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Best Printer for Waterslide Decals: Top Picks for Waterslide Prints

Our guide on the very best printers for decals that stick around!
Last Updated on December 20, 2023
Best Printer for Waterslide Decals

If you’re a hobbyist or business wanting to add an easy custom design to an item or product, the easiest way to do so is by using one of the best printers for waterslide decals. These decals are a simple way of improving the look and style of objects we interact with daily: you can add them to your laptop, favorite mug, or even your car. And with the latest generation of InkJet printing technology, it is easier than ever to create these decals from the comfort of your home. But which is the best printer for waterslide decals?

We’ve compiled a convenient list of the best products, covering a range of budgets and specialist needs. If you’re looking to print waterslide decals and aren’t sure where to start, then start here!

Products at a Glance

How We Picked the Best Printer for Waterslide Decals

There are a great many printers for arts and crafts on the market, capable of printing a host of graphics and designs onto an array of subjects. Fewer directly support printing waterslide decals, however, which made it easier to find some options. We valued print quality and speed above other factors, but also concerned ourselves with quality-of-life features such as connectivity options, ink efficiency and tray capacity.

We’ve also included budget-friendly and compact options, for those working with limited funding or space. We hope that regardless of your situation, you find the right decal printer for you!

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Good print quality
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple connectivity options
CONS
  • Slower print speeds

Epson’s EcoTank range of printers pop up all over our lists of the best printers, from photo printers to graphic design, so it isn’t that surprising that an EcoTank takes the top spot here. With reliable print quality and plenty of other versatile features, the EcoTank ET-2720 is the best printer for waterslide decals!

Usually, when someone mentions a premium all-in-one printer, we tend to imagine a large and heavy machine – but in the case of the ET-2720, the design is surprisingly compact. Weighing a little above 13 pounds, this printer is quite easy to set up anywhere. As for the print quality, the ET-2720 doesn’t disappoint. Characters and illustrations come out looking crisp with no sign of pixelation. Moreover, the colors look accurate and vibrant. And if convenience is the name of the game, you can directly connect the ET-2720 to a personal computer via USB or Ethernet cable; or use a host of wireless connectivity options from AirPrint, Peer-to-Peer WiFi, Google Cloud, or even the Epson app.

The one downside to the ET-2720 is the print speed: whilst it isn’t slow, it’s nothing exciting. Colorful designs are as slow as five pages per minute, which can be terrible for bulk printing waterslide decals. Still, for great print quality in a tiny package, the ET-2720 is the best printer for waterslide decals!

2
PROS
  • Great borderless printing
  • Great print quality
CONS
  • Slow printing speeds
  • Low capacity

One of the cheapest printers for waterslide decals on the market, the PIXMA TR4520 from Canon packs a lot into a small footprint. Stacked with convenient features and great print quality, this budget all-rounder is perfect for decals.

The PIXMA TR4520 has a colored print speed of approximately five pages per minute, contemporary with our top pick. Where it surprisingly outclasses it, however, is in print quality. Even tiny text is legible and smooth on decals, and the colors are wonderfully vibrant and accurate. And whilst the printer is not in use, the compact design means it is easy to store. What’s more, Canon are practically giving this printer away, with a price point that’s a fraction of the others on our list today.

So why isn’t this the best printer for waterslide decals? Aside from a low-capacity input tray, the TR4520 is also quite shoddily designed for all its features: the display screen doesn’t illuminate when used, the build quality is flimsy and the ink economy isn’t great – unfortunately, you do get what you pay for with this printer. But, for a hyper-affordable printer for waterslide decals that makes up for poor build quality with excellent print quality, it’s hard to beat this PIXMA TR4520!

3
PROS
  • Rapid, high-quality printing
  • Versatile media options
  • Great color gamut
CONS
  • Poor ink economy

The Epson Expression XP-15000 is one of our favorite printers for designers or artists wanting to make their work tangible: there’s a reason we also crowned it the best printer for crafting. With a reasonable upfront cost and a fast print speed, the XP-15000’s great features never cease to impress us!

