Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners, Cheap & Affordable 2023

Last Updated on February 4, 2023

Sublimation printing is a direct thermal printing that involves heat-sensitive dyes and sublimation ink. It’s widely used to produce personalized gifts like Easter blankets, mousepads, shoes, wine bags, pillow shams, tote bags, and whatnots.

However, many newbie sublimation crafters try to create custom art like coasters, earrings, hang tags, and keychain tags to generate income, but they still can’t decide where to get started. It is because of an abundance of information available from various sources. Many factors like ink cost, setup hassle, and quality of prints help decide which printer to choose while embracing the sublimation process.

Sublimation ink is costlier than conventional ink. So, the best sublimation printer for beginners is one in which the ink goes a long way and doesn’t cost a lot.

When you’re just starting with sublimation printing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when figuring out what you need in a printer, how to convert your printer, and what brand/type of sublimation printer is best for beginners. I’ve compiled a list of the 5 best sublimation printers you can buy today. I’ve chosen them based on their quality and reliability, and we’ve got one for every budget.

5 Best Sublimation Printers for Beginners

Image Product Details   Price
Epson ET-2803 –Best Printer to Convert to Sublimation Epson ET-2803 CARTRIDGE-FREE PRINTING
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ET-2760- Epson EcoTank – Cheap Sublimation Printer ET-2760- Epson EcoTank Innovative Cartridge-Free Printing
Dramatic Savings on Replacement Ink
Zero Cartridge Waste
Built-in Scanner and Copier
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Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820- Sublimation for Beginners Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 High-speed wide-format printing
Complete duplex solution
Convenient, wireless setup
Seamless scanning
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Sawgrass 500 Sublijet Kit-Best Starter Sublimation Printer Sawgrass 500 Sublijet Kit UHD Sublimation Printing
Easy to use
High Speed Printing
Wireless Connectivity
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Epson WorkForce WF-7720- Cheapest Sublimation Printer Epson WorkForce WF-7720 Get performance beyond laser
Auto 2-sided Print, copy, scan and fax
Easy navigation and control
Ultimate wireless printing and networkin
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I have written a detailed review and my verdict about each printer and you can be in a better position to choose the best sublimation printer after reading my unbiased reviews.

1. Epson ET-2803 –Best Printer to Convert to Sublimation

Epson ET-2803 –Best Printer to Convert to Sublimation

I liked the ET-2803 the most because it is a basic printer with easy installation. This eco-friendly tank printer is great for people who like to keep things simple. It’s a good choice if you are not tech-savvy and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a printer but still want to get a quality one.

The printer also features an Eco Fit ink bottle that makes refilling much easier. You can simply fill it up at home and bring it to the office/Sublimation studio for printing. It’s also easy to wash, and it won’t get ruined by moisture.

You can also take advantage of the included color display to preview what you’re going to print before doing it. This is especially useful for people who like to print large numbers of designs and want to make sure that they look fine.

There are two ink bottles included, and you can use them for up to 4,500 black-ink pages and 7,500 color-ink pages. This is equivalent to about 90 individual ink cartridges.

It’s a versatile machine, and it can handle most paper types. However, it’s not as good as laser printers when printing on glossy paper.

The printer uses genuine Epson print quality, which means you’ll get excellent results. It also uses Micro Piezo Heat-Free technology, which helps to prevent smearing.

It’s a reliable machine, and it has a decent lifetime warranty. However, you’ll have to pay extra for shipping and handling.

  • Beginner-friendly.
  • Less cost.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Not a wide format printer.

2. ET-2760- Epson EcoTank – Cheap Sublimation Printer

 ET-2760- Epson EcoTank – Cheap Sublimation Printer
  • Innovative Cartridge-Free Printing 
  • Dramatic Savings on Replacement Ink
  • Zero Cartridge Waste
  • Built-in Scanner and Copier

I used ET-2760, and it prints full-size borderless. As opposed to the ET-2803, it is a wide-format printer that can print large-format designs. Despite its beginner-friendly nature, it must be your top priority if you intend to purchase larger sizes in the future.

