Finding a proper sublimation printer for heat transfer is tough. Believe it or not, this complication of finding a printer starts from missed information.

What is that? You can turn any inkjet printer into a sublimation printer. Wait! There is a but…. The printer should be compatible with the CISS Ink System.

Now, how do you know if the printer is compatible or not? Let us take the hassle. We picked the 5 best printers for you. You can even print heat transfer paper in it. Really! Yes, 80% of people don’t know this. 

Why? We found that: not knowing the real difference between sublimation and heat transfer is the major reason.

So, First, we will explain the difference and read the reviews of the best sublimation printers for heat transfer.

Here are our top 5 best sublimation printers for Sublimation and heat transfer

RankImageProductRatingPrice
#1

Epson EcoTank ET-2720

  • Cheap running cost & delivers good quality print.
9
Check Now
#2

Canon PIXMA G1220

  • Perfect for sublimation and heat transfer paper.
9
Check Price
#3

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

  • Better control with ink adjustment.
9
Check Now
#4

Sawgrass SG500

  • Dedicated for sublimation and heat transfer.
8
Check Price
#5

Brother MFC-J805DW

  • Great speed & provides simple borderless printing.
8
Check Price

Sublimation vs Heat Transfer – Clear The Confusion

Heat transfer and sublimation printing have one major difference that is the method. The sublimation method is simple. You will print the design over sublimation printing paper. 

Then place the paper over the t-shirt, and transfer the design through a heat press machine. This way, the design sticks permanently. How?

There is a science behind it. At the very time, the design stays in solid form. It turns into gas form when you press it through the heat press machine. 

Slowly, the gas form blends with the fabric and becomes solid. This process makes the design more permanent.

But the heat transfer method can not keep the design permanent. Why? Method. It follows two steps. 

First, you will print the design on transparent paper, then the design you will transfer in a heat transfer paper by using the heat press machine. 

Next, you will peel off the sticker over the heat transferring paper. Put that peeled paper over the t-shirt. Use a heat transfer machine once again.

Boom! The design is settled in the T-shirt. This sort of printing cannot last more than 4 to 5 washes.

5 Best Sublimation Printers For Heat Transfers

Our 5 best picks are compatible with sublimation and heat transfer paper. You can change the cartridges and ink easily. Here is the overall review. 

1. Epson EcoTank ET-2720

1. Epson EcoTank ET-2720

About 80% of users rated Epson Ecotank 2720 as good for sublimation. We found it to be true. Our text for the cotton t-shirt was just enough. Here are more reviews regarding regular and sublimation printing. 

Quality

Overall, print quality is satisfying. The text quality was legible. There was no streak in characters and letters. Our team checked the line color saturation at point 5. Pretty good!

Powerpoint handouts, Excel graphs, and Adobe Acrobat looked fresh. Some areas had a little color flaw. This is for the complex gradient background. Other than that, it is good for regular use.

Speed

The regular print speed was entry-level. ET2720 recorded 10 ppm for monochrome. The speed for the color photo was 4.5 ppm.

We tested the speed over USB 2.0. The connectivity was smooth enough. It slowed down in some areas like sublimation paper printing. 

Sublimation Experience

We tested over 100% cotton fabrics. The color infused equally. There was no drop of a gradient in the background. Each color saturation looked balanced. Some slight streaks were seen in the text at point 4. 

Specs

  • Inkjet (sublimation compatible)
  • Wi-Fi, USB
  • PC, Laptop, compatible
  • IOS and Android compatible.

Pros

  • Cheap running cost
  • Wi-Fi direct and mobile connectivity
  • Fantastic print quality.

Cons

  • No ethernet and memory card slot.

2. Canon PIXMA G1220

2. Canon PIXMA G1220

Sublimation printing with Canon is easy but tough to convert. We recorded 10 minutes to change the ink cartridges for sublimation in the Epson printer.

But the time for Canon is slightly higher than that. Still, the outcome and overall print quality are decent for small business owners. Read the detailed review below. 

