A guide to portable printers for mobile workforces
In today's fast-paced business world, mobile workforces are the norm and having easy access to essential resources is no longer a "nice to have" – it's an absolute necessity. This means that staying connected on the go, wherever you or your employees might be, is paramount to get the job done successfully.
To do this effectively requires utilising the right tools such as portable printers — which provide speedy printing capabilities while ensuring employees have what they need quickly and without disrupting workflows.
In this guide, we'll discuss the ins and outs of a portable printer and how these devices can enhance your organisation’s efficiency as part of a comprehensive mobile strategy. We’ll also cover the approximate costs and basic specs, plus explore accessories you should look for when selecting one that is right for your needs.
Whether you’re running a busy warehouse, conducting remote healthcare services or you’re a real estate agent in the field, being able to print on the spot makes life a little easier. Read on to gain valuable insight into how you can benefit from implementing a portable print solution in your business.
What is a portable printer?
A portable printer is a small, compact, lightweight and wireless printer that is easily transported from one place to another, making it an ideal device for workers on the go. Whether it’s for printing documents, labels or receipts, portable printers enable users to print anywhere, anytime.
These devices are usually handheld and taken to where work is conducted but can also be mounted in vehicles for added convenience, such as a delivery driver required to print dispatch notes. Some common applications of mobile printers include real estate agents printing tenancy or sale contracts at open home inspections, or warehouse staff producing shipping-ready labels as soon as orders are packaged and ready to go.
Mobile printing on the rise
It’s clear many organisations globally recognise the business case for mobile printers. The worldwide market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.6% over the decade and hit a value of USD $21.9 million by 2032, according to industry research from Future Market Insights.
The research points to a growing number of mobile workers as a key driver for the global market growth in the wake of the pandemic, along with increased internet penetration worldwide. It also notes that with an extra 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices set to be deployed by 2025, there will be a flow on demand for portable printers, especially in fast-growing online-based areas like eCommerce, logistics and online meal and grocery delivery services.
Furthermore, a recent study from Transparency Market Research uncovered that demand is anticipated to increase in many other sectors including hospitality, manufacturing and healthcare as more workers come to rely on the devices’ portability, reliability and quality.
Where is there a need for portable document printing?
There are three primary categories for printing documents on the go:
1. Printing documents from mobile devices
It's increasingly important to be able to print from any device whether that's a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Hence, organisations need cloud printing solutions to seamlessly integrate these tools into company workflows.
2. Printing documents from a remote desktop
Remote printing connects hybrid workers to in-office employees. In turn, they're able to fulfil critical print jobs regardless of location.
3. Printing documents on a portable printer
Many professions rely on printing important documents from wherever their work takes them. Brother's A4 Thermal Mobile Printers equip remote and on-location workers with the ability to print whenever necessary, enabling a smooth and seamless workflow.
The business case for mobility
When it comes to portable printers, what’s good for workers and what’s good for businesses overlaps. That’s because mobile printers can help businesses improve efficiency and reduce errors. For instance, in a warehouse setting a portable printer can help boost productivity by enabling staff to print and pick labels from anywhere on the factory floor.
In retail, portable printers can save time as staff can print labels, receipts and barcodes on the fly, rather than collect from a single printing station located in the back office.
Mobile printers are also able to help alleviate common challenges faced in many other professions and industries:
- Police officers can utilise portable printers to issue citations and warnings that would have otherwise required hand-written notices
- Emergency service workers can print critical patient data and handover notes on-route to hospitals or at the scene
- Remote healthcare workers are now able to produce physical scripts and prescriptions when visiting a patient's home
- Council parking inspectors and park rangers can issue tickets on the spot
- Transport workers rely less on accounts departments, allowing delivery drivers to print proof of delivery documents in-vehicle
Brother's range of portable print solutions
Brother is known for delivering durable, high-quality products and solutions to businesses worldwide. When it comes to portability, Brother’s range of mobile printers cover a variety of different needs – from 54mm (2-inch) to 102mm (4-inch), as well as complete A4 document printing capabilities, they make an excellent choice for professionals on the move.
Thanks to Brother’s software development kits (SDKs), users can also print from their smartphone or tablet, meaning connection to a laptop or computer isn’t always necessary.
Whether your business needs to quickly produce labels or needs to print documents in transit, Brother’s mobile printers provide a host of benefits.
Moreover, these print devices have a relatively small footprint, making them ideal to carry wherever work takes you. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of Brother mobile printers.
PJ-800 Series (A4 Thermal Mobile Printers)
A truly portable A4 printing solution, the PJ-800 Series is perfect for those that require documents up to A4 in size, from information sheets to contracts, inspection notes, patient reports, invoices, and more.
- Weight: approximately 610g with battery
- Size: 255mm (W) x 55mm (D) x 30mm (H)
RJ-2 Series (2-inch Mobile Label & Receipt Printers)
A pocket-sized receipt and label printer, ideal for labelling retail products on the shop floor or even creating specimen labels in a hospital setting. With a maximum print width of up to 54mm, the RJ-2 Series can be used for shelf edge labels, delivery receipts, pest management labels, and more.
- Weight: between 465g and 545g with battery, depending on the model
- Size: RJ-2030 & RJ-2050 - 122mm (W) x 57mm (H) x 100mm (L)
RJ-2140 & RJ-2150 - 150mm (W) x 73mm (H) x 100mm (L)
RJ-3 Series (3-inch Mobile Label & Receipt Printers)
A rugged, compact and durable thermal printer, perfect for labelling products, shipments and more in warehousing and logistics environments. The RJ-3 Series prints labels up to 80mm in width, ideal for supporting public safety and services, as well as retail operations.
