The 5 Best Sublimation Printers in 2021

Do you want to come up with your own sublimation projects? Then you need a printer that’s suitable for this type of printing. And since most printers aren’t really advertised as “sublimation printers,” choosing the right one can be tricky.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the most top-rated printers that can work well with sublimation, so you can ultimately decide on the best sublimation printer for your needs!

Comparison Table

ModelPaper TraySpeedConnectivity
Epson Stylus C88+120 sheets14 ppmUSB, ethernet
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000200+50 sheets9 ppmUSB, Wi-Fi, ethernet, cloud
Epson Artisan 1430Single-feeding2 ppmUSB, Wi-Fi, ethernet, SD card
Epson WorkForce WF-7720250 sheets10 ppmUSB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, ethernet
Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation PrinterSingle roll-bar feeder15 seconds (600dpi)USB, Wi-Fi, ethernet

The 5 Best Sublimation Printers in 2021

Now that we’ve gone through the specs briefly let’s dive deeper into the ins and outs of each printer to see what each of them is capable of.

1. Epson Stylus C88+ – Best Overall

Epson Stylus C88+

The Epson Stylus C88+ boasts a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy for you to fit anywhere in the room.

With a maximum print resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi, the Stylus C88+ can print stunning, high-quality images for your sublimation projects.

Moreover, it can print on paper sizes as large as 8.5 x 14”, making it ideal for sublimation jobs. Oh, and if sublimating large quantities of materials in a short time matters to you, the Stylus C88+ can handle it gracefully with a top print speed of 14 ppm.

The paper tray can take 120 sheets at a time, which isn’t that many, but you still won’t have to re-feed it frequently.

It’s also worth noting that while the Stylus C88+ doesn’t support Wi-Fi, it still supports printing over USB and ethernet.

Nevertheless, since this is a moderately-priced printer, the missing wireless connectivity is justifiable.

What We Like:

  • Compact design
  • Fast print speed
  • High resolution
  • Decent price

What We Don’t Like:

  • No wireless connectivity 

Verdict

Coming at an attractive price point, the Epson Stylus C88+ makes an outstanding sublimation printer with its excellent print quality and super-fast print speed.

2. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 – Runner-Up

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000

The Epson Expression XP-15000 wide-format printer is an excellent printer for sublimation that ticks many of our boxes. For starters, this printer can print on paper sizes of 13 x 19”, which is quite impressive and gives you more versatility when crafting your sublimation projects.

What’s more, It features a 6-cartridge ink system that has what it takes to deliver high-quality sublimation prints. Add to that the maximum resolution of 1440 dpi, and you get yourself some pretty sharp images for sleek-looking graphic clothes and fabrics.

There’s a 2.4” touchscreen display that lets you make direct commands and modify the printer’s settings conveniently without turning on your computer. The printer also has a large paper tray that can take up to 200 sheets, in addition to a 50-sheet rear tray.

Additionally, the XP-15000 can print at a maximum speed of 9 ppm, which is considered average for a wide-format inkjet printer. Other features include automatic document feeding and duplexing.

The cherry on top is that the Expression XP-15000 supports a wide array of connectivity solutions that include USB, ethernet, and Wi-Fi. Plus, you can print over cloud services like Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint.

What We Like:

  • Supports cloud printing
  • Can print over Wi-Fi
  • Supports 13 x 19” paper
  • Large paper tray
  • Easy on-screen controls

What We Don’t Like:

  • High running costs

Verdict

For large sublimation print jobs and convenient cloud printing, you won’t find a better alternative to the Epson Expression XP-15000.

3. Epson Artisan 1430 – High-End Pick

Epson Artisan 1430

The Epson Artisan 1430 is a premium wide-format printer that can work flawlessly as a sublimation printer. It can print on paper sizes of up to 13 x 19”, allowing you to get creative with your sublimation projects.

The Artisan 1430 is equipped with six Claria Hi-Definition ink cartridges that can be easily filled with sublimation ink. What makes things better are the sophisticated light and color correction mechanisms that deliver an unmatched image composition and color reproduction.

Additionally, the ink cartridges can be replaced one by one, so no need to worry about a faulty cartridge or two.

The Artisan 1430 is also capable of printing images at a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi, which is pretty decent for sublimation projects.

In terms of connections, the Artisan 1430 can print over USB, Wi-Fi, and ethernet. Wi-Fi Direct is here too, and it can be handy when you want to print wirelessly from one of your mobile devices without access to an internet connection.

We also love that the Artisan has an SD card reader, which makes direct printing a whole lot easier.

What We Like:

  • Top-notch print quality
  • Supports Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct
  • Large-format paper support
  • Can read SD cards
  • Individual ink cartridges

What We Don’t Like:

  • Hefty price tag
  • Large footprint
  • Slow speed

Verdict

With stunning print quality, SD card printing, and Wi-Fi Direct support, the Epson Artisan 1430 leaves little to be desired.

4. Epson WorkForce WF-7720 – Best Versatile

Epson WorkForce WF-7720

The Epson Workforce WF-7710 is one of the most versatile sublimation printers on the planet. This printer is capable of printing borderless 13 x 19” images, enabling you to print on all types of clothes regardless of their size. You can even use it to sublimate on curtains and other types of fabrics.

The WF-7220 has a large main sheet tray that holds up to 250 sheets, in addition to the specialty rear tray with a capacity of 125 sheets. This gives you endless choices for your sublimation designs!

