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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, longevity, smoothness, depth of color, and the ability to handle mixed media were all the top considerations during this process. You can use these best printers to print logos, designs onto fabric, or even words.
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 colors. 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.
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.
Printing vibrant heat transfers for your t-shirts is easy with this Epson Expression printer. The six ink cartridges produce unparalleled color quality, making it the best color printer for heat transfers. These high-definition cartridges feature 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 the fabric. Additionally, this Epson supports production on a wide variety of paper sizes, including a wide format. This heat transfer printer 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 this inkjet printer’s ink to the best ink-efficient printer, which has an Ink Save Mode you can switch on to ration your ink use.
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.
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. Though it’s considered a great wireless printer, this isn’t as great for travel as the best portable printer.
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 the fabric. Feel free to compare this printer with the best printer for crafting that uses Claria Photo HD Ink, which is vibrant and long-lasting.
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.
Don’t limit yourself in size. The Epson Artisan 1430 color inkjet printer is one of the most versatile printers when it comes to accommodating media types. This transfer printer can work with any size heat transfer up to 13 x 19-inches. The color inkjet printer also offers quick borderless printing in several preset sizes. This heat transfer printer 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 color inkjet 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, faded, and waterproof. That kind of ink is ideal when you get to the actual heat transfer process. Compare that to the best printer ink that gets you unrivaled quality every time. Make sure the device you choose is compatible with your computer like one of the best printers for Mac would be if you have regularly used a Mac.
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.
The WorkForce 1100 offers great controls for quality, volume, and speed when you need to get down to business. 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 can 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 promise very efficient running costs and less frequent maintenance.
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.
The connectivity options on the Canon PIXMA TR4520 are super responsive. Its auto power on/off function lets you start a print job wirelessly from another room without touching the machine. If you ever need to use the printer’s controls, it has a full dot matrix LCD screen and intuitive buttons.
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.
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.
There are several reasons why the Epson EcoTank ET-2750 is the best eco-friendly printer for heat transfers. Most notably, its unique ink system 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 widths 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.
Award: BEST COLORS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Okidata can print colors and solid white on transfer media, which allows you to achieve a new level of crispness and vibrancy.
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.
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.
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 transparency.
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 at an affordable cost. Instant-drying inks guarantee that your heat transfers won’t smudge in the process of applying them to the fabric.
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 and at a cheap price. The printhead is precise and uses four different color ink cartridges — cyan, magnets, yellow, and black. The DURABrite Ultra pigment ink is super durable when printing images.
Although the ink droplet size doesn’t get as small as higher options at a more expensive price, 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, investing in the best printer paper on the market is essential.
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.
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.
When considering the best printers for heat transfers, we prioritize print production quality the most. Several factors 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 printer resolution include the printhead type, the number and type of ink cartridges, and the number of nozzles used per cartridge to apply the ink to the page. We selected printers with top-quality ink cartridges with 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, so the more flexible, the better. We also included some options that accommodate wide-format production for those looking for broader coverage.
Regarding 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.