Are you doing business at home?
Do you have a small office?
If yes, then you need the best printer for a beautiful print experience.
Heat transfer printing, otherwise called thermal printing, is an excellent way to create prints and images in a fun and creative way for you to make money.
You can use a heat transfer printer to apply images, graphics, and other prints to textile materials like t-shirts and much more.
Some of these things may not be easy without using a printer for heat transfer, as you may face some challenges because some printers don’t work well on thicker fabrics.
Choosing the best printers for heat transfer could seem like a huge task.
There are various heat transfer printers on the market for you to choose to meet your specifications.
Make sure that you research properly to avoid mistakes while buying and avoid wasting your money.
This article focuses on the best printers for heat transfers, including their buying guide and the most frequently asked questions to enable you to buy the best printer for your heat transfer projects.
Let’s get started!
What is the best printer for making T-shirts?
After in-depth research, the following heat transfer printers proved to be the best on the market.
#1. Editor’s choice – Zebra ZT41042 Industrial Transfer Printer
- Operating System: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7
- Dimensions: 12.75 x 10.6 x 19.5 inches/324 x 269 x 495 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight: 42.2 pounds
- Uses: Receipts, labels, tags
- Minimum Label Length: 0.5″/12.7 mm
- Print Length: 157″/3988 mm
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
The Zebra ZT41042 Industrial Thermal Transfer Tabletop printer is well-built with a lot of outstanding features.
This product has 10/100 Ethernet connection, Bluetooth 2.1, and the USB host prints 4″ large labels at 14″ per second, including 203 dpi (8 dots/mm).
You will appreciate the energy equalizer (E3), which offers quality prints, while the metal frame and media offer durability.
An LCD graphical user interface enables users to read and navigate, and the 256 RAM with 4 MB is easy to access.
The transmissive and reflective media sensors conform with distinct label models like die-cut, notch, continuous, and black mark.
Extra connection alternatives include serial and USB 2.0.
You can use this thermal printer to print at POS locations either in supermarkets, hotels, or other selling points.
Direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers use heat rather than ink cartridges to print on coated thermal media.
This is one of the best printers for heat transfer and is easy to use, and with the Ethernet port or wireless capabilities, you can connect it to a computer network.
- It’s reliable
- It prints pretty fast
- Great customer support
- A little expensive
- Set up could be difficult
#2. Honorary mention – Epson Eco Tank ET-2720 Wireless Supertank Printer
- Dimensions: 13.7 x 14.8 x 8.7 inches
- Weight: 12.65 pounds
- Colour display: 1.44″
Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5
The Epson Eco Tank ET-2720 wireless cartridge-free printer is perfect for families that want to minimize their spending.
It comes with a replacement ink set that you can use to print up to 4500 pages of heat transfer paper in black and 7,500 prints in color.
With the resealable and drip-free ink bottles, you can fill the large front ink tank at ease.
This product can easily create prints from Android tablets, iPad, iPhones, and smartphones, and it is easy to set up and navigate using the 3.7cm LCD screen.
It is also perfect for scanning and copying documents as it uses ultra-high space ink tanks to eliminate the demand for cartridges.
The ET-2720 comes with close to 88 cartridges worth of ink all in all, and it is highly economical as it saves about 90% on ink costs.
Epson recommends that you use Epson inks for Epson heat transfer printers to avoid damage, and a two-year limited warranty protects the product with registration.
With the help of the front ink level display, you will undoubtedly know when you should refill the printer.
The EcoTank wireless front-facing tanks are set up for easy refills while the ideal colors are well-positioned, all thanks to the bottles.
- Ink is less difficult to refill and also cheaper
- Is quite light and compact
- Excellent print quality
- Ideal for mobile print applications
- Does not come with a USB cable
#3. Epson Workforce WF-7710 Wireless Wide Format Printer
- Functions: print, scan, copy, fax
- Paper storage capacity: 250
- Dimensions: 32.2 x 22.3 x 13.4 inches
- Weight: 40.8 pounds
Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5
The Workforce WF-7710 is a versatile color inkjet printer that can sometimes print posters, artwork, and documents.
