You find the best bet in sublimation printers when you get the ease of use, affordability, and performance in one place. But how would you find the best sublimation printer for beginners? What specifications are worth considering? Which one is the easiest to install? All these questions can be overwhelming, especially when you are a newbie.
Sublimation printers come under a hefty price tag — hence there is no room for making a mistake while purchasing one. So, I have searched the internet to find the best for beginners that will serve the purpose without breaking the bank.
Remember, taking a budget-friendly route does not mean you have to compromise on performance and quality. I have considered this the most while picking the best beginner-friendly sublimation printers.
From usability to availability and price to conversion, I have covered all the bases you must look for in a printer before jumpstarting your sublimation journey.
So let’s discover the details about the best sublimation printers.
- Epson EcoTank InkJet Printer
- Sawgrass SG-500
- Epson Workforce 7720
- Epson SureColor F170
- Paper Capacity: 100 Sheets
- Printing Speed: 10 ppm for Black and 5 ppm for Color
- Printing Resolution: 5760 x 1440 DPI (Maximum)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB, Epson Connect, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
Why is this our Number 1 Pick? When you can sublimate effortlessly, at an affordable price, without worrying about cartridges, what more would you need? That’s precisely why it’s the ultimate choice for all newbie hobbyists.
Throughout my research, I found the ET-2720 users raving about its simplicity and ease of use. They keep stressing how this printer has made them fall in love with sublimation.
Speaking of its build, ET-2720 is a compact and sleek-looking machine. The front panel has an LCD screen, which allows you to navigate the printer setting. Overall the printer has a user-friendly design and features, making it one of the best sublimation printers for beginners.
Simply put, the price is a plus, the assembling is a breeze, and the availability is hassle-free.
Zero-Cartridge Waste: When you get into sublimating, the most unwanted expenditure that comes attached is the off-brand cartridges. Epson ET-2720 frees you from the worry of having to buy cartridges separately.
All you need to do is buy the best sublimation ink available, pour them into an easy-to-fill-in tank, and voila! You have your sublimation printer ready for the task. Zero-cartridge waste helps you save a whopping 90% on replacement ink costs.
Conversion is a Breeze: Also, converting Epson EcoTank from a home printer to a sublimation printer is surprisingly easy. Simply use the sublimation ink instead of provided pigment ink, and you are all set for sublimation.
Similarly, if you want to revert to the home printer mode, empty the tanks and refill them with the printer ink, and you have your home or office printer ready.
Heat-Free Technology: Another salient feature I discovered while skimming through the reviews is its heat-free technology, which helps you get optimal printing results without spoiling the colors and quality.
Speed Can be a Hurdle: Despite being marketed as a fast printer, ET-2720 is comparatively slower than other printers in its league, which I believe can be overlooked when you get so many outstanding features at this price and quality.
Paper Jam Issue: Paper jam is another hurdle you might have to deal with while using this printer, which you can resolve using this simple guide.
- Paper Capacity: 500-sheet, dual trays, 125-sheet output tray
- Print Speed (Color): 1319
- Printing Resolution: Up to 11″ x 17″ with 2-sided Auto Document Feeder
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, NFC, Epson Connect, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
Picking between Epson Workforce and ET-2720 for the top position was not an easy choice to make. Epson Workforce has everything that you could wish for in the best sublimation printer for beginners. But unlike ET-2720, you need to buy empty refillable cartridges separately — making it a runner-up rather than the winner.
Speaking of the body, Epson Workforce is a giant. You will need a sturdy desktop to place it on. Moreover, it has a printing capacity of up to 13 x 19 inches, which is rare in printers at this price.
Additionally, the paper trays are large enough for a quick refill, allowing fast and efficient printing. Lastly, I really admire its duplex printing facility, which helps users print on both sides and save on paper costs.
Dual Paper Trays: From price to capacity, everything is a plus, but if you ask me about the star feature, I will mention its dual paper trays. With two paper trays, you can have your sublimation paper in one tray and regular sheets in another. Moreover, you can have different size papers in each tray, which makes printing on multi-sized items uncomplicated.
Wallet-Friendly Option: If you are on a budget-friendly route — Epson Workforce would be your best friend. You can find it under $500, while the smaller Workforce(2850) is cheaper.
Off-Brand Cartridges: Being a non-native sublimation printer, Workforce comes with a few limitations. Although it is an eco-friendly option to buy an inkjet and convert it to sublimation, the cartridges add up the expense, and they are also hard to find. So you might have to struggle with that while transforming your Workforce into a sublimation printer.
Messy Refilling: Moreover, filling the empty cartridges using syringes can be messy, which could be even more challenging for a beginner.
3. Sawgrass SG-500 Sublimation Printer — The Pioneer Native Sublimation Printer
- Paper Capacity: 100 sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ sublimation paper
- Print Speed (Color): 100 ppm
- Printing Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB, SG500 Print Manager (software)
Here comes the third but the first native dye-sublimation printer and the priciest to our list. It is a purpose-built entry-level sublimation printer with a two-year warranty and striking features. It would have been at the top of our list if the price hadn’t been a concern.
