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Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts in 2023

More and more people realize they don’t have to spend a ton of money on their favorite clothing designs anymore. Instead, you can now easily express yourself and design your clothes at home using a sublimation printer.

However, you can’t buy the printer and start sublimating right away. There are a few more things you’ll have to buy to get started.

You’ll need to buy special sublimation paper for starters, which doesn’t absorb the ink while holding it in place, allowing it to transfer the image perfectly onto the fabric.

Moreover, you’ll need a heat press to press the ink onto the fabric. The longer you leave the paper on the fabric, the more vibrant the colors.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at five candidates for the best sublimation printer for t-shirts, discuss what sets them apart, and mention some bonus facts afterward.

At a Glance

  • Epson EcoTank ET-3760 – Best Overall Pick
  • Epson EcoTank ET-4760 – Premium Pick
  • Canon G3200 – Best Ink Tank
  • WorkForce WF-7710 – Best for Larger Prints
  • WorkForce WF-7210 – Budget Pick

Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts in 2023

The chart above is a quick overview of our five selected printers. For more information on each of them, keep reading this round-up.

1. Epson EcoTank ET-3760 – Best Overall Pick

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

When the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 came out, it immediately drew attention for its promises of excellent quality at a relatively affordable price tag, especially when compared to its all-in-one sibling model, the ET-4760 which we’ll talk about later.

So, in retrospect and after testing, how does the 3760 hold up? And is it as good as Shaquille O’Neal has been hyping it up while doing his product placement gigs?

One of the 3760’s novel features is AirPrint, which enables you to use your mobile phone’s voice assistant to print remotely, so long as your phone is connected to the printer.

Scanning is another great feature we loved. Not only could you scan objects the traditional way using the glass platen, but you could also do so conveniently with the 3760’s automatic document feeder (ADF).

And although the ADF only scans one side at a time, we don’t think this is a problem when you’re using the printer for sublimation.

Moreover, it’s very economical since you can use refillable cartridges, which is fantastic if you’re using the printer for a while.

Apart from the lack of duplex scanning, it took us time to realize that USB connectivity lagged slightly. However, we can tolerate these drawbacks given the price and features of the ET-3760.

What We Like:

  • Smart design and convenient features
  • Good quality for the price
  • Relatively affordable for what it offers
  • Two ways to scan documents
  • Fast and economical

What We Don’t Like:

  • No ADF duplex scanning
  • USB connectivity isn’t very consistent

The Bottom Line

The Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a very economical printer that delivers surprisingly high-quality results at a good pace. In addition, it’s small enough to fit in a compact space and will serve your sublimation needs well.

2. Epson EcoTank ET-4760 – Premium Pick

Epson EcoTank ET-4760

If you have some cash lying around and wouldn’t mind spending it on a fancier printer, then check out the Epson EcoTank ET-4760.

At about a third of the price more than its sibling model, the ET-3760, the 4760 offers a few key productivity features.

The most immediately noticeable feature is the automatic document feeder’s duplex scanning, which allows you to scan both sides of your document at once instead of having to stop mid-way to flip the document over.

With dimensions of roughly 13.7 x 14.8 x 9.1 inches, the 4760 shows that a small printer can be packed with well-designed features to perform well and tirelessly, even for sublimation.

Of course, the 4760 guarantees you high-quality prints in an impressive printing time. And you can up the resolution as much as you’d like or even print borderless, and the most the printer will take is less than a minute to get your photo out.

Despite the hefty upfront cost, the 4760 is cost-effective, using refillable cartridges to help you save money. And although you might find printers with more features in this price range, they wouldn’t boast such a low printing cost.

What We Like:

  • Compact size
  • Efficient and cost-effective printing
  • Low printing cost
  • Great printing quality
  • Refillable cartridges

What We Don’t Like:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Not as many features compared to other printers in the same price range

The Bottom Line

Although comparable to the ET-3760 in terms of quality, the additional features make life more convenient with this printer. So if you have a bit more cash to spend, you’ll enjoy this one.

3. Canon G3200 – Best Ink Tank

Canon G3200

If you tend to run out of ink because you forget about it, then check out the Canon G3200 with its huge ink tank.