It features a 250-sheet tray, including a back feed for some paper of its choice, guaranteeing additional performance.
The Workforce WF-7710 is powered by a precision core and can print up to 13″ x 19″.
The print quality is top-notch with a maximum print resolution of 2400 dpi, doubling several other all-in-one printers.
With the 4.3″ color touchscreen, you can navigate and control quickly and also create prints from tablets and smartphones.
Ensure you use original Epson-brand cartridges for this product as other ink cartridges do not work with this product.
You will get more information about the printer design on the package and the additional features that come with it on their website, along with information for other models like the Epson Stylus and Epson Stylus C88 models.
They don’t consume much energy, and they have unique icons that you can click on and get your work going.
- Excellent quality of prints
- Control panel is user-friendly
- Plenty of vibrant colors
- Affordable for home users
- Versatile heat transfer paper handling
- Print heads clog sometimes
#4. Epson Workforce WF-7720 Wireless Wide Format Printer
- Product Dimensions: 32.2 x 22.3 x 13.4 inches
- Weight: 40.8 pounds
- Output tray capacity: 125
- Maximum document length/width: 47.2/13 inches
Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The workforce WF-7720 wide-format all-in-one printer can print up to 18 ppm (pages per minute) and features 500-sheet heat transfer paper capacity.
There is a back feed for any heat transfer paper of your choice to ensure a steady output for any purpose.
This model also handles 2-sided prints, which you can use to scan, copy, and fax, including a 35-page auto document feeder.
Using the 4.3″ color touchscreen, you can easily navigate and control menus.
With the featured wireless networking, this product helps you print using smartphones and tablets.
This printer for heat transfer works best with original Epson cartridges as other types of ink cartridges may not work correctly.
Information about the printer design is on the package, and the additional features that come with it are on their website.
You can create borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″ and scan up to 11″ x 17″.
The WF-7720 is powered by a precision core and comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Can print about 13-by-19-inch pages
- Diverse connectivity
- Control panel is easy to navigate
- Good inkjet printer
- High-volume printing
- Easy to navigate and control
- Each page is expensive.
#5. Epson Expression EcoTank Wireless Printer
- Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.8 x 10.2 inches
- Weight: 12.1 pounds
- Functions: print/copy/scan
- Paper capacity: 100 sheets
- LCD color display: 1.44″
Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5
The Expression ET-2750 EcoTank wireless all-in-one printer offers large cartridge-free prints using enormous ink tanks that are simple to fill-up.
The box comes with a considerable quantity of ink that can print up to 5,200 pages and last for up to 2 years.
The ET-2750 features an auto-stop ink bottle in which the respective colors specially fit for easy tank fill-ups.
You can create prints from tablets and smartphones, all thanks to wireless connectivity, including Wi-Fi direct.
Epson recommends original Epson inks for standard prints as non-Epson inks could cause destruction not protected by the company’s warranty.
The low-cost replacement bottles enable you to save up to 80% on ink.
- Comes with plenty of ink
- Ink is less expensive to replace
- Cost-effective heat transfers
- Great quality prints
- Lacks Ethernet
- Moderate heat transfer paper capacity
#6. Epson Expression XP-15000 Wireless Wide Format Printer
- Operating Temperature: 50 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees to 35 degrees C)
- Product Dimensions: 30.9 x 18.7 x 16.2 inches
- Weight: 18.7 pounds
Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5
The Expression Photo HD XP-15000 wireless wide-format printer for heat transfer prints will help you achieve top-notch photo prints.
It offers better pro-quality borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″ and comes with 6-color Claria Photo HD inks, including red and grey.
With the 50-sheet rear tray, printing standard projects will be a lot easier than other printers.
This is one of the best printers because its ultimate wireless and wired connectivity help you print conveniently from iPad, Android tablets, and smartphones, and it also offers Ethernet networking.
It’s suitable printing features supports auto 2-sided document printing, including a 200-sheet front tray.
