In finding the best printer for heat transfers, we researched over 20 printers with a special focus on color quality and print resolution. Ink quality and longevity, smoothness, and depth of color, and the ability to handle mixed media were all top considerations during this process.

Ultimately, the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 won out as our top pick because of its leading 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution and because it printed with the broadest range of color. We also liked that it is a great option for wide-format printing. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best printers on the market today.

Top 10 Best Printers for Heat Transfers

 #1  Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Our top pick creates fabulous color prints from its Individual 6-color Claria Photo HD Inks and precision nozzles. You’ll be able to create heat transfers with as much detail and color range as you want.

Pros
  • Large scale reproductions up to 13 x 19-inches
  • Red and gray inks for broader color range
  • Up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi resolution
Cons
  • Initial setup can take a long time

Printing vibrant heat transfers for your t-shirts is easy with this Epson Expression printer. The six ink cartridges produce an unparalleled color quality that makes it the best color printer for heat transfers. These high-definition cartridges achieve color ranges that other printers can’t because of the inclusion of red and gray ink cartridges.

The Claria ink is also long-lasting and won’t fade after transferring your print to fabric. Additionally, this Epson supports production on a wide variety of paper sizes, including a wide format. It has an impressively precise printhead that can apply ink droplets as small as 1.5 picoliters (a picoliter is one trillionth of a liter, so very tiny). Compare that to the best ink efficient printer which has an Ink Save Mode you can switch on to ration your ink use.

 #2  Epson WF7710 WorkForce Wireless Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This Epson uses smudge, fade, and water-resistant ink that can last up to 84 years, which is the kind of durability you want for heat transfers. Its PrecisionCore 2S printhead achieves excellent color vibrancy and resolution.

Pros
  • High 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution
  • Rear paper feed for specialty paper
  • Up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi resolution
Cons
  • Scanner can be difficult to use

The Epson WF7710 Workforce Wireless Printer is a workhorse machine that’s designed for mixed media. Its rear paper tray is specifically designed for specialty paper and is perfect for heat transfer paper. With four individual ink cartridges, you have a wide color palette at your fingertips and can get up to 4800 x 2400 dpi on your prints.

The PrecisionCore 2S printhead is excellent at applying the ink true to the image you’re working from. One of the best features of the printer is the fact that it uses DURABrite Ultra pigment ink which, as its name implies, is super durable. Not only will you have great color depth on your prints, but you can also rest easy knowing that the colors won’t fade easily when applied to fabric. Feel free to compare this printer with the best printer for crafting that uses Claria Photo HD Ink that is vibrant and long-lasting.

 #3  Epson Artisan 1430 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST FOR LARGE REPRODUCTIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Work big with your designs with this wide-format printer that allows borderless printing up to 13 x 19 size media. Achieve photographic-like prints with resolution up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi.

Pros
  • Six-cartridge Claria ink produces in high-definition
  • Supports over 60 media types and sizes
  • Print from smartphone, iPhone, tablet, and mobile devices
Cons
  • Uses a lot of ink

Don’t limit yourself in size. The Epson Artisan 1430 inkjet printer is one of the most versatile printers when it comes to accommodating media type. This transfer printer can work with any size heat transfer up to 13 x 19-inches. The printer also offers quick borderless printing in a number of preset sizes. It prints beautifully on a variety of media, including heat transfer paper.

The patented DX5 MicroPiezo print head prints largely with incredible resolution from six high-definition ink cartridges. This printer excels at printing smooth gradients and true-to-life colors. You won’t have to worry about grainy prints or smudging, as the ink is smudge, fade, and waterproof. That kind of ink is ideal when you get to the actual heat transfer process. Compare that to the best printer ink which gets you unrivaled quality every single time.

 #4  Epson WorkForce 1100 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST FOR BUSINESS USERS

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re screen printing for business use, the Epson WorkForce 1100 functions like a speedy office laser printer at up to 30 pages per minute while maintaining fabulous color depth and detail.

Pros
  • MicroPiezo head with variable size nozzles
  • Dual black ink cartridges and high capacity cartridge available
  • Great controls for quality and speed
Cons
  • Small capacity cartridges run out quickly

When you need to get down to business, the WorkForce 1100 offers great controls for quality, volume, and speed. It can achieve as high as 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi resolution or print up to 30 pages per minute, which is as fast as a laser printer.

This isn’t a laser printer though, as it uses four high definition ink cartridges that apply durable, long-lasting ink to your heat transfers. It produces crisp-edge lettering and smooth color gradients. Even though it has one feeding tray, you can adjust it to print onto sizes as large as 13-inches wide. The print head nozzles are able to adjust to as many as five different sizes, giving you great control over ink usage. The machine is also ENERGY STAR qualified, which means it uses around 70-percent less power than office laser printers. Compare this to the best printer for small businesses that promises very efficient running costs and less frequent maintenance.

 #5  Canon PIXMA TR4520 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST CONNECTIVITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: T-shirt designs can come from anywhere, and with connectivity options like AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, Wireless Connect, and the Canon print app, this printer allows you to print them from anywhere with ease.

