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15+ Picks: Best Printer for Screen Printing Transparencies, Transfers and Film Positives in 2024 🖨️

Iva Mikles
15+ Picks: Best Printer for Screen Printing Transparencies, Transfers and Film Positives in 2024 🖨️

Hey there! Screen printing, right?

Then you want your transparency prints to be dark and opaque, so they are easy to burn onto the stencils.

But to achieve this, what is the best printer for screen printing you should get? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered!

I’ve curated a list of over 15 printers that are exceptional at printing on transparencies and film positives. These printers don’t just get the job done—they deliver it all: crisp lines, deep blacks, and perfect on a glossy finish.

Let’s dive in to see which one is the best fit for you!

Overview: Best Printers for Screen Printing Film Positives

Most Popular & Budget Pick
  • Ink system:
    5-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    9600x2400 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    6mil
Eco Tank Budget
  • Ink system:
    4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
  • Max print size:
    8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
  • Max print resolution:
    5770x1440 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    Up to 11.8mil
Budget All-in-one
  • Ink system:
    4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
  • Max print size:
    8.5″ x 14″ (A4+)
  • Max print resolution:
    4800x1200DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    4-5mil
Ink Tank Budget Pick
  • Ink system:
    4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
  • Max print size:
    8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
  • Max print resolution:
    1200x1200 DPI black and 4800x1200 DPI color
  • Max paper thickness:
    4-5mil
Epson Budget Pick
  • Ink system:
    6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    5760x1440 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    Up to 23mil
Mono Laser Printer
  • Description:

    This is a budget monochromatic HP laser printer that supports film and other media. Keep in mind that you will need a film that is specifically designed for laser printers.

  • Ink system:
    Monochromatic toner system
  • Max print size:
    8.5″x14″
  • Max print resolution:
    1200x1200 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    5-8mil
Epson Value Pick
  • Ink system:
    6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    11″ x 17″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    5760x1440 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    Up to 23mil
Artists Favorite
  • Ink system:
    8-color high-quality Chroma Life 100+ dye-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    4800x2400 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
    manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
My Pick
  • Ink system:
    10-color pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    5760x1440DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    50mil
Ink Tank Pick
  • Ink system:
    6-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    5760x1440DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    manual feed 50mil
Pigment-based
  • Ink system:
    10-color pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Max print resolution:
    4800x2400 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
    manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
Art Studio Pick
  • Ink system:
    10-color pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    17″ x 22″ (A2+)
  • Max print resolution:
    5760x1440DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
    manual feed 60mil (1.5mm)
High quality
  • Ink system:
    10-color pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    17″ x 22″ (A2+)
  • Max print resolution:
    4800x2400 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
    manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
Budget Wide Format
  • Ink system:
    4-color (C, M, Y, K) pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    24″ wide panoramatic prints
  • Max print resolution:
    2400x1200 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    8.6mil
Professional
  • Ink system:
    11-color pigment-based ink system
  • Max print size:
    rom 6″ to 24″ width; max 59″ (roll) & 63″ (sheet) length
  • Max print resolution:
    2400x1200 DPI
  • Max paper thickness:
    Manual up to 31.5mil
Most Popular & Budget Pick
Description:

The most popular budget printer for screen printing transparencies and film print

Ink system:
5-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
9600x2400 DPI
Max paper thickness:
6mil
Eco Tank Budget
Description:

This printer doesn't only come with an affordable price tag, but it also saves you money in long term by using the ink tank system. It also comes with a decent resolution scanner.

