Best Sublimation ink Reviews 2020 (Recommended!)
Not everyone is interested in or understands how sublimation printing works, but it happens to be one of the best, convenient and attractive ways to print anything.
You can try sublimation printing to print your company logo on promotional gifts, or make customized gifts for your loved one, or make your personal belongings unique and gorgeous.
Sublimation printing requires a special printer, a special kind of paper, and most importantly, a special kind of ink - the best sublimation ink that you can find. It is the sublimation ink that makes this process different from any other printing process.
You can find any information about this kind of printing here, in this article, along with the different kinds of sublimation ink that is available in the market, and information of the one that would be right for your projects.
Need a quick decision? Check our top 3 picks right now!
7 Best Sublimation ink Reviews
There are many different kinds that you can find everywhere, but the perfect sublimation ink will have all the features that you need. Here is a list of seven of the bet sublimation ink that you can choose from.
1. Printer’s Jack 400ml Sublimation ink
This is a basic ink set that has the main and the most important four colors that you need - cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Together, these four colors can make u any colors you need, each in a 400ml jar. These colors don’t fade over time; neither do they clog or stick out.
You can use these sublimation ink from Printer’s Jack in every kind of surfaces - Tshirts, pillow cases, mugs, quilts, shoes, ceramics, caps and banners, flags, boxes and cross stitches. Since these ink can be used on any surfaces, they are great for making personalized gifts and belongings for your loved ones.
The bottles themselves are easy to install, refill and change. They work with a variety of printers: WF3640, WF3620, WF7010, WF7110, WF7510, WF7520, WF7610, WF7620, WF7710, WF7720, WF7210, WF2750, ET2650 and ET2750.
- Works on a number of popular printers
- Four color pack
- Works on all surfaces and belongings
- Vibrant colors
- Doesn’t fade or clog
- Smooth printing on all surfaces
- 3-layer filtered ink
- Easy to install and refill
- Stable and durable ink
- Water resistant and water-proof
2. INKXPRO V Empty CISS
This set of 4 ink supply system has been manufactured, designed and assembled in the United States of America, with no ink included in the set. Every kind of ink packs can be easily inserted and installed in this supply system, be it dye ink, sublimation ink or pigment ink.
You can also be sure that this supply system will fit into a number of printers; T252, T252XL, WorkForce WF-3620 WF-3640, WF-7110, WF-7610, WF-7620, WF-7710, WF-7720 and WF-7210 are compatible printers with this supply system.
Although you can use any kind of ink in this supply system, it works best with INKXPRO brand professional-grade sublimation ink.
- Empty ink supply system
- Compatible with a number of printers
- Can be used for dye ink, sublimation ink and pigment ink
- Works best with INKXPRO professional-grade sublimation ink
- Assembled and manufactured in USA
3. PJ Anti-UV Sublimation Ink
This is a 4-pack set of sublimation ink for inkjet printers that are perfectly compatible with a number of printer brands and models, namely: WorkForce WF3540, WF3520, WF3640, WF3620, WF7010, WF7110, WF7510, WF7520, WF7610, WF7620, WF7710, WF7720, WF7210, Stylus C68, C88, C88+, CX3800, CX3810, CX4200, CX4800, CX5800F and CX7800.
These sublimation ink packs can be used for professional-grade heat transfer . The colors won’t fade or be disturbed by water; they are vibrant, water-proof and long lasting no matter what surface you print them on.
This ink is suitable for Tshirts and mugs, cups and pillowcases cross stitch and decorative clothes, even shoes, ceramics, bags, caps and flags/banners. You can easily pour the ink into refillable cartridges and all kinds of piezoelectric printers.
- 4-color pack of sublimation ink
- Compatible with a number of Workforce and Stylus printers
- Compatible on various surfaces, fabric and otherwise
- Easy to refill and install
- 100% compatible with all refillable cartridges
- Suitable for heat transfer machines
- Compatible with CISS ink systems
- Won’t fade or wash away
- Water-proof and durable
4. Dye Sublimation Ink Epson Workforce WF
These are 240ml color jars of 4 different colors: yellow, cyan, magenta and red, with a set of 4 refillable cartridges, each holding 240ml ink. These cartridges are compatible with a number of printer models and brands, easily installed and refilled. They work perfectly with Workforce WF7210, WF7710 and WF7720 printers.
This dye sublimation ink is suitable for heat transfer machines, as well. You don’t need any special software to use them. These ink packs are easy to install and refill.
- Compatible with Workforce WF7210, WF7710 and WF7720 printers
- 4 refillable cartridges and ink jars
- Suitable for heat press machines
- 240ml multi-color ink bottles
- Long-lasting color; doesn’t fade
- Waterproof ink
- No special software needed
5. EPSON EcoTank Dye Sublimation Ink
These are 4 sublimation ink dyes available in 4 different bottles, each 240ml in size and capacity. They are perfect for EcoTank ET2600 and EcoTank ET printers, as well as all types of substrates.
Magenta, Cyan, Black and Yellow - the basic colors needed to make up any color of the rainbow for your designs, and more! You don’t need any color profiles to use these ink, neither any special drivers or software.