- Weight: between 375g and 807g with battery, depending on the model
- Size: RJ-3035 - 105mm (W) x 49.5mm (H) x 116mm (D)
RJ-3230 & RJ-3250 - 117mm (W) x 77mm (H) x 180mm (D)
RJ-4 Series (4-inch Mobile Label & Receipt Printers)
Perfect for delivery providers, the RJ-4 Series is a fast, compact and rugged mobile printer designed to speed up busy workflows. Ideal for producing shelf labels, shipping labels, delivery reports, invoicing, parking notices, quotations and service documentation, the RJ-4 Series can print a variety of labels up to 102mm in width.
- Weight: 850g with battery
- Size: 153mm (W) x 68mm (H) x 159mm (D)
Integration with business apps
Brother’s portable printers are also compatible with some of the most popular software, devices and services available on the Australian market via its SDKs. Adding versatility and flexibility to a computer-connected portable printer, Brother’s SDKs enable businesses to easily integrate Brother printers into existing business applications so that unique and tailored uses can be created for any print-related business purpose.
5 reasons why mobile printers are a great solution for any business
With the freedom to print from any location or any device, Australian businesses can obtain a multitude of benefits from embracing portable printing. These include:
1. Reliable thermal technology
Advanced, direct thermal technology offers the most reliable portable printing solution that allows busy mobile workforces to focus on the job at hand without needing to purchase ink, toner, or ribbons. These devices also have less moving parts so less chance of breaking down or malfunctioning, meaning less downtime.
2. Improved collaboration
For many businesses, working together seamlessly is key to achieving successful outcomes. This may include significant print needs on the road for teams, whether to share among themselves or with clients. Portable printers enable co-workers to quickly and easily share physical documents, supporting collaboration.
Printing anywhere means being able to print from a car, train, plane, warehouse floor or any location that may be necessary while carrying out work. For mobile-based workers, this is a big efficiency gain as it removes the need to spend extra time at a dedicated printing station.
4. Cost savings
Mobile printing solutions enable businesses to print only the documents that matter most, preventing the wastage of paper and other supplies. Portable label printing also saves valuable labour time on staff not having to print in one location as they can print labels on demand from wherever they are.
5. Seamless integration and setup
Whether you're introducing a new set of portable printers or upgrading your current hardware, Brother's portable print devices guarantee seamless integration and stress-free setup to minimise disruptions to your team. These mobile printers support a range of printer command languages, making them compatible with numerous embedded systems.
How much does a Brother portable printer cost?
For ballpark figures, pricing for Brother’s range of portable printers can vary from approximately $550 to $1,500.
Please keep in mind that pricing can vary depending on how many units or bundle packs are purchased, as well as the reseller you're purchasing from. Individual prices of a single unit or bundle pack may differ between a small business purchasing one unit, as opposed to a large national company purchasing a fleet of units or bundle packs. That’s why it’s best to get in contact with the experts at Brother who can provide more details based on your specific business needs.
Which portable printer is right for your business?
Finding the right portable printer for your business will largely depend on your specific printing needs. For instance, whether you need to print documents up to A4 in size, or you require labels and receipts up to 54mm, 80mm or 102mm in width. Thankfully, Brother has options catering for an array of circumstances.
For seamless A4 document printing, the PJ-800 Series empowers mobile workforces – be it emergency responders, service technicians, sales reps, or even tattoo artists for stencil requirements – to concentrate on their essential duties without being held back by administrative tasks or errors caused by handwritten documentation. With the PJ-800 Series, there’s no need for ink or toner, which means no refills or accidents while on the go.
For effective label applications, the versatile Brother RJ Series is widely adopted in various industries. It is a go-to for retail applications such as printing shelf edge labels, receipts for queue management, and markdown labels. Additionally, it is excellent for field service and sales agents, where it can be used to print invoices, repair estimates, work orders, and maintenance and service reports.
Download our free eBook on mobile printing solutions to explore each printer type in more detail
Portable printer accessories
When it comes to accessories for mobile printers there are many to choose from. Remember, from printer carrying cases to chargers and batteries, the success of your mobile printing operation depends on you having all the right tools. Depending on the portable printer type and model, some optional extras include:
- Replacement Li-Ion battery - a spare battery on hand if the other battery goes flat
- Rugged Roll Printer Case - provides 1.2 metre drop protection
- Rubber Printer Case – provides 1.2 metre drop protection
- Paper Roll Guide - clips onto PJ-800s to easily feed individual sheets
- AC Power Adaptor - convenient USB charging (Type-C)
- Car Adaptor - charging capabaility in-vehicle
- Car Mount - enables the device to be mounted in-vehicle however required
- Carrying Case - keeps device protected and easy to carry
- Mobile Thermal Paper – cost-effective sheets without the need for ink and toner
- Shoulder Strap – an over-the-shoulder strap designed for greater mobility
Read our guide on desktop thermal label printers
Need a portable printing solution? Brother has you covered
Brother’s portable printers go with workers anywhere, anytime, and are ideal for applications in a variety of industries across Australia. In today’s increasingly mobile and technology-enabled world, few existing products can match the size, portability, durability, versatility, accuracy, quality and support of Brother’s range.
That’s because our range of portable printers are purposefully engineered for real jobs, real demands, and real environments – with reliability and support that’s undeniably Brother.
You may find your own company's needs reflected in what has been discussed here or feel free to get in contact with Brother to design a custom strategy.
Whether you’re a small business, an office professional on the go, a large warehouse, or something in between, Brother’s experts can tailor a mobile printing solution to your needs.