What is the best heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts, and all those other clothing and craft projects?
Whether you’re making custom t-shirts for yourself, friends & family, or for customers, you want to know it’s going to stay on the t-shirt! The last thing you want is the heat transfer vinyl to peel and come away.
It takes a lot of time and effort to create a design, cut and weed the vinyl, and then press it onto a tee. You want it to last as long as possible. The main way to ensure this is to use the best HTV.
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 personal experience.
The Best HTV
What makes good vinyl good and bad vinyl bad? And what is the difference between heat transfer vinyl brands? After the following HTV recommendations, you can see our criteria for determining good heat transfer vinyl from bad.
1. Siser EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl
Siser 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.
Siser’s HTV Range
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 Patterned 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!
We have some further articles on Siser heat transfer vinyl that may interest you:
Take a look at our post on Standard Siser EasyWeed (linked above) for the best information on where to buy the genuine product. There are a lot of Siser knock-offs out there which do not measure up!
2. Cricut Heat Transfer Vinyl
Cricut Silver Glitter Iron On
Cricut heat transfer vinyl is our next best HTV. This is also iron on heat transfer vinyl, which can be applied with your iron, EasyPress, or heat press machine. You might say this is the best iron on vinyl for Cricut cutting machines, as the machines will be especially calibrated for it!
Cricut sell 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 (I have done this more than once!).
A recent order of Cricut Iron-On and Cricut Vinyl to try out.
The iron-on vinyl doesn’t only have to be applied with an iron either, you can use your heat press or EasyPress for even better adhesion.
The full list of Cricut’s iron on vinyl. It includes:
- Standard Cricut Iron-On
- Cricut Holographic Sparkle Iron-On
- Cricut Iron-On Glitter
- Patterned Cricut Iron-On
BUY CRICUT IRON-ON: At Cricut.com OR On Amazon.com
3. FireFly Craft Heat Transfer Vinyl
FireFly Craft HTV is another good option. This is well-priced heat transfer vinyl, and you should check out the Amazon reviews! It’s available in 34 awesome colors, selling in 12 x 20 inch rolls.
Some reasons you should try this vinyl:
- Use with Cricut, Silhouette, Brother, & every other cutting machine
- Easy to weed (especially if using something like the Cricut Brightpad)
- This vinyl is for use with a heat press or can be applied with an iron
- The amazing reviews and a high star rating on Amazon
Firefly Craft HTV is well worth trying out. It’s generally cheaper, while still being excellent quality.
4. Fame Crafts Heat Transfer Vinyl
Fame Crafts have an excellent HTV bundle that is good when you want a variety of colors. It’s cheaper than many of the other HTV bundles on offer, though keep in mind the size is only 12 x 10 inches, as opposed to the Siser bundle above which is 12 x 15 inches, or the Firefly Craft HTV which is 12 x 20 inch rolls.
Fame Crafts HTV is also very highly rated and reviewed, and you can check out their full range of options here.
5. 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 sportswear 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.
Heat Transfer Vinyl Guide
The following is what makes good heat transfer vinyl good! Siser HTV scores very positively in every area – that’s why we think it’s the best.
How Easy Is It To Work With?
1. 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. Cheap heat transfer vinyl might tear, warp, or just simply not cut well even when you’re following all the instructions.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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!
Best HTV Result
6. 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.
7. 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!
8. 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).
The Best Vinyl For Shirts
What is the best heat transfer vinyl for shirts, t-shirts, and everything else?
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!
If you want to learn even more about Siser HTV, or were ready to buy, see our list of Genuine Siser EasyWeed Sellers.
Let us know your experiences, and give us your thoughts on which is the best brand of heat transfer vinyl for you in the comment section below.
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