UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro
There are several full color heat applied transfers in the UltraColor® product family. A majority of the time, you’ll be using UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro.
But we don’t want to you be confused on which one you need. Each of the transfers have their time and place.
We’ll show you exactly what each one is and when you would want to choose one over the other for your next t-shirt printing job.
Transfers in the UltraColor Family
There are several transfers within the UltraColor full color transfer product line.
There’s UltraColor Stretch, which you would use for printing on items with Spandex and nylon.
Another specialized product is UltraColor Stretch with Blocker. You would use this for printing on apparel that you need to block dye migration, such as with sublimated polyester.
Those are easy choices with very narrow times you would use them.
To choose between UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro, we need to cover a few more factors that you would need to determine before choosing between them for these fabric types, which will be the focus on the rest of this post. (For a quick reference chart, keep reading 😉)
One of the main driving factors which will help you determine which of the two full color heat transfers (Max or Pro) you’ll want to choose, is the quantity and size of your image(s) that you’ll be ordering. This will directly affect the pricing.
For low quantity and/or small images, UltraColor Max is more economical.
For higher quantity and/or larger images, UltraColor Pro will be more economical.
UltraColor Max does not have a minimum quantity to order. So you can order just 1 transfer if you needed to. It is priced by the size of the transfer you are ordering, by the square inch. The price is $0.06 per square inch.
For UltraColor Max, you can order a single image, or you can gang several images together, up to a total sheet size of 22” x 22”.
UltraColor Pro, on the other hand, is only sold by the sheet. You can gang as many images as you can fit on the sheet, but there is a 6 sheet minimum order. The sheet size is 11.5” x 18”.
Let’s take a look at some examples to bring this to life.
Pricing Example 1:
Say you need 10 left chest size prints. The artwork is 4” x 2.61”.
Let’s start with UltraColor Max:
For this example, you would be looking at 11 square inches for each image (4 x 2.61 = 10.44 and then rounded up to the nearest square inch, which in this case, is 11 square inches).
The price is $0.06 per square inch x 11 square inches, equaling $0.66 each, for a total of $6.60 for all 10 transfers.
Now using UltraColor Pro:
Using the same artwork and quantity example as above, let’s price it out for UltraColor Pro.
UltraColor Pro comes by the 11.5” x 18” sheet with a 6 sheet minimum order. With that in mind, your order would fit 12 on each sheet. With a 6 sheet minimum, you would be getting 72 images, for a total price of $111 (at 6 sheets, it is $18.50 per sheet).
However, you can always use the sheet space to fill in with other artwork. But in this case, the total price for a minimum order is $111 for UltraColor Pro.
So you can see here, that if you only need a small quantity, and especially a small quantity of small images, UltraColor Max is going to be more economical.
However, let’s take a look at larger quantities. As you need more images, the pricing for UltraColor Pro becomes more economical.
Pricing Example 2:
Now let’s use 150 images at a 11” x 7.17” size.
Using UltraColor Max, this example would cost you $711 ($4.74 per image).
If you used UltraColor Pro, 2 images would fit on each sheet, so you would need 75 sheets. At 75 sheets, the cost per sheet is $5.00 each, making each image $2.50. Your total transfer order would cost you $375.
So in this case, UltraColor Pro will be the better choice.
Using our pricing calculators will help you determine which will be the better choice for your size and quantity of transfers needed.
Finish/Feel of the Transfers
When comparing UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro, you’ll notice the finish and feel of the transfers are slightly different.
UltraColor Max will have a lighter weight and feel to the transfer along with a matte finish.
UltraColor Pro does have a matte finish, but does have a little more of a gloss look than Max.
While UltraColor Pro is not a heavy feeling transfer, it is more heavy over UltraColor Max.
[Related Content: Creating a Soft Custom Screen Printed Transfer]
As with any type of t-shirt decoration and inks, designs with show-through spaces and open areas will allow the print to feel soft and light.
One of the other major differences with the finished appearance is that UltraColor Max does not require a clear outline around the transfer edges.
UltraColor Pro, on the other hand, does have a thin clear outline.
Sometimes, this outline can be minimized visually with a second press or at the higher application temperature on fabrics like cotton. Even on this polyester shirt in this example, the clear outline is not noticeable anymore. (More on application instructions below.)
In regards to artwork, the guidelines for UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro are similar but do have slightly different standards.
UltraColor Max minimum line thickness is 0.018” for printed areas.
UltraColor Pro minimum line thickness is 0.01” for printed areas.
Since both are digitally printed, a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for bitmap/raster images will produce the best result.
UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro are both printed in CMYK color mode. These transfers are able to be printed with gradients, fades, and shading with photographic elements. However, with either of these transfers, soft edges that fade to no ink are not able to be printed. There will need to be a hard edge.
When ordering UltraColor Max, it must be ordered through Easy View® online designer. If uploading your own art into Easy View, the accepted file types are .AI, .JPE, .JPEG, .JPG, .PDF, .PNG, .PSD, .SVG, .TIF, .TIFF.
UltraColor Pro, however, can be ordered through Easy View online designer or through the Upload portal. If you are uploading your own art, you can use the following file types: .AI, .JPE, .JPEG, .JPG, .PDF, .PNG, .PSD, .SVG, .TIF, .TIFF, and .TXT, as long as you are using the Upload page. If you design and upload your art in Easy View, then you will need to use the the same file types as UltraColor Max.
The ordering process for UltraColor Max does have the added “heat map” step in Easy View. This “heat map” is an artwork analyzer that helps look for areas that will be problematic with the artwork, either during the printing stage, heat pressing stage, or the washing/drying stage.
[Related Content: What is the Heat Map in Easy View Online Designer]
UltraColor Max does have the added digital art proof (and cost of $26) when artist help is requested or required.
Application instructions for both of these transfer types are similar, but vary slightly.
Both of these apply to cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends.
UltraColor Max application instructions
Set your heat press temperature to 290°F. The time for this transfer is 12-15 seconds with a medium-firm pressure (50-70 psi or a 5-7 on a Hotronix® heat press). This is a hot peel transfer, meaning to peel immediately upon pressing.
UltraColor Pro application instructions
UltraColor Pro has 2 different sets up application instructions depending on the fabric you are applying to.
For 100% cotton and cotton/poly blends, set your heat press to 340°F with a time of 10 seconds, and firm pressure (60-80 psi or a 6-8 on a Hotronix heat press). This is also a hot peel transfer. Peel immediately when the press opens, while the shirt is still on the press.
However, if you are applying to 100% polyester, the application temperature is at a lower 290°F. The time is for 15 seconds, also with a firm pressure. This is still an immediate hot peel as well, with no hesitations.
Both UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro do not need a cover sheet.
So both apply at a lower temperature onto polyester, which is when you would need the lower temperature, and are both a hot peel.
Shipping and Storage
Since UltraColor Pro comes by the 11.5” x 18” sheet, it ships in one of our larger “pizza” boxes. These are a flat rate $15 shipping.
UltraColor Max is sold by any size, up to a 22” x 22” size. Therefore, when ordered alone, it is shipped in a tube, also a flat $15 shipping rate.
However, if you order UltraColor Max and other transfer types in the same order, if your UltraColor Max order is less than 25 linear inches and less than a 12” x 14” size, it will ship in the same “pizza style” box as your other transfer order, which is still a flat rate of $15.
The 3rd scenario is if you place an UltraColor Max order with other transfer type orders, like screen print for example, but your UltraColor Max is more than 25 linear inches or larger than 12” x 14”, it will ship separate in a tube. Your screen printed transfer order will still ship in a box, and your UltraColor Max order will ship in a tube, and the combined shipping total will be $20 combined and include both shipments.
Storing Your UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro Full Color Transfers
Storing your transfers properly will help extend the longevity of the shelf life of your transfers.
A silica gel pack is included in both UltraColor Max and Pro in the packaging.
These full color transfers are more moisture sensitive. When storing your UltraColor Max and UltraColor Pro transfers, keep the silica gel pack with the transfers within the plastic bag to help keep moisture removed from the transfers.
Keeping them stored in a cool, dry place, away from extreme hot and cold temperatures and moisture will provide optimal performance and shelf life.
So which transfer do you use when?
If you need a full color transfer, whether your art has multi-color gradients or photo-realistic elements, or it has 3 or more spot colors, UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro will be your choice for 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or cotton/poly blends.
To choose between UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro, the biggest factor will be size and quantity of your order. As a rule of thumb, for lower quantities UltraColor Max will be your choice. For larger quantities, UltraColor Pro will be more economical.
To compare pricing when you are unsure, you can always use the price calculator.
For other considerations, you may prefer one finish or feel over the other. You can always order samples to test them out for yourself to touch and feel the difference.
They both apply similarly, with a hot peel.
The only other difference is that UltraColor Pro does have a thin clear outline around the artwork, while UltraColor Max has no outline.
UltraColor Full Color Transfer Quick Reference – What to Use When
UltraColor Max – use for cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends for low quantities or small artwork size
UltraColor Pro – use for cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends for high quantities or large artwork size
UltraColor Stretch – use for spandex, Lycra, or nylon
UltraColor Stretch with Blocker – use for sublimated polyester to block dye migration