Best Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts – Compact & Vibrant [October 2022]

Last Updated on October 10, 2022

It has been possible for me to design and print cool t-shirts with sublimation printers. Printing high-resolution graphics directly onto the fabric of t-shirts allows them to be used for a variety of printing applications.  

I specialize in creating customized T-shirts using sublimation printers for unique gifts, Polo shirt uniforms, giveaways, and personalized gifts for festivals, anniversaries, and birthdays. With sublimation printers, you can print images, logos, and designs on a wide range of fabrics and materials including T-shirts, sweatpants, and more. Sublimation printers have become increasingly popular with graphic designers and hobbyists due to their ability to produce high-resolution, fade-resistant images.  

If you’ve ever tried to make your custom t-shirts or even a custom hoodie, you know how difficult it can be to find a machine that does the job well. But if you’re ready to give it a try, here are the 10 best sublimation printers for t-shirts that you can buy today. These are reliable, easy-to-use machines that let you customize your apparel quickly and efficiently, without the hassle.

10 Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts

Image Product Feature Price
Top Choice

EcoTank ET-4700
Epson ET-4700 EcoTank Wireless All-in-One Color Supertank Printer Check On Amazon
Editor Choice

Epson Stylus C88
Prints at up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi with ultra-fine ink droplets Check On Amazon
Best For Photo

DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS
Ideal for photo retailers and professional photographers with photo booth operations, Check On Amazon
Business

SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO SG500
It is easy to set up and use straight from unpacking! Best choice for Sublimation Business Check On Amazon
Heavy Duty

Digital Textile Printer MT-TA3
One piece quantity production, no printing plate required, good for small T-shirt printing shop Check On Amazon
Best For Photo

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550
Get vibrant colors and sharp text with high-accuracy printhead and Claria ET Premium 6-color inks Check On Amazon
Smallest

Canon Selphy CP 1300
Compact photo printer creates photos up to 4″ x 6″, with or without borders, to suit your tastes. Check On Amazon
For Mobile

Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6
Instant Photo Printer, Premium Quality Full Color Prints – Compatible w/iOS & Android Devices Check On Amazon
With CISS KIT

TRANSFER WORLD WF-2860
Professional Sublimation Heat Transfer Machine WF-2860 Printer CISS KIT Check On Amazon
Budget

Canon Pixma MG3620
All-In-One Color Inkjet Printer with Mobile and Tablet Printing Check On Amazon

1. EcoTank ET-4700 – Best Epson Printer For Sublimation T-shirts

best epson printer for sublimation t shirts

Epson has become one of the most trusted names in the inkjet printing industry, and the ET-4700 is no exception. It’s a compact printer that’s easy to use and maintain, and it delivers impressive results for a low price.

I placed this printer at the top of the list because it is an affordable and high-quality printer. It has a simple user interface that’s easy to understand. You’ll be able to set it up quickly and start using it right away. The ET-4700 also features a large print area and a wide paper capacity. This means you can print photos, documents, and more with ease.

Since I have been using it for the past three years, I have concluded that the ET-4700 is an inkjet printer that can be converted very easily into the best sublimation printer for T-Shirts.

Pros
  • Supports Voice activated printing.
  • Navigation is made easy with LCD.
  • Wireless connectivity options.
  • Affordable price.
Cons
  • Need Conversion.

2. Epson Stylus C88 – Best For Sublimation Shirts

Epson Stylus C88

I loved using The Epson Stylus C88+ because it is a high-quality inkjet printer that is compact and versatile. In addition, it has a 4.2″ x 3.7″ touch screen so that you can control it directly from your phone or tablet.

You can print on A4, A5, A6, and A7 paper, and it can even print on special paper sizes. With this printer, you’ll have no problems getting your work done. It can print a variety of different document types, including legal documents, business cards, flyers, and more.

It can produce prints of any size, and it has an incredibly sharp resolution of 5760 x 1440 dots. So if you’re looking for a printer that will let you create high-quality photos and sublimation projects, you should check the Epson Stylus C88+.

Pros
  • Prints designs with minute details.
  • Auto paper feeder.
  • Quite fast printing speed with affordable price.
  • Software that allows you to edit photos before printing.
Cons
  • A little bit expensive.

3. DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS

DNP Event Photo Printer DS-RX1HS

My third printer is not an Epson printer but a sublimation printer with very different features and benefits from the two inkjet printers I reviewed above. The DNP DS-RX1HS is a perfect print solution for any event or sublimation projects business with its compact size. The device uses dye sublimation printing, where the ink is sublimated directly into the paper and is ideal for high-quality prints that last a lifetime.

The DS-RX1HS is a compact printer that’s easy to set up and use, and the built-in automatic document feeder lets you scan, copy, or fax multiple documents at once.

The device can be used for portrait printing, and the 4-inch x 6-inch prints look incredible. There are plenty of features, including a 300 x 600 DPI resolution, and a 300 x 300 image buffer.

If you’re looking for a compact yet powerful printing solution, the DNP DS-RX1HS is a must-have. The only downside is that it does not print on a large variety of media.

Pros
  • High-Quality image resolution.
  • Image buffer.
Cons
  • Costly than average Inkjet Printer.

4. SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO SG500

SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO SG400

SAWGRASS Virtuoso SG500 Sublimation printers come with a variety of features, and some of the best ones that I loved most include: 

  • Full-color printing. With a sublimation printer, you can print up to 8 colors. This is much more than a standard inkjet printer can do.
  • The ability to print on both sides of the fabric. This is especially useful if you need to print the front and back of the same t-shirt or if you want to print on one side of the fabric and print on the reverse side.
  • The ability to use a variety of inks. Most sublimation printers come with 2-4 standard inks, but you can also buy extra inks to go beyond that.
  • Full-color CMYK printing. Most sublimation printers can print full-color images and even include a software tool to help you design your artwork.

Sawgrass Virtuoso is the best sublimation printer for T-Shirts because it is fast, reliable, easy to use, and has a large selection of inks and paper.

The SG400 comes with a 2-year warranty, and the company provides great customer service and support. Their online support team is always ready to help you with any questions you might have, and they’re also available via phone and email.

I tested the Sawgrass Virtuoso as an all-in-one true sublimation printer. You just load it up, print, and walk away. There’s no software to download, and you don’t need to run the printer for an hour or two to get it to work.

There are many different options with the Virtuoso, including a USB port that allows you to print directly from a computer and a stand that lets you prop the printer up on your desk while you work. This makes it easy to move around and get access to the printer and keeps the printer from tipping over and spilling ink.

Pros
  • Vibrant and true sublimation printer.
  • Multiple colors options.
Cons
  • Prints only on 100% polyester shirts.
  • Prints will wash away if used on cotton shirts.

5. Digital Textile Printer MT-TA3 – Best Dye Sublimation Printer

Digital Textile Printer MT-TA3

We found some similar models in the market, but this is a perfect solution for a small T-shirt printing business. Firstly, it’s convenient to use, and it’s also easy to understand. Secondly, the price is reasonable, and the quality is excellent.

In addition to printing, it also provides the function of cutting and ironing. When it comes to cutting, it has a wide range of cutting widths, and it can cut a large number of products at the same time. The cutting quality is also very good.

In addition to these functions, it also has the function of embroidery, and it can print on the T-shirt directly.
When it comes to the operation, it is also very simple. There are four buttons on the control panel.
Firstly, there is a switch button to select the desired printing and cutting modes.

Secondly, there is a button for setting the size of the screen, and you can set the screen size according to your needs.
Thirdly, there is a button for adjusting the screen’s brightness, and you can adjust the brightness according to the environment.

When it comes to product quality, I can assure that it has many advantages. First of all, the product is very comfortable to use. It has a touch screen, and the display quality is also good. It can meet the needs of small printing shops, and it is also very convenient to operate.

Pros
  • Prints directly on shirts.
  • Usage is quite easy.
Cons
  • Not a massive scale business printer.

6. Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 – Best for Photo Sublimation

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550

If you’re looking for a cheap, effective, and reliable photo printer to sublimate on shirts, then the EcoTank Photo is the way to go. It’s not the fastest printer, but it has the best value for money, and it works well for most people.

With its 6-color, cartridge-free Claria ET Premium Ink system, the EcoTank Photo is great for printing photos and graphics. You can even print on cardstock and other media up to 1.3 mm thick.

While I have already discussed the first two printers from Epson, the ET-8550 is a photo sublimation printer, which is quite different from them. Its low-cost replacement ink bottles let you print 4″ x 6″ photos for about 4 cents each compared to 40 cents with cartridges. The EcoTank Photo lets you print on special papers like matte and gloss, which are hard to find in cheap photo printers.

