Best Sublimation Printers in 2022

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Products Updated November 1, 2022
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What are the features that make the best sublimation printer? Finding the best sublimation printer starts with striking a balance between price and print quality. You want a printer that will give you high-quality prints for a price that is not too steep. One that can provide high print resolutions on a range of media types and print sizes. The best sublimation printer should boast a high printing speed and also low power consumption. Although the printer’s overhead costs are essential, you should also consider the running printing cost. You should find a printer that gives you value for money—and an economical printer that will produce excellent print quality without burning up a huge chunk of your budget.

A close second is connectivity options. Look for a printer that supports wireless printing over wireless connections. The best printer for sublimation, preferably a multifunctional one, should be able to work directly with your computer over a wireless network. Some printers can even be synced with your mobile device. Also, consider the size of the printing area. The printer should print on a wide range of paper sizes, card stock, and other substrates. Lastly, identify a printer that is easy to operate and use. The best printer should allow you to connect with ease, print without hassle, and efficiently manage your sublimation printing jobs. Keep reading our best sublimation printer buying guide to learn more.

Top Sublimation Printers

 #1  Liene 4×6” Photo Printer

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a great pick to take with you on the go, this compact model will be a great fit. It also offers wireless connectivity to increase convenience for the user. This is an easy unit to travel with.

Pros
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Highly compact model
  • Easy to travel with
Cons
  • Might be too small

You’ll be able to enjoy a convenient, portable printer when you choose this model. It can go just about anywhere with you and is small enough to fit into luggage or a large purse. This portability makes it perfect for photographers who need results on the go. Unfortunately, this is a relatively small model that might not be able to fulfill your requirements. If you’re looking for more oversized prints, this is not going to be the right fit for your needs.

Since it uses thermal dye-sublimation, you can count on this printer to always provide vivid color. The process means that ink penetrates deeply, allowing for better color replication. A final layer is applied that provides a protectant against scratching and fading in your prints. It also adds a little bit of waterproofing. The user-friendly design means that anybody will be able to use it with ease. It’s also resistant to typical issues, like paper jams.

 #2  Epson SureColor P700 Printer

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This option will ensure that you have outstanding image quality in your jobs. It’s a highly consistent model that never fails to produce great prints. It also uses carbon black driver technology.

Pros
  • Outstanding image quality
  • Highly consistent model
  • Carbon black driver technology
Cons
  • Might be slow at receiving data

Those looking for an incredibly vivid print will find what they’re looking for in this model. It has outstanding vibrancy and quality because of the UltraChrome PRO10 ink it uses. This provides a broader color gamut to replicate original, rich colors. Unfortunately, this printer has been known to be a little on the slow side when receiving print jobs from wireless connections. This could be a dealbreaker for some consumers.

There are also dedicated nozzles for photo and matte ink. Because of this, you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth between them. This smart model can connect to your favorite device for a more effortless experience with printing. It’s a highly convenient option because of this. You can connect using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. It’s especially great for those with iOS devices.

 #3  Canon PIXMA TR4520 Printer

Award: BEST FOR MULTIFUNCTIONALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll have access to an app this brand created to connect with their printer models. This makes it a far more accessible option than some competing models. It also has multiple options for connectivity.

Pros
  • Comes with a free app
  • Features AirPrint technology
  • Multifunctional connectivity
Cons
  • Color may not be very vibrant

When you choose this model, you’ll have access to an excellent app to print quickly from your smart device. Several features packed into this printer make it a perfect option for busy households, such as AirPrint and Mopria print service. Unfortunately, this printer is not known for producing the most vibrant color. If you’re looking for a super bright reproduction of color, then this model will not be a good fit for your needs.

The connectivity technology includes a USB port to connect to your computer directly. If you have iOS, Android, Windows 10 mobile, or Fire OS devices, you’ll also be able to connect. This gives a massive range of available options for printing. No matter your device, you should be able to use this model. This model will also work with Alexa for a few different voice commands. You can ask Alexa to discover your printer, for example.

 #4  Sawgrass SG500 Printer

Award: BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll love this model’s eco-friendly, mainly since it minimizes your ink consumption. This allows you to change out cartridges less frequently. Beyond this, it also allows you to print off high-resolution jobs.

Pros
  • Minimizes ink consumption
  • Highly efficient model
  • Offers high-resolution prints
Cons
  • Might not have great longevity

Any busy business will benefit from using this printer model. It’s a great option regardless of how large your business might be, but it’s the best model for those just starting out. It provides low start-up costs while still delivering the functionality that you need. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that many consumers have complained about their printers not having enough longevity. It might wear out more quickly than some other models.

