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Best Sublimation Printer of 2023: 7 Great Machines for Quick and Vibrant Printing

If you are confused about which printer to pick for your sublimation projects you are definitely at the right place.

Despite being a sublimation artist for 5+ years, I have never actually thought about writing a detailed guide on this. Until I realized there is a lot of confusion and doubts associated with this topic.

Like, there are small format sublimation printers, and then there are wide format printers. Some are purpose-built, while some are convertible but at the same time affordable. Some are good for polyester fabrics, while some make sense only with harder substrates. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

As a fairly successful sublimation artist, who always has many client projects at any given time, I would want to share my insights, findings, and expertise to help you choose the right sublimation printing ally.

As a matter of fact, we have tested over 25 sublimation printers to finally come up with a list of 7 options — each making it into the list due to a special trait (which I will discuss in time). Regardless of the list, I would still want you to research, read, and explore further to find anything else that is right and even tickles your fancy. 

By the end of this piece, you should be able to understand the diverse aspects of sublimation printing and pick the right printer per your needs. 

 Sawgrass SG-500

  • Made for Dye Sublimation
  • Print speed is Up to 40-45 seconds.
  • Paper Handling: Up to 8.5 x 14 inches
  • Quick setup, Ideal for beginners
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 Epson ET-8550
Epson ET - 15000

  • Top choice for making stickers, sublimating on mugs, & t-shirts.
  • Best convertible Inkjet printer in terms of print quality.
  • Print speed is Up to 1 minutes
  • Supports pages Up to 13 x 19 inches
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Epson ET - 2803
  • Cheapest printer.
  • Good to start your sublimation journey if you are on a budget.
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F-570Epson Surecolor F-570
  • Premium, made for small businesses.
  • Costs $2000+
  • Page size: Up to 24 inches wide
  • Print speed: Up to 60 seconds
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Epson Surecolor F-170
  • If used 3rd party inks, warranty will be voided
  • Affordable dye sub printer from Epson
  • Print speed: Up to 60 seconds.
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7 Best Sublimation Printers Tried and Tested

Each of these sublimation printers makes it to the list for a reason. I have tried to put together nine such reasons to be able to align with every preference of yours. 

Let’s find out more about each.

1. Sawgrass SG-500: Best beginner-friendly printer

If you are new to dye sublimation printing and looking for an affordable and easy-to-use option, the Sawgrass SG500 might be worth looking at. 

The best part:

You can bid goodbye to your setup worries with Sawgrass SG-500. From getting deep into the sublimation process to handling ink refills, everything feels like plug-and-play. 

  • Sawgrass comes with Sawgrass creative studio software. For other printers, you have to go with Photoshop, coral-draw, Gravit, Inkscape, or Canva.
  • No printing alignment papers or installing a color profile,
  • It has an auto maintenance feature.
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • 30 min 1-to-1 help to get it up and running.

The not so good part:

The transfer paper size that you can use with this dye sub-printer is restricted to 8.5 x 14 inches. 

  1. Availability – 10/10. It’s always available in both online and offline retail stores.
  2. Price: 5/10 – Costs mid $500. That price includes starter ink cartridges, Trupix sublimation paper, Creative Studio software license, and free one-on-one onboarding support.
  3. Setup 10/10 – Easiest to set up like plug-and-play. The software is available for both Mac and Windows.
  4. Speed: 7/10 Sawgrass takes about 35- 45 seconds to print a page.


If you are looking for a sublimation printer that is easy to set up, the Sawgrass SG -500 is the one to pick. While the step-by-step guide works really well, it is the dedicated SPM (Sawgrass Print Manager) that makes configuration simple enough.

As for the speed, you can create designs in mere minutes, making it the best Sawgrass printer for bulk work. I ended up finishing three DIY T-shirt design projects in 10 hours. Even though it is an entry-level Sawgrass printer, it works really well with high-resolution image prints. I used it for my 4800 x 1200 dpi prints for a high-profile client, which was a walk in the park.

It goes without saying that you can use the SG-500 better with SawGrass ink. I would recommend the Sublijet-UHD ink variants for max color vibrancy. A full set of cartridges can set you back by $250. Despite the price, expect each one to last for 300 pages, give or take. Based on my experience, you can print 400+ tumbler designs or 300+ shirt designs without even needing to refill it up.

Also check: Sawgrass SG-500 in-depth analysis.

At anywhere between $500 to $600, this entry-level Sawgrass printer doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. And while the 1-year warranty feels good enough, you can easily extend the same to 2 years, per preferences. And finally, the proprietary Creative Studio software makes your design easier to create, followed by the top-of-the-line Wi-Fi connectivity is a good addition.