The EcoTank Photo is a very compact printer, and it can fit in most home sublimation spaces. Its size makes it ideal for small businesses where space is tight.

It has an Ethernet port, which lets you connect to the internet for online printing, and its touchscreen makes it easy to print from smartphones and tablets.

You can print up to 300 standard-size or 1,500 photo pages in a single batch. Its memory card slot can hold up to 1 GB of data.

Epson’s EcoTank Photo has a 2-year warranty, and it includes a free replacement ink bottle for the first year.

Pros
  • Prints high-quality photos and graphics.
  • Save up to 80% of printing costs saved.
  • Make more of the art you enjoy without going broke.
Cons
  • The initial cost is a bit more than Eco Tanks printers.

7. Canon Selphy CP 1300 – Portable Small Sublimation Printer

Canon Selphy CP 1300

This is a very simple, easy-to-use, and fast wireless printer that won’t break the bank. It’s compact, lightweight, and easy to set up.

If you’re looking for a cheap printer for your smartphone, the sylph CP1300 is excellent. It prints quickly, and the quality is pretty good too. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to set up and how faster it was than my old printer. It took less time to print out photos from my camera than my old printer did.

I don’t like having to print photos from my computer, and I’ve had trouble with printers that don’t work with USB. With the Sylph CP1300, you can print from your phone, tablet, or your camera’s memory card, and the quality is great.

I tested that the Sylph CP1300 is compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to carry around with you.

The 3.2″ color TFT display is easy to see, and the resolution is pretty good. It’s easy to adjust the brightness, and you can even rotate the display 90 degrees to use it as a mirror.

Another feature that I like is that the Sylph CP1300 has an auto power-off feature, and the battery indicator shows how much battery power is left in the battery pack.

I like the Sylph CP1300’s automatic sleep feature, and it automatically turns itself off after a few minutes of inactivity.
The sylph CP1300 has many features, including an SD card slot, USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity.

This wireless printer is fairly inexpensive, and it’s a great choice for someone who wants to print at a small scale as a hobbyist.

Pros
  • Staright and smooth usage.
  • Control made realy easy with 3.2″ LCD screen.
  • High quality water resistant prints and photos.
  • Dye-sublimation printing technology.
Cons
  • Exclusive sublimation cartridge will cost high.

8. Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer

Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6

The Kodak Dock PD-450 is one of the best portable photo printers on the market. If you want to take your photos and prints with you wherever you go, this is the best option to do it.

It’s a printer, but it’s also a charger and an adapter. And it works with any iOS or Android device that supports USB. It’s designed to be used with the Kodak Photo Printer app, which makes it easy to print, edit, and share your photos.

The print quality is pretty good, though I noticed a lot of ink was wasted on my first prints, so I had to print a few more times. The biggest issue is that it takes forever to print, especially on a slow connection.

The best part about this is that you can connect to it via Wi-Fi, and it’ll print directly from your phone. So when you’re out and about, you can quickly print a picture to sublimate it on a t-shirt.

The drawback about the Kodak printer is that it doesn’t have an SD slot, so you can’t use it to take pictures, and it doesn’t have a flash, so you won’t be able to print anything at night. It’s not the fastest printing device, but it’s certainly the easiest to use, and it can save you lots of time and hassle.

Pros
  • High quality printed photos.
  • One-touch printing with printer dock.
  • Fast charging.
  • Less expensive.
Cons
  • Instant photo printer only.
  • Small photo printer.

9. TRANSFER WORLD WF-2860 – Professional Sublimation Heat Transfer & Printer

TRANSFER WORLD WF-2860

We’re a little late to the game in terms of reviewing this product, but we were lucky enough to get one of the best sublimation printers for T-Shirts. I tested and loved this printer because of many reasons below;

The printer is super easy to use, and it has an intuitive interface. The design is sleek and modern. It’s got a large touchscreen that makes it easy to operate and navigate. There’s also a “help” button on the front, which brings up a helpful tutorial for beginners. The printer is also equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to print from anywhere using the included remote app. It even has a built-in battery that will keep it going for hours, so you can work on projects while you print. The WF-2860 is a nice and compact printer, and it’s only a little larger than a credit card.

The sublimation ink is of very good quality. It’s also reasonably priced. If you’re looking to print graphics and logos on a variety of items, this is a great choice.

