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Discover the Best Sublimation Printer for Your Needs in 2024

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If you want to find the best sublimation printer for your needs, I’ve found the most important factors to consider are cost, paper size, and ease of use.

While other factors such as speed, print quality, and extra features are important for any printer. A printer’s role determines the chief factors. For example, office printers need speed and features for productivity. The print shops I’ve worked at prioritize print quality.

If a printer will be responsible for printing heat transfers, paper size is the most important consideration. Sublimation printers lack diversity as far as speed or print quality. Sublimation printers range from 5 to 15 color pages per minute. So there’s slow and painfully slow.

As for print quality, sublimation printers use between 4 and 6 colors of ink. Their print quality is excellent. However, among 4 color inkjet printers there is little difference between the worst and best printer. You need an inkjet printer with 8 or more colors to see next level quality.

Since I got into sublimating, I’ve found my 4 color sublimation printer is more than adequate quality for t shirts and decorations. I hardly notice the speed since I only print a couple pages at a time.

Whether it’s for home use or a small business features such as document feeders or extra paper trays are of little significance. In my experience, paper size, ease of use, and cost are the most critical items to consider when choosing a sublimation printer.

Sublimation Printer Cost

Your budget separates your choices into two categories:

  1. Sublimation ready printers
  2. Printers that need converted to sublimation ink

Printers that come out of the box ready for dye sublimation ink typically cost between $1,000-$4,500 dollars. The sole exception to this is the Epson SureColor F170 Dye-Sublimation Printer. Which is actually a great dye sublimation printer as far as budget and ease of use.

The other Epson Surecolor printers are a big step up in price and paper size. The Sawgrass SG series (SG500, SG1000) are also an excellent choice for sublimation printers and fall in the price range mentioned.

Professional sublimation printers cost tens of thousands of dollars and are not proper for typical sublimation printing at home.

If those price tags make you second guess about getting into the world of sublimation printing, then don’t worry, there’s much cheaper alternatives.

For under $250, you can get a printer which can be converted to sublimation ink. Most inkjet printers suitable for conversion cost between $200-$800. Converting a printer to use dye sublimation ink is easy and saves a lot of money. Money you can put into more blanks and sublimation projects.

But not just any printer can be converted. Your typical Canon Pixma or HP Envy printers get ruined if sublimation ink is added. Only Epson and Brother inkjet printers are compatible with dye sublimation ink.

A complete list of sublimation printers and printers that can be converted can be found here.

Sublimation Printer Format

Whether you choose to convert a printer to sublimation ink or one that comes with sublimation ink from the factory, the next factor to consider is paper size. Small format sublimation printers typically cost less but tend to restrict the range of projects you can do.

What I’ve found is paper size is much more relevant to sublimation printing. I quickly discovered 8½ x 11 paper is very limiting as far as making designs for t shirts. Since the average heat press platen is 15 x 15, using 13 x 19 transfer paper is a good choice for sublimation printing.

If all you want to do is mugs, small pillows, or decorations then a standard size printer is the right printer. On the other hand, if you want to do larger designs for T shirts, blankets, or flags then a large format sublimation printer gets the best results.

Sublimation Printer Ease of Use

Ease of use is about everything from adding sublimation ink to matching colors. Sawgrass SG printers are the iPhone of sublimation printing. You’ll spend much more. Yet, Sawgrass includes software for creating and printing sublimation designs. They also offer excellent support.

Epson or Brother don’t offer any support for a converted printer. I felt comfortable converting my printer, making any adjustments when necessary, and using my own design program for printing.

The Epson SureColor series come with sublimation ink therefore they do offer limited support. Epson doesn’t offer an easy to use app like Sawgrass. But apps such as Affinity designer, Adobe Express, or especially Canva are very user friendly for making sublimation designs.

While Sawgrass wins as far as overall ease of use, Epson printers are far from difficult. Adding ink to an Ecotank is as easy as it gets. Also, Epson’s print driver offers excellent color management. The Brother printer I sometimes use gets the job done but isn’t my first choice.

Best Sublimation Printers

While there are dozens of dye sublimation printers available on the market to convert. There is virtually no difference with some models from a sublimation point of view. For example, an Epson Ecotank ET-5800, Et-5850, or ET-5880 use the same print heads but only vary in features. Getting the one with the most features is unnecessary expenditure of money.

The field can be narrowed down based on the core print engines that are used. Then the best sublimation printer is chosen based on cost, paper size, and ease of use.

