Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners 2023

Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners 2023: Epson, Sawgrass, & more

Sublimation printing, commonly known as heat transfer printing, involves utilizing specialized sublimation ink or dye in combination with heat to embed complex designs into fabric. This versatile printing method has gained significant attention from hobbyists and small business starters alike. Sublimation printing, known for creating lasting and lifelike designs, occupies a unique spot in the arsenal of digital artists. When starting out it can be quite tricky to find the best sublimation printer for beginners, with so many options and price points to choose from.

Achieving successful sublimation prints necessitates combining two fundamental components: a dye-sub inkjet printer and sublimation ink. While the initial step entails creating transfers for customization, advanced sublimation printers have the capability to imprint designs onto synthetic fabrics directly.

The primary objective of this article centers on educating beginners about sublimation printing. This article presents a list of sublimation printers suitable for various beginner’s needs. The recommended printers are accompanied by an illuminating pros and cons list and a brief review designed to streamline the process of selecting a suitable beginner sublimation printer.

Stay with us to explore the best sublimation printer for beginners in the upcoming sections.

Sawgrass SG500Check Lowest Price
Epson ET - 15000Check Lowest Price
Epson ET - 2800Check Lowest Price

What type of sublimation printer should beginners buy?

It can be exciting and overwhelming for beginners seeking the ideal printer to bring their artwork to life. With many manufacturers and an array of features spanning various price points, selecting the right sublimation printer becomes a tedious task. The stakes are high, considering the substantial investment associated with sublimation printers.

For those stepping onto this creative path, it’s essential to grasp the essential traits of an apt sublimation printer. To this end, I’ve dedicated time and effort to thorough research, culminating in a comprehensive comparison of five exceptional sublimation printers designed for beginners. With affordability as a common thread, each printer showcased in this guide promises to cater to the needs of beginners.

Epson’s Ecotank series claims the spotlight among sublimation printers, renowned for its seamless integration of ink tanks. When filled with sublimation ink, these tanks usher in a straightforward transition from standard to sublimation printing.

In the area of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) desktop sublimation printers, Sawgrass stands alone. Yet, it’s intriguing that Sawgrass printers are fundamentally based on Ricoh models, donning distinct badges. However, the exclusivity comes at a cost in terms of the initial purchase price and ongoing ink expenses. In contrast, converted Epson printers present a more accessible entry point, boasting economical running costs as dye sublimation ink can be procured in bottles, circumventing the pre-filled cartridge model.

Crafted through meticulous research and enriched by firsthand experiences, the sublimation printers featured here are a testament to expert insights in printing technology. Each recommendation reflects a careful curation process, ensuring a range of options tailored to diverse needs and budgets and securing an impeccable match for your sublimation printing aspirations.

The upcoming sections will peel back the layers as we delve further, offering an immersive exploration of each elite sublimation printer. You’ll find the necessary insights to guide your astute choice within these details. This choice resonates with your unique aspirations.

Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners: Sawgrass SG500

Sawgrass UHD SG500 Sublimation Printer Starter Bundle with Easysubli Ink Set, 300 Sheets of Sublimation Paper, Tape, & Blanks, White, (SG500-PRNT-BUNDLE-5)
  • Sawgrass SG500 Dye-Sublimation Printer with Easysubli Starter Ink Set – 20ml per ink color
  • 300 Sheets of PROSUB Paper: 150 Sheets of 8.5″ x 14″ Premium PROSUB Sublimation Paper specifically designed for Sawgrass Printers, 150 Sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ Premium PROSUB Sublimation Paper specifically designed for Sawgrass Printers
  • Sublimation Blanks Sample Pack 10 Pieces, 2 Rolls of PROSUB Heat Resistant Transfer Tape 1/8″ x 108ft & 1″ x 108ft – designed specifically for sublimation (no residue), CreativeStudio Online Designer Software, Printer Recommended with Windows 10 or newer, Mac OS 10.9 or newer
  • 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty, Premium Manufacturer 1-on-1 Onboarding, Lifetime Support, Largest Authorized Dealer
  • IMPORTANT: Please note that Sawgrass includes starter inks with their printers. A large percentage of the ink is used to fill the lines. Even though you may get a low ink warning the starter inks should provide over 200+ full coverage prints. Sublimation does not work on cotton or dark fabrics and requires a heat press for application.
  • Versatile Media Handling
  • Fast Print Speed
  • Energy Efficient
  • Sheet Size : 8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14, up to 8.5 x 51 with optional bypass tray Inches
  • Compact Design 
  • Limited Ink Colors
  • Warranty (Extended Options Extra)

