Best Heat Transfer Vinyl

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You can transfer designs of your business or team to fabrics or other materials, but if you don’t have some heat transfer vinyl (HTV), you’ll end up with burn marks in your materials. There are multiple types of heat transfer vinyl out there, in a roll or sheet form, and with some backing to help with placing it. 

In this guide, we've put the best heat transfer vinyl to the test so you can make an informed choice.

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Summary

Easyweed 12" x 12" Heat Transfer Sheet

Easyweed 12 x 12 Heat Transfer Sheet

CAREGY Heat Transfer Vinyl for T-Shirts

CAREGY Heat Transfer Vinyl for T-Shirts

Cricut Everyday Iron On

Cricut Everyday Iron On

Koala Paper 28 Sheets Light Fabric Iron-on Heat Transfer Paper

Koala Paper 28 Sheets Light Fabric Iron-on Heat Transfer Paper

Dark T-Shirt Transfers, Iron-On

Dark T-Shirt Transfers, Iron-On

Our Top Picks For The Best Heat Transfer Vinyl

1. Easyweed 12" x 12" Heat Transfer Sheet

Easyweed 12 x 12 Heat Transfer Sheet

Pros:

  • There are so many colors that you can easily find a shade to match
  • It’s simple to cut and weed these vinyl sheets
  • The thinner size makes them easy to apply

Cons:

  • Sometimes you have to reheat a few times for it to stick


This pack of 12 HTV sheets, all with a size of 12 by 12 from Easyweed is perfect for many applications. Use these HTV sheets for shirts, hats, shoes, bags—anything really, since they’re made to be easy to cut for the purpose of customization.
 
We love how they are pressure sensitive, which allowed us to press small letters and fine designs. They’re also heat activated for the adhesive on one side, so they’ll stay in place and all the cuts will be flipped. With the clear side, everything will stay exactly as it was when you pressed it.

We loved the Easyweed HTV sheets for the fact that they were so easy to use. If you have never used vinyl sheets, these make a great starter kit with the 12 colors they come in and the easy sizing. This makes them that much easier to transfer your designs, which makes them ideal whether you're a beginner or seasoned expert.

Just cut through the HTV sheets to get the size that you want, since they’re light enough to use, and thin enough that you shouldn’t be struggling with getting your design transferred. It also helps that these vinyl sheets are made specifically to help you with more detailed designs. If you’re working with very specific details, these vinyl sheets have that adhesive back that will prevent smaller details from getting lost.

All you need to do is apply medium pressure for about 10 to 15 seconds, and peel off your vinyl when it’s hot or cold. You can layer at this point, and when you’re ready, you can wash your garment without worrying about the design fading. That’s thanks to the durability of this HTV, which is made to sustain through washing. Just make sure that you hang dry your garment for the first time.

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Pros:

  • They weed and iron on with ease
  • You don’t need to go through multiple passes to get the design on the fabric
  • Easy to use if you’re a novice with vinyl sheets

Cons:

  • You only have two semi-gloss colors to choose from here, limiting your options


If you’re looking for a good set of heat transfer vinyl, look no further than these Caregy vinyl sheets that come in a 36-pack in all sorts of rich and vibrant colors. This makes it easy for you to choose which color you need for your design. And of course, you can use these vinyl sheets for more than just t-shirts, so try them out with bags, coats, and handbags too.

When we tested these out, we first noticed the high quality of the vinyl. It’s very elastic, which means that it will be easier for you to use this product and then clean the garment—without losing the design and the coloring that you just pressed on. 

If you’re curious, that elastic composition comes from the polymers, which also make it safe to use with children’s clothing. This also means it's easy for you to use this product at a lower heat.

We found these Caregy HTV sheets to be thin enough so they work reasonably well with most craft cutters. All you need to do is press them with a regular home iron at lower temperatures. After about 15 seconds with a bit of pressure, you’ll be ready to peel the vinyl—since it can be peeled either when its hot or cold. Layer the vinyl sheets or use it as a base layer for more effects like glitter.

We enjoyed how easy these were to use. Like other options, they include an adhesive to make them easier to use with design transfers and the best thing is - they’re completely environmentally friendly.

