We’re blessing your pressing with the best sublimation printers for heat transfer best-rated in 2022. As nasty as Heat transfer is, it can’t be done mess-free–unless you get a right printer. We’re on the verge where 89.4% printers in the dye-sub category directly print on the substrate. Hence, you’ve nothing to transfer. Our focus is on the remaining 10.6% that “prints on sublimation paper” so we can shift it to our final substrate. A dedicated heat transfer printer makes your work two times easier and twenty times professional.
After digging up tons of day and night research and testing seven convertible inkjet printers, and 5 built-in ones, we found Ricoh Aficio SG 3110DN being an ideal heat unit. However, its latest version, or the Sawgrass SG the best sublimation printer for heat transfer that fulfills heat press needs like a charm. It’s honestly a blessing in the face of a machine that takes your projects to the next level. Sit with that quality are the seven other printers that we reviewed to cater a large community of sublimation artists of all types.
- 1 How we review the best sublimation printers:
- 2 Highlights Of Best Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
- 2.1 1. Ricoh Aficio SG 3110DN – Best Ricoh sublimation printer
- 2.2 2. EPSON ECOTANK ET-3760 – Best Transfer Rate
- 2.3 3. Epson Ecotank ET4700 – Low-Cost Sublimation Printer
- 2.4 4. SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO VJ628 – well-rounded sublimation printer
- 2.5 5. Epson SureColor T3170 – Most Vibrant and Sharp Prints
- 2.6 6. SAWGRASS SG1000 – Best for T-shirt Customization
- 2.7 7. Epson Stylus C88+ – Best Photo Sublimation Printer
- 2.8 8. Epson Artisan 1430 – Best Epson Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
- 3 ATTENTION: Must Read This Before Buying Any Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
How we review the best sublimation printers:
For selecting a sublimation printer for heat transfer, we consider some key factors like printing file size, the number of ink colors, printing speed, and cost of the printer. And yet these are just the minor details that we put compulsory in a printer to complement heat transfer, otherwise there are a lot more that we’ll be explaining to you in this article. Based on these factors, we’ve shortlisted eight of the best sublimation printers.
Highlights Of Best Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
Ricoh Aficio SG 3110DN
EPSON ECOTANK ET-3760
Epson Ecotank ET4700 | Low-Cost Sublimation Printer
SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO VJ628
Epson SureColor T3170
Epson Stylus C88+
Epson Artisan 1430 – Best Epson Sublimation Printer for Heat Transfer
1. Ricoh Aficio SG 3110DN – Best Ricoh sublimation printer
Ricoh sublimation printers are the first ever printers that came into the market–supporting dye ink, before Sawgrass and Epson. This printer comes with the GelJet Viscous Ink, that they claim to provide smudge-free and water-proof results. While having 4 shirts and 2 tumblers for 6 years in the same quality, we can actually agree with that. Also, the ink dries instantly, so you can task up the printer with multiple designs and leave it doing the doing with no errors.
The quality is backed with its 3,600 x 1,200 dpi resolution, which creates a picture almost realistic. By default, the printer supports 250 sheets in its tray, but you can add more up to 800-850. It supports 8.5 x 14 size max. However you’ve to install a separate tray to make use of these larger measurements. In addition, it’s compatible with android, iPhone, and windows, and other smart devices, which enables zero unnecessary breaks.
They used to be the cheapest ones with basic features, and do everything except wood and acrylic sublimation. However, they still sit over the Epson EcoTank series with its front panel, providing you with all the options to maneuver the printer. There are separate cartridges, so you don’t have to install a complete kit if you’re running out of one.
What amazed us about this old model is the Economy color mode, that keeps us at a budget. The hack is setting up the printer, first at normal, so the nozzles get used to the regular flow, and then set your printer to the economy mode, where it reduces the ink amount by 50% and energy by 65%. Though, we suggest setting up the printer at normal intervals to keep up the quality, and use slightly higher pressure during the press process to have excellent results.
