Best Sublimation Inks – Buyer’s Guide to Sublimation Inks

Choosing the most suitable sublimation ink is certainly not as easy as it might seem, particularly if you are new to sublimation printing.

There are many factors to consider when picking out the right choice of sublimation ink, such as whether it is compatible with your printer, how much it costs, and the general quality. 

In this guide, we are going to be looking at some of the best options of sublimation ink that are available on the market right now.

We are also going to provide the relevant information on sublimation ink so that you know exactly what ink works with what printers and what is provided in the ink set.

We’ll also take a quick look at what exactly sublimation ink is and how it works. By the end of this guide, you should have all of the tips and knowledge necessary to start sublimating your designs! Let's get started.

What Is Sublimation Ink And How Does it Work?

Sublimation ink- as the name suggests- is the ink that is used within the process of sublimation printing.

The ink will be heated to a high temperature so that it can be transferred over onto items cleanly and concisely, without any fear of smudges or cracks.

The best sublimations inks will be able to create the most vivid designs possible at a high level without the fear of clogging or blurring.

Sublimation in general works via the binding of ink to polymers, meaning that anything with a high enough polymer count- such as spandex, polyester or nylon- can be printed on.

When it comes to the ink, it is turned into a gas when it is heated. It is then combined with the fabric where it will permanently print onto it.

So, now that we know exactly what sublimation ink is, and how it works during the sublimation process, let's now take a look at some of the best brands of sublimation ink that are available right now!

OUR TOP PICK

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EDITORS CHOICE

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BEST VALUE

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OUR TOP PICK

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The AOPANE brand of sublimation ink offers clear and vivid colors that is sure to last a fair amount of time due to the high level of color lasting stability.

The fast drying speed of the AOPANE ink also helps with the overall efficiency, whilst the smooth texture and bright color gamut ensures that you get the most out of your sublimation printing, with designs that will be bright and long-lasting.

You don't have to worry about cracking or fading designs with this ink either, thanks to the durable nature of the ink.

This is an environmentally friendly brand that doesn't contain any toxic substances that can be considered hazardous to either the user or the environment.

In terms of other kinds of protection, the AOPANE ink offers anti-UV protection, scratch resistance, fade resistance and a Micron-3 stage filtration system that helps to reduce print head clogging and corrosion. 

AOPANE offers a sublimation ink that is cost-effective and easy to use that doesn't sacrifice the quality of your sublimation print to do so. 

Pros

  • Smooth printing
  • Vivid colors
  • Anti-UV Protection
  • Eco-friendly
  • Fade, scratch and crack resistant
  • Waterproof
  • No plugging
  • Micron-3 Stage Filtration that reduces print head blockage and corrosion
  • Economical
  • Stable and Durable 
  • Easy Installation and Refilling
  • Range of Applications
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Well Priced

Cons

  • Not suitable for printing on cotton

What Comes in the Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink
  • One pair of PVC sanitary gloves

Compatible Printer Models

Epson Stylus

  • C68 
  • C88 
  • C88+ 
  • C288 

Epson XP

  • 434 
  • 440 
  • 320 

Epson WorkForce

  • 7610 
  • 3640 
  • 3620 
  • 3540 
  • 3520 
  • 7110 
  • 7010 

  • 7710 

  • 7620 
  • 2750 
  • 2630

Epson Eco Tank 

  • 2750 
  • 2650
  • 4750
  • 3700

EDITORS CHOICE

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Printers Jack is a well-known brand that offers some of the best sublimation ink on the market today.

The brand is known for offering beautifully vibrant colors, that come from the water-based dye from which the ink is made.

As well as creating colors that pop, this water-based solution also creates a high heat transfer rate, meaning that the sublimation process is much quicker and more efficient.

Three-layer filtered ink also aids with the fast heat press transfer process.

This particular ink offers smooth printing, which is always helpful to maintain the integrity of your designs during the sublimation printing process.

The smoothness of the ink also ensures that you won’t have to deal with any irritating clogging.

