Best Sublimation Printer: Specialist Reviews 2020/2021

Over the recent past, printing technology has greatly evolved with the introduction of digital printing in the mid-2000s involving electrophotographic liquid, dry toner technologies, plus UV and water-based inkjets. But perhaps the most stunning of digital printing technology is sublimation printing-a relatively new printing concept that involves the transfer of dye using heat and pressure on different materials such as fabric or plastic. The whole concept of sublimation printing is based on the transition of a substance from solid state to gas state without going through the liquid state.

Idyllically, a sublimation printer is an inkjet printer used for photo printing or printing impressions on T-shirts, cards, mugs, fiberglass, aluminum materials, and ceramic tiles, etc. Sublimation printing ensures a firm design is embedded in paper, plastic, or fabric material without the risk of smearing or overheating.

Not all printers can perform the sublimation process. You need the best sublimation printer to get the job done effectively. As so often the case, there are plenty of options when looking for the best sublimation printers, each with different features. In this guide, we’re going to look at the best sublimation printers that you can find on the market in 2020.

Types of Sublimation Printers

There are different types of sublimation printers, each with different features and uses. Here are the known types of sublimation printers.

Clam Press Sublimation Printer

Clam press sublimation printer is the most popular kind of sublimation printer and sometimes referred to as the “T-shirt printer” and mostly used onto t-shirts. This printer is an excellent choice for creating fabric proofs before entering the final production. Clam press sublimation printer is both affordable and intuitive, making it ideal for branding companies and hobby t-shirt designers.

Swing Away Sublimation Printer

Swing away sublimation printer is ideal for printing designs on denser materials like photo frames and dense fabric. These printers are designed in such a way that materials can easily be laid across the machine when printed.

Calendar Press Sublimation Printer

The calendar press sublimation printers are quite affordable and easy to operate. They can either be electric or oil drum. The electric option has a faster printing time since it heats up and cools the material faster, plus has higher quality prints. On the other hand, the oil drum option produces high-end color rich imprints but takes much longer for the oil to heat up and cool down.

Flatbed Press

As the name implies, the flatbed press appears like an actual flatbed. There are two different types to choose from pneumatic and manual. The pneumatic flatbed press is fully automated and physically robust. You can start printing by a press of the start button. However, they are quite expensive. Manual flatbeds are not automated and allow for more control of the printing process.

3D Vacuum Heat Press

The 3D vacuum heat press is a non-traditional printer specialized for dye sublimation printing to irregularly shaped items. The printer is ideal for printing around edges and curves in particular items.

Single Presses

Single presses printers are the best sublimation printers for printing small items such as coffee mugs. These printers are ideal for single printing tasks or repetitive printing on consistent printing. Single press printers are ideal for hobbyists or niche suppliers.

Choosing the Best Sublimation Printer

There are different factors to consider when choosing the best sublimation printer. Before buying a sublimation printer, you need to ask yourself several questions, such as how much printing do I need to do? Where do I use this printer? What’s a budget I can comfortably work with? Some of the factors you ought to consider include:

The layout of the Printer

Sublimation printers employ different mechanisms to transfer designs and prints onto the printing surface. Most sublimation printers can transfer designs and prints on to the shirt while others need to make use of a transfer medium. Some can use a cotton sheet while others may need a paper material to transfer the print to the printing surface. Therefore, depending on your needs, you should consider the layout of the printer.

Printing Materials

Sublimation printers use either paper materials or cotton sheets as intermediate materials. Depending on your printing purpose or intended surface, you should choose something that greatly handles the surface, whether it uses paper or cotton sheets.

Maximum Resolution

The resolution of the printer would determine the clarity or density of the printed image. A quality printer needs to come with high resolution for perfect images. The resolution is measured in dpi or dots per inch. For large images, ensure you go for maximum resolution for a more detailed and appealing image. Smaller imprints may not require much of a resolution, but you need to go for a maximum resolution regardless.

Connectivity

Many sublimation printers feature different connectivity options to help users link to different devices they would like to print from. Connections options such as Wi-Fi OR Ethernet link are standard in many sublimation printers. You may need to consider a wide range of connectivity options for multiple device use.