Even though it’s not an expensive printer, the G3200 comes with a vast ink reservoir that will last you up to 6000 to 7000 colored pages.

That’s enough to last several years if you’re using the printer for personal reasons and not to run a business with it.

The result is a sharp image with vibrant colors, all great for the price tag. And while the G3200 may not have the most top-of-the-line features, it’s good enough for sublimation.

What We Like:

  • Huge ink tank
  • Affordable price
  • Sharp image with good colors

What We Don’t Like:

  • It sometimes bugs out when connecting to Apple devices

The Bottom Line

The Canon G3200 is a good printer for sublimation for t-shirts. And while it doesn’t boast the fanciest features on the market, its huge ink tank is what sells it.

4. WorkForce WF-7710 – Best for Larger Prints

WorkForce WF-7710

Few printer manufacturers can boast about their printers being capable of A3 paper. And even those who can will likely not tell you what they had to sacrifice for this capability.

But the WF-7710 is honest. It’s a big mighty printer capable of up to 13 x 19 inch (A3) borderless prints without compromising quality.

This will allow you to create beautiful prints to transfer to your t-shirts with relative ease, especially since the WF-7710 is a very convenient printer with straightforward functions. So say goodbye to getting lost in long, convoluted menus.

Just be ready to do some heavy lifting since this 40-pound beast is quite heavy.

What We Like:

  • High-quality borderless prints
  • Can print up to A3 paper size
  • Goes into sleep mode automatically when inactive
  • ADF duplex scanning

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy and large frame
  • Higher cost per print

The Bottom Line

If you feel limited by the standardized A4 paper size common in printers, you can upscale to A3 using the WorkForce WF-7710, which prints up to A3 and even supports borderless prints.

5. WorkForce WF-7210 – Budget Pick

WorkForce WF-7210

Last but not least, the WorkForce WF-7210 is our choice for those on a tight budget. And fortunately, it still gets the job done despite being a “budget” printer.

It’s effortless to use with multiple wireless and USB connectivity options. And with the automatic document feeder that uses duplex scanning, you can quickly get your designs into the printer.

The WF-7210 even supports macOS, so you don’t have to be on Windows if you want to print from your computer.

And just like the 7710 we talked about above, the WF-7210 has a user-friendly interface that doesn’t waste your time, all accessible on the front panel touch monitor.

Unfortunately, one of the WF-7210’s main drawbacks is its relatively high cost per print, which seems to be a trend among WorkForce models.

What We Like:

  • Very affordable price
  • ADF with duplex scanning
  • Two large paper drawers
  • User-friendly interface

What We Don’t Like:

  • High cost per print
  • No USB support

The Bottom Line

If you’re on a tight budget, then you’ll like the WorkForce WF-7210, which will fulfill your sublimation printing needs, and the result will look good on fabric.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Sublimation Printer

All sublimation printers weren’t made equal. And while most printers you can buy will probably get the job done, a few factors differentiate good printers from great printers.

For example, different printers produce different quality graphics. Two printers can print the same image on paper and look roughly the same. However, the difference will be immense when applying the two papers to the fabric.

Some factors will determine how vibrant the colors are; other factors will ensure the image comes out looking crisp and not “ghosted.” For reference, ghosting is when the ink doesn’t sit perfectly on the sublimation paper, so it comes out a little blurry when you transfer the image to fabric.

So for your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of all the factors you need to consider before buying a sublimation printer.

Printing Field Size

If you’re looking to create bigger designs on fabric, you’ll probably have to spend a significant sum of money. Most cheaper printers can only print on A4 paper. This can feel restricting to some people who can’t fully express their creativity on a single sheet of paper.

Opting for a more expensive printer with a bigger printing field is one option. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can still make larger designs on cheap printers. It’ll just take more work.

You split your design into two or four sections in Photoshop (depending on how big your design is) with an inch-width margin. Then print the sections on A4 sheets of paper, manually cut the extra blank paper, and tape your design together using heat-resistant tape.

