7 Best Sublimation Printers for 2024

By Steve Light | Updated January 4, 2024
Best Sublimation Printer

(Image credit: Sawgrass / Epson)

Which is the Best Sublimation Printer?

With so many options available, choosing the best sublimation printer for your needs can be challenging. Whether you’re a hobbyist seeking an uncomplicated and budget-friendly machine for personal projects or an ambitious entrepreneur hunting for the best sublimation printer for small business projects, I’m here to streamline the process for you. We begin by pinpointing our primary goals. Is your primary focus fashion, looking to bring vibrant designs to life on fabric? Or perhaps you’re venturing into the realm of personalized merchandise, aiming to imprint memories onto mugs and other tangible keepsakes?

The process of dye-sublimation printing might sound complex, but think of it as a magic trick of the printing world! Instead of just splashing ink on a surface, it uses heat to turn special inks into a gas, which then soaks into the material, such as fabric, plastic, or ceramic. So, instead of the design just lying on top and chipping off over time, it becomes one with the material. The colors come out vivid and they don’t easily fade, which is why so many folks love using this method for custom t-shirts, and personalized gifts. 

In this guide, I’ll cover my 7 best sublimation printer picks on the market today, which include Epsom sublimation printers and Sawgrass sublimation printers, while giving you the pros and cons for each.

Here are my top picks for the Best Sublimation Printers

1. Epson SureColor SC-F100 (F170)

Renowned for its impeccable print accuracy and vibrant textile outputs, and my pick for the Best Sublimation Printer

Epson SureColor SC-F100 (F170)

(Image credit: Epson)

Specifications:

Uses: Promotional goods, t-shirt designs, hobby projects

Resolution: 600 x 1200 dpi

Ink Capacity: 4 x 140ml

Print Size: Up to A4

Dimensions & Weight: 375‎ x 347 x 187 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 4.6 kg

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

PROS

Precision-engineered with sublimation experts in mind.

Unwavering performance, showcasing mastery in diverse tasks.

The luxury of wireless printing caters to contemporary demands.

CONS

Its comprehensive feature set, while robust, may require a gentle learning curve for newcomers.

SCORE 9.4 / 10

Design

The F170 isn’t just a printer; it’s a statement. Right from the first glimpse, the SureColor SC-F100 emanates a design ethos that’s both sophisticated and intuitive. Epson’s design prowess is evident in the meticulous crafting of each contour and edge. It’s compact, reflecting Epson’s keen understanding of the modern workspace, from dynamic studios to minimalist home offices. While the size connotes efficiency and space conservation, its design narrates a tale of refined strength. This machine has one of the best sublimation printer interface layouts that professionals with a discerning eye for design would love to have on their desks.

Features

Delving into its arsenal of features, the PrecisionCore MicroTFP print head isn’t merely notable – it’s revolutionary. Beyond its technical specifications, it’s a testament to Epson’s dedication to delivering the best sublimation printer results. Each print sings praises of its rich colors and acute detailing, setting the bar high for promotional products, custom t-shirts, and even for discerning hobbyists. The in-built Wi-Fi isn’t just an add-on; it’s an acknowledgment of our wireless age, eliminating the tethers of the past. Although feature-rich, novice users might appreciate a brief orientation to harness its full potential.

Performance

Performance is vital when choosing the best sublimation printer and the F170 truly shines, especially when it comes to textile printing. It doesn’t merely print on fabrics – it elevates them. The vibrancy it imparts to colors is, in one word, breathtaking. Epson’s specialization in sublimation becomes evident with each print, embodying a legacy of consistency and unmatched quality. While catering wonderfully to a myriad of projects, those envisioning more expansive endeavors might desire a tad more print real estate. Nonetheless, for the vast majority, this printer delivers with each task and justifies its 1st position in our best sublimation printer review.


2. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500

Compact yet mighty, offering stellar resolution and further enhanced by the inclusion of the user-friendly CreativeStudio design software

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

Specifications:

Uses: Diverse sublimation tasks, ranging from apparel to mugs

Resolution: 4880 x 1200 dpi

Ink Capacity: 4 x 31ml

Print Size: Up to 220 x 360 mm

Dimensions & Weight: 399‎ x 437 x 213 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 14 kg

Software: Comes bundled with the feature-rich CreativeStudio design software

PROS

Versatile in handling a broad range of sublimation projects

Bundled software significantly elevates the design and print experience

Consistency in performance, maintaining Sawgrass’ high standards

CONS

Cost per print, given its many strengths, could be slightly more competitive

SCORE 9.2 / 10

Design

The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is a testament to the idea that great things come in small packages. Its compact design is an intentional blend of aesthetics and functionality, ensuring it occupies minimal space without compromising on its commanding presence. A mix of clean lines and well-thought-out placement gives it an air of professional elegance. It’s clear that Sawgrass has conceived one of the best sublimation printers on the market that is not just about function but also about making a design statement in any setting it’s placed.

Features

What truly sets the SG500 apart is its impeccable resolution of 4880 x 1200 dpi. This translates to prints that are sharp, vivid, and captivating. But, it’s not just the printing prowess that catches the eye; the bundled CreativeStudio design software is a masterstroke. Catering to the full spectrum of users, from seasoned professionals to design newbies, it offers a rich collection of design elements and templates. This integrated software not only eases but enriches the entire design process.

Performance

When it comes to performance, the SG500 doesn’t just meet expectations—it surpasses them. Despite its compact nature, it never shies away from delivering consistent and high-quality prints. Whether it’s apparel, mugs, or any other sublimation task, the SG500 ensures results that resonate with Sawgrass’ commitment to excellence. The only tiny hitch in its stride might be its print size, which, while adequate for many, might seem a tad restrictive for those looking to produce larger prints. However, this is not a deal breaker and is worthy of its 2nd place best sublimation printer ranking.


3. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000

Combines the renowned features of its sibling, the SG500, with a larger print area, ensuring broader project versatility

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

Specifications:

Uses: Suited for advanced sublimation tasks, especially larger designs

Resolution: 4880 x 1200 dpi

Ink Capacity: 4 x 70ml

Print Size: Up to 280 x 430 mm

Dimensions & Weight: 529‎ x 360 x 213 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 16 kg

Software: Bundled with the ever-reliable CreativeStudio

PROS

The expansive print area caters to more complex and sizeable projects

The included software continues to provide a top-tier design interface

Harmoniously balances performance with cost, justifying its price point

CONS

While offering a larger print size, it might still fall short for a few ambitious creators

Comes at a higher price point when compared to its predecessor, the SG500

SCORE 9.0 / 10

Design

Sawgrass continues its tradition of merging sleek design with functional superiority in the Virtuoso SG1000. While it visibly shares the family DNA with the SG500, it stands out with a more substantial footprint, catering to those with grander visions. The SG1000, with its robust design, signals the capability to handle larger projects while retaining the trademark elegance Sawgrass is known for.

Features

It’s evident that Sawgrass listens to its user base. With the SG1000, they offer the same much-loved features found in the SG500 but with an even more generous print area. This extended capability ensures a wider project versatility, allowing for more expansive and ambitious designs. And, just like its sibling, it comes bundled with the esteemed CreativeStudio which is one of the best sublimation printer software packages. This ensures users have a treasure trove of tools at their fingertips to bring their visions to life seamlessly.

Performance

Performance is where the Virtuoso SG1000 truly shines. Its high-definition print quality ensures that every project, no matter its size, is rendered with impeccable clarity and vibrancy. This printer is not just about size; it’s about scaling up without losing the sharpness and detail that Sawgrass is renowned for. The extended ink capacity complements its larger print dimensions, ensuring uninterrupted print sessions, especially for those hefty projects. While it brings more to the table compared to the SG500, it’s worth noting the higher price point. So with that in mind, I feel that 3rd position is justified for this best sublimation printer review.