With a color print speed of 20 pages per minute, the XP-15000 is a super-fast printer for waterslide decals! The model comes with a spacious rear input tray capable of taking specialist media such as vinyl, the printer is highly capable of matching all your print needs. What’s more, the XP-15000 has a massive maximum print size of 13″ x 19″. With smooth borderless printing and great detail, this model makes for a great decal-printing experience.

The one downside to this otherwise fantastic printer is its efficiency. With a poor ink economy, you’ll find yourself constantly replacing the expensive ink. It is an unfortunate downside, and the one thing preventing this fast and high-quality decal printer from being perfect for business or hobbyist decal enthusiasts. That said, if you can swallow the cost, then the XP-15000 is a fantastically fast printer for waterslide decals!

4
PROS
  • Built-In Copy and Scan Function
  • Good printing speed
CONS
  • Higher operational costs without subscription

If you want to print waterslide decals but don’t want to spend on a dedicated premium printer, the HP OfficeJet 5255 is a sterling option. A capable mid-range printer with low running costs, this printer is a great entry point into printing decals!

With a color print speed of seven pages per minute, the OfficeJet 5255 is slightly faster than our top pick. It comes with a built-in scanner and copier for extra convenience and for speeding up your workflow. And with plenty of connectivity options, you’ll never be short of a way to print. HP also offers an ink subscription service for the OfficeJet, that fractionalizes the cost-per-print for those who use the printer on a regular monthly basis.

If you’re not planning on using the OfficeJet frequently, however, the cost-per-print is an issue. Without the ink subscription, your operational costs are quite high, with the average color print costing about 21 cents. And with the subscription, you may be paying over-the-odds for a printer for waterslide decals that you don’t use as often. Of course, you can improve upon this by using the OfficeJet 5255 for all its worth as a general-purpose printer. Though it isn’t the best across the board, the OfficeJet 5255 earns a spot on the podium as a great mid-range printer for waterslide decals!

Features and Considerations

We’ve also got some handy things to look out for in whatever printer for waterslide decals you end up buying:

Ink System

A printer’s ink system is the method by which ink is distributed and kept in the jets of InkJet printers. For printers that aren’t in constant use, an inefficient ink system can lead to you needing to replace the ink more frequently. If you are looking for a business-level printer for waterslide decals, then you should opt for an Automatic Ink Refill System (AIRS). For lower-duty or hobby decal printing, try a Continuous Ink System (CIS). These will ensure that the minimal amount of ink is wasted, based on the frequency of printing.

Printer Type

We would generally recommend an InkJet printer for waterslide decals. These are generally better for colorful designs as opposed to LaserJet printers, but are a bit more costly to run. They also tend to come with the specialist media compatibility that you need for waterslide decals.

Duty Cycle

“Duty Cycle” (sometimes called “Monthly Volume”) indicates the number of pages a printer can pump out in a month. If you’re a hobbyist waterslide decal printer, chances are a cheaper light-duty printer is all that you’ll need. In contrast, if you run a business that takes lots of monthly orders, you’ll need a printer with a high duty cycle.

Connectivity

Of course, how you print is just as important as what. Most modern printers come with some form of wireless connectivity, and those that don’t will definitely have a USB or Ethernet port somewhere. Make sure that your planned method of printing waterslide decals isn’t interrupted by cable management, or a time-consuming wireless connection.

What is the best ink for printing waterslide decals?

To get the best results, use a gloss solvent-based ink with your waterslide decal paper. However, ordinary printer ink works when you use it with a topcoat layer of transparent ink.

What happens if I go over my printer's duty cycle?

If a printer is overworked it is more likely to break down. Paper jams, ink smudging and other mechanical failures will become more common.

Our Verdict

Though it’s a little slower and lower than other InkJet printers, the ET-2720 is our best printer for waterslide decals by being an all-rounder. The print quality is stellar, it is easy to use, and has great ease-of-use features that make it a plucky yet powerful option. And whilst the build size can be a little limiting for some, the quality and efficiency make up for it!

Looking to print something larger? Check out our guide on the best wide-format printers on the market!