Many people are beginning their printing businesses in the comfort of their homes. Best Sublimation printers enabled people to make customized mugs, T-shirts, cell phone covers, or other designs on different materials. So whether you own a small setup catering to your personal needs, or make a bulk supply of sublimated material, this list of the Best Sublimation printers will definitely help you make a wise choice.
Best Sublimation Printers 2020
Each Best Sublimation printers on this list have their own pros and cons so it is advised to read through the whole article and then make an informed decision.
Also, read the Buyer’s guide and FAQs section that may educate you on the factors to consider before buying a best sublimation printer and answer many of the queries you may have respectively.
These printers are arranged in descending order of price range. So let us get started.
😇 Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome [best sublimation printer for beginners]
With some of the best features available in the market, this is a powerhouse of Best Sublimation Printers. The price tag may seem hefty at first but the kind of quality that it can deliver can make up for the huge first investment.
Ideal for smaller surfaces like mugs, hats or socks, these have been a very popular use of this printer. The speed of 250 pages per hour is highly impressive and makes it an efficient machine.
With a maximum print size of 8’’ by 14’’, it is not suitable for big surfaces and wide format printing but there are other options in the market for that usage.
😊 Epson Stylus C88+ Printer [epson sublimation printer]
Epson is one of the Best Sublimation Printers manufacturers in the world. They have printers for various uses and that is why three of their best ones feature in this list.
This is a great sublimation printer for home or limited use due to its lightweight and easy to use controls. It also has an impressive resolution allowing a much more refined result on the product. It has great speed as well which is great news for any user.
The built-in photo editor allows you to tweak the graphics a little bit before the printing process The price is on the higher side but considering its impressive features, expenses like these are investments that pay off later in your business.
🥰 Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 [best sublimation printer for t shirts]
Another Epson inclusion in this list should not be a surprise. As the name suggests, this Best Sublimation Printers specializes in printing photographs. It has an elaborate color scheme that produces excellent results. The various colors blend to give a more natural look to the fabric.
It is also good for large-sized fabric printing which many competitors lack.
It has dash replenishment and shows remaining ink status so that ink does not remain a worry.
😍 Epson Workforce WF-7710 [cheap sublimation printer]
This versatile printer that can print, fax, scan, and copy, basically does most of what you ask of it. The design is highly user friendly and compact with a touch screen to control its various functions.
Various connectivity options like NFC, Wi-Fi direct as well as Ethernet make it easy to operate even with a cellphone.
🤩 Brother MFC-J995DW INKvestmentTank [sublimation ink printer]
This Best Sublimation Printers have clear things going for and against it. As far as user experiences and cost efficiency go, it is one of the best options in the market.
The obvious drawback of this product has been the text printing, specifically the blotchy printing in smaller fonts. For the functionality that it offers and the miserly ink costs, this one can recover your investment in a rather short amount of time.
😘 Brother MFC-J491DW Wireless [All-in-One Inkjet Printer]
This particular model from Brother is a middle-range wireless inkjet Best Sublimation Printers.
It lets you use sublimation ink to decorate your fabric as well as work on other items like photos and cards. Overall, it is a highly versatile printer.
This device also offers you many connectivity options. There is a built-in wireless connection or you may connect to a desktop via USB. You can use your mobile via Google Cloud, Dropbox, One-drive or Wi-Fi air.
The paper handling capacity is also a great feature. The input tray holds up to 100 sheets of paper. It can work with different types of paper like cardstock, sublimation, or photo paper.
😛 HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 [sublimation printer for sale]
HP is another big name in the printing industry. These Best Sublimation Printers are allrounder having all the basic functions like faxing, scanning, copying, inkjet printing as well as sublimation printing.
The inkjet printing function of this printer is so good that it has made it the best seller on Amazon in that category.
But it doesn’t fare badly as a sublimation printer either. It has a lower cost per page compared to previous versions produced by HP and is a market leader in this metric.
Some of the advanced features may be missing but the much-reduced cost had to come at some cost. Considering its all-in-one capabilities, low cost per print, and reliability this one is a tough one to beat.
😜 Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless Inkjet Printer [canon sublimation printer]
Canon is one of the best camera manufacturers in the world, and their printers are also top-notch. This printer has the basic functions and all the practical applications you would need in a printer at an affordable price.
This model is great for making quick, high-resolution designs for your T-shirts and other types of fabric.
It has got some good integrated functions like Auto duplex printing as well as cell phone support so you can print directly from your smartphones. You can also install the Canon application on your phone to make the whole process an easy one.
