Screen printing is a time-consuming and tiring activity, and preparing the stencil is arguably the hardest part of it. That is why you need a good printer to make this job significantly easier.
But a printer is a complex machine. So it is natural to feel clueless while trying to buy a good printer. A lot of people will help you out with advice when it comes to things like smartphones, laptops, or televisions. And very few people have sufficient knowledge to give you a proper buying guide for the best printer for screen printing.
Don’t you worry because that is what we are here for. In this article, we will be going through 7 top-tier printers to help you in your quest to finding the right printer for screen printing.
7 Best Printer for Screen Printing Transparencies
Keeping the things to consider in mind, observe the following reviews of the best printers to get a better idea of what you need to buy.
1. Epson Stylus C88+
The unique feature of the Epson Stylus C88+ is the size of files it can print. And the maximum width on this device is 8.5 inches, and the maximum length is 44 inches, which is more than any other printer. The printer is considerably fast. It can easily print 23 black and white pages in 1 minute.
When it comes to colored pages, it can print 14 of them in 1 minute. The photo editing software in this printer is absolutely top-notch and provides you with a lot of options. And the setup of the ink cartridges adds to your convenience.
You have the ability to replace one specific cartridge if that is what you need. When it comes to print quality, it is very good in photos. It can highlight the natural tones and sharp details of the photos.
And the same cannot be said about the quality of the plain paper. The texts tend to look gray instead of black, and the edges often look rough and ragged. Moreover, the paper feeder can only contain a maximum of 100 sheets, and that is an unfortunate limitation.
- Can scan files up to 44 inches long
- Very fast
- Comes with an easy to use photo editing software
- Very good print quality on photo paper
- Convenient individual ink cartridges
- Poor print quality on plain paper
- Not good at highlighting shadows in photos
- Limited paper feeder
2. Epson Expression Photo HD-XP 15000
The maximum size of printable files in this printer is a respectable 13 inches wide and 20 inches long. And the design is a special feature in this printer. It is extremely compact and takes up little space compared to most printers. It is also very lightweight, and that makes it portable.
But the light weight comes due to a compromise in the build quality. It is made out of weak materials that do not promise firmness and longevity if used roughly.
This compromise in build quality extends to the cassette and take-up tray. If you use the automatic deployment feature too many times in this printer, there is a real possibility of wear and tear that may end up costing you.
And the capacity in this one is something worth praising. It can take a maximum of 200 A4 size plain papers, 50 photo papers, and 10 envelopes.
Moreover, the setup process is very easy and takes about 15 minutes. And the instructions that come with the product are very detailed and informative. And you can connect the printer via USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi. It also comes with a great mobile app to monitor the device, which makes it very easy to use.
Also, the print quality isn’t exceptionally great, but it is quite respectable and will serve you well.
- Very compact and lightweight design
- Has a fantastic capacity
- Very easy to set up and comes with clear directions
- Has a great app for monitoring the device
- Poor build quality
3. Canon PIXMA TS6220
This product from Canon is quite budget-friendly compared to most printers, and it delivers a solid performance at this low price. Firstly, this printer is very small and will not take up a huge amount of space. It is also very lightweight and portable.
Secondly, it comes with not one but two paper holding trays, one in the front and the other in the rear. Both of them can hold a maximum of 100 pages, which is very impressive.
Unfortunately, this printer doesn’t support a USB thumb drive or an SD card. But the product makes up for that by having great mobile connectivity. It is very easy to pair your phone with the printer, and thus, it’s very easy to use.
Moreover, this printer is also quite fast. The speed won’t blow you away, but finding a printer in this price range with speed on this level is rare, to say the least. And the print quality is also fantastic, especially when it comes to photos. It also does not disappoint when it comes to plain papers.
But it is necessary to mention that this printer will require a high amount of running cost as the ink cartridges used in this printer are very costly. This printer also isn’t ideal for high volume works.
- Very small and portable
- Comes with two paper holding trays
- Great mobile connectivity
- Very fast for the price
- Fantastic print quality especially in photos
- No USB thumb drive or SS Card
- Costly ink cartridges that increase the running cost greatly
- Not suitable for high volume works
4. HP OfficeJet 5255
This printer for HP gives you fantastic quality at an affordable price. While there are some limitations due to the low price, it performs greatly overall. To get the flaws out of the way, we have to mention its limitations in the capacity. The paper holding tray can carry a maximum of 100 papers only.
But this printer makes up for its lack of volume by emphasizing on quality and convenience. The printer comes with an instant ink subscription program. If you use this program, it will greatly reduce the cost of using this printer. The device is very easy to use and control.
And the easiest option is to do that through the HP Smart app, which is a fantastic app that serves this purpose. The setup is very easy. You can connect the printer to your device by Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, or Wireless Direct.
The speed is quite slow. It can only print 10 pages per minute, that too in black and white. But the quality of the output is very good. Both photos and documents come out exactly the way you need them to.
- Comes with an instant ink subscription that reduces the running cost
- Has a well-functioning app to monitor the device
- Very easy to set up
- Great output quality
- Limited capacity of 100 pages
- Very slow printing speed
5. HP Envy 5055
This is another product from HP that is reasonably priced and delivers a solid performance. Like most HP products, this one also has an instant ink subscription that reduces the cost of using the product in the long term. The design of this printer is a thing of beauty. It is lean, well-structured, and very stylish.
