If you take your sublimation hobby seriously, you would want to go a step ahead and look for the best heat transfer printers that deliver quality heat-resistant designs. When choosing the best sublimation printers for heat transfer, you have two routes to go. Pick a purpose-built sublimation heat transfer printer or buy an inkjet printer and convert it to sublimation.
The former is not a budget-friendly option, especially for hobbyists, so as a sublimation enthusiast, I would suggest you go for the conversion route.
However, you need to be extra cautious. The Internet is brimming with information regarding sublimation or inkjet printers that can be converted to sublimation printers. But not all of them are suitable for heat transfer.
From ink compatibility to print quality, there are various factors to consider when buying a non-native sublimation printer. Don’t worry; I have gone through all the hassle for you and cherry-picked the best four you can choose for your needs. So keep on reading to find your best buy.
- Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Wireless Color Printer
- WorkForce WF-7710 Wireless Wide-format Printer
- Epson EcoTank ET-2750 SuperTank Printer
- HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 All-in-One Printer
1. Best Wireless Printer for Heat Transfer: Epson EcoTank ET-3760
- Paper Capacity: 250-sheet paper tray
- Printing Speed: Black: 15 ISO ppm; Color: 8.0 ISO ppm
- Printing Resolution: 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, Wireless printing through smart devices
Why is this our Number 1 Pick? With ET-3760, you get effortless heat transfer printing with cartridge-free ink refilling. Hence it’s our top pick for all the hobbyists willing to up their sublimation game.
During my research, I found the users praising its stress-free printing. They love not needing to buy ink cartridges again while sublimating with ET-3760. Besides, it also allows automatic two-sided printing, so there will be no hassle of flipping and less paper waste.
Considering these two features, it won’t be wrong to label ET-3760 as an environment-friendly heat transfer printer. It helps save you paper and eliminates plastic waste on buying ink cartridges that end up in landfills, making it a responsible purchase.
Keeping all the reviews in mind, I can confidently say if you have plans to turn your leisure activity into a small business anytime soon, ET-3760 will be your best friend. The printer delivers professional quality sublimation heat press, making it ideal for fast fashion, ceramics, garments, jewelry, etc.
Painless Conversion: The conversion of this inkjet printer to a sublimation printer is no hassle. You need to use the sublimation ink instead of the ink that comes with the printer, and you are all set for heat transfer.
Savings on Ink Replacement: This point bears repeating, as I have found users raving about this feature. As per a user, he never refilled any ink after 1 year. So it’s a true claim by Epson that you save up to 90% with ink bottles.
Voice Activated Printing: It allows users to enjoy a hands-free printing experience. With the help of the Epson smart panel app, you can print from anywhere using your smart device.
Exceptional Print Quality: The Unique PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology of ET-3760 makes it one of the best sublimation printers for heat transfer.
An Expensive Buy: ET-3760 comes under a hefty price tag; however, the price is justified considering its advanced features and uncompromised quality.
- Paper Capacity: 250-sheet tray
- Printing Speed: Black: 18 ISO ppm, Color: 10 ISO ppm
- Printing Resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi
- Connectivity: Ethernet and NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi, USB
Considering all the customer reviews and features, ET-3760 and WF-7710 maintain a neck-to-neck competition. From superior heat transfer printing to high-capacity ink cartridges and duplex printing, WF-7710 has all the bases that make an ideal printer.
One of the reasons that make WF-7710 number 2 on the list is that it has four individual ink cartridges while ET-3760 has five, adding a photo black ink cartridge.
Nonetheless, WF-7710 is an exceptional choice as one of the best sublimation printers for heat transfer. As per the users, the printer provides crisp sublimation transfers, which saturate perfectly on ceramics and polyester.
Like ET-3760, the conversion is smooth; however, filling the ink cartridges for the first time might take some time for the ink to prime through the channels. Therefore, the refilling procedure can be a bit frustrating, but if you let the physics work, the results you will get will be worth it.
Speaking of the build, it’s a sturdy printer with a sleek and modern design. The exterior is made of plastic which is resistant to scuffs and scratches. Besides, the printer has a durable paper tray that holds up to 250 sheets and allows wide-Format Prints Up to 13″ x 19″.
Large Ink Cartridges: The extra large 4x DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridges are a star feature of WF-7710. It brings users ease and convenience so they can print more before needing a refill.
Fast and Pro-Quality Prints: The PrecisionCore Technology allows you to print fast, superior-quality heat transfer prints.
An Affordable Buy: WF-7710 is the most affordable option among all the four picks in our list, making it the best bet for those on a budget.
Durability is a Plus: Many of its users wrote that they have been using the printer for more than 5 years without facing any major issues.
Frequent Nozzle-Checks: You need to keep checking the print nozzle every 2 to 3 days to ensure the ink doesn’t dry up, which in my opinion, is quite a hassle when you are not printing frequently.
No Auto Duplex Scanning: Although it allows printing on both sides, it doesn’t allow automatic duplex scanning, so you must flip the paper manually.
3. Epson EcoTank ET-2750 SuperTank Printer for Heat Transfer
- Paper Capacity: 100 sheets
- Printing Speed: Black: 10.5 ISO ppm, Color: 5.0 ISO ppm
- Printing Resolution: 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC
Epson ET-2750 has many similarities with our top pick ET-3760, which is an updated model of the EcoTank range with more advanced features and is less expensive.