🤑 Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer [sublimation printer reviews]
Kodak makes a great variety of printers but this one makes it to our list. A great option for starter and hobbyists, this printer has a beautifully compact design with decent functionality.
Since this printer uses sublimation technology for printing, the end product is much more durable and high resolution than inkjet printing.
The dock in the name refers to the fact that you can print photos from your phone due to the connection dock through which you connect the two. This could be a good option to print small-sized graphics and photos at a good speed.
Due to its small size, photo sizes are highly compromised though, as this printer can only print on 4’’×6” paper.
🤗 Canon SELPHY CP1300 [sublimation printer for sale]
This printer gives you great results at an unmatchable price. This printer is probably the best choice for portable printing.
The ideal use of this printer is to produce colored photos but it can be used for a variety of materials.
You can also use it to make some fun collages by using the Party Shuffle Print feature. It has various size settings for various photograph types like postcards or square labels.
The photos printed by it are water-resistant which is a reason why Canon claims that photos printed by this device may last up to 100 years
Due to this specialization of sorts in one subcategory of sublimation printing, this is a highly popular printer at Amazon.
Best Sublimation Printers Buyers Guide
With best sublimation printers being a central investment in a variety of businesses, it is pivotal to do some research before your purchase. There is considerable variety in the market and a lot of technical jargon to understand and apply so that you do not make a rash decision.
So, here are a few necessary factors to consider taking the leap of buying a best sublimation printers.
A vital consideration to make before buying a Best Sublimation Printers is determining your print volume. How much printing will you be doing with it?
Certain printers on our list are highly efficient and can easily create a high volume of prints in less time. As a professional running a T-shirt business, for example, you have deadlines and need a highly efficient printer with high print volume.
However, as a domestic user or someone using a printer occasionally, the print volume is not a huge factor. In this case, you can save up on a lot of money by not going for the top options for print volume and look for other factors instead.
A good measure of this is ppm or pages per minute. This combined with duplex or two-sided printing makes for a good measure of how great the print volume actually is.
Maintenance of a product is important to know beforehand. One factor in terms of maintenance is how often do you use your printer?
The recommendation from us is to use a sublimation printer as regularly as possible and even if you are using it occasionally, do not give a break of more than six months.
That is because six months in the approximation is how much time sublimation ink lasts before going bad. You can make out ink going bad with blotched details, decreased resolution, and average results.
So be sure to check nozzles regularly and perform regular cleaning of the printheads.
Also, be sure that the location of the printer is at a cool spot with humidity between 40-60%. Printers need a bit of humidity in the air for optimal function.
Be sure to read user manuals because the maintenance of individual products may differ according to the ink used.
Are you a photographer trying to print your photographs with vibrant color and in different sizes? Or are you a T-shirt manufacturer making sports merchandise? Or are you a printer store owner wanting the best of both worlds?
The answer is different each time and so is the print size requirement.
For the first demographic, entry-level printers with modest print sizes will suffice.
For manufacturers of flags or other polyester-based fabrics, this is an essential value to consider. Some of the Epson printers mentioned earlier have a print size of about 13’’ by 19’’ which should suffice most of the usage requirements manufacturers may have. This will of course come at an inflated price.
For those wanting the best of both worlds, middle-range printers are great that have a decent resolution at a justifiable price.
The last category would be industrial-grade printers that have wide format printing capabilities. A good example is the Epson Expression described above.
A related consideration is versatility. Best Sublimation Printers usually have clear objectives of use. Some are used for photographs to make fade-resistant vibrant photography printing. Some for graphics and others for fabric.
For certain people like printer shop owners and people at the copier store, they want all of the basic functions in one. So they should look at printers with good resolution, middle-grade print size as well as decent speed.
5.Resolution or DPI
The resolution is a measure of how dense the image produced by the printer is. Resolution is measured in dots per inch or DPI.
A larger image would require much more detailing and therefore higher resolution, whereas a smaller size print will not require too high a resolution value. It is a useful metric to measure the clarity that the printer can produce.
In general, the lower range is about 300 dpi and any value above 1200 dpi is great and a satisfactory number for most users.
This is an essential feature to link your printer with your various devices and taking the print out from those devices directly without having to export the print elsewhere and then printing it.
Some of the connectivity options printers include are Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, etc. So it is important to explore these and make a decision accordingly.
Also, some models are both Windows and Mac supported which may be highly convenient. Some devices also have memory cards that make the whole process much easier. Keep a lookout for these features depending upon the devices you use.
