A Sublimation printer is a computer printer that uses heat to transfer the dye onto different materials such as plastic and fabric. It comprises heat and thermal printing. Many of the printing devices use printing devices such as photo printing, mug and t-shirt designs, pillow printing, etc.
When looking to buy a dye sublimation printer for whatever need is needed, some essential features need to be considered before choosing the most suitable model.
This buying guide will elaborate on some of the details of sublimation printers and the factors that you should consider before investing in them for your home, business, or whatever else there is. It also includes the ten best sublimation printers for best usage.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT SUBLIMATION PRINTER?
Buying a sublimation printer is an investment and needs to be carefully thought of because you cannot end up investing your money in something that doesn’t satisfy or meet your printing needs.
Print media handling capabilities: The first and foremost thing you need to look for in a sublimation printer is the size of the print media it can handle. These things help ensure to get a printer that works according to your specific printing needs.
The sublimation printers’ field size can be grouped into the following categories:
Desktop format printers: These are office style models that can easily be placed on your desk or the table surface. You can easily print on individual sheets of paper and handle various paper sizes ranging from 8.5 inches to 19 inches. It is excellent for folks that want a sublimation printer for printing t-shirts.
Narrow Format Printers: They come with a freestanding design and are perfect for printing on sublimation paper rolls ranging from 22 to 44 inches wide. Larger or bigger images and high volume production demands this is the perfect printer for all your needs.
Wide-Format: Like the narrow format printers, these printers can print sublimation paper rolls ranging from 40-104 inches wide. A vital note or thing to keep in mind is that printers with a small footprint produce the largest image you need to finish all your craft projects.
Another essential thing that you must consider when looking to invest in a sublimation printer is the printing resolution. The resolution is usually showcased in dpi, which refers to the dots per inch for the printed physical damage. The higher the dpi for an image, the sharper the image will result to be.
How much resolution is perfect?
300dpi is considered the standard resolution that you will find in most consumer and high-end models and is made to fit the consumers’ needs and specifications perfectly.
For greater detail and intricate work in your images, you should go for a higher dpi count, and 600 dpi will be the ideal choice for that. If you need more details, a printer with 1200 dpi provides the highest resolution in the printing world. Therefore, before you invest in a printer, see what you are trying to print and the type of media you want to print on.
All the sublimation printers easily connect to a PC or Mac through a USB cable. The latest units of these provide more excellent connectivity options when it comes to the wireless connection. Various models let you print from your mobile devices as well. Others let you print directly from your digital camera, USB flash disk, and some even come supporting cloud connectivity.
The more diverse and varied the connectivity options for a sublimation printer, the more convenient and comfortable it comes to print the images on whatever surface you like.
It is quite important to set a reasonable budget for how much you will be spending on the new printer. If you are looking for a sublimation printer for commercial use, that means that it will have to go through regular use, and therefore, you need to set up a higher budget for enabling to get a higher-end model. It will withstand and take care of producing high-quality prints. The expectation should be to spend anywhere between hundreds to thousand dollars.
10 BEST SUBLIMATION PRINTERS
EPSON WORKFORCE WIRELESS WIDE FORMAT COLOR INKJET PRINTER
When you are out in the market and are looking for an Epson printer for sublimation, the Epson Work Force makes to be one of the perfect choices for the same. It comes providing various multifunctional capabilities and supports sublimation printing for supporting the printing of standard pages.
For all your professional needs, this Epson Printer fits perfectly and prints all the designs and arts beautifully, which can eventually be transferred to the clients’ garments, mousepads, mugs, etc., with the help of a heat press machine. For printing, this printer offers tons of functionalities that are difficult to find on other printers out there. You can easily print shop quality, borderless prints that go as large as 13×19 inches. Moreover, it comes with automated double-sided printing capabilities, making essential functionality with your office work.
If you are into more extensive projects, you can always use the 250-sheet tray, which will help you feed more into your printer for more extensive and more significant tasks. It comes with a dedicated rear feed for special paper and an output tray with the utmost ability to take almost 125 sheets at a go.