Ink system:
4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
Max print size:
8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
Max print resolution:
5770x1440 DPI
Max paper thickness:
Up to 11.8mil
Budget All-in-one
Description:

Another eco ink tank printer option for screen printing transparencies and film printing that comes at an affordable price and saves money with refillable ink tanks

Ink system:
4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
Max print size:
8.5″ x 14″ (A4+)
Max print resolution:
4800x1200DPI
Max paper thickness:
4-5mil
Ink Tank Budget Pick
Description:

This HP printer saves money with the ink tank system which uses cheaper ink bottles

Ink system:
4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
Max print size:
8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
Max print resolution:
1200x1200 DPI black and 4800x1200 DPI color
Max paper thickness:
4-5mil
Epson Budget Pick
Description:

This is a very affordable Epson quality printer with high-quality dye-based inks working amazingly well on transparencies and film prints

Ink system:
6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
5760x1440 DPI
Max paper thickness:
Up to 23mil
Mono Laser Printer
Description:

This is a budget monochromatic HP laser printer that supports film and other media. Keep in mind that you will need a film that is specifically designed for laser printers.

Ink system:
Monochromatic toner system
Max print size:
8.5″x14″
Max print resolution:
1200x1200 DPI
Max paper thickness:
5-8mil
Epson Value Pick
Description:

Affordable price, almost the same specs as XP-15000 above and with additional scanner with 1200x4800 DPI scan resolution

Ink system:
6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
Max print size:
11″ x 17″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
5760x1440 DPI
Max paper thickness:
Up to 23mil
Artists Favorite
Description:

The most popular printer among the artists and successor of discontinued Pro-10 and Pro-100. Pigment-based version is Canon Pixma Pro-300

Ink system:
8-color high-quality Chroma Life 100+ dye-based ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
4800x2400 DPI
Max paper thickness:
rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
My Pick
Description:

This is the successor of the highly popular, but now discontinued, Epson Artisan 1430, which used to be THE printer for film printing and screen printing transparencies. Supports roll feed through roll adapter

Wider version: SureColor P900 17″ Inkjet Color Printer

Ink system:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
5760x1440DPI
Max paper thickness:
50mil
Ink Tank Pick
Description:

This highly popular ink tank photo printer uses ink bottles instead of cartridges. It also comes with a high-quality scanner

Ink system:
6-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
5760x1440DPI
Max paper thickness:
manual feed 50mil
Pigment-based
Description:

This is a Canon alternative to Epson SureColor P700 above and and upgrade from artists favorite Canon Pixma Pro-200

Ink system:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Max print resolution:
4800x2400 DPI
Max paper thickness:
rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
Art Studio Pick
Description:

This is a bigger version of the P700 above, and it also includes an integrated roll feed


Ink system:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
17″ x 22″ (A2+)
Max print resolution:
5760x1440DPI
Max paper thickness:
rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
manual feed 60mil (1.5mm)
High quality
Description:

Alternative to Epson SureColor P900 above and bigger version of Canon Pro-300.

Ink system:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
17″ x 22″ (A2+)
Max print resolution:
4800x2400 DPI
Max paper thickness:
rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm);
manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm)
Budget Wide Format
Description:

Affordable wide-format 24″ printer with high-quality pigment-based inks.

Supports glossy paper, tracing paper and film paper

Comes with integrated roll feed

Ink system:
4-color (C, M, Y, K) pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
24″ wide panoramatic prints
Max print resolution:
2400x1200 DPI
Max paper thickness:
8.6mil
Professional
Description:

Professional large-format printer for screen printing transparencies and film printing. In the UK and Europe get Epson SureColor T7200

Ink system:
11-color pigment-based ink system
Max print size:
rom 6″ to 24″ width; max 59″ (roll) & 63″ (sheet) length
Max print resolution:
2400x1200 DPI
Max paper thickness:
Manual up to 31.5mil
Most Popular and Budget Pick #1Canon Pixma
Budget Pick #2Epson EcoTank
Budget Pick #3Canon Pixma MegaTank
Budget Pick #4HP Smart-Tank
Budget Pick #5Epson Expression
Budget Laser PrinterHP LaserJet
Best Value PickEpson Expression
Artists FavoriteCanon Pixma PRO
Art Studio Pick #1Epson SureColor P
Art Studio Pick #2Epson EcoTank
Art Studio Pick #3Canon imagePROGRAF PRO
Art Studio Pick #4Epson SureColor P
Art Studio Pick #5Canon imagePROGRAF PRO
Budget Professional PickEpson SureColor T
Professional PickCanon imagePROGRAF PRO
Value Pick
Canon Pixma iX6820/6850 13″ Color Inkjet Printer