The flip side making its sales down is the bulky size, because new artists generally lift up their businesses from home, and this printer fails to meet “compactness” which they need. However, if you make up a pleasant spot to bear 28 lbs, (which you can if you’re saving hundreds of dollars), then it’s definitely a not to miss unit. Well, the model is discontinued too, and it’s now available as the SG500 (Since Ricoh partnered with Sawgrass), so you can achieve compactness and improved results with the new unit; however, at an increased price point.
- Fast and accurate printing
- Highest quality inks for instant dry and permanent results
- No paper misfeeds
- Enormous paper holding capacity
Ricoh Aficio SG 3110DN is the most reliable sublimation printer one could ask for. Though it comes with the basic features, yet the way it translates the prints on the final substrates has no comparison in the entire list. However, they’re usually out of stock, due to their high-demand and less production, so spare a second to check their availability because we don’t want you to regret later.
2. EPSON ECOTANK ET-3760 – Best Transfer Rate
Epson is the World’s top leading printers brand and in sublimation, it didn’t stay back. In fact, float out a whole hefty lineup of inkjet printers that convert to sublimation. In the bunch of machines in the Ecotank lineup, what makes us choose the 3760 model is the “highest transfer rate”, followed by its cartridge-free printing with easy-to-fill, super-sized ink tanks.
It’s a highly budget-friendly and eco-friendly printer. By default, it supports 8.5 x 11 size, but with the configuration settings, and bypass tray, you can extend the size to entertain a wide variety of items, such as tote bags, shirts, pillows, mats, frames, etc.
Initially, it’s a regular printer, but it takes 5 minutes with a good kit to turn the tables with it. Besides, keeping the colors at the best possible contrast at a depleted cost compared to the other sublimation printers adds further value to it. To keep your profit margins stable, Hippo sublimation ink is a way to go, and if you previously have any photo printer, you can make use of the pigmented inks in that printer.
Likewise, it uses 4 colors (CMYK) technology for printing and can print 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution prints. Apart from being a low cost and value for money machine, ET-3760 is furthermore very time efficient, and thus makes itself the best sublimation printer for heat transfer.
- Cartridge free ink refilling.
- Consistent print quality.
- Low running cost.
- Can also be used as a regular printer.
- Require a conversion kit to be used as a sublimation printer.
This is the best sublimation printer for sublimation and heat transfer if you are:
Starting a new small business with a limited budget and high expectations. Epson ET-3760 can be a reliable option. We recommend this for entrepreneurs and ground-level artists that aim for a long journey in sublimation as here, you can get premium-quality results with a low maintenance cost.
3. Epson Ecotank ET4700 – Low-Cost Sublimation Printer
EPSON’s Ecotank ET4700 is a level-up model in the SuperTank series with small media size support, and a compact interior. With ET4700, you can get high-resolution results of 5760×1440 dpi, which marginates little cost to high profits. This printer currently sits on the top-of-the-line, with this resolution being the highest offered in the market.
It has an upgraded built-in software that supports high-volume printouts. If you’re running on a requirement of 100 sublimation prints per-day, then nothing makes you loosen your burden more efficiently than this super-systemized box. Not just productivity, the printer has peaked in technology through its compatibility. Just connect it to Alexa, sit there, and let the printer follow your orders.
Besides Alexa and Siri, it has both Wi-Fi and wired connectivity and it also supports Google cloud printing as well as Apple AirPrint.
It’s also a cartridge-free printing device, besides grounded on some eco features, i.e. energy star qualification and RoHS compliant, that makes it a promising machine of a better future. Though its consistency is reliable, sometimes it struggles with the speed, especially after running for an hour straight. The speed drops down from 30 seconds per paper to 45 seconds–but you can troubleshoot it by giving it a 15 minute break.
The Automatic document feeder (ADF) technology makes it a stress-free user-friendly machine. It works on CMYK printing technology, and with a right ICC profile setting, it sets your colors vibrant and eye-pleasing.