The box comes with an Expression photo HD XP-15000 printer, CD-ROM, power cord, one cleaning sheet, 4x Claria photo HD 312-1 ink cartridges, and a lot more.
One of the most outstanding features is the Dash Replenishment, which automatically refills your ink once it finishes, similar to the Epson Stylus C88 model.
Use only Epson cartridges as other re-manufactured or refillable cartridges may not work well with the printer for heat transfer projects.
- Good photo-quality prints
- Fast speed
- Easy to set up and navigate
- Fits perfectly on desktop
- High running costs
#7. Workforce WF-7210 Wireless Wide Format Printer
- Product Dimensions: 31.8 x 22.3 x 12.7 inches
- Weight: 32.8 pounds
- Maximum print size: 13 x 19″
- Print speed: 18ppm black/10ppm color
- Tray output: 125 sheets
Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
A precision core powers this printer for heat transfers and works way beyond some laser printers.
It features 2-sided printing up to 11″ x 17″ and a 2.2″ LCD for you to set up tasks conveniently and navigate.
With the ultimate wireless printing and networking, you can print from an iPad, iPhone, Android tablets, and smartphones and still get the best results.
This printer is the best for energy efficiency. It uses up to 80% less power and is flexible when handling paper as it comes with a 500-sheet capacity, dual trays, including a back shelf for specialty paper.
One of the most outstanding features is the Dash Replenishment, which automatically refills your ink once it is low.
The Workforce WF-7210 is designed for use with Epson cartridges for heat transfers only as it does not accept other cartridges’ brands for heat transfers.
The box comes with a workforce WF-7210 printer, instruction manual, CD-ROM, power cord, and 4x DURABrite Ultra ink cartridges.
- Ability to print 2 sides
- Easy to use
- Fast heat transfers
- Small LCD screen
#8. C11CC98201 Workforce WF-7610 Wireless Printer
- Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 28.6 x 17 inches
- Weight: 48.5 pounds
- Paper capacity: 250
- Maximum paper size: 13 x 19 inches
- LCD screen: 4.3-inch color touch
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
The WF-7610 is powered by Epson’s modern precision core printing technology and delivers excellent productivity way beyond lasers.
It offers fast, print-shop-quality borderless prints up to 13 x 19 inches and laser-sharp black and color text.
You will be able to print heat transfers from tablets, smartphones, iPads, and iPhones.
With the Dash Replenishment, you will never run out of ink, and it also saves up to 40% on printing costs.
It is ideal to use Epson cartridges with this product for heat transfers to avoid damage to the printer.
- Easy to setup
- Excellent print quality
- Fantastic interface
- Well-packaged for safety
- Comes with one paper tray
Heat transfer printer – Buying Guide
When choosing the best thermal heat transfer printers, certain things come into play.
Buying anything other than the best printer will provide you with lousy image quality.
Each of the printers highlighted has different roles in thermal printing and uses a particular ink type.
Before purchase, you must decide what you want to use it for and what it entails to determine which is best for you.
Below are some of the things you need to know before deciding on a heat transfer printer for your work.
Best printer for heat transfers – Advantages
Getting a heat transfer printer saves costs and is less stressful.
It is uncommon to go to a t-shirt maker or screen-printer shop without seeing this type of printer for doing transfers.
It enables customers to choose their design and color.
Therefore, you don’t need to print t-shirts and keep them without selling, as the best printers eliminate the problem of overstocking.
Below are the advantages of using heat transfer:
Heat transfer printers for t-shirts – Easy to use
Even if you’re a beginner, you can use these devices for doing heat transfers.
Furthermore, they may take a little more space, but you will achieve a lot by printing on several fabrics.
- Less messy
The best printer offers cleaner results than screen printers, which use chemicals like dye.
Your materials or appliances won’t get damaged in the process due to ink leakage.
You can decide to place your portable heat device in a small room and bring the images you wish to transfer.
- High quality
These types of machines for doing heat transfers deliver excellent quality as the heat presses your printed fabrics smoothly.