Value Pick for Art Prints, Stickers, Vinyl, Transfer paper, and Transparencies

5-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based ink system :: 9600×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Supports transparencies and vinyl stickers :: Max paper thickness: 6mil (0.15mm) :: Early 2014 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

If you’re just getting into screen printing or even if you’re a seasoned pro looking for a reliable printer for screen printing transparencies, Canon Pixma iX6820 for you. It’s pretty user-friendly, so you don’t need to be a tech genius to get started.

ProsCons
Wide 13×19″ (A3+) format for printing large filmsSlightly bigger size
Wireless printing convenient for studio setupInks can get pricey
Dual black cartridges provide dense blacksNot as much third party ink system support as Epson
Handles transparency and film very well
High print resolution
Affordable price

What do artists think?

Screen printing artist Casey, found the Canon iX6820 printed films really well despite being a cheaper model.

The dual black inks allow very opaque, high density films perfect for burning screens. While third party ink support isn’t as robust, the printer’s low cost makes it very affordable to operate even with Canon brand inks.

Given the price and performance, the Casey highly recommends the Canon iX6820 as an excellent film printing option for screen printers.

Budget Pick #2: Epson EcoTank ET-2850

Budget Pick
Epson EcoTank ET-2850 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer

4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system :: 5770×1440 DPI :: Prints up to 8.5″×47.2″ (A4+++) :: Scanner 1200x2400 DPI :: Supports vinyl stickers :: Late 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

Perfect for those starting in the screen printing business who require high-quality transparencies for silk screen printing but need to watch their budget.

Its high-resolution printing capabilities mean you get crisp, clear transparencies every time. I’ve personally used this for my screen printing projects, and the detail is fantastic. You need that precision when dealing with fine lines and intricate designs.

ProsCons
Pigment-based black BK inkOnly up to 8.5″x14″ (A4+) print size
Cost-effective ink tank systemBulkier design compared to other models
High-resolution printing (up to 5760 x 1440 dpi)
Multi-function (scan, copy, print)
Wireless connectivity
Reliable and long-lasting
Affordable price

Budget Pick #3: Canon Pixma G6020

Budget All-in-one
Canon PIXMA G6020 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One Printer

Best Budget All-in-one Inktank and Supertank Printer

4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system :: 4800×1200 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 8.5×14 (A4) :: User definable length up to 47″ :: High page yield & low cost per print :: Mid 2019 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

If you’re starting out and you plan on printing out lots of transparencies, this ink tank may be for you.

Just like the Epson ET-2850 above, the Canon Pixma G6020’s ink tank is a money-saver. It also come with a pigment-based black ink. This ensures a darker, more solid black which is crucial for screen printing transparencies and film positives.

ProsCons
Ink tank system saves moneyBulkier than some other options
Pigment-based black ink for darker blacksOnly up to 8.5″x14″ (A4+) print size
Multi-functionality (scan, copy, print)
High-quality prints suitable for professional use
Ethernet and wireless options for connectivity

Budget Pick #4: HP Smart-Tank 5101

Ink Tank
HP Smart-Tank 5101 Wireless All-in-One Ink-Tank Printer

4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system :: 1200 x 1200 dpi in black and 4800 x 1200 dpi in color :: Prints up to 8.5″x11″ (A4) :: Max paper thickness: 5-7mil :: Early 2023 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

If you’re new to the transparencies printing and want a reliable but affordable entry printers, this may be it.

Like the Canon and Epson models above, this HP printer also comes with an ink tank system. I’ve noticed it goes a long way in saving money over time, especially if you’re doing high-volume printing. And let’s not forget it also comes with pigment-based black ink. This makes for some seriously dark blacks, a feature I find invaluable in a printer for screen printing transparencies.

