Are you fed up with the low quality of your traditional printer? If you are, why not consider switching to a sublimation printer. Sublimation printers provide top-quality results as well as high-level performance.
The term sublimation printer refers to a special type of computer printer like a heat transfer machine but uses the sublimation technique. The ink is converted into a gas state during the printing process. This helps the material to absorb the ink properly, subsequently reducing the chance of cracking and fading.
Those who operate sublimation printers daily, mainly use materials like cloth and paper for printing. But, as of recent, highly talented engineers are coming up with sublimation printers that can print on hard substrates like aluminum plates, fiberglass, and ceramic tiles. If you are unsure about the process of sublimation printing please check out our article on ‘What is sublimation printing?’.
There are various models of sublimation printers which can make it hard for you to find the right one. If you are new to the world of sublimation printing and feel out of your depth then please find our buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article. Depending on what you need your sublimation printer for, the buyer’s guide will help you understand what to look for in your search. There are a variety of different sublimation printers which will differ depending on your needs and budget.
1. Epson WorkForce WF-7710 Wireless Wide-format Color sublimation printer (Best sublimation printer for small businesses)
If you’re looking for a wireless sublimation printer then this one could be a great option for you. Ideal for smartphone and tablet printing, this sublimation printer is one of the more affordable choices. Due to its versatility, you will usually see this printer in photo studios, design branches, or even offices.
Features of the Epson WorkForce WF-7710 sublimation printer:
· Sheet capacity: 250
· Print size: 13×19 inches
· Networking Type: Ethernet
This automatic color printer is ideal for printing on materials like plain paper, envelopes, glossy photo panels, etc. It features a 2.0 high-speed USB, making it easy for users to transfer the design from a laptop, desktop, and other electronic devices. The Workforce model of the Epson sublimation printer is compatible with the main operating systems such as Windows and Mac.
The printer holds a 4.3-inch color touch screen for easy input. When it comes to printing the speed of the printer depends on whether you are printing in color or not. For black and white print work, the speed would be around 8.7 prints per minute (ppm) whereas for a colored print the printing speed will be reduced to 6 ppm. The Epson sublimation printer also allows you to print on both sides of the paper which can prevent waste.
- This all-in-one sublimation printer includes Wi-Fi Direct for an effortless and fast Wi-Fi connection between two devices.
- With the help of its auto-document feeder, you can scan large documents of up to 11×17 inches.
- Powered by PrecisionCore, the sublimation printer provides better performance than laser devices.
- It comes with navigation and control facilities.
- You can’t use any third-party ink or cartridges on this sublimation printer.
- The printing device creates some shrill noise during operation, which can be considered annoying.
2. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless sublimation printer (Best wide format sublimation printer)
If you’re looking to equip your business or hobby with high-end prints you should consider investing in this unique product. Known for its stunning photo prints, the automatic sheet-fed sublimation printer features a wide format. The compact printer has made sublimation printing more user-friendly and economical.
Features of the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000:
· Sheet capacity: 200 sheets (front tray) 50 sheets (rear tray)
· Print size: 13×19 inches (borderless)
· Connectivity technology: wireless, Ethernet (hardware interface)
This brilliant Espon XP-15000 model is apt for cardstocks and specialty papers. Included in this Ultra-HD photo printer are a pack of six different types of photo HD inks, including a variety of colors from bright red to grey.
Upon purchase, this Epson Xp-15000 will come with one additional power cord, a cleaning sheet, and a CD with an instruction guide. With the help of the CD, you can set up this sublimation printer within a few minutes.
- The Epson XP-15000 model can print on materials of up to 23 mm thick.
- It delivers high-end prints within 15 seconds or less.
- This printer has good ink consumption efficiency.
- It can print 20 high-quality photos per minute.
- There is a one-year product warranty.
- This printer uses conventional printing technology, and some users have complained about the customer service for the Epson XP-15000 model.
- The printer is limited to photo papers and panels only.
- Has a sound pressure volume of 49 dB which can be considered loud to some users.
3. Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Sublimation Printer (Best sublimation printer for beginners)
Well-renowned for its striking name in the industry of printers Canon have designed this lightweight sublimation printer which weighs only 1.9 pounds. You can easily carry this mobile sublimation printer with you between your office and home. This exceptional little printer will output your detailed prints within just a few seconds. Due to its mobility and small size, people are inclined to use this sublimation printer for other purposes such as label printing.
Features of Canon Selphy CP1300 sublimation printer:
· Print sizes: 4×6 inches for postcards, 2.1×2.1 inches (square label)
· Connectivity technology: USB
· Wattage: 60 watts
This compact photo printer allows you to insert your camera’s memory card making it easier if you need to print something urgently. The CP1300 also allows you to print with AirPrint, from Facebook™ and Instagram™. As well as this, you can connect this sublimation printer to your iPhone, Android phone, laptop, camera, tablets, and most other major devices.
