Best Sublimation Printers 2022: Review, Buying Guide, and FAQ
by Chris & Marry
The ever-rising popularity of sublimation printers has seen every one of us researching everything we can find on the internet about them. What with the superb features and experience they offer everyone who is financially stable enough to buy them?
However, as with everything that is increasingly popular, there are just so many different sublimation printers on the internet. Now, this is both a good and bad thing.
The good, as you can already guess, is that you get to choose from a wide variety of printers. That way you at least have a pretty good idea of why you chose to buy a particular brand of printer and why you didn't go for another type.
The bad thing about having so many brands to choose from is that it can quickly get confusing which printer to go for. This is even more annoying since most brands, especially the popular ones, promise unique features that are only specific or exclusive to printers of their brand. While this might sound like a good thing, and we are not denying that it isn't, the bitter truth is that some of these features are simply unnecessary. They don't necessarily improve user experience one bit however they do provide a "feel good" feeling to users.
Now, there are different reasons you might want to buy a sublimation printer. Sublimation printers are generally more noted for being useful when designing graphics to use in customizing clothing items. They make the process of designing t-shirts, mugs, table clothes all the easier thanks to the fast and easy procedure that comes with using sublimation printed designs. Of course, we won't be going into any details as to how to customize t-shirts or other clothing apparel using sublimation ink and paper.
However, in this post, we will be discussing everything you need to know about Sublimation printers. We would also have a section where you can get a quick overview and review of the best sublimation printers available on the market right now.
Best Sublimation Printers Buying Guide
As we stated earlier, it would be highly unwise to simply rush into a tech store to pick up a machine or gadget. Every single machine or gadget on sale would come from different brands, come in different price categories, and even in different sizes. That is without mentioning the fact that each gadget or machine would have features unique to its model.
Hence, in this section, we will discuss all and every important thing you need to know before shopping for a sublimation printer.
What are the advantages of using Sublimation Printers?
Yes, we did say sublimation printers are quite beneficial, although how beneficial it varies from one user to the other. For instance, someone looking to start clothing apparel or a gifting item customization business would surely see sublimation printers in a different light compared to someone who is buying the printer for casual work. That said, here are the top highlights of using a sublimation printer:
For one, sublimation printers are incredibly cheap to use and maintain compared to inkjet printers. They do not use a lot of ink and are incredibly durable.
Repair parts and ink refills for sublimation printers are also readily available.
Last but not the least, sublimation printers are incredibly easy to use. As long as you take just a bit of time to study the product manual that comes with your printer, you are good to go. NOTE: This is also true for the expensive and advanced sublimation printers. This is quite amazing since advanced or premium machines tend to come with tons of features.
That said, what are the questions you need to ask yourself before ordering a sublimation printer from an online tech store? We have compiled a list of 5 important questions that if you can answer would make your decision-making process relatively easy!
1. What type of material would you be working with/on?
This is where you think about what the sublimation printer means to you. Is it a piece of the necessary equipment you need to carry out basic functions in your day-to-day life? Is it just a piece of equipment for when you are bored? Will you be using the printer for business? Once you can consider all these questions and answer them, you are one step closer to selecting the best sublimation printer for you!
2. What type of special features do you want in your sublimation printer?
This is pretty similar to the first option. In the world of tech, brands continually try to outdo themselves in other to gain more audience and visibility for their products. This is why most printers would come with a ton of features that are not necessarily useful but are just enough to convince people to buy them.
The same is true for sublimation printers. Certain printers would print directly on your t-shirt or fabric you intend to design without the need for sublimation ink or a heat press.
This is just an example of special features you can find in certain sublimation printers. If this is something you are particularly keen about, then it is worth considering!
3. What is the cost-effectiveness of your printer?
Ink Cartridges can be very expensive. Even worse is the fact that some printers are pretty specific when it comes to the type of ink cartridge they use; meaning you can't just purchase a cheap ink cartridge to refill your printer with.
NOTE: Most of the popular sublimation printer brands produce their ink cartridge which you are expected to use while refilling your printer.
So consider whether or not your printer can use just any type of ink before buying it. Also, consider how much it would cost to refill your printer bearing in mind that some sublimation printers use more than one ink cartridge at a time.
4. What resolution does your printer print in?
Resolution when it comes to printing is a very controversial topic. This is because any decent printer out there would print out decent documents. However, the difference between a printer with premium resolution and one with poor resolution quickly becomes apparent when printing pictures or printing in color.
Hence, you need to look for a sublimation printer that meets your resolution needs. You don't want to buy a cheap sublimation printer that would only end up churning out poor printouts for you.