The Eco Tank ET-2760 is a printer that doesn’t need ink cartridges, but it does have refillable ink tanks that you can easily refill.

You can save up to 90 percent on ink and paper, which means you can print up to 7,500 ISO pages per tank, equivalent to about 80 individual cartridge yields. This is a huge deal if you are getting into the sublimation products business for a local store or a Dollar Tree.

The Eco Tank ET-2760 also has a large, easy-to-fill supersized ink tank that can hold up to 32 milliliters of ink. So if you’re a fan of color, you’ll have plenty to spare.

It’s also got a wireless connection, which is great for people who want to move around the house without worrying about cables.

There are even a bunch of extras that come with the Eco Tank ET-2760. These include a cover, a 2-year warranty, and a 1-year warranty for consumables.

  • Sublimation ink is very easy to add.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Compact, easy-to-use, and small.
  • Two-sided printing and memory card slot.
  • Paper jams can sometimes be hard to reach.
  • The screen is small and non-touch.

3. Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 – Best for Beginners

Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820- Sublimation for Beginners
  • High-speed wide-format printing
  • Complete duplex solution
  • Convenient, wireless setup
  • Seamless scanning

If you’re looking for a wide-format printer with a decent set of features, then the Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 is the best option for you. It can print sizes up to 13×19 inches.

With a fast first-page-out time, the WF-7820 helped me improve my workflow. It has a 50-sheet Additional Document Feeder (ADF), which is helpful when you need to print out a lot of documents at once. It’s also equipped with a 250-sheet paper capacity, which means you can print designs or decals without worrying about running out of paper. The 4.3-inch color touchscreen is easy to use, with a convenient menu and buttons for quick access. It’s also equipped with a duplexer, which lets you print both sides of a page.

In my observation, Epson has designed this printer with the convenience of mobile users in mind, so it’s equipped with a USB. The WF-7820 also supports various media types, including plain paper, card stock, labels, and envelopes, which is ideal for any sublimation business. It’s also Wi-Fi-enabled, so you can easily connect it to the internet for online printing and scanning.

  • The product is very cheap, and the value for money is excellent.
  • Max 13-inch width allows for extremely large print sizes.
  • Sublimation prints with excellent quality.
  • Touchscreen display.
  • Due to cartridges rather than ink tanks, converting for sublimation may be challenging.

4. Sawgrass 500 Sublijet Kit – Best Starter Printer

Sawgrass 500 Sublijet Kit - Best Starter Sublimation Printer
  • UHD Sublimation Printing
  • Easy to use
  • High Speed Printing
  • Wireless Connectivity

In addition, Sawgrass 500 is a true sublimation printer rather than a conventional one since sublimation inks void the warranty on conventional printers. Furthermore, I like the fact that there is no need to go through the conversion process. It is a high-tech printing machine that costs more than the Eco Tank and Workforce printers reviewed above.

I tested Sawgrass SG500 as a sublimation printer that’s perfect for small businesses. It prints vibrant, crisp, clear HD images with low start-up and running costs. It’s easy to set up and easy to use, and it also comes with a 2-year warranty.

Bypass tray and Sawgrass 500 made my life easier for over XL and larger projects. Normally, Sawgrass 500 prints 8.5×14, but you can print up to 51” long with the bypass. It all depends on what you plan on doing with it.

  • High-quality printing.
  • Prints sublimation.
  • Onboarding and setup calls are free.
  • A collection of sublimation templates is included in the Creative Studio software.
  • Lifetime technical support and a two-year warranty.
  • The cost of ink is high.
  • The printer works best with the included Creative Studio software.

5. Epson WorkForce WF-7720 – Cheapest Printer

Epson WorkForce WF-7720- Cheapest Sublimation Printer
  • Get performance beyond laser
  • Auto 2-sided Print, copy, scan and fax
  • Easy navigation and control
  • Ultimate wireless printing and networking

I love this printer because it prints wider than the 2000 Eco Tank series and uses less ink.

The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 is a wide-format printer with a large print area and good connectivity. It can print borderless photos, designs, and decals.

