Sublimation printers transfer the designs printed on the sublimation paper onto other materials including t-shirts, fabrics, and hard surfaces. When you need a sublimation printer for business or personal use, choosing the best one can be hard. Having spent two years in sublimation printing for t-shirts, it was quite hard for me as I tried several printers and couldn’t find the right one. So, I know how frustrating it can be when you buy a printer and it doesn’t meet your requirements.
We also have Kodak photo printer Dock as a beginner printer for T-shirts because of its small size, portability, and the least printing cost.
You must have some prior knowledge of what printer to use for sublimation and then compare it with the printer features. For that reason, we have put together the top 10 best sublimation printers for t-shirts that are tested and proven to be the best.
There is also a buyer’s guide that will help you in choosing the best sublimation printer for t shirts that can meet your requirements.
Best Sublimation Printer For T-Shirts Reviews and Buying Guide 2023
1. Epson Stylus C88+ Inkjet Printer-Overall Best
- Dimensions: 0.04 x 1.17 x 0.49 inches
- Weight: 10.14 Pounds.
- Power Source: 120v AC.
- Maximum Print Resolution: 5760 x 1440 DPI.
The Epson Stylus C88+ gives vibrant colors with incredible details and allows you to print on any type of printer. It includes editing software that lets you create custom designs, and logos and prints high-definition images which makes it the best printer for t-shirts. I personally used it for printing and sublimation designs on t-shirts and it proves to be a real-time-saver. You can easily connect to it using your smartphone, PC, or laptop. It allows a wireless and wired connection that is smooth and provides a decent FTP speed.
The Epson sublimation printer for T-shirts has a speed of 23 ppm when it comes to black prints and 14 ppm for color prints. That is high enough, to print hundreds of designs within an hour. It doesn’t just end there, as it has an input tray of 120 sheets and is supported by both Windows and MAC.
You can scan the images and edit them using the editing software if you have a photo in hard copy. The colors it produces are perfect for t-shirts as they are detailed, and nice, and make the design stand out. It accepts a wide variety of papers including sublimation paper, bond paper, card stock, glossy paper, and many more. You can also create logos, cards, labels, and mails with this printer.
After using and having trouble with dozens of printers, I found this shirt sublimation printer to be the best sublimation printer for t-shirts. The overall cost of printing designs is low and the quality of the designs gives the stunning look to a t-shirt. This makes it the perfect printer for printing designs on t-shirts in bulk amounts. The only factor you have to account for is conversion to a sublimation printer.
2. Kodak Photo Printer Dock-Best For Beginners
- Dimensions: 14 x 19 x 22 inches.
- Weight: 3.2 Pounds.
- Sheet Size: 4 x 6 inches.
- Print Media: Glossy, Sublimation paper.
The Kodak is a one-touch operation sublimation printer for t-shirts, that might look small in size but is capable of printing high-quality images up to 6 inches. It is less expensive than the first one as it is smaller in size but has the same qualities and allows you to connect with your phone, PC, and tablet using a wired or wireless connection. The most notable feature of Kodak is that it uses thermal transfer technology that allows it to print designs onto t-shirts making all of your work easy.
It can be used to print logos, and designs on paper up to 4 x 6 inches with a resolution of 300 x 300 DPI within a minute. If you are unfamiliar with the sublimation process, then using an expensive printer can cost you a lot. By using a Kodak printer for testing printing logos, and designs on shirts, not only can you learn the sublimation process but also produce some decent quality designs.
You can also charge up to two devices by connecting them via a USB cable and is a great choice for small prints.
In the final analysis, I struggled a lot in my starting days of sublimating designs onto fabrics and it even cost me a lot as some of the designs fail. I would recommend those who want to try sublimating designs as a practice to go with this printer and once you get a hang of it then buy an expensive one like Epson Stylus for superior quality. Even in practice, it can print high-quality designs with incredible details as compared to other printers. However, the quality of the printer can be improved.
