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👕 17 Picks: Best Printer for Heat Transfer Paper for T-Shirts in 2024

Iva Mikles
👕 17 Picks: Best Printer for Heat Transfer Paper for T-Shirts in 2024

Hey there, so you’re thinking of getting a printer for heat transfer paper for t-shirt printing? Awesome!

But! Picking a printer is crazy —so many options, it’s nuts. I’ve been there, scrolling through endless reviews, getting lost in tech jargon, and wasting time I could’ve spent actually creating.

I wish someone had just told me straight up what to go for.

So that’s what I’m doing for you. I’ve done the homework, tested these printers out, talked to my artist friends about their experience, and put it all together.

Key Points:

Ready to find a printer that actually does what you need it to? Let’s get into it! 🎨👕

Overview: Best Heat Transfer Printers

Super Budget
  • 4-color dye-based inks
  • Up to 8.5×11″
  • Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi
  • Yes ✅
Most Popular & Budget Pick
  • 5-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
  • Up to 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 9600x2400 DPI
  • Yes ✅
A3 Art Scanner Printer
  • 4-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
  • Up to 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • Up to 4800 x 2400 dpi
  • Yes ✅
Mono Laser Printer
  • This is a budget monochromatic HP laser printer that supports heat transfers and film print. Keep in mind that you will need a heat transfer paper that is specifically designed for laser printers.

  • Monochromatic toner system
  • 8.5″x14″
  • 1200x1200 DPI
  • Yes, but needs tweaking 🟠
Budget All-in-one
  • 4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
  • 8.5″ x 14″ (A4+)
  • 4800x1200DPI
  • Yes ✅
Ink Tank Budget Pick
  • 4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
  • Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
  • 1200x1200 DPI black and 4800x1200 DPI color
  • Yes ✅
Crafters Pick
  • 4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
  • Up to 11″ x 17″ (A3)
  • 4800 x 1200 DPI
  • Yes ✅
All-in-one Pick
  • 4-color pigment-based ink system
  • Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
  • 4800 x 1200 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Eco Tank Budget
  • 4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
  • 8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
  • 5770x1440 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Eco Value Art Printer
  • 6-color dye-based ink system
  • Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
  • 4800 x 1200 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Epson Budget Pick
  • 6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
  • 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 5760x1440 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Epson Value Pick
  • 6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
  • 11″ x 17″ (A3+)
  • 5760x1440 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Heavy Duty
  • 4-color dye-based ink system
  • 8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
  • 5770x1440 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Artists Favorite
  • 8-color high-quality Chroma Life 100+ dye-based ink system
  • 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 4800x2400 DPI
  • Yes ✅
My Pick
  • 10-color pigment-based ink system
  • 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 5760x1440DPI
  • Yes ✅
Ink Tank Pick
  • 6-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
  • 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 5760x1440DPI
  • Yes ✅
Pigment-based
  • 10-color pigment-based ink system
  • 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 4800x2400 DPI
  • Yes ✅
Super Budget

Super cheap printer for heat transfer paper that is amazing for beginners and hobby t-shirt artists

4-color dye-based inks
Up to 8.5×11″
Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi
Yes ✅
Most Popular & Budget Pick

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

5-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
Up to 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
9600x2400 DPI
Yes ✅
A3 Art Scanner Printer

Versatile, wide format, all-in-one printer for heat transfers

4-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
Up to 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
Up to 4800 x 2400 dpi
Yes ✅
Mono Laser Printer

This is a budget monochromatic HP laser printer that supports heat transfers and film print. Keep in mind that you will need a heat transfer paper that is specifically designed for laser printers.

Monochromatic toner system
8.5″x14″
1200x1200 DPI
Yes, but needs tweaking 🟠
Budget All-in-one

A great eco ink tank printer option for heat transfer papers that comes at an affordable price and saves money with refillable ink tanks

4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
8.5″ x 14″ (A4+)
4800x1200DPI
Yes ✅
Ink Tank Budget Pick

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

4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
1200x1200 DPI black and 4800x1200 DPI color
Yes ✅
Crafters Pick

This is a very popular printer among crafters which handles heat transfer paper with ease

4-color hybrid pigment-based (black BK) and dye-based ink tank system
Up to 11″ x 17″ (A3)
4800 x 1200 DPI
Yes ✅
All-in-one Pick

All-in-one Pick for Cardstock and Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

4-color pigment-based ink system
Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
4800 x 1200 DPI
Yes ✅
Eco Tank Budget

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.