You can use it to create prints and intricate designs with excellent picture quality.
Using screen printing is not cost-effective for tons of identical materials.
If you’re making small quantities of materials, the cost is not high when using the best heat transfer technology.
Best printer for heat transfer t-shirts: Printers for heat transfers
There are specific printers for heat transfers that you can use.
Three major types are available, even if you want to print mugs or t-shirts.
Note that they have their drawbacks, just like every other electronic appliance.
- Inkjet printers
You can use these types of printers in offices.
They are affordable, versatile and offer a wide range of units.
Inkjet printers work perfectly for a variety of inks, as well as specialty papers.
- Laser printers
Laser printers are well suited for office use because you can use them to print plenty of documents.
However, they don’t work well for graphics and colored pictures in which heat transfer printers do the most tedious jobs with the best results.
Inkjet printers produce higher photo quality than laser printers.
- Dye-sublimation printers
These printers work by transferring dye on the printing item and can print well on fabric, paper, and so on.
It prints excellent results and comes in both professional and consumer units.
The consumer units can only print dye sublimation ink if they’re compatible.
If you want to use dye-sublimation to print on cotton, you’ll have to write on an intermediate layer before transferring it to cotton materials for the best outcome.
Best printer for printable vinyl: Types of ink for heat transfer
Before you start using heat transfer for printing, you need to consider the type of ink suitable for your projects.
There are three types of ink for heat transfer: dye ink, sublimation ink, and pigment ink.
- Dye ink
The dye in dye-based inks melts inside water as salt or sugar does.
Dye-based inks pass through the printer better and are best with inkjet printers.
If water drops on paper, the dye will melt while the ink will pass through the paper.
Dye ink is recommended over pigment ink if you want to print a typical document using inkjet paper.
- Pigment inks
They use small particles of colored material to administer ink color.
The small particles stay on top of the paper and do not absorb into the fibers.
Also, pigment inks use about eight diverse colors, making it provide a range of fine-drawn colors.
This ink type can last up to 200 years under some conditions, and it is waterproof, making it the best for durability.
- Sublimation inks
Sublimation inks work best for some printers like Epson, one of the printers in our review.
It produces good color quality that doesn’t fade or crack on any material.
Consider the pressure and temperature for your sublimation blanks to ensure the best printing quality.
Factors to consider before buying heat transfer printers
There are several factors that you must consider before buying a thermal printer for heat transfer.
Kindly read on to learn more.
- Cartridge options
You should consider your cartridge option, and it should be easy to use.
Get a printer that you can easily refill and replace the cartridge in.
Replacing a cartridge is sometimes a tedious task, especially if the printer is of low-quality.
- Medium size
Some printers have limited functions, while some can print on several fabrics.
The printing of documents only does not require many versatile printers.
Your printer should have a moderate field as this determines how large or small the images you print will look like after printing.
Large images require a large printing field, so it is best to get the right product dimension field and compare it with the size of what you plan on printing.
- Printing standards
These are some of the most critical factors that you should consider before choosing a printer.
Heat transfer varies concerning the mediums available, and buying the one that is compatible with several mediums is the best option.
The type of ink used plays a role when it comes to the mediums available.
A heat transfer printer for t-shirts should go with printers explicitly made for fabrics.
System compatibility is another crucial factor; therefore, get one that is compatible with your system.
Bear in mind that some models work best with Mac operating system while some work only with Windows.
A perfect printer should be compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Everyone hates an appliance that doesn’t last long, so get a printer you will use for a long time.
You might see the one that will save you the cost of replacement, like some of the heat transfer features that come with it.
- Ease of use
This is also a determining factor as most people struggle with their printers before they can master how to use them and get the best results.
If you’re not tech-savvy, you should look for one that comes with a screen with detailed instructions.
With that, you will be able to follow the instructions and master them after a while.
- Printing Speed/Quality
Endeavor to check for the color printing speed because it often takes time, unlike black-and-white.
Consider the image size because printing larger images will consume more time than smaller ones.
