A sublimation printer is a machine dedicated to printing the sublimation ink on the sublimation transfer paper to be applied on several different substrates.
The sublimation printer utilizes a particular type of ink commonly known by the name of disperse dyes or dye-sub ink. This ink can directly convert from a solid to a gaseous state when it is exposed to high temperatures.
Once the sublimation transfer paper is printed, it is then placed on the target surface, and heat press is performed at extreme temperatures.
This causes the solid ink to convert into a gas and then bonds with the substrate, significantly leaving a permanent impression that won’t fade over time.
With a significant number of advancements in technology, it can be said that sublimation printing is becoming one of the most preferred methods of embedding graphics and images onto garments and various other items.
Top 3 Best Sublimation Printers for Heat Transfer
Epson WorkForce WF-7710 Printer
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 Sublimation Printer
DNP Event Photo Printer
This is primarily because this method tends to be affordable for an average individual and prevents the images printed on the garments or other items from fading or peeling away with time.
Comparison Table for Best Sublimation Printers 2023
|Epson WorkForce WF-7710 Printer|
|PrecisionCore technology for borderless prints.|
|Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 Printer||Easy-to-use Online Designer Software and Stock Design Library.|
|Canon Selphy CP1300 Printer||Print directly from Smartphone, Tablet, USB, Memory Card.|
|DNP Event Photo Printer||Ideal for Booth business and Event Photography.|
|Epson Expression Printer||Professional ultra HD photo quality & border less prints.|
|Epson Stylus C88+ Inkjet Printer||Prints up to 5760 x 1440 dpi with border less printing.|
|Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Printer||Replacement bottle ink enough to print up to 4,500 pages.|
1. Epson WorkForce WF-7710 Wireless Color Inkjet Printer
The machine has many different conversion kits enabling the user to change out the regular Epson inkjet ink with your favorite dye sublimation ink. This allows the user to start dye sublimation printing at a reasonably low cost.
The printer can scan pages having dimensions of up to 11” x 17” and produce top of the quality borderless printouts having a maximum size of up to 13” x 19” quite quickly.
It features a sheet tray that can accommodate up to a maximum of 250 sheets. A specialty paper rear feed and a 35-page auto document feeder are also present in the machine, allowing the user to get a lot done for any workplace.
Other than that, the printer also includes features like auto printing, scanning, copying, and faxing on two sides and also useful printer for scrapbooking.
Talking about the machine’s connectivity offers both wired and wireless networking options, which means printing directly from the smartphones is entirely possible.
The device also has a 4.3-inch color touchscreen which provides simple navigation and control to the user. Various other connectivity options such as NFC3, Ethernet, and WIFI Direct 2 are also available for their added convenience.
Having a brief look at some of the printer’s critical features, it has a Precision Core Technology that ensures reliable and efficient performance for easy operation.
This Epson Workforce printer takes the conservation of energy to a whole new level as it only consumes approximately 20 percent of the power that is consumed by a regular colour laser-jet printer.
Other than that, the printer offers dual-sided printing, copying, scanning, and faxing, which speeds up any office’s working ability.
2. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 Sublimation Printer (Top Pick)
Sawgrass printers are said to be the pioneers of world-class sublimation printers. The Virtuoso SG500 happens to be the most popular and upgraded Sawgrass sublimation printer is available in the market today.
Let’s have a look at some of the features that make Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 a superb sublimation printer.
The Virtuoso SG500 is an upgraded version of the previous SG400 and gives you a perfect print on your merchandise as it can work perfectly on a variety of polymers.
This printer allows the user to print on various items that include clothing and other things such as cups etc.
It perfectly caters to the office consumers’ extensive printing demands since the printer has a compact footprint, it perfectly fits any random desk at the table.
If you’re upgrading from the predecessor version, you won’t have to worry about the wastage of resources as it is fully compatible with the accessories of the predecessor version.
As compared to its previous version, the SG500 is more energy-efficient and offers a high printing resolution.
Talking about this machine’s features, it utilizes Sublijet UHD inks to deliver vibrant and life-like colors on almost all printing surfaces.
Like other products offered by Sawgrass, this one also offers a free license to the online design studio, allowing the user to create and print custom designs. See also Best Epson Printers for Heat Transfer.
The Sawgrass Vitruoso comes equipped with an install kit which enables the user to choose his preferred size of the ink cartridge, which helps minimize ink wastage to a large extent.
Additionally, it also offers wireless connectivity, which means it takes the ease of printing to a whole new level.
3. Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer
Not only does this machine feature a slightly larger screen, but it also has an enhanced user interface which offers a approach of collaboration with colleagues or friends through a WIFI connection.