Pros
  • AirPrint and Google Cloud integration
  • Copy, scan, print, and fax all-in-one
  • Wide range of paper compatibility
Cons
  • Max print size is 8.5 x 11-inches

The connectivity options on the Canon PIXMA TR4520 are super responsive. Its auto power on/off function allows you to start a print job wirelessly from another room without even touching the machine. If you ever do need to use the printer’s controls, it has a full dot matrix LCD screen and intuitive buttons as well.

You can print, scan, and even fax from nearly any device by connecting via WiFi or through Canon’s print app. Color print quality is good and clear, up to 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution, and it handles heat transfer paper well. While it only takes two ink cartridges (one black and a second dye-based ink), our research found that it can achieve photo-quality prints nonetheless from the 1,280 total nozzles it uses to apply the ink. This is the best Canon for heat transfer jobs. And if you’re a student, you will want to invest in the best printer for students that offers convenient management of printing functions and monitors ink levels.

 #6  Epson EcoTank ET-2750 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Epson EcoTank replaces traditional ink cartridges with refillable ink tanks that hold more ink and reduce the waste of throwing out empty cartridges. You’ll also save up to 80-percent on ink over the lifetime of the printer.

Pros
  • Innovative refillable ink bottles
  • 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi print resolution
  • Up to two years of ink included
Cons
  • Small 1.44-inch LCD screen

There are several reasons why the Epson EcoTank ET-2750 is the best eco-friendly printer for heat transfers. Most notably is because of its unique ink system, which uses four EcoTank Ink Bottles instead of traditional cartridges. Right out of the box, the printer includes enough ink to print up to 5,200 color pages, which would be about 30 regular ink cartridges. Additionally, the unit itself is recyclable and Energy Star qualified.

You don’t sacrifice print quality either, with a high resolution of up to 5760 x 1440 dpi and three variable nozzle sizes for great color detail. It can handle borderless printing and paper width up to 14-inches. While the 1.44-inch LCD screen on the unit is a bit small, the extensive mobile printing options and controls make it so that doesn’t really matter. Consider comparing this printer to the best laser printer that has a large 4.3” color touchscreen.

 #7  Okidata 62439301 C711wt Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST COLORS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This Okidata has the ability to print colors and solid white on transfer media, which allows you to achieve a new level of crispness and vibrancy.

Pros
  • Dedicated white toner cartridge
  • Microfine High Definition toner
  • Designed for merchandize and graphic arts printing
Cons
  • Weighs over 60 pounds

This printer is designed for printing on alternative media with a focus on heat transfer paper. With High Definition LED color printing and a dedicated white toner cartridge, you can achieve a richness of color and contrast on your prints that other printers on this list can’t. It’s especially good for heat transfers that you’re going to apply to dark color fabric.

The unit has a convenient dedicated tray for heat transfer paper that holds up to 100 sheets. It also prints at a fairly quick pace of up to eight pages per minute on heat transfer paper. Overall, the transfer paper gets handled through the feeding tray smoothly and reliably no matter how big of a job you’re working on. You may also want to consider the best large format printer that features two 250 sheet high-capacity paper feeding trays as well as a rear input tray for specialty media.

 #8  Canon TS6120 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: At just over five inches tall, the Canon TS6120 offers high-quality printing with a five-color ink cartridge system in a conveniently small package.

Pros
  • Vibrant colors from a five-ink cartridge system
  • Easy wireless printing compatibility options
  • Intuitive user interface with 3-inch LCD touch screen
Cons
  • Printing speed can be slow

It’s a wonder that this Canon can fit over 4,000 print nozzles and five individual ink cartridges into a unit with such a small footprint. This printer does not sacrifice its quality with resolution up to 4800 x 1200 dpi. It handles transfer media well, though without a truly dedicated feeding tray it’s better suited for smaller print jobs.

In addition to its convenient size, the TS6120 offers convenience with a myriad of wireless print options, like AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, wireless printing, Bluetooth, and more. Canon’s patented ChromaLife100 System is designed to preserve the longevity of your prints without the colors fading, which is ideal when you put them through the heat transfer process. Compare this printer’s ability with the best printer for screen printing that can produce high-quality transparencies.

 #9  Epson Stylus C88+ Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s almost unheard of for a budget printer to achieve up to 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution, but this one does. Instant-drying inks guarantee that your heat transfers won’t smudge in the process of applying them to fabric.

Pros
  • Smudge-resistant reproductions
  • Easy to use borderless printing settings
  • Includes photo editing software
Cons
  • Can be slow if you’re printing high volume

For a powerful performance at a great price point, the Epson Stylus C88+ is the best choice. It can produce up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi, which ties for the highest on our list. The printhead is precise and uses four different color ink cartridges — cyan, magnets, yellow, and black. The DURABrite Ultra pigment ink is super durable.

