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    13 Best Sublimation Printer for 2021 [Buyer’s Guide + Reviews]

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    Best Sublimation Printer – Are you looking for a sublimation printer for your business or DIY projects? Here is a detailed guide on how to find the best printer that fits your budget.

    A sublimation printer uses heat to transfer different colored dyes onto materials like paper, fabric, plastic, or ceramics. It is also known as heat and thermal printing and is used for printing art on t-shirts and mugs. These make excellent gift choices for our loved ones.

    You need to look into a few salient features before purchasing the perfect model for your business or home. Here is an in-depth review to help you choose the same.

    13 Best Sublimation Printer for 2021

    #1 Epson WorkForce WF-7710 Wireless Wide-format Color Inkjet Printer

    Best Sublimation Printer

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 22.3 x 19.1 x 13.4 inches
    Color Black
    Brand Epson
    Print media Envelopes, paper, glossy photo paper
    User ratings 4.5 out of 5 stars

     

    The Epson workforce printer has the perfect dimensions for a work environment. It is used to manufacture prints without borders of 13 x 19 inches in size. For this process, it uses an intermediary fabric to transfer designs from printed to cotton t-shirts. It also has 250 large sheet trays, which allows more papers to be entered into the printer. The intermediary fabric can be composed of any material.

    You can also connect the Epson workforce printer to direct Wi-Fi and the internet. It can also e linked with other devices while printing as it has communication protocol connections. It is also equipped with a scanner to read documents and is a two-sided printer.

    The printer saves paper as the scanner covers large surfaces of 11 x 17 inches. With NFC connection and direct Wi-Fi support, this Epson workforce model is highly preferred by users. It is also reliable because it consumes less power and creates the best quality prints.

    Pros:

    • Works best when there is a continuous ink supply system
    • Has great customer ratings
    • Clean, vibrant transfers are produced
    • It consumes less power compared to other models
    • Can print on any fabric

    Cons:

    • Cartridges are challenging to align

    BUY NOW

     

    #2 Kodak PD – 450 Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 14 x 19 x 22 inches
    Color Black/ white
    Brand KODAK
    Print media Glossy photo paper
    User ratings 4 out of 5 stars

     

    Kodak PD – 450 Sublimation Printer is one of the best sublimation printers for school use. It has an android dock pin and an iOS lighting adapter. So You can easily connect your printer to your smartphone and photos printed directly. It publishes stunning 4 x 6 inches photos that last for hundreds of years. The pictures are of excellent quality, retaining their color and shine.

    You can connect Kodak PD – 450 Sublimation Printer to most of your smart devices like iPad, digital cameras, iPhone, android mobile device, USB memory stick, etc. One-Touch is used to launch the Kodak app and print images instantly. It also has simultaneous charging to boost up 2 of your smart devices during the waiting period. The printer suits businesses, artisans, schools, as well as home usage.

    Pros:

    • Highest quality photo prints
    • USB is used to print pictures directly
    • Manual adjustment of images is allowed
    • Suitable for mobile printed as it has Wi-Fi connectivity
    • The refills are relatively cheap

    Cons:

    • The printer is a bit pricey and has limited capacity.

    BUY NOW

    #3 Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Compact Professional Event & Photo Booth Portrait Digital Printer

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) inches
    Color White
    Brand Mitsubishi
    Print media Glossy photo paper
    User ratings 5 out of 5 stars

     

    Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Sublimation Printer is one of the best professional sublimation printers in the market. The printer is compact and comes with a washer, paper tray, two power cords, and two spacers. To assemble the printer unit, the package will also provide you with two cable ties, 1 set of paper flanges, screws for securing band, cassette, 2 Mitsubishi 4 x 6 inches paper rolls, two ink ribbons, and a setup guide.

    Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Sublimation Printer is available at an affordable rate and provides high-quality prints. The matte and glossy finishes are perfect and dust-proof. The printer is also compatible with Mac and PC softwares, with an advanced cooling system. It also has a USB 2.0 interface and comes with an energy-saving mode. The printer design is jam-free, durable, and too lightweight. It supports 16.7 million colors and has a great printing speed.

    Pros:

    • The same media can have a matte and glossy finish
    • Energy-saving mode
    • Jam-free design, compact, lightweight
    • Fast printing speed
    • Durable and great for beginners
    • Can work with 16.7 million colors
    • Low cost per print

    Cons:

    • It does not has an external interface and is quite expensive
    • A lot of time consumed while installing drivers

    BUY NOW

    #4 DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS 6″ Dye Sublimation

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 13.78 x 12.6 x 11.02 inches
    Color White
    Brand DNP
    Print media Glossy photo paper
    User ratings 4.5 out of 5 stars

     

    DS event photo printer is one of the best models for printing the most significant moments of our life. The print speed is increased by 20%, and it is capable of printing 290 prints every hour (4 x 6 inches). The printer and the materials that are required for printing are cost-effective and provide beautiful printed moments.

    DS event photo printer has four lights on its left side. They are marked as Ribbon, Power, Paper, and Error. The technique used by RX1HS is thermal dye printing. Instead of using individual sheets of paper, paper rolls are placed on the printer’s spool, which guarantees excellent performance. These paper rolls are available in three different sizes – 2 x 6, 4 x 6, and 6 x 8 prints.

    The printer lacks an LCD, so it needs to be controlled using a PC. The unit works best for businesses and event photography. It features a high-speed mode (300 x 300 dpi) and a high-resolution mode (300 x 600 dpi), providing matte finishes. The model is very reliable and guarantees longevity.

    Pros:

    • It saves a lot of time during the printing process.
    • The design produced is very durable and high-quality.
    • It uses thermal dye printing.
    • Paper rolls are used instead of individual sheets of paper.

    Cons:

    • LCD option is not available.

    BUY NOW

    #5 HiTi P525L Compact Dye Sub Photo Printer

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 23 x 19 x 15.8 inches
    Color Grey
    Brand Hiti
    Print media Paper (plain)
    User ratings 4 out of 5 stars

     

    The HiTi P525L Sublimation Printer is a budget-friendly model that helps us print pictures in large quantities for photo stall display events. The images are of excellent quality and help in generating revenue for our business. It helps capture the special moments of our life as well as functions like fairs and on-scene locations.

    The HiTi P525L Sublimation Printer has a USB-powered reader to print photographs directly from a memory card. It also provides NFC support which allows connecting to android and iOS devices. The printer can also be connected using Wi-Fi. It has a built-in Prinbiz app which makes printing more comfortable.

    A unique feature is the multiple language support to accommodate diversity around the world. The printer is more focused on outdoor activities and provides full efficiency for such projects. It is reliable for such assignments as it is easily transportable.

    Pros:

    • It produces clear pictures at affordable rates.
    • Prints pictures with great details in less time.
    • Can accommodate different sizes of paper.
    • It provides multiple-language support.
    • Built-in NFC support and Wi-Fi options.
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    Cons:

    • Materials can be expensive.

    BUY NOW

    #6 WorkForce WF-7210 Wireless Wide-format Color Inkjet Printer

    71y6ugl9dul-_ac_sl1482_-9604655

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 31.8 x 22.3 x 12.7 inches
    Color Black
    Brand Epson
    Print media Paper (plain)
    User ratings 4.3 out of 5 stars

     

    The Workforce WF-7210 Sublimation Printer can easily manage intermediary fabrics of large sizes. It comes with a paper tray that we can use to manage different surfaces made of cotton. It is one of the best printers for heat sublimation.

    Borderless stunning shots of 13 x 19 inches in size can be created using The Workforce WF-7210 Sublimation Printer. It also has a double-sided scanner that automatically takes in a paper (size of 11 x 17 inches). Use of genuine Epson ink is highly recommended as other inks can cause damage to the printer not covered by the warranty.