The printer is very different from other models as it doesn’t utilize the ink cartridges to print; instead, it adopts a new type of transference method.
When the Canon Photo Paper passes through instantly vaporized color ribbons, the images are transferred onto the paper.
During this process, the page runs through the printer four times so that each primary color (black, cyan, yellow, and magenta) is appropriately transferred.
This process of thermal dye-sublimation produces vivid yet instantly dry pictures. Since it doesn’t use ink to print, you might have to buy the Photo Papers, which come in a pack of 36 sheets and are sized around 4×6 inches.
Considering the compact size of the printer, you might be thinking that it’s fully portable. However, this isn’t the case.
To turn on and print out whatever you want, it would have to be provided with an uninterrupted power supply via the AC adapter.
To achieve a fully portable printing experience, you would have to buy an external battery that could be heavy on the pocket.
Primarily focused on easy accessibility, this printer offers wireless connectivity, which means that printing directly from your Apple or Android smartphone won’t be difficult. See also Best Printer For Linux.
Having wireless connectivity doesn’t mean that it will lack behind in speed. This machine can print a borderless 4×6 inches postcard in approximately 46 seconds; however, if the size of the print is smaller than this, let’s say, around 2.1 x 3.4 inches, it can be printed out in approximately 39 seconds which is pretty respectable.
4. DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS
It features a tax exterior with a compact frame but lacks an LCD screen, which means it would have to be operated exclusively by establishing connection to a computer.
Besides the USB 2.0 port and a power switch at the back side, the printer lacks any other sort of physical controls. Now, this USB port is the only way to connect to this printer, which is undoubtedly an utter disappointment.
Utilizing the thermal dye sublimation technique, this printer tends to provide a fairly low cost per print while also maintaining the quality of the image.
Rather than individual paper sheets, paper rolls of two different sizes (4 x 6 inches and 6 x 8 inches) are placed on a spool within the printer.
In comparison to consumer-level models, this printer has the capability of handling workload without any issues.
Even though it may not provide similar speed and durability as its rivals offer, it has the power to produce approximately 290 prints of 4 x 6 inches size within one hour.
However, the printing resolution also affects the printing speed of this machine. While it may be able to print a 300-dpi image of 4 x 6 inches size in 15 seconds, it may take up to 22 seconds to print a same-sized image with 600-dpi resolution.
All in all, this machine has all the capabilities and power to print at high volumes which makes puts it in the list of the best thermal-dye sublimation printers.
Even though the printouts are of good quality, no clear difference can be spotted between prints at their various resolutions. See also Best Printer for Notary Signing Agents.
5. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Color Printer
This six-ink machine has exceptional printing quality and quite decent paper handling options. Not only is the printer packed up with many connectivity features, but it also has a very modernish look and an easy-to-use control panel as well.
Weighing approximately 18.7 pounds and having 6.3 x 18.7 x 14.5 inches dimensions, this compact-sized wide-format printer has enough capabilities and features that it can be ideal for an average consumer.
However, it may be difficult for individuals to make space for it in their home-based offices due to the oversized dimensions. Check also, Best Printers For Checks.
With the combination of a 50-sheet feeder and a 200-sheet plain paper cassette up front, this machine handles paper very well.
The printouts produced by the printer land on an automated output tray, which tends to deploy as per the needs. The printer also holds power to print borderless pages of all sizes.
When talking about the connectivity options on the printer, it offers more than required. You can connect to the printer via Ethernet, WIFI, WIFI-Direct, USB, and USB Host.
But wait a minute, that’s not it. If you wish to print via your smartphone, the Epson Connect Portfolio offers some cloud connectivity features, including Epson E-Mail printing, Epson Remote Printing, etc.
Additionally, third-party connectivity support is also available, including Good Cloud Print, Apple Air Print, and Android Print.
Since the device is easy to control remotely, it doesn’t require a control panel, so it only comes with a 2.4-inch LCD screen and a few buttons for simple navigation.
The printer’s output quality can be pretty impressive, especially considering the speed at which it prints.
It tends to produce around 9.2 monochrome pages in one minute which is quite reasonable in comparison to the speed ratings of various similar consumer-grade photo printers in the market.
6. Epson Stylus C88+ Color Inkjet Printer
Even though you might get a blast from the past when you have a glance at this printer, but it doesn’t mean that you can doubt its printing capabilities. The old-style machine can get your most pressing print jobs done whenever you need it to.
Averaging an impressive rate of 23monochrome pages per minute and 14 colored pages per minute shows how well this printer can perform.
This speed puts it in the list for the most decent printers for home offices or light to medium work offices.