- The easy conversion process.
- Low budget.
- Fast printing speed.
- High resolution.
- Easy to set up.
- Print speed is very slow.
This is the best option for sublimation heat transfer if you are:
A neophyte in technology and looking for a reliable sublimation transfer machine and you want it to be good for the environment, energy-efficient, and less pollutant.
4. SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO VJ628 – well-rounded sublimation printer
Virtuoso VJ 628 is the oldest sublimation printer in the Sawgrass sublimation lineup. The 2015 hike in sublimation gave this printer enough spotlight to become the best-selling product for 5 years since then, and it was the Sawgrass 1000 that took up its place just for its price point.
Surely, Virtuoso VJ 628 is an expensive pick, but let’s have a look at its 8-color different ink system. This printer collectively is a sublimation, photo, dye, and interior signage machine that set up standards no printer has ever met yet. In fact, this is the only sublimation printer with fluorescent pink and yellow color options, so you can set up your shop tagging an extra 5 dollars to provide customer-pleasing printouts.
Keeping the brand’s original features, it also has two-years warranty, free subscription to the creative studio, tech support, 1400 x1400 dpi resolution, but here they added the 25” printing area, which eliminates section printing entirely. Plus, the print manager app and the studio exclusively unlock premium editing tools and themes.
And because of virtuoso print management, it’s compatible with RIP studio-like software. Furthermore, it has built-in ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles, these profiles enable a variety of substrates efficiently. Other than that, ValueJet 628 provides full-bleed prints with no margins at edges.
Besides, the operating expense for VJ 628 can be nightmares for the user. It only uses particular sublimation inks made especially for Sawgrass sublimation transfer printers and is quite expensive. But here’s the math:
Owning this cost around 5500 dollars with a yearly ink and paper expense of 300 dollars, approximate. While the monthly average of photo printing is 20,000 dollars, which is three times of the cost of the printer, not counting sublimation, and signage. Even if we include the firm’s entire expense, bills, and OPEX, you’d still flourish with 78% of the profit margins.
- Optimized prints
- 8 color option availability
- Lightweight and portable
- Piezoelectric print technology
- Very expensive inks
It’s the best option as a sublimation heat transfer printer if you are:
Running a sublimation industry of huge branches and being able to spend an enormous chunk of your savings. This is the most well-rounded and long-term machine that backs you up with professional quality and performance.
5. Epson SureColor T3170 – Most Vibrant and Sharp Prints
You’re not alone thinking this T3170 would do sublimation directly, everyone after the F170 launch in the SureColor series, gets confused for the rest of the SureColor models. However, there are three similar models in the series, i.e., T3170–the basic, T3170x–with ink bottles instead of cartridge, and T5170–the 36” wide format.
All of these were launched 3 years prior to the launch of F170 before which Epson didn’t bring out its own dye sub ink, therefore, all these models need to be converted to make them sublimation friendly. The printer has a 24” single roller that supports a media size of 11 x 19”, but can be upgraded as per your needs, under a few bucks.
What’s lovely about the printer is, it has the potential to precise the print, sharpen the details, and the ability to print blueprints, line drawings, posters, signage–besides tackling your sublimation papers for heat transfer. A resolution of up to 2,400 dpi makes it more of a printing beast. Plus, it’s specifically designed to intensify the way of work, and its sleek and cut down height plus graceful white color puts your workplace at a significant level of decency.
Additionally, high-capacity cartridges up to 50 mL color and 80 mL Black add up in the overall efficiency. Its ink nozzle is wider, so we recommend installing Sawgrass sublimation ink. It’ll also enhance the transfer rate and printer’s productivity.
It can also be used for CAD/Line Drawings, Indoor Signage, Corporate Graphics, and Education Graphics. Its Wireless connectivity enables it to be more efficient. With integrated router-free Wi-Fi Direct printing technology, printing from any place in the office and tablets, and smartphones become super easy with this gorgeous machine.
