Finding the best heat transfer printer or best sublimation printer can be a daunting task if you’re not sure about what to look for.
For those who intend to work with heat transfer paper and want to get the best quality prints for their fast fashion and garments, you might not know where to start!
There are so many factors to consider when looking for the printer that works best with heat transfers, you’ll have to look at your budget and how much it would cost to run.
But also, you need to look into printers that ensure quality for your heat transfer and sublimation prints in the long run!
Not to worry, we’ll cover the industry’s best heat transfer printers and make sure you know everything you should know about sublimation and heat transfer printers in 2022.
What is a Heat Transfer Printer?
A heat transfer is one way to print designs and prints onto fabrics as well as ceramic and wood products using heat transfer paper. Good heat transfer printers are those that properly capture vivid, good-quality designs and prints on heat transfer paper to ensure a quality end product.
What is heat transfer paper?
Heat transfer paper is the type of paper used in the heat transfer printing process to put prints on fabric, ceramic, and even wood. Even though ink can be transferred to most objects, it’s usually done with the help of heat transfer paper and a heat press of some kind. And to be more clear on this, heat presses are what help the design stick to the fabric or object.
Sublimation, on the other hand, makes use of sublimation paper and unlike heat transfer printing can only be done with sublimation ink and toner. With sublimation, the ink does not sit on top of the fabric, but rather becomes part of the fabric.
Top 5 Best Heat Transfer Printers 2022
- Epson WorkForce 1100 — The best heat transfer and sublimation printer overall (Editor’s Choice)
- Brother HL-L2320D — The best budget mono-laser heat transfer printer
- Epson Artisan 1430 — The best ink transfer printer for color
- HP Laserjet Pro M452dw — The best color laser printer for heat transfer
- Epson WorkForce WF-7110 — The most efficient ink-jet printer for heat transfer and sublimation
What is the best heat transfer printer?
Our top pick for the best heat transfer and sublimation printer would be the Epson WorkForce 1100. That said, we also listed other heat transfer printers that make outstanding alternatives.
Heat Transfer vs Sublimation Printing
Even though the processes are quite similar, there are significant differences between heat transfer printing and sublimation. While heat transfer printing is a two-step process that makes use of heat transfer paper and a heat press, whereas sublimation works similarly but uses sublimation paper and makes use of different types of toner/inks to sublimate the ink, making it part of the material.
To be more specific, Heat transfer printing puts the print on the surface of the material, while sublimation turns the ink to gas and once it cools it becomes a permanent part of the fabric or garment.
When it comes to printing, the rules generally remain the same: inkjet printers tend to be more vivid for both cases. That said, laser printers still do a great job with prints. Heat transfer prints can print on any colored fabric but given how sublimation works, printing can only be done on light-colored fabrics or those with a vinyl coating.
Printability and Quality
As mentioned earlier, heat transfer printers print on the surface of the fabric or object so they can at times visibly look like print and have a limited amount of time on the garment they’ve been printed on (which depends entirely on the printer/ink quality). However, one perk is that they can print on any color fabric and alternate surfaces like wood or even ceramic.
When it comes to sublimation prints, they dye the material itself so it looks a lot more natural. This type of printing also has durability over time, but unfortunately, can only be used on light-colored fabrics that are polyester or a polyester blend. Despite that restriction, they can also be used on most items with a vinyl coating, regardless of color shade.
When it comes to using a printer for sublimation, you’re required to use separate inks, but heat transfer printing lets you use your usual printer ink and does not require any special installations.
Price of a Heat Transfer Printer
When choosing a printer, as with anything, price is an important factor; but luckily, when it comes to both heat transfer printing and sublimation, there are quite a few affordable options that you can choose from. That said, if you want to do prints on a large scale it might be a smart idea to invest in an industrial printer as time goes on.
Most heat transfer printers and sublimation printing require a heat press to transfer the print onto the fabric. If you plan on doing this on a regular basis, we would strongly recommend you invest in a heat press, the prices for which usually vary from anywhere around $300 to $3000.
5 Best Printers for Heat Transfers and Sublimation in 2022
1. Epson WorkForce 1100 (Editor’s Choice)
The best sublimation printer for heat transfer
Category: Color Inkjet Printer | Print speed: 30 ppm black / 17 ppm color | Paper sizes: up to 13 “x 19” Paper capacity: 100 pages | Weight: 26.3 lb
When it comes to printers for heat transfer prints and sublimation, the Epson WorkForce 1100 does both and is at the top of our list. This printer comes with 5 ink cartridges: magenta, cyan, and yellow, along with two black ink cartridges.