4-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based (BK) ink tank system
8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
5770x1440 DPI
Yes ✅
Eco Value Art Printer

Value Ink tank/Supertank Printer for Art Prints, Photographers, Graphic Designers, Stickers, Vinyl, Transparencies and Transfer Paper

6-color dye-based ink system
Up to 8.5″ x 11″ (A4)
4800 x 1200 DPI
Yes ✅
Epson Budget Pick

This is a very affordable Epson quality printer with high-quality dye-based inks working amazingly well on heat transfer paper

6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
5760x1440 DPI
Yes ✅
Epson Value Pick

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

6-color high-quality Claria Photo HD dye-based ink system
11″ x 17″ (A3+)
5760x1440 DPI
Yes ✅
Heavy Duty

Heavy duty ink tank printer for printing heat transfers

4-color dye-based ink system
8.5″ x 47.2″ (A4+++)
5770x1440 DPI
Yes ✅
Artists Favorite

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

8-color high-quality Chroma Life 100+ dye-based ink system
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
4800x2400 DPI
Yes ✅
My Pick

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

Wider version: SureColor P900 17″ Inkjet Color Printer

10-color pigment-based ink system
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
5760x1440DPI
Yes ✅
Ink Tank Pick

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

6-color hybrid dye- and pigment-based (black BK) ink system
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
5760x1440DPI
Yes ✅
Pigment-based

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

10-color pigment-based ink system
13″ x 19″ (A3+)
4800x2400 DPI
Yes ✅

Epson Workforce ProHP DeskJet
Most Popular & Budget Pick: Canon Pixma
Wide Format All-in-one Budget Pick:Epson Workforce Pro
Laser Budget Pick: HP LaserJet Pro
All-in-one Budget Pick #1: Canon Pixma G
Ink Tank Budget Pick #1: HP Smart-Tank
Crafters Budget Pick: Canon Pixma T
All-in-one Budget Pick #2: HP OfficeJet Pro
Ink Tank Budget Pick #2: Epson EcoTank
Ink Tank Budget Pick #3: Canon MegaTank
Value Pick #1: Epson Expression XP
Value Pick #2: Epson Expression XP
Heavy Duty: Epson EcoTank
Artist’s Favorite: Canon Pixma PRO
Art Studio Pick #1: Epson SureColor
Art Studio Pick #2: Epson EcoTank
Art Studio Pick #3: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO

Super Budget Pick: HP DeskJet 3755

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The HP DeskJet 3755 is a real gem when it comes to affordability without sacrificing quality. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, it still delivers decent prints for heat transfer paper, making it ideal for hobbyists or small-scale projects.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
InexpensiveLimited features
Compact designSlower print speed
Easy setupNo touchscreen
Suitable for small projectsDye-based ink fades quicker
Decent quality for price

What Do Artists Think?

The T-Shirt artist from CraftyCloset, uses this budget printer to print her transfers.

Overall, the she was very satisfied with the full-color prints she could achieve on printable heat transfer vinyl using just her inkjet printer. It provides an easy, affordable way to create customized shirts with bright, crisp images.

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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Canon Pixma iX6820 is popular for a reason—it delivers high-quality prints with sharp details. This inkjet printer for heat transfer paper is excellent for small businesses or advanced hobbyists.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Prints up to 13×19″ (A3+)
High resolutionBulkier design
Extra color cartridge for better accuracyPricey ink cartridges
Fast print speedNo ADF
Robust software support
Wireless connectivity

What Do Artists Think?

T-shirt artist Color Me Porcha, uses this inkjet printer to print her transfers.

Overall, the Porcha ise pleased with the print quality and versatility of using DTF transfer film to create bright, stretchy inkjet transfers for cotton t-shirts. She found the process easy and beginner-friendly.

Wide Format All-in-one Budget Pick: Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820

A3 Art Scanner Printer
Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 Wireless All-in-One Wide-Format Printer

Alternative All-in-one Printer Scanner for Artists

A3/12″x17″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 1200 DPI optical resolution || 4800x2400 DPI print resolution || 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth || 2020 model

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
If you need to print larger designs, this is your go-to. The Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 offers wide-format printing without breaking the bank. I find it great for medium-sized businesses focused on apparel.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Wide-format support up to 13×19″ (A3+)Takes up more space
High paper capacityHigher upfront cost
Great for medium volumeSlower warm-up
Excellent color accuracy
All-in-one functionality

Laser Budget Pick: HP LaserJet Pro 3001

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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
Though laser printers are generally not recommended for heat transfer paper, the HP LaserJet Pro 3001 can work with the right tweaks. It’s more suited for those who are tech-savvy and willing to experiment.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Fast print speedNot ideal for heat transfer
High volumeLimited color accuracy
Economical tonerExperimentation required
Network connectivity
Crisp text

All-in-one Budget Pick #1: 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Canon Pixma G6020 offers a balance of features and affordability. It comes with an integrated ink tank, which I find really economical for long-term use.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Integrated ink tankNo wide-format
Economical inkSlower print speed
Good color accuracyLimited software features
High paper capacity
Wireless connectivity

What Do Artists Think?