Apart from printing, this device also works as a scanner and fax machine. It provides a highly intuitive 4.3 inches color screen, and the easy navigation on it makes for easy use by both beginners and experts.
- Waterproof and fade resistant
- Dual paper trays
- Borderless coloring of more extensive papers
- High-speed prints with accurate dots
- Not suitable for home use
- Not good at detecting printing size
CANON SELPHY CP1300 WIRELESS COMPACT PHOTO PRINTER
It is another sublimation printer from a renowned and famous brand. It is the perfect printer for looking to use a compact printer at an affordable price.
It is a dye-sublimation printer that uses unique technology, which is distinct from the traditional inkjet printer. It comes with integrated dye-sublimation print technology, which uses heat to transfer color dyes to the heat transfer paper for application onto various substrates. The Canon sublimation printer focuses on delivering high-quality photo prints with a heat transfer setup and letting you transfer photos, remaining waterproof and retaining the vibrancy.
You can connect the smartphone or tablet through the Canon Print App. You can directly print from the USB or the camera’s memory card. Moreover, it comes with a friendly, user-friendly design that makes it easy to operate and lets you quickly pick, edit, and print the preferred photos and designs as well.
Moreover, it is a compact and portable printer with an optional battery pack for carrying the printer quickly and printing directly from the smartphone.
- Portable and sleek design
- Optional battery pack for printing while you are on the move
- Water-resistant photos
- Instantly dry photos
- Connects to your smartphone easily
- Prints directly from the USB
- Features a 3.2 LCD touch screen
- Doesn’t support printing from newer PC’s
- Difficulty in printing from the Windows Photo App
BROTHER MFC WIRELESS ALL-IN-ONE INKJET PRINTER
It is quite a reputed name in the industry owing to its high quality and enhanced performance. The model from this is appropriately priced and an excellent printer for decorating garments and other items.
The printer provides versatile and dynamic connection options, and you can easily choose the built-in wireless connection through a single Mac or PC via USB. You can quickly and conveniently print wirelessly from all your mobile devices using Air Print, Wi-Fi Direct, Google Cloud Print, etc. It supports good cloud connectivity wherein you can easily connect the popular cloud services directly from your printer.
Another great thing is that it provides excellent paper capabilities, and the input tray can easily hold up to 100 sheets of paper. It can also hold different paper types, such as sublimation transfer paper, cardstock, photo paper, envelopes, and much more.
The printer is compact and small in size and connects quite easily. It comes with tons of features and functionality, making it perfect for homes and small businesses.
- Low cost per page
- Low-cost ink
- Fast speed of photo printing, scanning, and copying
- Automatic duplex photo printing
- Medicore color photo scans
- You can use a unique media tray for a single sheet only.
- The automatic duplex function doesn’t work on Copying and Scanning.
SAW GRASS SG400 VIRTUOSO SUBLIMATIN PRINTER
It is a high-resolution sublimation printer used for printing t-shirts and is considered one of the top options for high-quality printing. You can easily print your image and graphics with easy use of this high resolution of up to 1200×1200 dpi. It has an incredible resolution and produces fantastic, efficient photo-quality prints.
It can easily print on a wide range of surfaces and textures such as cotton t-shirts, polyester fabrics, acrylics, glass, tiles, plaques, and much more. It offers a self-cleaning feature that prevents any jamming and clogging of ink, making for fast and smooth performance.
Moreover, it comes with 100 sublimating paper sheets, a flash drive, USB cable, a set of ink cartridges, and a user manual for getting started.
Apart from the powerful performance it delivers, it is a compact printer that doesn’t take up too much space in your homes, offices, or small businesses and has a small footprint.
- Designed specifically for sublimation printing
- Ready-made online stock library of images
- Comes with professional image editing software
- The ink is quite costly
EPSON STYLUS C88 INKJET PRINTER
The Epson Stylus Printer is excellent for small, and home use and is quite affordable, without compromising the overall performance and printing quality. It prints on your sublimation heat transfer paper. It makes for a paper tray with the ability to hold more than 120 sheets at a particular point in time.