    This printer is also powered by Precision Core and provides a laser-sharp black text with quality color graphics. It uses 80% less power as compared to other models and is very economical. It also features Dash replenishment which keeps track of ink usage. The smart feature also orders more ink when the quantity is depleted. It has versatile paper handling but uses only Epson cartridges.

    Direct printing is possible using a smartphone; the printer has Wi-Fi direct and internet functions. It keeps your computer connected to the WF- 7210 printer.

    Pros:

    • Has Wi-Fi direct and Ethernet
    • It is Amazon Dash replenishment ready.
    • Compatible with most mobile operating systems
    • The rear feed has extra aid, which supports paper surfaces.

    Cons:

    • It has a 2.2-inch display screen which can be challenging to handle and use.

    BUY NOW

    #7 Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H)
    Color White
    Brand Sawgrass
    Print media Paper, t-shirts, ceramic
    User ratings 4 out of 5 stars

     

    Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer is one of the top models for t-shirt printing. It provides excellent resolution during printing with 4800 x 1200 dpi pictures in only 6 minutes 40 seconds. Sawgrass is the best manufacturer for such high-quality printer models.

    THE Sawgrass SG500 model uses the dye sublimation process through which ink can be quickly allowed onto intermediary fabrics. You can also prepare the materials for iron-on patterns—the printer results in very detailed designs and arts.

    The product has a two-year warranty as well as in-house support functions. It covers many printing tasks like copying, scanning, and faxing documents.

    Pros:

    • Specifically designed for dye sublimation printing.
    • It has a built-in image editing software package.

    Cons:

    • Ink is expensive to purchase.

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    #8 HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 All-in-One Wireless Printer

    71ccgrsmj-l-_ac_sl1500_-1219068

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 17.2 x 15.6 x 12.53 inches
    Color White/ grey
    Brand HP
    Print media Paper (plain)
    User ratings 4.5 out of 5 stars

     

    HP OfficeJet Pro 9205 helps you print even using a cloud network and is the best all-in-one option for your sublimation needs. A cloud document can be loaded using a mobile, which can then be forwarded to the printer using direct Wi-Fi.

    HP OfficeJet Pro 9205 is a very sturdy model with a good quality tray that acts as a suitable transfer medium. It also has Wi-Fi security so that all your documents are protected and cannot be accessed by them when using the Wi-Fi portal. You can also enable password protection to print only certified projects. A document feeder is also there, which makes printing straightforward and effortless. OfficeJet also offers great scanning speed as compared to other models.

    The printer prints 24 pages per minute; 35 pages can be fed automatically into it and scans twice as fast as the HP 9010 Pro series. Repetitive steps can e eliminated, and you can sync documents to Google Drive and QuickBooks. Smart Tasks helps to organize ad digitize business documents on our mobile devices, ready to be accessed from anywhere, anytime.

    We can use HP Smart App to print as well as scan documents from anywhere. It can also check ink levels remotely. It comes with self-healing Wi-Fi, i.e. it ensures connectivity by detecting issues and processes the three stages of reconnection if required. HP Smart Tasks helps to create editable and searchable documents.

    Pros:

    • We can fit in five hundred sublimation sheets at once in the double paper tray.
    • It can read color pictures at outstanding quality (8ipm).
    • The output tray sensor identifies the kind of paper we are printing on.
    • Integrated with HP Smart App.
    • Wi-Fi security and password protection present.

    Cons:

    • The output tray can only process 100 sheets at a time.

    BUY NOW

    #9 Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S Eco-Value Dye-Sub Photo Printer

    51gnmgtq5al-_ac_sl1200_-3963817

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H)
    Color White
    Brand Mitsubishi
    Print media Paper (plain)
    User ratings 3.8 out of 5 stars

     

    Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S Sublimation Printer is mostly used in photo booths, and its mechanical structure is relatively easy to set up. The model has a power-saving mode that goes on standby when the printer is not in use. It also has a rewind function which helps us decide how much ink needs to be used when. This way, we can use more ink on highly detailed designs.

    Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S Sublimation Printer creates perfect solid shapes and is suitable for all materials. Decorative backgrounds can also be given to the sublimation prints using it. It provides an excellent resolution of 300 dpi for image processing. The edges of the photos are very smooth and streamlined.

    The printer is very intriguing and carries out technical jobs very well. It has a two-print format, which means that the printer can produce two different print sizes from a single media paper. This process saves up a lot of time and makes maintenance easier. It gives a matte finish to your prints, which is highly textured. The pictures do not reflect light and are preferred by photographers.

    Pros:

    • Booting time is significantly less for the printer body.
    • It creates printouts of various sizes.
    • It also provides decorative finishes.

    Cons:

    • You need to have some technical knowledge to access the printer.
    • Difficult to set up some of the features.

    BUY NOW

    #10 Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches
    Color Black
    Brand Canon
    Print media Labels, glossy photo paper
    User ratings 4.5 out of 5 stars

     

    Canon Selphy CP1300 is one of the best mobile sublimation printers. Canon is a renowned name in the world of cameras, but it also designs top model sublimation printers. It has a feature to connect the printer with your smartphone. A USB port is also provided to connect the memory card of your camera. It can be used when photos need to be printed urgently.

    Canon Selphy CP1300 uses heat transfer equipment and creates the best quality photo prints. Photos are dried instantly and retain their quality for hundreds of years. The images are even water-resistant. The printers are very sleek and small in size, which makes portability quite simple. It also has an optional battery back.

    The Canon Selphy has a 3.2 inches LCD screen to edit and print to your heart’s desire. You can put 18 sheets of postcard size into the photo tray at once. It operates at a temperature of 5-40 degrees Celsius. It also has 256 levels per color of print resolution. The printer needs a “Canon Print Plug-In”, which you can buy for free on the Amazon App Store.

    Pros:

    • It has a control device on the top, which makes managing tasks easier.
    • Suitable for different paper sizes (even postcards).
    • 3.2 inches LCD screen to choose and edit pictures.
    • Photos are water-resistant and dry quickly.
    • It has an optional battery back.

    Cons:

    • While printing for Instagram, the print feature is difficult to align.

    BUY NOW

    #11 DNP DS40 Dye Sublimation Professional Color Photo Printer

    61aty5rbgwl-_ac_sl1318_-1537711

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H) 12.6 x 14.4 x 7 inches
    Color Grey
    Brand DNP Photo
    Print media Paper (plain)
    User ratings 4 out of 5 stars

     

    DNP DS40 Professional Color Photo Printer is another dye-sublimation printer from DNP while being fancier and more sophisticated than the previously mentioned model. Both businesses and DIY consumers can use the printer as it provides lightning-quick photos. The print quality is superb for both matte and glossy prints.

    DNP DS40 Professional Color Photo Printer takes only 8.9 seconds to produce an image of 4 x 6 inches. If you created the same sized image in high-quality mode, it would take only 11.7 seconds. Use the HQ setting to print larger photos in only 19.3 seconds. The prints are of exquisite quality as the printer provides a maximum resolution of 600 dpi. 6 x 8 inches is the maximum photo size that the printer can handle.

    Paper and ink are loaded through the machine’s front and are sold together in an affordable pack. 4 x 6 inches prints are available in a reasonably priced 400 roll. A triple strip pack for 6 x 8 inches prints is also available. The printer’s length and width are a little larger than usual, but its height balances it. The model has no on-screen control, which can be a disadvantage. It has multiple lights on the left side and a USB 2.0. One unique feature is that it can daisy-chain for DS40’s together. The printer also comes with heavy-duty shock-proof cases to help carry the printer.