When it comes to the durability of the Printers Jack sublimation ink, it is both fade-resistant and water-resistant. It is also incredibly easy to install and refill. 

These sublimation inks also come with a free ICC profile, which stands for International Color Consortium.

An ICC profile refers to a data set that makes sure that when a certain color is selected on a computer, the color will always be correctly and consistently printed during sublimation. The ICC profile can be downloaded from the Printers Jack website.

You’ll also get a free profile for the DIY Your Life and Gifts, which will give you tons of ideas on how to get the most out of your sublimation and the Printers Jack ink!

Let's take a look at some of the materials that can be used alongside the Printers Jack sublimation ink.

Tiles and Ceramics

  • Ceramic Plates
  • Ceramic Mugs
  • Phone Cases
  • Flower Vases
  • Glass
  • Tumblers 
  • Mugs
  • Cups

Metals

  • Metal Plates
  • Metal Tiles
  • Keychains
  • License Plates
  • Clocks

Woods

  • Cutting Boards
  • Wall Panels
  • Plaques
  • Photo Panels
  • Hard Boards

Fabric with Less Than 30% Cotton

  • Non-cotton pillows
  • Backpacks
  • Face Masks
  • Jackets
  • Bags
  • Baseball Caps
  • Beanies
  • Socks

And much more!

Pros

  • Wide range of materials that can be used with the ink
  • Established brand
  • Easy Installation and Refilling
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Smooth Printing
  • Compatible with various printer models
  • Fade and Water Resistant
  • No Clogging
  • Free ICC Profile

Cons

  • Not appropriate for any fabric with more than 30% cotton content

What Comes in The Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink
  • One pair of disposable gloves

Compatible Printer Models

Epson Stylus 

  • C288 
  • C68 
  • C88 
  • C88+

Epson Eco Tank

  • 15000 
  • 16600 
  • 2550 
  • 2650 
  • 2700 
  • 2710 
  • 2719 
  • 2720 
  • 2750 
  • 2760 
  • 2790
  • 2800 
  • 2803 
  • 2850 
  • 3700 
  • 3710 
  • 3750 
  • 3759 
  • 3760 
  • 3830 
  • 4550 
  • 4700
  • 4720 
  • 4750 
  • 4752 
  • 4753 
  • 4760 
  • 5150 
  • 5170 
  • 5800 
  • 7700 
  • 7750

Epson L3 

  • L3110
  • L3115

Epson Stylus NX

  • NX100 
  • NX330
  • NX420 
  • NX515

Epson WorkForce 

  • 2750 
  • 2760 
  • 2860 
  • 3100 
  • 3520
  • 3540 
  • 3620
  • 3640 
  • 3720 
  • 3730
  • 3788 
  • 3820 
  • 4720 
  • 4730 
  • 4740 
  • 500 
  • 600 
  • 610 
  • 7010
  • 7110 
  • 7210 
  • 7510 
  • 7520 
  • 7610 
  • 7620 
  • 7710 
  • 7720 

  • 7820 

  • 7840

Epson XP

  • 320 
  • 440 
  • 434

BEST VALUE

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Another brand that is known for its excellent quality, Hiipoo offers a sublimation ink that is water based and produces bright colors with high saturation whilst also having good standard of permeability.

The ink has a high heat transfer printing rate and is fast drying, fade resistant and waterproof.

Looking at the ink technically, the particles within the ink have a diameter that is half the size of the outlet for the ink.

This allows it to pass though the nozzle of the printer head smoothly and easily without risking any blockages.

The refilling nature of the Hiipoo sublimation ink is somewhat unique.

Whereas a fair amount of brands requires a syringe to draw out the ink- which will then go into the ink tank manually-, the Hiipoo brand utilizes a specifically sized bottle mouth that fits in perfectly with the ink inlet of the eco tank (Hiipoo sublimation ink is designed specifically for eco tank printer models).

This means that you don’t have to squeeze the ink bottle and potentially cause a bit of a mess! This bottle shape also means that the ink will automatically stop filling, which will help you to avoid leakage. 

