Epson ET 15000 vs. 16500: What’s the Difference For Sublimation Use – Sublimation for Beginners

When it comes to a printer for sublimation, there are a few different factors to look for, including functionality, resolution, ink storage, and more.

Two printers that are particularly well suited for sublimation are the Epson ET 15000- an entry-level sublimation printer- and the Epson ET 165000, which is one of the newer models.

Epson ET 15000 vs. 16500: What’s the Difference For Sublimation Use – Sublimation for Beginners

With this in mind, we are going to take a look at both of these printers and look at the differences between the two when it comes to using them for sublimation. Let’s get started!

The Epson ET 15000

The 15000 is a pretty basic, entry-level printer when it comes to sublimation, offering a wide, 13 inch by 19 inch format.

The printer is an “Eco Tank” one, meaning that you won’t have to deal with constant, pesky replacement ink cartridges.

Eco Tanks are known for their ultra-high capacity ink systems, which work via continuous supplying of ink.

If you are using the printer purely for sublimation, simply pour the sublimation ink into the large tanks of the printer to top them up.

This cartridge-free nature is definitely a plus point when it comes to sublimation printing!

This manner of refilling saves on costs too, with the official Epson website claiming that you can save upward of 90% on the cost of ink thanks to the low-cost replacement bottles.

Not only that but- as the name suggests- this is a much more eco-friendly way of printing thanks to the lack of cartridge waste.

Some extra features offered by the wireless ET 15000 include the following:

  • Hands-free, voice activated printing
  • 250 sheet front paper tray capacity
  • Rear specialty 13 by 19-inch paper feed
  • Well sized 2.7-inch color touchscreen
  • Supersized Ink Tanks
  • Scans up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches via ADF

The Epson ET 16500

Let’s now take a look at the more recent Epson model, the Epson ET-16500.

This has a lot of similarities to the ET 15000 in numerous ways, such as having the same 13-inch by 19 inch wide format and the use of eco-friendly refillable tanks rather than cartridges. It does offer a few bonus incentives, though. 

The 16500 offers more in terms of paper capacity, able to handle 500 sheets. This is double the amount that the 15000 can handle.

In terms of sublimation, this larger capacity will allow you to print for longer without having to reload. As well as that, the 16500 also features a rear specialty paper feed.

The touchscreen of the 16500 is also more substantial than the 15000, measuring at 4.3 inches. 

Comparing the Epson ET 15000 and the Epson ET 16500

Now that we have a better understanding of both Epson printer models, let’s now take a deeper dive into the differences between the two. 

From what we have discussed, it is clear to see that the most prominent differences between the two models are the paper trays and the touch screen pad.

The paper tray difference is the most relevant in terms of using the printers for sublimation, but the touchpad is certainly worth mentioning. 

The Touchpads

As mentioned, the Epson ET 15000 features a 2.7 inch touchscreen, whilst the Epson ET 16500 features a larger 4.3 inch screen.

This makes for easier navigation and a more user-friendly interface, which is always helpful when it comes to both sublimation and printing in general.

If you know that you tend to struggle with the technological side of printing and would fare better with a bigger screen, then this is certainly a factor that should be considered. 

The Paper Trays

The 16500 model has the benefit of two paper trays, but in terms of sublimation printing, the most significant difference in regard to the paper trays is the fact that paper that is 13 inches by 19 inches is able to store and fit within the top paper tray of the 16500 model.

However, it cannot fit within the main paper tray of the 15000. 

This size can be fed into the 15000 via the rear paper feed, but this can be frustrating as you can only load the paper one at a time! This might be a factor that convinces you to pay a little extra for the 16500 model, especially if you want to be able to print relatively quickly and efficiently. 

As well as being easier, printing 13 inch by 19 inch paper in the top paper tray allows for a cleaner and sleeker print.

This is due to the fact that the top paper tray is less likely to attract dust or lint, which could potentially damage or even destroy your finished product.

Common issues that can occur with sublimation whilst printing include smudges or blue specs, and these can easily happen when stray dust or lint get into the tray.

This is more likely to happen with the rear tray of a printer due to being located at the back where dust can easily accumulate faster. 

Let’s take a quick look at how to go about filling the Epson 16500 paper trays with 13 by 19 inch paper. With this model, the top tray is known as Cassette 1 and the bottom tray is Cassette 2.

If you are a frequent sublimator, then you are likely to know that the popular choice of paper setting for sublimation is “Premium Presentation Matte”.

On this model of printer, this setting is only available in Cassette 1 and is marked as A3+ on the touch screen interface. Cassette 2 is not able to print 13 by 19 inches, nor can it print sublimation paper.

This isn’t necessarily a negative point though because- as mentioned above- rear tray printing can lead to damage when it comes to sublimation.

With the Epson ET 15000, the maximum paper size that you are able to store within the main paper tray is Legal size.

This measures at around 8.5 inches by 14 inches, meaning that any 13 by 19 inch printing has to be done through the rear paper feed, one sheet at a time (as we talked about earlier).

This does not by any means make the 15000 unusable as a sublimation printer. It simply means that it will take longer for you to do your printing, and you will need to be extra careful to ensure no dust gets onto your work as you print.

These are the two main differences between the Epson 15000 and the Epson 16500 that are likely to affect the sublimation process, though the paper tray situation is the more relevant factor.

If being able to print quicker is an important element of sublimation printing to you, then it could be worth paying a little more for the more recent model.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to enjoy about both the Epson ET 15000 and the Epson ET 16500 when it comes to sublimation printing.

Although there are a lot of similarities that the two models share- such as the refillable ink tanks and the wide format-, these do not particularly relate to sublimation. 

The only major difference in regard to the sublimation possibilities are the paper trays, with the earlier model being slower and only able to print one piece of sublimation paper at a time.

But is this worth the price difference? The price of the 15000 varies from around $600, whilst the 16500 fluctuates at around $800.

If you are able to fit it into your budget- and speed is an important factor for you in regard to sublimation printing- then it is definitely worth investing in the slightly more expensive 16500 model.

Michael Moore

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