On a hunt to find the best sublimation printer for heat transfer? Read on to find out the top picks for beginners.

Sublimation printers are one of the best printing methods for transferring clean design onto a fabric or rigid surface. Whether you’re looking for a sublimation printer for your home, studio or your own business, I have added an option for all you needs.

You can use the sublimation printers for mugs, ceramics, clothing and a lot more products. Once you print your design on sublimation paper, you’d need to use heat transfer for transferring it on the sublimation blank.

Things to consider when selecting a sublimation printer for heat transfer

There are always a few key features that you need to keep in mind while selecting the best printer for sublimation

  • Print field size – Most of the best sublimation printers for beginners or inkjet printers don’t print on the edges, so if the ideal size for your finished apparel is 11″ x 17″, you’d need to get a 12″ x 18″.
  • Printing multiple images – If you sell multiple designs simultaneously (say cell phone images) you have to get a sublimation printer that prints multiple images.
  • Printing speed – This is something that needs to be considered when you need to create large volume printing.
  • Number of ink colors – Sublimation printers creates tons of output colors by mixing a selected number of base ink colors. Most of the printers work on 4 color ink-set, but some use 8-colors for super high resolution.
  • Brands – Currently Epson and Sawgrass are the two best brands in sublimation printing industry. Ricoh sublimation printers were also in the list few years ago.

For those who are short on time, here is a quick table featuring best sublimation printers for beginners –

S.no. Sublimation PrinterStandalone FeaturePrint TimeWarranty
1.Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500
High quality SubliJet UHD sublimation inksN/A2 years
2.Epson EcoTank ET 3760Consistent print qualityN/A1 year
3.Sawgrass VJ 628
Fully integrated 25", 8-color desktop sublimation printerUp to 52 ft2 (4.9 m2) / hour1 year
4.Epson Workforce 7710Prints on CDs and DVDs2.8 ISO ppm (monochrome and color)1 year
5.Epson Stylus C88+
Works well on different substrates - soft and hard22 pages per minute1 year
6.Epson Workforce WF 7210
Excellent quality t-shirt prints N/A1 year
7.Epson SureColor F570Best dye sublimation printer with build in cutter11.4 s1 year

7 of the Best Sublimation Printer for Heat Transfer

1. Sawgrass SG500

Sawgrass sg500 sublimtion heat press

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is one of the highest rated, best sublimation printers for heat transfer in the marketplace. SG400 is basically an upgraded version of SG400.  

This dye sublimation machine is great for printing a variety of polymers. You can print sublimation t-shirts, coasters, mugs, phone cases and other high margin items. It can effectively print on media up to 8.5″ x 14″ (22 x 36 cm).

There are two advance features that you’d like as a sublimation product designer. One is the Creative Studio Online Designer that goes hand-in-hand with Sawgrass printers and lets you create elegant designs without using Photoshop or any additional software.

Next is the Sawgrass Print Manager which is basically a color management software. It offers complete control over print designs. You can also use the Print Manager for printing from graphics programs like CreativeStudio, Adobe and Corel. There are a lot of other features like multiple color profiles for different substrates, custom color palettes and custom paper sizes.

I’d say there is a bit of a learning curve, but the resources on Sawgrass official site makes it easy to get started.

Talking about the inks, Sawgrass SG500 only works with good quality inks for providing the best print. You can use SubliJet UHD 4-color ink set that works well with both hard and soft substrates – polyester or vinyl. If you want the best sublimation printer for t-shirts, just use it along with ChromaBlast HD or EasySubli ink.

If you are someone who just wants to upgrade SG400, then you ‘d like how swiftly the precursor’s accessories like bypass tray fits with SG500. You can also sell online like artokingo store.

ProsCons
Good for high sublimation prints Sawgrass inks are pretty expensive 
Long warranty period and lifetime support 
Energy efficient and WiFi connectivity

2. Epson EcoTank 3760

Epson Ecotank 3760

Here’s the next option for best sublimation printers for beginners -Epson EcoTank ET 3760, it is a fairly new addition in my list of best sublimation printer for heat press. You can use it for creating beautiful sublimation design without fading design. You can use it along with Hippo sublimation ink and create awesome tees.

One of the best features we liked about ET-3760 is the supertank design that allows cartridge free ink refilling. You no longer need to buy tiny and expensive cartridges.

The print quality is consistent, so if you are printing a good volume, it will be a great option. Also, for those who don’t know, you can not use the convertible Epson printer for both regular printing and sublimation. It needs to be completely clean of ink before you add the sublimation ink, or you will get streaks.

