but we are currently looking at their first installment, and it’s still great.
Print 2 x 3 photo prints almost instantly that have the added fun and convenience of being sticker-backed. Take this cute little printer with you wherever you go, and share all your cool pictures and memories with friends.
Pair and share…
By pairing to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth 3.0, you can then quickly and easily print any pictures from your gallery. Turn your phone into a mobile photo booth and share fun selfies absolutely anywhere.
The built-in rechargeable battery can print up to 35 pictures from a single charge. Charging is completed by using the included micro-USB cable. Picture quality is more than acceptable for kids wanting to share pictures with their friends.
We think that where HP gains its popularity is with the well-designed App. It is easy to add filters, stickers, emojis, and frames to images. Editing images is also simplified with anybody able to flip, rotate, and adjust images without any frustration.
Unlike many of its competitors, the printer comes ready to go with ten sheets of ZINK paper included. Packets of compatible ZINK paper are more affordable than most other competitors, too, making this one of the best photo printers for kids.
- Fun sticker-backed prints.
- Superior App design and usability.
- Affordable consumables.
- Picture quality not as high as some competitors.
- Occasional Bluetooth dropouts.
5 LifePrint – Best Value for the Money ZINK Printer
We always like to include an affordable option for those on a budget. On this occasion, the LifePrint portable printer is of incredible value with its great list of features. Not only is it one of the smallest printers here, but it also performs very well.
LifePrint’s printer measures only 4.7 x 0.8 x 3.2 inches (12 x 2 x 8 centimeters) and weighs a measly 6 ounces (170 grams). That makes it one of the easiest printers to slip into your bag or pocket for instant prints anywhere.
Charging the LifePrint using the included micro-USB cable takes around two hours from completely flat. Once the in-built rechargeable battery is full, it’s good to go for around 25 prints before needing another boost.
Like most of the printers here, it connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth. Pairing is quick and easy, and we never really experienced any issues. Where this device performs best, though, is with its App.
Private sharing network…
Once the LifePrint App is installed on either Android or iOS, you can sign up for an account. This works like a private version of Instagram with other LifePrint users. It can also connect seamlessly with other social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
Besides the usual stickers, borders, and filters, LifePrint has an awesome Augmented Reality feature. Hold your phone or tablet over pictures, and they magically come to life. Prints arrive in a 2 x 3 size and are of great quality, including that handy sticker backing.
- Incredibly small and light design.
- Shareable LifePrint social network with Facebook and Instagram integration.
- Fun augmented reality feature.
- Battery life is limited compared to competitors.
- Print times are a little longer than other devices.
6 HP Sprocket V2 – Best Smartphone ZINK Printer
We already covered the first generation of the HP Sprocket, which is a great little device. The second generation builds on that again. The features and design are aimed directly towards tweens and teens while still keeping some appeal for everyone else.
There are three different colors available, all with a speckled paint job. Choices include Black Noir, Blush Pink, Lilac, and Lunar Pearl. It is also a little bit larger than the original design, but only slightly, and is still lightweight and ultra-portable.
Same but different…
The same 2 x 3 sticker-backed paper is used as the previous model, and the battery life remains at around 35 prints per charge. Connectivity is still completed using Bluetooth but has been upgraded from 3.0 to the newest 5.0.
Actual print time is around 30 seconds, but add in connection and processing, and it is closer to one minute from start to finish. Color accuracy is generally pretty good but can occasionally suffer from inconsistencies.
App and away…
Once again, there is no PC support, and this device is purely for your smartphone or tablet. After installing the App, you can either browse your device’s gallery, or even Facebook, Instagram, and Google Photos.
Back again are the same cool borders, stickers, and filters, but this time you additionally get an augmented reality feature. By printing a video instead of a picture, when you hold your phone over the printout, it comes to life.
- Latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology with battery saving.
- Access to Facebook, Instagram, and Google Photos through App.
- Added augmented reality feature.
- No improvement on battery life.
- Color accuracy can be inconsistent.
7 Kodak Portable Mini 2 HD – Best Wireless ZINK Printer
Most of the printers featured here rely on Bluetooth to connect with your source device. Kodak’s compact and portable printer has the option of WiFi and NFC in addition to Bluetooth, although still isn’t directly compatible with PCs.
It is available in a range of funky colors to match your style. Choices of colors include White, Yellow, Black, and Blue. The yellow is incredibly bright and attention-grabbing, while the blue is a lighter, less dramatic shade.
Charge and go…
The printer can be brought with you to parties and events thanks to the in-built rechargeable 620mHa battery. Charging using the USB cable takes around an hour and a half, but will then only last for around 20 prints.
Printing speed is around 1 minute and 20 seconds from start to finish. Kodak uses a process called 4pass. There are three color layers, followed by a protective coating added to each picture. The picture comes out of the slot and is then pulled back in for each process.
Things you can App-reciate…
Downloading the App to your smartphone or tablet is where almost everything is controlled from. It is available on both Android and iOS and can connect with your social media sites. Once you have selected an image, you are greeted with a range of options.
Picture adjustments provided are brightness, contrast, and color levels. A range of filters is also on offer, along with the possibility of adding text, borders, and stickers. Image quality is nothing amazing, but it’s not bad either.
- Multiple connection options, including WiFi.
- Different color choices are available.
- Comprehensive editing App.
- Slower than average printing.
- Image quality can be hit and miss.
Best ZINK Printer Buying Guide
There is certainly an abundance of compact portable printers available, and you are certainly spoiled for choice. We have already sorted through what’s on offer and given you a lot to think about with some fantastic products.
All that’s left now is to choose which one is best for you and make a purchase. We won’t just leave it there, though. We help identify common needs and requirements so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Photos Or Labels?
While it is possible to manipulate any of these printers into creating labels, there is only one that has been specifically designed for this purpose. That is the Brother VC-500W. The included Apps make it simple to create impressive personalized labels.
Brother’s printer can print photos too, but not as well as the other products. For the highest quality image, go for the FujiFilm Instax Mini. Due to its instant photo film, the sharpness and details are a little better but are prone to smudging if not careful.
Younger Or Older?
For younger users, it’s difficult to choose anything other than the HP Sprocket. And that is because of its easy-to-use, kid-friendly App. There are two choices with both the first and second generation, both of which will keep users happy. If you are looking for the best pocket printer, the HP Sprocket is a great option.
Any of the other products will suit older users. If you’re still stuck on which would be the best for you, then stick around as we reveal our choice for the best quality ZINK printer and why.
Looking For Something Else?
Find the printer that is right for you. Check out our in-depth Best 3D Printers Review, our Top 7 Best Pigment Ink Printers To Buy Review, our Best Plotter Printers On Review, our Best Printers for Photos Review, and our Best Sticker Maker Machine Review for more items you can buy in 2021.
You may also like our comprehensive Best Plastic ID Card Printer Reviews, our Best Printer For Mac Reviews, our Best Printer For Vinyl Stickers Review, our Brother HL-L8360CDW Review, and our HP OfficeJet 5255 Printer Review for more superb products currently on the market.
What Is The Best ZINK Printer?
To help make our decision on which of these products deserves the title of being the best, we considered the following. The printer must perform well, have fun and useful features, provide quality prints, and be of great value.
The product we feel performs in all these areas is the…LifePrint
Not only is this the most affordable option, but it also has some of the best features and creates amazing results. Add to that the comprehensive App with its cool social network, and we have our clear winner.
Until next time, may your prints always be perfect.