Best Sublimation Printer for Heat Transfer in 2022

Prints produced by sublimation printers are of such high quality and last so long that customers absolutely adore them, and they often sell for premium prices. I’m so excited about putting together this guide and article on the best sublimation printers for heat transfers for that reason.

Here are my top picks for the best sublimation printer in 2022 in case you are in a hurry. For more information, please read on!

Best SuperTank Printer

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

  • Fine art and photography sublimation printers
  • Printing Premium SuperTanks at the best price
  • Inkjet printer type
  • 13″ x 19″ is the maximum print size
  • 5760 x 1,440 pixels is the maximum resolution
  • Speed: 16 PPM for black & white; 12 PPM for color
  • Wireless and AirPrint connectivity
Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

As a writer and as a user of technology, I often feel like I need to exercise a little caution. It’s so easy to get distracted by technology nowadays – all the cool gear and gadgets, the amazing advances and innovations – so I should always ask whether that new gadget serves my creative process as well. However, sometimes I come across printing technologies that are really cool, and that are so interesting, and that also allow me – or any other creative person – to produce pieces that look good and are high quality. A good example is sublimation printing, which I haven’t seen for a long time.

  • What is the process of sublimation printing?
  • Which is Better, Sublimation or Heat Transfer?
  • Sublimation can be done with what printers?
  • How good are Epson printers for sublimation printing?
  • Is Sublimation Necessary?
  • What is the difficulty of sublimation?
  • What are the advantages of sublimation printing?

What is Sublimation Printing?

A variety of objects can be imprinted with sublimation printing, such as artwork, logos, or designs. Using computer technology or scanning and digitizing printed matter or any other physical medium, the image can be made and transferred to:

  • Clothing
  • Other clothing, including jackets and hats
  • Glasses, tumblers, and mugs
  • Mouse Pads
  • Cases for phones
  • Wall hanging fabric 
  • Blankets
  • Ornaments for Christmas

I could go on and on!

You could think of sublimation prints as a high-quality form of heat transfer printing – like iron-on transfers, for example. However, I have found that sublimation printing gives much better results than any other heat transfer method I have used. Exceptionally attractive, high quality print that lasts for years!

Sublimation prints are essentially gaseous when heated. Instead of sticking to the surface, they actually go into the material of the shirt, hat, mouse pad, or whatever you’re using, and bond on a deeper level.

The transfers are richer and more colorful, sharper and generally more impactful, and they last longer than iron-ons or heat transfers. In addition to this, sublimation printed items tend to sell very well and at good prices because they are attractive to customers.

One way to make money is to create products to sell – though it can be very lucrative! Additionally, you can make gifts for friends, promotional items for clients, or even just clothing to show off your personal style.

Is Using Sublimation Printer Difficult?

It is not my intention to go into a how-to article right now, but I can assure you that sublimation printing is not difficult or tricky at all. Actually, it is just as easy as any other type of printing, and the transfer process is similar to heat transfer printing in many ways.

Nonetheless, I’m assuming you have a sublimation printer. Due to the differences in ink used in the sublimation process, if you tried to use your everyday printer to print with sublimation, you would need to change or refill the cartridges and flush the system each time, and there’s still a chance that the ink might clog your print heads.

Anyway, many regular printers do not work well with sublimation ink, so you really need a dedicated printer for this. Printing can be done with several inexpensive printers that produce excellent results. 

If you pursue even a small-scale business marketing and selling sublimation printed items, the initial investment would seem like nothing after a while—even with some of the more expensive printers we’re featuring in this article. at all.

How Can You Get the Best Results with Sublimation Printers?

Again, I am not going to give a step-by-step tutorial here, but I will mention what you need for sublimation printing, and then I will give you some tips for getting the best results.

Among the basic kit’s contents are:

  • Sublimation Printers
  • Paper Sublimation
  • Presses for heating
  • Prints to be transferred to

For each of these items, we’ve compiled the best printers, heat presses, sublimation inks, etc.