I like that this printer is equipped with a duplex printing feature, and it automatically adjusts the paper path for the second side. This means you don’t have to flip the paper manually. The touchscreen is easy to navigate, and the paper tray is large, so it’s not difficult to load.

This printer supports the following types of media: plain paper, photo paper, transparencies, card stock, and envelopes. So, you can print on numerous media along with sublimation paper. The media type is indicated in the left corner of the screen. The auto document feeder allows you to feed multiple pages at once.

This printer comes with Wi-Fi Direct and NFC technology, so you don’t have to connect it to a network. The NFC feature lets you use it as a card reader, and you can also use it to share files and send messages.

The WF-7720 supports the following color modes: RGB, CMYK, and grayscale. The colors in the RGB mode are represented by the percentages of the three primary colors – red, green, and blue. These percentages are displayed on the top right of the screen. The CMYK mode uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks to produce the colors. The inks are completely removed in grayscale, leaving only the black toner.

The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 comes with a toner cartridge that can be replaced when the toner is low. The cartridge is easily accessible and can be removed from the front of the printer.

The only drawback is that print speed is not as high as other printers that cost less, and the paper tray does not have a lot of capacity.

  • Wireless connectivity.
  • Two-sided printing.
  • LCD for smooth navigation.
  • Works with only Epson ink cartridges.

Buying Guide

Here are the best-recommended settings before using a sublimation printing machine.

Ink Compatibility

I got the cosmos ink that’s for the EcoTank 2720 and others. I didn’t realize that I could use it for 2803 until I contacted customer service, and they said it was the right one. They just haven’t updated their information yet because it’s a new printer. I have successfully converted mine. So it’s always recommended to check printer compatibility while ordering ink.

Printer Speed settings

If you are just using a sublimation printer for the first time, turn off “high speed” on printing preferences. It will help improve the quality of prints. At times, “high speed” printing may leave stretched marks on blanks.

Drivers Settings for Windows

While using for windows operating system, you have to download the drivers in your computer.

FAQ About Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners

When I print with my Converted Eco Tank Sublimation Printer, I get lines in the print. How can I fix this?

You need to take either of the following three steps.

  • You need to do the calibration part again, like when you first set it up.
  • Do printer head cleaning. If continuous lines, like a faded effect.
  • Make sure you’ve turned fast print off, set the paper to what you’re using, and set it to the best quality.

What is the best ink-filling Method?

When I first filled up the ink, I thought it was to the top, it looked like it, but it wasn’t. I think the ink just poured along the side when I filled it. After the ink settled in there and the ink on the side drained, I had to add more.

How can I put my ink in the printer easily with syringes?

I use one syringe per color. Make sure you wash and dry the bottles that the regular ink came in before filling them with sublimation ink. It is not advisable to mix them. This is what I did with my first ink. Now I buy ink in bottles with the correct top.

How to make images larger than 8.5×11 in an iPad?

If you make your image 11 x 17 and then bring it into Adobe Express, you may set it as a background in 8.5 x 11 and move it to one side, then print it on the other side.

Shall I use Butcher paper to keep the ink from bleeding through onto the heat press machine?

Yes, always protect your surfaces. I always use white butcher paper.

Can I use sublimation ink with a regular printer?

Yes, you must use sublimation ink if you use a regular printer for sublimation purposes. Just dump the ink out of the bottles that came with it, rinse them, dry them and reuse them to fill the tanks with sublimation ink.

How to convert EPSON 7820?

Purchase chipless ink cartridges and simply remove the chip off the original cartridge that comes with Epson and place it on an empty cartridge with sublimation ink! I have this printer, and it’s great.

What is a good cheap sublimation printer?

The EctoTank 7720 from Epson is likely to be the cheapest printer capable of printing sublimation. Epson does not market it as a sublimation printer, but thousands of sublimators use the Epson 7720 to print sublimations.

Final Thoughts

I have discussed a range of best sublimation printers for beginners. Started from basic level to wide format printers. If you are using Epson Eco Tank or Workforce printer for sublimation projects, you must not insert the ink that comes it. Sublimation ink is the only way to use with a converted printer for accurate and bright colors. However, the Sawgrass printer is just a plugin and go type.

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