The 5 Best Printers for Heat Transfer in 2021

Transferring designs to fabric has to be one of the most rewarding experiences out there. However, if you’re just starting with heat transfer or need to change your current printer, you’re probably looking for the best printer for heat transfers. This process can be quite overwhelming, given the number of products in the market.

To make things easier for you, we’ve prepared a well-researched list of some of the best heat transfer printers out there. So, let’s dive straight in!

Comparison Table

PrinterResolutionConnectivityPrinting Size 
Epson WorkForce WF-72104800 x 2400 dpiEthernet, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC 13 x 19 in
Brother HL-L2320D 2400 x 600 dpiUSB8.5 x 14 in
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15005760 x 1440 dpiEthernet, Wi-Fi, and USB13 x 19 in
HP Laserjet Pro M452dw600 x 600 dpiWi-Fi, Ethernet, NFC, and USB8 x 13.5 in
Silhouette Cameo 4N/ABluetooth and USB120 x 12 in 

The 5 Best Printers for Heat Transfer in 2021

Heat transfer printing, also known as thermal transfer printing, is the process of using heat and wax to transfer your print onto an object. Below are the market’s top five printers for heat transfers. 

1. Epson WorkForce WF-7210 – Best Overall

Epson WorkForce WF-7210

Epson WorkForce WF-7210 is impressive because it has the ability to deliver quantity without compromising the quality.

It can produce prints with a 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution at a printing speed of 10 ppm. For reference, top-tier office printers do a maximum of 32 ppm for black and white papers.

This wide-format printer can do borderless color prints as wide as 13 x 19 inches. Plus, with four separate cartridges for the ink, this printer produces unfading, smudge-resistant prints with exceptional color depth and no grain.

As for the feeding trays, the Epson WorkForce WF-7210 comes with three; two front feeds and one rear feed. The front feeds have 500-sheet capacity trays, and the rear feed is designed specifically for envelopes and unconventionally sized media.

When it comes to connectivity, the Epson WorkForce WF-7210 provides amazing options for wireless printing. These options include Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC mobile networking.

However, it doesn’t support a USB thumb drive, which really cuts back on the connectivity aspect.

As for this printer’s price, the Epson 7210 is very affordable.

Pros:

  • High-resolution prints
  • Rear tray for unconventional size prints
  • Great quality to quantity ratio
  • Supports wide format prints
  • Supports Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC mobile networking.

Cons:

  • Setup is not user-friendly
  • Slow rear-feed printing
  • Doesn’t support a USB thumb drive

Bottom Line

The Epson WorkForce WF-7210 has everything you’ll need in a heat transfer printer; excellent quality, speed, and volume. It’s also affordable, given its specs.

2. Brother HL-L2320D – Runner-Up

Brother HL-L2320D

If you’re trying to get into the heat transfer business, the Brother HL-L2320D printer has everything you need. It’s budget-friendly, produces decent quality prints, and will help you ease your way into the field.

Brother HL-L2320D is the only black and white printer on this list. While this can’t produce colored prints on regular paper, it can still make color heat transfer prints.

This is done by utilizing colored transfer paper, which still gives better quality images than those produced by color printers.

Speaking of quality, this monochrome printer can produce up to a decent 2400 x 600 dpi image.

Additionally, the Brother HL-L2320D printer is perfect for a high volume of commercial-grade heat transfer printing. It can hold a capacity of up to 250 sheets in its tray and can print at the rate of 30 ppm. This makes it a great, cost-effective option for small businesses and startups.

Perhaps the biggest downfall to this printer is its lack of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The only way to print is to stick a 2.0 USB connection directly to the printer, which is a major inconvenience.

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Space-saving
  • Budget-friendly
  • Fast volume printing
  • 2600 page replacement toner cartridge

Cons:

  • Monochrome printer
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Copy, scan, and fax features are unavailable
  • No USB cable (sold separately)

Bottom Line

If you’re just getting started with heat transfer printing, this printer is for you. It provides all the basics, is perfect for black and white document printing, and comes at an amazing price.

3. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 – Professional Pick

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500

The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 has to be the go-to for heat printing professionals. This printer produces gorgeous quality prints, supports wide prints, and has decent printing speed for color images.

The general rule is, the more the ink cartridges, the better image quality. And this printer has six individual ink cartridges, which means undefiable depth and quality of color in heat transfer prints. Also, the addition of red and gray cartridges in this model specifically delivers unprecedented color ranges.

Plus, it has printhead precision nozzles that can apply ink in drops as tiny as 1.5 picoliters, which means crazy detail in the printed images. Also, you can either use the 200-sheet front tray or the rear tray to load your paper if your paper sizes are unconventional.

When it comes to the ink, the Claria ink used by this wide-format printer doesn’t fade and is long-lasting. This guarantees a smooth and flawless transfer of your prints on fabric. In addition, you can print image qualities as high as 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi resolution with a speed of 9 ppm.

As for paper and paper sizes, the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 supports borderless color prints as wide as 13 x 19 inches in size.

What’s more, this printer can deliver large-size prints without having to consume unnecessary room in your space, thanks to its compact design.

Pros:

  • Exceptional print quality
  • Supports unconventional size prints
  • Supports wide format prints
  • Space-saving
  • Wireless printing supports Ethernet
  • Allows smartphone printing 

Cons:

  • Lengthy initial setup
  • Not budget-friendly

Bottom Line

If you’re a professional, then you have to consider this printer. The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 produces the best quality prints, accommodates a good range of paper sizes, isn’t chunky, and has decent connectivity options.