    Pros:

    • Resolution of 600 dpi
    • Affordable packages of ink and paper
    • High-speed printing
    • Has the ability to daisy-chain up to 4 DS40 printers
    • Has a low profile
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    Cons:

    • The model is a little expensive with a subpar paper holder.

    BUY NOW

    #12 PC Universal Sublimation Printer Bundle Package with Heat Press Machine

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    Item Dimensions (W x D x H)
    Color Black
    Brand PC Universal
    Print media Assorted mugs and gift items
    User ratings 3.5 out of 5 stars

     

    PC Universal Sublimation Printer is a highly trusted model to print designs on mugs and other gifts. It is easy to move the ink onto the surface of the printer. Different types of heat transfer sheets can be used with this printer, making it a versatile machine. The model promises quality designs by using modern heat technology.

    PC Universal Sublimation Printer offers various layouts, which allows us to use it with different materials like t-shirts and mugs. It has a durable body which gives more control over the printing process. It is suitable for both business and personal purposes. Ink cartridges are included with the setup, and the bundle is entirely ready to use. A heat press machine is also provided, along with eight assorted mugs. Design gifts for your loved ones with this DIY setup at home!

    Pros:

    • Sharp quality images produced.
    • Resolution can be adjusted as required.
    • We can use pressure applications to ease the process.
    • Ready to use bundle- with a heat press, ink cartridges, and eight assorted mugs.
    • We can use versatile heat transfer sheets.

    Cons:

    • The cartridge can be challenging to clean.
    • Need extreme accuracy and precautions while using it.

    BUY NOW

    #13 EcoTank Sublimation Printer with ICC Profile

    Best Sublimation Printer

    Item Dimensions (W x D x H)
    Color Black
    Brand EcoTank
    Print media Phone covers, mugs, t-shirts, keyrings
    User ratings 4 out of 5 stars

     

    The EcoTank sublimation Printer prints high-resolution prints and photos (5760 x 1440 dpi). It has an inbuilt scanner and is used to print on small keyrings. The printer produces excellent results on a variety of materials like phone covers, mugs and t-shirts. For easy installation and set up, you need to follow a tutorial video. A detailed brochure is also included for your convenience. The printer works best with compatible software and can run with various operating systems.

    The EcoTank sublimation printer keeps the cost of production low, making it a profitable machine. Printing ink is provided at the time of purchase which can last for approximately three years. On average, you save up to 85% of the money you would have spent on printing ink otherwise.

    The printer guarantees quality printing and is an easy solution to prink items in bulk quantities. It has an engineered bottle to reduce spillage.

    Pros:

    • Simple design and affordable
    • Its size and compact design make it portable.
    • The printer model conserves printing ink.
    • Can print of numerous substrates
    • It comes with an engineered bottle for the ink to minimize spillage.

    Cons:

    • None

    BUY NOW

    Buyer’s Guide for Best Sublimation Printer

    We cannot pick up any sublimation printer without looking into all the factors. The printers come in various sizes, performance level and quality. It is a significant investment, and we need to find the best fit for our business or craft shop. To make this daunting task a little easier, we have prepared a detailed buying guide for you.

    Use of the printer

    The most important factor is what use will you be putting the printer to. Sublimation printers are used for various jobs ranging from transferring images to t-shirts, jerseys, mugs or plaques, to producing fade-resistant photos that also smudge-free. So what use will the device be put to is the deciding factor.

    Sublimation printers come in two price range- budget-friendly and professional ones. Beginners, craft experts, and hobbyists mostly use budget-friendly models. Professional sublimation printers are used by businesses and can be quite costly. These printers produce high-quality, accurate, and precise images and are thus used for photo booths, kiosks, digital labs, and printing centers. Professional printers are put to the best use when we need to produce a large number of printed materials regularly, as they are quite durable. A few printers that fall under this category are Sawgrass Virtuso SG400, Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, etc.

