In this article, we will unveil what is the best heat transfer vinyl brand and look at the best 5 finishes for each HTV option.
Heat Transfer Vinyl is increasingly rising in demand for use on bags, apparel, and other similar materials as unlike traditional adhesive vinyl, HTV permanently fixes the vinyl to the relevant material, which opens up a lot of customization possibilities for T-shirt retailers.
That said, there are just too many heat transfer vinyl brands that searching for the best one can get overwhelming. A simple search for the best heat transfer vinyl on Amazon or Google, for example, will reveal hundreds of options and this can drive you crazy trying to weed through the poor choices.
So we cut out the fluff and laid out 5 of the best options for you: Siser, Thermoflex, Stahls, Cricut, and WALAKut.
However, you don’t want to just know the best heat transfer vinyl. You’ll also want to know how to choose the best one for your printing and design needs, and to help you out, we’ve listed several factors to consider when choosing HTV.
But in case you’re in a hurry..
What is the best heat transfer vinyl brand?
Based on our years of experience with heat transfer vinyl, we choose SISER as the best transfer vinyl option. Siser heat transfer vinyl provides the broadest customer applicability, best vinyl finishes, and user quality of any of the brands mentioned. It is also likely the most compatible with your preferred heat press machine and cutting machine. In general, produces the best results.
Top Factors to Consider When Considering: What is the Best Heat Transfer Vinyl?
There are 2 primary factors to consider when choosing the best heat transfer vinyl: Quality and the Best finish for the particular customer’s needs. Every other factor falls under these 2 considerations.
The quality of any heat transfer vinyl tends to be more about its durability.
Quality types of vinyl do not fade, crack, or peel off easily as long as they’ve been washed in line with the aftercare instructions mentioned by the HTV brand. The best heat transfer vinyl is also usually much thinner and primarily created using Polyurethane or PU instead of PVC which is the manufacturer’s cheapest option.
In addition, applying heat transfer vinyl sheets to your apparel or relevant fabric should be a seamless process, which is something you may not achieve using PVC-based HTV. With polyurethane-based heat transfer vinyl, outcomes are typically hot peel which makes it faster (ease of use) and able to last a minimum of 50 washes.
That said, most HTV brands will detail the number of washes their vinyl can withstand and the ideal water temperature for ensuring long-term use (opting for heat transfer vinyl sheets compatible with a lower temperature is usually the best approach). So you may want to look out for such specific instructions when choosing the best heat transfer vinyl.
But this all depends on the type of product you’re creating. If you are using HTV for products like hats or bags that don’t require frequent washing then you can go for less expensive options (PVC).
Like every other business, your apparel brand exists for its customers, meaning the finishes you create designs with must satisfy customer preferences.
HTV provides special finishes just as it does colors and you need to be certain that your chosen brand offers the finishing the particular customer requires. For example, a thick heat transfer vinyl finish for a college football shirt number won’t be the best choice for a teenage girl who sells neon hat designs at her Etsy store. So the vinyl to go for will differ per customer based on their target audience’s specific use.
Some typical finishes include holographic, blackboard, puffed vinyl, neon, glitter, metallics, etc.
In your search for the best heat transfer vinyl, you’ll need to choose the desired color for your creation. Now, while this may seem like an easy choice, it is a bit tricky.
Some HTV rolls are manufactured with a single color while others come with multiple color packs giving you a wide color range for experimentation.
However, the con of the multiple color packs is that they usually include a small portion of each color, so if you’re running a wholesale project you’ll be better off using different rolls than multiple color packs. The latter is best for one-off creations.
5 Best Heat Transfer Vinyl
1. Siser – Our Pick (The Best)
The Siser heat transfer vinyl sheets are polyurethane (PU). They come on a clear carrier sheet and offer a sticky backing that makes weeding seamless. The sticky backing also makes it easy to replace pieces that may have been weeded off unknowingly.
Siser also features a great option for people intending to carry out multi-color applications via its EasyWeed materials, which offer a one-second tack. This means that Siser with this feature allows you to tack each material to the apparel for one second, peel off the carrier, and add a subsequent color.
