Posted By TeckWrap Craft On October 19, 2023
The Best Sublimation Printer- A Comprehensive Guide
Table of Contents
- What Is Sublimation Printing?
- Features Of The Best Sublimation Printers
- Sawgrass SG500
- Epson SureColor F570 Pro
- Epson SureColor F170
- Comparative Analysis Of The Best Sublimation Printer
- Which Sublimation Printer Should You Opt For?
- Converted Sublimation Printers
- The Pros And Cons Of Using Converted Sublimation Printers
- Are Converted Sublimation Printers the Best Choice?
- What Should You See Before Buying the Best Sublimation Printer?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Designing exquisite apparel through sublimation printing is quite a rage these days. In order to get the best prints and a vibrant transfer, it is imperative to have the right printer. The best sublimation printers are Sawgrass SG500 and Epson SureColor F570 Pro. However, it depends on your needs and budget which one you should get for your printing projects.
In this blog, we will compare the printers of two renowned companies: Sawgrass and Epson. We will discuss in detail the plus points and downsides of their purpose-built sublimation printers. We will also discuss different converted sublimation printers. After reading this you will know all about the best sublimation printer that you should get for your projects.
What Is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation printing is a process in which vivid and beautiful designs are first printed onto a special paper using a sublimation printer and then transferred to compatible fabrics through heat application.
The inks employed transform into a gaseous state upon exposure to heat, subsequently bonding with the fabric and leaving a lasting imprint on it. When the ink cools down, it turns into a solid. It does not fade and becomes an integral part of the fabric, instead of merely resting on the surface like a standard print.
Having the right printer for sublimation is paramount in ensuring the success and quality of sublimation printing. It should be equipped to handle sublimation inks and offer precise color reproduction and compatibility with sublimation paper, allowing for sharp, detailed images.
Inaccurate or low-quality printing can lead to faded colors and blurred images, undermining the desired professional look. Therefore, investing in a printer specifically designed for sublimation is essential for achieving the best results and maximizing the potential of this versatile and popular printing method in various applications, from textiles to promotional products. For knowing about what is sublimation paper? The ultimate guide check our blog.
Features Of The Best Sublimation Printers
The market is saturated with sublimation printers but all of them do not perform at the same level. Picking the right one can be quite stressful. Let’s review some of the high-grade printers to gauge which one is the best to invest in.
The Sawgrass SG500 is one of the best purpose-built sublimation printers. This entry-level desktop printer is designed to print specially formulated inks onto sublimation transfer papers of varying sizes offering incredible versatility. The maximum size of the sublimation paper to be used in this printer can be 8.5 x 14 inches.
What truly sets the SG500 apart is its features like a single roll-bar, enhanced energy efficiency, and utilization of Sawgrass' proprietary UHD inks, known for their high-resolution output, making them compatible with an extensive array of substrates, from polyester fabrics to polymer-coated rigid materials such as metal and glass. One notable aspect of the SG500 is the flexibility it offers regarding the size of ink cartridges.
The SG500 provides everything you need right out of the box. This includes a 21ml starter set of ink, 100 sheets of Sublisure A4 Paper, and the essential Sawgrass software. It's an ideal choice for hobbyists and professionals, comfortably using a desktop and personalizing items like mugs, t-shirts, and so on.
All in all, the Sawgrass SG500 is a standout sublimation printer that combines affordability, compactness, and exceptional versatility. Following are its plus points and downsides:
- Speed: Fastest printing
- Print Quality: Very good with optimal image output
- Setting: Easy to use especially with the software provided. Plug and play
- You can get Sawgrass SG500 easily from different vendors. It is readily available.
- The printer comes with paper, ink, and starter bundles with some blanks and designs.
- The software provided with the package can be run on Mac and Windows and is really easy to use. It includes the Print Manager and CreativeStudio. This gives you access to professional tools right from the beginning.
- This, itself, is a user-friendly printer and is the easiest to set up.