3. Sawgrass VIRTUOSO SG400 Sublimation Printer-Best professional sublimation printer for T-shirts
- Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches.
- Weight: 40 Pounds.
- Printing Technology: Dye Sublimation.
- Sheet Size: 8.5 x 14 inches.
Sawgrass is the only company that manufactures printers for sublimation specifically and SG400 is one such printer that comes with a bundle of 110 sheets of sublimation paper and Sublijet inks. It uses dye sublimation which may be a bit costly but produces some astonishing results. The printer has a resolution of 1200 x 1200 DPI and can print using up to 8.5 x 14 inches of media which helps you print all sizes of designs with superior quality. You can easily connect it to your PC and it is compatible with both Windows and MAC. It features editing software that has built-in designs available that are over 20,000 and you can use this software to edit the designs.
It uses Sublijet inks that are not only easy but also provide an accurate and stunning print on heat transfer. Furthermore, the printer has a user-friendly interface that allows you to operate it with ease.
The reason most users don’t like to use a dye-sublimation printer is that the operating cost is a bit high. If you are in a professional business that has just started, then this printer might prove to be a bit costly. However, if you have a budget for it, then you won’t find anything better than this when you need to print designs on t-shirts.
4. DNP DS-RX1HS Sublimation Printer-Best thermal transfer sublimation machine
- Dimensions: 13.78 x 12.6 x 11.02 inches.
- Weight: 30.8 Pounds.
- Resolution: 300 x 600 DPI.
- Printing Technology: Dye-sublimation.
The DNP is another sublimation printer on our list that uses thermal transfer to print medium-sized logos and graphics on t-shirts. It has the same characteristics as the Kodak photo printer but it exceeds the resolution and provides up to 300 x 600 DPI. The printer is quite good at printing images and photos that you can sublimate on fabric. It allows you to print up to 300 sheets per hour which helps you to get more transfers done in a short time. You can connect this printer to a PC, or laptop using a USB cable. The printer offers quite a high speed that saves a lot of your valuable time when printing designs, and photos. Moreover, the printer build is quite strong and a bit of damage doesn’t affect the printer.
You can print on different sizes of paper and get incredible results that are detailed with this printer. It boosts the printing speed as you start printing and can print one photo or image in 13 seconds.
To summarize, The DNP DS-RX1HS is a high-quality image-producing printer that you can use to sublimate designs without extra work. It prints with a quality higher than Kodak but there are several problems with this printer. You can’t connect this printer wirelessly and it only uses DNP inks. However, the printer doesn’t need any manual effort to set it up for sublimating designs which makes this one of the best sublimation printers for t-shirts.
5. Canon PIXMA MG3620 Sublimation Printer– Best budget printer
- Dimensions: 12 x 17.7 x 6 inches.
- Weight: 11.9 pounds.
- Printing Technology: Inkjet Printing.
- Print Speed: 16 ppm.
The Canon PIXMA MG3620 is an all-in-one wireless printer that has a superb speed of 16 ppm and prints with a high resolution of 4800 x 1200 DPI. In just a few clicks, you can connect to the printer and start using it to print high-definition images. This printer will allow you to print more detailed images on a large sheet up to 8.5 x 14 inches.
It requires no extra work for setting it up and is Airprint enabled which allows iOS devices to connect with it without any hassle. The auto duplex printing automatically prints 2-sided printing that reduces the paper cost. You can connect this printer using a USB cable, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet.
This all-in-one printer makes it easy for users who are running a business not just to print designs on t-shirts but also to perform other tasks as well. This printer would be a great choice for a student that is looking to print designs on fabric or other materials of high quality while not overstepping the cost. It has a button interface that is easy to use and allows you to control the printer settings.
To put it in simple words, the Canon MG3620 is a budget-friendly choice for those users that are looking to print high-quality photos, and images on t-shirts. It helps you print hundreds of designs onto a t-shirt within an hour at a low cost. However, you need to convert the printer by removing the ink cartridges and cleaning the nozzle head then putting in the sublimation ink, and then starting the printer. This will convert this printer into a sublimation printer and will help you print on sublimation paper with the same quality.