The sublimation printer offers fast printing performance. It can also print up to 14 color pages within 60 seconds. The output provides impressive high-resolution printing results. Moreover, it is an older, less advanced printer and lacks wireless connectivity. In addition to this, the printer is relatively compact and doesn’t occupy too much space, making it quite convenient for carrying from one place to another. When you need essential sublimation printing work, this Epson machine is perfect and comes with an attractive price and a small footprint.
- Can easily print long banners of 44 inches
- Reliable paper handling
- Robust and rich color dispatch with instantly drying off the ink
- Skin tones appear gray
- Speed becomes relatively slow while printing
CANON PIXMA WIRELESS ALL-IN-ONE COLOR INKJET PRINTER
This Canon model is available at an extremely affordable cost and provides quite a compact and lightweight design, making it simpler to use printers when you are on the move. You get the best of results using this printer, and it also delivers some of the best crisp and smudge resistant, high-quality printing options, which look great when you apply them on your t-shirts or other garments with a heat press. It offers fast printing speed and can easily or comfortably work on many projects in a limited period.
The Canon sublimation printer offers integrated time-saving features such as auto-duplex printing and mobile device printing as well. It provides multiple ways of wirelessly printing, and you can easily print directly from your smartphones, iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch as well. This printer is packed with simplicity and unique features for catering to all your printing needs. You can efficiently work on various projects from anywhere in the house due to its wireless capability.
- Supports mobile printing
- Easy setup
- Automatic duplex printing
- Space-saving design
EPSON WORKFORCE C88 PRINTER
It is one of the most popular brands of printers in the heat transfer industry. It is packed with features and can be used for sublimation and the personalization of garments. This printer comes with Hotzone Empty Kiss and is made using high-quality material to ensure maximum durability and extended-lasting usage. It also offers excellent fluidity and delivers a pleasant clog-free experience for all kinds of inks. The printer is excellent for beginners to work with and provides an instructions manual with a step-by-step guide on setting up everything and providing Youtube tutorials for comfortable setting up.
The drawback is that it is not a wireless printer, and printing from mobile devices is not an option when using this printer. It comes in a compact and small design and doesn’t occupy too much space in your homes.
- Maximum durability and built using high-quality materials
- Ultra high definition prints
- Clog free experience of printing
- Includes a detailed instructions manual
- Provides YouTube videos
- Quick Setup
- Does not have wireless connectivity
- You cannot operate it with smartphones
MITSUBISHI ECO-VALUE DYE SUBLIMATION PHOTO PRINTER
The Mitsubishi Sublimation printer is a compact and decent color printer, which uses thermal transfer to create the best prints ever and comes with an excellent well-built body. It includes power-saving features that are highly noticeable.
This printer can print high-quality work and vibrant colors with a 300dpi resolution. The image processing results in creating smooth and glossy laminated finish prints.
Moreover, the Mitsubishi printer allows fast printing speeds and can print wide and large formats depending upon the different preferences.
Another great thing about this printer is the rewind function. It makes for easy ink rewind and rollback for providing great prints by resetting the ink button. Moreover, it uses the entire surface of printing to use the most number of materials.
- Quick and simple printing
- Is capable of printing in a variety of sizes
- Glossy and matte prints are also available
- Energy efficient
- Environmentally friendly printing
- A little bit heavy
- Some of the features might be too technical for some of the users
SAW GRASS VIRTUOSO SG800 SUBLIMATION PRINTER
The Saw Grass sublimation printer is one of the best in the business and is a fully integrated desktop system for sublimation. It offers exceptional and high-quality printing machines that are designed specifically for digital decoration.
It is quite an advanced and ultra-high-quality printer that provides brighter and better high definition images. It works relatively fast and is a proficient sublimation printer that provides the best quality resolution and profit potential to all its users. Moreover, the printer provides greater yields and aims for the utmost accuracy and coloring.