ProsCons
Great print quality and low running costNot originally designed for dye sublimation
Excellent mobile connectivity options

3. Sawgrass VJ 628

vj628

Sawgrass VJ628 is a turnkey solution packed with everything you need to start creating your heat transfer products. It is the best sublimation printer for heat transfer for high volume business. 

VJ 628 is a heavy duty sublimation printer that offer four 8-color ink sets –

  • Dual CMYK – Perfect prints or interior signage, textiles, personalized gifts and promotional products. 
  • Flex – This is good for sharp images. And comes with exceptional CMYK output, plus orange and  orange and blue and fluorescent pink and yellow cartridges for true fluorescent colors.
  • Pro Photo – Best for fine art products or professional photography. It offers enhanced skin tones, rich blacks and smooth gradients. 
  • Pro Photo XF – Tons of colors, best for ChromaLuxe panels, professional photos and fine art prints.

With an 8-color ink set, this printer creates high density, vibrant designs and reduces graininess. The dual CMYK offers 5,48,000 colors in a clean format making it perfect for all kinds of products. Whether you want to print multiple mugs, or some over-sized sublimation products, Sawgrass VJ628 got it all covered. 

This sublimation printer uses, SubliJet-HD, a technology that allows you to print on multiple sublimation blanks (everything from polyester fabrics to polymer coated hard substrates) including metal, ceramic, glass, FRP plastic, poly-performance fabrics, hardboard and more. 

Being backed with PowerDriver makes it easy to optimize color settings for photographs, vector graphics or spot colors. 

On the downside, it’s a classic model so you can only connect it with ethernet and not the USB. Also, it doesn’t work with some of the Apple computers with the M1 ARM processor. Sawgrass Print Manager makes it easy to proceed the prints. 

ProsCons
Intelligent Interweave Technology that reduces banding to almost zeroNot compatible with some of the Apple computers
Long warranty period and lifetime support
Good for Large volume sublimation prints 

4. Epson Workforce 7710

7710 epson

Epson Workforce 7710 is the best sublimation printer for heat press. Talking more precisely, it is more of an inkjet printer that can be converted to dye sublimation printer. The reason it is considered the best sublimation printer is the compatibility for a wide variety of sublimation inks and the price of this printing machine. You’d have to buy a sublimation conversion kit for your printer. 

Just like most of the Epson printers, this model offers built in PrecisionCore technology that lets you perform borderless printing for up to 13 X 19 inches. For those who don’t know, borderless printing is a useful technique for printing large graphics without white margin at the sides of the print.

This Epson printer comes with a 250-sheet paper tray (probably what makes it one of the best sublimation printers for beginners) that can hold up to 20 sheets of photo paper or 10 envelopes. This printer comes with 4x DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridges (Black, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) and goes along with a wide variety of sublimation inks. Some of my favorite for CISS or refillable cartridges Epson printers are –

  • INKxpro
  • Ink Owl
  • LuckyInk
  • AOPANE Anti-UV

You can also use it for scanning (11” x 17”) and the wireless connectivity allows the user to print from mobile phones as well. 

Overall,  Epson 7710 offers vibrant printing (especially due to the multiple conversion kits available for Epson printers) and transfers clean graphics on heat press.

ProsCons
Easy to install software Only one paper cassette
Ink cartridges make this a very economical printer.
Known for excellent sublimation prints 

5. Epson Stylus C88+

Epson c88+

Another good option for the best sublimation printer for heat transfer is Epson Stylus C88+. 

Unlike many of the printers, this model works with both the pigment as well as sublimation inks, making it a good fit for those who use multiple heat transfer method (of course you’d have to use sublimation paper or heat transfer paper based on your needs). 

C88+ is good for frame ready prints (borderless), mugs, t-shirts and other sublimation products. You’d like the sharpness of this sublimation printer. 

The ink cartridges for Epson are usually cheaper than Sawgrass. There are a lot of ink options in addition to DuraBrite. 

Overall, it’s an amazing sublimation printer for heat transfer, provided that you use the right ink-set. It can be used for 8.50″ x 44″ (maximum) print. 

ProsCons
Vibrant and good quality sublimation prints It is a bit noisy
For both home and office use 
Works well with multiple substrates 

6. Epson Workforce WF 7210

4. Epson Workforce WF 7210

Another option on my list of best sublimation printers for heat press is Epson Workforce WF 7210 – one of the best selling and most recommended sublimation printers. 