6. Epson WF-7220 Sublimation Printer-Best versatile printer
- Dimensions: 32.2 x 22.3 x 13.4 inches.
- Weight: 40.8 Pounds.
- Printing Technology: Inkjet Printing.
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi connections.
The Epson WF-7720 is a high-speed printer that accepts up to 13 x 19 inches of media and helps you print large designs with incredible details. This printer would be the best choice if you are not only looking for printing high-quality images for t-shirts but also need the printer for other tasks. It supports auto 2-sided printing and has an auto-document feeder with a dual tray of 500 and 125 sheets.
The outstanding resolution of 4800 x 1200 DPI makes this sublime printer a great choice for sublimating photos, and images. It requires no extra work to set it up and offers a 4.3 inches display that allows you to navigate through menus. It is an economical printer that uses 80% less power as compared to other printers making the operating cost of the printer low. This printer doesn’t compromise on quality and you will get the best quality designs after the heat transfer.
The printer features smooth connectivity and allows you to connect via a USB cable, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet. It can easily scan up to 11 x 17 inches of images, and documents and you can edit them on your PC, or laptop.
The WorkForce WF-7720 is one of the best sublimation printers for t-shirts and after trying out many printers, I can’t find any other printer more versatile than this one. It accepts all kinds of media and prints with superior quality. The cost of each print is reduced due to efficient ink usage and 80% less power consumption. However, you need to convert it to a sublimation printer before you can use the sublimation ink.
7. Epson EcoTank ET-2750-Best cheap sublimation printer for the shirts
- Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.8 x 10.2 inches.
- Weight: 12.1 Pounds.
- Maximum Sheet Size: 8.5 x 11.7 inches.
- Printing Technology: Inkjet printing.
The Epson ET-2750 produces high-quality images while being more economical than all other printers and we found out that it consumes ink efficiently saving you ink and power cost. This printer is popular among stores that are running a business as it is not cheaper to use but prints with a resolution of 5760 x 1440 DPI. It can easily reduce heavy workloads and finish its work within seconds without compromising on quality. The 1.4 inches color display allows you to better understand how to use this printer.
With the help of a paper tray, you can hold up to 100 sheets that you can print automatically through your connected device. It supports all types of paper including A3, sublimation paper, and glossy paper. The printer takes up less valuable space and is easier to move around. It supports ink bottles that reduce the money you spend on ink as ink bottles are cheaper than ink cartridges.
You can use it to print high-quality designs that you can later adhere to fabric by using heat transfer. It will be less expensive than other printers while providing better quality once you have converted it to a sublimation printer.
To conclude, the Epson ET-2750 is the most popular printer that you will find in most stores as it prints high-quality prints at less cost. It automatically prints images and documents and requires no special work to set it up. After you convert it to a sublimation printer, you can print designs that you can sublimate on cloth, fabric, and surfaces using heat transfer.
You can also purchase Epson Ecotank 2750 from eBay.
8. Canon SELPHY CP1300-Best portable printer for T-shirts
- Dimensions: 5.4 x 7.1 x 2.5 inches.
- Weight: 1.9 Pounds.
- Printing Technology: Dye-sublimation.
- Connectivity: USB.
The Canon SELPHY CP1300 is a portable printer that you can use to print images or photos up to 3 x 5 inches with a high resolution of 300 x 300 DPI. It takes 40 seconds to print a 4 x 6 inches photo, image and for a card-size photo, it takes even less. This printer would be the ideal choice for small work that you can do and when you need to carry a printer with you every time.
All the accessories that you need to use this printer including AC to DC converter, and adapter, come with it. It offers a 3.2 inches LCD that allows you to monitor the status of the printer and use it accordingly. Despite its size, it can print small-sized photos, and images with clear and sharp quality. Setting it up requires no extra work as it automatically installs the drivers when you connect it to your PC or laptop using a USB cable.