T-Shirt artist and crafter Daisy, uses this Canon Pixma MegaTank inkjet printer to print her heat transfers. She likes this printer because it works well with regular ink.

Overall, she is very happy with the ability to print customized full-color designs at home with an inexpensive inkjet printer and transfer papers. It allows creativity and quick turnaround times for her small t-shirt business and clients.

Ink Tank Budget Pick #1: 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The HP Smart-Tank 5101 is geared for those who want to print a lot but worry about ink costs. With its ink tank system, you get more prints per refill, ideal for small businesses.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
High yield ink tankNo wide-format support
EconomicalManual duplexing
Simple to operateNo ADF
Great for medium volume
Quality prints for price

Crafters Budget Pick: Canon Pixma TS9521C

Crafters Pick
Canon TS9521C/9551C All-In-One Wireless Crafting Photo Printer + Scanner

Crafters Printer for Stickers, Vinyl, Cricut, Transfer paper and Art Prints

Hybrid 4-color dye-based + pigment-based (BK) ink system :: 4800×1200 DPI :: Scanner 1200x2400 DPI :: Prints up to 11″×17″ (A4++) :: Supports vinyl stickers :: Late 2018 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Canon Pixma TS9521C is tailor-made for crafters. With its 12″x12″ paper support and multiple crafting features, it’s the best printer for T-shirt transfers if crafting is your main gig.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Crafting-friendly featuresSlightly pricier ink
12″x12″ paper supportLarger footprint
User-friendly interfaceLimited to dye-based ink
5-color system for better accuracy
Versatile paper handling

All-in-one Budget Pick #2: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e

All-in-one Pick
HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer

All-in-one Pick for Cardstock and Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

4-color pigment-based ink system :: 4800×1200 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 8.5″×11″ (A4) :: Max paper thickness: bottom feed tray 90lb - 110lb / 245gsm - 300gsm Cover cardstock :: Early 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint :: BONUS 6 months Instant ink with HP+

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e offers a solid all-around performance. This all-in-one option is efficient and fast, making it a good pick for small offices or home studios that need a versatile printer.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Fast printingNo wide-format support
Versatile functionalitiesPigment ink not as vibrant
Easy-to-use touchscreenHigher upfront cost
Good mobile support
Secure networking options

Ink Tank 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is for those who want to focus on the art and less on ink refills. Its tank system is easy to fill, and the per-page cost is low, making it a budget-friendly choice.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Low running costLimited advanced features
High-resolution printingManual duplexing
Compact designNo ADF
Straightforward setup
Long-lasting ink

Ink Tank Budget Pick #3: Canon MegaTank G620

Eco Value Art Printer
Canon PIXMA G620/550 MegaTank Inkjet Photo Printer

Value Ink tank/Supertank Printer for Art Prints, Photographers, Graphic Designers, Stickers, Vinyl, Transparencies

6-color dye-based ink 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 :: Early 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint :: a.k.a G550/G650

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
Canon’s MegaTank G620 is a top pick for those wanting low running costs without sacrificing quality. It offers vibrant colors, making it a great choice for heat transfer to T-shirts.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Extra color cartridges for enhanced outputLarger footprint
Low cost-per-pageNo automatic document feeder (ADF)
Excellent color vibrancyDye-based ink fades quicker
Reliable performance
User-friendly interface

Value Pick #1: 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson Expression XP-15000 is your go-to if you want a mix of quality and value. It delivers crisp, vibrant colors while being moderately priced, making it one of the best printers for heat transfer paper on a budget.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
High resolutionNo ADF
Wide-format support up to 13″×19″ (A3+)Manual duplexing
6-color system for better accuracyCostlier ink
Good speed for its class
Compact design
Easy setup

