A decent printer for iron-on-transfer is the first consideration for when you’re starting a t-shirt printing business or if you’ve got a home printing business. The most common question asked by people who want to start their printing business is if they could use their home printer for the venture. The short answer to that is a resounding NO because it can’t print in large quantities.
Some people did indeed start their printing business with their run-of-the-mill printers, but the quality of these printers isn’t anything to write home about. To compound matters, you’ll also be dealing with the headache of poor performance from your standard printers. In most instances, the color saturation would be poor with poor image quality, and the prints would start peeling and cracking after one wash. Customers today are spoilt for choices, and that’s not the standard you want to set when you’re just starting your printing venture.
The good news is that there is no shortage of high-quality printers for iron-on-transfer that can multitask and provide top-notch printing quality. As is the case with all electronic gadgets, you can’t simply pick the first printer that you set your eyes on, as there are several things you must consider first. To make things easier and simpler for you, we’ve done the legwork for you, so that you can sit back, relax, and check out our reviews and buyer’s guide for the best printers for iron-on-transfer in the market today.
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Best Printer for Iron-on Transfer - Comparison Table
Best Printer for Iron-on Transfer - Reviews
The Canon Pixma TS6220 Wireless inkjet printer is a great option as this all-in-one home printer can handle all your everyday printing needs. It can easily print documents, reports, party invitations, and photos easily and quickly.
It features a built-in Wi-Fi, a 5-color individual ink system, along with front and rear paper feeding. The setup is quick and easy due to the wireless connectivity, and the built-in scanner allows you to quickly scan important reports and documents straight to your smartphone through the Canon print app. The Canon Pixma TS6220 will inspire your creativity with prints that are going to impress without compromising on speed and quality.
The wireless connectivity feature makes everything convenient as the printer is simple to use and delivers phenomenal quality every time. It is also Amazon Dash Replenishment-enabled, meaning that the printer measures ink levels upon activation and will place smart reorders whenever it is running low!
The Epson Stylus C88+ Inkjet printer is one of the best and most affordable printers for iron-on-transfer on the market today. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems and prints via its USB and parallel ports.
The printer uses Epson’s DURABrite ink, which is pigment-based, smudge-resistant, fade-resistant, and water-resistant. The best part about this printer is that it prints high-quality designs on any medium, be it paper, ceramic, or fabric. Epson Stylus C88+ breezes through critical projects and reports, delivering outstanding durability and quality thanks to its cutting-edge DURABrite ink.
The ultra-pigment ink ensures phenomenal color and clarity, whether you use it on paper or any other medium. Even double-sided prints look amazing because the ink doesn’t bleed through, so you get professional-level printing ideal for any printing project.
The Silhouette brand is synonymous with superior quality products, especially printers, and the Silhouette Cameo 4 is one of their best printers on the market. It is the perfect printing machine for DIY crafters and enthusiasts and comes with a small, sharp blade that cuts over 100 different materials.
One of the best things about this printer is that it can register and cut printed materials and is PixScan compatible, making it a highly versatile printer. It comes with dual-carriage for multi-purpose use, storage compartments, access to the Silhouette online design store, Bluetooth for wireless cutting, and cuts heat transfer and vinyl without cutting the mat.
Silhouette Black Cameo 4 Creative Bundle comes with a 1-year warranty, a built-in roll feeder, and an LED touch panel for greater convenience and ease of use. The greatest thing we found about this printer was that it allows you to create your designs without spending any money!
The Canon Pixma G6020 Wireless High-Volume Business Printer gives you amazing value for money, which is why we had to feature it on our list. The printer comes with Canon MegaTank Ink Bottles that give you over 30 times the amount of ink compared to your standard ink and cartridges set.
The Pixma G6020 can not only print but can copy, scan, and connect to your laptop, smartphone, or tablet with ease. The printer has an impressive page yield of 6000 black text pages or 7700 color pages per each ink bottle set.