Price

Sublimation printers are quite useful and will do a decent job. Price is an important aspect to consider when looking to choose the best sublimation printer. All in all, make sure you stick to your budget but ensure you go for the best sublimation printer.

Best Sublimation Printers 2020

Epson Workforce WF-7710

Maximum media size: 13″ x 19″

Paper handling: 250-sheet tray

Brand: Epson

Max print speed: 18 pages-per-minute

Operating System: Windows, Mac

The Epson Workforce WF-7710 is an all-in-one printer. The printer can perform multiple purposes, from sublimation printing to regular document printing and scanning. The printer is compact and weighs only 40.8 pounds. The printer leverages pristine printing technology coupled with a high-density print chip that can generate about 40 million pinpoints dots. Top of that, the printer employs PrecisionCore Technology ensuring its high printing precision and impressive printing speed.

The Workforce WF-7710 has double-sided printing capabilities and supports sublimation printing on thick print materials with up to 13 x 19 inches. The printer has a 250-sheet capacity paper tray plus its power-efficient, using 80% less power than most sublimation printers. It also encompasses a rear feed where you can insert different types of printing material.

The Epson Workforce WF-7710 DURABrite Ultra 252-series ink cartridges with an ISO print speed of 18 ppm for black and 10 ppm for color. The printer has a maximum resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi- suitable enough for large prints.

The printer also supports Auto duplexing and comes with a wide range of connectivity, including Wi-Fi Direct that is compatible with AirPrint, wired Ethernet connections, and NFC connections. A wide range of connections makes the WF-7710 easily accessible via with several devices you would like to print things off.

In essence, the Epson WF-7710 is a multifunctional printer designed to bring innovation to business and increase productivity without increasing production costs thanks to its power efficiency. Wide connectivity options mean that the printer is compatible with multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones. It also comes with a reasonable amount of Eco Features coupled with double-faced printing to avoid paper wastage.

Pros

  • It is easy to set up and navigate thanks to its 4.3-inch LCD screen that allows you to adjust printing settings easily.
  • Uses 80% less power
  • Wireless-enabled printer
  • Automatic 2-sided printing
  • Ideal for printing in large formats i.e. 13 x 19 inches
  • Works on various printing fabric materials

Cons

  • High cost per printing, especially in wide-format projects
  • Constitutes of a single paper cassette
  • It can be challenging to align the ink cartridges.

Canon Selphy CP1300

Maximum media size: 3.5″ x 4.7″

Paper handling: 18-sheet paper tray

Brand: Canon

Max print speed: 1 page per minute

Operating System: Windows, Mac

Canon is known for making high-end cameras, but the company has since started manufacturing printers such as the Canon Selphy CP1300 sublimation printer, which doesn’t disappoint. The Selphy CP 1300 doesn’t compromise on sublimation printing. The printer features a sleek look and designed with portability in mind. It produces high-end photo prints with an outstanding heat transfer setup. The photos printed by the Selphy CP 1300 do not only come out thoroughly dried with a gorgeous appearance but are also water-resistant.

While the Canon SELPHY CP 1300 has a relatively slow printing speed of 1 page per minute, it can print about 55 prints in a single battery charge-a substantial improvement from its previous model that could only print 35 pages. The printer is ideal for both home use and on the go printing, thanks to its ease of portability due to a compact design.

The Canon Selphy CP1300 has a host of connectivity options, including a USB port, wireless LAN, and an Instagram print feature. Whether at home, in the office, or on the go, print from your camera’s memory card, AirPrint, or from Instagram and Facebook with the Canon app. You can even print from two different devices with 2 inches x 6 inches photo layout prints or Party Shuffle. Simply pick the correct size of the photo and print it instantly.

The Canon SELPHY CP1300 is one of the best dye-sublimation printers that operate on the basis of the thermal method and can use 256 shades per color with a dedicated color ink cartridge. It’s also one of the best compact sublimation printers currently in the market. While the printer isn’t ideal for commercial and business use thanks to its slow printing speed, it’s best for individuals who want to print stunning photos for families and friends.