Value Pick #2: 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson Expression XP-970 offers exceptional versatility. It’s particularly suitable for those needing a range of paper sizes and types, including heat transfer paper.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Versatile paper handlingNo Ethernet connectivity
High-quality color reproductionPremium ink costs
Easy-to-use touchscreenLimited to dye-based ink
Compact for its features
Reliable performance

Heavy Duty: Epson EcoTank ET-3760

Mid-priced
Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-Free Printer

Best Mid-Priced Ink Tank Printer

Maximum Paper Size: 8.5 x 47 Inches | Resolution: Up to 4800 x 1200 DPI | Print Speed: 15 PPM (B&W) :: 8 PPM (Color) | Inks: 4 Color EcoTank ink


Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a workhorse built for high-volume printing. Its tank system minimizes the need for frequent refills, making it ideal for businesses focused on heat transfers.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Built for high volumeBulky design
Economical ink tank systemSlightly slower print speed
ADF and duplexingNo color touchscreen
Robust build
Excellent customer support

What Do Artists Think?

Michael, a.k.a Mr. Crafty Pants. used this printer to print his transfers in one of his tutorials.

Overall, he was very happy with the full color, soft prints and easy application of the StarCraft printable heat transfer vinyl using just his basic inkjet printer.

He found it provided excellent results for custom t-shirt designs.

Artist’s Favorite: 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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Canon Pixma PRO-200 is a favorite among artists for its incredible color accuracy and detail. While it’s more on the premium side, the quality it delivers is unmatched for heat transfer work.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Excellent color fidelityHigher upfront cost
Fine art print qualityConsumes more ink
8-color systemLarge footprint
Professional-level features
Good media handling

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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson SureColor P700 is designed for art studios. It offers a wide color gamut and high resolution, making it excellent for heat transfer projects that require the utmost precision and quality.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Ultra-high resolutionPremium pricing
Wide color gamutComplex setup
Professional-grade performanceLarge size
10-color system
Excellent build quality

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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Epson EcoTank ET-8550 is a versatile printer that accommodates various media types, including heat transfer paper. It offers long-lasting inks and is engineered for detailed and accurate prints, making it a reliable choice for art studios.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Exceptional print qualitySteeper price tag
Efficient six-color systemSlightly larger footprint
Multiple paper tray optionsComplex to navigate for beginners
Cost-effective in the long run
User-friendly interface

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

Why It’s Great for Heat Transfer Paper:
The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is designed for professionals seeking gallery-quality prints. With its superior color accuracy and robust build, it’s a top pick for art studios focusing on heat transfers.

Quick Technical Specs:

ProsCons
Extremely high color fidelityHigh initial cost
Built for professional useConsumes a lot of ink
10-color system for a wide gamutTakes up more space
Heavy-duty build
Customizable settings

Main Criteria for Choosing a Printer for Heat Transfer Paper

T-Shirts Printing Heat Press - ©Art Side of Life
CriteriaWhy it MattersRecommendation
Type of PrinterInkjet is generally more compatible and versatileBest inkjet printer for heat transfer paper
Type of InkAffects durability and qualityPigment-based ink
Number of ColorsImpacts color accuracyDepends on your design needs and budget
Paper SupportDifferent needs for light and dark fabricsA printer that supports multiple paper types
ResolutionAffects clarity and detailMinimum of 600 DPI recommended

When it comes to getting the best printer for heat transfer paper, there are several factors to consider. You’re looking at a world of choices, and navigating them can be overwhelming. So, let’s cut through the noise and get straight to what matters.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers

In my experience, inkjet printers are usually the go-to for heat transfer projects, especially for t-shirts.

Here’s why:

  1. Better Color Reproduction: Inkjet printers offer superior color reproduction, making them ideal for detailed designs and photos.
  2. Compatibility: Inkjet printers are generally more compatible with heat transfer papers.
  3. Cost: They are often less expensive upfront, making it a less daunting investment for smaller operations or hobbyists.

Laser printers, while fast and efficient, tend to struggle with heat-sensitive paper. Plus, the toner may not transfer as cleanly onto fabric.

Pigment-Based vs. Dye-Based Ink

Here’s where ink choice gets critical. The ink you use can make or break the longevity and quality of your transferred design.

  1. Pigment-Based Ink: Pigment ink is water-resistant and less prone to fading over time.
  2. Dye-Based Ink: Although dye-based ink offers vibrant colors, it tends to fade quicker and is more susceptible to water damage.

💡 Recommendation: Pigment-based ink is usually the best choice for heat transfer t-shirts. It offers durability that stands the test of time.