You can easily print on different products such as aluminum panels, hardboard tiles, mugs, glass, polyester, wood plaques, and polymer-coated rigid media. It provides an accomplished standard of images with high output and provides the flexibility of creating unique designs with a large number of designs to choose from. It has revolutionized the use of sublimation printers and is the top choice for most people.
- No desktop graphics software is required
- Saves tons of money
- Uses new ink with higher yield
- Built for digital decoration
- Faster output with greater productivity and profit potential
PC UNIVERSAL SUBLIMATION PRINTER
If you are looking for something specific for printing t-shirts, this is the best sublimation printer available in the market today. It provides everything you will need for printing and helps make personalized t-shirt gifts for your family and friends.
The printer comes including a universal sublimation cartridge and provides up to 100 sheets of sublimation printers. You only need to feed the printer with the ink and start the printing process. It is that simple to use. The model also provides high-quality prints that look great once you print them onto your garments, and it is capable of producing prints as large as A4 for meeting particular specific needs.
It has a wireless capability and can easily connect to all the different mobile devices, and you can even connect it to the computer, in the usual traditional way. It is an all-in-one inkjet printer that includes an extra set of sublimation ink cartridges, a transfer paper starter pack, a roll of heat-resistant transfer tape, a detailed user guide, and a manual that is affordable at the same time.
- 4-in-1 sublimation printer
- Prints a4 Size
- Compatible with all operating systems
- Comes with universal sublimation ink cartridge
CHOOSING THE BEST SUBLIMATION PRINTER
- Price: The first and foremost thing to consider is that the dye-sublimation printer you buy should be efficient, qualitative, and useful as well as affordable at the same time.
- Quality: The quality of ink matters, and the way the printer ejects and prints the colors on the material is quite important.
- Uses: The sublimation printer should efficiently serve a variety of functionalities at an average standard.
SUBLIMATION PRINTING VS HEAT PRESS PRINTING
Most people think that sublimation printing and heat press printing is the same thing. But, some distinct and critical differences need to be made clear. Heat press printing uses heat and pressure for applying colors and designs to the t-shirts. In contrast, in sublimation printing, the different dyes are first printed on a transfer medium using a high-quality inkjet printer.
Then, the sublimation dyes are transferred to the sublimation papers using a commercial heat press machine.
HOW TO SUBLIMATE A T-SHIRT
For this, you first need to know the right process of sublimation printing. The resources you will need are ink cartridges, paper, software, transfer media, and you need to get the right products to save on the materials’ added cost.
QUALITY INK IS IMPORTANT
Whichever printer you choose, you will be given the option of purchasing third party links. The Epson printers have been converted to sublimation printing. Therefore, purchasing the right ink is essential because of the customer support you will be receiving for a long time.
Along with a sublimation printer, you would also need a heat press machine, which is good and can apply for sublimation transfers onto the garments or other materials as required. Once you choose this, you can choose the right sublimation paper for all your needs and choices.
PEELING THE TRANSFER
Be very careful when you are peeling the transfer because the t-shirt will be hot when you are doing this. Please wait for a bit to make it cool down a little. Once it is cooled down, hold it with one hand, grab onto the design corner, and then slowly peel it back. Make sure it doesn’t move while you are performing this. Once it has been peeled off, pull the paper out from the middle and take it off the heat press. When the heat press is taken off, run the lint roller over the entire shirt and finally shake the whole shirt.
Therefore, this guide has highlighted what you will need before buying a sublimation printer. The key factors and detailed information for all the different sublimation printers have been provided, which will be essential in influencing your decision to purchase the proper printer. Once you consider these factors, you will get the right printer and avoid all the hassle that comes with choosing the wrong printer.
All these models listed above provide some of the best and high-resolution prints with great detail for providing fantastic looking results. They come with various features and functions for providing the best functionalities to beginners and the pros out there. They work great in professional environments and personal ones and grab one of these today for a comfortable, smooth, and affordable printing experience that would be perfect for all.