Another thing that sets it apart is its user-friendliness. I’ve found its setup to be more straightforward compared to some others, which means you can jump right into your creative projects without fussing too much over technicalities.

ProsCons
Cost-effective ink tank systemLower printing resolution
Pigment-based black ink for solid blacksSlower print speeds
User-friendly setup and operationNot ideal for very high-volume printing
Multiple connectivity options (Wi-Fi, USB)Only up to 8.5″x14″ (A4+) print size
Compact design

Budget Pick #5: Epson Expression XP-15000

Budget Pick
Epson Expression XP-15000 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Budget Pick for Art Prints, Cardstock, Canvas, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

6-color dye-based ink system :: 5760×1450 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 23mil (0.6mm) manually :: Late 2017 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

With high-quality prints, this printer can handle the needs of a full-scale art business at a very affordable price.

The Epson Expression HD XP 15000 is probably the printer I often recommend as a budget option, and is certainly an easy recommendation for screen printing transparencies and silk screening.

It will give you extraordinarily sharp and clean images. It will handle transparency paper with the same precision as any other paper, up to heavy card stock.

ProsCons
Supports prints up to 13×19 inchesNot for heavy-duty use
Compact, fits on a deskLess ink-efficient
Uses high-quality Claria Photo HD inkLower black density
Good opacityLimited color gamut
Affordable initial purchaseSlower print speeds
User-friendly setup
Variety of connectivity options

Budget Laser Printer Pick: HP LaserJet 3001dw

Mono Laser Printer
HP LaserJet Pro 3001dw Wireless Mono Printer

Monochromatic toner system :: 1200x1200 DPI :: Up to 8.5″×14″ / A4 prints :: Max paper thickness: 5-8mil :: Mid 2022 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is It For?

If you’re absolutely want a laser printer and you are comfortable tweaking settings to get optimal results, this printer might be for you printing transparencies.

Yes, it’s true that laser printers can be hit and miss for screen printing transparencies. But with the right settings and laser-compatible film, the LaserJet 301dw performs remarkably well. I’ve had success getting decent transparencies when the settings are dialed in just right.

ProsCons
Fast printing speedsRequires laser-compatible film
Built for high-volume tasksNot as versatile as inkjet for varying media types
Generally lower maintenanceFine-tuning settings needed for optimal results
Good for general business use as wellNot always the best for high-detail art
Energy-efficientOnly up to 8.5″x14″ (A4+) print size

Best Value Pick: Epson Expression XP-970

Epson Value Pick
Epson Expression XP-970 Inkjet Color Photo Printer with Scanner

Epson Value Pick for Art Prints, Stickers, Vinyl, Cricut, and Transfer paper

6-color dye-based ink system :: 5770×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 11″×17″ (A3+) :: Scanner 1200x4800 DPI :: Supports vinyl stickers :: Late 2019 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is This Printer For?

The Epson XP-970 is specially tailored for anyone deeply invested in screen printing. Whether you’re a silk screen printer, a content creator, or even a seasoned artist like me who’s been around the block, this inkjet printer delivers top-notch results.

ProsCons
Supports larger format prints (up to 13×19 inches)Not designed for heavy-duty use
Compact designLess ink-efficient
Six-color high-quality Claria inkLower black density
Good opacityLimited color accuracy
Affordable upfront costSlower print speeds
Multi-function features (scan, copy, print)
Easy setup
Decent software options

Artists Favorite Pick: Canon Pixma PRO-200

My Pick
Canon Pixma PRO-200 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

My Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl and Transfer paper

8-color dye-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is This Printer For?

Canon Pixma PRO-200 professional color inkjet printer is among a few of the artists’ favorites! It’s the successor of highly popular Canon Pixma PRO-100 and PRO-10 and it lives up to their qualities.

The high-grade mechanical construction, which moves transparencies, or any paper, as well as print heads, with such precision, ensures that anything from simple silhouettes to the most complex drawings or paintings comes out with unparalleled sharpness and clarity.