Our ‘best sublimation printer for beginners’ comes with a compact power adapter, sample ink, 5 sheets of the paper cassette, and more. This sleek design of Selphy lets you carry it wherever you go, and you can share the printed images with your friends almost instantly. Unlike other Canon SELPHY models, the CP1300 features a collage maker and LCD touch screen.
- This portable printer provides photo prints that instantly dry themselves and last a lifetime (unless you outlive 100).
- Produces waterproof HD photos within seconds.
- Flawlessly prints the required images on different sizes of paper.
- The added feature of the 3.2 inch LCD screen makes it easy to select and edit photos.
- With 18 sheets in a tray, it can print around one page per minute.
- The main shortcoming of the Selphy CP1300 is that it can’t print on diverse printing materials.
- The main disadvantage that this model has is that it shows some problems with picture and text alignment in the final printing output.
4. Epson Stylus C88+ Inkjet Printer Color 5760 x 1440 dpi Print Plain Paper Print Desktop (Best home sublimation printer)
The Epson Stylus C88+ is incredibly versatile and boasts of its multiple modern features. This thoughtfully developed sublimation printer has a maximum printing speed of 23 prints per minute. If you are looking for high-resolution prints at a great price, you should definitely consider buying this Epson model.
Features of Epson Stylus C88+ model:
· Wattage: 19 watts
· Connectivity technology: Wired, USB
· Sound level: 42db
This impressive sublimation printer uses an individual color cartridge, and it has around four parallel ports. You can place any printing material inside it, such as multiple types of paper, t-shirts, glass, ceramic sheets, etc.
The Epson Stylus C88+ comes with a special input tray, and its maximum capacity is 120 sheets at a time. It runs on an input voltage supply of 120 volts. For sublimation, the temperature should be kept between 10 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Its high-capacity input tray enhances the productivity of the entire printer.
- Unlike some, this Epson Stylus C88+ shows automated printing features.
- This speedy printer is capable of fully printing around 23 pages per minute.
- It is ideal for heat transfer.
- It is also compatible with different types of ink.
- It shows limitations with mixed colors.
- The Epson Stylus C88+ is incapable of producing large items.
- When up and running it is also quite loud which could be irritating to some users.
5.Brother MFC-J995DW All-in-One sublimation Printer (Best sublimation printer for fabric printing)
If you are on the hunt for the next level dye-sublimation printer, you should study this unique product in detail due to its exceptional performance. This notable printer is devised in such a way that there will be no chance of ink leaking or capsizing. The best thing about this Brother MFC-J995DW printer is that it is compatible with Windows, Mac-OS, and many other servers.
Features of Brother MFC-J995DW:
· Sheet capacity: 150 sheets
· Document scan size: 8.5×11.7 inches
· Printing speed: 10-12 ppm
Weighing around 19 pounds, the Brother MFC-J995DW model features an ink storage tank that ensures uninterrupted printing. There is a smart meter within the printer that tells you the max capacity of ink your printer can hold and the amount of remaining ink. This fantastic sublimation printer produces prints of up to 19000 resolution.
Like many other modern devices, this Brother MFC-J995DW model prints with the help of Google cloud print and Wi-Fi direct. This printer has been designed to work with various connective technologies such as USB, Ethernet, Wireless and more.
- This wireless all-purpose printing machine acknowledges image transfer from different types of electronic devices.
- It encourages the use of different types of fabrics.
- You can adjust the tray according to the size of the printing material to ensure proper alignment and flawless output.
- It allows double-sided printing which alongside helping save paper can also allow you to create more intricate designs.
- The Brother MFC-J995DW model supports an SD card as well as a USB drive.
- Works with Alexa.
- Unlike other sublimation printers available, rather than being automatic the Brother MFC-J995DW needs human intervention in order to print on both sides.
- The printer uses relatively cheap ink, and it can be quite challenging to organize the cartridges.
6. DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS 6″ Dye Sublimation, for Booth Portrait Printing (Best Sublimation printer for portrait printing)
The DNP Event Photo Printer is one of the best sublimation printers for portrait printing due to its high speed and excellent resolution. This photo printer is ideal for the photo booth business and photo retailers as it is remote-controlled. It guarantees beautiful and brilliantly colored printouts in just a moment.
Features of DNP DS-RX1HS Sublimation printer
· Hardware interface: USB 2.0
· Print media: Photo paper
· Weight: 30 pounds
This commercial-grade sublimation printer lets the users print around 290 prints an hour. These prints are around 4×6 inches in size and take around 12 seconds to print. For control and navigation, there are four lights on the left side of the printer. These are labeled as Power, Error, Ribbon, and Paper.
- This efficient sublimation printer allows you to increase the printing speed by 20%.
- It reduces the time of printing while maintaining quality.
- It features double catch trays.
- The ink used for this sublimation printer is relatively inexpensive.
- DNP provide three years of warranty for this model.
- It doesn’t comprise an LCD screen.
- Due to its heavy weight and large size, the printer shows poor portability.