These 4 ink bottles are suitable for use in heat press machines, as extremely easy to refill and change.
- 4 different colors: cyan, yellow, magenta and black
- 240 ml bottles
- Perfect for heat press machines
- Compatible with EcoTank ET2600 and EcoTank ET printers
- No special software needed
- No special drivers needed
- Works with different substrates
- Water based ink
6. Sublimation ink CISS System for Epson C88+ C88
This empty CISS ink system has been designed and manufactured specifically for Epson C88 and C88+. It is not suitable for any other printer, but only for these two models.
This system has to be installed externally to the printer and is quite easy to refill and install. These sublimation ink CISS system also comes with 4 different colors: cyan, yellow, magenta and black, each 100ml bottles.
These inks work on a number of surfaces, but not on 50/50 cotton. The CISS system also comes with INK 4 filters, 4 syringes and 2 tube holders.
- Empty CISS ink system
- Needs to be installed externally
- Comes with 4 100ml color bottles
- Comes with INK 4 filters and 4 syringes
- Comes with 2 tube holders
- Easy to refill and change
7. InkOwl Performance DYE Sublimation Refill Kit
These 4 ink cartridges have been designed to be used on SG400 and SG800 printers, each 120ml cartridges. This set also includes 4 120ml ink bottles, 4 injectors and installation instructions to guide you.
Refilling is easy; what you need is to remove the plug, inject the ink with their individual injector syringes and put the plug back in.
The dye is of excellent quality; the colors are vibrant and long-lasting. The ink has been made in the UK, and works the best with SG400 and SG800 printers.
- 4-ink cartridge system
- Comes with 4 120ml ink bottles
- Comes with 4 colors
- Easy to install and refill
- Comes with 4 injector syringes for easy refilling
- Comes with instruction guide
- Excellent quality dye
- Long lasting vibrant colors
- Made in the UK
Best Sublimation Ink: Things to Consider before Buying
There’s not many features to consider before buying sublimation ink, because they are usually the same everywhere. However, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
The bigger the ink bottles, the less often you need to refill them. Usually, you can find ink bottles with a 100ml, 120ml and 240ml capacity.
If you are a rare user, you might be content with 100ml bottles, but if you use your printer for commercial or professional purposes frequently, you’ll need to choose the bigger bottles. Remember, the bigger the size of the bottles, the more use you get out of them and the less frequently you’ll need to order and refill.
Some ink bottles and cartridges are designed with a few particular models and brands in mind. For example, if you want to buy Sublimation ink CISS System and ink, you need to have an EPSON C88 or an Epson C88+ printer.
On the other hand, Printer’s Jack 400ml Sublimation ink is compatible with almost all the Epson Workforce printers. The InkOwl Performance DYE Sublimation is only compatible with Sawgrass printers. Therefore, the printer you already have plays a very important role in the ink you want to buy.
3. Extra Accessories
Some of the sublimation ink dye sets come with additional accessories, i.e. injectors, syringes and tube holders. These are quite handy when you need to refill your cartridges.
When these accessories come with your color and/or cartridges, you won’t have to buy them separately, which can be a relief.
4. Complete Set
Complete sets are always helpful. The sublimation inks that come with cartridges can be extra helpful when you already have a printer at home. Besides, some of these cartridges can be attached externally, which means that you won’t have to worry about your cartridges fitting inside the model.
Not all the sublimation ink can give the most vibrant colors. If you are looking forward to your colors being bright and vibrant, there are some particular brands to choose from, i.e. Printer’s Jack 400ml Sublimation ink, PJ Anti-UV Sublimation Ink and Dye Sublimation Ink Epson Workforce WF.
These are some of the brightest and most vibrant colors you can get from sublimation dyes.
6. Water-proof and Long-lasting
All sublimation ink dyes are water-proof; they will last very long and won’t fade. However, you still need to look for the words “Water-resistant” or “Waterproof” in the instruction manuals to be sure you designs won’t fade away with use.
The more surfaces you can use your sublimation dye, the more flexible the brand is. Most sublimation ink can be used on almost every kind of materials and surfaces, from T-shirts to mugs, caps to shoes, ceramics to polyester.
The more flexible your sublimation ink dyes are, the more things you can print on.
How to Use Sublimation Ink?
Sublimation ink is used for printing your quotes, designs, photos and logos on a number of different surfaces, even surfaces that wouldn’t be compatible for printing on with other inks and machines.
With this special process, the sublimation ink is actually transferred to a gaseous state from a solid state, and then transferred to another medium. The medium in question here will trap the ink with a special coating on top, and the result will be a very fine and detailed print. Let’s get into the details in easier language.
Now, to use sublimation ink, you don’t need a special kind of printer. You can actually use the inkjet printer you already have to make such precise prints if you are using sublimation dye ink. The process is simple, too, just like using a printer for regular use.
Make sure your sublimation ink dye and your inkjet printer are compatible. While all inkjet printers can adapt well to sublimation ink, your ink may not be compatible with a particular machine.