And although you may be only printing in a single color for your screen printing designs, you can rest assured that the Pixma PRO-200 has stunning, professional quality color reproduction, with a full 8-color ink system, which provides essentially archival quality prints of any commercial or fine art pieces up to 13 by 19 inches.

Yes, this is perhaps more printer than you will ever need for screen printing transparencies. Yet, the Canon Pixma PRO-200 is still an easy choice for the best professional printer for screen printing.

When you experience startlingly crisp and precise images, you will understand why.

ProsCons
Compact designLess ink-efficient
8-color Lucia Pro inkHigher upfront cost
Good black densitySlower print speeds
High-quality dye-based inksMissing roll paper support
Wide color gamutLearning curve for software
Easy-to-use software
Fairly quick setup

Art Studio Pick #1: Epson SureColor P700

My Pick
Epson SureColor P700 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

My Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

10-color pigment-based ink system :: 5760×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13″×19″ (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: 50mil (1.3mm) :: Integrated roll feed :: Early 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Wider version: SureColor P900 17″ Inkjet Color Printer

Who Is It For?

One of the finest inkjet printers available to artists today, the Epson SureColor P700 has one of the best resolution, color quality, mechanical precision, and reliability.

It consistently produces perfect results, making it superior to every other printer in my guide for the best printers for screen printing.

Even simple silhouette printing, of the type you’ll most likely be doing for the silk screen process, is much cleaner, clearer, and more impactful.

This is easily one of the finest inkjet printers I’ve ever used, and while it is not cheap, artists, again and again, say it is the best investment they’ve ever made.

The best high-end printer for screen printing or any arts or crafts work on absolutely any level, the Epson SureColor P700 wide format inkjet printer receives my strongest recommendation.

ProsCons
Compact designHigh upfront cost
UltraChrome Pro10 Pigment InkConsumes ink quickly
Excellent black ink densitySlower print speed
High opacityRequires regular maintenance
Wide color gamutLimited roll paper support (only with extra adapter)
Accurate color reproductionSlight learning curve
Easy-to-use interface

Art Studio Pick #2: Epson EcoTank ET-8550

Eco Pick
Epson EcoTank ET-8550 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Eco All-in-one Pick for Art Prints, Cardstock, Canvas, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

6-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based ink system :: 5760×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: 4800x1200 scan resolution :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 50mil (1.3mm) manually :: Early 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is This Printer For?

Epson EcoTank ET-8550 isn’t just another ink tank inkjet; it’s a photo ink tank printer. Perfect for artists, silk screen printers, and anyone who does a ton of printing.

First, the ink tank system is a lifesaver. Say goodbye to frequently buying expensive cartridges. Next, the color reproduction is fantastic. I mean, if you’re in the screen printing game, accurate colors are a must, right? Lastly, this printer has a wide range of paper handling capabilities, which means it’s super versatile.

ProsCons
Affordable ink refill systemLarge size
6-color Hybrid Pigment/Dye-Based Claria ET Premium InkSlower for high-quality prints
Good black densityLess color accuracy
Variable droplet sizeRequires regular calibration
Lower long-term costNot built for heavy-duty use
Decent opacityLimited software features
Multi-function capabilities

What do Artists think?

A photographer Keith Cooper, tested printing on transparencies using Epson ET-8550. He found the print quality to be excellent for both color and black-and-white transparencies.

Keith’s practical experiment showed that using the Velvet Fine Art (VFA) setting enables the printer to add matte black pigment ink into the mix, resulting in added density and a better overall look for the transparencies. For best results, he even suggests layering two prints on top of each other to improve density and color intensity.

Art Studio Pick #3: Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-300

Compact
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Great for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

10-color pigment-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is This Printer For?

The Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-300 is tailor-made for artists, silk screen printers, and anyone else serious about screen printing.

First off, color quality. You’re after true blacks for your screen printing, right? This printer delivers just that. Second, its large color spectrum ensures you capture every nuance in your artwork.

