6 Best Sublimation Printers in 2021

If you want to sell customized clothes or accessories, a sublimation printer is your best bet. This special printer uses smart technology to create long-lasting, vivid designs. So, here’s a detailed guide to the best sublimation printers out there.

Sublimation printers are powerful, fast, and cost-effective. They also tend to provide better results that won’t peel or fade. So, they’re ideal if you want to sell customized products.

I’ve reviewed the best sublimation printers on the market right now. Whether you want a sublimation printer for your new hobby or a side hustle, there’s something for you. 

Plus, I have a detailed guide showing you what to look out for when buying a sublimation printer. So, you’ll be able to find one that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Best Sublimation Printer Reviews

Top 3 Sublimation Printers: A Quick Comparison

You might be wondering, what is the best sublimation printer for me? The answer will depend on what your priorities and budget are. 

If you’re on a very tight budget, you could go for the Brother HL-L2320D printer. It’s the cheapest sublimation printer on this list, but it can also only print in black and white. While it’s very affordable, that will severely limit the kind of products you can create. But it’s still a good way to get started with sublimation printing.

The next option is the Epson EcoTank ET-2720. More expensive than the Brother printer, it’s still an affordable price option. Even better, it has very low ongoing costs and it comes with 2 years worth of ink! This printer has great print quality and quick and easy connectivity from most devices. It’s also capable of a wide variety of paper formats, providing you with more options for your designs.

But if you want to go all in and get the best there is, check out the Sawgrass SG1000. You may wince when you see the price – this printer is not cheap. It’s the most expensive on the list, but it also produces the best sublimation prints you can imagine. 

Sawgrass printers are the industry standard for dye sublimation. So, this one is well worth your money. But it’s best suited if you’re happy investing a good chunk of money into your business. 

epson ecotank et 15000 sawgrass virtuoso sg1000 brother hl l2320d mono laser printer
ProductEpson EcoTank ET-2720 Best Affordable Sublimation PrinterSawgrass SG1000Best Premium Sublimation PrinterBrother HL-L2320D Mono Printer Best Black & White Sublimation Printer
BrandEpsonSawgrassBrother
Printing TechnologyColor Inkjet PrinterDye SublimationLaser
ConnectivityWiFi Direct, WiFi, USB, EthernetWiFi, Ethernet, USBUSB
Warranty2-year limited warranty if you register it with Epson2-year warranty & lifetime product support1-year limited warranty

Epson EcoTank ET-15000

Best Sublimation Printer for Long-term Value for Money

Best Sublimation Printer for Long-term Value for Money

(Image credit: Epson)

If you’re looking for a desktop sublimation printer that is built to last, go for the Epson EcoTank ET-15000. Not only is it durable, but it’s incredibly economical and eco-friendly. 

The EcoTank ET-15000 has a supertank of ink that can last up to 2 years. As a result, you can save tons on buying new cartridges for your printer. Each page averages out at just 1 cent with this printer. Not only will the refillable cartridges save you cash, but it’s also kind to the environment and provide unnecessary waste. 

And when the ink does run out, you can get a replacement bottle at a very reasonable price. So, the ongoing overhead of running this printer is very low. That’s true even if you do a lot of sublimation printing.

Despite the low operation and printing costs, you don’t lose any image quality. This printer has a high-density print chip, so you get fantastic print accuracy and detail. Your designs will look amazing, sharp, and true to life. 

Plus, the PrecisionCore technology ensures a superb performance from this printer. That makes it perfect for large print runs.

It also offers all the other features you’d expect from any regular printer. Of course, you can fax, copy, and scan, as well as save paper by duplex printing. It has a 250-sheet paper tray, a media tray for large or high-quality prints, and an Auto Document Feeder.

As for the sublimation paper formats compatible, this printer is very versatile. You can print up to 13 x 19-inch designs, giving you the option to create larger designs. It even offers borderless prints up to 11 x 17 inches.

The 2.7-inch color touchscreen makes it easy to use. And with WiFi Direct, you don’t even need a computer or a router to print. You can do it all right from your phone or tablet for the ultimate ease and flexibility.

Overall, the Epson EcoTank EP-15000 is an excellent sublimation printer for T-shirts. It’s not cheap to buy, but in the long term, this printer will save you so much money. So, it’s worth spending a bit more upfront for enduring print quality and low operating costs.