7. HiTi P525L Compact Dye Sub Photo Printer (Best sublimation printer for mugs)
Do you specialize in ceramic mug printing? If so, you will fall in love with this sublimation printer. We believe this printer to be great for printing bright eye-catching colors.
Features of the HiTi P525L Compact Sublimation printer:
· Image resolution: 300 x 300 dots per inch (DPI)
· Item weight: 39 pounds
· Operating systems: Windows
This product features two paper adapters along with one USB cable and a power cord. Ideal for on-location events, the printer is associated with a special software. You can download the HiTi software to check the status of the printer and more.
This type of photo printer is known for printing IDs and Passports as it shows an excellent level of performance. Due to its reliability we would recommend this printer for tough assignments.
- It provides high-quality, water-proof and dirt-resistant images.
- It is easy to run.
- It comes with a special Wi-Fi key.
- Comes with an exchange warranty of multiple years.
- The printer is capable of capturing the minute details of your design.
- The printing materials can be quite expensive.
- This model is not at all compatible with the iPad or iPhone.
- Limited to printing 4×6 and 5×7 photos.
We have done our best to provide you with a list of, what we believe, to be the best sublimation printers. Now, all you need to do is work out which of these top seven is most suitable for you.
Our Best Sublimation Printer buyer’s guide:
Due to the vast variety of sublimation printers out there, finding the right one for you can be a little daunting. We have come up with a well-researched buyer’s guide that will help you choose the best sublimation printer for you and your needs.
The resolution of a printout is measured with the unit of DPI or Dots Per Inch. Before placing an order for your dye-sublimation printer, you need to decide the purpose and the printout quality you need. No matter what model you choose, for sublimation printouts, the resolution should be between 150 DPI and 300 DPI.
The most expensive sublimation printers on the market are those that are automatic. These models start from around 230 dollars and can reach up to 20,000 dollars. On the other hand, the manual and the semi-automatic ones are cheaper and will more likely see you get more for your money. The Epson Workforce models are, for now, the cheapest sublimation printers manufactured. The printers we have spoken about above range between 200 dollars and 700 dollars.
The greater the speed of your printer, the lower the waiting time for your prints. The printing time varies from printer to printer but also varies depending on whether you are printing in color or in black and white. For color prints, the printing speed is usually slower compared to that of black and white prints. For black and white prints the sublimation printers provide printing speeds of between 8.7 and 23 prints per minute (ppm). In the case of color prints, the maximum printing speed is limited to 15 ppm. Some sublimation printers give the users the option to increase their printing speed manually by up to 20%.
Most sublimation printers are capable of printing your design on ceramics, different types of papers, fabrics, and so on. While installing these printing materials on the mat, you should be careful with the thickness of the material. The sublimation printers show a maximum thickness capacity so make sure not to exceed this. You need to abide by these numbers otherwise your sublimation printer can malfunction. You must also ensure the material you are placing inside your printer fits properly in the printing tray. If you are not cautious about this your printer will not give you the best results and could also end up breaking.
Additional features of printers
These days, some of the sublimation printers come with touch screens. Having an LCD screen mounted on the printer makes it more convenient as it allows the user to give instructions to the printer directly rather than through a computer. They can also use the screen to edit their designs effectively. An input tray is also an important tool for your sublimation printer. There can be both a front tray and a rear tray. The front input tray usually has a higher sheet capacity compared to the rear tray. On average, a sublimation printer can stock around 250 sheets at a time.
In the industry of printing, Epson is a brand that everyone knows about. They have brought many printers to the table including the Epson Workforce-7710, Epson Workforce-7210, Epson Stylus C88+, Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000, etc. These models are instrumental for sublimation printing on t-shirts, mugs, photo panels, and more. Apart from Epson, there are other well-known and trustworthy brands such as Sawgrass, Ecotank, Canon, and HP. All these brands are well priced and efficient in providing high-quality printouts.
In order to let your sublimation printer know what design you want to print you must connect the printer to your chosen electronic device with the help of USB cables or Wi-Fi. In order to make the sublimation process easier, some manufacturers are designing printers with Bluetooth facilities. Once you connect your printer to a device you can access google cloud print and other printing software. If you are in a rush some sublimation printers allow you to insert the SD card from your phone or camera directly into the printer, allowing prints without the intervention of another device.
Requirement of the user
If you work in an office, you are likely to need the sublimation printer for more than just printing. If this is the case you need a sublimation printer that is good all round. Some sublimation printers offer a variety of services such as scanning, faxing, copying, bulk printing, and so on. You will also need a sublimation printer that has a high printing speed and maximum sheet capacity. For a printer that can do all of this check out our ‘best sublimation printers for small businesses’. If you are a photographer or work in a photo studio you are more likely to focus on the quality of the image over anything else. In this case, check out our ‘best wide format sublimation printer’ as it provides extremely high-resolution printouts. For students, we would recommend our ‘best sublimation printer for beginners’. Alongside its wireless feature this small, lightweight printer means easy transportation making it perfect for on-the-go students.
We hope that this article has helped you in your search for the best sublimation printer.