Also, if you prefer dark-color printing or even HTV cotton printing, focusing on t-shirts and compatible fabric, this Sawgrass sublimation printer also sports Siser EasySubli cartridges. Do note that these ink variants only work with EasySubli heat transfer sheets and relevant heat presses. 

My experience with the EasySubli inks was restricted to the Sawgrass Virtuoso series of printers, with each cartridge costing somewhere close to $77.

Note: If you are new to dye sublimation printing and looking for an affordable and easy-to-use option, the Sawgrass SG500 might be worth looking at. Almost every feature, barring the print size and support for bypass, is similar to the Sawgrass SG-1000. 

Considering all these factors, Sawgrass SG-500 is the best sublimation printer currently available in both online and offline retail stores.

  • Known for producing high-quality images.
  • 10/10 in terms of setup ease to cost ratio.
  • Widely available like most Sawgrass printers
  • Can even print digital images if you give the printer some time to work on the design
  • Print size is limited
  • Not the best bet for high-volume sublimation transfers
  • Ink is costly. 4 packs of SubliJet Sawgrass ink costs $300+.

2. Epson ET-2803/2800: Best budget printer

Do you have a budget in your mind? Well, you can invest in the Epson’s EcoTank series with the ET-2803/2800 printer. You can easily get the printer for under $200 without the ink, making it the cheapest convertible sublimation printer on the list.

The best part

Its print quality is as good as Sawgrass. And it’s much cheaper, costs around $200. This Epson EcoTank printer uses refillable tanks which are relatively easy to fill with sublimation ink than cartridges.

The not so good part

The best part is also the worst part as this isn’t a purpose-built dedicated printer but a convertible one. Hence, you will need to do the setup correctly and print a few alignment pages after installing the ink. Also, one will need to work with the print settings. Here is an article we posted on the ideal print settings for optimal vivid prints.


The Epson EcoTank ET 2803/2800 is widely available and manages to print a standard 8.5 x 11-inch sheet in under 120 seconds. As for the print quality, it can support prints up to 5760 x 1440 dpi.

Just so you know, you would need to convert this printer to use it for sublimation. A quick way to get the job done is to fill up the ink tanks with sublimation ink.

For compatible sublimation ink variants, it is better to go for the Printers Jack or Hiipoo inks. Hiipoo sublimation autofill bottles are $36.99 for a set of 4(four) 100ml bottles (for use in Epson EcoTank printers).

Conversion trick: The best way to approach refiling is to open one tank, fill the same, and close the cap before moving to the next one.

  • Exceptional print quality at this low price range.
  • The EcoTank technology helps keep ink costs low
  • An affordable printer
  • Manages to print smaller prints in under 120 seconds
  • Still, a regular inkjet printer that requires conversion
  • The printer warranty will no longer be there after converting it into sublimation.

3. Epson ET-15000: Best Wide-Format

Continuing the Epson EcoTank legacy is the ET-15000, which is one of the best sublimation printers for getting large prints done. It sticks with the Epson EcoTank technology to reduce ink costs significantly. 

The best part

This Epson EcoTank printer boasts two specialized printing modes — duplex printing and a document feeder mode for that design flexibility. And as it is a wide format sublimation printer, it can help you get the best prints on big t-shirts, solid surfaces, and other substrates like smaller banners. 

The not so good part

This printer is anything but fast. Larger prints can even take more than 5 minutes to come out. Also, this is also one of those inkjet printers that you need to convert for sublimation printing


This printer costs around $700 and with ink, it can go up to $750 (I recommend going with Hippoo inks). For capabilities extending up to 13 x 19 inches and 4800 x 1200 dpi in terms of resolution, this isn’t an exorbitant price to pay. Setting it up is moderately difficult as you need to play around with the settings.

It supports almost all sublimation inks but I suggest sticking with one brand only not mixing different brands together.

As for the quality, you can expect a resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi, which is more than adequate for a large format printer as such. You can use Printers Jack ink supplies, priced at $23 for the set, with this printer. As for the price of the printer, you can get one for under $700.

As far as the printing timeframe is concerned, this inkjet printer, when converted to a sublimation printer, can take close to 240 seconds for an 8.5 x 11-inch sublimation blank.

  • Excellent wide-format print capabilities
  • Brings in specialized printing modes 
  • Top-notch print quality
  • The Epson EcoTank ET technology makes sublimation inks more affordable
  • On the slower side
  • A regular inkjet printer that needs converting
  • Do not support auto maintenance

4. Epson F-170: Best for high-quality graphics

Here is a printer from the Epson SureColor series that is ideal for shirts and other surfaces that require high-end graphics.