The point of this feature is that it helps to prevent shrinkage that results from heating each layer for the entire creation period.
Another major feature of Siser HTV is EasyPatterns. This feature offers pre-printed patterns that you can cut your designs from, weed out excess material, and apply a mask and heat. Plus, there’s a large selection of EasyPatterns to pick from.
Siser – 5 Best Finishes
EasyWeed is Siser’s number-one selling heat transfer vinyl and it’s easy to see why. The option applies at a lower temperature than most choices and it offers hot and cold peelable backing. It also does not lift when weeding.
Concerning durability, EasyWeed guarantees long-term quality wash after wash. Some other EasyWeed features include:
- 90 Microns/3.5 Mils
- PU composition
- Iron-on vinyl
- It can be cut with laser systems
- Offers a pressure-sensitive carrier that enables you to create detailed designs on a large selection of fabrics
- EasyWeed offers thin finishes
- Offers a one-second tacking application for layering
That said, the primary con here is the possibility of variations in colors from batch to batch because of how fluorescent colors are created. Also, EasyWeed applies only to 100% cotton and polyester as well as poly/cotton and leather blends.
This iron-on vinyl finish offers a lot of similar features to EasyWeed with the additional feature of adhering to nylon alongside poly/cotton leather blends, and 100% cotton and polyester. It also offers a semi-gloss finish that you can layer enabling you to take on more complex designs. EasyWeed Extra is a PU composition as well.
This EasyWeed finish allows you to create custom designs that glow in the dark. It is polyurethane heat transfer vinyl and is available in a single color. Like the EasyWeed HTV, the EasyWeed Glow cuts and weeds.
Its glow effect is also straightforward to achieve by exposing the material to sunlight. The longer it stays in the light the brighter the glow in the dark. It is the best choice for people looking to create cool blankets that shine at night, candy bags, and costumes.
EasyWeed Glow even offers a layering feature on white EasyWeed that allows you to create hidden messages that glow at night. Best of all, it is CPSIA certified, which means it is safe for children.
This finish offers all the benefits of the EasyWeed best heat transfer vinyl sheets in combination with super stretchability. It offers the thinnest of all Siser materials and a matte finish that comes in more than 20 popular colors.
EasyWeed Stretch is best used on performance apparel such as dri-fit and spandex as well as onesies and tank tops. It is 85 microns/3.35 mils and is PU composition. Other features include laser-friendly, iron-on vinyl, CPSIA Certified, and layer-able. It can be applied to Lycra spandex, 100% cotton and polyester, and poly/cotton blends.
This finish can be applied to any kind of apparel and accessory that needs to stand out in low lighting. You can also apply it with a heat press or iron on items like pet clothing, sports apparel, construction uniforms, etc. It is a polyurethane product as well and enables you to re-stick lifting material or replace accidental weeding.
ThermoFlex is our number 2 best heat transfer vinyl and it offers a large selection of materials that offer a range of textures, colors, and finishes. For example, ThermoFlex Plus and Turbo Low Temperature from ThermoFlex come in several colors and widths for people searching for primary colors and a matte finish.
ThermoFlex also offers standout materials like ThermoFlex Neon, ThermoFlex Metallic, and DecoFilm Soft Metallic, etc. This heat transfer vinyl also comes in a range of widths that are compatible with your preferred popular cutting machine including Cricut Maker, Silhouette Cameo 3, and Cameo 4. ThermoFlex is also safe to use on children’s garments.
ThermoFlex – 5 Best finishes
This heat transfer vinyl option comes in a range of colors and offers a soft matte finish. It is also a polyurethane-based material with long-term durability.
Concerning cutting, the ThermoFlex Plus comes with ready-to-cut vinyl that supports laser cutting, which makes it versatile. It is also CPSIA-compliant and comes in more than 120 colors.