Finally, it offers wide-format printing—think larger transparencies and film positives without sacrificing quality.

ProsCons
High-quality pigment inkHigher upfront cost
Supports prints up to 13×19 inchesSlower startup
Excellent color accuracyInk can be expensive
Wide color gamutLarge size
Reliable media handling
User-friendly software

Art Studio Pick #4: Epson SureColor P900

Art Studio Pick
Epson SureColor P900 17″ Inkjet Color Printer

Art Studio Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

10-color pigment-based ink system :: 5760×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 17×22 (A2+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 60mil (1.5mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Smaller version: SureColor P700 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Who Is This Printer For?

The Epson SureColor P900 photo inkjet printer is ideal for those who won’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to screen printing transparencies and film positives.

First up, color accuracy—this printer nails it every time. If you want your screen prints to be super crisp, this printer delivers. Second, it can handle large-format prints without a hiccup, making it a versatile tool in any screen print printer setup.

Lastly, its build quality is top-notch, meaning it’s built to last.

ProsCons
Exceptional color and black-and-white outputHigher upfront cost
10-color UltraChrome Pro10 inkConsumes ink quickly
Supports up to 17×22 inchesBulky design
Roll paper supportRequires frequent cleaning
Advanced media handlingNo built-in scanner
Fine art printing capabilitiesLimited touchscreen UI
Easy-to-navigate LCD screenComplex setup process
Wide color gamutSlower print speeds
Robust connectivity optionsNo built-in SD card reader
Professional-level print quality

Art Studio Pick #5: Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000

High quality
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Canon Art Studio Pick for Art Prints, Canvas and Cardstock

10-color pigment-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 17″×22″ (A2+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 60mil (1.5mm) :: Late 2015 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Who Is This Printer For?

If you’re a seasoned silk screen printer or an artist serious about quality, the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 is your go-to. This pigment-based photo inkjet printer is ideal for anyone who’s looking for the best printer for screen printing transparencies.

First off, the sharpness and detail are next-level, crucial for screen printing film positives. Secondly, the inks are such a high quality that there is very small chance they will not get transferred properly onto the stencils.

Finally, this printer is built really well; it’s sturdy and reliable.

ProsCons
High quality 10-color Lucia Pro pigment inkExpensive upfront cost
Supports up to 17×22 inchesLarge size
Exceptional color and black-and-white outputHigh ink consumption
Wide color gamutNo roll paper feed support
Detailed, high-resolution printsComplex initial setup
Compatible with various media typesRequires manual head alignment
Excellent print speedLimited built-in storage
User-friendly software optionsNo touchscreen interface
Robust connectivity optionsSlower startup
Durable build quality

Budget Professional Pick: Epson SureColor T2170 24-Inch

Budget Wide Format
Epson SureColor T2170 24-Inch Desktop Wide-Format Wireless Inkjet Printer

4-color (C, M, Y, K) pigment-based ink system :: 2400 x 1200 DPI :: Prints up to 24″ wide panoramatic prints :: Max paper thickness: 8.6mil :: Integrated roll feed :: Early 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

The Epson SureColor T2170 is an excellent desktop inkjet printer for screen printers looking to print their own transparencies and film positives in wide 24-inch format.

This printer can easily handle printing large transparencies for screen printing screens up to 20×24 inches. But at the same time it’s very compact and doesn’t take too much space

The Epson T2170 is ideal for small to mid-sized screen printing shops that want to save money by printing their own transparencies and film positives in-house.

Its quality and reliability make it a great choice for frequently printing transparencies for burnning screens. The wide format allows printing of both standard and oversized screens.