In fact, you only have to do the following: 

  • Your graphic, logo, artwork, etc., should be created (or scanned in) on the computer
  • You should use the appropriate inks and paper with your sublimation printer
  • Transform the printed image into a product – a shirt, a hat, a mouse pad, or a coffee mug
  • You deserve to sit back and admire your work!

The process of sublimation printing can be made much easier and more effective by following a few rules, hints, and suggestions.

Sublimination-friendly material

For the sublimation process to be successful, you must use an item that is made of polyester or plastic.

You should wear at least 75 to 80 percent polyester when wearing T-shirts or other clothing. The transfer won’t work on metal, glass, ceramic, or any other non-polyester/plastic material unless it is coated with polyester first. Even so, plastic mugs, mouse pads, phone cases, and a host of other items work just fine. Some plastic items are thin enough to melt, and light fabrics may also melt (and you should avoid natural fabrics as well, or anything that isn’t plastic/polyester or at least polyester coated). Don’t experiment with things that are valuable or irreplaceable!

Mirror Your Artwork

The image will be reversed on your item, as with any iron-on or heat-transfer process. If you print a pure graphic or picture, this may work or may not, but the words will be reversed. Use the graphics software on your computer to reverse the image before printing, or carry a full-length mirror wherever you go.

Use Printer for Sublimination

Having said that, it’s crucial to realize that most printers – or at least their print heads – do not work well with sublimation ink and can clog. Consider using a sublimation printer exclusively (like one of the recommendations below).

Transfer Your Sublimination Prints onto Light Backgrounds

In order to get true and vivid colors and make the details really pop, your sublimation prints should be transferred to white clothing, hats, mugs and tumblers, mouse pads, phone cases or pre-cut puzzle pieces, or onto a polyester sheet for displaying as a wall hanging.

Use a Dedicated Heat Press

Use sublimation printing instead of ironing – sometimes you can use a normal household iron to apply iron-on decals or heat transfer prints, but sublimation printing works better at higher and more consistent temperatures. The best way to get a heat press is by getting a dedicated machine, like the wonderful Cricut machine or one of the traditional tabletop models. We’ll talk about some fantastic options below!

Work Clean and Smart

Prior to attempting a transfer, make sure your shirt, mouse pad, or whatever else you are using is clean and dry. When applying the sublimation print to the heat press, always place a sheet of plain paper between the print and the press, and another behind the object if necessary. Be sure the print is level and flat as well. Make sure your transfers stay straight and aligned by using a good heat-resistant tape – I recommend Cricut Heat Resistant Tape.

Choosing the right sublimation printer can be a challenge.

Here we will discuss the best printers for sublimation, as well as the best papers, inks, and heat presses for the process.

Based on my own experience in this process, as well as the comments I’ve received from colleagues and friends, readers and students, and a lot of Amazon verified customer reviews, I’ll select the best options in the following areas:

  • Sublimination Printer of Choice
  • Sublimation Inks That Work
  • Sublimation paper of the best quality
  • Sublimation transfer press that works best

In the Bonus section of this article, I will discuss another approach – a complete starter kit that contains literally everything you need to get into sublimation printing for your hobby or your business.

Others might prefer to choose each piece individually – the printer, the heat press, the best paper, etc. However you choose to proceed, you can be sure that the choices listed below will make your experience with sublimation printing easier and more successful, as well as guarantee the highest quality of your creations.

Then let’s get started with our buyer’s guide to the best sublimation printers, heat presses, and more!