The Sawgrass SG500 emerges as an ideal option for beginners. Operating on Dye Sublimation technology, it boasts a maximum print resolution of 4880 x 1200 dpi, ensuring impeccable print quality. The Print Speed of around 15 seconds for an 8.5″ x 11″ full-color print enhances efficiency.

Personal experience with the SG500 revealed vibrant and crisp print quality. The dye sublimation technique seamlessly merged colors, and the high resolution amplified intricate designs. Swift printing proved advantageous, particularly for business owners with tight schedules. The Media Handling prowess of the SG500 is remarkable. Supporting a Maximum Print Size of 8.5″ x 14″ and accommodating diverse Paper Types. The substantial 250-sheet input tray minimizes interruptions from refills.

Connectivity remains unhindered in the modern world. USB 2.0, Ethernet, and WiFi interfaces seamlessly integrate with Windows and macOS, offering wireless printing. The Ink System, utilizing SubliJet UHD Inks with 4 Colors and Individual Cartridges, promises vivid prints and efficient ink usage. The system’s precision allows for depleted color replacement, promoting cost-effective usage.

Compact and manageable, the SG500 weighs 27 lbs and measures 15.3″ x 13.8″ x 6.3″ (W x D x H). With Power Consumption of 32W (operating) and 3W (standby), it’s an energy-efficient choice. Notably, the SG500 arrives with CreativeStudio design software and a Standard 1-year warranty, expandable for added security. This enriches the package, offering user-friendly design tools and warranty assurance.

Best Epson sublimation printer for beginners: Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wireless

Epson EcoTank ET-15000 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier, Fax, Ethernet and Printing up to 13 x 19 Inches, White
  • Epson printing system is designed to be used exclusively with Epson Genuine Cartridges. Use of non-genuine ink could cause damage not covered under the printer’s ltd. wnty.
  • Save up to 90 percent on ink with low-cost replacement bottles vs. ink cartridges (1) — about 1 cent per color ISO page vs. about 20 cents with cartridges (1).
  • Epson EcoTank is the No.1 Best Selling Supertank Printer
  • Versatile paper handling — print up to 13″ x 19″ through rear feed; copy and scan up to 8. 5″ x 11″ (via the scan bed) or 8.5″ x 14″ (via the ADF).
  • Print for up to 2 years with each included or replacement ink bottle set (2) — each set includes enough ink to print up to 7,500 pages black / 6,000 color (3); you could save dollars 620 with each one (1).
  • Addresses regular and sublimation printing needs
  • Input Tray 1 Minimum: 2.13 x 3.39″ / 5.41 x 8.61 cm Maximum: 8.5 x 14″ / 21.59 x 35.56 cm Input Tray 2 Minimum: 2.13 x 3.39″ / 5.41 x 8.61 cm Maximum: 12.95 x 47.24″ / 32.89 x 119.99 cm
  • Ink capacity: 502 Black ink bottle (127 mL)3 yield: 7,500 pages. 502 Color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) ink bottles (70 mL)3 yield: 6,000 pages.
  • High initial purchase cost
  • Initial learning curve

If you’re searching for a long-lasting desktop printer, consider the Epson EcoTank ET-15000. Not only is it built to endure, but it also champions cost-efficiency and environmental awareness.