Hiippo sublimation ink is also designed with durability and stability in mind, being a MSDS Certified and ISO-9001 Certified product.

Testing is undertaken to ensure the strength and high quality of the ink, so you can be sure that you are getting the best level of quality with this sublimation ink brand! Not only that, but you’ll also get a free ICC Profile to ensure that this high quality is maintained. 

Pros

  • Unique bottle shapes allows for leak free ink refilling
  • Vivid and bright colors
  • Fast Drying
  • Waterproof 
  • Fade Resistance
  • Anti-UV
  • ICC Profile
  • Certified MSDS and ISO-9001
  • Excellent level of Permeability
  • Durable and Stability
  • High Color Saturation
  • ICC Profile

Cons

  • For Eco Tank Printers Only

What Comes in The Package

  • 1 Bottle x 100ml Black Sublimation ink
  • 1 Bottle x 100ml Cyan Sublimation ink
  • 1 Bottle x 100ml Magenta Sublimation ink
  • 1 Bottle x 100ml Yellow Sublimation ink
  • One pair of disposable gloves

Compatible Printer Models

Epson Eco Tank

  • 2720 
  • 2760
  • 2800
  • 2803
  • 2830
  • 2710
  • 2850
  • 4800
  • 3710
  • 3760
  • 4760
  • 15000 
  • 16600 
  • 16650
  • 3750
  • 4700
  • 4750
  • 2700

  • 2750

  • 3700
  • 7750
  • 7700

Epson WorkForce Eco Tank

  • ST-2000
  • ST-3000
  • ST-4000

RUNNER UP

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The sublimation ink offered by WOKOK creates consistently vibrant sublimation prints with vivid colors.

The high capacity nature of the ink ensures a reliable performance every time, whilst the waterproof and UV resistant nature of the ink offers a stable printing process and a clear and crisp transfer effect. 

The WOKOK ink is very easy to refill, but it is also versatile, able to work perfectly with any and all sublimation printers, including EP, Sawgrass and Ricoh printer brands as well as Canon and HP printers. If it is a HP or a Canon printer that you are using, you will need to make sure that you have a piezo print head. 

If you’re looking for an economical choice of sublimation ink that is durable, offers a wide range of applications and is easily able to be refilled, WOKOK is a fantastic choice. 

Pros

  • Economical
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • UV Resistant
  • Versatile 
  • Vivid Colors
  • Easy Refilling

Cons

  • Extra print head needed if using a Canon or HP printer

What Comes In The Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink
  • Four syringes 
  • One pair of disposable gloves

Compatible Printer Models

Epson Stylus

  • C68
  • C88
  • C88+
  • C288

Epson Artisan

  • 1430
  • 837
  • 835

Epson Stylus Photo

  • 1400
  • T50
  • R200
  • R220
  • R300
  • R320
  • R340
  • RX500
  • RX600
  • RX620
  • R1400

Epson Eco Tank

  • 3650
  • 2750
  • 3750
  • 4750

Epson XP

  • 400
  • 446
  • 410
  • 420
  • 440
  • 434
  • 7610
  • 7620
  • 7010
  • 7710
  • 7720
  • 7210
  • 3640
  • 3610
  • 3630
  • 3620
  • 3540
  • 2750

Epson L8

  • L800
  • L805

RUNNER UP

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The TBTeek brand of sublimation ink offers a low viscosity kind of ink that helps avoid clogging, which can be a common problem when it comes to sublimation printing.

Significant testing has been undertaken to ensure that the TBTeek ink does not damage the printer in any way, whilst the ink itself is made from economical, raw materials that make for incredibly vibrant colors, sleek designs, and smooth textures.

It also has those essential features that you can find in most sublimation inks: quick drying, anti-UV, and fade resistance. 

The high transfer rate level ensures that both graphics and text are extra sharp, leading to the best possible results with your creations.

This, along with a fair amount of compatibility in terms of what printers you can use with the ink, make for a brand that is an excellent choice when it comes to sublimation ink.