- The price of Sawgrass SG500 is a bit on the high-end as compared to other printers. You will have to spend more than $500 for this.
- When you run out of ink and order new cartridges, it will cost you several hundred dollars for a set of four. Hence these are expensive as well. All in all, it is not for those who want a printer in a lower price range.
- The printing size is limited. You will have to purchase the bypass tray separately for larger prints.
- You can only use Sawgrass ink cartridges with it.
Epson SureColor F570 Pro
Epson SureColor F570 Pro is a 24-inch marvel that arrives with an array of convenient features designed to streamline your workflow. It includes the Epson Edge Print Pro software, complete with Adobe® PostScript® 3™ and PDF Print engines. Equipped with the spacious color touchscreen interface, this transforms dye-sublimation printing into a straightforward process, while the precisionCore MicroTFP printhead guarantees the utmost in print quality that sets your creations apart.
Epson's ink delivers captivating, brilliant images, ensuring that your designs come to life with unparalleled clarity and vibrancy. Plus, the 50-sheet auto-feed tray and built-in cutter add further convenience, making the printing process smoother than ever. And don't forget its remarkably compact design, which allows you to maximize your workshop space.
An undeniable advantage of the SureColor F570 Pro is its high-capacity ink system. You'll find yourself replacing ink less often thanks to the inclusion of spacious ink bottles. This not only enhances your efficiency but also keeps your sublimation projects running smoothly without frequent interruptions.
The Epson SureColor F570 Pro is a large-format inkjet printer that can handle a wide range of transfer paper sizes, from Letter/A4 to 24-inch wide rolls. This versatility ensures you're equipped to tackle various projects, regardless of size or complexity. It is fair to say that this sublimation printer is a comprehensive solution for anyone seeking to delve into the world of dye-sublimation printing.
- Speed: Fast printing
- Print Quality: Excellent. The images have rich color saturation with high contrast
- Setting: Easy to use especially with the software provided. Plug and play
- The Epson SureColor F570 Pro is readily available.
- The printer comes with two full sets of dye-sublimation ink (8 bottles of 140 mL each) and three rolls of DS transfer multi-use paper.
- The software provided with the package can be run on Mac and Windows and is really easy to use.
- Easy to set up with a user manual available with the package.
- It’s a large-format inkjet printer and can handle all sizes of transfer paper from Letter/A4 up to 24-inch wide rolls.
- It has a built-in cutter.
The price of the Epson SureColor F570 Pro sublimation printer is the highest. It costs $2000 plus.
Epson SureColor F170
If you're seeking a hassle-free, unique sublimation printing experience, the Epson SureColor F170 is here to exceed your expectations. This dedicated purpose-built dye-sublimation printer streamlines the process, making it simple to create stunning prints on various sublimation-compatible surfaces, all with impeccable results.
This compact printer employs a straightforward ink tank filling system, and the distinctive ink you need is conveniently included. You'll receive four 140ml T49M ink bottles (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black).
Another compelling advantage of the Epson SureColor F170 is its cost-effectiveness. This machine accommodates some of the most affordable inks available on the market. Moreover, it is built with user-friendliness in mind. Though it lacks a built-in display, it compensates with intuitive software compatible with both Mac and PC. This means even beginners can navigate the printing process with ease.
It's important to note that, like the Sawgrass SG500, the Epson SureColor F170 falls into the category of small desktop sublimation printers. While it's adept at printing designs for items like t-shirts, it may not be suitable for larger, grand-scale projects.
Plus, it does not support borderless printing, necessitating a 3mm border around your designs, which can slightly reduce the overall size of your prints. So, if you're ready to voyage on your sublimation printing journey, the Epson SureColor F170 awaits you as your reliable companion.
- Speed: Very good printing speed
- Print Quality: Very good with bright and vibrant images
- Setting: Does not come with built-in design software. You will have to work on Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW. Both are pricey options
- At first, the Epson SureColor F170 was not readily available at all outlets, but now you can get it.
