The art of sublimation can be very entertaining and lucrative , depending on the point from which you look. This is mainly due to the fact that any object (usually clothing) can be customized, which can be ideal for starting your own business or having quite original clothes, since you could create totally customized designs, print them and translate them wherever you want; However, although this activity is quite interesting, it is essential to know that if you want to experiment in this area, it is essential to know which are the best sublimation printers, since the quality of the results depends on them .
The best sublimation printers of this 2019
The art of sublimation can be quite delicate; and if you want to succeed in this area, it is essential to have the necessary tools, being the sublimation printers , one of those most important things to get the best possible results.
That is why, if you want to start sublimating, it is essential to have some of the following printers:
Top 5 Sublimation Printer Reviews
Epson EcoTank ET-2650
Anyone would like to start buying a sublimation printer; However, when you are starting a business or want to sublimate to hang out, it is best to try to find something more economical, that is why the Epson EcoTank ET-2650 is the best option .
Despite its incredible price, this sublimation printer can be considered the best in its category , because it has an excellent resolution; This guarantees a print quality, which means that the best results will be obtained at the time of printing the impression on the object in question.
Apart from that, it has a speed of up to 33 PPM, which allows to obtain prints in an incredible time (it is important to know that the printing speed can decrease to 15 PPM, if the printing is in color). In addition, it is a printer that focuses primarily on saving ink, so that the ink can last as long as possible.
In general, you can say that this printer is the best to start a sublimation business .
Epson is a company that always stands out for offering the best features in its products ; That is why it is not surprising that the characteristics of the Epson EcoTank ET-2650 are really good . Its main features are the following:
- A weight of approximately 5 kilograms, which allows it to be transferred very easily.
- Its size is quite compact, making the shipment economical. Its measurements are 30.4 x 16.9 x 44.5 centimeters.
- A resolution of 5760 x 1440 PPP (may vary, depending on the type of printing).
- A maximum size of A4.
- WiFi connection.
- Multifunction (printing, scanning and photocopying).
- Supports sublimation paper.
- You can print up to 7500 color pages before submitting faults.
- Low printing cost (74% savings on each print, according to the manufacturer).
- No ink cartridges and easy refilling in the tanks.
Kodak Photo PD-450
Kodak is a brand with an extensive reputation in the photographic sector; That is why, it is not surprising that it has a special printer for sublimation and photography . The Kodak Photo PD-450 model stands out mainly for having an application for iOS and Android, which allows it to be controlled from virtually any smart device; although in the same way, it grants the possibility of connecting it directly to a computer or camera (depending on the model in question).
But that is not all that this printer has, because it has a fairly acceptable resolution compared to other printers; On the other hand, it has a good color tone and does not require any configuration to sublimate. Basically it is to connect, place the sublimation paper, pass the document to the printer and go; without any additional worry.
If you are looking for a printer to sublimate simple , that does not require any complex process to work and that guarantees good quality at all times, then this is the best option, since it has the following characteristics:
- A weight of 700 grams, approximately.
- Dimensions of 9 x 15 x 6 centimeters.
- Its printing speed is approximately 50 seconds per page.
- Compatibility with any kind of sublimation paper.
- Its print size is 4 ″ x 6 ″ (10 × 15 cm). Ideal for photographs.
- Compatibility with different devices.
Epson C11CF54402 Expression Premium XP-900 X
Again Epson on this list. This is mainly because Epson is the quintessential manufacturer of sublimation printers , and the C11CF54402 is undoubtedly one of its most interesting models; Well, for an excellent price, you can get excellent durability, economical prints, average print speed and, above all, the best possible print quality.
On the other hand, it should be noted its WiFi connection, which greatly facilitates its use; In addition, it is a fairly easy-to-use printer, as it does not require any special configuration to print photographs or sublimation paper (this may vary, depending on the type of sublimation paper to be used).
As if all the above was not enough, it should also be noted that this printer is multifunction; therefore, it can be used for printing normal documents.
Clarified the highlights of this printer, it is also important to mention its technical characteristics; It is the best way to understand the true potential of this printer. Its characteristics are as follows:
- It has a weight of 11 kilograms.