Number of Colors

More colors usually mean better color reproduction. However, this often comes at a higher cost.

💡 Recommendation: Opt for a printer with more colors if your designs are detailed and vibrant. But also consider the cost implication.

Resolution Matters

In the realm of printing, especially for heat transfer, resolution should not be overlooked. It’s the one factor that can drastically impact the clarity and detail of your printed designs. Here’s the breakdown:

💡 Recommendation: For heat transfer printing, look for a printer with at least 600 DPI. Some higher-end models go up to 4800 x 2400 DPI and more, which may be overkill for most projects, but it’s a nice option for those intricate, detailed designs.

Support for Heat Transfer Paper

Different heat transfer papers are suited for light and dark fabrics. Ensure your printer can accommodate these variances.

💡 Recommendation: Look for a versatile printer that supports various types of heat transfer paper. It’s essential for taking on a variety of projects.

Should You Make T-Shirts Using Heat Transfer Paper or Sublimation?

T-Shirts Printing Heat Transfer Paper vs Sublimation - ©Art Side of Life

When it comes to t-shirt printing, you’ve basically got two solid options: sublimation and heat transfer.

Knowing the differences can really help you decide what’s best for your art project or even your business.

FeatureSublimationHeat Transfer
Printer & InkSpecializedStandard inkjet
Fabric TypePolyester onlyCotton, Poly, Blends
Prep WorkNo mirroringMirroring needed
Print QualityVibrant & PermanentSofter & Less Durable
Product RangeMugs, Plates, etc.Fabrics only
Color LimitationLight-colored fabricsAny color

Printer and Ink

Sublimation needs you to go all in with a special printer and ink.

Heat transfer? Any inkjet printer will do.

In my experience, if you’re considering high-quality, long-term projects, investing in a specialized printer for sublimation might be worth it.

Fabric and Preparation

If you’re a polyester fan, sublimation’s your game. It won’t work with other types of fabrics.

On the other side, heat transfer is like that chill friend who gets along with everyone: cotton, polyester, blends—you name it.

Also, prep work is easier with sublimation. No need to mirror or cut out the design, just press it onto the fabric.

Heat transfer needs a bit more TLC; think mirroring and cutting.

Sublimation scores on print quality; the ink actually bonds with the fabric, so it’s vibrant and pretty much permanent.

Heat transfer? Not so much. It’s not as durable, and it’ll fade over time. I’ve seen sublimated prints outlast heat transfers by a long shot.

Product Versatility

Sublimation’s got versatility in spades.

You can go beyond t-shirts to mugs, plates, and even aluminum sheets.

Heat transfer is kinda stuck in the fabric world, but it does have one ace up its sleeve: it can work with any fabric color, including darks.

Summary

In the end, it’s about what you need. Sublimation’s for you if you’re after high quality and are okay investing in special equipment.

Heat transfer is more for the ‘get-it-done-quick’ crowd with a tighter budget and broader fabric choices.

Hope that clears things up!

FAQs – Best Inkjet Printer for Heat Transfer

What printer do I need for heat transfer paper?

You need an inkjet printer for heat transfer paper. I recommend wide format, versatile inkjet printer Canon Pixma iX6820.

Is an inkjet or laser printer better for heat transfer paper?

An Inkjet printer is better for heat transfer paper than laser printer. Inkjet printers generally support wide variety of heat transfer paper – light, dark, opaque and in turn there are more heat transfer papers made for inkjet printers.

Are inkjet printers good for heat transfer paper?

Yes, inkjet printers are the best for heat transfer paper, especially for t-shirts.

Do you need a sublimation printer for heat transfer paper?

No, you don’t need a sublimation printer for heat transfer paper. You need an inkjet printer that supports heat transfer paper. I recommend wide format Canon Pixma iX6820.

What is the difference between sublimation printer and heat transfer printer?

Sublimation printers use heat to transfer dye directly into polyester fabrics and coated surfaces, ideal for high-quality, long-lasting prints. Heat transfer printers, on the other hand, use heat-sensitive ink and special paper to transfer designs, but are generally limited to fabric materials. The key differences lie in the ink technology and the range of compatible materials.

Does heat transfer paper need special ink?

You can use any kind of ink cartridge to print onto heat transfer paper, but for best results, you should get a printer with pigment-based ink cartridges, which are water-resistant and fade-resistant.

I hope I’ve helped you choose your new inkjet printer for heat transfers, and you will have a lot of fun with your creative projects!

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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