What is the best heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts?
There are a large range of suppliers to choose from, and it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re just making t-shirts for your friends and family, do you need the best of the best? Or can you get away with a cheaper but not as high quality vinyl?
If you have a t-shirt business and you’re selling to customers then you really do need the best heat transfer vinyl. You don’t want to get customers complaining that the vinyl is lifting after a few washes, or that the quality of vinyl is bad and ends up cracking.
In this post, we’ll mention a few of the factors which determines a good vinyl from a bad vinyl. After that we’ll list a few brands we think are the best from our experience.
What makes good vinyl good and bad vinyl bad? And what is the difference between heat transfer vinyl brands? Skip this section if you just want the vinyl recommendations!
Heat Transfer Application Temperature: Some have a higher recommended application temp and some are lower. For example, Siser EasyWeed has the lowest application temperature. This effects the vinyl and the t-shirt material less. The hotter you need to press the vinyl the harder it is on the tee and and vinyl.
Heat Transfer Pressure: Another difference between vinyls is the heat press pressure. For similar reasons as the temperature, the less pressure needed the better. The vinyl and garment will be less affected if not as much pressure is required.
Durability: Higher quality vinyl will be more durable than cheap vinyl. Not only will it wear better if you are rough with your clothes, but it will also last through many more washes. Better vinyl will not crack or flake, as you might have seen t-shirts do.
Adhesion: The better your vinyl, the better your adhesion and the less likely it will peel around the edges. All HTV should adhere and do what it’s supposed to do, but you’re less likely to have problems with a better quality vinyl. Especially if you’re making t-shirts to sell, you want ultimate adhesion!
Cuttability: Cuttability might be a word I just made up, but it means ‘how easy is it to cut the heat transfer vinyl’? Good HTV will cut simply in your cutting machine. A good backing sheet allows it to be easily manipulated by the cutter. Cheaper vinyl might tear, warp, or just simply not cut well even when you’re following all the instructions.
Weeding: How easy is it to weed? This makes a big difference to me; for example, I find Siser EasyWeed so easy to weed! And Cricut vinyl much more difficult. The latter snaps/breaks as you weed it away and just isn’t as easy. The EasyWeed will easily pull away in as large a chunk as is available.
The Look And Feel: Some vinyls are really thick (and ugly), and others are thin (much nicer). Can you imagine those tees that have awful thick vinyl which doesn’t flex? It feels like you’ve got a piece of cardboard attached to your top! And then imagine really nice thin vinyl that you can hardly tell is on your t-shirt. I know which I prefer!
Chemically Safe: Is your heat transfer vinyl safe? Some vinyls have been lab tested to ensure safety, and others have not. The certification is known as CPSIA (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) Certification. Siser EasyWeed is one vinyl that has this tick, meaning it’s safe for kids and everyone else. It won’t contain lead or phthalate (but I still wouldn’t eat it).
Siser EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl
EasyWeed is in our number one position for the best heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts (and everything else!). Probably the best known HTV vinyl supplier in America, Siser have a superior product, and they also have excellent online resources and support.
What makes Siser EasyWeed the best heat transfer vinyl?
- It applies at a comparatively lower temperature to competitor vinyls – with a heat press at 305°F/150°C
- It uses a low pressure setting for application – medium pressure for 10 – 15 seconds
- Hot or cold peel
- Very durable and hard wearing
- It’s so easy to weed!
- Siser is thin and flexible
- It is a thin vinyl for the best looking vinyl on your t-shirt
- A huge range of colors! 47 “normal” colors, 7 florescent colors, and 3 special finishes
- CPSIA Certified
Where is the best place to buy Siser EasyWeed HTV? It can be bought on Amazon or through Expressions Vinyl. I think this is the best HTV for all your projects. You can use it for iron-on transfers or with a heat press. It is a little more expensive than competing vinyls, but it’s totally worth it.
I often buy the Starter Bundle with 12 heat transfer vinyl sheets. I like having the different colors available. Though I always end up using black vinyl the most and always run out of it first! Probably a good idea to get extra of that, because t-shirt design does look great in black – especially if it’s a text design.
Other Siser HTV Vinyl
Siser also has different types of HTV including:
- Flocked vinyl – this has a furry/fluffy feel to it
- Glitter vinyl – sparkle sparkle
- EasyWeed Stretch – great for sports and active wear
- Siser Patterened vinyl – a flat vinyl with a range of patterns
- Siser Holographic vinyl – this is a glossy vinyl that will really jump off your t-shirt!
MORE INFO? View Siser’s Full Range Of Vinyl Here
Cricut Heat Transfer Vinyl
Cricut’s heat transfer vinyl is another high quality vinyl you can use with your iron or heat press machine. They have a many different types of vinyl in a range of colors. Cricut calls their HTV ‘iron-on’, and their adhesive vinyl ‘vinyl’ – so make sure you’re getting what you need. You don’t want to order adhesive when you actually want heat transfer! The iron-on vinyl doesn’t have to be used with an iron either, you can use your heat press for even better adhesion.
Cricut’s heat transfer vinyl options include:
READ: 25 Cricut Tips & Tricks
Stahls’ CAD-CUT Heat Transfer Vinyl
Stahls’ is another company producing a high quality heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts. They are an American company that are best known for their amazing heat press machines, but their CAD-CUT vinyl also lives up to their top reputation.
Why should you consider Stahls’ CAD-CUT for your t-shirt design transfers?
- Hard wearing and resistant to abrasive actions (especially the sport wear vinyl, THERMO-film)
- Apply to your garment at 330°F/165°C
- Large range of colors and finishes
- Support a great American company!
- CPSIA Certified
You can buy Stahls’ vinyl for a great price on Amazon or through their website. You won’t regret trying it.
READ: The Stahls 9 x 12 Craft Heat Press Review
Everyday Crafter Heat Transfer Vinyl
Everyday Crafter HTV is another option. This vinyl is a bit cheaper, and not quite as good as Siser or Stahls’. BUT it’s good to give everything a go and see what you think. With this vinyl bundle you are getting 20 sheets of 12 x 10 inch vinyl.
Here are some reasons you should try this vinyl:
In my opinion this vinyl is not quite as good as the previous options, but it is worth trying it out. It’s not bad vinyl, it’s just not as good!
The Best HTV For T-Shirts
What is the best heat transfer vinyl?
You can’t go wrong with Siser HTV. It covers all the bases and you can rest assured that your finished product will be excellent – provided you follow the instructions of course! But as we said at the beginning, try out other brands as well so that you really understand through experience what makes one vinyl better than another
Let us know your experiences and thoughts on which is the best brand of HTV in the comment section below.
FIND OUT: The 10 Best Heat Press Machines For Beginners
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