Printing technology got a massive boost in recent history particularly because of the invention of digital printing in the mid-2000s. It first involved dry toner technologies, UV, water-based inkjets, and electrophotographic liquid. But perhaps the best part of digital printing is sublimation. This is exactly why we bring to you a list of the best sublimation printers for beginners to go for.
Sublimation in easier terms is the transitioning of a substance from the solid-state to the gaseous state without passing through the liquid state.
The whole concept of sublimation basically is the transferring of dye using heat and pressure onto different materials like fabric or plastic. A sublimation printer is an inkjet printer that involves photo printing on T-shirts, mugs, tiles, and almost every other thing.
Not all printers can perform this process. The best sublimation printer is needed to get the job done perfectly. When looking for one, there are many options in view, all coming with a variety of features.
Here is a list of the best sublimation printers for beginners. Attached alongside is a buying guide that you’ll want to go through before choosing one for yourself.
How to pick the Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners – Buying Guide
Few of the features are common to all printers. Following are the characteristics you need to keep in mind when looking for a sublimation printer.
Kinds of ink
Paper and inks are essential requirements for high-quality printing. Therefore you need to necessarily consider the type of ink before making a purchase. These printers make use of unique kinds of ink like cartridges and ribbon ones. The majority consider using them both as a combination so that the ink does not fade away.
Before getting your hands on a sublimation printer, you need to be sure of what kind of work do you expect of it. The professional models can perform all types of jobs while the affordable units are used by average consumers.
Some of the models can provide smudge-proof photos while others are designed to transfer photos to t-shirts, mugs, and others of the sort. Thus, you need to know your required needs before investing in one.
Printing Volume & Time
Once you’re well aware of your printing size, you also need to know about the printing volume and time. If you’re looking for the best sublimation printer for commercial usage, it is better to go for a larger printer as it may generate faster prints with greater paper capacity.
The resolution of the printer will be what shall be determining the clarity of the image produced. Therefore, a quality printer is required to produce perfect images. DPI (dots per image) is what determines the sharpness, clarity, and brightness of the photo. For larger images, make sure you go for the maximum resolution to get a more detailed image.
Types of Sublimation Printers
There are a variety of sublimation printers out there in the market, each with different features. Following are the ones more known.
3D Vacuum Heat Press
This is a printer that specializes in dye-sublimation printing on irregularly shaped items. It is the perfect choice if wanting to print around curves and edges on particular items.
Living up to its name, the flatbed press appears like an actual flatbed. The pneumatic flatbed press is physically strong and completely automated. But they’re expensive. Manual flatbeds whereas are not automated and allow more control to the user during the printing process.
Swing Away Sublimation Printer
This one is ideal for printing designs on photo frames and materials of the sort. They are manufactured in a way that the object to be printed on can easily be laid across the machine when printed.
Calm Press Sublimation Printer
This is the popular most type of sublimation printer and as it is mostly used on t-shirts, it is also called ‘T-shirt printer.’ It is both affordable and easy to use, being the top choice when needed by branding companies and t-shirt designers.
Best Sublimation Printers for Beginners Review
|Best Overall Sublimation Printer||Epson Workforce WF-7710|
|Best Print Quality Sublimation Printer||Xerox Phaser 3260|
|Best Power Saver Sublimation Printer||Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S|
1. Epson Workforce WF-7710
Considered an all-in-one printer, this one by Epson has double-sided printing capabilities. It can easily perform multiple acts ranging from printing and scanning documents to sublimation printing. Designed to bring innovation and increase productivity, it features a maximum resolution of 4800 x 2400 DPI. The ink cartridges have an ISO print speed of 10ppm for color and 18ppm without it.
Alongside all of this, the printer offers a wide connectivity option that makes it compatible with multiple devices including smartphones. The eco features it tags along, also prevent paper wastage. Weighing 40.8 pounds in total, it carries a high-density print chip that can generate about 20 million pinpoints dots.
The 250-sheet paper tray and the lesser power consumption, easily makes it one of the best sublimation printers. A rear feed is also present wherein you can insert different types of printing material.
|Uses 80% lesser power||High cost per printing|
|Automatic 2-sided printing||Single paper cassette|
|Works on various printing materials||Aligning ink cartridges is challenging|
2. Canon Selphy CP1300
Canon is one name known for making amazing cameras but the company also manufactures printers such as the Canon Selphy CP1300 which does no compromise on sublimation printing. Being one of the best dye-sublimation printers for beginners, it can use 256 shades per color all thanks to the dedicated ink cartridge. The pictures produced are not only drop-dead gorgeous but also water-resistant and extremely dry.
Although the printer has a very slow printing speed of a page per minute, it can yet manage to produce around 55 prints in a single battery charge.
Having a variety of connectivity options, it also has an Instagram print feature. Wherever you are, you can print from your camera’s memory card, Instagram, and Facebook through the Canon app. The printing layout from two different devices will be 2inches by 6inches.