DecoFilm Soft Metallics
This heat transfer vinyl finish is best for the following fabrics: uncoated polyester, cotton, fabric blends, polyester/acrylic blends, and similar fabrics. But it isn’t suitable for treated or dyed garments. For thickness, it offers 3 mils/75 microns.
It offers a soft and smooth finish that looks similar to a metallic screenprint. This best heat transfer vinyl finish also comes in more than 40 colors and patterns, is stretchy and durable and has a sticky carrier for seamless repositioning.
In general, it provides a soft hand and when applied it will take on the texture of the garment.
The ThermoFlex Stretch HTV offers a soft and matte finish. It is best used for cotton, fabric blends, uncoated polyester, Lycra, linen, and wool. The standout feature of ThermoFlex Stretch HTV is its flexibility as it has a higher capacity for rebound and stretch, which makes it an excellent choice for stretchy clothing.
That said, ThermoFlex Stretch does not layer. It has a thickness of 4.2 mils/105 microns.
This is a high-pigmented heat transfer vinyl that you can use to make your projects pop with the vibrancy of neon color. This is an excellent finish option for logo designs or glow-in-the-dark prints.
Thermoflex Soft Metallics Patterns
This best heat transfer vinyl finish provides a precious metal sheen that is great for including an extra pop in your designs. The product offers a soft hand and takes on the texture of the fabric after being applied. It is also easy to weed and cut.
The Thermoflex Soft Metallics Patterns finish is easily layered to the ThermoFlex Plus and supports over 25 patterns. It applies to uncoated polyester, cotton, fabric blends, polyester, acrylic, etc.
For best results, you should avoid using this finish on treated or dyed fabric. It isn’t the best practice to use this HTV finish as a bottom layer.
Stahls is a leading international heat transfer vinyl brand that offers a large selection of finishes and materials irrespective of whether you’re designing for sports apparel, corporate clothing, etc. Their finishes range from dye-blocking, reflective, glitter, and metallic to durable. Stahls HTV are also CAD-CUT.
Stahls – 5 Best Finishes
This Stahls finish offers an easy-to-weed material that is best for everyday heat printing projects. Some of its standout features include smooth cutting on all vinyl cutters and low-temperature application.
It also offers scorch-free application, 90 to 100 microns in thickness, polyurethane composition, CPSIA Certified, laser-cutter compatibility, clear carrier for easy placement, soft feel, and matte-finish.
Stahls Premium Plus is an excellent choice for fusing onto garments that contain elasticity like athleisure. It comes with superior stretch and rebound and enables your designs to adapt and move with the apparel, reducing cracks or damage to the heat transfer vinyl.
It offers a thin and soft matte finish, light tacking, and multi-layer applications. Premium Plus can be used in Lycra, Spandex, polyester, and poly/cotton blends.
Concerning colors, it is available in over 37 different colors with several shade variations. You can purchase it by the roll or meter.
This best heat transfer vinyl finish is a textured glitter option used to create vibrant designs. The material is perfect for designing spirit wear, cheer uniforms, and fashion apparel.
It is available in 40 rolls without a carrier and offers a guarantee that the glitter finish won’t wash or flake away. Glitter Flake is also compatible with Stahls Rip-Away Applique Process and is CPSIA Certified as well as Laser cutter compatible.
This best heat transfer vinyl finish material is built for long-term use though thin. It also cuts and weeds easily and is excellent for lightweight active garments. SportFilm Lite offers a semi-matte finish and it isn’t recommended for layered 2-color applications. It is CPSIA-certified and laser-cutter compatible.
Fabric compatibility includes 100% cotton, preshrunk cotton, and polyester, as well as cotton/poly blends, nylon, and Lycra and Spandex blends.
Fashion Film Electric
This offers an HTV finish that’s best for standout fashionable looks. It offers a jewel-like finish and is perfect for designing vivid creations.
Some key features include the material being thin and soft, satin and metallic finish, a bright color palette, and compatibility with Stahls’ Rip-Away Applique Process.
It can also stretch and rebound 3 times and is CPSIA certified. Fabric softness includes 100% cotton, polyester, and preshrunk cotton as well as cotton/poly blends and Lycra and Spandex blends.