ProsCons
Fast print speedsNo built-in scanner
Supports up to 24-inch wide rollsBulky design, needs space
High-quality PrecisionCore MicroTFP technologyLimited on-board controls
High-capacity ink cartridgesHigh cost of ink cartridges
Versatile media supportSetup can be time-consuming
Excellent print qualityRequires manual head alignment
Robust build for longevity
Wide color gamut
Good for CAD and GIS applications
Network and mobile printing capabilities

Professional Pick: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2100 24″ Inkjet Color Printer

Large Format Pick
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2100 24″ Inkjet Color Printer

Large Format Pick for Art Prints, Photo Prints, and Canvas

11-color pigment-based ink system :: 2400×1200 DPI :: Borderless prints from 6″ to 24″ width; max 59″ (roll) & 63″ (sheet) length :: Max paper thickness: manual/roll feed 31.5mil (0.8mm) :: Integrated roll feed :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2100 is a top-of-the-line 24″ inkjet printer designed for exceptional quality and performance when printing transparencies and film positives for screen printing.

With its photographic print quality and advanced media handling, the PRO-2100 is ideal for professional screen printing shops producing high detail prints, fine art reproductions, and photographic prints. The large 24″ width enables printing transparencies for even jumbo screens up to 22″ x 28″.

ProsCons
High-quality 12-color Lucia Pro pigment inkVery high upfront cost
Supports up to 24-inch wide rollsExtremely bulky design
Excellent for detailed, large-format printsHigh operating costs
Wide color gamutRequires professional setup
Dual roll supportComplex initial calibration
Fast print speedsLimited built-in storage
Reliable paper feed mechanismNo built-in scanner
User-friendly software suite
Robust build for professional use
Advanced color management tools

Video: My Screen Printing Experience – Hard, but so Enjoyable!!

Main Criteria for Choosing a Printer for Screen Printing Transparencies and Film Positives

Preparing screens on the exposure unit - ©Art Side of Life.webp
Photo: Preparing screens on the exposure unit – ©Art Side of Life

When you’re into screen printing, choosing the right printer for your transparencies or film positives is crucial. There’s no room for error; you need prints that are crisp, clear, and most importantly, opaque.

So my guide breaks down the main criteria you should consider to get the best printer for film prints.

Quick Criteria Checklist:

  1. High ink opacity and density
  2. Capability to print on film and transparencies
  3. Media thickness support

Ink Opacity and Density

Alilgning transfers for CMYK screen print - 2 - ©Art Side of Life.webp
Photo: Alilgning transfers for CMYK screen print – ©Art Side of Life

In the screen printing process, you use transparency to burn your design into a photosensitive emulsion spread on a screen. The black parts of the design block light, ensuring that the emulsion in these areas doesn’t set.

This is why you need an ink that’s so opaque it practically eats light for breakfast 😊. If your ink or toner is weak, the emulsion sets unevenly, and your final print looks like a hot mess.

Get a pigment-based ink printer:

Ink TypeOpacityDry TimeDurabilityCost
Pigment-BasedHighFastHigh$$
Dye-BasedMediumFastMedium$
Table: Ink Comparison for Screen Printing

When it comes to inkjet inks, go for pigment-based inks. At minimum, the ones that support Black (BK) pigment-based ink.

Pigment-based inks usually dry fast and are water-resistant, which is super useful when you’re exposing screens. They also resist fading better than dye-based inks, giving you a crisper, longer-lasting image on the film.

So if you’re looking to print film positives that require high opacity to block out light during exposure, pigment-based ink is generally the way to go.

It’s a bit pricier, but for this purpose, the extra cost usually pays off in quality.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers

Printer TypeInk OpacityMedia HandlingSpeedCost per Print
InkjetHighVersatileMedium$$
LaserLow to MediumLimitedFast$
Table: Printer type comparison for screen printing

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers have become the go-to for printing screen transparencies and film positives.

Why They’re Preferred:

  1. High Opacity and Density: Inkjet printers, especially those using pigment-based inks, deliver high-opacity prints with dense layers of ink.
  2. Versatility: They can handle a range of media types and thicknesses, including transparencies designed for inkjet printers.
  3. Quality: Generally better at producing high-quality, high-resolution images.