The people who love to travel a lot and need a small print to print small designs like logos that they can adhere to other substances, this printer would be a great choice.
To summarize, the CP1300 is a compact printer that you can easily carry around with you and get a print of decent quality. It uses dye-sublimation that allows you to adhere to surfaces using heat transfer without requiring any extra work. The only downside is that it can’t print large prints as it doesn’t accept large media and have less resolution.
This sublimation printer is also available at Walmart.
9. Epson XP-15000 Sublimation Printer-Best expensive printer for T-shirts
- Dimensions: 30.9 x 18.7 x 16.2 inches.
- Weight: 18.7 Pounds.
- Printing Technology: Auto Duplex printing.
- Maximum Resolution: 5760 x 1440 DPI.
Whether you need a print, a logo, or an image that looks detailed and stunning, there is no better quality printer than the Epson XP-15000. It prints with a resolution of 5760 x 1440 DPI and automatically prints multiple images, and photos. This printer would print the highest quality images and photos that will look realistic when sublimated onto t-shirts. It takes less valuable space and needs to be converted into a sublimation printer before you can use it for heat transfer prints. Furthermore, the printer accepts a wide variety of paper of different sizes including sublimation paper up to 13 x 19 inches. It has a 200-sheet input tray that automatically feeds the media into the printer.
If you have a large bundle of work placed, this printer would help you finish your work within hours as it prints with a speed of 9 ppm. It offers a 2.4 inches LCD that allows you to navigate and control the printer. You can connect this printer to any device using a wired or wireless connection.
In the final analysis, this printer would be the best choice for you if you are looking for a sublimation printer for personal use. This printer uses inkjet printing that needs to be converted and its high-quality production uses more ink so it can’t be used for stores or businesses. If you need to print fewer images, and photos that you can sublimate with the highest quality then this would be the best sublimation printer for t-shirts. However, it is too expensive and most sellers that work in bulk find it extremely costly.
10. HiTi P525L Sublimation Printer-Best T-shirt printer for casual use
- Dimensions: 23.1 x 19.25 x 16 inches.
- Weight: 39 Pounds.
- Resolution: 300 x 300 DPI.
- Printing Technology: Dye-sublimation.
The HiTi P525L is a compact and high-speed printer that uses dye sublimation and heat transfer to print high-quality photos and documents. You can easily transport it and move it around and take up less space. You can connect it to your PC or laptop using a USB cable and it is a reliable machine that prints with a resolution of 300 x 300 DPI. It allows you to scan photos and save them on your device for editing. With a 1 year warranty, you can exchange it within 48 hours and start using a perfect sublimation printer.
It can print 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 inches of photo and automatically cuts the paper depending upon the size of the sheet you chose. This t-shirt sublimation printer can be used on both Windows and MAC and is a reliable printer that doesn’t show any problems. You can install the software that lets you choose the sheet size and print accordingly.
It is used for low-end work that doesn’t require high resolution and for creating logos that you need to sublimate on fabric.
For personal use, this printer would be a sufficient choice as it prints using heat transfer technology and uses sublimation paper that allows easy and accurate printing on fabric and cloth. If you need a printer for low-end and small-scale work then this printer would be a perfect choice. However, the printer is not for the highest quality work and large-scale production.
Best Sublimation Printer for Shirts Buyer’s Guide
The images or logos that you need to sublimate on t-shirts come in different sizes and complexity. You need to select the right printer according to your needs and requirements and for that, you need to know a few things. It will also help you in choosing the best sublimation printer for t-shirts.
1. Media Size
The media size that your printer supports is important and you need to choose a printer depending on the sizes of designs you want to print. If you only need to print logos or small-sized designs, then a 4 x 6 inches Media printer would be enough. For larger prints and designs, you will need a large print media to size up to 13 x 19 inches, and choose a printer accordingly. The type of media is also important as the printer you choose should accept sublimation paper as they are used for adhering designs on fabric using heat transfer.