This printer from Epson uses 70% less power than most laser printers and even has double-sided printing. This wide format printer is perfect for larger heat transfer printing that most average printers cannot handle.
But not that, this printer can go through inks rather quickly, so that’s definitely something you should look out for. But all-in-all, this heat transfer printer is likely the best all-around solution for sublimation and heat transfers, with great value for the money. This is our pick for the best printer for heat transfer paper.
|➕ Great print quality and quick speeds||➖ Print times can change based on the image|
|➕ Outstanding value for money||➖ Replacing the ink cartridges can be slightly difficult|
|➕ Quite noiseless||➖ The paper handling is slightly cumbersome|
|➕ Comes with double-sided printing support|
|➕ MicroPiezo print-head ensures high DPI|
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Print standard-size documents,index cards,stationery or large spreadsheets with prints up to 13 x 19 inches
- This powerful performer boasts maximum print speeds of 30 ppm black/17 ppm color and laser quality speeds of 13 ppm black/5.5 ppm color
- Protect important documents with instant-dry ink for smudge,fade and water resistant prints,highlighter-friendly too
- You can save up to 50% of your paper supply with manual,two-sided printing
- Dual Black ink cartridges included
The best budget mono-laser heat transfer printer
Category: Laser, Monochrome | Print speed: 26ppm for single side and Up to 13ppm for double-sided | Paper sizes: Up to A4 | Paper capacity: 100 pages | Weight: 14.6 lbs
While the Brother HL-L2320D is monochrome and there are several other color options available, we’ve included this one on the list as it is one of the best for working with large heat transfer paper quantities.
Able to print over 26 single-sided pages per minute, this heat transfer printer puts out high-quality monochrome prints to heat transfer paper at quick speeds.
And even though your print work may seem restricted by the lack of color, you can work past this by using colored heat transfer paper. What makes this heat transfer printer stand out, however, is its large print quality and how economical it is to run in the long run.
|➕ Surprisingly compact||➖ The warranty period is short|
|➕ Can automatically print double-sided||➖ Only average print quality|
|➕ Easily accessible wired and WiFi connections|
|➕ Great print speeds|
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Print Speed: up to 30ppm; Mono
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface for local connectivity
- Automatic Duplexing (two sided printing)
- Print Technology: Electrophotographic Laser
- 250-sheet capacity tray adjustable for letter or legal, plus a manual feed slot for envelope printing
The best inkjet printer for heat transfer (great color!)
Category: Color Inkjet Printer | Print speed: 2.8 ISO ppm | Paper sizes: borderless up to 30” x 19” | Weight: 35.30 lbs
This colorful inkjet printer from Epson comes with over 6 ink cartridges and works well with both heat transfer prints and printing for sublimation. Although not entirely cheap, it’s still quite affordable when compared to several of the high-end printers around.
In addition to being an outstanding sublimation printer, the Epson Artisan 1430, although slightly heavy and slow to print, does a great job with heat press printing. That said, despite its drawbacks, this would be a strong recommendation as it’s one of the best Epson sublimation printers in this price range. It is also the best printer for heat transfer t shirts.
|➕ Great print quality with 6 ink cartridges||➖ Expensive when doing higher volumes|
|➕ Good for wide format prints||➖ Quite slow|
|➕ Has wireless printing|
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Borderless, Hi-Def photos up to 13 inch x 19 inch
- Wireless printing with Wi-Fi
- 6-color Claria ink
- CD/DVD printing; Refer user manual under technical specification
- Print and share from your smartphone, iPhone, tablet and other mobile devices — no computer necessary
The best color laser printer for heat transfer
Category: Color Laser Printer | Print speed: 28ppm | Paper sizes: Up to 8.5 x 14″| Paper capacity: 300 pages | Weight: 41.7 lbs
Although this printer is on the heavier side of those we’ve reviewed so far, the HP Laserjet Pro M452dw is one of the best laser printers for heat transfer prints. Like most laser printers, the strong suit of this one is its printing capacity and speed. Able to print over 28 pages with good quality, this color laser printer can be perfect for bigger firms that have heat transfer printing requirements and need to work with limited time.