Just like most of the Epson products, you’d have to use the sublimation conversion kit for starting to use it. You can print up to 13 x 19 inches in little to no time. Another thing that makes it good for sublimation businesses is the design optimization done by the manufacturers. It offers features like 500 sheet capacity, 80% energy saving (for less printing cost) and more.

ProsCons
Two printer traysRequires Epson ink for high quality prints
Great for t-shirt printing
Wi-Fi Direct and ethernet connectivity

7. SureColor F570

epson surecolor sublimation printer for heat transfer

Epson SureColor F570 is one of the few sublimation printers that doesn’t require a conversion kit.

It is good for photo gifts, mugs, tumblers, signs, clothing and more. The high performance printer was launched a while ago and gained popularity since then.

Backed by PrecisionCore technology makes it easy to print faster without affecting the quality. It comes with two full sets of CMYK inks that can print 24″ x 100″ roll and 17″ x 100″

Another feature that boasts its efficiency are the built-in cutter and high capacity ink bottles. Overall its good for those who want a desktop sublimation printer and have enough production volume to spend $2000+  

Note – There’s a lot of backorders on this Epson printer and thus you’d have to wait a month or more for getting this printer.

ProsCons
50 sheet auto feed tray and build in cutterNot available on most of the retail sites 
Drivers for both windows and Mac

Other printers that I removed from my list and why –

  • Canon Selphy CP1300 – Many print sites recommend it as a sublimation printer, whereas originally it is a photo printer that you cannot use for sublimation. 
  • Epson Artisan 1430 – I really like this sublimation printer for heat transfer businesses but unfortunately it is discontinued for now. 
  • EPSON SureColor F170 – This is a great compact sublimation printer released in November 2020, but due to back orders it is nearly impossible to get this sublimation-specific heat press printer costing $400 only.

Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners in 2023-24

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 –

8. Sawgrass SG1000

sawgrass sg1000 sublimation printer for beginners

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 might 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.

ProsCons
Create custom products with vibrant HD image printsUsing 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-

9. Epson SureColor F170

EPSON 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.

ProsCons
Flexible connectivity with USB, Ethernet, or integrated wirelessNo 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.

10. Epson Surecolor F6470

epson f6470 product

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.

ProsCons
Auto Media Take-up Reel System for unattended printingA bit pricey if you don’t have lots of orders
4.3 touchscreen control panel
Eco-friendly design
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

Questions we received most often for sublimation printers –

Is sublimation printer better than DTG printer?

While the DTG printer creates good graphical prints, the sublimation printer creates more vibrant colors with amazing color tonality. 

The direct-to-garment printers are good for natural fibers like cotton, linens, etc, and sublimation printers work best for polyester items. However, DTG printers are very expensive costing $10,000 to $20,000 dollars. Additionally, the maintenance cost is too much. 

Sublimations printers are a more cost-effective alternative that gives similar print designs. You can even sublimate cotton products using vinyl sublimate paper method. All this makes sublimation printers good for small businesses as well as growing companies.  

How much does a sublimation printer cost?

On an average, a good sublimation printer will cost you $500 to $1000. You will need to get a heat press machine and sublimation accessories like inks, blanks, etc. All this bundled together will budget roughly around $1500 to $2000.

What to do after selecting the sublimation printer for heat press

Finding the right printer is important especially when you are into sublimation business. There are a lot of brands but the brands I recommend are Epson and Sawgrass. Ricoh sublimation printers are also a choice, but most of their old models are no longer available. Plus the best sublimation printers for beginners are only offered by SawGrass and Epson models as of now.

That said, Epson WF models are the ones I’d recommend to most of the sublimation business owners. It offers both budget-friendliness and high quality prints. 

Another important thing for higher margin is sublimation blanks wholesale products. You can find good quality and cheap substrates that will give you more room for profit. 

Want to select a heat press? Checkout our post on best heat press machine that you can use for Sublimation. In case you need help finding a thermal shipping label printer, then check out our latest guide.

About the Author

Pulkit Bhardwaj

Founder & Editor

Hey! I'm Pulkit Bhardwaj - an eCommerce aficionado and Shopfiy + WordPress expert. I have been writing around eCommerce for 4+ years. If you want any help related to eCommerce, feel free to reach me out. When I'm not writing here, you can find me testing tools on pulkitbhardwaj.co

View All Articles