    The budget-friendly or consumer models are mostly used to produce print photos. For running such printers, specialised ink and medium, along with Wi-Fi connectivity, is required. The dye used is quite costly, so it can prove expensive in the longer run. Canon SELPHY CPI300 and HiTi P525L Dye Sublimation Printer are a part of consumer printers.

    The type of ink to be used in the printer

    Irrespective of the type of sublimation printer you purchase, they all need a minimum quantity of ink and paper to operate. The ink is made specially and can be either a ribbon or cartridge. The quality of the ink and paper determines the efficiency and performance of your printer.

    Some printer models collaborate with third-party companies to provide you with ink and paper. If not, it is advisable to buy a combo of specialized paper with ribbon or cartridge ink. The combo will keep the cost of printing low. Ribbon ink is preferred for both professionals and hobbyists if you have the budget for it. Place an order for paper and ink beforehand to not lose out on precious time.

    It would help if you also learned how to use the cartridge. For beginners, you must go for cartridges that can easily handle dye sublimation painting without learning about how to handle the technical aspect of it. Individual color cartridges are encouraged to be used.

    Layout of the printer

    Different sublimation printers use different mechanisms for the transfer of designs onto the printing surface. While some printers can directly transfer a design onto a shirt, others require a transfer medium. The transfer medium can be anything from a cotton sheet to a paper material. The need of the user will determine the layout of the printer.

    Type of medium

    Sublimation printers need specialized paper to provide quality printing. For professional machines, you can purchase large rolls in bulk. For budget-friendly models, paper packs are available. They can also operate using sticky papers.

    There is a standard paper size that is followed while printing. The most commonly used is 4” x 6”. Other measures include 2” x 6” and 3.5” x 5”. More oversized prints of sizes 5” x 7” and 6” x 8” can be printed using professional printers. The paper also acts as a medium to print on other everyday items like t-shirts, mugs, CD’s, glasses, jerseys, plaques, etc.

    Resolution or DPI

    DPI stands for Dots per Inch. It describes the resolution and dot density of the image. It gives us a more significant idea about the sharpness and clarity of the picture. The resolution and sharpness of an image are directly proportional to each other. The greater the resolution, the greater is the sharpness.

    We recommend a minimum dpi of 300 for any consumer. Most printer models have 300 dpi as their specification. 600 dpi increases the clarity of the image, but it comes at a higher cost. For gallery-like prints, a maximum of 1200 dpi is suggested. This narrows it down to deciding the type of media you want to print on and the clarity you require.

    Connectivity options

    You can easily connect sublimation printers to a PC or laptop. Connectivity through a USB port is also available. Most printers are compatible with almost all the advanced Operating Systems (Windows or Mac).

    You can transfer photographs to our printer in many ways, among which memory cards are the most commonly used ones. You can also use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for sharing as we can connect most printers to Android and iOS devices. So now it depends on your needs the type of printer you buy.

    Price

    Sublimation printers are available in a variety of models at various price ranges. Most of the low-cost printers do a decent enough job while maintaining the quality of the work. But you need to stick to your budget and look for a printer in the desired range.

    Warranty

    Most of the sublimation printers are provided with warranties of a few months to several years. However, the average warranty is for one year. More extended warranties offer better benefits. Also, look for warranties on replaceable parts of the printer while purchasing. It’s better to get warranties to save costs in case of damage to the product. But most products are quite handy and do not require replacement for years.

    Types of Sublimation Printers

    Sublimation printers are of various types, with different features and use. A few varieties are described below:

    Clam press sublimation printer

    Also referred to as the “t-shirt printer”, the clam pres sublimation printer is the most popular model. It is mostly used for printing t-shirts and creating fabric proofs before entering the final stage of production. As the clam press printer is intuitive and affordable, it is ideal for both professionals and hobby t-shirt designers.