5. What type of Connectivity Options do you want in your sublimation printer?
This is quite straightforward. The classic and traditional connectivity option all printers come with is USB connectivity. However, only that connectivity option cannot truly be the deciding factor considering how advanced sublimation printers are right now.
Now, printers come with support for wifi, ethernet, wifi direct, and even Bluetooth. All of these give you vast alternative ways to connect your printer to your PC or smartphone.
Of course, as you would expect, the more connectivity options your want your printer to support, the more likely it is to be expensive.
Top 5 Best Sublimation Printers to buy in 2022
Now, to the main highlight of this article! Our top picks and recommended best sublimation printers on the market in 2022.
Before we proceed, it would only be right to give special mentions to the best brand in the market when it comes to producing quality sublimation printers.
These two brands have shown over and over again that you have nothing to worry about with their products. And this is not just down to any preferential sentiment by us. This special mention is a simple summary of user reviews about printers from the two brands. Asides from their quality products, they also guarantee reliable customer support!
Without further ado, here are our top picks of the best, user-friendly, cost-effective sublimation printers 2022:
Comes with PrecisionCore technology for borderless printing
Easy to use
Comes with a decent paper tray and an auto sheet feeder
Supports wireless printing from Android, iPhone, and iPad
Ethernet and NFC support
Incredible printing speed and supports duplex printing (Automatic two-sided printing)
Coming in first, we have the Epson Workforce WF-7710. It is arguably the best sublimation printer in the world provided you can afford it.
Designed for casual and intensive use, the printer can handle any load you throw at it. It is highly efficient and has an impressive printing speed.
It comes with wireless networking support and also supports Ethernet and NFC. That way, you don't have to rely on the classic USB cable connection to connect the printer to your PC or smartphone.
It comes with strong firmware that guarantees any document scanned or faxed using the printer's multi-functional capabilities does not fall into the wrong hands.
One thing you should note about this printer though is that it only supports the use of the Epson branded Cartridges when refilling the ink. The downside of this is that the ink can be expensive and since it is not compatible with any other type of ink cartridge, you can't but buy the Epson-branded one.
That aside, it is one of the few printers on this list that supports NFC connectivity. This power-efficient Epson printer also comes with a dynamic color touchscreen with which you can easily control the printer.
One last feature we can't but mention is the WF-7710 printer's support for Alexa. With this, you can carry out automated printing work using just voice commands. Sadly, it does not support other automated virtual assistants like Google Assistant.
If we are being quite honest, it is safe to say you won't regret choosing this printer!
2. Epson EcoTank ET-4760 sublimation printer - Link
This printer supports the use of the cheaper Epson ink bottles in place of the expensive ink cartridges.
Brings an all-in-one printing experience like never before thanks to its scanning, faxing, and copier capabilities
Comes with Wireless and Ethernet connectivity options
Comes with replacement ink bottles out of the box so you don't have to worry about refilling anytime soon
Sports a small but usable LCD Touchscreen color display for navigation and easy setting up of the printer.
Unsurprisingly, we have yet another entry from one of the biggest and most reliable brands when it comes to the sublimation printer market.
This Epson EcoTank ET-4760 is an upgrade to the already fantastic Epson EcoTank ET-4700. It comes with most of the features found on the older model as well as some upgrades.
One thing to quickly note right off the bat is that this printer supports handheld printing, unlike its predecessor. So you can do voice-activated printing using Amazon virtual assistant technology, Alexa.
It does come with Ethernet and Wifi connectivity options so you can quickly connect the printer to your PC or smartphone. The diverse connectivity option also means you can scan and fax important documents quickly directly with your printer.
Epson EcoTank ET-4760 also supports borderless printing thanks to its true cartridge-free printhead powered by Epson's acclaimed PrecisonCore technology. It comes with a 2-year product warranty provided you register your printer after purchase. It supports duplex printing (automatic two-sided printing) and comes with a decently sized ADF sheet paper tray.
Refilling the printer is too easy. You don't have to worry about getting ink on your documents, table, or even in the printer itself thanks to the impressive design of the bottles.
The printer has a very efficient ink management system and is currently Epson's no.1 bestselling non-cartridge printer. If that doesn't show you how impressive this printer is, nothing will!
Comes with a 2-year product warranty (includes parts and repair)
Supports UltraHD print resolution
Comes out of the box with SUBLIMAX printing paper so you can start printing immediately!
SAWGRASS is another impressive brand you can expect top quality from when it comes to sublimation printers.