Despite being such an old printer, this printer’s paper media is still quite impressive as it contains a 120-sheet plain paper tray that can accommodate papers of various sizes. See also Best Printer For Realtors.
Moving over to the printing quality, it tends to produce images with a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi. Other than that, it utilizes DuraBrite Ultra Photo ink which offers smudge-resistance while printing photos.
This feature, when combined with fade-resistance, brings the printer to the top of the table.
Equipped with standard capacity black, magenta, yellow, and cyan ink cartridges, the printer can produce decent quality printouts.
However, since no discounts are offered at its ink, it can be said that the running costs will be high. Since it’s an old printer, the connectivity options are limited to connectivity via a built-in USB port and parallel ports only.
7. Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Color Supertank Printer
Even though it may not be the fanciest or the fastest than its rivals, it is still considered a solid option for home-based or small offices.
Weighing approximately 13 pounds and dimensions of 7 x 14.8 x 13.7 inches, this AIO printer is easy to move around and takes up comparatively less space on the desk.
The printer’s control panel is simple in design and comprises of a non-touch 1.44-inch color screen that can be navigated via a set of different buttons.
Talking about this printer’s connectivity options offers multiple connectivity options that include wireless connectivity options.
Wireless connection can be established by WIFI and WIFI direct, whereas Wired connection can be installed via USB 2.0 port.
Other than that, mobile connectivity options are also available and include Apple Air Print, Google Cloud Print, and Epson’s very own iPrint app, which is suitable for both iOS and Android devices.
Heading over to the printer’s paper handling and printing speeds, it comes with a 100-sheet paper tray that can be pulled upwards and outwards from the machine’s rear side.
Other than these 100 sheets, the input tray can also be filled with ten envelopes or 20 photo paper sheets. The printing speed, being a budget printer, can print approximately 10.5 monochrome pages per minute and five colored pages per minute. Check also Best Brother Printers.
To sum it all up, the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is a superb printer that can produce quality output at a reasonable price.
The cost for printing black pages can be as low as 0.3 cents per page, whereas printing coloring pages can be as low as 0.9 cents per page.
However, when you purchase the printer, you would get enough ink in the box to churn out a total of 7500 monochrome and 6000 coloring pages.
Buying Guide for A Dye Sublimation Printer
You might think that you can simply go to the market and pick any random sublimation printer from there. Since it is quite a considerable investment to your business or even for your personal use, it should be done correctly.
The increase in the dye sublimation process’s popularity has led to various sublimation printers entering the marketplace.
While almost all of them have great features and printing capabilities, choosing the right one for you might be a daunting task. However, if you’re clear about certain factors, you might be able to make a worthy purchase for yourself.
1. Printer Usage
Printer usage is an essential requisite that would help you find the right printer for yourself. You might know the basics of a sublimation printer, but you won’t be aware of the specifics.
While some are good at transferring images onto mugs, shirts and jerseys, etc., others would produce smudge-proof face-resistant photos.
Since professional printers can do all the jobs and budget-friendly models that average consumers can use, before purchasing the machine, make sure what you’re going to use it for.
2. Ink Type
All sublimation printers make use of a ribbon or cartridge ink and paper to print. If the quality and type of ink and paper are low, you cannot expect performance, efficiency, and good results.
Most of the time, ink is offered in the package. However, some manufacturers prefer to sell the printer machine and ink separately.
You should buy combos as it will prevent the ink from smudging or fading away. Ribbon ink is more preferred for professional businesses. However, if you’re a hobbyist or you have a tight budget, you can get cartridge ink as well.
3. Media Form
The sublimation printers use a special kind of paper for printing. This paper comes in a large roll for professional machines and average rolls, paper packs, or sticky paper sheets for consumer models.
You should be clear about what size you’re going to print as not all printers can accommodate all sizes.
4. DPI or Resolution
DPI is the dots per inch, and as the name indicates, it deals with the dot density of the image. There is no doubt that the higher the resolution of the image, the sharper it would be.
This doesn’t mean that you go out there and get a 1200-dpi printer, as it would be unnecessary. A 300-dpi printer is recommended for a majority of consumers.
However, if you’re very concerned about the print’s clarity, you can opt for a 600-dpi printer, and it would work just fine for you.
Hence, if you don’t want to spend extra bucks unnecessarily, you need to know what you will print and what kind of media you plan to print on.
5. Connectivity Options
Top-of-the-line sublimation printers can work on all types of operating systems, including Mac OS and Windows. If you’re using a unique operating system such as Ubuntu, make sure that your printer can work on it.
Usually, the printer would connect to your PC or Laptop via a USB connectivity option. However, if wireless connectivity options like connecting via Bluetooth or WIFI are offered, it may be a plus point.