Inkjet vs Dye Sublimination

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated January 16, 2023

If you’re researching the best printers, you’ll likely come across inkjet and sublimation models. Understanding the differences between these two can help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to decide which one suits your needs. That’s why we’ll be comparing an inkjet vs. a dye sublimation printer today.


  • The printing process for these styles of printer can be similar to some degree, but the award for ease of usage goes to dye sublimation printers.
  • Print quality is a massive deal to most people looking for a printer to invest in. In this round, you’ll find that inkjet printers take the lead.
  • Finally, we looked at the range of colors offered by either printer. While the two come close, a dye sublimation option will always produce better results.

Comparing Inkjet and Dye Sublimation Printing

With so many options on the market, it’s essential to understand your options. Today we’ll go over inkjet printing in comparison to sublimation models. But first, let’s talk about how they work. Inkjet printers spray ink directly onto the page. On the other hand, sublimation printers use a heating process to transfer ink from a ribbon to special paper. Keep reading for a more thorough comparison. Those in the market for a new printer might want to compare the Epson WorkForce vs. the HP OfficeJet.

Insider Tip

A regular inkjet printer is a great option for homes and small businesses.

Printing Process

While neither is particularly difficult to use, there is a clear winner in this round. A dye-sublimation printer is made to have an incredibly easy-to-use interface that takes little work to figure out. Depending on the model, an inkjet printer might be far more complicated. If you want to see how they stack up against other options, compare an inkjet vs. a dot matrix printer.

Print Quality

Most people would agree that they’d prefer a high-quality print to a lesser-quality one. Because of this, having excellent image quality is a huge factor in their purchase decisions. In this arena, you’ll find that a sublimation printer cannot keep up with the quality produced by an inkjet printer. If you aren’t sold on either model, you might want to ask, “What is an LED printer?”


Sublimation ink can be pretty expensive.

Range of Colors

A dye-sublimation printer will produce precise color matches when it comes to color quality. You also won’t experience banding in gradients, which is a huge plus. On the other hand, inkjet printers can create end products with great image quality. They just fall short in comparison to the sublimation process. If you want to try a different type of printing, look into a thermal vs. a laser printer.

STAT: In 2017, Epson held the largest market share of around 43.8 percent, closely followed by Canon Group with 43.7 percent. (source)

Inkjet vs Dye Sublimination FAQs

What is the best printer for fabric printing?

You’ll need a fabric printer if you want to do fabric printing. There are many options on the market, so make sure you do your research before investing in one.

How can I improve the image quality in my prints?

For photo prints, it’s crucial to prepare your files correctly. This is what allows printers to provide color-accurate, detailed results. You should also ensure you have good lighting and a solid camera.

What are the advantages of inkjet printers?

There are many benefits to inkjet prints:

  • Great for text-heavy documents
  • Generally low upfront costs
  • More affordable ink cartridges

What are the advantages of sublimation printing?

You’ll find the following advantages of dye sublimation:

  • Sleek finish for fabric printing
  • Fantastic color production
  • Provides high-quality resolutions
Beth Huston Profile image