    Swing away sublimation printer

    This particular kind of printer is used to print on dense materials like denser fabrics and photo frames. The material can be laid across the machine during the printing process, which eases the work.

    Calendar press sublimation printer

    Calendar press sublimation printer can be either an oil drum or electric. The electric option provides higher quality prints and provides faster printing as it heats and cools down the material very quickly. Oil drum printer is slower to heat up and cool down but produces high-end color prints. The printer is also affordable and easy to operate.

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    Flatbed press

    The flatbed press looks like a flatbed and comes in two types- Manual and pneumatic. The pneumatic press is quite expensive but works by simply pressing the start button. It is fully automated. Manual flatbeds, though not automated, allow more control during the process.

    3D vacuum heat press

    It is a non-traditional printer that is used for sublimation printing on irregular-shaped items. It can print around curves and edges easily.

    Single presses

    Single presses come in handy for printing on small items like coffee mugs. Repetitive printing, as well as one-time printing, can be achieved using single presses. They are designed for niche suppliers and hobbyists.

    Heat Press Printing vs Sublimation Printing

    People assume that heat press and sublimation printing are the same, but some minor differences exist. Heat press printing makes use of both heat and pressure to print designs onto t-shirts. However, sublimation printing uses a transfer medium to print. Different colored dyes are first printed on a transfer medium using high-quality inkjet printers, which are then transferred onto the desired surface, be it a t-shirt, mug, plaque, etc., using a commercial heat press.

    Types of equipment needed for dye-Sublimation Printing

    Here is a compiled list of tools that you will require during sublimation printing:

    • Design programs
    • Sublimation inks used for dyeing
    • Heat transfer paper
    • Transfer media on which sublimation will be applied
    • Specifications at which you will use a heat press

    A computer (Windows or Mac) is a must. The design programs you can select from are Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Adobe Photoshop (PS). AI is mostly used when we want to create large format print files. PS helps in the designing as well as the manipulating process of the images. The software that needs to be installed is the ErgoSoft Roland Edition software. It comes with Roland DG dye-sublimation printers; it can not run in a Mac environment, which requires emulator software.

    Another requirement is a specifically designed dye-sublimation printer as they can easily handle dye-sublimation inks. They provide a better quality output as they come with precision firing. It helps by releasing smaller ink droplets. Dye sublimation inks like Texart are also necessary.

    The next tool is the heat transfer paper. For standard applications, a 90- 120 gsm paper works fine. But for more rigid substrates, use clay-coated papers (145 gsm). Use tack paper for fabrics. 3D vacuum presses do not use paper at all. They need to transfer films for thermoforming. Good coating paper is recommended because they hold the ink better and release 90% of the ink.

    After the transfer paper, we require the heat press. The heat press is of various types. The Clam or Swing Away press is used to transfer on to t-shirts or blank items. The flatbed heat press can transfer onto both fabrics and rigid materials. The calendar heat press is built for large apparel and soft signage. For transferring onto 3D objects like bottles, luggage, and eyeglasses, use a 3D vacuum heat press.

    Now we come to the media on which dye-sublimation works the best. Polyester apparels like sportswear and t-shirts are the go-to medium. Banners made of polyester and soft-signage materials also work well. Polyester fabric rolls and blank products that are coated with polyester or powder are highly functional. These also include metal panels, ceramic items and wood products.

    The production tools that you will need for producing apparel from scratch are: sewing machine (with auto-command and auto-features), X/Y table cutter, SEG system (a unique tension frame system), dowels, poles, tailors chalk, sewing pins, banner stands, hanging structures, rotary blade, hot knife and hand tools (drills, etc.).

    How to use Inkjet printers for dye-sublimation?