As of now, this is one of the best sublimation printers for beginners in the market. While not being well suited for commercial use, it is the best for people wanting to print photos for friends and family.
|Water-resistant, high quality pictures||Slower in printing|
|Compatible with a variety of paper sizes||Not suitable for various materials|
3. Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S Sublimation Printer
This particular printer is the best for heat transfer. Featuring a rewind option, it allows you to move the ink ribbon for detailed printing.
Basically coming in two print formats, this means you can produce two different sizes from a single media, saving both cost and time. It has a high affinity paired with the digital processing features, which all together manage to produce high-resolution images.
All thanks to the digital processing features that tag along, the CP-K60DW manages to produce high-resolution prints (300 DPI). Featuring a standby function, it saves up to 96% of your power consumption. This is as the printer shuts off on its own, when not in use.
The matte finishing is the cherry on top that further interests photographers to get their hands on it.
|High resolution i.e. 300 x 300 IDP||Difficulty setting it up|
|Saves up to 96% of the power consumption||Operating it is a little tricky|
4. HP Office Jet 9025
The list of the best sublimation printers for beginners is incomplete without this one. In case you are habitual of printing files from the cloud network, this is the one for you. All you have to do is load the document on your device and print it out then. The capability of the printer to be connected to Wi-Fi is a huge relief, making your life easier.
The double printer tray that tags along is sturdy as well.
Not to forget, the scanning speed that this sublimation printer offers is faster than most of its counterparts. A single-pass, two-sided document feeder is included as well. As to being connected to Wi-Fi, it also has a security setup installed inside, making sure your data is safe and sound. The option to set up a password is also given.
|Dual printer tray||Relatively expensive|
|Can hold up to 500 sublimation trays at a time||Comparatively loud|
5. Epson Stylus c88 + Sublimation Printer
This is the perfect choice for small scale printings and especially when you are a beginner. If you have a small office and need a sublimation printer therein, you may go for the Epson Stylus c88+. Offering a host of connectivity options, you can go for wireless connectivity, USB connection, and also parallel ports.
Despite being cheaper than many of the other printers, this one yet has more to offer in amazing image quality. With a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 DPI, it is pretty much more than what the price is supposed to offer. The DURA Brite Ultra pigment ink used, dries instantly and produces a water-resistant image at the end.
The printer can be set up easily and no major effort is required. All you need to do is follow the instructions after downloading the guide and get going with your work.
A photo editing software also tags along that enables you to produce a variety of designs for your sublimation printing. The software further allows you to create calendars and other exciting prints.
|Waterproof prints||Not suited for third party ink cartridges|
|Borderless printing with high resolution (5760 x 1440)||May not produce large imprints|
6. Brother MFC-J6545DW
Known to be one of the best sublimation printers for beginners for a number of years, this is one model built for office use.
Compared to the rest, it is faster and can be utilized for moderate use. In terms of the capacity of printing, it has a cycle of 30,000 pages with about 2000 recommended to be used monthly. It is only capable of printing tabloid-sized papers that are up to 11 x 17 inches.
The best part however is the Investment Tank Ink System which assures your sublimation ink cartridge holding more amount of ink than the rest.
Also, when you turn to activate the Dash Replenishment feature, the leftover ink is measured automatically. This helps in telling you when the ink is low.
One turn off is that the printer does not allow you to scan or copy double-sided pages. You have to turn the documents over on your own to get going. Otherwise, for the price being offered, this is one perfect choice.
|Top-quality printouts||Set-up is time consuming|
|Tags along the Investment Tank Ink System||Cannot scan double-sided pages|
7. Xerox Phaser 3260
If you have in mind the image quality as your topmost priority, then this is the one for you. Even though the printing cost will be higher than the rest, but the quality is unbeatable.
Having a 250 sheet tray, it also tags along with a duplexer that helps you in double-sided printing. The scanning speed can be improved but the quality factor again helps it in crossing the rest.
When it comes to connectivity, it does not have an Ethernet connecter and so the printer cannot be directly connected to the Ethernet connector. It is however supported by Wi-Fi, making printing easier through laptops and even smartphones.
|Unbeatable print quality||Slow scanning speed|
|Wi-Fi connection allows printing from various devices||Does not have an Ethernet connector|
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a sublimation ink last?
It can potentially survive for up to six months. But again, it is all dependent on how frequently you make use of it.
How much does a sublimation printer cost?
The average cost of one ranges between $500 to $800, depending on the brand and quality you choose. For those with added features and increased print size, the price may rise to $1000.
What t-shirts are best suited for sublimation printing?
Polyester materials are best suited for sublimation printing purposes.
What is the ideal temperature for sublimation?
The process takes place at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sublimation printing is one economical process also given the fact that the images embedded do not fade away or wash out for a pretty long time. The materials used are a wide range, including fabrics, ceramics, Aluminium sheets, and many more. Not only this, but you’re also allowed to give off smooth finishes in soft textures.
Numerous brands today make use of this technique, reaping the best of benefits for themselves in return. In case you’re looking for the best sublimation printers for beginners, this guide provided will be of great benefit to you. All you need to do is register your needs and then look for one accordingly. Happy printing!