Pros

  • Prints high-quality photos that are dry and water-resistant
  • Easy to use
  • Compact printer
  • The large tilt-up LCD control screen for ease of operation
  • Cheap printing cost
  • Compatible with numerous paper sizes, including postcard sizes.

Cons

  • Cannot print on numerous materials
  • Not best for commercial use
  • Slower than most average portable printers.

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400

Maximum media size: 8.5″ x 14″

Paper handling: 110-sheet tray

Brand: SAWGRASS

Max print speed: (600×600 dpi) 23 seconds

Operating System: Windows, Mac

For: Best High-resolution sublimation printer

If you’re looking for a sublimation printer with the maximum resolution, the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is your best option. The printer boasts of 1200 x 1200 printing resolution making it the best for t-shirts. It’s also great for making immersive imprints and pictures on cotton shirts, polyester fabrics, plaques, glass, and even acrylics.

Apart from printing, the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is also great for scanning, copying, and faxing documents. Using the printer is relatively easy and straightforward- simply follow operations, press the button, and you’re done printing. The printer can print 157 pictures an hour if the resolution is 600 x 600 and 34 pictures an hour if the resolution is up to 1200 x 1200 dpi. The tray is pretty extensive, holding up to 100 sublimation paper sheets. There’s also a bypass tray on the back of the printer.

Regarding connectivity options, Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 comes with USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports. You can also access a simple to use of Creative Studio Software by downloading the software to your PC or laptop.

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is excellent for commercial sublimation printing. With this printer, you’ll certainly offer awesome designs on different products, including cotton T-Shirts, mugs, aluminum panels, inserts, glass, phone cases, wood plagues, hardboard, and other polyester fabrics in at your thriving sublimation shop.

Pros

  • High-end printing resolution
  • Well designed for dye sublimation printing
  • Comes with Creative Studio Software
  • Best for t-shirts
  • Large print sizes
  • Best sublimation printer for clothing, wood, and polyester apparel.
  • Prints on a wide variety of materials.
  • Includes an online stock library

Cons

  • Quite expensive to run due to the high cost of sublimation ink
  • Quite expensive
  • Not suitable for printing on cotton materials

Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S Sublimation Printer

Maximum media size: 6″ x 8″

Paper handling: 110-sheet tray

Brand: Mitsubishi

Max print speed: 11.4 seconds per page

Operating System: Windows, Mac

The Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S is the best sublimation printer for heat transfer. The printer employs a firm body with outstanding heat transfers. The printer comes in two print formats meaning that you can carry out two print formats on one media or produce two different sizes from a single media, thus saving on printing time and cost.

The CP-K60DW produces high-resolution printouts (300 dpi) thanks to the digital processing features inside the printer. The printer’s design ensures that the printouts’ edges are kept as smooth and streamlines as possible. It also offers a wide range of finishes on the printouts, including a “matte” finish, which is a much duller finish closer to satin. Many professional photographs prefer matte finish due to the beautiful look it offers.

To lower the overall sublimation printing cost, the CP-K60DW features a standby function that saves up to 96% of your power consumption. It also incorporates a power-saving mode that shuts off the printer after a bit when you’re not using it. The Mitsubishi CP-K60DW also features a rewind function that lets you move the ink ribbon for detailed printing. This works well with solid shapes for specific printing tasks.

The Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S has a high affinity for heat transfer combined with digital processing features, thus produces high-resolution prints. The printer came in two prints with high resolution and reduced power consumption using sleep mode. The matte finish makes it ideal for photographers.

Pros

  • High resolution i.e. 300 x 300 IDP
  • Solid design
  • Fast printing with several different printing on offer, including matte finish
  • Power-saving standby mode that saves up to 96% of power consumption

Cons

  • Operating the printer is a bit challenging, making it less suitable for sublimation printers for beginners.
  • Quite bulky
  • Difficult to set up some of the features on the printer

Epson Stylus c88 + Sublimation Printer

Maximum media size: 8.5″ x 11″

Paper handling: 120 sheets

Brand: Epson

Max print speed: 23 ppm for black text print and 14 ppm for color text print

Operating System: Windows, Mac

For: Best Sublimation Printer for Small Printing Jobs

The Epson Stylus C88 + sublimation printer is perfect for small printing jobs both at home or office. The printer features a sleek and compact design making it highly portable. Despite being cheap with prices starting at under $100, Epson Stylus C88+ offers incredible image quality with durable prints.