Every sublimation printer has its own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of just whittling it down to 1 sublimation printer, there are sublimation printers ideal for different circumstances. In no particular order, here are the 5 best sublimation printers:.

WorkForce Pro WF-7310

The WorkForce Pro WF-7310 is an inexpensive, versatile printer that can use sublimation ink.

epson workforce printer
WorkForce Pro WF-7310

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Good for T-Shirts and other large designs
Inexpensive price point


Average print quality
Converting requires chips & ink cartridges
How easy to convert to sublimation ink
Range of sublimation projects
Availability of supplies & ink

If your budget isn’t very big this the ideal sublimation printer for you. Compared to other printers under $250, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7310 and the EC-C7000 are the only ones you can print on 13 x 19 inch paper. The EC-C7000 isn’t any better and you’d be paying more for a document feeder you won’t use.

If you plan on sublimating t-shirts then you should use a wide format printer like this one. You’ll find larger paper allows for a greater range of sublimation projects you can do.

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7310 print quality is good for any sublimation project. It’s average for an inkjet but you can see average for an inkjet is exceedingly good.

Epson print drivers let you do mirror image and basic color correction for sublimation printing.

Best sublimation printer
Best sublimation printer

You won’t have any trouble finding any sublimation ink supplies for the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7310. There are more third-party inks you can choose from but here are a few:

Your easiest route is to get empty cartridges, new chips, and then fill them with sublimation ink. Or you can get a continuous ink supply system (CISS) if you don’t mind a little assembly.

Either way the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7310 is an ideal inexpensive sublimation printer.

Epson workforce printer
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7310

Rating: 4 out of 5.


13 x 19 Full Bleed
Print speed
Accepts Dye-Sublimation Ink


Supply chips not re-settable
Dye-Sublimation ink not covered by warranty

Epson Ecotank ET-2800

The Epson Ecotank ET-2800 is one of the easiest printers to convert to sublimation ink. Like the WF-7310, it’s an inexpensive sublimation printer.

Epson 2800 printer
Epson Ecotank ET-2800

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Great for mugs, tumblers, and other small designs
Good print quality


Only one paper tray
Limited Paper size
How easy to convert to sublimation ink
Range of sublimation projects
Availability of supplies & ink

If you want a simple printer to convert to sublimation, this is the printer you should choose. You don’t need to mess with ink cartridges or a CISS. Simply add sublimation ink and you’re ready to go.

What’s good is the Epson Ecotank ET-2800 has the same excellent print quality as other Ecotanks. Epson Ecotanks have slightly better quality than Workforce printers. You won’t have any trouble with photos and smaller designs.

It doesn’t have many features but since you’d be converting it for sublimation ink, it doesn’t need many. You won’t need duplex or fax features found in other Ecotanks.

It’s compact design is limited to 8½ x 14 paper size. Still, you can still do t-shirts with the Epson Ecotank ET-2800. Although you need to use smaller designs or break larger designs into two heat transfers.

If you choose the ET-2800 sublimation ink and paper are easy to find. Here are three printing supply companies you can choose from:

If you want a simple, inexpensive desktop sublimation printer this is an ideal printer to choose. It’s easy to convert and doesn’t require a huge investment.

Epson 2800 printer

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Easy to convert
Good print quality
Accepts Dye-Sublimation Ink
Relatively inexpensive


Small control panel
Dye-Sublimation ink not covered by warranty

Epson Ecotank ET-8550

The Epson Ecotank ET-8550 offers high quality, simple conversion, and wide array of paper sizes. If you’re planning on transferring photos to large or small blanks, this is the best option.

  • Advantages: Terrific print quality, large paper size.
  • Disadvantages: Costs more than most Ecotank printers.
Ecotank ET-8550
How easy to convert
Range of projects
Availability of supplies

It can do borderless prints on 13 x 19 inch paper, has lab quality photo printing, and costs slightly more than the Epson Ecotank ET-15000. Which is significantly less than wide format sublimation printers like the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG 1000, VJ628, or the Epson Surecolor F570.

This is a fairly new printer but ink supply companies do carry sublimation ink for all 6 colors this printer requires. Cosmos ink was one of the first to carry sublimation ink for this printer. Plus they have many helpful Youtube videos on how to convert the ET-8550.

While this photo printer can make amazing prints on photo paper, polyester fabrics aren’t the same medium. You can notice the improved quality compared to any other sublimation printer. Still, the minute details of any design don’t necessarily show on any heat transfers.

