Are you looking to find the best sublimation printer for beginners? Then this post is for you.
There are lots of sublimation printers from popular and growing brands in the market. But most options are designed for industrial usage, making it tricky to find the best sublimation printer for beginners.
To help you in your search, we have tested multiple printers to come up with the top picks to choose from.. Let’s begin!
Things to consider for beginner-friendly sublimation printers
- Colors – The majority are 4-color printers or 8-color printers. The first one generally does the job, but if you are creating something artistic with many color combinations, then an 8-color sublimation printer is better.
- Brand – Currently, two brands offer high-quality sublimation printing. The first is Sawgrass, and the second one is Epson. There are also Ricoh printers, but they are less advanced and less available.
- Online reviews/ratings – Whatever brand you decide on, check its ratings on platforms like Trustpilot and customer reviews on the seller platform.
- Refund policy – If you buy from a company other than Amazon, check out the refund policy and shipping fee. Some retailers charge a restocking fee or minimal charge on returns.
Now that you know the quick info, lets get started with the review part. In this post we are going to cover sublimation printers for beginners from two major brands one is Sawgrass and other is Epson.
4 Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners in 2023
Sawgrass – Sawgrass Technologies Inc., headquartered in South Carolina, is famous for designing unique product-decorating technology with low startup costs. They are the industry’s leading brand in interesting dye-sublimation. The 25-year-old company holds over 160 patents to date and boasts the most robust sublimation printers. Here are the best ones –
1. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG-500 is my #1 recommendation for the “best sublimation printer for beginners” list. It is an easy-to-use sublimation printer with a free sublimation paper set and standard 4-color CMYK ink set – SubliJet UHD, which is optimum for hard and soft polyester substrates.
There are also two other ink options, including ChromoBlast HD and UHD, for creating DTG-like bright designs on light-colored cotton or cotton-blended fabrics. EasySubli with Siser partnership is excellent for hard and soft substrates.
That said, a brand new SubliJet UHD ink cartridge will cost you more than $300, which is a bit pricey if you don’t have lots of orders after running out of the free cartridges.
But if you have good volumetric orders, then it would be better to stick to their original ink since the quality is super. Their ink technology will make up for the higher cost.
However, if you have limited orders, you can always use refillable dye-sublimation inks to fill up the empty cartridges. It provides almost the same quality if you follow the ink-refill tutorial step by step.
Overall, you will really like the vibrant print quality of SG500 with the more vivid colors, thanks to their patented print manager.
The Sawgrass print manager software allows you to choose from multiple preset or customized ink profiles for optimal color output. And with their 7.0 update, you don’t have to worry about setting the ICC profiles.
|Streamline production workflows with print manager||High cost for Sawgrass SG500 ink-set|
|Vivid color ink formulation for high-resolution prints||Setting up the Sawgrass print manager can be tricky for beginners|
|WiFi connectivity and a 2 years warranty|
|Final Verdict – SG500 is an exceptional update to the predecessor (SG400) that can easily print up an 8.5 x 14″ design. It also comes with a handy bypass tray (accessory) – that you can use to print 8.5 x 51″ – making it an all-rounder. Lastly, their compatibility with MAC/Windows, design software (like CreativeStudio), and tech support make it an ideal option for beginners.|
Price – Sawgrass SG500 will cost anywhere between $500 to $800, depending on the accessories you choose, where you buy it, and/or additional shipping cost.
2. Sawgrass SG1000
Just as the SG500 was launched as a successor to SG400, the SG1000 was launched as an update to SG800.
It is an ideal printer for quickly growing businesses or anyone looking to add more products to their range soon. You can print up to 11×17 and print apparel, soft goods, small- to medium-sized photo panels, and more with a standard tray.
If you want to print larger dimensions, you can use the bypass tray that takes the print range to 13×51″, making it suitable for large prints.
Similar to SG500, SG1000 comes with CreativeStudio, which is great for working with designs. You can get huge, sharp prints without losing pixels. The SG-1000 uses SubliJet UHD ink, but you can refill inks from alternative brands. However, using third-party inks will void your warranty, taking your access from –
- Sawgrass Care Team Assistance
- Warranty Printer Replacements
- Assistance from our Ambassadors
Although the shelf life of Sawgrass ink is two years, and the large printing volume will cover the cost of new ink cartridges, here is something you should know as a buyer.
|Create custom products with vibrant HD image prints||Using printer ink past the expiry date could be harmful to the unit|
|Faster printing speed than SG800|
|Compatible with the predecessor accessories|
2-year warranty and automatic maintenance cycles
|Final Verdict – Sawgrass SG1000 is a solid sublimation printer for beginner-level or growing businesses. With a large print capacity, better energy efficiency, and higher resolution, SG-1000 definitely tops the list.|
Price – Sawgrass UHD Virtuoso SG1000 Sublimation Printer and the ink bundle are $1,524 (at the time of writing).