Overview: Best Sublimation Printers in 2022

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

Best Sublimation Printer for Fine Art / Photography

  • We offer the lowest prices for printing premium supertanks
  • The printer type is inkjet
  • Size of maximum print: 13″ x 19″
  • 5760 x 1,440 pixels is the maximum resolution
  • Speed: 16 pages per minute in black and white: 12 pages per minute in color
  • Wireless & AirPrint compatibility

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 Wide-Format Printer with Scanner

Best Sublimation Printer for Commercial Use

Best Professional Super Tank Printer

Type: Inkjet Printer

Maximum Print Size: 13″ x 19″

Maximum Resolution: 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi

Printing Speed: 25 PPM BW :: 25 PPM Color

Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wide Format Color Printer with Scanner

Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wide Format Color Printer with Scanner

Best Wide Format Sublimation Printer

  • Printer type: Inkjet
  • Size of maximum print: 13″ x 19″
  • Optimum Resolution: 4800 x 1200 pixels
  • The printing speed is 17 PPM in black and white and 9 PPM in color

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Color Printer with Scanner

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Color Printer with Scanner

  • Sublimation Printer for Home Use at the Best Price
  • Inkjet printer
  • The maximum size of the print is 8.5″ x 48.2″.
  • Resolution: 5760 x 1440 pixels
  • The printing speed is 10 pages per minute in black and white, 5 pages per minute in color

Epson SuperTank Printers as a Better Alternative to Sawgrass Dye Sublimation Printers

There are many sublimation printer buyer’s guides out there that list the Sawgrass printers, such as the Sawgrass SG500, as among the best dye sublimation printers available today. They are not just more expensive than others, but also use dye sublimation ink cartridges that are much, much more expensive!

If you have experience with sublimation printing and transfers, however, there is an even better option – Epson EcoTank printers. Compared to the Sawgrass, these cheaper printers offer a higher resolution and are easier to use. They can also be refilled with inexpensive but high-quality sublimation ink from many different companies.

Remember that these printers are all going to come with normal ink, but do not use that ink or even put it in the tanks! The printer must be used exclusively for sublimation and you will need to purchase specialized sublimation inks separately (see below). 

However, all of these printers also come with excellent scanning beds built-in, so they can also be used as scanners and art digitizers, copiers, or even fax machines – if people still use fax machines anymore…

Best Sublimation Printer Overall

Best SuperTank Printer

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

  • Fine art and photography sublimation printers
  • Printing Premium SuperTanks at the best price
  • The printer type is inkjet
  • 13″ x 19″ maximum print size
  • 5760 x 1,440 pixels is the maximum resolution
  • Speed: 16 pages per minute in black and white: 12 pages per minute in color
  • Wireless & AirPrint connectivity
Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Wide-Format Six Color Printer with Scanner

The Epson ET-8550 printer requires six-color sublimation inks, which are a little more difficult to find. However, what a difference they make! Even the other excellent Epsons on our list of best printers for sublimation do not compare with this printer for color accuracy, range, subtlety, saturation, and impact.

Aside from the colors, it’s also worth mentioning that the unit supports borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″ and has a remarkably excellent build quality and reliability.

However, despite its price tag, I would not hesitate to say that this is not only the best sublimation printer in general, as well as the best for sublimation printing of fine art and photography, but the best value for the money! 

Best Sublimation Printer for Commercial Use

Best for Commercial use

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 Wide-Format Printer with Scanner

  • What is the best sublimation printer for commercial use?
  • Super Tank Printer – Best Professional Printer
  • The printer type is inkjet
  • Size of maximum print: 13″ x 19″
  • A maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200 at optimized dpi is available
  • With a black and white printing speed of 25 pages per minute and a color printing speed of 25 pages per minute
Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 Wide-Format Printer with Scanner

We selected the Epson ET-16650 for its ruggedness, reliability, and fast printing. Even though this beast of a printer is overbuilt, it is capable of producing beautiful sublimation prints, brilliant color registration, and overall accuracy. The more you use the 16650, the more you realize the best professional printers are about quality on all levels, not just speed and build quality.

Epson’s EcoTank ET-16650 printer is both a scanner and copier in one. This is the best commercial sublimation printer in 2022 due to its simplicity, durability, and incredibly good results. 

