- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Polaroid Camera on Earth today is the Polaroid Now+ 2nd Generation I-Type.
- With a Polaroid camera, you can instantly snap photos, print them out, and share them with friends.
- These cameras bring back the fun of sharing printed photographs. They give you an instant picture and are popular at weddings and parties.
- When you’re shopping for a Polaroid camera, keep the following criteria in mind: film type, features & performance, price, and photo storage or digital transfers.
The best Polaroid cameras are affordable and offer various features. In our experience, these cameras are easy-to-use, which makes them the perfect choice for kids and beginners.
Polaroid cameras bring a sense of nostalgia to any event. They’re perfect for parties and vacations, since you can instantly print your memories at the same time you’re making them.
However, the film leans toward the expensive side. So, you might want to keep that in mind before making a purchase. The best instant film cameras combine affordable film with the features you want.
So, after reviewing the multitude of options, here’s our ranking for the best Polaroid cameras on Earth today.
- Best Overall: Polaroid Now+ 2nd Generation I-Type
- Best Bundle: Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Camera and Case
- Best Waterproof Option: Polaroid IS048 Waterproof Camera
- Best for Sharing: Polaroid GO Instant Mini Camera
- Best Old-School Option: Polaroid Supercolor 635
#1 Best Overall: Polaroid Now+ 2nd Generation I-Type
In our experience, the larger prints you get from the Polaroid Now+ 2nd Generation I-Type camera make it the best overall choice. In addition, this camera is Bluetooth-compatible, so you can use the Polaroid app to create more interesting images.
For example, you can take photos in manual mode in double exposure or light painting. In addition, five color lenses let you focus in whichever spectrum you prefer. So, you can get let your inner artist out and start creating.
We also like the close-up and standard zones to get the shot you want. So, set your camera on a tripod and use the auto-focus system to take your best selfies.
The main thing we wish were different is the price of the film. It can get expensive if you take a lot of photos. But you can lower your cost per photograph by buying film in bulk.
Another thing we like about Polaroid Now and other Polaroid cameras is the variety of bundling options. You can purchase extra film, colorful gift bundles, and options like albums to store your favorite prints.
|Bluetooth connectivity gives you more imaging options.||The film price is high per printed image.|
|Using a tripod gives you more options for using it at parties. Set up a selfie station!|
Check out the Polaroid Now+ 2nd Generation I-Type on Amazon.
Best Bundle: Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Camera and Case
We love this sporty Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Camera and Case for taking along on outdoor adventures. The hard case protects your camera, even when stuffed into your backpack for a trip to the mountains.
This bundle gets you started taking photos right away with the included 16-pack. So, you’re ready to hit the road without buying anything else.
Additionally, this camera packs a lot of fun, especially when you customize its color. Choose from black/white, all-black, blue, or red camera colors. It makes taking photos even more fun when your camera is bright and cheery.
We like the rechargeable batteries that today’s Polaroid cameras come with. In all hands-on testing, consumers choose rechargeable more often than disposable battery options.
Of course, there’s always that one thing you wish were a little different. And with the Polaroid Now, we would like it more if it took better images indoors. Some users find that their indoor pictures turn out darker than they hoped. But outdoors, with lots of sun, you’ll be very pleased.
|The carrying case makes the Polaroid Now a portable option.||Some indoor images are darker unless the room is very brightly lit.|
|We like the case and film bundle, letting you start taking pictures when you open the box.|
Check out the Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Camera and Case on Amazon.
Best Waterproof Option: Polaroid IS048 Waterproof Camera
We like the Polaroid IS048 Waterproof Camera for underwater photography since it is fully submersible. Use it when you’re snorkeling. Hold your breath and dive up to ten feet down to capture fish, coral, and turtle images.
This ruggedly tough camera is perfect for kids but also has features that any photographer can appreciate. The Polaroid ISO48 is a simple point-and-shoot camera for capturing all your adventures.
The only thing we don’t like is that the microSD card you need for transferring images to your computer or phone isn’t included. But we appreciate the ability to share photos easily once you purchase an SD card.
Two triple-A batteries will keep you going for a good long while. And, of course, you can always choose rechargeables to save money over the life of your camera.
|This is a great waterproof adventure camera.||No Micro SD card is included.|
|The simple setup is easy for kids and novices to use.|
Check out the Polaroid IS048 Waterproof Camera on Amazon.
Best for Sharing: Polaroid GO Instant Mini Camera
The Polaroid GO Instant Mini Camera is perfect for taking and sharing photographs instantly. You can even wear this small camera around your neck with the included strap; it’s that portable!
The Go Mini takes 2×2-inch pictures, which are affordable. You can snap, print, and share! So take creativity on the road with this tiny camera.
The only thing we didn’t care for in this bundle is the included photo album. It’s actually made for larger prints, so the Go’s smaller images wiggle around some. It’s not a big deal, but something to know.
|This camera is super portable.||We don’t love the included photo album.|
|It takes fun, selfie-sized photos.|
Check out the Polaroid GO Instant Mini Camera on Amazon.
Best Old-School Option: Polaroid Supercolor 635
For photographers who appreciate original Polaroids, here’s a new, old-stock Polaroid Supercolor 635 in its original box. This simple camera uses 600 Impossible film (not included). It also uses automatic flash for every picture.