The problem with this method is if your design isn’t taped together perfectly, the design will come out with an offset or even ghosted. However, with enough practice, you’ll get the gist of it.

Printer Connectivity

The era of old-school printers where you had to connect the printer to your computer to print is over. The main problem with that method is if someone else wanted to use the printer, they’d have to move it and connect it to their computer.

Nowadays, buying a printer with a Wi-Fi connection capability is essential. When a printer is connected to a network, any device connected to the same network can print wirelessly. So you can finish your business on your computer, tablet, or phone.

Printer Dimensions and Weight

If you’re someone with a compact workspace, you’ll have to pay attention to the dimensions of the unit you’re buying. A common misconception is that small printers will have a small printing field size, while larger, heavier printers will have a bigger one. But this isn’t always the case.

It mainly depends on how well-engineered the printer is. So make sure you look for the smallest printer with the largest printing area. And you shouldn’t buy a larger printing field size than you know you’ll need.

Printer Cartridge Availability

No matter how good the printer’s specifications are or how tempting the price tag is, your printer will be obsolete if you can’t find compatible ink cartridges after they run out. So the first thing you should look into before buying a printer is how easy the ink cartridges are to come by.

And a common trap you should avoid is printers that are only compatible with expensive ink cartridges. So after a couple of months of use, you end up paying more for ink than you did for the printer.

Number of Ink Colors

The number of colors is the main factor determining how vibrant the colors on your designs come out looking. Sublimation printers use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, as mixing them gives the printer a broad spectrum of colors.

However, you can opt for an eight-color printer for more vibrant and accurate colors. It uses the four colors above and four other lighter versions. However, while using 8C prints out a more photo-realistic image, it comes at higher ink costs and a slower printing speed.

Reusable Cartridges

You should look for a printer with reusable cartridges if you’re on a tight budget. This means that instead of buying new cartridges when the ink runs out, you only buy new ink and empty it into the old cartridges.

Sublimation Paper Compatibility

Many printers out there can be used for both sublimation paper and regular paper. However, that doesn’t mean that all regular printers are compatible with sublimation paper.

It’s possible to sublimate using regular paper, but there’s a big chance you’ll ruin a few shirts trying to get the design to look good. So for perfect designs every time, you need to make sure the printer you’re buying is compatible with sublimation paper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Refill My Old Cartridges Instead of Buying New?

This depends on the printer you own. Some printers need new cartridges every time the ink runs out, while others are only compatible with specific, expensive ones. Some do have reusable cartridges, though. So if yours does, then, by all means, fill them up.

Can I Use Normal Paper for Sublimation?

Yes, it’s possible. However, don’t expect your design to look too great when transferred onto fabric. The problem with regular paper is the ink easily bleeds through it, and some ink gets absorbed into the paper. So when you put it through the heat press, the design will come out patchy.

Do I Have to Buy a Premium Heat Press?

As long as the press can produce enough heat to get the colors looking vibrant on fabric, there’s no need to get one any hotter. On the other hand, larger presses are more expensive. So don’t buy a press the size of an A4 paper sheet if you want to create bigger designs.

Can I Use My Old Printer for Sublimation?

This depends on two factors. The first is your printer’s printing technology; inkjets are fine for sublimation. However, laser printers can’t get the job done. The second factor is if your printer is compatible with sublimation paper. Read the manual or Google the model to find out.

Why Can’t I Sublimate on Regular Cotton T-Shirts?

For sublimation to work, the ink must get transported onto the fabric and stay that way. The problem with cotton isn’t getting the ink on it, but that the ink will eventually fade with washing. For the ink to stay permanently, use polyester t-shirts or at least a polyester mix.

The Bottom Line

Fortunately, there are many good sublimation printers for t-shirts, and they come in a wide array of features and capabilities, all depending on your budget.

The best overall sublimation printer for t-shirts, in our opinion, is the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, which comes with a lot of features for a reasonable price tag. However, it doesn’t support duplex scanning.

Other options worth checking out are the Epson EcoTank ET-4760, which is comparable to the 3760 but comes with more convenient features at a premium price tag.

And lastly, those on a budget should check out the very budget-friendly WorkForce WF-7210.

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