During my research, I found users praising its usability the most. Being a purpose-built sublimation printer, the assembling is no sweat, so plug it in, and the printer is all set.
The printing capacity, however, is not that large, but good enough if your printing needs are within 8.5″ x 11″. You can still print small-sized stuff such as jewelry, mugs, metal, newborn clothing, and much more.
Self-Maintenance Mode: The self-maintenance mode is what captured my attention the most. This plug-and-play printer has a self-maintenance feature that keeps it in tip-top shape even when you do not use it frequently. So there is no need to worry about ink heads drying out.
Two-Year Warranty: Unlike converted printers, it has a warranty. Hence, with Sawgrass, you can sail across your sublimation journey without fearing damage and repair costs.
Built-in Ink System: Lastly, its built-in bulk ink system is another plus, which allows hassle-free uninterrupted printing without replacing ink cartridges.
An Expensive Buy: As a beginner, the no.1 hurdle you would face before getting your hands on something is the budget. Sawgrass is the most expensive yet best sublimation printer for beginnerson this list. However, if you are passionate about sublimation and do not want to compromise on features, Sawgrass will be worth the money.
4. Epson EcoTank ET-15000 — Cartridge Free Printer for Sublimation
- Paper Capacity: 250 sheets
- Print Speed: 17 ppm for Black and 9 ppm for Color
- Printing Resolution: 4800 x 1200 DPI (maximum)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, Epson Connect, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Android Printing, Fire OS Printing
Last but not least, we have the wireless Epson ET-15000. The easy set-up, affordability, and economical ink usage make it the best sublimation printer for beginners and 4th on our list. In my opinion, the refillable cartridges make it an even more cost-effective and favorable option for first-timers.
According to the users, its automatic feeder is another striking feature which supports multi-page documents, and the flatbed scanner scans sheets up to 8.5″ x 14″.
The build feels sturdy & good quality. One more aspect of design that I found the most helpful is that it allows you to see the ink levels from the outside, which is a high point, as low ink levels may cause air bubbles and disrupt the printing process.
High-Capacity Ink Tank: The high-capacity ink tank system is what I like the best about Epson EcoTank- 15000. Its ink tank system allows you to print large quantities of designs without frequent ink refills.
Precise Ink Placement: Other than that, the printer MicroPiezo AMC print head and PrecisionCore ensure a precise ink placement, which helps you achieve vivid and sharp designs.
Difficult Tray Alignment: During the refilling of inner trays, the output trays come in the way, which makes the entire refiling process a bit annoying. Moreover, you need to align the paper in the tray, or the printer will fail to detect it.
No Dual Side Printing: It does not allow duplex printing and is a bit slower while printing color documents.
The main differences between Sawgrass and Epson are the support, price, and quality. The native sublimation printer Sawgrass is built by keeping sublimation in mind. Hence you get an uncompromised experience while using this. Moreover, it provides a higher resolution and customer support in case of damage.
Epson is best for sublimation and easy to convert, but with Epson, you settle for a few downsides. For instance, when you convert your printer to sublimation, its warranty gets voided. The price, however, is the best — so if I were you, I would not mind ignoring a few low points as long as I am getting satisfactory results for the price paid.
The internet is brimming with reviews and recommendations regarding the best sublimation printer for beginners. I have tried my best to research the most reliable sources and bring the hand-picked A-list options that will never disappoint the sublimation enthusiast in you.
The Epson series will be ideal if you are looking for an economical option. However, if budgetary constraints are not your concern, I suggest the Sawgrass series, which has the most reliable native dye-sublimation printers.
Sawgrass brings you an ultimate sublimation experience without compromising on features and warranty, so you get value for the money invested.
To conclude, if I had to buy one of the above listed, I would go for my top pick Epson EcoTank ET-2720 InkJet Printer. As a beginner, I prefer the most cost-effective and easy-to-install option.
What is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation?
Inkjet printers that are compatible with sublimation ink can be converted to sublimation printers. Epson ET-2720, ET-15000, and Workforce 7720 are the easiest to convert to sublimation. The only difference is that the Workforce series comes with cartridges, while ET has a tank that you refill with the sublimation ink.
Which Epson ET printer is best for sublimation?
Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is one of the most popular printers for sublimation. The printer is affordable, easy to use, and set up — making it one of the best picks for beginners and hobbyists.
How do I choose a good sublimation printer?
There are a lot of factors that you must consider while buying a sublimation printer. For instance, the number of ink colors, ink compatibility (while buying an inkjet), connectivity, size and capacity, printing speed, cost, brand authenticity, and after-sales support are the features to look for.
What is the best resolution for sublimation printing?
The resolution for sublimation printing mainly depends on the desired print quality. However, as a general rule, a resolution between 300 to 600 dpi (dots per inch) is considered most suitable for sublimation on most substrates, such as fabrics, metals, and ceramics.
Do sublimation printers need special paper?
Yes, sublimation printers need a special paper, typically coated with a heat-sensitive polymer. Polymer enables the ink to transfer onto the desired surface when exposed to high temperatures. The material of this paper efficiently absorbs the ink and retains the vibrant colors and details of the print.