- As far as price is concerned, this is about mid-range. It starts at $400. It is the lowest price for propose-built sublimation printing, so it is quite good in this section.
- The ink is not expensive as well. You get 4 bottles of 140mm each for $100. This is quite reasonable.
- Setting up the Epson SureColor F170 is also quite easy.
- The printer comes with Epson brand sublimation ink but no paper.
- The print size is limited to 8.5 inches in width x 14 inches in length.
- It does not support borderless printing. It needs a 3mm margin on each side so your design should fit within these limits.
Comparative Analysis Of The Best Sublimation Printer
|Sawgrass SG500||Epson SureColor F570 Pro||Epson SureColor F170|
|It is an expensive option. S500+||It is the most expensive option. $2000+||It is the least expensive option. $400+|
|Design software available.||Design software available.||Does not have its own design software.|
|Comes with paper, ink, and starter bundles with some blanks and designs.||Comes with two full sets of dye-sublimation ink (8 bottles of 140 mL each) and three rolls of DS transfer multi-use paper.||Only comes with 4 bottles of dye-sublimation ink, 140mm each.|
|Print size is limited to 8.5 x 14 inches.||Large-format printer that can handle all sizes of transfer paper from Letter/A4 up to 24-inch wide rolls.||Print size is limited to 8.5 x 14 inches.|
|Only Sawgrass sublimation ink can be used.||Accepts dye sublimation inks of other brands as well.||Accepts dye sublimation inks of other brands as well.|
Which Sublimation Printer Should You Opt For?
Our verdict for the best sublimation printer is in favor of Sawgrass SG500 and Epson SureColor F570 Pro. Which one you should choose between these two depends on your needs and budget.
If you are on the verge of initiating a small-scale sublimation printing business and can invest a higher amount, Epson SureColor F570 Pro is the best option with its sharp print quality, excellent color saturation, professional result, large output, design software availability, and good after sales customer support.
For those who engage in sublimation printing as a hobby or love to design apparel from time to time should opt for Sawgrass SG500. It offers all the benefits of Epson SureColor F570 Pro but you will be limited by the size of the output. One way to resolve this issue is to install a bypass tray to it. You will have to purchase it separately and it is an added expense. It will allow you to get longer prints up to 8.5 x 51 inches. This also means you will have to purchase a sublimation paper roll as well.
The bypass tray also has a limit as far as the width is concerned. It can be a maximum of 8.5 inches only. If your work has increased, and you want longer prints with greater width, then the Epson SureColor F570 Pro is the most viable option. For knowing about best sublimation paper for dark shirts check our blog.
Converted Sublimation Printers
If you do not want to purchase a printer that is specific for sublimation, you can convert one as well. Not all printers can be converted. The Epson EcoTank printers are specifically engineered for cost-saving through cartridge-free ink refills. Interestingly, this feature allows you to transform these printers into sublimation-capable devices. Following are some of the best Epson EcoTank printers for sublimation:
Epson EcoTank 8550
The Epson EcoTank 8550 emerges as a versatile and powerful choice for sublimation printing, unveiling a world of exceptional photo-quality outcomes within the dye-sublimation arena. The Epson 8550 consistently delivers faithful replication of stunning, true-to-life colors and sharp images, making it an excellent choice for producing professional-grade sublimation prints. Moreover, this printer boasts fast printing speeds, facilitating efficient production and reducing turnaround times for projects of various scales.
The good news is that setting up this printer is a breeze. The ink tanks are designed for quick and hassle-free replenishment. However, the initial investment required for both the printer and the sublimation setup can be substantial.
Also, converted sublimation printers demand regular use to prevent clogs and maintain consistent print quality. This entails periodic cleaning and the potential replacement of components. We can say that the Epson EcoTank 8550 is an impressive tool for sublimation printing, delivering high-quality results and an extensive range of creative possibilities.