Quality

Canon usually prints slow, but their quality is worth waiting for. We tested business documents, and all of them showed a legible text quality. There was no streak. Gradient and dark fills were near accurate.

Speed

Our test showed a slow print speed. Pixma 1220 has recorded 9 ppm for black and 5 ppm for color printing.

This speed gets tedious while printing a hefty page. We compared this printer with HP TANGO X, which showed .6 ppm fast.

Sublimation Experience

Canon has always had a satisfying printing experience. We got the proof while printing on heat transfer paper. 

The color saturation looked good. We in fact-checked the quality after infusing with the fabric. Some color bands were seen. We don’t think it is visible with naked eyes.

Specs

  • Inkjet
  • USB
  • Compatible with PC, Laptop
  • Megatank

Pros

  • Less running cost
  • Perfect for sublimation and heat transfer paper.
  • Software bundles are good.

Cons

  • It has no scanner

3. Epson EcoTank ET-3760

3. Epson EcoTank ET-3760

ET 3760 is a proper printer for heat and sublimation printing. The reason for saying it “proper” means the quality. You will read that in the next session.

Before that, let us tell you one thing. Epson has made better control with ink adjustment with this printer.

Quality

Highly satisfied. Text quality was legible with clear character spacing. Business documents were pretty good. PowerPoint and full-page excel sheets came with solid fills.

We noticed a few streaks. It is not a deal breaker. One of our major satisfying factors was the gradient adjustment. It was even.

Speed

A bit slow. It recorded 15 ppm for black and 8 ppm for color. The speed is comparatively .7 ppm slower than Brother’s MFC-J6945DW and HP’s OfficeJet Pro Premier.

Two reasons for saying it is slow. Number one is adobe acrobat printing. The second is business document printing. Brother and HP showed a tremendous outcome with bulk pages, but this one could not. 

Sublimation Experience

Epson serves the best sublimation experience. We will share the inkjet for the sublimation conversion experience. 

The ink replacement was pretty easy. It balanced properly, which proved over some results. The Color, text, and background were legible enough. We noticed some bands on the gradient.  

Specs

  • Inkjet 
  • Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet
  • Compatible with PC and Laptops
  • Compatible with IOS and Android

Pros

  • Thousands of pages with one ink
  • Amazing mobile connectivity feature.
  • Easy to convert for sublimation.

Cons

  • It has no duplex scanning

4. Sawgrass SG500

4. Sawgrass SG500

Sawgrass is dedicated to sublimation printing. We liked the overall printing quality. But the software experience is slow. The response time for the sublimation paper was around 30 seconds. This is for the online platform. We did not try it offline. 

Quality

Worth waiting. As we said, it takes time to print, but the waiting is worth it. Our team tested over two t-shirts: polyester and cotton. 

Polyester showed a little streak on characters. But the cotton showed a clean outcome. Our gradient background showed up clearly. There was no color drop. 

Speed

SG500 has a different speed count. It depends on the DPI. We printed 600 X600 Dpi within 15 seconds. More than that count can be exceeded from 30 to 40 seconds. 

Sublimation Experience

No printer could give us such a good experience. The color saturation on the sublimation paper was even. We could not find any flaws even in complex gradients. 

Specs

  • Sublimation
  • Wi-Fi
  • Compatible with Laptops and PC
  • Compatible with Android and IOS

Pros

  • Dedicated for sublimation and heat transfer.
  • Online software bundle.
  • Easy to operate.

Cons

  • Setting up the color profile is tough

5. Brother MFC-J805DW

5. Brother MFC-J805DW

You can go with this entry-level inkjet printer. The ink replacement is OK but not super-efficient. We noticed the ink consumption rate is higher than the previous one. However, the overall outcome is good.

Quality

There was a major difference between sublimation and regular printing. Usually, Brother ruled over the laser area. But this model has an excellent output quality.

Excel charts, and PowerPoint handouts showed a balanced color saturation. The text quality was also eligible for us. So, we are satisfied with this model for regular printing.