4. Epson SureColor F570 Pro

Stands out for its professional-quality prints and powerful PrecisionCore technology, specifically optimized for sublimation tasks

Epson SureColor F570 Pro

(Image credit: Epson)

Specifications:

Uses: Ideal for personalizing awards, mugs, mousepads, and more

Resolution: 2400 x 1200 dpi

Ink Capacity: 4 x 140ml

Print Size: Up to 24 inches wide

Dimensions & Weight: 970‎ x 811 x 245 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 29 kg

Software: Professional software with Epson Edge Print Pro

PROS

Delivers professional-quality prints with bright, brilliant images

Comprehensive feature set streamlines workflow

High-capacity ink bottles reduce the frequency of ink replacement

CONS

Its comprehensive feature set may require a gentle learning curve for newcomers

Comes at a higher price point when compared to the Epson SureColor SC-F100 (F170)

SCORE 8.9 / 10

Design

Next up in our best sublimation printer review is the Epson SureColor F570 Pro. This machine isn’t just a printer; it’s a comprehensive solution for personalization tasks. Its compact, space-saving design maximizes workshop space while reflecting Epson’s commitment to functionality and convenience. From its 50-sheet auto-feed tray to its built-in cutter and specialized transfer paper for both rigid and soft media, every element is designed to streamline workflow and deliver high-performance dye-sublimation printing right out of the box. The presence of the SureColor F570 Pro communicates professional quality and efficiency, making it one of the best sublimation printer solutions for those personalizing awards, mugs, mousepads, and more.

Features

The features of the F570 Pro showcase Epson’s dedication to providing a truly turnkey solution. Powered by PrecisionCore technology, Epson ink ensures the delivery of bright, brilliant images. The inclusion of Epson Edge Print Pro software with Adobe PS3 and PDF Print Engines further enhances its professional capabilities. Additionally, the printer offers roll media support and a built-in cutter, minimizing manual intervention. The high-capacity ink bottles mean less frequent ink replacement, a much-appreciated convenience. Although feature-rich, novice users might benefit from a brief orientation to harness its full potential.

Performance

The SureColor F570 Pro is among the best sublimation printers in delivering professional-quality prints, especially in the realm of personalization and sublimation tasks. The vibrancy and detail of the images it produces are astounding, embodying Epson’s legacy of consistency and quality. While it is specifically tailored for dye-sublimation and personalization tasks, its performance in this niche is exceptional. However, potential users seeking a more versatile printer for diverse printing tasks beyond sublimation might want to assess if its capabilities align with their demands.


5. Ricoh SG 3110DN

Distinct for its outstanding print clarity and efficient ink usage, ensuring both premium prints and cost-effectiveness

Ricoh SG 3110DN

(Image credit: Ricoh)

Specifications:

Uses: Versatile in sublimation applications, with a special affinity for business-centric projects

Resolution: 3600 x 1200 dpi

Ink Capacity: 3 x 31ml & 1 x 44ml

Print Size: Up to A4

Dimensions & Weight: 399 x 436.5 x 212.5 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 10.5 kg

Connectivity: USB 2.0, Ethernet (Optional wireless LAN module available)

PROS

The best sublimation printer for those on a budget

Designed for tangible long-term savings with its ink-efficient mechanism

Outputs that shine with clarity and intricate detailing

CONS

Not an out-of-the-box sublimation printer, requiring aftermarket conversion for sublimation tasks

Not ideal for projects demanding exceedingly large print dimensions

Its minimalist design may not resonate with those seeking a more aesthetically flamboyant printer

SCORE 8.7 / 10

Design

The Ricoh SG 3110DN embodies a blend of simplicity and elegance. Designed with a clear intent to minimize disruptions and to ensure ease of use, every aspect of its exterior hints at streamlined efficiency. While its aesthetic might lean towards the understated, it’s precisely this no-nonsense approach that businesses seeking hassle-free operations will appreciate. A machine that looks ready to deliver, its design is all about prioritizing function.

Features

Among the printer’s standout features is its remarkable resolution of 3600×1200 dpi. This ensures that each print not only meets but often surpasses user expectations in clarity and detail. However, it isn’t just about high-definition prints. The SG 3110DN also boasts efficient ink consumption, a feature that in the long run translates to significant cost savings. The only downside is that the printer requires aftermarket conversion for sublimation tasks, thus not higher up in our best sublimation printer list.

