A Sublimation Printer is a piece of equipment that is used to produce sublimation prints on various materials such as paper, vinyl, and cloth.
It uses heat to transfer the ink from an ink ribbon onto the material being printed.
The process is similar to what happens when you print photos using a regular printer.
You can use it to make custom designs or images on your favorite items such as T-shirts, mugs, posters, bags, etc.
There are many different types of printers available in the market today, and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which is the best for you.
If you find yourself in this position - don't panic! We're here to help you!
In the article below we're going to be taking a look at the top 12 best sublimation printers for beginners.
These are some of the most popular models currently available in the market. Each one has its own unique features and benefits.
We’ve also made sure to include an extensive buyers guide that will take you through everything you’ll need to know - from ink to brands that you can rely on - as well as a short FAQ section to help answer any questions you might have leftover!
Top 12 Best Sublimation Printers
Epson is an industry leader in printers, scanners, photocopiers, fax machines, and other office products. They have been around since 1884, so they know their stuff.
Their printers are known for having high-quality printing capabilities, fast speeds, and good customer service.
We're first going to take a look at the many different options that they have available in their EcoTank series, which incorporate a wide array of different versions with slight variations.
OUR TOP PICK
First up we're going to take a look at the EcoTank ET-2720, which is one of the smaller models available and has been created for simplicity.
Sublimation printing can be tricky to wrap your head around, so Epson has made a printer to make everything straightforward and easy to learn.
This model comes with a compact, space-saving design which means it can easily fit on a desk or within the storage.
It has a 1.44" display, which allows for a clear image, as well as voice-activated printing options and smartphone/tablet functionality.
This is a very modern machine, and some of these extra remote-control features make it more convenient than other, more traditional printers on our list below.
The color of this printer is white, which we thought looks great alongside a modern computer setup.
If you're looking for something that is small and easy to get started with, this sublimation printer is going to be perfect for you!
- Size: Small which will fit on your desk or in a cupboard.
- Remote Controls: allows both voice and smartphone control.
- Easy-fill bottles: for easy swapping of ink.
- Feature List: because of its size and design, there aren't some of the additional features you might find on larger sublimation printers.
Next up we have the model which is one upgrade from the ET-2720.
The main differences here are the addition of automatic 2-sided printing, which allows you to print on both sides of the material without having to change the paper, and auto power off after 30 minutes.
There's no longer any need to manually fill the ink cartridges either, thanks to the auto-filling system.
This means that you won't have to worry about running out of ink in the middle of a project.
Another extra feature that sets it apart from the lower edition is its ethernet cable, which allows for lightning fasted, wired internet connection instead of relying on wireless technology.
This makes it ideal if you need to share files between multiple computers quickly and efficiently.
It's also worth noting that this printer is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, and Mac OS X operating systems.
- Ethernet Cable: Allows faster, wired internet connection.
- Automatic 2-Sided Printing: This allows you to print on both sides of the material without having to flip it over.
- Feature List: Because of the higher price tag, this model doesn't come with all of the same features as the previous model.
One thing that hasn't yet been mentioned about the Epson EcoTank Series, is their ability to conserve and use up all of the ink within a printer.
In recent years there has been a lot discovered about the shady practices of printing companies when it comes to ink.
Thankfully, Epson has tried to combat this with their EcoTank series - it's in the name, after all!
Another key benefit is their ability to work with any type of paper. Whether you prefer using cardstock or plain paper, they'll handle them all.
They even allow you to use different types of paper for each side of the material, such as glossy and matte.
So, if you've got a specific kind of paper that you like to use, this series will allow you to do that.
They also include a USB port, allowing you to connect directly to your computer, and print directly from the device.
You don't have to rely on an external hard drive anymore, which saves time and money.
- USB Port: Allows direct printing from your computer.
- Paper Compatibility: Can use any type of paper for either side of the material.
- Cost VS Features Ratio: Likely to be a lot more expensive for not that many features.