Although the ink droplet size doesn’t get as small as higher options, each color printhead has 59 nozzles which achieve more than enough detail and true-to-life color for the heat transfer process. There’s no separate feeding tray for specialty paper, but the main tray can handle heat transfer paper just fine. It’s easy to print on standard size paper with convenient presets for borderless printing on common sizes. And for quality printing, it is important to invest in the best printer paper on the market.

 #10  WorkForce WF-7210 Printer for Heat Transfers

Award: BEST FOR HIGH VOLUME

WHY WE LIKE IT: When you need quality and quantity, the WorkForce WF-7210 offers print-shop quality production with dual 500-sheet capacity feeding trays. There’s also another rear feed for alternative sized media.

Pros
  • PrecisionCore 2S printhead
  • Three separate paper feeding trays
  • Accommodates wide format printing
Cons
  • Setup can be confusing
  • Rear feed printing is slower

Of the many features to like about this do-it-all printer, perhaps the most impressive is that it can still produce up to 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution prints, which is what makes it great for heat transfer media. The four individual ink cartridges assure great color depth without graininess, and the ink is fade and smudge-resistant.

It’s also great that this model can handle borderless color printing in wide format sizes up to 13 x 19-inches. The additional rear paper tray is especially handy if you plan to work with unusual-sized media. Of course, these features are even more impressive considering that this unit can handle high-volume jobs at a relatively quick pace of 10 pages per minute for color. Compare that to the best printer for office use that manages to print a maximum of 32 pages per minute in black and white.

How We Decided

When considering the best printers for heat transfers, we prioritize the quality of print production the most. There are several factors that contribute to the quality of the print. One is the dots per inch (dpi) resolution that can be achieved by the printer on the heat transfer. The higher the resolution the better. Factors that contribute to resolution in a printer include the type of printhead, number and type of ink cartridges, and the number of nozzles used per cartridge to apply the ink to the page. We selected printers that used top-quality ink cartridges and have the highest number of nozzles.

Additionally, printers that made the list needed to be able to handle a variety of paper sizes. Heat transfer papers can vary in size, so the more flexibility the better. We also included some options that accommodate wide-format production for those looking for broader coverage.

When it comes to color detail and vibrancy, printers with more than two cartridges ranked higher because they can generally achieve a broader range of color. Printers with two cartridges made the list because the quality of ink and printer mechanics made up for it. Black and white printers were not considered. Printing speed was not high on our priorities list, as it matters less for this type of printing.

Best Printers for Heat Transfers Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Ink Quality/Longevity
    An important part of the heat transfer process is the application of the ink to the fabric. As such, you want to make sure that any printer you’re buying for heat transfer media uses high-quality ink that is fade-resistant. Look for companies that specifically highlight the longevity of its ink. The application of the ink also matters here. The best color printer for heat transfers has a high-quality printhead that prints color smoothly without streaking or graininess.
  2. Resolution
    The detail is key for heat transfer printing, as you want high-resolution images with crisp edges and vibrant colors. When you’re looking at a printer, make sure to check the maximum print resolution. This is always indicated in dots per inch (dpi). A printer with up to 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution in its prints is a really good option, though you can get models with even higher resolution as well.
  3. Paper Compatibility
    Of course, you need a printer that can handle printing onto transfer media. It’s good to check the range of paper compatibility that a printer has as that can vary greatly. Think about the size of the media you plan to print on as well. If you want to produce large heat transfers for wider coverage, then make sure the printer can handle wide format media.

Printers for Heat Transfers FAQs

What is the best printer to use for heat transfers?

Although there are many types of printers you can use, the best ones to use for heat transfers is one with great color printing at a high resolution. Although you can use many inkjet printers to print onto transfer paper, the quality of the design after pressing it will be blurry, grainy, and may fade quickly if it is not high enough quality.

Can I use any printer for heat transfer?

Generally speaking, you can use an inkjet or laser printer for heat transfers. However, if you want a long-lasting print with clear colors and edges, you’re going to want to use a printer that has high-quality ink, high resolution, and is designed to work with different kinds of paper.

What kind of printer do you need to print iron on transfers?

You can use an inkjet, sublimation printer, or laser printer to print onto iron-on transfer paper. Inkjet and dye-sublimation printers provide higher quality. If you want to produce a high-quality design on fabric, then you’ll need to look at the features of the printer to make sure that it can handle the job. Look at the features to consider above to better understand what to look for.

What is needed for heat transfer printing?

Once you have a design, you’ll need a high-quality printer to produce it onto heat transfer paper. It’s recommended to get the best heat transfer paper you can. Make sure that you have the correct size paper and that the printer can accommodate that given size. After printing, you may need to cut out your design with scissors or a cutter. Then you will need heat tape to adhere the design to the fabric you are applying it to. Lastly, you’ll need a heat press to finish the job.

Noah Staum

Noah has a special ability to discover stellar new products (read: spends hours online shopping), especially if they help people create, watch, listen to music, and improve quality of life. Based in Los Angeles, he’s worked with several global social apps and is the creator of nonormal.life and White Spot Studios.

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