Performance

When put to the test, the SG 3110DN showcases its mettle. Every output is a testament to Ricoh’s commitment to superior print quality. The colors are vibrant, the details sharp, and the overall print resonates with clarity. Moreover, its efficient ink utilization means that it maintains this high level of performance without frequently necessitating cartridge replacements. Maintenance, a usual pain point for many, is refreshingly straightforward with this model, ensuring that operations run smoothly and that the user’s energy is channeled into creation rather than troubleshooting.


6. Mimaki TS30-1300

A production powerhouse and one of the best sublimation printers for high-volume, wide-format commercial printing

Mimaki TS30-1300

(Image credit: Mimaki)

Specifications:

Uses: Engineered for commercial-grade endeavors and large-scale printing

Resolutions: 540dpi, 720 dpi, 1080dpi

Ink Capacity: 8 x 440ml cartridges

Print Size: Up to 54 inches wide

Dimensions & Weight: 2289 x 739 x 1424 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 145 kg

Connectivity: USB 2.0

PROS

Expertly crafted to handle high-volume commercial operations

Maintains unparalleled consistency across vast print batches

Highly versatile, making it apt for a myriad of applications

CONS

Comes with a premium price tag, though justified by its commercial-grade features

Demands significant workspace due to its imposing size

SCORE 8.5 / 10

Design

The Mimaki TS30-1300 is undeniably imposing in its design, reflecting its purpose as a large-scale, wide-format printer. Its physical presence commands attention, signaling its capability to manage high-volume commercial projects. With a robust and solid build, Mimaki has clearly tailored this model to withstand the demands of rigorous commercial applications, ensuring it’s not just visually impressive but durable.

Features

The TS30-1300 has among the best sublimation printer features on the market today. At its heart is the advanced inkjet technology, designed for impeccable precision even when handling substantial print batches. The printer doesn’t just accommodate bulk projects; it thrives on them. To further enhance its prowess, Mimaki has endowed this model with adaptable speed settings, allowing operators to fine-tune its performance based on the specific requirements of each project. This flexibility signifies its commitment to meeting diverse commercial needs.

Performance

As a powerhouse built for high-demand scenarios, the TS30-1300 consistently outperforms in delivering crisp, vibrant prints across a vast array of applications. Whether it’s massive apparel orders, extensive signage projects, or other large-scale tasks, the printer’s consistency is remarkable. The extended ink capacity ensures minimal interruptions, optimizing workflow. While its heavy weight underscores its industrial-grade commitment, potential users seeking the best sublimation printer for high volume should be prepared for the space it demands, a small compromise for the massive value it delivers.


7. Roland Texart RT-640

Excellent sublimation printer for very large commercial textile projects, with its dual ink system and advanced print control technology

Roland Texart RT-640

(Image credit: Roland)

Specifications:

Uses: Predominantly tailored for textile and apparel printing

Resolutions: 1440 dpi

Ink Capacity: 8 x 1L pouches

Print Size: Up to 64 inches wide

Dimensions & Weight: 2650 x 795 x 1600 mm (Width x Depth x Height) 160 kg

Connectivity: Ethernet

PROS

Unrivalled for high-volume commercial textile printing

Dual ink system ensures colors are reproduced with unmatched vibrancy

Establishes new standards of print quality in its sector

CONS

Comes with a premium price, befitting its top-tier capabilities

May not be the best sublimation printer for more modest or hobbyist needs

Very large and heavy machine

SCORE 8.3 / 10

Design

Roland’s Texart RT-640 is a testament to the harmonious blending of aesthetics and engineering. Its build, while manifestly industrial, subtly communicates its primary function: unparalleled sublimation printing, especially for textiles. Its heavy-duty frame and robust construction are very impressive, making it evident that Roland has created one of the best sublimation printers for consistent, high-volume outputs.

Features

The true genius of the RT-640 unveils itself through its features. The dual ink system isn’t a mere addition; it’s a revolution, designed to breathe life into every hue, ensuring colors not only print but pop. Beyond this, the advanced print control technology takes precision to the next level. Every detail, every gradient, is reproduced faithfully, guaranteeing that what is visualized in the design phase is realized in print, with no room for discrepancies. This machine does have a higher price point when compared to all the other machines in our best sublimation printer list.