The EcoTank ET-15000 boasts an impressive ink super tank lasting up to 2 years, translating to significant savings on cartridge replacements. This printer maintains an average cost of just 1 cent per page, courtesy of its refillable cartridges, which not only spare your wallet but also reduce environmental waste. The ET-15000’s ongoing expenses remain remarkably low, even when engaging in extensive sublimation printing. Despite its economical operation, image quality remains uncompromised due to its high-density print chip, ensuring sharp, detailed, and lifelike designs.

PrecisionCore technology further amplifies the printer’s performance, rendering it suitable for substantial print tasks. Beyond sublimation printing, the printer upholds conventional functions such as faxing, copying, scanning, and duplex printing. Equipped with a 250-sheet paper tray, a media tray for larger or high-quality prints, and an Auto Document Feeder, it covers diverse printing needs.

Flexibility extends to compatible sublimation paper formats, accommodating designs up to 13 x 19 inches, including borderless prints of up to 11 x 17 inches. A user-friendly 2.7-inch color touchscreen simplifies operation. WiFi Direct obviates the need for a computer or router—printing becomes accessible via smartphones or tablets.

Overall the Epson EcoTank ET-15000 shines as an exceptional sublimation printer. While its upfront cost isn’t modest, the printer’s long-term cost-effectiveness, enduring print quality, and extensive features make it a valuable investment.

Best all-around sublimation printer: Epson WorkForce WF-7720

Epson WorkForce WF-7720 Wireless Wide-format Color Inkjet Printer with Copy, Scan, Fax, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet, Amazon Dash Replenishment Ready
  • Epson strongly recommends the use of Genuine Epson inks for a quality printing experience. Non Epson inks and inks not formulated for your specific printer may cause damage that is not covered by the Epson warranty.
  • Get performance beyond laser — the workforce WF-7720, powered by Precision Core
  • Print-shop quality — borderless prints upto 13″ X 19″. Operating Systems – Windows 10 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 8/8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 (SP2) – Windows Server 20167, Mac OS X 10.6.8 – macOS 10.12.x8
  • Economical — uses upto 80 percent less power vs. Color laser printers (4)
  • High-volume printing — 500-sheet capacity, dual trays, Plus a rear feed for specialty paper; 125-sheet output tray
  • LCD for easy navigation
  • All-purpose inkjet printer
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Duplex (Two-sided) printing
  • Large paper capacity (500 sheets)
  • Bit tricky to set up, and USB printing
  • Restricted to Epson ink cartridges
  • Very expensive

Best entry-level sublimation printer: Canon PIXMA TR4520

Canon PIXMA TR4520 Wireless All in One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Black, Works with Alexa
  • With wireless connect and the Canon Print app, use your smartphone to quickly and easily set up your printer and print right from your smartphone or tablet
  • With features like AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, auto power On/Off, a built in ADF, and Wi-Fi it’s easy to see why Pixma printers are so simple to use
  • Connectivity technology: USB. Printer technology: Inkjet. Mobile Operating Systems- iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
  • Save 10 percentage on all ink reorders with Dash Replenishment; Upon activation your printer measures ink levels and places smart reorders when you are running low; No subscription fees; Cancel anytime
  • WORKS WITH ALEXA: Ask Alexa to print your shopping list, to-do list, crosswords, coloring pages, and more; To set up, say “Alexa, discover my printer;” Alexa can also detect when ink or toner is running low and orders more when you need it. Save 10 percentage on all ink or toner smart reorders; Restrictions may apply
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy connectivity
  • Built-in ADF (Automatic Document Feeder)
  • 10% ink refill savings
  • Resolution : 4800 x 1200 dpi
  • Pricey ink tank, surpassing even the ink cost
  •  Epson and Sawgrass options are better investments

The Canon PIXMA TR4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer is the prime choice for budding sublimation enthusiasts. Catering to beginners, it embraces simplicity in design and functionality. Moreover, its affordability, priced at around $100, caters to entry-level budgets.