Resolution is important as it defines the quality of the prints and how detailed will the designs look when imprinted on t-shirts. Images and photos with higher complexity will require a high resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 DPI. For smaller transfers, a 300 x 300 or 300 x 600 DPI printer would be sufficient. The higher the resolution is, the more detailed your designs will be and will make your t-shirt design look better.
3. Print Speed
The speed of the printer is important and if you need a printer for personal use, then speed won’t matter that much but in business, it does. The higher the resolution is, the less speed the printer will have. You need sometimes to print thousands of images within a day in businesses and you need a printer that is capable of that. Choosing a higher-end printer with a high resolution and great speed can help you achieve that. The number of prints and quality of them both goes hand-in-hand. Choosing a printer that can do heavy-duty work for long hours is crucial when you need a printer for your business. So, you must choose according to your needs and preferences, what your printer should be capable of.
What printer is best for making shirts?
Though there is no exact answer to this question because selecting a printer for making shirts depend on multiple factors including shirt material, size, etc, I personally love to use the Epson Ecotank series for t-shirts printing.
Tips For Using A Sublimation Printer For T-Shirts
1. Having The Right Equipment
You will need sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and a sublimation printer that can handle these two things. If you have an inkjet printer, you will first need to convert it to a sublimation printer. You have to remove the cartridges and clean the printer’s head nozzle and then change the cartridges with the sublimation ink. You will have to check if your inkjet printer is compatible with sublimation inks first. All the reviewed printers can use sublimation ink. After that, to sublimate the designs on materials, you will need a heat press.
2. Having the Right Accessories
Sublimation is done by heating the designs onto the fabric and it can harm your body while the heat is transferred. The heat transfer needs to be done accurately so that it will need tape or adhesive that can bind the sublimation paper. Heat gloves are needed to protect your hands while Teflon or silicone sheets can be used to protect the ink-dispersing mechanism while heat pressing. Heat transfer pillows and heating pads can help you sublimate the designs with the best quality.
3. Spare Blanks And Testing
Sublimation is a risky process and it can fail even when everything is working perfectly fine. Testing to make sure you are getting the right results is important and you should have spare blanks as you might run out of blanks due to failure that might occur while printing. When going to produce high-quality prints in bulk amount, you should first test it by printing and checking if you got the right results.
In the end, it all comes down to your personal needs and requirements and you should choose the printer that meets your needs. Though it might be a hassle, once you have chosen the best printer, you will find your work easier and more decent. In our experience, after using several printers, we can say for sure:
- Best Overall-Epson Stylus C88+ is the best sublimation printer for t-shirts as it accepts the required sheet size and type and prints at a fast speed with high quality while being a cost-effective printer.
- Top Economical-Epson EcoTank ET-2750 is the best economical printer for t-shirts that supports sublimation printing. The printing results are great and most shops use this printer because of its features.
- Best Portable-Canon SELPHY CP1300 is the most portable sublimation printer for t-shirts and its compact size doesn’t reduce the quality it produces. It uses sublimation printing out of the box requiring no extra work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best sublimation printer for t-shirts?
Epson stylus C88+ is the best sublimation printer for t-shirts as it provides high-quality results while being a budget-friendly choice.
Will any inkjet printer work for sublimation printing?
Not all inkjet printers are capable of sublimation printing as sublimation paper is made differently and some of the inkjet printers have nozzle heads that don’t work with sublimation inks.
Sublimation Printing vs Screen Printing
The major difference between sublimation printing and screen printing is that sublimation printing produces vibrant colors and permanent designs on different objects, including fabrics. Both are the most advanced techniques to print custom designs on T-shirts.
Do you need a sublimation printer for t-shirts?
Yes, to print designs on T-shirts, you need a sublimation printer and heat transfer machines, so that you will be able to print designs of your choice on shirts.