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Melissa's Fleet of Printers for Silhouette CAMEO

Hi Guys! If you're looking for the best printer for Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait or your looking for the best t shirt transfer printer - you came to the right spot. I get asked about printers a lot - everything from "Do you need a printer for Silhouette CAMEO 4?" to "What goes into printing sublimation from Silhouette on Mac?" to "What is better white toner or direct to film?"

I have THIRTEEN different printers in my craft room - all of which do something different. Of course you don't need all of them (and the likelihood anyone who doesn't run an educational hobby craft and small business website would have a need all of them is close to zero)...but I want you to pick the best printer or printers for your hobby or small t shirt business! 

Here's a look at all of the printers that I have. You can click each one to find out more and check out the information below for additional details. 

    What Is the Best Printer for Silhouette CAMEO? 

Inkjet Printer: Best for printing on paper, sticker paper, inkjet printable heat transfer, waterslide paper, tattoo paper, printable foil papers, kraft paper, inkjet printable adhesive vinyl  

  • Pros: Low cost, relatively inexpensive ink, easy to maintain, prints a wide variety of easy-to-find material, can print directly from Silhouette Studio
  • Cons: Limited uses and quality for apparel and permanent, washable surfaces

Wide Format Printer: Same uses as standard inkjet printer, but wider giving the user more printable space including a larger print and cut area. Works great with all size Silhouette CAMEO 4 machines to maximize print and cut space 

  • Pros: Low cost, relatively inexpensive ink, easy to maintain, prints a wide variety of easy-to-find material, can print directly from Silhouette Studio, allows for an expand printing area up to 13" wide taking full advantage of a wider print and cut area when used with all Silhouette CAMEO 2/3/4 machines including the 15" CAMEO Plus and 24" CAMEO Pro
  • Cons: Limited uses and quality for apparel and permanent, washable surfaces

What's the Best T Shirt Transfer Printer?

If you've read this far you are probably considering adding a new printer that can print transfers. There are lots of different options and best t shirt transfer printer for you may not be the same one that's best for your competition. It really all depends on a number of factors including your budget, your niche, your space, your customer requests, and your needs. 

Here's a side by side comparison to help you compare what I like to call specialty printers..these are printers that print transfers of one time or another.  And below you'll find more details on each of these types of printers. 

Sublimation Printers

Sublimation: Best for light color sublimation-ready hard goods and and fabrics with at least 65% polyester count 
Limitations: Can not be applied directly to dark color garments or 100% cotton 

  • Pros: Stunning, vibrant colors, professional results, ink is permanent on hard and soft goods, prints directly from Silhouette Studio, easy to use, Mac and PC compatible
  • Cons: Must be kept plugged in to cycle the printer and prevent ink from drying in the lines, replacement ink cartridges can be expensive depending on brand, can not be used with dark surfaces, can not be used on 100% cotton, requires at least 65% polyester blend on fabrics or polyester coating on hard goods, requires a heat press, at least a $500 start up (if you already have a heat press)

If you’re just getting started with sublimation start here 

Shop the sublimation printers I have:

Direct to Garment Printers

Direct to Garment (DTG): Direct to garment printing allows you to print directly onto the garment meaning no cutting or weeding - just print and heat to cure. The ability to print onto black shirts requires white ink and pretreated shirts. Garments with at least 50% cotton work best. I have the Roland BT-12 Direct to Garment Printer (no white ink) and the Epson F2100 DTF and DTG printer (white ink)

  • Pros: Prints directly onto fabric making it a fast, easy process, soft hand, prints on cotton, easy to use, can be used on darker colors as long as the ink is darker than the fabric (ie black ink on red fabric), free and easy to use software, software for Mac and PC; models with white ink can be used to print on any color garment

  • Cons: Only prints on fabrics, not hard goods; at least a $2k initial investment for non-white ink model, does not print directly from Silhouette Studio, but will open PNG, JPEG and other file types that can be easily exported from Silhouette Studio or opened directly, ink can be expensive; requires a heat press or finishing oven (included with BT-12 model)

Learn More: | All BT-12 Tutorials | Epson F2100 DTG/DTF Tutorials 

Shop the DTG printers I have:

White Toner Printing

White Toner Printer: 5-in-1 printer that can print white ink making it ideal for dark colored fabrics and

hard goods; can also be used to print on standard paper, sublimation, and toner printing. I have the
Uninet iColor 560 White Toner Printer  

  • Pros: Very versatile and compact printer with low to no maintenance - CMYK+W; prints professional quality transfers and heat transfers, prints white and colors in a single pass allowing for use with dark and light colored hard and soft goods of many material types, toner ink allows cartridges to be swapped out with ease, toner does not dry up, minimal maintenance due to toner, small footprint makes it perfect for home use, high volume printing per cartridge (about 7k sheets). Can also be used to print directly on paper and sticker/label materials

  • Cons: High learning curve, not MAC compatible (without emulator), requires high quality heat press, at least a $3700 start up (if you already have a heat press), expensive speciality ink cartridges (sublimation toner, fluorescent toner) all sold separately, printable materials can be pricing, multi step process, marrying process can be finicky