This printer is a multifunctional model that can perform many tasks. Whether you need to print photos, flyers, brochures, or documents, it can deliver stunning results every single time. It’s also an eco-friendly model because it minimizes the usage of ink, allowing you to worry less about expensive cartridge refills. This is an energy-efficient model that anybody who wants to help the environment can enjoy. You’ll also have access to CreativeStudio Online Designer.

 #5  WorkForce WF-7710 Printer

Award: BEST FOR ALL-IN-ONE FUNCTIONALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: You won’t have to worry about constantly refilling the paper tray with this model since it has one that can hold up to 250 pages at a time. It also is highly multifunctional and will fulfill many roles in your household.

Pros
  • Highly multifunctional model
  • Has PrecisionCore technology
  • Features a 250-sheet paper tray
Cons
  • Ink runs out rather quickly

This is a great option for your household if you have several different jobs your printer needs to accomplish. This is an all-in-one option that will scan, fax, copy, and print for you. You’ll even be able to create borderless prints up to 13” x 19” in size. This is done using PrecisionCore technology. While this is an excellent choice for many reasons, it also has flaws. Unfortunately, the ink capacity is relatively low, and it might run out of ink in the middle of long, ink-rich printing jobs.

The 4.3” touchscreen display makes this an easy-to-use option. With the high-capacity paper tray, you won’t have to worry about constantly replenishing the supply. It will hold up to 250 sheets of paper at a time. This is more than enough to get through your day-to-day needs, especially if it’s for a personal household. You’ll appreciate the inclusion of automatic 2-sided printing, especially since this removes the hassle of manually printing dual-sided documents.

 #6  Brother HL-L2320D Printer

Award: BEST FOR HI-SPEED CONNECTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll have a lightning-fast experience when you choose this model because it can print up to 30 pages per minute. It can also support automatic duplex printing, so you won’t have to print on both sides manually.

Pros
  • Prints 30 pages per minute
  • Automatic duplex printing
  • Advanced printing technology
Cons
  • Might have issues with some laptops

Getting the job done quickly is one of this printer’s most prominent qualities. It has print speeds of up to 30 pages per minute, which is lightning-fast when compared to competing models in the same class. You’ll also love how great the connectivity is, with a high-speed USB 2.0 interface. Unfortunately, it has been reported by some consumers that this printer has a hard time connecting to some laptops. Chromebooks seemed to be the top offender.

Two-sided printing happens automatically, which removes a lot of the hassle associated with the task. You won’t have to worry about manually turning pages over. This is a model that uses advanced printing technology since it has an electrophotographic laser built in. The high-capacity letter tray is capable of holding up to 250 sheets of paper at a time. It also has a manual feed slot just for envelope printing.

Beginners Guide to Best Sublimation Printer

What are the Best Sublimation Printers

In essence, the best sublimation printer is a machine that uses heat to transfer ink on a variety of media. This technology is also known as sublimation printing or thermal transfer printing. Basically, a sublimation printer can help you create high-quality prints in less time and with less effort. You’ll find some listed in our roundup of the leading Epson printers.

Unlike the cute iPhone photo printers, sublimation printers use a thermal printing technology that creates a dry transfer of sublimation ink from one surface to another. With that in mind, you’ll find it’s much different than an Epson EcoTank, which uses a tank of liquid ink A sublimation printer can print on a wide array of substrates and media types. You can use a sublimation printer to print on items such as cards, mugs, T-shirts, and other types of printed products.

The best sublimation printer features several vital specifications. First, we have the print resolution, which is indicative of the printer’s printing capabilities and quality. To offer high-quality prints, printers have to produce prints with high Dpi resolution. Essentially, print resolution is a measure of the printer’s ability to make prints in fine detail.

Unlike laser printers, sublimation printers are compact printers that use ink. You can use them to print on polyester fabric, paper, and canvas. They are capable of producing prints on maximum-size substrates and surfaces as well as card-size surfaces.

They feature high print speeds and are energy efficient. They can also be configured with numerous software options, making them easy to use and operate.

Best Sublimation Printers vs Standard Printers

The best sublimation printer offers some great benefits over standard inkjet printers, such as the DeskJet series. For other options that aren’t sublimation, check out our reviews of the Canon Maxify MB5420 and the Epson Expression XP-640.

First, it offers enhanced printing quality thanks to its ability to produce prints with fine detail and high Dpi resolution. Unlike standard printers, sublimation printers produce prints with high color saturation and sharpness. You can achieve a high-quality glossy print with sublimation printing that is hard to achieve using traditional inkjet technology. Also, your prints do not have that faded or washed-out look when printed on a sublimation printer.

Unlike standard printers, you can use the best sublimation printers to print on a wide range of substrates and materials. You can use them to print on polyester material, glossy photo paper, and special sublimation paper, while standard printers are limited to printing on paper.