This SG500 sublimation printer is an upgraded model of the SG400 printer. It uses sublijet UltraHD ink which guarantees maximum resolution when printing with this printer.
Here are some of the other features you can expect from this printer:
- Maximum resolution at all times when using this printer.
- It comes with about 220 sublimax sheets out of the box. This means you don't have to first order a sublimation transfer paper before you start using your printer.
- Comes with a software database that has a rich library of stock design
- Maximum Ink and power efficiency
- It comes with a 2-year warranty. This starts from the day you purchase your printer but it covers all repair expenses done on the printer in case of any faults.
NOTE: This warranty only works if the fault is a factory fault. It does not cover accidental damage caused during your day-to-day use.
One big drawback of this machine is that it only uses one specific type of ink - Sublijet UltraHD sublimation inks. Any other type of ink could cause serious damage to your printer.
4. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Printer - Link
Comes with Alexa support for handsfree printing or voice-activated printing
Supports Amazon Dash ink replenishment. This feature ensures you never run out of ink when using the printer. It does this by keeping track of your printer's ink capacity and would instantly send prompts to order more once the ink level is credibly low.
Comes with a super convenient sheet tray that is capable of doing two-sided printing
Compact size and easy to use
Supports borderless printing when printing photos and images in ultra HD quality
Strongly recommended for illustrators, artists, etc.
To be honest, what we particularly love about this printer is its impressive color printing capabilities. It even comes with technology that ensures black and white prints are enhanced and vivid. It also supports borderless printing if you decide to print in ultra HD resolution.
Apart from its main Auto feeder sheet tray, the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 comes with a small rear sheet tray. The main function of this tray is to enable you to print on business cards, gift cards, etc. that won't necessarily fit right in the main Sheet tray
Please note, as, with most of the Epson printers on the market, you can only use Epson brand cartridges in this printer. So, ensure to keep an eye out for the printer's ink usage and efficiency so that you don't incur too much running or maintenance cost.
The printer comes with wireless connectivity options on top of its traditional USB support.
Summarily, if you are in the market for a printer that can print high-resolution content, the Epson Expression XP-150000 is worth the buy!
One of the best printers for photo printing with color
Maximum printing resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi
Comes with an individual cartridge for each color
An impressive printing speed of about 23 ppm
Supports all types of paper: From photo paper to glossy paper to even the uncommon bond paper. As long as you can play the paper in the Auto sheet feeder tray, it would print on it.
Comes with USB support for computer connectivity
Incredibly silent when in use
Efficient power consumption
Rounding up the list of our top 5 picks we have the Epson Stylus C88+ color Printer. What we particularly love about it is the wide range of media/paper it can print on.
The printer is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems although it is pretty limited in terms of connectivity options. Regardless, it is still one of the most popular printers in its category. The printer is capable of printing in super high resolution and comes with technology that ensures it can do both borderless and bordered printing.
One huge drawback to note about this printer is that it is only compatible with a specific ink. It only supports the DURABrite ultra HD pigment ink. This means while the printer guarantees sharp and vibrant photo printing, it can be quite expensive to maintain. In other words, it is only best for professional use. This is even more emphasized in the photo editing software the printer comes with. With this software, you can easily customize photos, create photo books, etc.
Is it Okay To Convert A Printer To A Sublimation?
Have you ever wondered how the designs and words are printed so perfectly on your t-shirts? It's all the work of the sublimation printing method, and you can do it too!
Sublimation printing involves the use of special dyes and sublimation paper, which, under a certain amount of heat and temperature, transfers the inks to the required medium.
Sublimation printers are very expensive, and the cost per print is also high. Moreover, managing these huge printers can be a tough job. Today, we'll help you out in converting a normal printer for sublimation printing, which will reduce your expenses hugely while also printing out your designs in amazing quality, for your t-shirts, hats, and mugs!
What Type Of Printers Can Be Converted To A Sublimation Printer?
Different printers come with different kinds of technology, following different transfer processes and ink dispersion. For these reasons, not all printers can be used for sublimation printing.
Generally, i nkjet printers are recommended to be used, rather than laser printers or any other printers for that matter. But, when it comes to inkjet printers, there are preferences too.
Printers that use Thermal inkjet technology, like printers made by Canon and HP, impact sublimation printing negatively, as these use heat to apply the required amount of ink from the print head to the paper.
For conversion into a sublimation printer, you require printers that work with Piezo inkjet technology or pressure technology, mainly used by Epson. Epson Eco Tank ET-2720 is one of many Epson printers that is compatible with Piezo Technology.