Again I appreciate that it allows you to enjoy hassle-free, cartridge-free printing. And just like ET-3760, you can save a lot on replacement ink and individual cartridges.
While skimming through the reviews, I found users giving extra stars for its automatic duplex printing. I admire when printers come with features like zero-cartridge waste and duplex printing as these features help you save money and the environment with less paper and plastic waste. So if you consider eco-friendly products, ET-2750 is for you.
I also found users admiring its borderless printing feature, allowing you to print up to 8.5″ x 11″ of borderless photos. Additionally, its large capacity ink tanks are right at the front, so the refilling is stress-free.
Overall, it is a convenient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly option for all those looking for the best sublimation printers for heat transfer.
Compact Design: I like how it doesn’t take up much space. ET-2750 has a robust build with a contemporary sleek, compact design, making it fit into small spaces.
Smooth Conversion: One more thing users like the most is its easy conversion to a sublimation printer, making it beginner friendly and convenient.
Small Screen Size: The screen size is quite small, i.e., 1.44 inches, which many people find inconvenient.
Print Quality: Although print quality is decent enough for beginners, many professionals complain that its color vibrancy is not as good as other printers.`
4. HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 All-in-One Printer for Sublimation
- Paper Capacity: 500 sheets
- Printing Speed: Black: Up to 24 ppm; Color: Up to 20 ppm
- Printing Resolution: Up to 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, HP Smart App
Last but certainly not least, we have HP-9025 on our list. The printer has a large paper capacity and, similar to the Ecotank range, an auto document feeder, which brings the ease of printing on both sides without manually flipping the papers.
In most of the reviews, I found users appreciating how the printer holds a large quantity of paper, so they don’t need to bother about frequent refills.
Like all other inkjet printers, you need to buy an off-brand sublimation ink to convert HP-9025 into a sublimation printer for heat transfer. The conversion is quite easy. The three basic things you need are sublimation paper, ink, and a heat press; you may also use an optional conversion kit.
People love the quality of the prints with HP-9025, as it generates superior-quality designs with sharp text and vibrant colors. Overall it’s a suitable choice for hobbyists as one of the best sublimation printers for heat transfer.
Energy-Saving: HP-9025 is an Energy-Certified machine that follows strict energy efficiency guidelines, making it a cost-effective purchase.
High-Yield Ink Cartridges: Another feature that makes it an economical choice is the high-yield ink cartridges that allow you to print more than standard-size cartridges.
Heavy Build: The printer is a bit bulky compared to all the other picks in our list, so it takes up more space and can be difficult to relocate.
A Bit Noisy: One more thing I found people complaining about is that it has louder noise than many other printers in its league.
One of the major differences between Epson and HP is their printing technology. Epson has Micro Piezo technology known for accurate ink drop placement, while HP uses Thermal Inkjet technology known for vivid colors and speedy printing.
Comparing both — Epson printers are considered more suitable for conversion as their Micro Piezo printhead technology efficiently handles the pressure and heat required for heat transfer. While using HP, you may face some trouble handling high temperatures. However, HP would be a good choice if you prioritize speed and vibrant colors over ink droplet placement.
I have picked all four printers after thorough research, and all of them are best for newbie hobbyists and those willing to kickstart a small sublimation business.
If you still ask me to pick the best sublimation printer for heat transfer out of four, I would go for our top pick, ET-3760, as it has all the features one could wish for in a sublimation printer for heat transfer. The printer brings you an uncompromised sublimation experience, so despite it being an expensive pick, you get the value for money.
However, if you are looking for wallet-friendly options, I suggest you pick WF-7710. A few features are missing compared to the ET-3760, but considering the price tag, you won’t mind compromising on some perks.
Are sublimation and heat transfer printing the same?
In sublimation, you first print onto a sublimation printer, then place the paper on the fabric and transfer the design using a heat press. However, for heat transfer, you begin with printing on transparent paper, then transfer it onto a heat transfer paper using a heat press. Then you peel the sticker over heat transfer paper. Lastly, place the peeled paper on the T-shirt and use the heat transfer machine one last time.
What type of file is best for sublimation printing?
A high-resolution and vector-based file is best for sublimation printing. If you are working with raster-based images such as TIFF, JPG, or PNG, make sure they have a resolution of at least 300 dpi and should be sized correctly for the substrate you are printing on.
What software is best for sublimation?
The best software for heat press sublimation printing depends on your specific needs. Here are some of the best and most popular softwares.
- CorelDraw: This vector graphics editor is a popular choice for sublimation.
- Adobe Creative Suite: This software is one of the top choices of sublimation industry professionals.
- Silhouette Studio: Designed for silhouette cutting but also widely used for heat transfer printing.
What equipment do you need for heat transfer printing?
The equipment you need for heat transfer includes:
- A heat transfer printer
- A heat press
- Heat transfer ink
- Heat transfer paper
- Protective paper
- A computer
- Heat resistant tape
- Heat resistant gloves
Which heat transfer paper is the best?
Although the best heat transfer paper depends on your printing needs and the heat transfer printer you are using. Avery printable heat transfer paper, printworks fabric transfer variety, and printers jack iron-on heat transfer paper are three of the popular options you can choose from.