As for print speed, the WorkForce WF-7720 can print at a maximum speed of 10 ppm, which is pretty good for an inkjet printer.

There’s also a 4.3” touchscreen display that makes it easier for you to adjust the printing parameters and even play around with the printer’s settings.

And when it comes to connectivity, the WorkForce WF-7720 can print over USB, Wi-Fi, and ethernet. In addition, you can use Wi-Fi Direct to establish a peer-to-peer connection between your mobile device and the printer without relying on an internet hotspot for fast and secure printing.

Other features include a copier, scanner, and double-sided printing.

What We Like:

  • Can print borderless 13 x 19” images
  • Decent print speed
  • Supports Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct
  • Multifunctional control panel
  • Large sheet tray
  • Dedicated scanner and copier

What We Don’t Like:

  • High running costs

Verdict

Epson Workforce WF-7710 makes a great sublimation printer with several connectivity options and a massive sheet tray.

5. Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer – Best Dedicated 

Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer

The Sawgrass SG500 is one of the few printers out there that’s actually designed and sold as a sublimation printer. With any other printer, you need to make a few adjustments, like replacing the regular ink with sublimation ink and cleaning the nozzles to use it for sublimation.

With the Sawgrass SG500, it’s as easy as plug and play because it’s already preloaded with sublimation ink. It even supports Wi-Fi for seamless wireless printing.

The SG500’s running costs are pretty low, making it ideal for those who want to start a sublimation business. Not to mention, its energy efficiency is fascinating.

Another good feature is the automatic maintenance cycle that the SG500 regularly runs with little to no interference from your side. This ensures that the printer is always ready for your projects, minimizing downtime.

The icing on top is that the SG500 integrates a single roll-bar feeder that works much better for sublimation projects than traditional paper trays found in other inkjet printers.

It’s also worth noting that the SG500 comes with the Sawgrass Print Manager and CreativeStudio Online Designer at no extra cost, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing a software package for designing your projects.

Additionally, it ships with SubliJet UHD sublimation ink and a two-year warranty card.

What We Like:

  • Comes ready for sublimation printing
  • Single roll-bar feeder
  • Automatic maintenance cycles
  • Low running costs
  • Two-year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not compatible with 100% cotton fabrics

Verdict

If you’re looking for a dedicated sublimation printer that requires little to no effort to set up, the Sawgrass SG500 would be your best bet.

See also: The 5 Best Printers for Cricut in 2021

Choosing the Right Sublimation Printer for Your Usage

Here are some of the considerations that you should keep in mind when shopping for a sublimation printer:

Print Quality

If you want your sublimation projects to stand out from the crowd, it’s essential that you pick a printer that’s capable of delivering high-quality color reproduction and sharpness. A 1440 dpi resolution would be a good place to start, but of course, the higher, the better.

As for color reproduction, it’d be best if the printer had multiple ink cartridges for the best color accuracy.

Speed

Inkjet printers aren’t that fast, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a turtle-slow printer. As a general rule of thumb, try to ensure that the printer’s maximum print speed is at least 7-9 ppm, especially if you’re planning to run a business with the printer and need to print bulk amounts in a short time.

Connectivity

Since sublimation printers are used extensively, having as many connectivity options as possible would be convenient. Ideally, your sublimation should have one or two wired connectivity solutions, in addition to wireless printing. 

Wi-Fi Direct or cloud printing would be a nice addition, too, especially if you heavily rely on mobile devices for printing.

Read also: The 5 Best Polaroid Printers for iPhone

Paper Tray

Choosing a printer with a large paper tray is essential if you’re going to rely on your printer for most of your sublimation jobs. You won’t need to re-feed the tray as frequently, which translates to a more streamlined workflow and faster order processing. A 200-sheet paper tray is preferred, but 100-150 sheets should work fine too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Do Sublimation With Any Printer?

No, not all printers are suitable for sublimation printing. You need a printer that can take sublimation paper, and since regular printers don’t have the proper printer heads or ink cartridge to print on this type of paper, they won’t really give you a satisfactory result.

Can You Sublimate With a Laser Printer?

It’s possible to use a laser printer for sublimation, but again, you won’t likely get a good result with this method.

What’s the Difference Between Heat Transfer and Sublimation?

The primary difference between sublimation and heat transfer is that sublimation is permanent, while heat transfer prints will probably start wearing out eventually. Also, when you sublimate an image over a t-shirt, the ink becomes a part of the fabric, in contrast to heat transfer, when you just add a layer on top of the t-shirt.

Can You Put Sublimation on Cotton?

Yes, you can sublimate on virtually all fabrics, including cotton. However, you might need to adjust some parameters like temperature. For example, a cotton shirt will probably require less heat for sublimation than linen.

Is Sublimation Ink Permanent?

Yes, sublimation ink is permanent. Once you sublimate a design on one of your shirts or jacket, it’ll stay there forever with no peeling or cracks.

Final Thoughts

So that was our two cents when it comes to the best sublimation printer choices on the market.

If we had to pick a favorite, it’d be the Epson Stylus C88+. Despite lacking Wi-Fi printing, this printer has everything you need to create your own DIY sublimation projects or even run a dye sublimation business. It’s fast, easy to use, and delivers exceptional print quality.

On the other hand, If you want a premium printer, you should consider going for the Epson Artisan 1430.

Finally, if you prefer dedicated sublimation printers that don’t require any adjustments, go for the Sawgrass SG500.

Leave a Comment