The best part

Unlike the Epson EcoTank printers, the Epson SureColor F-170 is a dedicated sublimation printer that is made for sublimation. This printer comes with support and a warranty from Epson repair services. 

The not so good part

The Epson SureColor F170 is a small format printer, which might not be good enough for larger surfaces. Also, the cost might be on the higher side, especially if you want this for starting your sublimation printing journey.


It is important to note that the Epson SureColor F170 isn’t the most readily available sublimation printer around. However, it’s an extremely easy printer to set up just like the eco tank ones. As for the pricing, you might have to shell out anything between $400 to $500 for the Epson SureColor F170.

The choice of ink cartridges remains standard. You can use the Epson T49M bottles that come with it — $100 for a set of four (100ml).

The print quality at 4800 x 1200 dpi is good enough for the price. As for the timeframe, printing sublimation blanks measuring 8.5 x 11 inches takes a little under 180 seconds. The smallest and the least complex prints can even take close to 60 seconds to work. 

And while the T49M bottles are good enough, you can use the Epson SureColor F170 with Epson’s UltraChrome DS ink and the in-house software picks like the Edge Dashboard and Edge Print. 

  • Compact and easy to assemble
  • Can handle high-end graphics prints with ease
  • A perfect t-shirt sublimation printer
  • Excellent print quality
  • Not easily available in stock.
  • Smaller format printer
  • Only comes with a 4-color sublimation ink set

5. Epson F-570: Best for high-volume prints 

If you are a sublimation business, the Epson SureColor F-570 is easily one of the best sublimation printers to get. 

The best part

This is one of the most popular Epson printers to support wide-format printing. It can easily handle sublimation blanks that go as high as 24 inches. Also, the printers hardly take 60 seconds to come out, provided you want to work with a sublimation paper measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. 

The not so good part

If you seek affordability, this isn’t the printer for you. The price point is close to $2500, something which only works if you have premium clients to work with. 


The F-570 is a widely available sublimation printer boasting a decent print quality of up to 2400 x 1200 dpi. Like any other SureColor printer, it is also compatible with UltraChrome DS ink picks.

Also, as it is a premium sublimation printer, the setup isn’t as straightforward as with the Sawgrass variants. Epson has a driver setup with the proper color correction or ICC profile. It is best to make your design in CMYK.

Epson F-570 is a great choice for sublimating on dark shirts. You can use the Siser EasySubli HTV. This material will transfer to the surface of light, and dark-colored shirts, as well as cotton, polyester, and blends.

The F-570 also has advanced media handling capabilities that can handle a wide variety of sublimation papers and thicknesses. You can use Epson’s own sublimation paper or ASUB, printer’s jack sublimation paper for best results.

  • Can print on large format sublimation paper
  • Boasts excellent printing speed
  • The ink cartridges are high capacity ones
  • Can handle an insane workload with ease
  • Exorbitant pricing
  • Setup is complicated
  • Does not auto-clean.

6. Epson WorkForce WF-7720: Best in terms of speed

Do not get overwhelmed by the barrage of Epson printers. This Epson Workforce inkjet printer is a high-cost buy, boasting features like duplex printing, faster printing speed, and unexpected large-format support.

The best part

Unlike Epson Ecotank printers, the WF-7720 from the Workforce series is surprisingly large-format capable. It can easily work with sublimation paper measuring 13 x 19 inches. The best part of this printer is the print speed (6-10 seconds for one page), as this is an office printer.

The not so good part

Epson sublimation printers hailing from the Workforce series can be quite hard to convert. And for all that, paying something close to $1200, along with the ink setup, isn’t something that beginners would want to pay for. 


This printer is widely available and is quite hard to set up, as it uses cartridges instead of tanks. So o Also, it takes close to 130 seconds to get sublimation prints out of this printer. Coming to the resolution, this printer can support 4800 x 2400 dpi worth of quality with ease. 

Converting this Epson printer is difficult as you need to add sublimation ink refill cartridges from a third party, as standard tanks are supported. While reviewing, I tried a handful of ink picks but could only find the affordable Printers Jack set of 4 (100ml) bottles to work really well.

Do note that Printers Jack ink picks come with built-in color profiles, which ensure decent print quality. 

