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The Top Five Printers for Heat Transfer Printing Businesses

Great quality printing for ceramics, fabrics and more

Heat transfer printing is widely known to be one of the easiest, lowest cost ways to print garments and products. Although there’s a lot of buzz around the pricier, more technical method of direct-to-garment printing, heat transfer printing is still perfect for businesses that want to produce the largest possible range of products. Rather than just printing on fabric, heat transfer printing allows you to put designs onto t-shirts, mugs, bags, masks, plates, aprons, and more. The process works by printing images onto specially designed heat transfer paper, which has a layer of wax that can transfer the ink onto fabric or ceramic through heat. After the design has been printed, you can use a heat press to transfer the image. However, not all printers are capable of handling heat transfer papers; only specific inkjet machines are up to the job. Here are our top five recommended printers for your heat transfer printing business. 

Product Comparison Table: Best Printer for Heat Press Business

Title
Price
Rating (Amazon)
Best in class
Buy
$$$
4 stars
Best for Wide Format
$$$$
4.5 stars
Best for Larger Businesses
$
4 stars
Best Value
$$
4 stars
Best for Small Businesses
$
4.5 stars
Best Overall

Epson SureColor P900 17-Inch Printer

The Epson SureColor P900 17-Inch Printer offers the largest printable area of any printer we could find, at a colossal 17 x 22 inches. With the optional paper roll feeder, this expands to 17 x 129! It also excels on print quality, using a 10-channel MicroPiezo AMC print head which consistently delivers prints with outstanding speed, consistency and accuracy. Although it doesn’t support third-party inks, the all-new UltraChrome PRO10 ink set with Violet produces an extra wide color gamut. There’s even Carbon Black technology to ensure deep black density on uncommon paper finishes – such as heat transfer papers. It can handle media up to 1.5mm thick, which more than encompasses transfer paper. Lastly, the USB or Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to print directly from your iOS device, if you have the compatible app downloaded. 

Pros

  • High resolution for great print quality
  • Super wide format prints
  • Wireless connection option

Cons

  • No third party cartridges
  • Wireless connection not compatible with Android

Verdict 

The Epson SureColor P900 17-Inch Printer is our number one wide format choice for heat press printing businesses. It delivers excellent print quality, even on challenging media like heat transfer papers. It can also print borderless up to a massive size, allowing you to print plus-size garments or even novelty giant products! However, although the ink technology is advanced, it does mean you can’t use third party or refilled cartridges to lower costs.  

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Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Photographic Inkjet Printer

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Photographic Inkjet Printer has a FINE technology print head, using a tubular ink delivery system to speed up print speeds and prevent clogs. This boosts the printer’s speed to 4ppm in colour at A3 size, or 8ppm A4. The LUCIA PRO 11-color plus Chroma Optimizer ink system is also enough to satisfy the most critical artist: denser droplet placement provides a broader color gamut for superb glossiness, anti-bronzing, and a very high resolution of 2800 x 1200 dpi. You can also achieve deep blacks on all media types, preventing the greying and fading that can happen with transfer printing. Connection is available either by hi-speed USB, or Wi-Fi. 

Pros

  • Advanced print technology for high quality
  • Wireless connection options
  • Fast printing speed at large sizes

Cons 

  • Very expensive 

Verdict 

If you run a larger business and are looking to invest in a more sophisticated piece of technology, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Photographic Inkjet Printer will be perfect for you. This printer offers some of the highest print quality on the market, and keeps this quality high even in larger sizes. Although the print speed might not seem like much, this is actually quite speedy for results of this standard. However, the high price will put it out of the reach of smaller businesses or startups. 

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer offers high-performance printing at a low price. Powered by PrecisionCore technology, this printer uses 4x DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridges to deliver high quality prints at 4800 x 1200 max dpi. However, the smaller number of cartridges mean results don’t match up to others on this list. The best feature of this printer is its speed: 20 ppm for both black and colour, enough for over 1000 an hour. There is also a 500-sheet paper capacity using two trays, so you’ll replace paper less often. Plus, a 35-page Auto Document Feeder enhances your productivity. Lastly, although it doesn’t allow you to use third party cartridges, Epson do claim to lower costs by 50% (compared to color laser) using their own inks. 

Pros

  • High resolution for good quality
  • Superb paper handling and fast speed
  • Great value low price
  • Wireless connection option

Cons

  • Doesn’t support third party cartridges

Verdict

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer is our best value printer, retailing for the lowest price on this list. Although the price is low, this doesn’t show in the performance; it’s also the fastest we’ve reviewed, and has lots of features that make it perfect for businesses that want to keep costs as low as possible. Unfortunately, the downside of these economical features is a drop in print quality.

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Canon imagePROGRAF 300 Wireless Printer

The Canon imagePROGRAF 300 Wireless Printer comes from the same line as the ProGRAF PRO-1000, and therefore offers similarly high-quality results. Being a smaller machine, it has slightly less cartridges – 9-color instead of 11 – but still consistently achieves a max resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi. There’s also Chroma Optimiser technology for an expanded color gamut and accurate color reproduction – both crucial when printing images designed on a computer. There’s also the same Matte Black ink system as the Pro-1000 to prevent greying and fading. As for efficiency and speed, it prints quite slowly: 0.7ppm for colour documents. However, there is a Nozzle Recovery System and Skew Correction to prevent time-wasting clogs and misprints. Connection is available either through USB cable, or WiFi.

Pros

  • Advanced print technology for high quality
  • Wireless connection options
  • Nozzle Recovery and Skew Correction

Cons

  • Very slow printing speed

Verdict

It might seem pointless including an earlier model from the same line as the ProGRAF Pro-1000, but the Canon imagePROGRAF 300 Wireless Printer has a lot to offer business that might be priced out of the larger machine. This printer offers the same high quality and advanced technology as its cousin, but at a much lower price. However, the slow printing speed also makes this printer best suited to low volume, entry-level businesses. 

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Canon PIXMA IP8720 Wireless Crafting Printer

The Canon PIXMA IP8720 Wireless Crafting Printer sits at the other end of the price scale to the ProGRAF PRO-1000, but still prints up to the same size: a roomy 13 x 19 inches borderless. However, it actually offers a much higher numerical resolution than its more expensive competitors, at a whopping 9600 x 2400 maximum dpi. The quality produced by this 6-colour system is definitely high, and ChromaLife100+ technology ensures washproof results. The printing speed is fast too: 14.5 ipm (images per minute) for black, or 10.4 ipm (images per minute) in colour. There are both Wi-Fi and USB connections, allowing you to print from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. Despite all these positives, there is one big drawback: it is very noisy when working.

Pros

  • Super-high resolution for professional quality
  • ChromaLife+ makes prints hardwearing
  • Fast printing speed
  • Wireless connection option
  • Great value low price

Cons

  • Quite noisy when working

Verdict

Even at its super low price, the Canon PIXMA IP8720 Wireless Crafting Printer produces results that rival high-end professional printers. This compact machine produces the highest resolution on this list, with unique technology to ensure your prints are hard wearing – even after tough processes like heat exposure and washing. The fast printing speed will also help keep profits high by increasing your output. Although it is noisy when printing, there is a Quiet Mode that helps ameliorate this issue. All these reasons make the Canon PIXMA IP8720 Wireless Crafting Printer our top choice for heat press businesses. 

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Written by Alice

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