The printer is compatible with a wide range of materials, including polyester, cotton, and other fabrics. You can even use it to transfer designs to glass, metal, ceramic, and stone. The maximum transfer size is 8″ x 10″, and the materials must be at least 1mm thick. The unit is capable of handling temperatures up to 350°F. The maximum print speed is 50 pages per minute.

The CHIPLESS system is also a big plus. It allows you to print from any device without having to reset the cartridge. This is a huge time-saver, and it allows you to print at any time, even when you’re not home. You can also print multiple jobs without having to wait for the printer to finish one before starting another.

The WF-2860 Printer with Ink Continue System is an 8-ink heat transfer machine. With an advanced ink system and an efficient cooling design, it can print up to 16,000 pages with no maintenance.

Its Epson sublimation inks can handle a wide variety of materials. So, you can choose the perfect combination for your designs, and you can even print on various types of surfaces such as glass, ceramic, plastic, leather, and so much more.

It also comes with an Inkjet Cartridge for sublimation printing. It will make it easy for you to achieve high-quality results.

With a high-quality aluminum frame, an automatic feed mechanism, and a large print area, the WF-2860 is a must-have for any professional designer.

Pros
  • CHIPLESS cartridges.
  • High-quality sublimation ink.
  • CE certification.
Cons
  • The interface is not straightforward.

10. Canon Pixma MG3620 – Cheapest Printer

After comparing the cost of all the printers discussed above, I assure you that It is the cheapest printer on the list. If you want to start a sublimation business for crazy and unique dumps or SVGs but are tight on budget, go and check this best printer for t-shirts.

MG3620 has multiple printing options, including AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, NFC, Mopria, and Canon Print. All of these printing options make it easier to print from anywhere, and with its compact size, you can easily print from any device.

It also has a compact form factor that will fit perfectly into any home or office. Plus, it has a 3-year warranty, so you can buy it with confidence.

Printing speed is quite high as compared to price. It allows you to print 16 color pages in a minute. There is only one real downside to this product: it only holds 20 sheets of 4″ x 6″ paper.

Pros
  • Versatile printer.
  • Inexpensive.
  • A lot of printing options.
Cons
  • Print quality is not the apex as compared to other printers.

Best Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts Tips

If you are using fabric to sublimate, make sure it is a minimum of 65% polyester for colors to stay. Sublimation is a very unique process. It requires a special ink that we call sublimation ink. It is not the same kind of ink that comes with our printers. You CAN NOT use the same printer and switch between regular inkjet ink and sublimation ink. You will need two printers for this.

You can convert a printer that was used for regular ink and then uses it for subbing. But you cannot mix the two ink and there is a process of converting once the ink has been used. Sub ink is purchased separately. Cosmos ink is superior in my opinion.

Sublimation ink comes in a liquid form but when we apply high heat to it, it activates the chemical causing it to release almost like water evaporates when you’re boiling it. It actually turns into gas at that point. It literally seeps in, attaches, and adheres to the fibers (similar to how hair color works). But sublimation is 100% permanent. It’s not going to come out or off.

Final Thoughts

You have two choices for printers while starting out a t-shirts printing business. The first one is to buy a true sublimation printer and start working on it. You will some sublimation supplies as well. I have reviewed some of the best dye-sublimation printers above and they are good to keep in view your budget and needs.

Another option is to Epson Eco Tank printer and converts it into sublimation for t-shirt designs.

Shirt Printing FAQs

Can I do sublimation on dark or cotton shirts?

If you are using a dark shirt or one that contains a greater percentage of cotton than poly, you must first press a vinyl background onto the shirt, then print out the sublimation and press it onto the vinyl. So it is layered on the shirt. It is possible to sublimate directly onto a light and mostly poly shirt.

Can I sublimate on any t-shirt?

The question here is: can I sublimate on any t-shirt? It depends on the fabric and the brand of the t-shirt. You can indeed sublimate almost any t-shirt. The only problem is that you might find the sublimation prints to be less than desirable quality. In most cases, sublimation works best when you use a shirt with a cotton or synthetic blend.

What is the best practice for sublimating dark images onto a white shirt?

If the photo itself is dark, try a photo editor to lighten it a bit. If you normally press at 400°, maybe try lowering to 385° to see if that helps. Press on a practice fabric or ruined shirt so you don’t waste another shirt.

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