- It has a size that makes it easy to adapt to any place. Its dimensions are: 35.6 x 14.8 x 47.9 cm.
- It has WiFi connection.
- It has a speed of 28 PPM.
- Supports sublimation paper and bright photography.
- It has a resolution of 1200 PPP, which guarantees excellent results.
In the last place (but not least), is the Epson L805 printer, which is undoubtedly the best option if what you are looking for is to start a sublimation business with low budget . This printer has an approximate price of 400 euros; but for this amount, almost the maximum possible resolution can be accessed (5760 x 1440 PPP).
Apart from that, it has an excellent printing speed, which can vary between 5 and 37 PPM, depending on the type of printing. In this sense, if it is a photograph, the average time per impression is 12 seconds, but if it is a textual document, the speed can easily reach 37 PPM.
On the other hand, it is a highly recommended printer for sublimation, because it brings together everything necessary for this; Excellent resolution, ink savings and above all, full compatibility with common sublimation sheets.
Although the points mentioned above are the strongest of this printer, that is not all it has to offer, because it has the following characteristics:
- 6 kg weight.
- Dimensions 45 x 35 x 52 cm.
- A speed of 37 PPM in black / white prints.
- A speed of 5 PPM in color prints on photo paper.
- Compatibility with sublimation, photo and normal paper.
- A maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 PPP.
- Supports photo paper 10 x 15 and 13 x 18 centimeters.
Aspects to consider when buying a sublimation printer
There are many types of sublimation printers on the market , and each of them seeks to adapt easily to certain consumers. That is why, when buying a printer of this class, you have to know exactly what you are looking for, because depending on this, it will be more advisable to look for printers with certain characteristics, than with others.
In this sense, when buying a printer of this class, it is essential to evaluate the following points:
Cost per impression
If what is sought is to start a sublimation business , then this is a very important factor to consider, since depending on the cost of each impression; The cost of things to sell will vary.
That is, if a print costs 4 euros, the product could be sold at 8-10 euros, however, if the print costs 10 euros, the product would have to be sold at 14-18 euros; that is, depending on the cost of printing, the final cost of the product will vary.
In this sense, it is best to look for printers that are saving; To do this, you must evaluate the printing capacity they have with a single recharge, because depending on this, you can calculate the total cost per print.
The more economical the printer is, the lower the printing cost ; However, it is essential to be careful when looking for this feature, as some manufacturers alter the numbers, to show that their printers are thrifty, when in fact it is not. On the other hand, it is also recommended to evaluate the total capacity of the printer; because depending on its total capacity (impressions that it guarantees in its useful life), a much more precise cost per impression can be determined.
This is a very important aspect to consider, depending on the type of printing you want to make. In this sense, if the goal of sublimation is to give a personalized look to small objects (cover letters, key chains, etc.), then this factor can be completely forgotten; However, if you plan to sublimate large objects (shirts, fabrics, etc.), then it is essential to evaluate the maximum print size.
This basically means the maximum sheet size it supports ; Normally, sublimation printers clarify the size they support in inches and / or centimeters. Depending on the printer in question, this size may vary.
It is important to mention that this factor is something that depends entirely on the use that will be given to the printer, as explained above; On the other hand, there are some printers that do not highlight this information, as they have a standard print size (such as conventional printers).
The resolution is another aspect that should not be overlooked when buying a printer of this class . No matter the use that is going to be given, it is important to look for a printer that guarantees a good resolution, because depending on this factor, the quality of the prints will vary.
Basically, the resolution is measured in PPP (pixels per inch). This refers to the amount of pixels that each inch of print contains; and obviously, the more pixels there are in an inch, the better the print quality in question.
In a sublimation printer at least 700 x 700 PPP is recommended , regardless of the objects and / or the type of prints to be made. If you buy a printer with a lower resolution than the one mentioned above, the problem will be noticed when you want to pass the print to the object in question; because the result will be of poor quality, with opaque colors, and even, areas with little color.