Opacity:

When you’re making stencils for screen printing or film positives, you need your blacks to be really black. Inkjet printers are superb at this. They deliver high opacity, meaning less light gets through.

Think about it: You’re exposing your screen to light, and you want those dark areas to block light effectively. If your black isn’t really black, you’re asking for trouble.

Density:

Density impacts how crisp and clean your stencil edges will be. In art, those details can make or break your piece.

Inkjet printers are good at laying down a solid, dense layer of ink.

But not all printers are created equal here. You want inkjet printer that supports at minimum black (BK) pigment-based cartridges or uses super high quality dye-based ink cartridges.

Laser Printers

Laser printers can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to printing film positives.

The main reason they’re less commonly used is that they don’t usually provide the ink opacity you need for screen printing. Laser printers use toner instead of ink, and the coverage can sometimes be uneven or less opaque, affecting the exposure process.

How to know a laser printer is good enough:

  1. Toner Density: Perform tests to ensure that the toner density is up to the task. Laser printers use toner, not ink, so the opacity might differ.
  2. Media Handling: The printer should be capable of handling transparency sheets designed specifically for laser printers.
  3. Printer Settings: Check if the printer allows you to adjust toner density. This feature can make a big difference.

If you’re considering going the laser printer route, do your homework on the specific model.

Brands like HP and Brother do have some laser models that people use for this purpose, but it’s less common than using an inkjet printer with pigment-based ink.

Media Handling

Transfers ready for CMYK screen print - ©Art Side of Life
Photo: Transfers ready for CMYK screen print – ©Art Side of Life

Printing on Film Positives, Transfers and Transparencies

Your printer needs to be able to handle the type of transparency film or sheets you’re using. Not all printers are built the same, so check the specs.

Thickness Support

Transparencies come in different thickness levels.

Thickness (mils)UsabilityPrinter Compatibility
4 milEasier to handle, less durableMost inkjet printers
5 milBalanced durability and easeMost inkjet printers
7 milMore durable, stifferSpecialty high-end inkjet printers
Table: Common transparency thickness levels

If you’re going for a thicker film, make sure your printer can handle it. You don’t want to end up with a printer jam in the middle of a critical project.

The thickness of transparencies and film positives typically ranges from 4 to 7 mils.

The term “mil” refers to one-thousandth of an inch, so we’re talking about a pretty small measurement.

However, these slight differences in thickness can have a significant impact on how the material handles and prints.

FAQs – Printer for Screen Printing Transfers

What are the best printers for screen printing?

The best printers for screen printing transparencies are inkjet printers. They have high opacity and density inks which stick well to the film and help you make great stencils. I recommend the Canon PIXMA ix6820 inkjet printer.

Which printer is used for screen printing?

Inkjet printers are the best in terms of resolution and color accuracy. They are well suited for printing on transparency film, which is important for transferring your designs onto different materials. I recommend the Canon PIXMA ix6820 inkjet printer.

Do you need a certain printer for screen printing?

Yes, you will need a printer that supports printing on transparencies (transparency film), such as a high-quality inkjet printer Canon PIXMA ix6820 inkjet printer. Be careful with laser printers because they require a special transparency paper and don’t lay opaque enough and dense enough colors.

Can you use an inkjet printer for screen printing?

Yes, absolutely! Inkjet printers are the best in terms of resolution and color accuracy. They are well suited for printing on transparency film, which is important for transferring your designs onto different materials. I recommend the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 inkjet printer.

What is the difference between sublimation and screen print?

The basic difference between sublimation and screen print is that sublimation uses heat to turn ink (dyes) into gas which then bonds with the fabric or other material you use on a deeper level. This allows for far richer and bolder colors. In comparison, the screen print technique prints on top of the fabric or material, so the bond is not as strong. Sublimation print also tends to be more expensive than a screen print.

I hope my guide helped you get a new printer for screen printing transparencies and you will have a lot of fun screen printing!

Other articles in the Printers and Scanners series:

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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