Sawgrass SG500 Review: The Best Mid-Range Sublimation Printer

With the complex and multi-faceted world of sublimation printing, it can be hard to find the correct printer for your needs. I’ve made mention numerous times on this page about the Sawgrass SG500: not only is it a great sublimation printer for beginners, but one of the best sublimation printers on the market.

Though that statement does give away my position, I thought I’d do a review of the SG500, breaking down its various strengths, its handful of weaknesses, and ultimately how to use it as a top sublimation printer.

Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Color Printer
  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 sublimation printer. Brand new.
  • Sublijet UHD Sublimation Inks CYMK (starter kit ink cartridges).
Sawgrass SG500: At a Glance

Print Quality: 9/10

Print Speed: 7/10

Compatibility: 6/10

Ease-of-Use: 9/10

Price: 4/10

Build Quality: 8/10

Sawgrass SG-500 Review: Key Features

There are plenty of sublimation printers on the market: from dedicated units like today’s SG500 to Epson printers that can be converted for sublimation. Let’s highlight some of the key factors that go into making a good sublimation printer.

Naturally, the most important consideration of a sublimation printer is how well it prints sublimation images. In this regard, the SG500 excels with a 1440DPI print resolution. It’s capable of taking sublimation paper sheets 11″x8.5″ in size – the general standard paper size for sublimation designs onto t-shirts or other common substrates.

A “substrate” is a catch-all term for the material that you are sublimating onto – as you can sublimate onto a number of different synthetic fabrics.

If you are a beginner in the world of sublimation printing, speed may not be much of a concern. But for the commercially-minded artist, the SG500 provides ample productivity for your print needs. Standard sublimation prints are done in 45 seconds or less, and will dry quickly when paired with the right sublimation ink.

Make sure your design is fully dried before attempting to place it in your heat press machine.


One of the few shortfalls of the SG500 is the reliance on a cartridge-based sublimation ink system. As opposed to Epson’s EcoTank range, which utilize the more efficient ink tank system, this makes for frustratingly frequent ink refills. For the best color clarity, I recommend Sawgrass’ own SubliJet UHD Inks.

Sawgrass SubliJet UHD Inks SG500 & SG1000 4 Pack with 100 Sheets of Sublimation Paper & Designs Cyan Yellow Magenta Black
  • Sawgrass SubliJet UHD Inks for SG500 & SG1000 4 Pack: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow
  • 31ml Each, Fits SG500 & SG1000. **Note these will not work with SG400 or SG800
  • 5 – Design Cards for Sublimation Designs – SVGs, JPGs, Commercial Use (Each card is good for up to 30 designs)
  • 100 Sheets of Sawgrass Certified Truepix High Quality Instant Dry Sublimation Paper – 8.5″ x 11″

The Sawgrass SG500 is one of the few printers to offer Ethernet, USB, and wireless support. The slew of connectivity options add to the seamless usage and optimizes your workflow in no time.

Similarly, the SG500 is compatible with nearly every form of graphic design and image processing software available, along with having Sawgrass’ own proprietary creative studio tool that allows for editing and configuration of a variety of key settings.


Compact and lightweight, the SG500 should be easy to set up in any home or business. With the aforementioned wireless connectivity, the printer’s options remain vast.


Whilst there are always cheaper printers on the market, the SG500 is notably expensive for a sublimation printer. Many entry-level sublimation artists will want to look elsewhere for a more affordable model.


8/10: Though the price leaves a little to be desired – especially when factoring in the cost of ink cartridges – the Sawgrass SG500 provides incredible value in its print quality and speed. Ideal for homes or small businesses looking to print consistently high-end sublimation prints, this unit is a super sublimation printer.


Is the SG1000 better than the SG500?

The SG1000 has a larger print size than the SG500, capable of prints up to 11″x17″ – ideal for larger sublimation prints. However, it is also nearly double the price and size, making it unsuitable for smaller homes or businesses.

Can I sublimate using a normal printer?

No: Sublimation ink and sublimation paper are highly specialized materials, and using them on the wrong printer can seriously damage it. Though some printers can be converted for sublimation, not all of them can.

Final Word

My Sawgrass SG500 review isn’t meant to be a breathy, overly positive sales pitch of the sublimation printer: I’m aware of its flaws, but equally am aware of its features. There are few printers on the market that offer the amount that the SG500 does. Though it may not be suitable for everyone, I think the SG500 offers some of the best value for money out of any sublimation printer!

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