  • Brand: Epson
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • Connectivity: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Ethernet
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty (2 years if you register it with Epson)
  • You can print accurate, crisp designs up to 13 x 19 inches
  • It meets all your regular and sublimation printing needs
  • It has very low ongoing costs and comes with enough ink for 2 years
  • This printer is very expensive to buy upfront
  • It can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first

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Epson EcoTank ET-2720

Best Affordable Sublimation Printer

Best Affordable Sublimation Printer

(Image credit: Epson)

You might look at this printer and think that it’s still a little expensive for an affordable printer. But you have to consider the cost of buying ink cartridges every month or so. Then, the EcoTank ET-2720 suddenly becomes a very attractive alternative.

Because the amazing thing about this printer is that it comes with enough ink to last for two years. You’ll save around 90% of the cost of ink cartridges with this clever, eco-friendly printer. 

But the EcoTank ET-2720 is also much cheaper than the ET-15000. So, that makes it ideal for anyone who wants a supertank printer, but not the steep initial price point. This model won’t set you back too much, making it easier to get started with sublimation. 

The ET-2720 produces good-quality prints. It can even print sharp, accurate photos without any pixelation. But it may not be as crisp or precise as the premium sublimation printers out there. 

But it does offer easy connectivity from any smartphone or computer. It’s quick and easy to set up, and refilling the ink is simple. So, there’s no need to get your hands messy! Plus, it comes with a 2-year warranty and is compatible with a wide range of paper formats.

So, this EcoTank printer is perfect if you want to start sublimation printing on a budget! 

  • Brand: Epson
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • Connectivity: WiFi Direct, WiFi, USB, Ethernet
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty if you register it with Epson
  • A fantastic budget printer for beginner sublimation printing
  • You can print a wide variety of paper formats
  • It provides good-quality prints 
  • There’s a very low ongoing cost as the ink lasts for ages
  • It doesn’t have the highest print resolution compared to other models

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Sawgrass SG1000

Best Premium Sublimation Printing Machine

Best Premium Sublimation Printing Machine

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

If you’re not familiar with Sawgrass, then listen up. It’s one of the most well-known brands in sublimation printing, and for good reason. Sawgrass has been in business for over 50 years. It also produces some of the best sublimation printers out there. And the SG1000 is no different.

It’s a compact desktop printer designed specifically for sublimation printing. It works flawlessly on a range of different polymers in a remarkably quick time. So, with the SG1000, you can print on T-shirts, mugs, wood, and more. 

Sawgrass SG1000 uses high-quality sublimation inks to produce incredible results. With a super-high print resolution, your designs will be vibrant and stunning. 

It can also handle large print runs without any worries. That means there are no limits to how many T-shirts or other products you can make. So, there are no limits to the money you can make in your new business, too! 

What’s more, this printer comes with amazing software included. So, you can create unique designs for your products. The warranty covers the SG1000 for two years, and you also get lifetime product support. So, there’s a lot to like about this sublimation printer.

But there are a few drawbacks to this model. First of all, there’s the high cost. That’s not to say it’s not worth this price, but it’s not within everyone’s budget.

Also, the Sawgrass sublimation dyes are very expensive. So, that adds to the ongoing cost of this printer. 

If you want a professional printer that can churn out product after product, this is for you! The Sawgrass SG1000 is ideal for anyone who wants to start a serious business. While you will first have to invest in this printer, it’s well worth your money. 

  • Brand: Sawgrass
  • Printing Technology: Dye sublimation
  • Connectivity: Wifi, USB, Ethernet
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty & lifetime product support
  • The best Dye-sublimation printers for small/medium businesses
  • It can produce large print runs with superb quality, thanks to a high print resolution
  • It prints quickly and accurately 
  • You also get a powerful software for designing images 
  • It comes with a great 2-year warranty and ongoing support
  • The SG1000 is very expensive, and the inks also cost a lot 

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Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer

Top Sublimation Printer

Top Sublimation Printer

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

Next up is the slightly cheaper model, the Sawgrass SG500. But while it’s more affordable than the SG1000, this printer is by no means a budget sublimation printer.

However, it’s well worth your attention. You still get the same great customer support and high-quality printer as with the SG1000. 

And just like the SG1000, it uses the Sublijet UHD sublimation inks. The interface is smooth and intuitive, making this printer easy to use. Plus, you get access to the Creative Studio Online Designer included in the price.

It also comes with a generous 2-year warranty. So, you can trust that this printer will be durable and hardwearing. (And if not, Sawgrass should repair or replace it for you). That provides great peace of mind when investing in a more costly printer. 