This printer seamlessly integrates with Alexa, introducing voice-controlled convenience to its functionality. The wireless connectivity feature liberates users from wired connections, thus maintaining workspace tidiness. Its capabilities extend beyond the basics. Facilitating scanning, printing, copying, and faxing, it embodies versatility.

The Canon Print App compatibility streamlines smartphone interaction. It delivers 8.8 black prints and 4.4 color prints per minute for output speed—a commendable performance metric. It utilizes USB connectivity technology, features automatic duplex printing, boasts a maximum print speed of 8.8 prints per minute, accommodates a maximum media size of 8.5 x 14 inches, has dimensions measuring 11.7 x 17.2 x 7.5 inches, and weighs approximately 13.0 lbs.

Best compact sublimation printer for the home office: Epson EcoTank ET-2800

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer with Scan and Copy – The Ideal Basic Home Printer – White, Medium
  • Keep your office running smoothly with the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 All-in-One Supertank Color Printer. Expect vivid, detailed prints and documents thanks to Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology. Quickly fire off up to 10 pages per minute to accomplish large jobs with ease.
  • All-in-one printer with built-in wireless (802.11b/g/n) allows you to print from virtually anywhere.
  • Prints up to 10 pages per minute in black and 5 pages per minute in color.
  • Up to 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution for crisp images.
  • Copies up to 7.7 cpm in black and 3.8 cpm in color. Copy resolution up to 720 x 720 dpi.
  • Produces high-resolution (5760 x 1440 dpi), quality prints
  • Adaptable and versatile for various needs
  • Compatible with multiple sublimation ink brands
  • Easy ink tank refills for user convenience
  • Low operating costs
  • User-friendly and relatively simple to use
  • Sheet size : 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, A6, Half Letter, Letter, A4, Executive, Legal, User definable (from 2.2″ x 3.4″ to 8.5″ x 47.2″)
  • Falls within a mid-high price range
  • Requires ICC configuration
  • Image quality could be better
  • Delivers average printing speed

Epson printers shine brightly in sublimation printing due to their unique compatibility with sublimation inks, setting them apart from other “inkjet” printers that often encounter compatibility issues. While the ET-2800 isn’t explicitly tailored for sublimation, it can be skillfully transformed by employing suitable sublimation inks and paper.

Although the conversion process presents a minor challenge, the ET-2800 is an excellent entry-level sublimation printer with correct adjustments. The Ecotank system replaces conventional cartridges, simplifying ink refills—a crucial advantage during the transition from inkjet to sublimation. Given its capacity for high-volume refills, the need for frequent cartridge replacements diminishes, rendering it a remarkably cost-effective option in the long haul, especially compared to other brands and models.

The printer’s output quality is commendable, boasting a resolution of up to 5760 x 1440 dpi, guaranteeing sharp and vibrant images. While its printing speed might not be the fastest, the matchless quality-price ratio speaks for itself. Epson’s reputation for providing top-notch customer service further enhances its appeal.

How to choose a beginner sublimation printer

Consider the factors listed below to choose the best sublimation printer as a beginner:

Understanding Sublimation Inks

Sublimation inks mix base colors in inkjet printers for varied outputs. Most sublimation printers feature four primary hues (CMYK). At the same time, some have eight base colors, including cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and more. Eight-color models excel in complex prints, while four-color ones shine in vibrant graphics and photos, ideal for various applications. Opt for eight base colors for best sublimation results.

Print resolution is pivotal for sublimation printer quality. Epson’s Workforce and EcoTank excel at 5760 x 1440 dpi, while Sawgrass follows at 1440 x 1440 dpi. Budget models manage 300 x 300 dpi, still producing good prints. Yet, resolutions below 300 x 300 aren’t optimal for sublimation printing.