  • Comes with large-format capabilities
  • Automatic duplex support 
  • Print speed is excellent 
  • Boasts the innovative precision core technology
  • The conversion curve is steep
  • The printer warranty can cease to exist upon conversion

7. Epson ET-8550: High-quality photo printer

To be honest, I love Epson Ecotank printing solutions for the quality of prints. And even though the Epson Surecolor series saves us the need for conversion, the Epson EcoTank ET 8550 is one of the better inkjet ink-supporting printers with a six-color ink system, based on the Claria Photo technology

The best part

If you want to print high quality photos on your t-shirts, this Epson EcoTank printer is the one to go with. Plus, it also boasts high-volume sublimation printing support. 

The not so good part

The initial cost of this printer can burn a hole in the pocket of beginners.


As far as the features are concerned, this $800 odd sublimation printer might just be the one to offer the highest print quality on the list, supporting resolutions of up to 5760 x 1440 dpi. Each sublimation or transfer paper can be handled in under 90 seconds, making it pretty fast for its size.

This printer has 6 tanks, the best ink choice for this printer is the 6 colors (CMYKLCLM) pack of sublimation ink from Cosmos.

Filling up cosmos ink in the ET 8550
  • The Claria Photo ink setup makes room for the best possible prints.
  • The ink system is refillable and cost-effective
  • The printer comes equipped with advanced printing settings
  • Large and difficult to assemble
  • Still not a dedicated dye sublimation printing solution

Purpose-built vs. convertible sublimation printers

Now that I have enlisted all the best sublimation printers, per the purpose they fulfill, it might just be the time to discuss some of the more confusing aspects of the piece. 

True Sublimation Printers

You might have seen this list featuring a handful of purpose-built dye sublimation printers and even some convertible sublimation printers, like Epson’s workforce printers. Here are the primary differences between these printer categories:

Sublimation printers come premade, but you can also convert an inkjet printer into a sublimation printer with some extra effort. Purpose-built true sublimation printers do not require any DIY and are usable out of the box. 

So, you can connect them to your computer, enter a design and sublimation paper, and print it with a few clicks. Some brands even offer custom color management software along with the printer to smoothen the printing experience. You can adjust colors and document size and switch between color profiles. 

However, this wholesome sublimation printing experience begins at $649 (for the printer only) if you buy something like the Sawgrass SG500. But this will be good enough for small designs only. 

For larger designs, you must buy something like the Sawgrass SG1000, which prints 8.5˝ x 14˝, or the Sawgrass VJ 628 for 24″ designs. 

Epson has some attractive options in the SureColor series, which is a true-sublimation printer. Don’t forget the recurring cost of ink and paper, and if you pick the official brand products, they put a sizeable dent in your pocket. 

Apart from all these features, you get an assured warranty and technical support from the manufacturers. So, even if something goes wrong, you have someone to talk to and sort out the mess.

Convertible printers

Converted printers are DIYed inkjet printers that use piezo print heads like Epson printers. HP and Canon inkjet printers will not work for sublimation because they are thermal print head inkjet printers.

You can fill tanks with sublimation ink after a thorough cleaning for printing sublimation designs.

The main selling point of a converted printer is the cost: you save a lot of money. A brand new Sawgrass printer retails upwards of $500-600, while you can buy a brand new Epson inkjet printer and convert it into a sublimation one for half the cost. You can slash the cost further if you opt for a secondhand inkjet printer (something we don’t recommend).

After a successful conversion, you will need sublimation inks and paper, which don’t cost much (Hiippo and a few other brands). However, it would be best if you often clean the print heads in a converted printer to get the correct output. Something you don’t have to do in Sawgrass, as it has an auto-maintenance feature.

It is a minor tradeoff but will still affect the overall cost per print.

Epson inkjet printers come in two models: EcoTank (easy to refill) and standard cartridges. The latter is hard to refill, and you must use syringes to get it done.

While the initial investment will be cheaper than a purpose-built sublimation printer, you won’t get the much-needed technical support or dedicated color management software. On top of that, you will void the warranty of your inkjet printer as soon as you put the sublimation ink in it.

So, be ready for long hours of figuring out the problems or availing services of a third-party technician. 

Epson EcoTank vs. Epson Workforce

If you have seen many Epson printing solutions on the list, do note that the EcoTank and Workforce series are the standard convertibles, whereas the SureColor series allows you to print directly without the conversion worries.

EcoTank and Workforce are Epson’s printer lineup’s two most popular series. Before EcoTank, Epson printers used (some still use) cartridges. Filling the ink will be the most challenging part if you want to use it for sublimation. So, Epson launched the EcoTank series with a cartridge-less system and an ink tank that is located on the outside. You can use a dropper or nozzle-ink bottle to fill the ink in the EcoTank.