This business printer uses both dye-based and pigment-based ink, allowing you to get long-lasting and sharp black text combined with vibrant and colorful images. You will need an IFTTT account to connect the printer actively to the Canon Inkjet Cloud Printing Center, along with IFTTT ‘applet’ installed and linked to the printer. If you’re looking to save time and money, this is the printer you want for iron-on-transfer.
The Brother MFC-J6930DW All-in-One Color Inkjet printer is a durable printing machine that can print, copy, scan, and fax papers of all sizes. The ledger-sized glass helps create high-impact business documents with ease, and the large capacity 500-sheet paper tray offers automatic duplex printing.
This printer is specifically engineered for business owners looking for superior performance from their office equipment. There is no router required thanks to its Wi-Fi direct connection feature, allowing you to connect to and submit print and scan jobs from your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
The built-in duplex printing feature allows you to print on both sides of the page to help save money and resources, as you’ll never run out of ink and maintain office efficiency. If reducing operating costs and improved business efficiency are important to you, the Brother MFC-J6930DW inkjet printer is an outstanding solution that will be perfect for you.
The Canon Pixma Pro-100 Wireless Color Inkjet printer is one of the best printers for iron-on-transfer on the market today. It has 8-dye based inks for outstanding color and gradients, with 3 of them being dedicated gray-scale inks for exquisite white and black prints.
The Pixma-Pro is the professional quality printer you’ve been waiting for as it processes the functionality and technology you want to get high-quality prints that look as good as the images you’ve captured. The Pixma Pro-100 uses the same technology as the rest of the Pixma Pro line with the Optimum Image Generating System ensuring that you get what you want in terms of quality.
The OIG system will analyze every area of the print and will choose the best ink mixture, so you get the colors you want to see on your prints. Apart from all that, the latest Print Studio Pro2 plug-in software makes it even easier to get phenomenal results from your favorite photo applications.
Best Printer for Iron-on Transfer - Buyers Guide
Now that we’ve finished our product reviews, it’s time we head towards the buyer’s guide to ensure that you understand everything about the product before buying it. This guide will also help you make sense of the numerous specifications and preferences. The factors we have listed are crucial to the volume and quality of the iron-on-transfer prints you can expect from any printer.
As is the case with all electronic gadgets, you must fully understand what you’re buying before you throw your money at it. So, without further ado, let’s get down to it and share the buyer’s guide for the best printers for iron-on-transfers.
Types of Iron-on-Transfer Printers
The first and most important thing you must know is that there are several types of iron-on-transfer printers in the market. However, there are three main types of printers that are ideal for iron-on-transfer printing, and each has its pros and cons. These include:
Inkjet printers have been the preferred choice of consumers for their printing needs due to their versatility and affordability. All that makes these printers one of the best choices for iron-on-transfer printing. The technology behind inkjet printers, as well as the ink quality, has improved drastically over the past decade as consumers can now print high-quality prints at home that are durable.
Another important feature or inkjet printers is that they are highly versatile, and their ability to work well with various specialty inks and papers makes them ideal for iron-on-transfers.
One of the best printers for iron-on-transfers is the dye-sublimation printer, which uses heat to transfer dye straight on the printing medium. This technology can easily print directly on the material and delivers superior results irrespective of the material, whether it is paper, fabric, card, or plastic. Most consumer printers are capable of printing with dye sublimation ink; all you need to worry about is whether it is compatible.
These printers are available in professional and commercial models that can produce quality photos on any material. Dye-sublimation does have its drawbacks, and one of them is printing directly onto cotton, but you can resolve this issue by printing on another layer that could be transferred onto cotton.
Laser printers are generally designed for office use and are ideal for printing in large volumes. The only problem with these printers is that they aren’t tailored for colored graphics or photos that are common in iron-on-transfers.
Even those laser printers that print colored documents won’t produce the same image quality as inkjet printers. The best thing about a laser printer is that it can print on image clip transfers that are self-weeding and only transfer printed graphics onto the fabric.