Pros

  • Anti-UV
  • Refillable
  • Stable and Durable
  • ISO 9001 Certified
  • Free ICC Profile
  • Smooth Textures 
  • Vivid Colors
  • Low Viscosity Prevents Clogging
  • Economical
  • Compatible With Various Printer Models
  • Can Be Used With Refillable Cartridges and CISS Ink System

Cons

  • Can only print on fabric with less than 30% cotton content

What Comes In The Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink
  • 4 Syringes with needles

Compatible Printer Models

Epson WorkForce

  • 3620 
  • 3640 
  • 3540
  • 3520 
  • 2630 
  • 7710 
  • 7010
  • 7110 
  • 7210 
  • 2760 
  • 2650 
  • 7610 
  • 7620 
  • 3540 
  • 3640

Epson XP

  • XP-430

Epson Eco Tank

  • 2650 
  • 2650 
  • 2500 
  • 2550 
  • 2600 
  • 16500 
  • 4500 
  • 4550

RUNNER UP

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Another high-quality choice when it comes to sublimation ink, Topcolor offers smooth textures, bright, vibrant colors, and easy installation.

There is a wide range of applications that the ink can be used for in terms of sublimation, including pillow cases, t-shirts, and ceramics to name a few.

This brand of ink has an easy-to-use nature, with refills that are simple to undertake.

Topcolor also has other products that work well with their sublimation ink- including Topcolor Sublimation Coating Spray- that enhances your final sublimation creations even more so.

Pros

  • Smooth Textures
  • Bright Colors
  • Optional Products to Enhance Sublimation Printing Process (At An Extra Cost)
  • Various Materials Available for Heat Transfer
  • No Fading
  • Easy To Install
  • Simple Refilling
  • No Clogging

Cons

  • Cannot Use the Ink With Fabric That Has a Cotton Content of More Than 30%

What Comes in The Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink

Compatible Printer Models

Epson WorkForce

  • 3520 
  • 3540 
  • 3610 
  • 3620 
  • 3640 
  • 7510 
  • 7520 
  • 7610 
  • 7620 
  • 7010 
  • 7110 
  • 7720

Epson Stylus

  • C88+ 
  • C68 
  • C88 
  • C288 
  • CX3800 
  • CX3810 
  • CX4200 
  • CX4800
  • CX5800F
  • CX7800
  • NX-330 
  • NX-420 
  • NX-515

Epson Expression Eco Tank 

  • 2500 
  • 2550 
  • 2600 
  • 2650 
  • 2700 
  • 2720 
  • 2750 
  • 3600 
  • 3700 
  • 3750 
  • 4550 
  • 4500 
  • 4750 
  • 16500

Epson XP

  • 320
  • 434 
  • 440 

Sawgrass

  • SG400 
  • SG800

RUNNER UP

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Seogol sublimation ink utilizes the latest, three-layer filtering technology, which is designed to create brighter colors and smoother textures, all without risking printer clogging.

The ink also offers a realistic effect when it comes to your printing, as well as a high level of retention so that you can be sure that your designs won’t fade over time. 

This ink is best suited for polyester and- like most sublimation inks- isn’t good for use with cotton.

It can be used with both light and dark-colored fabric- including black fabric- and is a water-based dye that is completely compatible with all kinds of piezo-electric printers.  

The high stability, light fastness, and fantastic quality makes Seogol one of the best choices of sublimation ink. 

Pros

  • Light Fastness
  • Ease of Use
  • Can Be Used With Both Light and Dark Fabric
  • Excellent Quality
  • Three Layer Filtering Technology
  • Bright and Vibrant Colors
  • Smooth Textures
  • No Clogging
  • High Level of Retention
  • Works With All Piezo Electric Printers

Cons

  • Much like all sublimation inks, it is not suited for cotton

What Comes In The Package

  • 1 Bottle 100ml Black Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Cyan Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Magenta Sublimation Ink
  • 1 Bottle 100ml Yellow Sublimation Ink