4. HP Laserjet Pro M452dw – Best Reproducibility

HP Laserjet Pro M452dw

If you’re looking for speed, quantity, and reproducibility, the HP Laserjet Pro M452dw is for you. This printer has proven to be phenomenally durable when working with heat prints; it doesn’t overheat or wear out.

 In addition, a unique feature of this printer is energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR® certified machine has an 11% improved energy-saving capacity compared to its other HP predecessors.

Also, the printer’s 1.2 GHz processor allows it to easily and quickly handle large images and prints; this printer can do up to 150 heat transfer prints at a time without overheating.

Moreover, it has a printing speed of 28 ppm, which is the highest on the list. Borderless printing is another feature supported by this beast.

The connectivity technology on this printer is noteworthy; it allows direct printing via USB and wireless printing via Wi-Fi and NFC. It also has security features that protect sensitive data against any potential attacks.

Additionally, the HP Laserjet Pro M452dw utilizes four-toner cartridges for its high-volume prints. The prints can vary in size, starting as small as 3 x 5 inches and going all the way up to 8 x 13.5 inches. You can feed those papers to the printer via either the standard 300-sheet input paper tray or the 550 optional one.

However, this printer’s maximum resolution is 600 x 600 dpi, which affects its quality.

Pros:

  • Fast volume printing
  • Time-saving
  • ENERGY STAR® certified
  • Wireless, NFC, and USB printing
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Compromised print resolution
  • Copy, scan, and fax features are unavailable
  • No USB cable (sold separately)

Bottom Line

If your work is fast-paced with simpler designs, you’re in the right place. The HP Laserjet Pro is user-friendly, energy-saving, fast, and is the perfect heat transfer printer for volume printing.

5. Silhouette Cameo 4 – Best for Cutting

Silhouette Cameo 4

Unlike the other four printers on this list, the Silhouette Cameo 4 can cut your design. So even though this machine can’t perform your standard printing orders, it can transfer -and cut- super high-quality prints on vinyl, cardstock, fabric, and iron-on films.

Another handy feature of the Cameo 4 is its built-in roll feature; this allows you to save time and energy by feeding in the paper right from the roll. The built-in cross cutter also enables you to cut straight from the roll.

Additionally, the printer comes with a cutting mat, but it’s also equipped with smart cutting technology that allows for matless cutting. Of course, the choice of cutting your designs would depend on the type of material you’re using and its size.

As for its connectivity, we have to mention that it supports wireless cutting of your designs using Bluetooth. You’ll just need to download the “Silhouette Go” app and start your heat transfer journey. You can connect using USB, as well.

And regarding its price, don’t worry; the Silhouette Cameo 4 won’t break your bank.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t jam
  • Can print on a variety of materials
  • Time-saving
  • High-quality prints
  • Reasonable price for specs
  • Sleek design
  • Supports both USB and Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • Doesn’t execute standard printing jobs
  • Needs time to master

Bottom Line

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is great if you’re looking for an all-in-one heat transfer printer specialized in cutting directly over the fabric.

See also: The 5 Best Printers for Stickers

What to Consider When Buying a Printer for Heat Transfers

Type of Printer

There are three main types of printers for heat transfer: laserjet, inkjet, and sublimation.

Firstly, laserjet printers utilize laser and toners instead of the usual ink. However, because laser printers already yield heat in the standard printing process, which is a plus, extra care is needed to avoid damage due to overheating.

Secondly, inkjet printers can use one of three types of ink: dye, pigment, or sublimation. Despite being budget-friendly, the dye is not durable and will fade over time. On the other hand, pigment is more expensive, durable, and won’t fade over time. Last but not least, sublimation produces excellent print quality, yet it requires technical application skills.

Finally, sublimation printers are fast and reliable, printing directly onto the fabric with the need for heat transfer papers.

Resolution

Resolution is the most critical factor in heat transfer. Because no one wants to walk around with poor-quality prints on their t-shirts or tote bags, it’s important to choose the printer that delivers your desired resolution.

If your designs are fairly simple, you don’t need to splurge on one of the expensive high-resolution printers. On the other hand, if your prints are pictures or super detailed designs, you’ll need to opt for one of the fancier quality options.

Connectivity

Do you work in an office with multiple colleagues? Do you design your prints using your smartphone? Printers come with different connectivity options, such as USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. So, choose the connectivity option that works best in your work environment and make sure your potential heat transfer printer supports it.

Paper Compatibility

Heat transfer paper and heat transfer printers need to be compatible to successfully transfer your designs. In addition, the type of the paper itself and the desired media print size are factors you need to consider when choosing a printer.

Speed

If you’re in a fast-paced work environment, speed is key. Check your printer’s ppm (print per minute) to determine whether it’ll be fast enough for your business.

Capacity

How many papers can your printer hold? A larger printer paper capacity means that it’ll take more prints before you have to reload your printer feed. If you’re usually situated far away from your printer or if you print at higher rates, this is something you may need to consider.

Final Thoughts

To recap, heat transfer printing is one of the most common and practical ways of transferring beautiful designs onto fabric, such as caps, t-shirts, or bags. In this process, choosing the right printer for heat transfers is a game-changer.

And as you can see, we’ve reviewed the best five heat transfer printers in the market. So let’s have a quick look at our top three picks.

The Epson WorkForce WF-7210 comes at the top of the list, providing the perfect balance of price, quality, speed, and volume.

And if you’re just getting into the field, go for the Brother HL-L2320D.

But if you’ve been there for a while, the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-1500 is perfect for professionals.

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