Everyone loves an appliance that delivers speed, but speed is useless if image transfer quality is lacking.
In other words, the printing quality should be essential, especially if you want to print designs on pillows and t-shirts.
With that, you will be able to sell good quality prints to your customers.
- Ink quality
Can the printer handle a variety of ink colors?
That is the question that should come into your mind when looking for the best printer for heat transfers.
Note that some printers don’t accept ink from other brands, so you have to stick to their ink every time you want to refill.
A printer that comes with plenty of ink colors is better but be wary of pigment inks because they tend to be weak.
Notwithstanding, dye-based inks are vibrant though they’re not suitable for humid conditions.
Pigment inks are water-resistant, and they take longer to fade, so you can choose the one that suits you.
- Additional features
High printing speed is a convenient feature that you should consider to save time.
Additionally, a 2-sided printer saves money since you won’t spend more on paper.
A wireless connection printer is a plus as it’s hassle-free, and you can connect it to an electronic device.
- Price & Warranty
Getting the best printer for heat transfers could cost you, but you can still get the one based on your budget.
If your printer doesn’t come with at least a one-year warranty, it is not worth buying.
Best printer for transfer paper – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use any printer for heat transfer?
You can use any type of ink or ordinary ink for paper printing.
Therefore, if you have an inkjet printer that uses regular ink, it will print using heat transfer.
The magic is not with the ink but the type of paper used.
What kind of printer do I need for a heat press?
Heat transfer papers are made specifically for inkjet or laser printers.
Use an inkjet printer for an inkjet transfer paper and laser printers for laser transfer papers.
What kind of printer do you need for Cricut print and cut?
It is better to use an inkjet printer and 8.5″ x 11″ for your cuts.
The material used has to be white for visibility.
After that, cut your work using Cricut Explore.
Which is better, screen printing or heat press?
A heat press offers high-quality clothing because it uses specialty ink with visual software bundles.
These will make your job easy and flexible, unlike screen printing that makes use of one color.
Therefore, the heat press method uses a range of colors.
Which lasts more, extended screen printing or vinyl?
Although screen and vinyl printing are helpful, screen printing tends to last for a while.
Vinyl printed shirts last for a few years before fading.
On the other hand, screen printed shirts could last for a lifetime.
Do you need an inkjet printer for transfer paper?
With transfer papers, you can print images and texts on some materials using a regular inkjet printer.
Some inkjet printers are suitable for transfer papers without the need to modify them.
Is heat transfer printing good?
Fabrics printed using heat transfer methods are of good quality, and it usually takes up to 2-3 minutes to reproduce a particular material.
Heat transfer printing is better than screen printing options.
What do you need for a heat press machine?
You need a computer to create designs and other equipment like scissors, cutter, heat tape, printer, ink, and transfer paper with a heat press.
What kind of printer do I need to make shirts?
The Epson Workforce WF- 7710 wireless wide-format color inkjet printer is well-equipped for printing on t-shirts.
What type of fabric is suitable for heat transfer printing?
Cotton is the best fabric for heat transfer printing and the most often used in the fabric industry.
Due to its flexibility, you can use it several times and at different temperatures.
Inkjet & laser printer for heat transfer – Conclusion
Looking for the best printer for heat transfers could be hassle-free if you get accurate information about the products.
If you need a high-quality printer for your printing project, then the Expression XP-15000 is the right printer for you.
It is best suited for photographers because of its excellent photo quality.
However, if you need a reliable printer that delivers fast results, the Epson ZT41042 Industrial Transfer is recommended.
You’ll appreciate its Bluetooth and USB connectivity features.
Most importantly, it’s portable, easy to use, and you can quickly connect to your computer network.
Finally, the Epson Workforce WF-7710 wireless printer is ideal for home users because of its affordability and plenty of color options.
The print quality is top-notch, and it features a large touchscreen area for easy navigation.
It is durable, versatile, performs well, and saves a lot of energy.
All these units are the best you can find on the market, and we hope this buying guide will help you make the right choice.