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Pros:

  • Works best if you’re using it with a Cricut machine
  • It’s easy to use; just turn on your Cricut machine to get it to iron properly
  • The colors are vibrant, although there aren’t as many colors

Cons:

  • Only comes in one vinyl sheet for each color, although the quality is great nonetheless


First off, if you have a Cricut machine, you’ll most certainly find that these Cricut vinyl sheets work well with it. They’ve been made very specifically to be cut with a Cricut machine or pressed with one. So, with an existing Cricut machine, you’ll find that these cut and weed without a problem and can be used on most fabrics with ease. As a bonus, they can even be used to get designs on wood.

If you don’t already have a Cricut machine though, this might not be the brand for you if only because they tend to cost more than your comparable brands. They also don’t generally have a lot of vinyl sheets with one order. That doesn't mean they're not good quality vinyl sheets though and there are people who still choose to use these without an actual Cricut machine.

We tested these out and were pleased to find that the Strongbond ensured that they stayed sturdy on multiple materials, from polyester or nylon. It’s also possible to layer these vinyl sheets to add a little bit more color with the rainbow packs. Whether you’re a professional or still learning how to use these vinyl sheets, you’ll find that they can be a lot of use for you. Press designs onto shirts, décor, or anything else creative that you have.

We loved how these heat transfer vinyl sheets are thin enough that we didn't have a problem pressing even more personalized designs into our materials. You should still be able to cut and iron even without a Cricut machine to help you, thanks to the fact that they're so thin and easy to work. Layer up to three colors, and wash your materials up to 50 times without worrying about any possible fading.

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Pros:

  • The design applies vividly and vibrantly
  • An affordable choice as it comes with 28 vinyl sheets per pack
  • Great print quality and good thickness

Cons:

  • They’re harder to use and to peel the vinyl sheet off, with issues concerning the design washing off


When you're picking out heat transfer vinyl to get your design onto a t shirt, bag or anything else you have in mind, the Koala Paper brand is a good option to consider. With 28 HTV sheets in a pack, these vinyl sheets are soft and elastic, making it possible for you to touch them and wash them easily. 

Use these HTV sheets on anything you have in mind, although do keep in mind that if you’re using them on something cotton, they must be more than 50 percent cotton.

We tested out these HTV sheets to see how they felt, and were pleased that they could be used with just a simple home iron. You can use a specific heat pressing machine, but an iron will work best as long as you have it heated up enough and can apply heavy pressure.

This does mean that using these Koala Paper vinyl sheets does take a little more effort than your comparable options. Other options often only require about 10-15 seconds of pressure whereas this paper will need 25-30 seconds. In contrast to other options too, these sheets come in 8.5 by 11 inches rather than 12 by 12.

We still love how the Koala Paper heat transfer vinyl is unique and will help with differently-sized designs; they also make it so easy to project your designs on both light and on dark fabrics. They didn't crack when we used them, and one thing that we liked was that they included instructions. You might not need instructions if you’re an expert in the process of transferring designs, but if you’re a beginner, you might find this to be a good starter pack for you.

Just use these with your ordinary Inkjet Printer and pigment ink to get the image you want, but if you want a better press that stands up to more washes, these HTV sheets tend to perform better when you’re using them with a press. How nice the transfer is will be very variable with these vinyl sheets, depending on how long you press and your ink quality.

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Pros:

  • If you can press well, you’ll find the image quality looks good
  • They’re easy to use even if you haven’t use heat transfer vinyl before
  • The colors are bright and shiny

Cons:

  • Take note that the packet comes with 5 vinyl sheets, as many people have been confused and thought it comes with 5 packs instead


If you’re looking for another unique heat transfer vinyl option, you might like these Avery vinyl sheets, which can be ironed on and which come at a size of 8.5 by 11 inches. Now, these HTV sheets come in only a small pack of five, meaning that you have less options in terms of colors but we were still impressed enough to include them in our list.

First off, we liked the fact that these HTV sheets are specifically made to transfer bright colors onto dark shirts. You can use them with die-cutting machines, just by applying them using the adhesive. 

The HTV is easy to peel off once you’ve ironed on the design. So while it does take some legitimate time to press on the design with an iron, you can still get a good image. Just really press hard, since the image quality can be a little inconsistent at times.