Compatible Printer Models

Epson Eco Tank

  • 2700
  • 2750
  • 2650 
  • 3700 
  • 3750 
  • 4750 
  • 4760 
  • 15000 

Epson WorkForce

  • 7610 
  • 3640 
  • 3620 
  • 7110 
  • 7010 
  • 7710 
  • 7720 
  • 7620 
  • 2750 

Epson Stylus 

  • C68 
  • C88 
  • C88+ 
  • NX-515 
  • NX-420

Epson XP

  • XP-434 
  • XP-440
  • XP-320

Buyers Guide

Now that we have looked at some of the best options available when it comes to sublimation ink, let’s now go through our handy buyers guide so that you know exactly what to look for when looking to buy some of this particular kind of ink.

Best Sublimation Inks - Buyer's Guide to Sublimation Inks

Refilling Ease

A fair amount of sublimation inks utilize syringes that come in the packages- as we have shown above- in order for users to refill the ink tanks of their printers with ease.

Some might find it a little fiddly to do so though, so this isn’t a method that will work for everyone.

We have discussed some sublimation inks here that use different methods to refill the ink tanks, such as bottles that are shaped in a specific way, that might be better suited for you if this is the case.

It all comes down to personal preference, but the general ease of refilling the ink tanks of your printer with your chosen sublimation ink is an essential factor to look out for. 

Color Clarity 

Many sublimation inks offer resistance to fading, which means that the color clarity and vibrancy can be maintained.

If you want to keep your sublimation creations bright and beautiful, make sure to look for a sublimation ink that is resistant to fading and offers only the best vividness when it comes to color. 

High Quality

A high level of ink quality ensures that not only will your sublimation creations be of the best standards, but you also won’t have to worry about blotches or smudges. 

Dark Transfers

This is a feature to look for if you are looking to make sublimation creations on both light and dark materials.

It can be tricky to find a brand of sublimation ink that allows for an excellent quality of printing on materials that are very dark- particularly black materials-, so keep an eye out for this feature if you know for sure that you are planning to make sublimations that are dark in nature.

Sharpness

Sharp colors are an important factor to think about, but it is also crucial if you are thinking about creating sublimations that have text on them.

If your text is not sharp and crisp, you risk it becoming unreadable, which could potentially ruin your entire project! Make sure to look for whether the sublimation ink that you are looking at offers the sharpest possible quality, especially if you want text on your work!

Durability

Sublimation ink does have an expiry date and the ink can become less effective if used after this, so make sure to check the lifespan of your ink before you buy.

A longer life span means more durability for your ink and for your sublimations in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Other Supplies Are Needed for Sublimation?

So, now you should have a pretty good working knowledge on sublimation ink, but what else are you going to need for the sublimation process? Let’s take a closer look at what you will need.

Essentials

  • A Sublimation Printer: This goes without saying! Do your research to make sure that the printer you’re looking at works for sublimation.
  • A Heat Press: A heat source for sublimation is necessary, and this can be found in the form of a heat press.
  • Sublimation Paper: This is also necessary for sublimation if you want to get the best possible results. There are a wide range of sublimation paper brands, so look around to find the one that works best for you.

Optional Though Highly Suggested

  • Heat-Resistant Tape
  • Heat-Resistant Gloves
  • Protective Pad
  • Protective Paper
  • A Lint Roller
  • A Foam Roll
  • A Nomex Pad
  • Rubber Mat

Can You Use Sublimation Ink for Regular Printing?

Although sublimation ink is designed to be used specifically for sublimation projects, there is no reason why you can’t use it for regular printing too.

There are multiple benefits to sublimation ink- such as tending to be more fade resistant, vibrant and waterproof compared to regular ink-, so you might find that it works better for you than regular ink in the long run. 

Are There Any Problems Or Drawbacks When It Comes To Sublimation Ink?

Sublimation ink needs a little more care when it comes to storage, which could be a problem for some as it can be easy to forget to give it the proper maintenance.

Not only that, but sublimation ink can also be a lot more expensive than regular ink.

Printer ink is a bit pricey as it is, so this extra cost can be off-putting to some.

Michael Moore

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