- Versatile media handling
- Recyclable product
- precise, sharp detail
- Compatibility and easy to set up
- Uses Epson cartridges only.
It’s the best option as a sublimation heat transfer printer if you are:
Looking for a premium-looking printer with all the best features available for sublimation printing that provides the sharpest details for logo printings, typographies, and sublimation work of minimal details.
6. SAWGRASS SG1000 – Best for T-shirt Customization
SG1000 is the company’s launch in response to the success of its forerunner SG 500, and creating a mid way for business enterprises to continue customization at a budget. Well, this one initially supports prints on sublimation paper to be transferred through a heat press, but here’s a twist–this machine can also perform DTG, which backs you up if your heat press ditches you.
With its pro-level consistency and versatility, SG1000 will give a head start to your startup of customized products. Its 4880 x 1200 dpi resolution can provide premium quality results. On top of that, it can print up to 687,754 different colors using 4 standard color cartridges.
Well, it takes one minute per paper, that’s what we think takes down your printing. However, if you’re using compressed media size, the speed goes half of that, and that’s how it makes mug, tumbler, key chains, mobile phones, and hat sublimation fast and accurate. Apart from it, the optional bypass tray can also maximize the print media size to 13” x 51”. Of course, you’ve to be more patient with it. Furthermore, with the support of a creative studio, it also works great with other graphics software like Corel draw and illustrator. It also supports USB 2.0 along with wireless Wi-Fi connectivity.
Another reason that sets Sawgrass superior to Epson is the built-in self-maintenance features that provide peace of mind through routine cleanings and make SG1000 more optimized and user-friendly. It comes with Sawgrass’s real-time customer support that provides help with system troubleshooting and guidance for the color management software.
Although it’s an expensive sublimation printer in contrast with the SG500, it can boost up the profitability and you can easily make up the cost a mile a minute. Yet, its bigger size can be more of a problem for you, so make sure you are only buying it for commercial use.
- Particularly designed for dye sublimation
- Automatic maintenance cycle
- Energy efficient
- High-resolution and quality prints.
- Larger in size
It’s the best option as a sublimation heat transfer printer if you are:
Going to startup a sublimation business of different fabrics and apparel. Also, if you are looking for a commercial-level printer, this would just do the work. Its exceptional printing compatibility, customer support, and quality won’t let you down for sure.
7. Epson Stylus C88+ – Best Photo Sublimation Printer
Epson Stylus C88+ is a photo printer with the widest printing area of 8.5” x 44” in the Epson lineup. Well, it supports sublimation papers, once you install the CISS system in the cartridges and carry down with your favorite sublimation ink brand–and yes, leave that pigment inks untouched that comes with the printer.
Printing 18 sheets per minute with a resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi is where this printer took up the game to the sky. Its roller depicts the finest technology and is known for flawless engineering. Though, it kinda gives an old-school touch, with its slightly rounded design from the edges and the boring gray color, but the technology and software inside really speaks of versatility, that can still beat the latest technology rising up in 2022.
Plus, it’s compatible with more than one device simultaneously and prints with impressive speed and spectacular quality. It’s convenient to set up and besides being an old model, it has all the capabilities to compete with new models, including the editing software and compatibility with USB and ethernet. Although it’s box-packed with all the advanced technologies, it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity, which makes it a bit of an outdated one and this is the only reason why we didn’t post on the top.
- Smudge resistant
- Highly affordable
- High-quality, detailed prints.
- Easy to set up and compatible with multiple devices.
- Lack of advanced features
It’s the best option as a sublimation heat transfer printer if you are:
Finding a reputable and long-lasting sublimation printer with all the mandatory features of a sublimation printer for heat transfer. Also, if you can overlook Wi-Fi connectivity in return for the ethernet and editing software, then your trade can’t be better than this versatile machine.