Epson – The Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation is one of the world’s largest computer printers and information/imaging-related equipment manufacturers. Their inkjet printers are famous worldwide. And for dye-sublimation, Epson definitely wins the show.
Epson has always been more popular for their convertible inkjet printers made dye-sublimation by changing the inks (EcoTank series, for instance). But the company launched dedicated dye-sublimation printers a while ago. The Epson F-series printers are giving Sawgrass sublimation machines a run for their money because of their advanced features. Here are our top picks-
3. Epson SureColor F170
Epson SureColor F170 is one of the most budget-friendly sublimation printers for beginners looking to create T-shirts, mugs, etc.
For starters, Epson’s print quality is impressive, and their ink refills are much cheaper than Sawgrass. Epson F170 has 4-color refillable tanks to add inks.
The ease of usage makes this compact sublimation printer a good pick for beginners. You can easily set it up and print high-quality sublimation designs with Epson’s patented PrecisionCore® technology that ensures the colors are accurately printed without fading.
But if you are printing products with a variety of color combinations, then Sawgrass printers are better. That is because of their advanced ink combinations for different sublimation products.
The sublimation printing is pretty fast on F170, and you can do it on both polyester and cotton blends. The print quality of Epson is fantastic if the color combinations are moderate.
Furthermore, the print software has preset settings for ensuring smooth printing. You can use the profiles along with Epson DS Multi-Use transfer paper for printing on rigid as well as soft sublimation blanks. The auto-fed tray allows 150 sheets in one go for higher efficiency.
The print machine is space-savvy, but the 8.5×14 print size cannot be extended as in the Sawgrass printer, excluding it from printing wide format prints. It also doesn’t offer borderless printing.
|Flexible connectivity with USB, Ethernet, or integrated wireless||No borderless printing|
|Eco-friendly – RoHS-compliant and recyclable|
|1-year standard warranty and reliable support|
|Final Verdict – Overall, Epson SureColor F170 is a compact sublimation printer perfect for beginners to print effortlessly. You can use it for printing small sublimation designs with excellent print quality, all thanks to built-in Precision Droplet Control. But if you want to experiment with multiple products or color combinations, then Sawgrass is better.|
Price – Epson SureColor F170 is priced $399 on the official website.
4. Epson Surecolor F6470
The 2022-end launch – Epson SureColor F6470 – is one of the most recent dye-sublimation printers capable of a wide range of product creations.
For starters, F6470 is integrated with the brand new PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead. The modernized print chip generates over 40 million precise dots per second, giving you astounding ink placement accuracy at a faster speed.
The 44″ dye-sublimation printer generates vibrant 4-color output with a speed of 820 sq. ft. per hour, which is quite fast compared to most sublimation printers.
Now about the ink! SureColor F6470 has Epson UltraChrome® DS Ink packs which produce an extreme color gamut with improved black density for rich blacks and better tonal transitions and gray scale. And it provides faster drying times, according to Epson’s official site.
Lastly, to make the printing process more manageable, they have bulked it up with Epson Edge® Print software (better workflow) along with Adobe® PDF Print Engine and Epson® Cloud Solution PORT2 for live monitoring of the prints.
F6470 also has a built-in cutter for roll-to-sheet convenience, allowing the sheet to roll and print swiftly.
|Auto Media Take-up Reel System for unattended printing||A bit pricey if you don’t have lots of orders|
|4.3 touchscreen control panel|
|Final Verdict – F6470 is definitely the most advanced dye-sublimation printer in the marketplace, and with features like this, you can have the highest quality print. So if you have deep pockets and expect a good production volume, including a variety of sublimation products, then this is the right choice. However, if you are a beginner with limited options, Sawgrass is a better fit.|
Price – SureColor F6470 44″ Dye-Sublimation Printer will cost you $8,100+ and will be available in the market by the beginning of 2023
Alternate options for beginner-level sublimation business
- Convert an inkjet printer – If you are short on funds, then a workable option is to buy an Epson printer like Ecotank and swap out the ink with dye-sublimation refills. You can then easily print on sublimation paper. Since they also convert RGB to CYMK ICC profiles, you won’t have much printing difference. There are many sublimation printers for heat transfers to opt from.
- Print on demand – If you are a beginner and want to avoid a large investment, there’s no better option than print on demand dropshipping. That means you just design the product and list it online. When the order arrives, your selected print on demand company will create and ship the product under your brand name. You then pay on a per-product/order basis.
- Custom print partners – If you can’t find the best sublimation printer for beginners, you can simply outsource it. There are numerous custom clothing manufacturers with low MOQ (minimum order quantity) and local print providers you can partner with.
- Sublimation transfer papers – Lastly, you can buy pre-designed sublimation transfer paper, so you then just need to transfer the design to sublimation blanks using heat press machine. This is good if you want to sell merchandise or spread brand awareness using company logos on mugs and other items.