Best Premium Sublimation Printer for Home Use

Best Premium for Home use

Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wide Format Color Printer with Scanner

  • Sublimation printers with wide format
  • Inkjet printer
  • 13″ x 19″ maximum print size
  • Optimum Resolution: 4800 x 1200 pixels
  • The printing speed is 17 PPM in black and white and 9 PPM in color
Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wide Format Color Printer with Scanner

You have to go all the way to the top of Epson’s home printer line-up to get better performance than the amazing and inexpensive ET-2800 below.

 Although the ET-2800’s quoted resolution is higher, the ET-15000 prints with greater sharpness and impact, as well as better quality print heads, mechanical quality, and registration.

Aside from producing such sharp and energetic prints, its high mechanical quality also makes it very durable and reliable, suitable for printing even large volumes. My top pick for a home business is the Epson ET-15000, and for any serious crafter or artist interested in producing high-quality items, it is the best wide-format sublimation printer overall.

Best Value Sublimation Printer for Home Use

Best Value for Home use

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Color Printer with Scanner

  • Home Sublimation Printer at Best Value
  • Inkjet printer
  • 8.5″ x 47.2″ is the maximum print size.
  • 5760 x 1440 dpi is the maximum resolution
  • Ten Pages Per Minute Black and White : Five Pages Per Minute Color
Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Color Printer with Scanner

The new and improved Epson ET-2800 actually offers better resolution and is a real workhorse, while more expensive Epson ecotank printers offer slightly faster print speeds, automatic two-sided printing (which isn’t relevant here), along with other minor updates. Additionally, the 2800 is a great sublimation printer for almost no money, as well as a highly capable scanner for digitizing artwork and copying documents.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 is a highly recommended and great value for the money when it comes to sublimation printers.

Best Ink for Sublimation Printers

Printers Jack 400ML Sublimation Ink for Epson EcoTank Printers – 4 Colors

Epson C88 C88+ WF7710 ET2720 ET4700 ET15000 ET2760 ET2750 WF7820 Epson Inkjet Printers ET2760 ET2750 ET2760 ET2750 WF7820 Inkjet Printers Heat Press Transfer on Mugs, Plates, Polyester Tops, Phone Cases, etc.

Printers Jack 600ML Sublimation Ink for Epson EcoTank ET-8550 Photo – 6 Color

Printing Ink for Artisan 1410 1500W RX560 RX580 on Mug Cup T-Shirt Pillow for Stylus Photo 1400 T50 L800 L805 837 730 835 810 Printers

Wow, this is one of the easiest buyer’s guides I’ve ever completed! Not only is Epson EcoTank the best sublimation printer, but Printers Jack offers the best sublimation ink as well.

Yeah, there are a lot of different brands and choices, all oIn addition to one really great option for the best sublimation printers – Epson EcoTank – there is also one clear winner for the best sublimation inks -m are absurdly expensive, and none of them are Printers Jack.

Buying a full set of color inks designed for, and compatible with, the sublimation process for a relatively low price can result in spectacular prints and images. For the Epson ET-8550 Photo printer, you can buy six color inks, while for the rest of the printers on our list you can get four color inks. Printers Jack sublimation inks work great and look great every time, both in terms of bonding and color saturation.

You cannot go wrong with Printers Jack sublimation ink – whether it is more expensive or less expensive. Their inks are easily the best on the market today for sublimation printing, which is easy to understand why they are the best sellers.

Best Paper for Sublimation Printers and Heat Transfer

A-Sub Sublimation Paper 8.5×11 Inch 110 Sheets – Letter Size

A-Sub Sublimation Paper 8.5x11 Inch 110 Sheets - Letter Size

Choosing the best paper to sublimate was another clear choice. Designed specifically for subtitling, A-Sub paper provides clear, sharp images with excellent color fidelity and saturation every time. 

And, surprisingly given its exceptionally high quality, A-Sub paper is quite reasonably priced!

Sure, there are less expensive choices out there (slightly lessDesigned specifically for subtitling, A-Sub paper provides clear, sharp images with excellent color fidelity and saturation every offer such a high level of consistency in results as well. That’s what A-Sub paper does, and why it is the best sublimation printing paper available.

Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut EasyPress 2

  • Raspberry 9″x 9″ Heat Press Machine for T-Shirts and HTV Vinyl Projects.
  • Larger images can be transferred using this method

Cricut EasyPress Mini

Cricut EasyPress Mini

  • T-Shirt, Hat, Shoe, and HTV Vinyl Press Machine
  • Heats a small area, controls the temperature accurately, and is easy to maneuver

Cricut Mug Press

Cricut Mug Press

  • Heat Press for Sublimating Mugs – Compatible with Cricut Infusible Inks – Cricut mug blanks
  • Mugs, well, mugs. You can also make glasses, cups and tumblers with this press if you are making them!

Many buyer’s guides and tutorials suggest using a standard household iron, but this isn’t really the best choice for sublimation printing. There’s a tendency for them not to reach a temperature that’s hot enough, or to keep it constant, and the surface isn’t always consistent or optimal for sublimation. 

In contrast, a good arts and crafts press will offer:

  • Thermostatically and pressure-wise precisely adjustable
  • Getting the job done faster
  • Greater working space
  • Results that are better, more consistent, and more predictable

There are a couple of great options here, which really come down to personal style and preference.

The Cricut heat press comes in many styles, so we can use it in a variety of ways. Cricut and all of its products are not only incredibly high in quality, but are also clearly designed by and for artists and crafters, and are always quite clever and helpful.

Currently, Cricut offers the three different heat presses above.

Alternatively, or I guess, on the table, you can get a conventional heating press with its large working area and a swing arm. Many crafters prefer table-top presses for their various projects because they are more stable and provide better control, especially if your hand is not always steady.

Fancierstudio’s easy-to-use and well-made 1800 Watt 15×15 Inch Press or 16×20 Inch Press is the best value.

Fancierstudio Power Heat press

Fancierstudio Power Heat press

This is an digital 15×15 heat press with sublimation and rhinestones for T-shirts.

Fancierstudio Heat Press

Fancierstudio Heat Press

Sublimation Rhinestone 16x20PW Black Heat Press

If you choose Cricut or FancierStudio, you are getting a high quality heat press that is not only great for sublimation transfer but is also very versatile. My personal preference is any of the three Cricut heat presses or the two FancierStudio table-top presses as the best press to buy for sublimation printing transfers. 

Bonus: Sublimation Printing Starter Kit for Beginners

Transfer World 8-in-1 Professional Sublimation Heat Transfer Kit with Heat Press and Epson Workforce Printer

Transfer World 8-in-1 Professional Sublimation Heat Transfer Kit with Heat Press and Epson Workforce Printer

You may already know the answer to the question I posed in my bonus section about the best sublimation printing kits.

Perhaps you already know if you prefer to buy individual kit parts one by one, or to get it all done in one fell mouse-click by using an all-in-one sublimation printing kit.

There is a kit on Amazon that really stands out if you are the latter, as it includes literally everything you could possibly need so you can get right to the art-and-crafting.

It includes not only a great desktop heat press, as well as various attachments for mugs and other objects, but also an Epson Workforce printer, complete with sublimation inks, along with everything else you could possibly need. What’s included:

  • With multiple attachments for mugs, hats, etc., 15*15 Inch Heat Press
  • Workforce WF-3720 Epson printer
  • Sublimation ink cartridges with chipless ink cartridges
  • A4 Sublimation Paper 100 sheets
  • We offer a variety of sublimation products, including T-shirts, mugs, puzzles, mouse pads, and more.
  • Instructions, cables, and additional accessories

Personally, I can only attest to the quality of the printer itself, which is an excellent product especially for sublimation printing. But based on dozens of customer reviews, it appears to be a great complete starter set that makes sublimation printing as easy and fun as possible. Heat presses are frequently mentioned for their quality and usability, as well as the outstanding printing capabilities and excellent customer service offered by the seller.

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