These cameras were first available in 2015, so they’re not the originals from the 1970s. But it’s still a fun vintage camera option. The battery for the camera and flash is inside the film cassette. So, you get a fresh battery every time you add new film.
The downside to this camera is that it is vintage, so it doesn’t have the full functionality of today’s cameras.
|This is a fun vintage camera option.||There is no new functionality, like Bluetooth or tripod adaptability.|
|It is simple to use.|
Check out the Polaroid Supercolor 635 on Amazon.
Here are a couple more refurbished Polaroid camera options for the old-school enthusiast. Retrospekt builds new cameras from refurbished original Polaroid parts.
They receive and pass testing, so you know you’ll get a second life out of these cameras. In addition, Polaroid licenses this blend of old and new. So, they’re ready for a new generation!
Polaroid 600 Close-Up Instant Camera
The Polaroid 600 Close-Up Instant Camera was released in 1988, and it’s a baller! It has a lens for close-up shots and a built-in flash. You’ll also get a cool carry strap to wear the camera around your neck.
(It’s true; we all turn into our parents at some point. Revel in your age as you parade around with your Polaroid hanging from your neck!) So, grow yourself a beard and take a selfie. You’ll even think you’re looking at your Dad back in the day!
Polaroid 600 Barbie Throwback Instant Camera
This throwback Polaroid 600 Barbie camera is terrific for any kid who loves Barbie! It has classic purple, lime green, and pink coloring to make it shine. First released in 1999, this Barbie camera has a new exterior based on the original camera’s colors and graphics.
As of July 14, 2023, this product is currently unavailable on Amazon. Please check back later.
How to Pick the Best Polaroid Camera: Step by Step
Keep in mind six primary considerations when buying a Polaroid camera:
- Film Type
- Features and Performance
- Price: Camera
- Price: Film
- Photo Storage/ Digital Transfer
- Photo Printer
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
Polaroid cameras print your images with a unique instantly-developing film. You’ll choose from:
- Black and white
- Image size
To get the most from your instant film camera, select a Polaroid that prints the size photos you want. Regular Polaroids print in a 4.2 x 3.5-inch format. The picture has a white border, leaving about a 3×3″ image.
However, the smaller Polaroid Go prints a smaller 2×2-inch borderless photo. So, choose the camera that prints the size you like best.
Features and Performance
Some Polaroids are simple point-and-shoot cameras that print your images. But others have a few more advanced features. For example, the Now+ Generation 2 cameras have five color lens filters. So, you can customize shots for artistic views and fun settings.
And these cameras also work with the 600 and the Polaroid i-Type film types. So again, you can choose the film that makes the most sense for the scene you’re printing.
Additional features are self-timers so that you can take selfies easily. And a phone app offers even more flexibility in editing images by using manual mode, light painting, or double exposure features. So, today’s Polaroids are quite a bit more advanced than the originals.
Price: Polaroid Camera
Polaroid cameras offer different functionalities and come in various price ranges. That’s why you can choose the solution which works best for your needs. Expect to pay between $80 and $200 for Polaroid cameras and bundled kits.
Price: Polaroid Film
Knowing the film costs helps you decide which camera model to purchase. Polaroid cameras offer different sizes, as well as some excellent black-and-white film options.
But if you’d like an instant camera that prints on sticky paper, check out the HP Sprocket or Polaroid’s Hi-Print options. Here are some general cost guidelines for film replacement packages:
- Polaroid Go Color Film in a double pack of 16 photos costs about $20.
- Polaroid color, glossy I-Type film in a double pack of 16 photos costs about $40.
- A better value is to buy in bulk. For example, color I-Type Film in a 40-photo pack costs about $70.
Photo Storage/ Digital Transfer
Polaroid may not be your best option if you’re looking for a digital transfer or photo storage capability. This is because these cameras are primarily for imaging and printing rather than storing.
However, you can scan and save images to your phone’s photo gallery using the Polaroid app. So, it’s an alternative to digital transfers. In addition, Polaroid photo printers are an excellent option for transferring images and printing in different formats.
Polaroid offers perfect print-only solutions to convert digital images into old-school Polaroid photographs or peel-and-sticks. Either of these printers are a suitable choice if you want to print from your cell phone or even your laptop:
- Hi Print: Pocket printer turns digital pictures into stickers.
- Polaroid Lab: Turns digital images into Polaroid photos.
What to Know Before Buying Polaroid Cameras
Before you buy a Polaroid camera, make sure it does what you want it to do. For example, do you plan to use the camera on a tripod? If so, choose the Now+ Generation 2 camera.
However, if you want a tiny camera that takes decent photos and you can take it everywhere, choose the Polaroid Go. It’s a compact option without many extras that takes good pictures. Moreover, it’s portable and even wearable.
Choose a camera with a reflective selfie mirror for printing fun party memories. Then, set a self-timer so you’ll have plenty of time to strike a pose.
Using Polaroid Cameras: What it’s Like
Polaroid cameras offer an easy way to take pictures without much fuss. So, there aren’t a lot of buttons to choose from. And that means even kids and amateurs can take great photos.
Instant film cameras give you pictures immediately, so you can share them with friends and keep a copy for yourself. It’s very different from looking at a digital image on your phone since there’s something special about holding a photo in your hands.
Polaroid cameras create instant memories. They make you feel nostalgic if you remember them from the 80s and 90s. Or, they’re just simple fun if you’re a first-time user.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Lalandrew/Shutterstock.com.