The high quality of the Epson ET-8550 does show on mugs, tumblers, and other rigid materials. The print quality I’ve seen from the ET-8550 is on par with professional printers I’ve worked on.

If you want a high quality, easy to convert sublimation printer this is an ideal choice.

Ecotank ET-8550

Rating: 4 out of 5.


High quality prints
13 x 19 full bleed
Memory card ports
Easy to convert to sublimation Ink


Costs more than most Ecotank printers
Dye-Sublimation ink not covered by warranty

Epson SureColor F170

The Epson SureColor F170 is the least expensive printer that comes with sublimation ink. If you don’t want to convert a printer or need large paper this is an ideal choice.

Epson F170 printer
Epson SureColor F170

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Great print quality
Comes with Sublimation Ink


Limited paper size
No conversion, ready for sublimation ink
Range of sublimation projects
Availability of supplies & ink

The Epson Surecolor F170 costs significantly less than other sublimation ready printers from Sawgrass, Mitsubishi, or Roland DGA. In fact it’s the least expensive printer that comes with sublimation ink. Still, it costs more than the ET-2800 but less than the ET-8550.

Compared to Sawgrass SG500 this printer has the same quality but for a lot less money. It doesn’t have three choices of special ink like the sawgrass. But for most projects Epson’s dye-sublimation ink is great.

This Epson sublimation printer gives good results with hats, mugs, mousepads, and other smaller designs in my experience. The print driver defaults to mirror image printing and has good features for color management.

Epson doesn’t provide any software for managing your designs. If you need software to create designs then I recommend Affinity designer, Adobe ExpressAdobe Illustrator, GIMP, or Canva, .

Epson includes a full set of sublimation ink bottles with the Surecolor F170. You don’t have to mess with starter cartridges or ordering aftermarket supplies. This printer is ready out of the box for sublimation printing.

If you want a hassle free, inexpensive sublimation printer the Epson Surecolor F170 is an ideal option.

Epson F170 printer

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Good print quality
Full set of dye sublimation inks included


Small Touchscreen

Sawgrass SG500

The Sawgrass SG500 is a very popular sublimation printer. Loaded with ink options, bundled software, and support. This is an ideal printer for sublimation if you have the budget for it and love the idea of a support team.

sawgrass SG 500 printer
Sawgrass SG500

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Great print quality
Choice of 3 types of ink


Limited paper size
Expensive ink cartridges
No conversion, ready for sublimation ink
Range of sublimation projects
Availability of supplies & ink

The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is made to use a couple types of sublimation ink. If you choose the Sawgrass printers then you actually have three choices of ink:

  • Sublijet UHD
  • Chromablast UHD
  • EasySubli

Sublijet UHD and EasySubli are sublimation ink. Sublijet UHD is for polyester fabrics or polymer coated rigid materials. EasySubli is for heat transfer vinyl (HTV) but also works on polyester fabrics & polymer coated materials.

Chromablast on the other hand is for cotton fabrics. Honestly, due to the ink cost you would be better off using a standard inkjet printer than getting a SG500 with Chromablast inks.

Basically, it comes down to whether you intend to do any HTV. If you do then get EasySubli, if not then Sublijet UHD.

Sawgrass also provides software with their products. Creative Studio is for you to create sublimation designs and Sawgrass print manager makes printing them easy.

The free version of Creative Studio is very limited. If you want more styles, templates, and elements with a lot of customization then you should upgrade to the full version.

Sawgrass has excellent customer support. They can assist with any step in the sublimation printing process. If you don’t mind paying more and want everything included the Sawgrass SG 500 is an ideal solution.

sawgrass SG 500 printer

Rating: 3 out of 5.


Good Print Quality
Included software
Excellent Customer Support


Expensive Ink
High Initial Price

Master List of Sublimation Printers

This is our master list of printers capable of being converted to sublimation printing. They are sorted by the following categories:

  • Under $250
  • Epson Ecotanks
  • Wide Format
  • Sublimation Ready
  • Discontinued

These are the printers we evaluated to get our top picks.