Next up we have the most expansive version of the EcoTank to explore.
This comes with 6-color ink that is low cost and easy to refill. It has a versatile design with options to use wi-fi, ethernet, and support for Apple AirPrint and a touchscreen interface.
This model also includes a host of useful features including a built-in scanner, and a 3-year warranty.
The first thing you're going to notice is how compact this unit is. At just under two feet long, it can fit easily into almost any space.
It also has a sleek, modern look that fits perfectly in any home decor.
If you want to get creative with your prints, this machine offers a variety of pre-programmed templates that you can choose from.
These templates are designed to help you create professional-looking designs, whether you're trying to make business cards, invitations, or anything else.
You can also customize these templates yourself by adding text, images, and other elements.
The best part? You won't need to worry about finding matching colors. All of the color choices are already included in the template.
- Easy to Use: Has a simple user interface.
- Pre-Programmed Templates: Includes a wide range of templates that you can edit.
- Affordability: Expensive compared to its competitors.
To depart from the Epson EcoTank series, we have this Surecolor SC-P900 from Epson. This is a much less affordable printer but comes with many additional features.
For starters, it's able to print onto a wide range of materials, including vinyl, fabric, leather, plastic, wood, cardboard, canvas, etc.
It can even print onto glass, which is great for those who want to create art pieces.
The other big selling point is that this printer is fully wireless.
No cables are needed at all, so you're free to move around wherever you want.
There's also a built-in scanner, which is perfect for scanning documents and photos into your computer.
This model also includes a USB port, allowing for direct printing from your computer, and it's compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 operating systems.
If you're looking for something more expensive than the Epson EcoTank, then this might be the one for you.
It does lack some of the advanced features, but it still offers a lot of functionality.
Like the EcoTank, it's also fully wireless and works well with most types of paper, including cardstock, glossy, matte, and plain.
- Wireless Technology: Works very well with most types of media.
- Compatible With Most Operating Systems: Compatible with Windows XP, Vista 7, 8, and Windows 10.
- Eco Features: Doesn't have some of the same eco features as the EcoTank series.
Sawgrass is a company that is dedicated to making some of the most precise and affordable sublimation printers on the market.
Their main design principles revolve around being easy to use as well as a printer you can rely on for a long time. The products below range in price and functionality.
This is probably the most accessible Sawgrass product on our list. It's the one with the least features and likely to be the most affordable to pick up.
First off, it's worth mentioning that this printer is compatible with both Windows and Apple, meaning you won't have to compromise based on your operating system.
Another thing to mention is their included color management software with a program designed by Sawgrass specifically for sublimation.
We found it very easy to use, allowing you to pick from a long series of presets or to manually tweak the colors yourself.
If you want a high-quality sublimation printer with UHD ink and excellent customer service after purchase, this is a great choice for you.
This printer for sublimation has a two-year warranty and also includes a partner plus support from the manufacturer.
The warranty covers any type of hardware problem except for accidental damage and not using genuine Sawgrass ink on your sublimation printer.
- Easy To Use Software Included: Includes a color management app that makes it easy to get started right out of the box.
- 2 Year Warranty: Two-year warranty covers any hardware problems except for accidental damage and using non-genuine ink cartridges.
- Fabric: Doesn't print well on fabric.
This printer is an offshoot of the previously mentioned SG500, and is different because of a few key features and design choices.
This is more of a commercial or professional setup, and because of this, it's a sublimation printer that we recommend only to a beginner who knows that they're going to get a lot of use out of it.
If you're considering starting up a big print company, then you should consider investing in this model instead of the SG500.
The biggest difference between these two models is that the SG1000 uses a higher resolution screen (1,200 x 1,600) compared to the 500 (800 x 600).
You'll notice that when printing images, there will be less detail, which may make it harder to see details like text or logos.