And it is also very compact, lightweight, and portable. The printer doesn’t come with an automatic document feeder, and that can be considered a deal-breaker for many. You have to manually input the papers, and that reduces your scope of multi-tasking.
The setup is quite simple. You can connect the printer through Wi-Fi, wireless direct, or USB 2.0. The paper tray capacity is limited to only 100 pages, and this is becoming a common issue in HP products. And the low speed is also concerning.
Like the OfficeJet, this one also has a speed of 10 pages per minute, and that is very low. However, this product doesn’t disappoint when it comes to output quality. It delivers solid and high-quality printing performance.
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with an instant ink subscription package
- Has an absolutely fantastic design
- Easy to set up
- Very good output quality
- Doesn’t have an automatic document feeder
- Limited paper tray capacity
- Very slow printing speed
6. Brother MFC – J985DW
The best part about this printer is its long term benefits. And the running cost of this printer is very reasonable, but it doesn’t come at the cost of quality ink cartridges. In fact, the quality of the ink cartridges is surprisingly very good. But the paper tray could definitely use an upgrade.
Like the previous few products, the paper trays are limited to 100 pages only. You can connect the device through USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi. Thus, it is very easy to set up. The average speed is quite low at 10 pages per minute and leaves a lot to be desired.
For photos, the print quality is quite good. It isn’t exceptional by any means, but for the price you get the printer at, it is more than respectable.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for plain paper documents as the print quality there is below average. While it isn’t offensively bad, it could definitely be much better.
- Comes with high-quality ink cartridges that are available at a very low price
- Very easy to set up and connect
- Respectable output quality for photos
- Below average print quality in plain paper documents
- Very slow printing speed
7. Epson Artisan 50
This is probably the first printer on this list that we can label as expensive. It costs quite a lot compared to other printers but has a lot of great features to make up for it. The setup is simple and convenient. And the directions that come with the product are very clear and detailed.
It has a total of 6 ink cartridges that are very cost-friendly for long term use. All of them can be replaced individually for more convenience. The speed may be disappointing for many people as it is quite low. For high-quality documents, the speed is limited to 5 pages per minute.
But the output quality makes up for the low speed. Especially in documents, the output is absolutely top-notch. The color accuracy on this device is something that we need to praise as very few printers have color accuracy this good.
However, this printer doesn’t have any on-printer display. So it can be quite difficult to operate at times, and you may be prone to mistakes.
- Easy to set up
- Comes with 6 ink cartridges that can be replaced individually
- Very low running cost
- Fantastic color accuracy
- Great output quality
- Very expensive
- Very limited printing speed
- No on-printer screen
Things to Consider before Buying
Before we move into further details about the seven subjects of review, we believe that you need to familiarize yourself with what makes a printer worth buying. These are the following things that you must consider before you move further into buying the best printer for screen printing transparencies.
Manual vs. Automatic
The choice between these two ultimately comes down to your purpose and frequency of use. If you only need to use the printer occasionally, then you should be fine with a manual printer. Additionally, buying a manual printer will also save you money as they are generally quite cheap.
But if you need to use the printer regularly for printing important documents or photos and you are willing to pay a slightly higher price, then the automatic printer is the best choice. It allows you to get multiple works done simultaneously.
Printers aren’t exactly small devices. They can take up quite a lot of space and so you should always make sure that your desk has the necessary space available.
This also depends on the purpose of your use. If you only need the printer to print a few things of limited color options, then you don’t necessarily need that many colored ink cartridges.
But if you are using the printer for photos or any other thing that requires a lot of colors, then you need to make sure your printer supports the necessary amount of cartridges.
Printers are a long time investment, and unlike many other devices, the cost of using a printer doesn’t end just after buying it. You need to refill the ink cartridges when they are empty. And you may also need to replace specific cartridges for your needs.
That will naturally incur some costs, and your goal should be to keep those costs at a minimum without sacrificing the quality of the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the best printers for screen printing:
- What kind of printer do you need for screen printing?
There are a lot of things that go into making a printer perfect for screen printing. But you should always make sure you have quality ink cartridges and transparencies. The printer should also support inks of different kinds.
- What printers can print on transparency paper?
There are multiple printers that can print on transparency paper. But if you want to know the best printer for screen printing transparencies from this list, it would be a tie between the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 or the Brother MFC-J985DW.
- How do I print a film positive for screen printing?
Film positives work best when you keep them in the dark and away from any sort of light exposure. After that, you should use software like Inkjet Films, Thermal films, Laser films, Color Transparencies, etc. along with the best printer for screen printing film positives you can find to get the best result.
- How do you screen print at home?
You can screen print at home very easily. Firstly, draw your design on a transparency paper and prepare the stencil through the printer. Secondly, prepare the silkscreen by coating it with a thin emulsion layer and let that dry. Thirdly, set up an exposure area and place the silk screen there after it has dried up.
Then, put the stencil backward, turn on the lights for a certain time, and clean the emulsion away with cold water. Finally, place the screen directly above the article that is being printed on, drag some ink over it with a squeegee and slowly peel off the screen.
- How do I print transparencies for screen printing?
Firstly, draw the design you require on the transparency paper. Secondly, use a suitable printer to print the said transparency.
It goes without saying that screen printing is a difficult job, and you don’t need a below-average product making it even more difficult for you. That is why it is so important to make sure you have chosen the best printer for screen printing possible.
For that purpose, you should first determine your priorities, check our reviews properly, and determine which printer meets your unique set of requirements. We wish you the very best in your screen printing endeavors.