The WALAKut heat transfer vinyl brand stands out from other options for its low-temperature application and time requirements. This makes WALAKut HTV an excellent option for projects on delicate fabrics and synthetic blends – specifically the type of lightweight stretchy fabric popular in women’s wear.
WALAKut is also a great choice for large-quantity HTV projects as it is budget-friendly and easy to cut and weed. It is very comparable to Siser EasyWeed in ease of cutting, layering, and weeding and it is available in 19 colors.
WALAKut – 5 Best Finishes
WALAKut Puff is Heat Transfer Warehouse’s most searched heat transfer vinyl. It offers a marshmallow quality after application and is best for hats, bags, and clothes.
WALAKut Puff is a dimensional product that has a soft foamy feel with edges and corners having a rounded soft look. Puff HTV typically shows the texture of the fabric you apply it on and it offers a hot peel. It is CPSIA Certified for children as well.
WALAKut Express is arguably the number 2 most popular WALAKut heat transfer vinyl. In terms of appearance and quality, it is comparable to ThermoFlex Plus or Siser EasyWeed.
However, the major difference is that you can apply WALAKut Express at 250°F for just 5 seconds. So this is an excellent choice for layering and delicate fabrics.
WALAKut Express Neon
This WALAKut HTV offers bright fluorescent colors. It is also elastic, thin, and soft to hand. WALAKut Express Neon can be applied at low temperatures to prevent glossiness or fiber damage.
Some key features include layer-able, neon color, 90 microns thick, matte finish, and a sticky liner. It is also REACH compliant.
WALAKut metallics add shine and vibrancy to your apparel and it comes with a hot melt that enables fast application at low temperatures. It is CPSIA certified and offers a metallic/pearl finish.
WALAKut Patterns Fashion Vinyl
This WALAKut HTV offers a variety of patterned finishes including laminated patterns, holographic patterns, animal print patterns, etc. It is ready to cut and press as it does not require masking beforehand. However, it isn’t recommended for small details. It also doesn’t use a hot peel and requires a temperature of 300°F for application.
This best heat transfer vinyl brand stands out for its easy weeding and durability. Cricut also offers a large selection of colors and most of its finishes are excellent for layering.
Cricut – Best 5 Finishes
Cricut Everyday heat transfer vinyl is designed for durability as it outlasts 50 washes and is compatible with a variety of base materials. You can also use one color or layer up to 4 colors for loud designs. It supports over 34 colors.
This HTV material is best for bags, aprons, home decor, and t-shirts. It applies glittering color to your fabric and is easy to cut and press.
The Cricut Foil is ideal for custom fashion, parties, home decor, bags, and pillows. It creates an eye-catching shiny finish. However, it comes in just over 13 colors.
As with most Cricut heat transfer materials, the Cricut Neon offers long-term durability (outlasts over 50 washes) and it works with a large selection of base materials including wood.
You can use it with a single color or layer up to 3 colors for loud projects. It also cuts and weeds seamlessly.
This best heat transfer vinyl finish is built specifically for active wear. It also features the StrongBond Guarantee for long-lasting iron-on results. Concerning its feel, SportFlex is stretchable and flexible and is best for team jersey customization, yoga tops, leggings, nylon, polyester, etc.
That’s a wrap on what is the best heat transfer vinyl! Searching for the best heat transfer vinyl brands can be overwhelming so we decided to list out the top options for you as well as their leading finishes.
All that’s left is for you to make a decision. You can use the section on factors to guide your choice. And as already mentioned, our best heat transfer vinyl top pick is Siser, which offers the broadest range of customer applicability and quality. And we like Heat Press Nation as our favorite supplier for Siser HTV products.
Emmanuel Egeonu is a digital marketing consultant/writer with vast experience in SEO & marketing for startups. He has helped numerous SaaS, eCommerce, and brick-and-mortar brands over the years with industry-relevant and winning digital marketing strategies that impact their online growth index positively.