Where the SG500 differs from the SG1000 is in the smaller paper capacity of this model. The SG500 is compatible with paper formats up to 8.5 x 14 inches. So, it’s most useful if you want to print smaller designs onto clothes or accessories.

But if you don’t need to print very large prints, the Sawgrass SG500 ticks all the right boxes. It meets all your needs for a quality sublimation printer and offers great value for money.

  • Brand: Sawgrass
  • Printing Technology: Dye sublimation
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet, WiFi
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty & ongoing customing support
  • One of the best sublimation printers for heat transfer
  • You get superb image quality using the best sublimation inks
  • It’s easy to use, durable, and powerful
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty and lifetime customer support
  • It’s still not a cheap printer

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Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000

Best Epson Printer for Sublimation

Best Epson Printer for Sublimation

(Image credit: Epson)

The Epson Expression XP-15000 is technically a high-quality photo printer. But it also works well for sublimation printing. 

This printer is ideal as it can print large formats up to 13 x 19 inches and handle materials up to 23 mm thick. That gives you a lot more flexibility for what you can print. 

It’s perfect if you want to create big, bold designs or print on thicker material like hoodies. There’s no limit to what you can make with this printer! You can also use a wide variety of fabrics or polyester fabrics with the Epson Expression XP-15000. 

Despite these great features, it’s one of the cheapest sublimation printers available. It also has excellent print quality, including gorgeous, true-to-life photos. You get an incredible level of detail and vivid colors that make your products look amazing.

The Epson Expression provides everything you could need from a printer. It offers borderless printing, wireless connection, and is compatible with most devices. You can also connect it to Alexa for voice control and set up dash replenishment so you don’t run out of ink. 

It’s easy to navigate and select your printing options, thanks to the 2.4-inch color LCD. But it would be even more user-friendly if it had a touchscreen, instead of having to use the buttons. 

Despite the large print format, it’s still pretty compact. So, it won’t take up too much space in your office or home. 

This printer isn’t the fastest, so bear that in mind. If you have large print runs, that will be very time-consuming. So if speed is your priority, you may want to consider other options on this list.

As for the ongoing cost, this printer gets a little pricey. It’s recommended to only use Epson ink cartridges, but they don’t come cheap and it gets through lots of ink. But that could be outweighed by the low initial cost. It’s up to you whether you’re after long-term affordability or not. 

But if you can get past the low printing speed and expensive cartridges, this could be the printer for you. With great features and image quality, it’s a fantastic low-cost sublimation printer.

  • Brand: Epson
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • Connectivity: Wireless, Ethernet
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
  • The six-ink system produces bright, vibrant, and accurate images
  • It has good wireless connectivity options
  • It offers borderless printing & large formats up to 13 x 19 inches
  • The cartridges are quite expensive to buy, and you can’t use third-party inks
  • It doesn’t have any memory card slots
  • The print speed is pretty slow

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Brother HL-L2320D Mono Laser Printer

Best Black & White Printer for Sublimation

Best Black & White Printer for Sublimation

(Image credit: Brother)

The Brother HL-L2320D could be what you’re looking for if you’re brand new to sublimation printing. It will also suit anyone who has a very tight budget but still wants to try creating customized clothing.

This printer has super-fast print speeds of up to 30 ppm. It’s also very gentle on your wallet, with a low initial price. Plus, the toner cartridges uses tend to last longer than regular ink cartridges. So, it could work out more affordable in the long run, too.

It offers duplex printing (although you’re unlikely to need that for sublimation printing). The print quality is excellent, thanks to a 2400 x 600 dpi resolution. 

The biggest downside to this Brother print is that it can only print in black and white. So, if you have dreams of creating bright, colorful designs, you can think again. (Or, check out the other printers on this list!) 

For a basic sublimation printer, the Brother HL-L2320D ticks the right boxes. It’s a little limited in features, and you can only connect by USB. But that’s what you’d expect for this bargain price. 

  • Brand: Brother
  • Printing Technology: Laser
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
  • Images come out sharp and accurate, thanks to the high 2400 x 600 dpi resolution
  • It prints very quickly – up to 30 ppm
  • It can only print in black and white
  • It doesn’t have wireless connectivity – you have to connect via USB

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The Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners: A Buying Guide

You want to make sure you buy a top sublimation printer, so here’s everything you need to know! I’ll cover what makes a sublimation printer for T-shirts special. 

Plus, I’ll share the most important things to look out for to make sure you get a great sublimation printer.

A top sublimation printer will have excellent print quality and a good output speed. But just as important is the price and the ongoing cost of the printer, too. (Even more so if you’re on a budget). 