It is obvious that the longer the warranty time, the better it is. The standard warranty for most printers is about one year. Also, check for any information regarding individual parts of the Best Sublimation Printers as they require service or maintenance after a certain amount of time.
8.Type of usage
An extremely important consideration before buying a best sublimation printer.
Sublimation printers have a bunch of different uses and every printer on this list is ideal for every function. Horses for courses, as they say.
Some are experts for commercial use to print on T-shirts, mugs, and other types of merchandise. They have greater resolutions and the print size is much larger. This enhanced functionality comes at a much greater price.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are printers that are appropriate for small-scale usage.
They have certain features suitable for printing on smaller substrates like photographs and pamphlets. These printers have much less resolution and maximum print size but of course, this comes at a much-subsidized price.
For this reason, determining your type of usage and buying accordingly will not only save you money, but it will also make you some.
Most printers generate different color schemes with four basic colors known as CMYK or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. This base value is something most printers have but for artists and photographers whose livelihood depends upon the clarity and subtlety of every single shade, there are options in the market with six colors like Canon printers. Printers with eight colors also exist.
These printers are light on the pocket and compromise on other features but great color density makes them ideal for photographers.
Best Sublimation printers use special Sublimation inks and do not work with standard inkjet ink. Another decision for you to make is what kind of ink to buy.
Many companies have their own ink and discourage third party ink usage. In this case, it is advised to buy the ink and printer together as this would prevent blotchy and poor quality results.
Make sure to buy the ink and printer together since often the printer comes without the compatible ink
Another vital consideration is the capacity of the ink cartridges. Printers with small ink cartridges get dry frequently which stops the printing process.
So, make sure to keep some spare cartridges.
This is an important consideration for most professionals. A good way to measure it pages per minute.
Often though, people misjudge printing speed since larger substrates would obviously take more time to be printed than smaller ones and vice versa.
Also, look for what the speed is for, colored prints or black and white since the latter would obviously be more.
Also, make sure to consider a printer as a whole and not just for its speed because often looking for more speed, people forget the other important criteria and end up buying a sub-standard printer.
12. Running Cost
One small caviar to be aware of is running cost. The major determinant in this scenario is ink costs. Every company recommends that you use their own ink instead of any third party providers.
Different companies have their own inks and their costs fluctuate too. Some like HP have costly ink prices but others like Kodak have cheaper inks.
So make sure you are aware of running costs because this is another expense that may pile up in the long term.
Best Sublimation Printers FAQs
1. How does sublimation printing work?
Sublimation, by definition, is the transition of a solid substance directly into a gaseous state without passing the liquid state. An example from daily life is dry ice going straight from solid to the gaseous state.
Dye sublimation is the process used in best sublimation printers. It involves the usage of special sublimation ink, also known as dye-sub ink, which is applied to a transfer sublimation paper which can then be transferred to the target area.
Sublimation ink is special in that it turns from a solid form to a gaseous state by the application of heat and pressure by specialized heat presses.
This gaseous state then penetrates onto the material, called the substrate which may be glass, metal, ceramic as in mugs, or fabric as in printed T-shirts.
With time, the gaseous ink solidifies to give a permanent image onto your product. This happens because the molecules of the ink and the substrate intermingle to give a bond that can often last you a lifetime.
2. How is sublimation printing different from inkjet printing?
Sublimation technique is much superior to inkjet procedure since the latter does not have the ability to go into a gaseous form and thus its penetration of the substrate is much less.
Basically, in inkjet printing, the nozzle in the cartridge sprays small liquid droplets. As the nozzle moves along the substrate, you get certain patterns.
An advantage of inkjet printing is the amount of ink used. The inkjet printer uses only as much ink as needed for the printing process. Thus, it is much more efficient than a sublimation printer.
Inkjet printing can work with normal copy paper as well as specialized paper when needed but sublimation can only work with specialized paper which is then transferred to the substrate.
3. What are the advantages of best sublimation printing?
- The images printed onto your garments do not tend to fade over time since they become a part of the particles.
- It enables you to print on a wide range of materials compared to conventional methods.
- The final image feels smooth and soft to the touch. It would also not feel raised or as a separate surface on the material.
- Full-color printing gets easier and faster with sublimation printing.
- Once you understand the process, it is rather easy to use.
- It is a cost-effective method of printing, especially on an industrial scale compared to alternatives like screen printing or DTG (direct to garment printing).