Possibility / ease of refilling the ink
Many of the low-cost printers to sublimate that can be found on the Internet, have a rather serious problem; and it is that they can give many headaches when you want to refill the ink, making them basically printers to use them until they run out of ink, since after that, it will be very difficult to recharge them.
That is why, if you are looking to start a business in the sector and you want a printer that can guarantee a large number of uses; You have to find a printer that can be easily recharged and does not require modifications to perform this process.
Although this is ideal, it is also important to know that this can mean an extra cost in the value of the printer, however, it can be considered as a long-term investment.
What is the best brand of sublimation printers?
In general, people who are dedicated to this activity (both to spend time and professionally), recommend Epson, as this manufacturer specializes in this kind of printers; therefore, you can totally trust this brand, which is considered the best brand of sublimation printers .
How to use a sublimation printer?
After you have made the purchase of the printer, it is very important to know all the steps to follow, so that the prints are a success. First of all, it is very important to keep in mind that certain factors may vary, depending on the printer in question; therefore, it is recommended to read the instruction manual, as it is normal to indicate the steps to follow to sublimate.
Likewise, the general steps to follow when using a sublimation printer are the following :
- Turn on the printer.
- Check the settings of it.
- Adjust the settings from the printer panel, so that they are ideal for sublimation.
- Place the sublimation paper in the printer.
- Perform a first test.
In case the printing does not have the appropriate shades, you must proceed to the settings again, where you can adjust the color range; according to what is needed and the results that have been obtained.
Steps to sublimate successfully
Knowing what are the steps to follow for the use of the printer; It is also essential to consider the steps to follow for sublimation as such . In this sense, it is essential to consider the following information:
- Select the image : This is something that is done from the computer; and it is essential to modify it with some editing program, so that it has the desired dimensions, depending on what you want to sublimate.
- Proceed with printing : When the printer is already functioning correctly (colors, sizes, etc.), the file is sent to it; so that it takes care of the whole process. It is important to mention that a special sublimation paper or one that serves this process, such as CAD, should be used.
- Adjust the paper and the object : The printed side of the paper must be fixed to the object to be sublimated; after that, it must be fixed with tape or paste, so that it does not move during the next step.
- Place everything on the plate : In the sublimation plate, the object must be placed, already with the blade fixed. When the heat is applied, the ink will pass to the object in question and ready, you will have the object with the desired image.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions are usually the ones that arise before buying a sublimation printing system.
We have tried to set aside technical issues and focus on practices.
What is sublimation?
It is a very simple object printing technique, which allows you to customize from a single unit.
The advantages it has and that make it so popular are:
- It is easy to learn . If you already manage graphic programs, you need less than half an hour of instruction.
- The necessary equipment is very economical . We have packages with everything you need to start from about € 1,200, you can see them here .
- The works are done in a very short time . With the prepared equipment you can print a t-shirt or a cup with a drawing that a client sends you in an email in less than 5 minutes.
- It can be printed on a large number of different materials : textile, ceramics, wood, plastic, glass, metal, …
How does it work?
It could be summarized as follows:
- We use a conventional inkjet printer to which we install special inks.
- We print a drawing from any graphic program on a special paper.
- We put that paper on objects prepared for sublimation (we have more than 300 different ones) and with a special iron we apply heat for a few seconds. The ink passes from the paper to the object.
Why can the sublimation technique interest me?
With a relatively small investment you can offer your customers a wide range of customizable products, without relying on anyone external to make the marking. In addition, the print has a very professional appearance and great durability. Best of all: the sale of those marked objects is a high profitability business.
I tried it years ago, but it gave me problems and I abandoned it. Has anything changed?
Sublimation inks have progressed incredibly in recent years and are now very reliable. It is also important that you succeed with professionals who know how to advise you properly. We only sell inks that offer a total quality guarantee.
What is special about customizable sublimation objects?
Subli inks only work on polyester surfaces. All customizable subli objects that we sell are made of polyester or have a polyester coating. For example, the cups have been lacquered with varnishes containing polyester.
What objects can be customized by sublimation?