Sublimation printers are versatile and can be configured with different software options, such as special features and plugins that allow you to connect and print from your computer, mobile device, or any other networked device through a Wi-Fi connection.

Another key difference is that sublimation printers can print on various sizes of substrates and surfaces. With the wide-format sublimation printer, you can print on any desired size of substrate and surface, regardless of the dimensions. Standard printers are limited to printing on fixed paper sizes.

The best sublimation printer is also fast and efficient, requiring less time to print while providing you with great value for your money. It features dual trays, making it easy to load paper. The intuitive LCD allows you to load and configure the printer and adjust the settings of your choice. This incredible level of flexibility lets you print on a wide range of paper sizes and materials, unlike standard printers.

Although, you may find a cheap sublimation printer that fits your budget, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to produce the best, high-quality prints. 

However, you must pay attention to the type of paper used when using a sublimation printer. They work best with Special sublimation transfer papers that are available in gloss or matte colors. However, you can also opt for the inkjet type of sublimation paper used with an inkjet printer to produce quality envelopes and other items.

How Sublimation Printers Work

Sublimation printing is when digital color print jobs are transferred directly and permanently into another medium.

The sublimation transfer paper acts as the printing surface coated with a layer of sublimation ink before starting the transfer process. The special paper is mounted on the feeder paper tray, and then it passes through the printer’s print head. Once this is done, the paper is then transferred into a heated chamber, and fused with the textile material. The heat and pressure activate the transfer process that transfers the ink’s pigments to your chosen colored surface.

The rear tray of a sublimation printer contains the heat transfer ribbon that is coated with a layer of sublimation ink. The heat transfer ribbons are mounted on rollers exposed to below heat, allowing them to fuse with your chosen material. When you use multiple colors in your design, they will be fused simultaneously during the process.

The best sublimation printers are designed to optimize the transfer of digital ink colors into your chosen material, making it possible to achieve a high-quality color print with full-color saturation and sharp details. In short, they’re going to have the best output performance of printers for sublimation. 

Ink usage is very important to achieve high-quality prints with sublimation printers. The best ones use inkjet technology and advanced printer features that can help you reduce the cost per print job.

The printer is connected to your computer using a USB cable or wireless connection. The best sublimation printer is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X operating systems and can also use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Some use memory cards as input devices to transfer print jobs. Note that the best sublimation printers can be connected directly to the Internet and work as stand-alone devices.

The most crucial step in the printing process is to make sure you are using heat transfer paper designed for use with sublimation printers. There are different paper types for different types of printers. Be sure to choose the one that is suitable for your type of printer. Selecting the wrong paper or using damaged paper can affect the quality and lifespan of your prints.

You can employ the sublimation process to print high-quality photos on any type of fabric, almost guaranteeing the effect that every photo you print is entirely vivid and clear.

Why You Should Buy a New Sublimation Printer

Do you need a new sublimation printer? If you plan to start a T-shirt printing business or print other items for your shop, at home, or for commercial use, getting a new sublimation printer is an ideal choice. It offers the convenience of a one-step transfer process that allows you to print and transfer your design to the same machine. An all-in-one printer that ensures accuracy and precision in your print jobs.

Expanded key features can provide more options for printing material types, sizes, media color, resolution quality, and enhanced print speed to ensure that you save time on every printing job.

Is a New Sublimation Printer Worth Buying?

  • It provides high-quality sublimation prints: The best sublimation printer is designed for high quality in every print job, thanks to its ability to position itself as close to the heating element as possible. This results in a clear and crisp image of your design, including full-color saturation and sharp details.
  • It is economical: Sublimation printers are economical and environmentally friendly. They reduce the need for heat and energy by using a one-step transfer process, reducing operating costs.
  • Intuitive and user-friendly design: The best sublimation printer offers a user-friendly format and straightforward button controls that make it easy to use for everyone. The use of a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection allows you to connect your printer to your computer, mobile device, or tablet and manage the print jobs remotely. But, they may not be the best printer for beginners, as they have a slight learning curve to sublimation printing.
  • It provides excellent versatility: A new sublimation printer gives you more options for printing material types. It can also print on other materials such as glass, polyester, photo books, paper, and cardboard. As a result of its multiple material-printing capabilities, you can use its innovative features to print on T-shirts or other clothing items for personal use or business purposes.
  • Compact design: The best sublimation printer is compact and lightweight. It allows you to carry it from one place to another without worrying about damaging it. It is also portable and can fit in areas where you need it the most.
  • Easy to use: The best printer for sublimation printing is easy to connect to your computer, smartphone, tablet, or other devices using a USB cable. All you have to do is follow a few simple instructions and start printing straight away. Loading the paper is not needed since it can print directly without a tray.