The Print Quality
The one thing that you must not compromise on when it comes to buying printers for iron-on-transfer is the print quality. Whether you’re planning on printing designs on pillows, mugs, t-shirts, or anything else for your business, you only want the highest quality possible. In terms of superior printing quality, inkjet printers stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Iron-on-transfer printers are a confusing topic for most people, and iron-on-transfer printers work best when you use special ink with them. However, there are plenty of substitutes and alternatives that work decently as well. You should opt for dedicated inks that are tailored for printing on plastics, fabrics, special papers, card stock, and other materials.
It’s also advised to check for compatibility with third-party ink suppliers as there are so many better alternatives for first-party options. It’s also important that whatever ink type you use, always calibrate the printer for the special ink you plan on using. This is important when you’re switching between different ink types. The good news is that most printers will allow you to save different calibration profiles that will help you later.
The different types of inks recommended for ink-on-transfers are:
- Dye-based inks
- Sublimation inks
- Pigment-based inks
So what ink is best for iron-on-transfer printers?
Sublimation inks are meant to be used with sublimation printers and transfers, so you’ll need to check the compatibility with the printer. Sublimation inks are renowned for their bright colors and have good lightfastness when printed on fabrics.
The only downside with sublimation ink is that you can’t use them with inkjet printers without buying new cartridges with sublimation ink. You may use existing cartridges, but that would require flushing our all the ink in the cartridges before you pump in new ink.
Our recommendation is to buy two sets of cartridges because of the cost difference between sublimation ink and other ink types. You can easily use sublimation ink on standard iron-on-transfers, but it’s more economical to have two cartridge sets if you’re planning on printing both sublimation and iron-on-transfers.
Differences between Dye and Pigment Ink Types
Dye-based inks are stronger compared to pigment inks, but they are more water-soluble, which means they become more mobile when it is humid and have poor UV stability.
Pigment-based inks are insoluble in water, are immune to humidity, and don’t fade fast when exposed to UV rays, which is what makes pigment-based inks more durable and a better choice for iron-on-transfers.
Number of Ink Colors
The number of ink colors also counts for a lot because most heat transfers do completely fine with only four colors, i.e., Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. However, if you want to explore more color palettes, you should consider getting a printer with either 6 or 8 colors.
Most iron-on-transfer printers print on transfer papers before the design is transferred on the substrate. It’s also important to know if the printer can easily print on mediums such as vinyl, fabric, and card stock. This generally depends on the ink being used in the printer.
Size of the Paper/Medium
If your big printing plan revolves around printing large images, you’ll want to get your hands on a printer with a large printing field. For businesses, an important consideration would be to get an inkjet printer that has easily changeable printing-field specifications. That will allow you to print on different size transfer papers and other media while minimizing wastage.
Despite how great you are at maintaining electronic devices, the reality is that none of them are going to last forever, and the same can be said about printers. It’s an even bigger problem if you’re constantly using your printer. You must keep in mind that dye-based printers are more durable than pigment inkjet printers.
You can ensure that your inkjet printer lasts you for a long time through regular maintenance. Carefully read the manufacturers’ instructions, and you may also enlist help from a specialist if you’re not sure or if you own a commercial-grade printer to prolong the life of your printer and reduce future repair costs.
We all need a printer that can get the work done quickly and efficiently, and speed in printers is measured in papers-per-minute. When checking the printing speed, pay attention to how fast colored printing is compared to black printing.
Most inkjet printers produce color photos slower than black-and-white texts. The best printers for iron-on-transfers will take anywhere between 2 minutes to 10 minutes to print a high-quality photo. Larger photos will obviously take longer than smaller photos, so check the speed for different sizes of photos.
