What Kind of Printer Do You Need for Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing might be the right option for creating personalized items like mugs, t-shirts, and phone cases. Sublimation printing uses heat to transfer dye onto various surfaces, producing high-quality, long-lasting prints. However, not all printers are created equal regarding sublimation printing. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of printers available for sublimation printing and What Kind of Printer Do You Need for Sublimation Printing?


What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a process of printing on a surface using heat to transfer dye into the material. This process is best suited for fabrics and materials that are polyester or coated with polyester material. The dye is transferred to the surface by vaporizing it with heat and solidifying it into the surface, making the prints durable and long-lasting.


Types of Sublimation Printers

Two types of printers are available for sublimation printing: inkjet and dye-sublimation printers.


Inkjet Printers

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are the most commonly used printers for sublimation printing. These printers use cartridges filled with sublimation ink and print onto transfer paper. The transfer paper is then heat-pressed onto the desired surface. While inkjet printers are affordable and versatile, they can be prone to clogging if not used regularly.

Dye-Sublimation Printers

dye-sublimation printers

Dye-sublimation printers are specifically designed for sublimation printing. These printers use a specialized ribbon that contains solid dye instead of ink. The ribbon is heated, and the dye is vaporized and then solidified onto the surface. Dye-sublimation printers are more expensive than inkjet printers but offer higher-quality prints and are less prone to clogging.


What to Look for When Choosing a Sublimation Printer

When choosing a sublimation printer, there are a few factors to consider:

What to Look for When Choosing a Sublimation Printer

Print Size

Consider the size of the prints you want to create. If you plan to make larger images, you’ll need a printer to handle larger paper sizes.


Ink System

Inkjet printers use sublimation ink cartridges, while dye-sublimation printers use a specialized ribbon. Consider which ink system is best for your needs.



Consider whether you need a printer with wireless connectivity or if a USB connection is sufficient.



Sublimation printers can range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Consider your budget when choosing a printer.


Sublimation Printer Recommendations

Here are a few sublimation printer recommendations:


Epson SureColor F570

The Epson SureColor F570 is a dye-sublimation printer that can handle prints up to 24 inches wide. It uses a specialized ribbon system and offers high-quality prints. However, it is more expensive than some other options.


Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500

The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is an inkjet printer that uses sublimation ink cartridges. It can handle prints up to 8.5 inches wide and is more affordable than other options. However, it can be prone to clogging if used sparingly.

Can you do sublimation with a laser printer?


No, sublimation printing is not possible with a laser printer. Laser printers use toner instead of ink and cannot print with the heat and pressure required for sublimation printing.

Sublimation printing requires a printer with specialized dye-sublimation ink and a heating element to transfer the ink onto the printed surface. Therefore, a dye-sublimation printer is required for sublimation printing.

Do Canon printers do sublimation?


Canon printers are not designed for sublimation printing out of the box. However, converting certain Canon printers for sublimation printing is possible by installing a third-party Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) and using specialized sublimation ink.

This process requires some technical expertise and may void the printer’s warranty. It is recommended to use a printer specifically designed for sublimation printing to achieve the best results.


Final Thought

When it comes to sublimation printing, choosing the right printer is crucial. Inkjet printers are versatile and affordable, while dye-sublimation printers offer higher-quality prints and are less prone to clogging. Consider factors like print size, ink system, connectivity, and cost when choosing a printer. You can create high-quality, long-lasting prints on various surfaces with the right printer.










What surfaces can I print on with a sublimation printer?

Sublimation printing works best on surfaces made of polyester or coated with polyester material. Some examples include t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and mousepads.


Can I use any printer for sublimation printing?

No, not all printers are designed for sublimation printing. Inkjet and dye-sublimation printers are the two types used for sublimation printing.


Do I need special ink for sublimation printing?

Yes, sublimation ink differs from regular ink and is required for sublimation printing. The ink is designed to vaporize and solidify onto surfaces during sublimation.


How long do sublimation prints last?

Sublimation prints are known for their durability and longevity. With proper care, sublimation prints can last for years without fading or peeling.


Can I use sublimation ink in a regular inkjet printer?

No, sublimation ink is not compatible with regular inkjet printers. Using sublimation ink in a standard printer can cause damage and clogging.

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