Why a Sublimation Printer May Not Be for You

  • It is slightly expensive: Sublimation printer models are a bit more costly than conventional printers. However, the cost is worth the quality and accuracy you get when using them. That said, there are heat transfer printers at an affordable price but with limited capabilities.
  • It has limited media-printing capabilities: Some printers may only be capable of printing on a specific media type. For example, others are designed to print only on polyester coating sheets, while others focus strictly on paper printing. The best printer for sublimation printing is versatile because it can print on a variety of media.
  • It does not offer high-quality text: Although sublimation printers are designed for various materials, they may not be ideal for printing detailed text.

How Long Will a Sublimation Printer Last?

The lifespan of a high-quality dye-sublimation printer is about ten years. However, this metric is dependent on several factors, including whether you use the printer regularly or not and how carefully you store it when not in use. If used daily, your sublimation printer can last for over a decade. However, if used once every few months, you might have to replace it within five years.

The print quality may last a lifetime on material that will not be getting washed or scrubbed. But the heat transfer labels and ink used in printing, if left exposed to wear and tear, can wear out quickly.

That said, the part that is most susceptible to damage is the print head. If your model has a replaceable print head, it means that you will be able to get more life out of the printer in case any damage occurs.

To ensure your sublimation printer lasts longer, make sure to keep it out of extreme heat, cold, and dampness. Also, avoid placing the printer on an uneven surface since this can cause damage to the print head.

How to Choose the Best Sublimation Printer

There are some crucial factors that you need to consider when shopping for a sublimation printer. Keep in mind factors such as how often you will be using the printer, what type of media you plan to print on, and how much money you are willing to spend. Other factors include the size of the printer, quality of reliability, and connectivity options. Keep reading to learn more about these and how to decide on your next sublimation printer.

1. What are My Printing Needs?

You can use sublimation printers for printing on a variety of materials. However, there are models designed to print labels and signs without any problems. If you want to print on more than just polyester or other synthetic fabrics, you will need the correct type of printer. Other factors include whether you have many users or if you will use the printer for commercial purposes.

2. How Frequently Will I Print?

If you are a frequent printer, then you need to find the best sublimation printer that will allow you to print on materials effectively and efficiently. Another factor is how often you will be using the printer for commercial purposes. Budget models will usually have a limited number of printing features and may not be suitable if your business needs high-quality labels or signs.

3. What are My Budget Requirements?

Budget models should offer the same features as more expensive versions. However, they may not be reliable or durable enough to last long. If you are a beginner, consider cheaper options to test out whether you will use the printer to enjoy printing before investing a lot of money. However, if your business needs high-quality labels and signs, investing in a quality model is worth it.

4. What are the Printing Specifications?

Before purchasing a dye-sublimation printer, you need to check that the material you plan to print on can work with the specific type of printer. Using thermal printing technology, your printer works best with polyester fabrics and other synthetic materials. You cannot run a thermal printer on paper since it will either smudge or leave the paper stuck to the heating panel. As such, you need to choose a dye-sublimation printer that is suitable for printing on media like polyester labels and signs.

5. How Much Space Do I Have?

This is another factor that you should consider before purchasing a particular model. The toner size and the maximum paper size will help determine just how much space you need for your printer to function effectively. If you are working with limited room, then getting a smaller or more compact design is essential. Other options include buying separate dye-sublimation printers for paper and another type of printer for fabric.

6. What Types of Connectivity Options are Available?

This is important since it will help determine how easy it will be to use the printer to print from a mobile device, computer, or other media. Some models have Wi-Fi connectivity capabilities so that you can print straight from your phone or other mobile devices. The best sublimation printers also have designs that are compatible with computer chips to allow you to connect and print directly from a laptop, tablet, or other devices without the need for an external chip.

Best Sublimation Printer (FAQs)

Can I use any printer for sublimation printing?

Any dye-sublimation printer that can print on non-absorbent materials using the dye-sublimation printing process and techniques is a suitable model for sublimation printing.

So, What is The Best Sublimation Printer for T-shirts?

The best sublimation printer for T-shirts is one that offers the right combination of features and design for anyone wanting to use a printer to print on fabric.

What are the things that you can make using a sublimation printer?

When using a sublimation printer, you can make all sorts of products, including t-shirts, hats, mugs, and other products. This is usually done by printing onto a fabric that will then be made into these objects once you have removed the paper backing during the process.

What is the best way to keep a sublimation printer?

Storage options include storing them in a dry area with no moist areas or direct exposure to sunlight. It may be best to keep these printers out of reach of pets, children, and other people who could accidentally damage the printer.

Can I use sublimation ink to print photos?

Yes, sublimation ink is more appropriate for printing on fabric. However, you can use it to print photo images as long as the ink will cure and be dry when printed directly onto non-absorbent materials.
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