8. Epson Artisan 1430 – Best Epson Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
Epson artisan 1430 is another photo printer launched a decade after the C88+. Here again, the CISS setting and conversion kit makes it a workhorse for your transfers. The convincing features of Artisan 1430, 6 color palettes, high-speed printing, and Wi-Fi connectivity make it stand out from its competitors in sublimation printing for heat transfer.
Compared with the others in the list above, Artisan 1430 has its place in dependability and its compelling high-grade printouts. The printer stays in the trend through its 5760 x 1400 dpi resolution, plus the extra shades, i.e., light magenta and light cyan give an edge for a more meaningful outcome on the final substrate.
The edge-to-edge prints and media size options from 4×6 through 13×19 speak itself for its functionality by catering your needs to translate the print from hats to the canvas. Along with this, its adjustable resolutions can optimize print pixels according to requirements of the substrate, besides being backed with its MicroPiezo inkjet technology.
Above all, there are a variety of connectivity options other than Wi-Fi, including CD/DVD-ROM that directly allow you to print photos with their original pixels and USB connectivity for digital cameras. One drawback is that it doesn’t work with regular paper, so you’ve to carry up cleaning with the sublimation or glossy papers–which expands up the expense.
- Outstanding photo outputs
- Vast connectivity options
- Excellent quality for sublimation papers
- Supports printing on recycled papers (eco friendly)
- Not very good with regular papers
It’s the best option as a sublimation heat transfer printer if you are:
In a search for a highly technological printer that provides wonderful color definitions, quality outputs plus the best resolution and average media print size.
ATTENTION: Must Read This Before Buying Any Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer
Although the information provided in the article is quite sufficient with printers along with complete details of dos and don’ts so that you would have been aware of what they are investing in and what are the returns of that investment. So far, thanks to our research team and press artists we were able to bring the best sublimation printer for heat transfer and finalized eight of the best of them. But still, buyers should be aware of what they want and what they are going to pay for. So here are some ordinates that you can consider for choosing the best option.
LCD OF PRINTER:
For making the printing operations, printers must be directed in the right way to get the desired results. For this, different printers have different options, some provide touch screen panels for direction while some use LCD panels with navigation keys on the sides. While some of the printers control the navigation with built-in applications. If we had to choose, we would go with the LCD options for its compatibility. There are the least amount of glitches plus way quick and easy to set up according to the required settings.
The resolution of printers is responsible for the quality measurement of print. The minimum resolution should be 300 x 300 below that this resolution print quality is not optimal and ideal for the heat transfer process. Though many of Epson’s printers have the 1000+ resolution, that’s they have always been our favorite.
The printing quality of sublimation transfer printers must be so exceptional that it makes the work stand alone among ordinary printers. Above everything else, professional-level print quality is a must need for the process.
What to sublimate:
This is so far the most typical concern because, unfortunately, not all printers give the finest output on sublimation paper that supports heat transfer. This means that if you want to do a heat transfer process and the sublimation print is not compatible with it your whole process will be ruined. To tackle this problem you must see whether the printer supports heat transfer along with sublimation print. Otherwise, the result will only be a disappointment.
Paper tray size:
As the name suggests, the bigger the paper tray size the more paper you can store in it. Yet, the matter of concern is to look out for how much space your printer is providing because it is one of those abilities that make the whole process of printing quite efficient. It is always a plus point if the paper tray size is big and it can hold more papers.
For the heat transfer process, it is mandatory to use sublimation inks. A person looking for a heat transfer sublimation printer must know that not all printers support all types of sublimation inks. It is necessary to make sure that the link you’re using is sublimation ink and made for your printer.
If you use inks that are not supported by your printer then your printer will be at risk. And if you use the ordinary ink for the sublimation process your whole process of sublimation transfer will become a mess. So, always make sure to use sublimation inks that are supported by your printers.