If you’re printing directly from a computer or your laptop, you should check if your inkjet printer is compatible with your Mac’s or Window’s operating system. It’s not a major factor because the latest printers for iron-on-transfers support both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Price of the Printer Vs. Your Budget
It’s recommended to spend within your budget when shopping for a printer for iron-on-transfers. However, you shouldn’t let price stand in your way of getting the best printer for your business. If you’ve got your eyes set on a printer that costs more than your budget, you should save a little more or get a small loan from a friend or relative to invest in a high-quality inkjet printer that is going to serve you longer and produce better quality prints than a lower-end printer.
The good news is that there are plenty of options available in the market when it comes to printers for iron-on-transfers, and any decent printer is only going to set you back around $300 and work great.
We know that there are always going to be questions asked by users about printers and iron on transfer, as not everyone has great experience in buying printers. We’ve made things easier by highlighting some of the frequently asked questions by people looking for the best printers for iron-on transfer.
If you’ve got any questions we haven’t answered, please let us know in the comments or reach out to us through our email. Here are the most frequently asked questions for the best printers for iron-on transfer answered for you:
How do you print iron-on-transfers?
Printing iron-on-transfers isn’t as complicated a process as it sounds, and it’s a relatively straightforward process that can be learned by anyone. All you need is a heat press machine or an inkjet printer and a transfer paper. Now, you must choose your artwork or design and then print the design or artwork on the printer. Trim the transfer paper next so that blank spaces aren’t transferred onto your item.
Prepare the inkjet printer and choose the temperature based on the paper you have chosen, then adjust your timer, place your item, close the press, and wait. You should peel the paper while it is still hot.
Can I use any type of inkjet printer for iron-on-transfer?
Not all inkjet printers have the capacity for iron-on-transfers, and if you’re serious about developing your printing business, it’s best if you invest in a dedicated printer for iron-on-transfers.
How much does a quality printer for iron-on-transfer cost?
It’s recommended to purchase the highest quality printer for iron-on-transfers, so go with the option that is within your budget, and you can easily afford it. Don’t let price stand in the way of buying the most suitable printer for your business. A high-end printer for iron-on-transfers will cost anywhere from $300 and above with a warranty that will ensure you get value for money.
What printer should I get for sublimation?
You’ll want to buy a dedicated sublimation printer and ensure that the printer is compatible with the cartridges that you are using for the iron-on-transfer.
Which ink is the best for iron-on-transfer printers?
Iron-on-transfer printers work with special ink, but the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives in the market with special inks that are tailored for printing on special papers, fabric, cardstock, plastics, and other materials.
Irrespective of what ink type you prefer, you must ensure that you calibrate your unit for the ink you plan on using. It’s important for people who plan on switching between different inks, but most iron-on-transfer printers allow you to remember several calibration profiles. You can choose between dye-based, pigment-based, and sublimation inks.
Sublimation inks work best with sublimation printers as they are renowned for their bright colors and lightfastness when printed on garments. You shouldn’t use sublimation ink with inkjet printers without buying new sublimation ink cartridges.
How do you maintain your printer for iron-on-transfers?
Printers don’t last forever, like any other electronic device or appliance, especially if you’re using them all the time. It’s believed that dye-based printers tend to last longer than pigment-based printers. However, it all comes down to maintenance. If you own a commercial-grade printer, you should get it checked by a specialist to cut down on future repair costs.
Is printing speed important when buying printers for iron-on-transfers?
Yes, you want a printer that can iron-on-transfer in the shortest time. Printer speed is calculated in papers per minute. When checking the speed of the printer, consider the speed of the color printer instead of black printing. The best printers will take about 1.5 to 10 minutes to print a quality photo.
Getting the best printer for iron-on-transfers can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what type of printer works best. Luckily for you, this in-depth buyer’s guide and our product reviews will help you in your quest to find the best printer on the market.
Whether you want a basic iron-on-transfer printer for printing gifts at home or you want an advanced model for your business, the printers we have reviewed are capable of both. As always, go through all the user reviews and ratings before making a final decision. Good luck.