Personally, we found that the colors really did look vibrant and vivid when we pressed them on. They’re bright and stay consistent throughout the entire design. Colors look exactly like you might see them on your computer. Some of the color might look a little different when you actually peel the adhesive off—usually if you’re using a solid color.

Ultimately, it’s very easy to use these HTV sheets. It’s easy to transfer on your design using an iron, and it was easy to cut up the design and to use the heat on any iron that you already have in your home. 

That being said, it does take longer to press down to get these designs to transfer your design. Make sure that you really press for as long as they say on the Avery instructions, but even then, you might notice some issues with the edges of your design still lifting.

If you plan to use these HTV sheets, we would recommend focusing a lot on the edges as you’re working.

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Buying Guide: Benefits of Heat Transfer Vinyl

Understandably, there are different ways to print designs on T-shirts. However, each method has their own set of pros and cons. Here are the benefits of heat transfer vinyl:

1. Affordable

An affordable method is always ideal. Especially if you are printing T-shirts for business or for an entire group or class, an affordable method such as heat transfer vinyl will help maximize your profits or minimize your cost. You would be able to print significantly more T-shirts using this method compared to other options on the same dime. 

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2. Simplicity

One of the greatest benefits of this method is its clear simplicity. Unlike other methods used for printing on T-shirts, this method can be done without extensive training or skill. It can be easily taught and learned as well.

Additionally, the equipment needed for the heat transfer vinyl method can comfortably fit with a decent amount of floorspace. It should also be considered that this method can be used in a wide variety of materials.

3. Cleanliness

Understanding how the best heat transfer vinyl works, you can see how this method is less messy than other methods such as print screening. You won’t need to worry about common issues like ink spills. This also speaks of how easy and simple it is to use heat transfer vinyl sheets. Overall, you'll be able to produce high quality products with lesser hassle and frustration. 

4. High Quality

As mentioned, the heat transfer vinyl method is affordable, simple, and clean. However, this does not mean that heat transfer vinyl does not produce high quality results. In fact, the best heat transfer vinyl can produce high quality prints that many people prefer. Due to the nature of this printing process, the image resolution can even be maintained - an aspect that other printing methods cannot claim. 

How Well Does Heat Transfer Vinyl Hold Up?

It is important to know how long heat transfer vinyl holds up when comparing it with other printing methods. Fortunately, heat transfer vinyl holds up pretty well due to several factors

For one, the material used for this method is already very durable. It goes without saying that the HTV material used has to be strong and durable to survive the amount of heat it will be subjected to. This is important because this means that the designs will not deform or shrink when the fabric is washed and dried. 

Do note that this HTV method relies on the adhesive to stick the design onto the T-shirt. This means that over time, you might see some of the material breaking out. 

It is estimated that a heat-pressed T-shirt might be able to last for more than 50 washes as long as proper care and precaution are followed. With proper maintenance, the fabric might even get worn out sooner than the design itself. 

FAQ

1. Can I heat press my own old shirts?

Of course! You can always breathe new life into your old shirts by heat pressing new designs on it. It is recommended that you press the shirt several times because the method will work significantly better when the shirt has been removed of all possible moisture. 

2. Can a mistake be undone?

Absolutely! Just like the saying - to err is human. Mistakes can happen during the HTV printing process and unlike other methods, there are quick things you can do to undo the mistake. For this, you will need an embossing gun and a pair of tweezers. All you have to do is heat the back part of the design with the embossing gun. You can then use the tweezers to manipulate the design to its correct position.

3. Should I wash the clothes prior to printing?

It might surprise you but it's best if you don’t. Washing clothes involve the use of chemicals such as detergents and oils that might mess up the transfer process. This can potentially weaken the adhesive and the longevity of the print. You don’t have to go through the extra effort of washing the shirts before you print on them.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to transfer a design onto your fabric, whether it's a bag, shoes, an apron, a shirt, you’ll need the best heat transfer vinyl sheets to help you with the process. Any of the options on our heat transfer vinyl reviews list are a great choice, but it really depends on what you’re looking to transfer, what color fabric you want to transfer it on, and how much experience you already have with using vinyl sheets like these. The right HTV sheet will give you the design you want for tons of washes to come.

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