Keep these things in mind, and it will be easy to find the right sublimation printer for you.

What Kind of Printer Do You Need for Sublimation?

First of all, you’ll need a specially designed sublimation printer. That’s because the kind of ink is very different from regular ink. It has specific requirements to ensure that it prints well and looks good. 

All the printers on this list are perfect for sublimation printing. So, you can browse through and take your pick! 

Print Quality

Whether you’re printing items to sell or not, image quality is probably your highest concern. You want your items to look bright, clean, and eye-catching. 

So, one thing you’ll need to find out is the image resolution of the prints. When it comes to resolution, the higher it is, the better. As a result, you’ll get a sharp image that doesn’t look pixellated.

But you also want to look at how accurate the colors come out. Are they true-to-life, or do they look muted or distorted? You want your designs to look vibrant, with rich, saturated colors. That will make all the difference to your products and ensure you have happy customers.

Printer Method – How Does It Print?

One of the first things you’ll want to find out is which method each printer uses for printing. For example, some will apply ink directly onto the material. But others use a heat transfer technique instead. 

Each method has pros and cons, but you’ll need to know upfront to ensure you make the right decision. 

Materials Compatibility

Another thing to look into is which materials you can print on with any specific printer. Each printer may have different compatibility. 

So, you want to make sure it matches what you have in mind. You don’t want to wait until you’ve bought the printer to find out it’s not compatible with your products!

Don’t forget that many sublimation printers don’t work well on dark colors. While it’s not completely impossible, it is tricky. You can find out some tips on printing on dark fabrics here.  

Ink Cartridge – Price and Longevity

When buying any printer, you should look into the ink cartridges it takes. Even though sublimation printers use special sublimation ink, the principle is the same.

Make sure you find out how much the cartridges cost and how long they last. You should also look up how many cartridges each printer uses, too. 

Then, you can estimate what your ongoing costs will be. That will give you an idea of how much your products will cost to produce. This information is especially important if you want to sell them and make a profit.

Connectivity

Think about how you’ll connect to your printer to transfer your designs. There are now many different options available to you. But not every printer will support all connectivity options. 

Most printers will allow you to connect your laptop via USB to print off your designs. But you may prefer to transfer them from another mobile device like your phone. Or maybe you want to draw right onto your tablet and print from it. That makes it much more streamlined. It also saves you from messing around with USB sticks. 

The majority of modern sublimation printers offer wireless printing. So, you can connect to any device over a network from any of your gadgets. 

But it’s even better if your chosen printer has WiFi Direct. That means you can connect without there even being a router nearby. It makes it straightforward, quick, and effortless to print. 

FAQ

What are sublimation printers?

Sublimation printing is a direct-to-material printing process that uses heat and pressure to transfer inks directly onto fabric. It’s a fast, efficient way of creating custom designs on the fly, and you can get your prints ready within a few minutes. Unlike other methods, it doesn’t require an expensive print head. You just peel off the finished product from its special paper backing and stick it anywhere!

What Printers Can Be Used for Sublimation?

You’ll need a special printer designed specifically for sublimation. So, your regular printer just won’t cut it.

Most sublimation printers use viscous dyes that are water-insoluble. You can’t use these special sublimation dyes in a normal printer. 

A sublimation printer uses heat to transform these inks from solid to gas. Then, they permanently dye your material to produce a clean, bright design that will last.

But sublimation inks need a certain process and temperature to work. They also have a specific consistency that not all printers can handle. So, you’ll need a sublimation printer instead of any other type of printer. 

Sublimation printers also offer the capability of making all-over prints. So, they’re your best bet if you want to make cool and eye-catching clothes. 

Which is the Best Ink to Buy for Epson Sublimation Printers?

The answer, as you might expect, depends on what kind of printer you have.

You need ink that will accept heat from your sublimator and not just be heated by it. So if you’re using a standard heat press or something similar, then anything will do. In that case, you’ll want to look for inks designed to work well with such tools.

There are three main types – dye-based inks, pigment-based inks, and metallic inks. Dye-based inks tend to fade faster than pigment-based ones but have some advantages too. They generally don’t run, they aren’t affected by light exposure

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The best sublimation printers reviews and buying guide

The Wrap Up

With this complete guide to sublimation printers, you should have a good idea of what you’ll need. Now, you know what makes a top sublimation printer for heat transfers

You can shop around and compare your options with confidence. Or, you can save some time and take your pick from the reviewed printers above!

Let me know how it goes with your new sublimation printing machine in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more tips and reviews. 

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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