Always make sure to use professional software for picture editing. For sublimation, printing layouts must be designed according to the sublimation object. All the factors like whether you want a print with borders or a borderless print. For small-sized pictures, a layout with 4 x 6 will work fine. While for T-Shirts a full A4 size or larger papers will be needed and a maximum of 8.5 x 14 layout will work out.
Some of the printers provide more than one layout; those are highly suggested for multiple uses. It matters that you are aware of what you’re gonna print with the printers to get the right piece for your work. Even so, most vendors do not mention this information which makes it quite difficult to get the one that suits your needs best.
Because what’s the use of a device that does not allow for connectivity in the era of advanced technology. That being said, printers also need to be able to connect with more devices. For this, many printers have different options for connections i.e. wifi, Bluetooth, USB, and wired connection.
All the options are used to connect different devices for example using wifi and Bluetooth connectivity options mobile and tablets can be connected easily. While for PC USB connectors and cables are used. It completely depends on you whether you need your printer to be efficient enough to print from mobile devices like tablets and laptops or if you are okay with the computer connectivity option.
Another important factor of consideration should be printing speed. Whether you want a printer for office use or personal use speed can make your work easy or frustrated. Printers with the capability of printing with higher speed can be expensive but absolute worth it especially if you want them for continuous and heavy use. In the above list, we have mentioned printers with a minimum speed of 5 pages per minute and this is the minimum a user can bear. A slower printer than this speed can be a nightmare for the consumer. So, spending a little more on better speed can be an optimal option.
Talking about the heat transfer, the reliability and accuracy of the printer is a mandatory factor to be considered. There is no place for blurry and dull outputs so the print quality and its pictorial graphics must not be compromised even a little. The prints must be of high resolution and sharp colors, else the printer is useless for sublimation transfer.
This feature makes the printer the best and worst for sublimation transfer printing. Printers must be able to print high-quality sharp colors on sublimation paper; if not then the main output on apparel will be of the worst quality. For the specifications, printers that support the 4-8 color option can be a good choice, but their ability to generate better quality output using optimal color combinations is a plus.
The printer for sublimation transfer is most of the time used by small businesses. So, it is a mandatory thing to have consistency in printouts. If the print quality of the sublimation printer for heat transfer is not consistent then it is not a good option. Along with the consistency it must need to be long-lasting, the lifespan of the printer should be in years also the overall performance of the business is affected in a bad way.
For sublimation printing for heat transfer, look for the printers that use piezoelectric printing technology. This technology is responsible for printing the sublimation colors and it makes the sublimation ink useable. Other printing technologies are not able to do sublimation so they’ll be void. Don’t worry, we exactly have this technology in the printers that we have reviewed in this article.
Most sublimation printers are very expensive, but some inkjet printers or we can say, Epsom Printers, can be converted to sublimation printers just by using a simple ink conversion process. The ordinary ink needs to be replaced by sublimation ink and the printer will be a sublimation printer. You can also read how to convert sublimation printers into sublimation to have a better understanding.
However, seems quite simple, but the reality is a bit complex because sorry to break it to you, not all inkjet printers can be converted to sublimation printers. Only the printers that are using piezoelectric technology can be converted to sublimation printers. Furthermore, the ink must be converted and changed to sublimation ink without using the printer with ordinary inks, otherwise, it is not possible to convert.
We truly believe that heat Press Sublimation can be a lot easier and least hectic only if you have the right sublimation printer. And thus, the debate here is all about the printer and the printouts. Taking that into consideration, we are absolutely ensured that by choosing one of the printers that we have listed in this article, you won’t be regretting even not a bit.
Even though, among all the best sublimation printers for heat transfer on the list, we have these 3 printers that we can choose any day to use for sublimation for the purpose of heat press.
- SAWGRASS SG 500: best quality, specially designed for sublimation printing.
- EPSON SURECOLOR T3170: detailed and premium quality outputs on sublimation paper with all the connectivity options.
- EPSON STYLUS C88+: quite old, but still a worthy device with high-resolution results.
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