Iron-on vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl: Everything You Need to Know

Iron-on vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl: Everything You Need to Know

Iron-on vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl: Everything You Need to Know

Many people refer to heat transfer vinyl as simply “iron-on” vinyl. Are they the same thing? What about iron-on transfers? Both require a heat source to transfer the desired design or pattern onto the fabric. Both leave you with a spiffy new design on your t-shirt or tote bag. But there are a few key differences you should know about before making your choice. Here’s a rundown on iron-on vs. heat transfer vinyl and everything you need to know about them.

Heat Source

People often call heat transfer vinyl “iron-on” vinyl because you can use a household iron to transfer the vinyl onto your desired item. With quality HTV from Prime Pick, though, you can also use a heat press to transfer your design quickly and efficiently. Companies make iron-on transfers for use with household irons.


Heat transfer vinyl is, of course, made out of vinyl. However, iron-on transfers include paper and transferrable ink. When you apply heat to your custom HTV design, the entire design transfers onto your desired item. With an iron-on transfer, it’s the ink that sticks to your piece.


Iron-on transfers are more lightweight than heat transfer vinyl, and they can apply bold colors in just one layer. They’re also a special kind of paper. So you can print off your design, cut away excess paper, and iron it onto your desired item. Heat transfer vinyl works more effectively with larger designs and sticks best when applied with a heat press.


Iron-on transfers tend to be more detailed than heat transfer vinyl, as they’re ink as opposed to vinyl. You can be more intricate with ink. However, if those t-shirts or other items don’t receive proper care, the design will fade and crack in the wash. A custom HTV design, on the other hand, will last much longer without cracking or peeling. If you apply and care for the heat transfer vinyl properly, it’ll stay looking like new for years.

When designing custom t-shirts, tote bags, or other items, choose the design method that works best for you. Prime Pick’s heat transfer vinyl will last a long time—and it comes in a multitude of colors, patterns, and styles. This is all you need to know about iron-on vs. heat transfer vinyl, so start brainstorming your next project today.

Share this post

Your cart is currently empty.