So if you’re looking for an efficient and fast color laser printer for heat transfer prints, the Laserjet Pro M452dw from HP is one of the best options for you to pick.
|➕ Good print quality||➖ No automatic wake up|
|➕ Impressive print speed|
|➕ Noiseless printing|
|➕ Versatile accessibility|
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Fast printing. Strong protection. Grab pages and go—without waiting around. This printer wakes up and prints faster than the competition.
- Breeze through multipage documents with two-sided printing that’s faster than leading competitors. Protect information and control access to confidential print jobs with HP JetAdvantage Private...
- Easy management. Efficient printing. Easily manage print jobs directly at the printer—just tap and swipe the 3-inch (7.6 cm) touchscreen.
- Easily print Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents—now directly from your USB drive. Easily manage devices and settings using HP Web Jetadmin with a suite of essential management features.
- More. Pages, Performance, and Protection. Get the most prints for your money—with Original HP High Yield Color Toner cartridges with JetIntelligence.Recommended monthly page volume:750 to 4000
The most efficient ink-jet printer for heat transfer and sublimation
Category: Color Inkjet Printer | Print speed: 18 ISO ppm for black and 10 ISO ppm for color | Paper sizes: Up to 13 “x 19” | Paper capacity: 500 pages | Weight: 40.9 lbs
If you’re looking for a high-performance inkjet printer for heat transfer prints, the Epson WorkForce WF-7110 is one of the better options out there. Capable of printing up to 18 ISO monochrome pages per minute and 10 color pages per minute, this printer is one of the faster inkjets for heat transfer printing.
Even convenient for sublimation transfer, this printer can work with prints up to 13 by 19 inches and even larger, and also comes along with two paper trays and a manual paper feed. In addition to this, it’s is one of the best sublimation printers when it comes to accessibility and being easy to set up. So if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, the WF-7110 is a great option to choose.
|➕ Great print quality||➖ The LCD screen is quite small|
|➕ Good for wide format prints||➖ The paper recognition can be improved upon|
|➕ Accessible through Ethernet, WiFi, and WiFi direct|
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Epson strongly recommends the use of Genuine Epson inks for a quality printing experience. Non Epson inks and inks not formulated for your specific printer may cause damage that is not covered by the...
- Get Performance Beyond Laser - the Workforce WF-7110, powered by Precision Core
- Save time - laser-quality prints with speeds of 18 ISO ppm (black) and 10 ISO ppm (color)
- Save - up to 40 percent lower printing cost vs. color laser
- Photo-quality, wide-format prints - borderless, up to 13" x 19"
Frequently Asked Question
What is the best heat transfer printer overall?
The best heat transfer printer overall would be the Epson WorkForce 1100 for its versatility and price.
What is the best inkjet heat transfer printer?
What are the best heat transfer and sublimation printers overall?
The best sublimation printer on this list is Epson WorkForce 1100, and it also makes for a great heat transfer printer.
Does heat transfer printing require a different ink to be used?
No! Heat transfer printing requires that you use heat transfer paper and a hot press to transfer it onto the fabric. Whereas sublimation even though it has a similar process requires you specifically use sublimation ink.
What is the best laser printer for heat transfer?
The best laser printer for heat transfer printing would be the Brother HL-L2320D. This printer from Brother offers users the best speeds while not compromising on print quality.
Is inkjet or laser printer better for heat transfers?
Both inkjet and laser printers make great heat transfer printers. However, as usual, inkjets are known for more vivid and accurate colors, whereas laser printers tend to have faster output.
What is the most efficient printer for heat transfer printing?
Which are better: heat transfer prints or sublimation prints?
Sublimation printers are great for making the fabric look seamless and for letting the print last longer because they imbue the dyes into the material. But sublimation prints can only work on lighter shades and polyester fabric blends. On the other hand, heat transfer prints are for all colors and many different surfaces, though they may not last as long as sublimation prints.
What is heat transfer paper?
Heat transfer paper is what is used for prints so that they can transfer the design onto fabric or object. While you can use any type of ink on the heat transfer paper, you can only use sublimation ink on sublimation paper.
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Top 5 Best Printers for Heat Transfers and Sublimation in 2022
When it comes to printers for heat transfers and sublimation, there are quite a few things you need to keep in mind. Sublimation printers and paper, while requiring particular paper and inks, will create a more substantial image, as they are embedded in the materials they adhere to; while heat transfer printing is more versatile, allowing transfer of prints to a larger variety of materials, with fewer restrictions.
But now that we’ve covered everything from heat transfers to sublimation prints and inks and papers, you now know everything you need to pick a heat transfer or sublimation printer that suits you best.