However, if you're just getting into the world of sublimation printing, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
It's important to note that the SG1000 is only compatible with Windows OS. This means that you cannot run it on Macs.
- High-Resolution Screen: Uses a higher resolution screen (1200 x 1600) than the SG500 (800 x 600), so you'll see more detail while viewing your work.
- 2 Year Warranty: 2-year warranty covers any problems with the printer itself.
- Limited Features: Limited to the SG1000, this printer doesn't include many of the features available in other models.
The final Sawgrass product on this page is the rather large and impressive VJ628.
This is a large sublimation printer that comes with a ton of options and can handle almost anything you throw at it.
You can choose from a wide variety of paper types including canvas, vinyl, and even leather.
There are several sizes of rolls that you can use as well, making sure you don't run out of material too quickly.
One of the best things about this printer is its ability to print directly onto fabric. That's something that no other sublimation printer can do.
We tested this feature extensively and were impressed with how well it worked. You can even print directly onto clothing without having to iron them first!
This printer also comes with a number of accessories such as a stand, a cutting mat, a bag, and a USB cable.
It can also be used as a desktop printer, but it won't have nearly as much functionality.
- Printing Fabric: Prints directly onto fabrics including cotton, silk, polyester, and nylon.
- Large Capacity: Can hold up to 4 pounds of material at once.
- Cutting Mat: This allows you to cut your own designs before printing.
- Complexity: It's worth noting that this might not be for beginners. If you're completely set about getting a sublimation printer that will give you everything you'll ever need, then this is for you. If not, it might be better to go with something easier.
Canon is a great company with a lot of experience in the field of digital cameras, camcorders, printers, and other electronics.
Their printers are reliable, easy to use, and come with a ton of features.
If you want a high-quality sublimation printer, but aren't willing to spend a fortune on one, then the Canon Selphy CP1300 is the perfect option for you.
This is a budget-friendly sublimation printer that offers all of the same features as some of the pricier models but at a fraction of the cost.
You'll find that this printer has a very simple interface, and it's easy to navigate through menus and settings.
The controls are intuitive and easy to understand, and the software is easy to install.
There are a ton of customization options available, allowing you to change colors, fonts, layouts, and more.
You can even create custom backgrounds using photos, videos, or graphics.
There are two different sizes of rollers included with this model, so you can choose between a small size and a larger one depending on what type of material you plan on using.
- Simple Interface: Easy to navigate through menus and setting screens.
- Customizable: Allows you to customize colors, fonts, layouts and more.
- Easy To Install: Software is easily installed and there's an online help section if you get stuck.
- Simplicity: means that you will miss out on some of the features compared to others on this list.
The Canon Pixma G1220 is a single-function inkjet printer that does exactly what it says on the box. You can print photographs, documents, and images, and it can even scan documents and save them as PDF files.
It doesn't have any fancy features like auto duplexing or an automatic document feeder, but it works just fine for most people. It prints standard A4-sized pages at speeds of up to 20 ppm (pages per minute).
The only downside is that it uses regular ink cartridges instead of sublimation ones, which means that you'll have to buy those separately and they can be fairly expensive.
- Standard A4 Size Printing: Standard A4 size printing makes it suitable for most people.
- Simple To Use: Very easy to operate.
- Consistent Print Quality: Prints consistently well, although it won't be able to compete with the best sublimation printers on this list.
- Ink: Can be difficult to buy for sublimation, and we found this system to be overall much less efficient than some of the other products above.
If you're looking for a more complex sublimation printer that is great for fabric, then we heavily recommend the HP stitch. It's instantly recognizable and comes with a whole host of features.
This device allows you to use both regular ink and sublimation inks, meaning that you don't need to worry about running out of either kind.
It also includes a variety of built-in functions such as stitching, cutting, and binding.
One thing that sets this machine apart from others is its ability to automatically detect when it runs out of ink and shut itself off without needing anyone to intervene.
This feature saves time and energy, since you no longer have to manually turn the printer off every time you run out of ink.