If you're just getting started with White Toner Printing start here

Shop the White Toner Printer I have: Uninet iColor 560

Ecosolvent Print and Cut Machine

EcoSolvent Printer and Cutter (All in One): The Roland BN-20A is an all in one printer and cutter in one with ecosolvent ink which is waterproof, fade and scratch resistant for printing on vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, sticker material, banners, and window clings. 
  • Pros: The Roland BN-20A is an all in one 20" desktop machine for printing and cutting professional quality vinyl stickers, decals, and heat transfers; the footprint makes it perfect for home use, 20" wide format, high volume printing with each 221ml cartridge, relatively low cost of ink, can be used in combination with Silhouette CAMEO; extremely versatile for hard goods and textiles/garments
  • Cons: Learning curve, not MAC compatible (without emulator), does not include ink cartridges out of the box, at least a $5200 start up, printing and cutting time is slower than most stand alone printers and cutters, will require some type of secondary software to create cut lines that Versaworks can read. I recommend Affinity Designer (especially if you are using Silhouette Studio Business Edition already)

To learn more about the 20" Roland BN-20A EcoSolvent Print and Cut Machine start here

Direct to Film Printers

Direct to Film Printer: DTF printers print ready-to-press full color transfers printed directly on film that
can be applied quickly and easily to any color or type of garment including darks and cottons. They are ideal for creating finished goods or selling the transfer for the end user to apply due to their easy application
  • Pros: Desktop DTF printing is a new technology that's quickly gaining popularity due to its ability to print on darks, cottons, and without cutting or weeding. Transfers have soft hand and stretchability.  Ability to print CMYK and White. Low cost per print 
  • Cons: Not MAC compatible, some DTF printers do not include ink out of the box, printing is relatively slow, must apply hot melt powder and cure, requires regular printing to print well. consistently, requires a good bit of maintenance

If you're just getting started with DTF Printing start here

Print and Cut Sticker Printer

Print and Cut Sticker Printer: A sticker printer that can both print and cut in one machine can be a huge
time saver for making stickers, rolls of stickers, sheets of stickers, and labels. The iColor 250 offers the ability to print and cut in one machine with no registration marks. 

Pros: Easy to use, portable and compact, fast, dye and pigment ink options (interchangeable), create stickers, waterproof stickers, labels, magnets, compatible with PC and MAC

Cons: Max printing width, about 4.5" wide, high up front cost, no way to default/calibrate back to factory settings if print and cut alignment gets off 

Which Printer Should I Get..Next? 

Most Silhouette crafters already have an inkjet printer when they start out with their Silhouette allowing them to print and cut immediately.  The "need" for another printer comes later when you realize just how much MORE you can do when you add a(nother) printer. Wondering what printer to get next to take your t shirt or vinyl business to the next here for more info! 


  1. I purchased a white toner printer and am having a love/hate relationship with it. It is not the brand and model that you mentioned in your post. What are your thoughts on the Roland BN-20? How does it compare to the white toner and sublimation methods?

  2. This is exactly what I'm looking for! I was wondering how the "big guys" do their garments like this. I also received a mug with white lettering as a gift and wondered how that was done. I'm interested in sublimation and was going to get the SG1000. I'm a starting out with that for now but will keep this on my radar! Thanks Melissa!

  3. My Uninet IColor 560 is coming in today. I'm excited, anxious, and scared...LOL!!! Quick question. I can use my design directly from the Silhouette screen (Yes, I have the business version) just by saving as a PNG file to my hardrive, then open it in the new software?

    I wish you had tutorials up already or a digital book like you do for the Silhouette...those were lifesavers when starting up!

    1. Hi Bobbie! Melissa hosts 1:1 Q&A and Special members only Q&As over at SilhouetteU This would be a great way to get further Uninet questions answered!

  4. I borrowed $ from my dad, convinced him this t-shirt company would take off!!! I got a OKI DATA C711 WT unfortunately I have not found any training vides out there!!!!! help is there anywhere in NH where I can learn how to use the darn machine?



    1. We have a full playlist for DTG and White Toner printers:

  5. I have owned a laser printer now for 10 years and not about to buy another printer. It is an HP printer and is still used by HP. How does this printer work with my Cameo 4?

    1. Hi there! You can absolutely use an HP Laser Printer. If you have any questions about compatibility with Silhouette Studio, you'd want to reach out to Silhouette America directly.

  6. Hi There, firstly thanbks for your useful tips, looking foward to purchasing Cameo 4. However, please can you confirm have you any suggestions on other model of InkJet Printers as struggle to find model you mentioned in Blog?

    1. Hi there! I have been using my same inkjet printer for a long time. Check out this blog post so you can make an informed decision about the one you'd like to purchase:

  7. I have a uninet i560 and I'm having problems getting the image to stick to the shirts. What could I be doing wrong?

    1. Hi there! I would watch this video to ensure that you are marrying your A and B sheets properly:

  8. I have a brick and mortar and online clothing boutique. I’m want to start making some of our own shirts to sell. I also would love to do mugs, glass cups, bags etc. After reading everything I feel like I need a white printer but wasn’t sure. Any advice would be great!! Thank you

  9. Are there printers that will feed cardstock?


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