Presently, only four WorkForce models come with an ink tank (Supertank series). Out of that, two models cost above $1500, while the cheaper one retails for about $550. You could get a true-sublimation printer at that price. 

So, going for an Epson printer with an external ink tank is a wise decision. Converting a cartridge printer will lengthen ink-refilling and delay your budding DIY business
  1. The Epson Ecotank printers come with tanks for ink refills, unlike cartridges offered by the Workforce printers.
  2. The workforce series has a higher initial cost associated with it.
  3. The Workforce series comes loaded with more advanced features and settings
  4. The Workforce series is faster in terms of print speed
  5. In case you have smaller printing needs like on t-shirts, the EcoTank printers are better for their smaller format support.

And that is all you need to know about these exceptional printers from Epson. 

Things to consider when looking at the best sublimation printers

You simply cannot locate a top-quality sublimation printer if you do not know about the aspects to look at. Here are a few pointers to consider:

  1. Before you proceed with a desktop printer or a converted printer, it is important to note the size of prints that you would want the device to handle. Large format ones can print 13 x 19-inch designs, whereas if you pick a small format option, 8.5 x 11 inches might be a good starting point.
  2. If you plan on getting your first sublimation printer, I would recommend a budget of $200. For the premium picks, you can even go as high as $3000 to even $15000.
  3. If you do not prefer tweaks, you can get a true sublimation printer. But then, if you prefer to go by the budget, a convertible printer can be a good pick.
  4. In case you prefer support while setting up a new printer, Sawgrass printers make really good picks.
  5. If you plan on saving money on ink, getting a convertible printer with third-party ink solutions like Printers Jack, Hippo, and Cosmos makes sense. These cost around $50 to $100 per usage. Sawgrass SubliJet cartridges are $300+ for a set of four 31ml cartridges and Epson SureColor T49M ink bottles are $24.99 each, or $100 for a set of four 140ml bottles.
  1. In case you want printers with good warranty coverage, I would recommend Sawgrass due to the choice to extend the cover.
  2. If you want a printer for business DIY work, the likes of Mimaki, SG-1000, and Epson SureColor F-570 make the best picks.
  3. Also, if you are on a strict budget, I would recommend the Epson EcoTank ET-2803/2800 as the best and cheap sublimation printer for your crafting needs.
  4. For ease of setup, there isn’t anything better than Sawgrass.
  5. And finally, if you are looking for a sublimation printer for beginners, I would ask you to pick the SG-500 from Sawgrass or the Epson ET-2803/2800 over everything else. 


 What is the best sublimation printer for t-shirts?

You can go with the Sawgrass SG-500 or the SG-1000, fantastic options for sublimating on t-shirts. The Epson SC F170 is a similarly priced true sublimation printer with slightly lower costs. 

Which printer is best for sublimation?

For entry to mid-level sublimation, Sawgrass SG-500 or Epson SureColor F170 is the best printer for sublimation. However, for large format printing, Epson F-570 is a good choice which retails for $2500. 

What is a good sublimation printer for beginners?

Sawgrass SG-500 and Epson SC F170 are the best choices for beginners planning to learn and earn with sublimation. You don’t need to fiddle with settings much, as these are true sublimation plug-and-play printers.

Is it worth getting a sublimation printer?

Yes. Sublimation printers can help you customize your apparel and even start a small sublimation on-demand service. You can sublimate on mugs, t-shirts, and many other fabrics, and the results are very photorealistic. 

What do I need to start sublimation?

You will need a sublimation printer (original or converted), sublimation ink and paper, a heat press to transfer the sublimation, fabric, some heat-resistant tape and scissors, and a computer to feed and tweak designs before printing.

What is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation?

The Epson EcoTank series ET-2800, ET-2803, and ET-15000 is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation. Since it has an external ink tank instead of regular cartridges, replacing and refilling the sublimation ink is easier. You will need to get the color output right, but it is way better than converting an inkjet printer with cartridges. Refilling a cartridge is a painstaking process with a low chance of success. 

Can all Epson EcoTank printers be used for sublimation?

Yes, you can convert any EcoTank series printer by emptying the regular ink and then refilling the sublimation ink. However, remember to only use a brand new EcoTank printer for sublimation and avoid any discontinued model released more than two years back. 

What is the cheapest printer that can be converted to sublimation?

You can get an Epson EcoTank ET 2800 for as low as $170-200 on-sale events. You only need to buy Hiipoo ink worth $30 and an A4 sublimation paper. It is the cheapest printer and ink combination to start sublimation on a budget. 

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