Best Sublimation Printers Under $250

BrandPrinterMax Paper# of Colors
EpsonWorkForce Pro WF-731013 x 19 (Stream feed to 47)4
EpsonWorkForce EC-C700013 x 19 (Stream feed to 47)4
EpsonExpression Premium XP-61008½ x 145
EpsonExpression Home XP-5100 Small-in-One8½ x 14 4
Sublimation printers under $250

Best Epson Ecotanks for Sublimation

PrinterMax Paper# of Colors
Ecotank ET-28008½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-28508½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-38308½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-38508½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-47608½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-48508½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank ET-48508½ x 14 (47)4
Ecotank Photo ET-85008½ x 14 (47)6
EcoTank Pro ET-51708½ x 14 (47)4
EcoTank Pro ET-51508½ x 14 (47)4
EcoTank Pro ET-51808½ x 14 (47)4
EcoTank Pro ET-58008½ x 14 (47)4
EcoTank Pro ET-58508½ x 14 (47)4
EcoTank Pro ET-58808½ x 14 (47)4
WorkForce ST-2100 (Supertank)8½ x 14 (47)4
Epson Ecotanks for sublimation printing

Best Wide Format Sublimation Printers

BrandPrinterMax Paper# of Colors
EpsonWorkForce Pro WF-782013 x 19 (47)4
EpsonWorkForce Pro WF-784013 x 19 (47)4
EpsonEcotank ET-1500013 x 19 (47)4
EpsonEcotank ET-1660013 x 19 (47)4
EpsonEcotank ET-1665013 x 19 (47)4
EpsonEcotank ET-855013 x 19 (51)6
EpsonWorkForce ST-C8000 (Supertank)13 x 19 (47)4
EpsonWorkForce ST-C8090 (Supertank)13 x 19 (47)4
BrotherMFC-J5845DW11 x 174
BrotherMFC-J5945DW11 x 174
BrotherMFC-J6545DW11 x 174
BrotherMFC-J6945DW11 x 174
Wide format printers for sublimation

Best Sublimation Ready Printers

BrandPrinterMax Paper# of Colors
EpsonSureColor F1708½ x 14 (47)4
EpsonSureColor F57024 inch rolls4
SawgrassSG5008½ x 14 (51)4
SawgrassSG100013 x 19 (51) 4
SawgrassVJ62824 inch rolls4
Sublimation ready printers

Discontinued Sublimation Printers

BrandPrinterMax Paper# of Colors
SawgrassSG80013 x 19 (51) 4
SawgrassSG4008½ x 14 (51)4
Ricoh31108½ x 14 (51)4
EpsonWorkforce WF-721013 x 19 (51) 4
Epson Workforce WF-7110 13 x 19 (51) 4
Epson Workforce WF-761013 x 19 (51) 4
Epson Workforce WF-762013 x 19 (51) 4
Epson Workforce WF-7720 13 x 19 (51) 4
Epson Workforce WF-3620 8½ x 14 (51)4
Epson Workforce WF-3640 8½ x 14 (51)4
Epson Any Artisan series
BrotherMFC-J5845DW XL11 x 174
BrotherMFC-J6545DW XL11 x 174
Discontinued Models


There is a printer out there perfect for your needs. Find one within your budget that can handle the type of designs you plan on doing. Whether that leans toward larger paper size or photo quality depends on your projects.

Best cheap printer for sublimation

Epson Workforce WF-7310

It uses large paper size (13 x 19). Converting requires chips & ink cartridges. Sublimation ink is available from multiple printer suppliers.

Best Epson Ecotank for sublimation

Epson Ecotank ET-2800

It has good print quality and is simple to convert. Sublimation ink is available from multiple print suppliers. Limited to 8½ x 14 inch paper.

Ecotank ET-8550
Best wide format printer for sublimation

Epson Ecotank ET-8550

It uses large paper (13 x 19), has good print quality and is simple to convert. Sublimation ink is available from multiple print suppliers.

Best sublimation ready printer

Epson SureColor F170

It has good print quality and no conversion is necessary. Limited to 8½ x 14.

Best supported sublimation ready printer

Sawgrass SG 500

It has excellent support and bundled software. Limited to 8½ x 14 paper size. It is on the expensive side.


What is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation?

Epson Ecotanks are the easiest printers to convert to sublimation ink.

Is Epson Ecotank good for sublimation?

Epson Ecotanks are good for sublimation. However, the ET-2800 is ideal since you won’t pay more for features you won’t use. Also, it has the same print quality as other Ecotanks.

Is sublimation better than inkjet?

For heat transfers sublimation is the best choice. Regular ink is water soluble and washes out eventually.

How long does sublimation ink last?

Sublimation ink forms a permanent bond. It lasts as long as the item it’s bonded to lasts.

Can I use HP printer for sublimation?

Unfortunately, the average home or office HP printer can’t use sublimation ink. It ruins the print head. Only the HP Stitch series (S500/S300) use sublimation ink.

copier guy

The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes over 23 years. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.

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