Read the instruction guide that comes with your ink; better yet, make sure they are compatible before you buy and order your sublimation ink. Your sublimation dye ink’s box or instruction guide, or the website you are making the purchase from, will mention the models and brands of printer your ink is compatible with.
For example, the Printer’s Jack 400ml Sublimation ink and the PJ Anti-UV Sublimation Ink
is compatible with most Workforce Printers from Epson, whereas the Sublimation ink CISS System only works with Epson C88 and C88+. On the other hand, the The InkOwl Performance DYE Sublimation works only with Sawgrass printers.
Therefore, you should only settle on an ink when it is compatible with the printer you already own; otherwise, you might have wasted your money on the wrong ink, or need to buy another printer.
With most sublimation inks, you get a complete set that includes cartridges and/or injectors. The cartridges are not that important if this is a new printer or if you have already used sublimation ink dye before, but you need them if you are using sublimation ink for the first time in a previously used printer.
If it’s the latter case, you simply need to take out the cartridges that come with the printer and use the new cartridges that comes with the ink. If the ink you have purchased is compatible with the printer you already own, the cartridges that come with the ink will also be compatible with your printer.
So, take out the previously used cartridges and insert the new one. This is an easy process that will turn your regular inkjet printer into sublimation printer, simply by changing the cartridges. All Epson and Sawgrass printers have this feature; if you have either a Sawgrass or an Epson printer, you can use it both as an inkjet and sublimation printer.
After you’ve installed the cartridges, it’s now time for the ink. Sublimation ink, like any other printing ink, comes in four separate colors: cyan, yellow, black and magenta. These four colors later are mixed to create any shade you want in your prints. This is where the syringes or the injectors come in handy.
Usually, the bottles that your ink comes in are bigger and have a larger holding capacity than the cartridges, which means that these cartridges can be filled up again and again from the same bottles. You can do this with the help of injectors or syringes.
Fill up a syringe with one color and insert the contents of the syringe into the cartridge of that particular color. The cartridges are always clearly indicated so that you don’t mistakenly pour one color into another cartridges. Keep on transferring the color until the cartridge is full.
When one cartridge is filled, do the same with the other three cartridges. Remember to use seperate injectors or syringes for each color. Usually, sublimation ink sets come with four individual syringes or injectors to make the transfer easy; but if your ink set doesn’t provide you with injectors, you can use any regular syringe from your nearest drug store.
The important factors to remember is that you have to always transfer ink with the help of a syringe/injector, wash them with water after every use, and use a syringe/injector for one color only.
With simply changing the cartridges and filling them up with sublimation ink, you can transform your regular inkjet printer into sublimation printer. The next time you run the printer, you will get the detailed and vibrant printing that is only possible with sublimation ink.
Some printers may need you to change some of the internal settings after you’ve changed the cartridges, but with most Epson and Sawgrass printers, the transformation is effortless and easy.
This was the steps you need to follow for using sublimation ink, very easy steps simply requiring you to change your ink and cartridges, and your inkjet printer will become compatible for sublimation printing.
Sublimation Ink vs Pigment Ink: Which one to Choose?
For all types of printing, there are usually three different inks that we use: pigment ink, sublimation ink and dye ink. Of these three, pigment ink and sublimation inks are close in use and features, and are used for printing on surfaces.
Dye ink, on the other hand, completely dissolves in water, just like sugar or salt, and makes a slight difference in the color. Dye ink is only used in printing on paper, as it will wash and fade away when this ink comes in contact with water.
Now, pigment inks are actually comprised of tiny little colored particles; they provide the color by sitting on top of the paper without staining them. Pigment ink is not absorbed by the paper, but can firmly sit on top of it before and after drying, giving us the design we need.
With pigment color, you can actually make a number of shades of the colors of your choice as there are a total of 8 ink colors available. Pigment ink is also waterproof, which makes it the right ink for T-shirts and other fabric printing.
Sublimation ink is more durable, more stable and longer-lasting than both dye ink and pigment ink. It will not fade away after multiple wash and regular use, neither will the colors fade or crack.
Using inkjet printers from Ricoh, Sawgrass and Epson, you can use sublimation ink to make your preferred designs on almost any surface you want, including paper, fabric, ceramic, wood and metal. The conversion and transformation of color that takes place is helped by heat and pressure, which makes the printing permanent.
When it comes to an active comparison, sublimation ink is much better, more flexible and long-lasting than pigment dye. While pigment dye can be used on paper and fabric, sublimation dye can also be used on harder materials such as fiberboard, ceramic, wood and metals.
With harder and smoother surfaces, this ink requires a special coating that makes the print permanent. Besides, the designs are also more vibrant and brighter, and more colorful, when using sublimation ink.
So, if you own an inkjet printer and want your designs, names and logo to be permanent and more professional grade, it is better to use sublimation ink.
Choosing the right sublimation ink dye happens to be extremely important for your designs, especially if you run a home business or make your products commercially.
The ink needs to be compatible with your printers, easily blend in together to create the right colors, and to give you a bright, vibrant final product. Almost all the sublimation dyes available in the market come with the same features, but the best sublimation ink will make your designs, pictures and logos come alive!