- With an applicable knowledge of graphic designing, you can generate a decent income from sublimation printing.
4. What are the disadvantages of best sublimation printing?
In Best Sublimation Printing, there is no white ink, so consequently, you can only sublimate on lighter colors of the spectrum. Of all the light colors, white gives the best results. Pastel colors can also be used but their results are not as prolific as white.
In terms of materials, you are mostly limited to polyester or PVC. The material should have at least 50% polyester. Although there are certain methods to sublimate on cotton, it is still a highly cumbersome task and the quality of the print may not be up to the mark. This is a major drawback of best sublimation printing.
5. My printouts are missing ink in certain parts. What to do?
This phenomenon where your printer is missing ink or showing white lines in a certain area of the printout is known as banding. The reason for this is clogged printhead nozzles. Ink dries up in the print head leading to blockage of ink flow resulting in streaks missing ink.
There are buttons on your device that can automatically clean the nozzles when pressed. Also, some printers do this function automatically.
6. Can you sublimate on darker fabrics?
A simplified answer to this query would be no you can’t.
The reason behind it is that sublimation inks do not have white color and the colors that they do have end up not being visible on the darker shades.
A possible solution is trying a printer that has white ink with it or even better, print on lighter colors.
7. What fabric can I use with my best sublimation printer?
The typical choice would be Polyester but generally, the more man-made materials are much more suitable for sublimation printing. These include any polymeric synthetic fiber like polyester, acrylic, nylon as well as spandex. However, caution should be exercised in the usage of these materials because often they can get burnt during the sublimation process. This is because they often have a lesser burning temperature than natural fabrics like cotton.
In mixed fabric containing both cotton and polyester, the polyester percentage should be at least 50% for sublimation to be effective in the long run and give the desired results.
Polyester has a polymer molecular structure that allows it to easily bond with the dyes of the best sublimation printer.
However, the downside to polyester is that it is considered lower in quality to cotton, often survives for a much lesser duration, and there is a greater incidence of irritation associated with polyester often called clothing dermatitis.
Generally, cotton is not a good fit for sublimation. This is because the natural molecular structure of cotton does not allow the sublimation ink to bond with it. What ends up happening is that the ink washes away after about one or two washes. If you are hellbent on doing sublimation on cotton, one option is adding some polyester to your material so that some of the ink could stay. This of course, would not still be pure cotton.
8. What equipment will I need to buy in order to start a Sublimation business?
The basic equipment to start a sublimation printing business includes the following equipment
- Sublimation Paper which is specialized for this use
- Computer and an Internet connection. Good graphics software like Photoshop may be needed to make decent graphics.
- Blank products to do sublimation on. It is necessary that these products be those that accept sublimation dye. Mostly they need to have a polyester coating or some sort of synthetic material to which sublimation ink can attach.
- A heat press that does the bulk of the work
- A best sublimation printer the choice of which depends upon your substrate
- Additional supplies may be gloves, heat-resistant tapes that can tolerate high temperatures, and cover sheets made of silicone.
- Spray adhesives may be used especially in garments to adhere the substrate to the sublimation transfer paper However, it is not a necessary product.
9. Images are blurry in my best sublimation printer. What should I do?
Sometimes the image on the substrate becomes blurry compared to the resolution of your original graphic. This is referred to as ghosting out or gassing out.
There are a few things you can do to combat this problem.
- A basic reason for this problem is that the sublimate is not tightly adhered to the transfer sublimation paper. So it is necessary to ensure that.
- One thing you can do is use heat resistant tapes that can handle the high temperatures of the heat press while giving you the attachment you want.
- Another solution is using adhesive sprays. They work to keep the substrate and transfer paper attached throughout the sublimation process.
Another related problem may be seeing excess dots in the finished article. This may be due to the presence of too much moisture in the substrate. This can be prevented by ironing out the substrate whenever possible before the sublimation process.
No one wants to have that sinking feeling you have after buying the wrong product. That moment when you question your judgment and are stuck with something you never wanted is something everyone dreads.
If you know what you want, the search for it becomes that much easier. The same is true in the case of best sublimation printers. If you know how you will end up using your printer, you will buy one suiting your needs.
In this article, we have elaborated on some of the key factors that should influence your judgment on what best sublimation printer to buy. The various aspects described will help you choose the right printer.
We have also given you a list of the top-rated sublimation printers currently available at the market. All these devices produce great results in their respective niches.
So grab a new printer now and start earning from this great appliance.