Epson EcoTank 2400
EcoTank ET-2400 from Epson is another marvelous product. Refilling its high-capacity ink tanks with dye sublimation ink is a piece of cake. The EcoTank ET-2400 leverages innovative Micro Piezo Heat Free technology to deliver exceptional print quality. Plus, it comes with a built-in flatbed scanner, simplifying design management tasks with ease.
With the Epson Smart Panel app, you can transform your iOS or Android mobile device into a powerful control center for your printer. Whether you're setting it up, monitoring sublimation print jobs, or scanning images, it's all conveniently managed through this single app.
Epson EcoTank ET-15000
This all-in-one printer is a champion in the EcoTank series. With the ability to print several sheets per minute, the ET-15000 is no slouch in the speed department. It offers a large paper capacity with two trays that can hold hundreds of sheets combined.
It is safe to say that the Epson EcoTank ET-15000 is a remarkable printer that can be easily converted for sublimation printing and it seamlessly combines cost savings, exceptional print quality, and impressive speed.
The Pros And Cons Of Using Converted Sublimation Printers
When you convert an Epson EcoTank into a sublimation printer, it does not have the same features that a true sublimation printer has, plus you might not get the after sales support for it once you fill it with dye-sublimation ink. Following are some of the advantages and downsides of using a converted sublimation printer.
- The initial start-up cost is much lower than that of a purpose-built sublimation printer.
- Ink is not as expensive plus you can use sublimation ink from any brand that you like.
- Prints effectively and can be efficiently used for sublimation printing producing quality prints.
- The moment you convert a printer to perform sublimation designing, its warranty becomes null and void. This means you will not get any free repairs or replacements if something goes wrong.
- This also means you will lose the after sales support.
- If the conversion isn’t done correctly, problems such as overheating and clogging can occur. This can be detrimental for both the machine and the material you have purchased leading to a waste of money.
- If you are a novice, color management can be overwhelming for you.
- If you do not already have a design software to work on, you will have to purchase one. Converted sublimation printers do not have their own design software.
Are Converted Sublimation Printers The Best Choice?
If you take sublimation printing seriously and want to pursue it, we will advise you against using converted Epson EcoTank sublimation printers. Only do it if you do not have the budget for a purpose-built sublimation printer. Otherwise invest in one for better results, added accessories, and proper after sales support.
If you are a hobby crafter, you can use a converted printer for sublimation. But this is just for getting started. For a more professional approach, the right investment has to be made.
What Should You See Before Buying the Best Sublimation Printer?
When you are out selecting the finest sublimation printer for yourself, you should see whether it aligns with your needs and requirements or not. Keep in mind the following points:
- Determine the maximum print size you need for your projects, whether it's standard letter size (8.5" x 11"), legal (8.5 x 14"), or larger. Get a sublimation printer accordingly.
- Ensure the printer has multiple color options, such as CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) to achieve a wide color gamut.
- Choose a printer with multiple connectivity options, including USB, Wi-Fi, and so on, for seamless integration into your workspace and easy printing from various devices.
- The printer should have a fast printing speed. This will be beneficial for large production runs.
- Consider the cost of ink and maintenance when choosing a sublimation printer. Some models may have a lower initial cost but higher ongoing expenses.
- Brand reputation also matters. Research on it, as well as the availability of customer support, warranty, and technical assistance.
- Choose a printer that is easy to set up and user-friendly.
- Lastly and most importantly, read our blog and also go through product reviews of the printer that you have decided to purchase. Seek recommendations from other sublimation printer users to get real-world insights into the performance and reliability of specific models.
Frequently Asked Questions
Printers are the cornerstone for perfect sublimation crafting. Selecting the best sublimation printer is essential to realize your creative potential. The Sawgrass SG500 provides an integrated solution for crafters, while the Epson SureColor F170 emphasizes affordability and ink versatility. For larger-format needs, the Epson SureColor F570 Pro stands out.
Each printer caters to different needs, budgets, and creative goals. With the right one, your designs will come out bright and vivid, with exceptional print quality. So, choose wisely and embark on your sublimation printing journey with confidence. Happy printing!