    Fancy printers can be difficult to use for beginners as they require a lot of technicalities. This guide explains the process of using different kinds of inkjet printers which are a great substitute. The steps are as follows:

    1. Work only with dye colors that are meant for your printer. Do not purchase inks randomly.
    2. Use the right dye sublimation cartridges for replacing the ink cartridges in the printer. The cartridge you use must be compatible both with the printer and your needs.
    3. The cartridge should also be compatible with the printer head. You can run tests on it to check its working condition.
    4. For the test, select different types of materials that you can handle easily.

    Tips to follow while using dye-sublimation printers

    • Check the ink level before each project. Make sure that there is enough ink to last through your entire project.
    • The material of your project must be durable and easy to work on.
    • We must adequately align papers inside the printer.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Sublimation Printers

    #1 Can any printer be used for sublimation printing?

    Ricoh and Sawgrass models are equipped with sublimation print heads. They are the most popular among sublimation printers and are quite expensive at the same time.

    A cheaper solution for your sublimation printing needs would be an Epson Inkjet Printer. They come with ink cartridges that you can refill. So you can purchase sublimation ink separately and place it in the right compartment. Use only large format inkjet printers for the above process.

    #2 What is the cost of a sublimation printer?

    Sublimation printing has become quite popular recently and is used for various painting types like plastic, acrylic and vinyl. The entire process is low-cost and can also be profitable for small businesses and start-ups.

    An inkjet printer compatible with sublimation printing costs around $300- $600 for a print of 8.5 x 14 inches. For photos of size 13 x 19 inches, the price can rise to $1600. This cost also includes the cost of sublimation ink. When calculated, it only costs $0.01 for printing per square inch. Industrial level sublimation printers are quite costly and can range up to $6000 US dollars (starting from $1500).

    #3 Which printer is considered the best for sublimation printing?

    Epson WorkForce WF-7110 is the recommended sublimation printer. It prints high-quality images on paper sheets of up to 13 x 19 inches. While being relatively affordable, it provides a very high resolution of 4800 x 2410. The printer not only prints high-quality sublimation prints but can also be used for heat transfer purposes. The Epson Workforce Wf-7110 costs under $200 and comes with large 250 sheet trays, making large-scale printing a breeze.

    #4 How long can the sublimation ink last?

    This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Sublimation inks are liquid and therefore have a fixed shelf life. They cannot be left in the printer for long periods as it can cause clogging of the printer head, color shifting and banding. You can use the ink even after it has expired, though it is not recommended. Try to use the sublimation ink within six months of installing it into the printer.

    #5 Which t-shirt material works best for sublimation printing?

    A 100% pure cotton shirt cannot be used for sublimation printing. Polyester is the best-suited material as it gives the best results after printing is done. But if you want to print onto a cotton t-shirt, use transfer paper for the same. To avoid fading away of the print just after a few washes, imprint 50/50 and 65/35 shirts with bright colors.

    #6 How to remove a professional print from a t-shirt?

    Nail polish remove along with acetone, needs to be used to remove the ink from the material. Take a cotton ball, dip it into the mentioned mixture, and then clean off the design.

    #7 How to complete the heat transfer process on polyester fabric?

    The heat transfer process will take place at a temperature of 360- 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You may require opaque ink because, at this high temperature, the dye will sublime into gas. Use a high tension mesh with a contact distance of 1/16 inch to have the best heat transfer process.

    #8 At what temperature do you heat press on rayon material?

    Sublimation printing on rayon can be done within 400 degrees Fahrenheit. But run a test case once to check if rayon works with your machine.

    #9 Can sublimation be done on dark shirts?

    The result of sublimation on black may differ from the original because it is a dye-based process. It does not produce its color.

    Conclusion

    From the above list of sublimation printers and the detailed buying guide, you will be able to find a printer that suits your needs as well as your budget. You can use the different printers mentioned commercially or at home. We would recommend the Epson WorkForce 7710 as it is the best overall printer. It will fit into anyone’s budget and is entirely wireless. You can use your mobile or tablet to print from anywhere. The printer also provides excellent printing speed, boosting the business and profits of small businesses.

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