You can also use this device to make your own custom designs by uploading your own artwork onto the machine.
Once you've uploaded it, you can go ahead and start creating your design.
The machine will then cut out the shapes and lay them down over the background before stitching everything together into a finished product.
- Great For Fabric: Great for creating designs for clothing, bags, and accessories.
- Automatically Detects When Out Of Ink: Automatically detects when it runs out of either ink and shuts itself down.
- Not As Efficient: While it's still very good for sublimation, it's nowhere near as efficient as some of the other machines on our list.
Kodak has made a name for themselves in the world of photography, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that their portable photo printers are some of the best available.
Their latest model, the Kodak Dock & Wi‑Fi Portable 4×6" Instant Photo Printer, is one of the smallest models that we could find.
This device is perfect for taking photos wherever you go, whether it's at home, work, or school. It's small enough to fit inside a backpack or purse, making it ideal for travel.
You can take advantage of the included wireless technology to connect to your smartphone or tablet.
That way, you can easily upload photos directly to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Another nice feature of this device is that it works with any type of camera, including DSLRs and point-and-shoots.
You'll just need to download the free app onto your phone or tablet first.
- Compact Design: Compact design means that it's easier to carry around.
- Easy To Use: Easy to set up and use.
- Sublimation: Not many options for sublimation prints because of its size.
So those were some of the best sublimation printers on the market. In this section, we are going to outline everything you'll need to know before buying a sublimation printer, so that we can explain why we made some of the choices that we did.
There are some names that you can recognize and make assumptions about the quality of the printer.
This is because they're well known brands that people trust. However, there are plenty of other companies that produce sublimation printers.
Some of these companies may not be nearly as popular, but they may offer better products than what you'd expect from big-name manufacturers.
We recommend that you do your research before purchasing a sublimation printer.
Make sure that you buy from reputable sellers, and that you read reviews online.
If possible, try to visit a store where you can test drive the printer and see how it feels in person. If not, here is a list of brands with some information about them.
This is a brand that most people would associate with cameras. They have been producing printers since 1986, which makes them pretty much as old as the sublimation printing industry itself.
Canon offers both desktop and mobile devices, so if you want something that's compact, you should check out their range.
Epson is another company that's been around for quite a while. They started back in 1884, and they've produced a wide variety of different types of printers.
Their sublimation printers are among the highest rated ones on the market, and they're easy to use.
If you're looking for a cheap option, HP might be worth considering. They're relatively new to the sublimation printer scene, but they're already offering some great products.
They also have a very affordable price tag, so you won't break the bank when you purchase one.
Kodak is probably the most famous name in all of photography. They've been around since 1888, and they've produced some amazing things over the years.
One of their most recent innovations was the introduction of the Kodak Instax Mini 8 printer.
The mini 8 is an instant film printer that allows users to print photos right away without having to wait for development. It's perfect for anyone who wants to capture memories quickly.
The most important aspect of a sublimation printer is the type of printer that it uses.
There are two types of printers: thermal and dye-sublimation. Thermal printers use heat to transfer images onto fabric.
They tend to be more affordable than dye-sublimation printers, but they don't have the same level of customization.
Dye-sublimation printers use a special chemical process to create color images. These printers are much more expensive, but they give you a lot more control over the final product.
If you want to get the best results from your sublimation printer, then you should choose a dye-sublimation printer. They will allow you to print full color images onto fabrics.
The size of the printer is also an important factor to consider. A larger printer will be able to handle bigger projects, while a smaller printer will only be able to handle smaller jobs.
We recommend that you look for a printer that has a large build volume. This will let you print multiple items at once without having to move the printer around too often.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a sublimation printer? Price.
While you might think that a cheap printer will be good enough for your needs, you might find yourself disappointed.
Cheap printers usually lack features such as built-in storage space, which makes them less useful.
Also, if you buy a cheap printer, you won't be able to customize the settings to suit your specific printing needs.