This technology uses piezoelectric components, behind the print nozzles; these components change their shape once there's an electric potential, pushing the required amount of ink on the paper.
Even though most Brother Printers are programmed with Piezo inkjet technology, they don't have sublimation printers and thus, sublimation inks aren't manufactured.
Therefore, Epson printers are the best and the most used for converting to sublimation printers.
Which Epson Printers Can Be Converted For Sublimation Printing?
While Epson printers work with Piezo technology, not all of them are compatible with sublimation printing. Certain models meet the requirements and the best of those models are the Epson EcoTanks, because of the ease of filling the small ink compartments.
A few desktop and wide-format printers like the Epson WorkForce, C88+, and Stylus Photo models can also be converted easily. Different models come with different conversion methods, and we'll take a look at each one of them.
How to convert Epson printers to sublimation?
Epson Desktop printers
A thorough cleaning of your printer is required before you start converting it into a sublimation printer.
If your printer is already using or has used another ink, the printhead must be cleaned multiple times properly to ensure all the remains of the old ink are gotten rid of, along with the ink cartridges.
If it's a brand-new printer, cleaning once should be enough.
You should then install your sublimation ink, along with the refillable ink cartridges, which will contain the ink. The sublimation ink and the refillable ink cartridges should be of high standards.
Epson EcoTank Printers
The only way to use an Epson EcoTank printer is when it's brand-new and hasn't been used for any other printing purposes before.
You should purchase high-quality sublimation inks, and carefully fill the small ink chambers of the printer using syringes or tiny funnels. And, that's enough for you to start your journey on sublimation printing, which is why the EcoTank printers are the best for converting to sublimation printers.
Epson Wide-Format Printers
The procedures are a tad different for old and new wide-format printers.
If your wide-format printer is brand new and no other cartridges or ink bottles have been used, you only have to install the refillable ink cartridges with your sublimation ink and start printing.
For used wide-format printers, you should remove all the old printer attachments, starting from ink, cartridges, and maintenance tanks. Like the desktop printers, a thorough cleaning is required, which can be carried out using bottled purge fluid and refillable cartridges.
After that, you can install the sublimation ink, and since, the refillable cartridges are already installed, your printer is ready for sublimation printing!
Some printers enable a certain Initial Fill Procedure, which helps to clean the insides of the printer better. You can carry out that procedure for accurate, smudge-less printing.
Our Take on Printer to Sublimation Conversion
As you've seen, conversion of a printer to sublimation is a pretty straightforward process. If you have the right printer with the right technology, you can just as easily use it for sublimation printing. Given the current costs of sublimation printers, this is a very cost-efficient method and doesn't disappoint you when it comes to quality either.
A. What is the best sublimation printer on the market?
The process of printing using sublimation ink and paper is quite intricate. There are a lot of things to consider especially since the printed result would most likely be transferred to clothing apparel to customize it. In other words, there is no "best sublimation printer". Whatever answer you find elsewhere on the internet is down to personal preference.
TIP: You can't go wrong with a sublimation printer from Epson or SAWGRASS brand!
B. Can I use sublimation ink in any printer?
No, you can't. It is the same way you can't use inkjet ink in your sublimation printer. You can damage your printer by doing this.
C. How much does sublimation printing cost?
How much you incur when doing sublimation printing depends on the material you are printing on. For instance, if you are printing on a sublimation transfer paper, it is relatively cheaper than printing a design on a mug.
D. Which is better: Sublimation Printing or Screen Printing?
They both come with their respective benefits and disadvantages. However, printouts made by sublimation printers are usually more vibrant and generally a lot more lifelike compared to other types of printouts.
E. Can I print directly on my cotton t-shirt using a sublimation printer?
The short answer is YES.
The long answer though is that it is a bit more complicated. Why? Because not all sublimation printers can print directly on other materials besides a sublimation transfer paper. It is a feature, not all sublimation printers come with.
However, printers with this capability can print on a wide array of fabrics besides cotton. They can print on silk, polyester material, etc.
Buy on Etsy
Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier, - Walmart Link
Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner and Copier - Walmart Link
As you can see, our top picks come loaded with features that we believe are useful. We also discussed important things to consider in our buying guide section so you can make informed decisions when shopping for a printer. If you have any questions, do leave them in the comment section below and we will respond to you as soon as we can!
Chris and Mary fell in love with printmaking in college, and they've been exploring the art form ever since. They are experts in the field, and have written extensively about printer troubleshooting and printmaking. These days, they love to write about their experiences with printmaking and share tips with other artists. They are always learning new things about the art form, and they can't wait to see what the future holds for them as printmakers.
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