Speed

The speed of this printer is entry-level. It recorded 10 ppm for blank and 6 ppm for color. We tested the speed with bulk pages. The speed was satisfying.

Our team, in fact, compared this speed with the Canon G4210. The result was 1.8ppm fast for MFC-J805DW.

Sublimation Experience

Our sublimation experience is average. We tried printing two logos. The gradient adjustment was OK, but the background fills some bands in single colors, especially gray areas.

Specs

  • Inkjet
  • Wi-Fi
  • Compatible for Laptops and PC
  • IOS and Android compatibility is exciting.

Pros

  • Simple borderless printing.
  • Compatible with sublimation and heat transfer paper.
  • The output quality is solid.

Cons

  • We noticed some minor bands in some graphics. 

Guide to Choose A Sublimation Printer for Heat Transfers

Sublimation Experience

Your first step is to check the sublimation experience. Checklists for these experiences are:

  • Ink adjustment.
  • Color saturation.
  • Printing speed for sublimation and heat transfer paper.
  • How the ink blends with the printer.

These are the major things to check before buying an inkjet for sublimation.

Ink Cost

An inkjet printer usually consumes much more ink than a dedicated sublimation printer. So, you need to consider the ink cost. Epson printers consume less ink than Canon. 

How Easy The Ink Replacement

Replacing regular to sublimation ink is complicated. We recommend you pick the easy one. In that case, Epson will be the best pick. Why? Epson offers their inkjet printer for both Heat and Sublimation ink.

Regular Printing Experience

Regular printing experience matters. You can easily determine the print quality by seeing the day-to-day printing quality. For example, Canon offers the best photo printing. On the other hand, Epson offers a balanced printing quality for monochrome and color. 

Sublimation Vs. Heat Transfer Guide
Copyright: smashinginkvinyl

FAQ

How Do You Choose The Best Sublimation Printer For Heat Transfer?

Choosing a sublimation printer is complex. You need to check a few technical things. Things like the Ink replacement process, is the sublimation ink compatible with the printer? The print quality and more. 

One of the quickest ways to find the right printer is to check the reviews from forums. If you are still running out of time, we recommend sticking with Epson. This brand offers a sublimation printing experience with their Inkjet printers.

Can Any Printer Be Capable Of Sublimation Printing?

No, all printers are capable of sublimation printing. You can turn any Inkjet printer into a sublimation printer. The inkjet printer must have a CISS Ink system. 

How Long Can A Sublimation Ink Last?

It depends on the fabric quality. We noticed the durability in two fabrics: Cotton and Polyester. Both elements showed strong durability. They last almost 150+ washes. 

How To Use Heat Transfer Printers?

Heat transfer printers are used to shift the design over the t-shirt. The use of this printer is easy. Select the ultimate heat range. Then prepare the t-shirt. Next, you will set the design over it. Press the heat. Done! 

What Type Of Ink Should I Use For Heat Transfers?

Experts suggest using Inkjet ink. This ink is affordable and accessible. People also use pigment ink. The reason for using this ink is to resist the fade. 

Bonus: Things Will Help You To Make The Buying Decision Better

  • 80% of Youtubers picked Epson for reviewing their Sublimation experience.
  • Epson is 50% more economical than other brands.
  • 70% of Youtubers picked Canon for professional photo printing review.
  • 90% of global users believe that Brother offers the best laser printing experience.

5 Best Sublimation Ink Brand For Epson

  • Hiipoo
  • Printers Jack
  • Sublijet HD
  • inkXpro
  • Xcinkjetc

Conclusion

Around 80% of people have confused about sublimation and heat transfer paper. As a result, they get puzzled about picking the right printers. 

They often search for a dedicated sublimation printer, which turns out to be expensive.  

So, our goal is to squeeze the expense by guiding the best product. Each of the printers we reviewed can be used for sublimation or heat transfer printing. 

These are all compatible with the CISS INK System. Now the choice is yours. Get your best deal for making a great start to this year.