Mainly, EcoTank sublimation printers offer a max width of 8.5 inches, which is excellent for small items. An Epson WorkForce series printer with its affordable wide format is suitable for more extensive products, like the best T-shirts for sublimation or signs. But remember, these are cartridge-based printers requiring proper configuration for sublimation.

Print speed is vital for business efficiency. Faster prints mean quicker product delivery and higher productivity. Each sublimation printer has its speed, influenced by the print quality. Low-resolution designs print faster, around 30 seconds at 600 x 600 dpi. High-resolution prints, like 5760 x 1440 dpi, take three to five minutes.

Connectivity Options

For optimal sublimation printing, beginners should choose a printer with versatile connectivity, particularly Wi-Fi compatibility. This feature allows seamless wireless connections, eliminating cable clutter in your workspace. Regardless of the brand, prioritize printers with this convenient connectivity option.

Durability and Maintenance

For beginner-friendly sublimation printers, durability is critical—a robust build guarantees long-lasting use, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Moreover, regular maintenance is crucial. Extended periods of inactivity can lead to ink drying and printer issues. Proper cleaning or professional assistance can restore your printer to optimal performance.

What is the most accessible sublimation printer type to use?

The simplest sublimation printer for beginners is the Canon PIXMA TR4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer. This user-friendly printer offers basic features and affordability, making it ideal for beginners. Compatibility with Alexa and wireless connectivity ensures convenient control and tidy workspaces. It handles scanning, printing, copying, faxing, and double-sided printing. The Canon Print App enables accessible smartphone communication, enhancing sublimation printing convenience. Its maximum print speed reaches 8.8 prints per minute for black and 4.4 prints per minute for color. Compact dimensions and automatic duplex printing add to its appeal. This printer’s versatility and ease of use make it an excellent choice for beginners entering the world of sublimation printing.

Epson vs. Sawgrass sublimation printers for beginners


Epson printers are more cost-effective both in terms of initial investment and ongoing ink expenses. Epson WF-71xx/72xx printers are notably cheaper than Sawgrass SG-4001. The cost of Cosmos Inks is significantly lower than Sawgrass Inks.


Epson printers have an advantage, offering the capability to print larger sizes up to 13 x 19 inches compared to Sawgrass printers’ 8.5 x 14 inches limit. This influences the range of projects achievable with each printer.


Setup simplicity also differs. Sawgrass printers are designed exclusively for sublimation, making them easier to set up and use. On the other hand, Epson printers require conversion with sublimation ink, potentially demanding technical expertise, and adjustments.


Epson and Sawgrass printers yield high-quality prints with vivid colors and sharp details. However, Sawgrass printers offer pre-built color profiles that ensure consistent colors across materials, simplifying color accuracy. Epson printers may require trial and error to achieve optimal project color settings.


Choosing the best sublimation printer for beginners depends on various factors outlined above. The Sawgrass SG500 offers high-resolution printing, versatility in media handling, and efficient wireless connectivity. Its compact design and user-friendly software make it an appealing choice.

On the other hand, the Epson WorkForce WF-7720 impresses with its LCD navigation, wireless features, and extensive paper capacity. While it provides excellent value for its price, setup complexity and reliance on Epson ink cartridges are notable considerations.

The Canon PIXMA TR4520 stands out for its cost-effectiveness, superficial connectivity, and built-in ADF. However, the cost of ink refills could be a concern.

Epson EcoTank ET-15000 showcases durability, economical ink usage, and wide-format printing. Though the upfront cost might be high, the long-term savings and quality are commendable.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 offers adaptable and versatile performance with its conversion capability. Despite some cons, its ability to work with various sublimation ink brands and affordability could be appealing.

In choosing a sublimation printer, factors like ink compatibility, print resolution, size, speed, connectivity, durability, and maintenance should be weighed carefully.

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