The printer churns a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi, which is pretty decent considering the low price. It uses DURABrite Ultra pigment ink, which dries instantly, plus it’s resistant to water, fade, scratch, and smudge. The printer also supports automated paper handling, and you can print borderless pictures or variable ready frame sizes.

Regarding the connectivity options, the Epson Stylus C88 + offers a host of connectivity options for varied uses. The printer features wireless connectivity, parallel ports as well as USB for easy connections. Setting up the printer is relatively easy, and you really don’t need t extensive installation process to get the printer ready for use. The process of downloading and setting up new drivers for the Epson printer is first and easy-simply follow the documented steps. o go through an

For convenience, the printer comes with a photo editing software that enables you to come up with excellent designs for your sublimation printing. The software supports the creation of calendars, photo books, plus other exciting prints.

If you have a small home office with minimal sublimation printing needs, you may want to consider the Epson Stylus C88+. The printer is affordable, compact, and produces high-resolution prints. It’s an ideal choice for the best dye-sublimation printer for small printing jobs both at home and office.

Pros

  • Offers borderless printing with high resolution (5760 x 1440)
  • Compatible with a wide variety of printing materials, including paper materials and airmail paper.
  • Produces smudge-resistant printouts.
  • Works with a wide variety of inks
  • Waterproof
  • Best printer for heat transfers

Cons

  • May not produce large imprints
  • May not work very well with third-party ink cartridges.

HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 Sublimation Printer

Maximum media size: 8.5″ x 14″

Paper handling: 500-sheet input tray

Brand: Epson

Max print speed: 24 pages per minute

Operating System: Windows, Mac

While modern printers claim to have wireless printing through Wi-Fi direct to create convenience and enhance usability, this feature is rarely efficient in most printers. This is because the printer and Wi-Fi pairing usually develops some challenges. The HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 changes this narrative thanks to its self-healing Wi-Fi capabilities.

With the robust Wi-Fi connectivity, you can be sure to easily print your projects from a cloud network without having to worry about a breakdown in communication with the printer. For document security, the printer features a Wi-Fi security setup, plus you can use a password protection feature to ensure that only authorized projects are supported on the printer.

For the designs, HP OfficeJet Pro features a single-pass two-sided document feeder with a capacity of holding up to 500-sheets of printing material (250 on both trays). The printer offers faster scanning speeds only found in older OfficeJet printers.

For convenience, the printer features a full-color display screen to navigate through it easily. The printer is also compatible with HP smart app meaning that you can print remotely. Additionally, it comes with an ink tracking system for greater ink management.

In essence, excellent wireless printing, sustainable design, high printing speed, and multifunctional printing makes the HP OfficeJet Pro among the best sublimation printers today.

Pros

  • Compact design with a duplex tray that can carry 500 basic sublimation sheets at a time
  • High-quality print output
  • High printing speed
  • Can scan color pictures at a rate of 8 ipm.
  • Output tray sensor identifies the specific paper being used in the printing task.

Cons

  • The display screen is relatively small, making navigation sort of challenging.
  • The output tray can only handle 100 sublimation paper per time.

Closing Words

Sublimation printing is an ideal means of embedding images or imprints into a wide range of materials such as fabrics, ceramics, plastics, polyester-coated aluminum sheets, etc. This kind of printing offers several advantages. It allows you to print full-colored transfers, produces a smooth finish with a soft texture, and sublimation-printed images do not fade with time through washing. There are numerous brands of sublimation printers on the market today, each with different features specifications. The printers analyzed in this review are among the best sublimation printers currently on the market, and you should be able to choose them depending on your printing needs and budget.

Jan Mason
 

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