The list is virtually inexhaustible. We offer almost 400 in our store . But we also sell varnishes so that you apply them on other objects that you can think of.
Can you print photos?
Yes. In fact, it is one of the applications where sublimation looks the most. For that reason, one of the main sublimation markets is photography stores.
How is the touch of the printed surface?
The ink penetrates the polyester, so it is impossible to touch between a printed and an equal object without printing, even in fabrics. In this aspect, it is undoubtedly the best printing system we know.
Can you sublimate on cotton fabrics?
Unfortunately not, it needs to be polyester. But as there are so many people who have asked for the same thing, systems have been created that are very similar and can be used on cotton. We offer them , but you have to keep in mind that it is not exactly the same.
Too beautiful everything … is there no limitation?
Basically there are two limitations, although they can be partially resolved:
- The composition must be 100% polyester (or at least 60%). In the case of cotton fabrics there are alternative solutions.
- The surfaces must be white. That does not mean that you cannot get black objects, since the background of the printed image can be black and so we “turn” the object into dark.
Does sublimation printing have good durability?
Yes. This is something that arises as much for the washing of the textile garments, as of the cups. We can say that in both cases the results are highly satisfactory, especially in the textile case.
Can any inkjet printer be used?
In principle yes, but we only sell a limited list of printers , Epson and Ricoh brands. The main reason for this limitation is that we must supply appropriate cartridges for the models we sell, and we cannot do so for all the printers on the market. Therefore, models of printers that have demonstrated greater efficiency have been selected.
Why do we prefer Epson printers for sublimation?
Epson printers use “cold” technology to project ink on paper. This technique is called Piezo head and is patented by Epson. The head has a tiny crystal that vibrates when stimulated with an electric charge, and this forces the ink out through the holes. Since sublimation inks are activated by heat, this system is ideal for sublimation systems. There are other printers that use a system that sends the ink to the paper by heat, making it “boil”, so they would not be used for subli inks, because they would activate them sooner than desired.
How do I choose the printer that suits me?
The first conditioner is the largest paper size you will use. Then it depends on the printing speed, unit cost, budget, frequency of use, … Our commercials will advise you for your case.
Change cartridges and … are you there?
Before using the printer with subli inks for the first time (and only that time) you have to install a color profile , which is a program that allows the printer driver to interpret the images with the colors of the subli inks. It is a simple operation for which you just have to follow the instructions on the CD that came with the ink kit.
Can I use the printer for other applications, changing the ink?
We do not recommend it. Still cleaning the entire ink circuit, surely something would remain and give you problems. Once you release a printer with an ink type, you should not change it. Surely you will save time and money by dedicating each printer to a single type of ink.
What do I need besides the printer?
A computer and a transfer iron. If you print ceramics it is advisable to have a protective glove.
Are there plates to transfer over any object?
For those of us who sell. You can see all the models here . If you are trying to sublimate something that you have varnished yourself, think first about how you are going to transfer it.
Can I use a household iron?
Maybe, but keep in mind that you have to control pressure, temperature and time. It is difficult for you to do that with precision in a domestic iron, besides you only have a small hot surface. If you are going to work professionally we would definitely tell you that you should not do it, you will lose a lot of money for defective impressions.
What unit cost do sublimation have?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions but, because of the number of possible variables, it is more difficult to answer with desirable precision. For example, we could say that printing the entire surface of a cup has a cost of ink and paper of about € 0.65, but keep in mind that most designs do not occupy the entire surface.
What is a CISS?
They are the initials of Coutinuous Ink Supply System, it is a refillable ink deposit system that allows you to control ink levels and easily refills. Installing it in the printer is as simple as changing the original cartridges.
Do you save a lot of money with refillable systems compared to cartridges?
Without a doubt, more than 50%. But it must be borne in mind that for an occasional user, the cartridge systems greatly extend the life of the inks and the printer, so savings could come on the other hand.
What paper formats are available?
From an A4 single sheet format to 84cm wide rolls, to print on A0.
Are subli inks green?
Yes, they are water based inks. We also recommend you recycle the cartridges.