Performance

In the realm of sublimation printing, especially when catering to the textile sector, the RT-640 stands as a titan. Its performance is not just consistent; it’s exemplary. The vibrancy of colors, the sharpness of details, and the overall reliability even across voluminous batches make it a great choice for those seeking the best sublimation printer for high-volume commercial textile printing. While its prowess is undeniably suited for commercial environments, those looking for smaller-scale operations might find its capabilities beyond their requirements.


FAQ

Q: What is sublimation printing?

A: At its core, sublimation printing is a technique wherein heat transitions solid dye particles into a gaseous form, which then amalgamates with polymers. This fusion results in prints that not only dazzle with their vibrancy but also boast longevity.

Q. What are the differences between the Sawgrass SG500 and the Epson SureColor SC-F100 (F170) sublimation printers?

A. The Sawgrass SG500 and the Epson SureColor SC-F100 (F170) are two of the best sublimation printers. The SG500 is compact and offers a sharp maximum resolution of 4880 x 1200 dpi, further enhanced with its bundled CreativeStudio design software. The Epson F170, on the other hand, stands out with its PrecisionCore MicroTFP print head, delivering immaculate print accuracy and vibrant colors on textiles. It also boasts integrated Wi-Fi for wireless printing. While both cater to varied printing needs, the SG500 might appeal more to design novices, whereas the F170 could be the best sublimation printer choice for those seeking brand reputation and wireless convenience.

Q: Can any printer be converted for sublimation printing?

A: Technically, several inkjet printers can be converted into sublimation printers with the right aftermarket products. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the chosen printer is compatible with the sublimation inks and can handle the specific papers required for the process.

Q: How long do sublimation prints last?

A: Sublimation prints are known for their durability. Given the fusion of dye with polymers, the designs don’t easily fade, crack, or peel. On textiles, the designs typically last as long as the fabric itself, and on harder surfaces, they can retain their vibrancy for years.

Q: Is sublimation printing eco-friendly?

A: Sublimation printing is relatively eco-friendly. The inks used are water-based, and the process does not require additional chemicals or solvents. Additionally, there’s minimal waste as designs are printed directly onto the substrate.

Q: What are the best sublimation printer materials to use?

A: The primary requirement for achieving the best sublimation printer results is that the material contains a significant amount of polyester. This is why it’s popular for synthetic fabrics. Additionally, you can print on items like mugs, tiles, or metals, provided they have a polymer coating.

Q: Are sublimation printers costly to maintain?

A: While the initial investment can be steep, especially for higher-end models, the long-term maintenance of sublimation printers is relatively reasonable. Regular cleaning and using high-quality inks can further extend the printer’s lifespan and produce the best sublimation printer results.

Q: What is the best wide format sublimation printer?

A: The best wide-format sublimation printer ultimately depends on your specific needs, but one highly regarded option is the Epson SureColor F570 Pro. It is designed for high-performance dye-sublimation printing, features a compact design, and comes with a variety of features to streamline workflow, including the Epson Edge® Print Pro software, specialized transfer paper for both rigid and soft media, a 50-sheet auto-feed tray, and a built-in cutter. All these features and considerations make the Epson SureColor F570 Pro one of the best sublimation printers available for wide-format printing.


Summary

Embarking on a journey into the colorful and intricate realm of sublimation printing can be both exhilarating and a tad overwhelming. Whether you’re an eager hobbyist just dipping your toes or a seasoned entrepreneur ready to scale up, the array of choices in printers can leave one pondering. I hope that this best sublimation printer review has given you a clearer perspective on which printer aligns with your dreams and aspirations.

Remember, the heart of choosing the best sublimation printer isn’t just about the equipment but understanding your unique needs. Whether you prioritize print dimensions, impeccable quality, or versatility in product creation, let these guideposts lead you. Armed with the right printer, the horizon of creativity stretches infinitely before you. Dive in, and may your designs always shine brightly!

Further Reading on TechTroveReviews.com: Check out our complete list of printer articles.

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