Most sublimation printers come with built-in storage spaces.
This allows you to store extra ink cartridges and paper rolls. It also lets you keep all of your files organized.
You can even add additional shelves to expand the amount of storage space available.
Another important consideration when choosing a sublimation printer is the speed at which it prints. The faster the printer, the quicker you'll be able to complete your project.
When buying a sublimation printer, you need to make sure that it comes with compatible ink. Most manufacturers offer both standard and high-quality ink options.
Standard ink tends to work well on everyday materials like cotton or silk. High-quality ink is designed specifically for specialty fabrics.
If you want your sublimation printer to perform at its best, you should go with high-quality ink.
Some sublimation printers include additional features such as a USB port and Wi-Fi connectivity. These are convenient additions because they allow you to connect directly to your computer. They also make it easy to share your creations online.
If you want a sublimation printer that includes these features, you should definitely check out the Brother DS-1040DW. It's one of the top rated sublimation printers on Amazon.
You should always make sure that your printer is compatible with the material that you plan to print onto.
For example, if you're planning to print onto clothing, you should make sure that your printer supports this type of material.
There are many different kinds of fabrics, so you should make sure that the printer you purchase can accommodate any of them.
Finally, you should make sure to shop around before making your decision. Look for customer reviews and see what other people had to say about their experience using the printer.
This way, you can be confident that you made the right choice.
So there you have it! Now that you know more about the factors to take into account when purchasing a sublimation printer for beginners, hopefully, you'll be able to be a lot more confident in your next decision.
If you still have some questions, check below for an extensive FAQ section that has been written to clear up and additional questions you might have about sublimation printers.
Happy printing! We hope you find the perfect one for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Different Types Of Ink?
Sublimation printers use heat to transfer dye from a special ink pad to fabric. There are two types of ink pads: standard and high-quality.
Standard ink pads are designed to work on everyday materials like cotton and silk. High-quality pads are designed to work only on specialty fabrics.
Which Type Should I Get?
High-quality ink pads will give you the best results. However, they tend to cost more than standard ones.
So, if you don't mind spending a little more money, go ahead and buy the high-quality ink pads. Otherwise, stick with the standard ones.
Is My Material Too Thick Or Thin To Print On?
Your material needs to be at least 1/8th inch thick to be printed successfully. Anything thinner than that won't show up properly.
You can cut thicker pieces down to size or you can try to sew them together. But, keep in mind that sewing may not produce the same quality prints as cutting.
Are All Sublimation Printers Made Equal?
No, not really. Some sublimation printers are better than others. This means that they come with extra features and higher quality components.
Others are cheaper but lack those features. As long as you get the features that you need, you shouldn't worry too much about which brand you choose.
What Types Of Fabric Should I Use With A Sublimation Printer?
There are two main types of fabric that you can use with a sublimation printer: heat transfer and dye-sublimated. Heat transfer works by transferring images from a sheet of film to fabric.
Dye-sublimated transfers images from a sheet of plastic to fabric. Both types of fabric can be used interchangeably.
However, heat transfer is generally recommended for beginners because it requires less skill than dye-sublimated fabric.
How Do You Know Which Type Of Material To Choose?
When deciding between heat transfer and dye-transfer fabric, you should consider how much time you have available to spend learning how to create designs on fabric.
Heat transfer material is relatively simple to learn. On the other hand, dye-sublimated material takes longer to master because you must understand how to apply the correct amount of dye to each area of the fabric.
This means that you will need to practice a bit more before you get comfortable creating designs on fabric.
Which One Is Better For My Project?
In general, heat transfer is better suited for beginners who don't have a lot of time to devote to learning how to work with dye-sublimated materials.
The reason why is because heat transfer uses a simpler method of printing. As a result, it's easier to create designs on heat transfer material.
However, dye-sublimation is often preferred over heat transfer because it gives you greater control over how your design looks.
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