Best Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts – Cheap Dye-sub Epson For T-Shirts

Sublimation printers are an ideal choice for imprinting beautiful designs on t-shirts. Why? For starters, compared to the heat pressing process, the design gets embedded into the shirt making it more durable. Based on our personal research, a sublimated cloth is almost 100x more durable than heat transfers or until the cloth is worn out. But you need the best sublimation printer for t-shirts to print out jazzy designs.

More precisely, the overall printing quality is subliminal and it can increase the chances of your business getting a BOOM within a few months.

The best sublimation printers for t-shirts and machines will help the most in your business because some exceptional printers in our list offer ease of use through apps and high-quality print that will revolutionize your business and boost your productive time.

Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts in 2022

This guide includes reviews of top-rated t-shirt printers. It took our 7-days to research, test, and select these top products.

Adding to that, we will also take a look at what factors could make a sublimation printer for t-shirts “An Ideal Choice for T-Shirts.”

Image Product Name Benefits Price
Top Pick
 
Epson Stylus C88
1- Epson Stylus C88+ – #1 Classic for T-Shirts
  • improved DPI resolution
  • Smudge and Distortion-Free
  • Exceptional results
  • Borderless Design Printing
Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer
2- Epson Artisan 1430 – Premium Choice
  • Delivers Ultra HD Image
  • Consumes 80% less power
  • Borderless prints
  • Wire connectivity
Sawgrass SG500
3- Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer – Best Ready to Go
  • Dedicated for sublimation
  • Wide format
  • Sawgrass print studio suported
  • Improved DPI resolution
HRM Automatic A3 DTG
4- HRM Automatic A3 DTG T-Shirt Printing Machine – Best For Running Business
  • Best for running t shirt business
  • Dedicated software for editing
  • Easy to refill ink
  • High quality images
Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650
5- Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 – Best premium Cartridge free choice
  • DPI accuracy
  • Control Panel Interface
  • Affordable low running cost
  • Cartridge free choice
Epson SureColor T5170
6- Epson SureColor T5170 – Best Wide Format Dye Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts
  • Large Color Touchscreen
  • 36 inches wide sheet size
  • Precision core droplet control
  • High capctiy ink cartidges
Epson EcoTank ET-4760
7- Epson EcoTank ET-4760 – Affordable best sublimation printer for T-shirts
  • Auto document feeder
  • High DPI resolution
  • Convenient
  • Affordable to buy and run

1. Epson Stylus C88+ – #1 Classic for T-Shirts

Recommended

Epson Stylus C88

Features

  • Brand: Epson
  • Connectivity: Wired/USB
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • DPI Resolution: 5760×1440
  • Borderless Prints: Yes
  • Print Field Size: 8.5” x 14”
  • Warranty: 1 Year

“If T-Shirt Printing is an Art, Epson Stylus C88+ is the Picasso of it.” You heard that right. This brand new printing machine offers improved DPI resolution, has multiple connectivity options available, and is easy to use. This might be the reason this is considered one of the best Epson sublimation printers in the market.

On top of this, it accepts printing on different types of paper including sub-paper, regular paper, or color paper. All these qualities and specs make C88+ the best t-shirt sublimation printer on the market.

Stating some of its major features!

High-Quality Shirt Printing!

The DPI resolution of 5760×1440 resonates with high-quality design printing on sublimation paper. The brightness, contrast, and little details are well up to the mark.

Connectivity Options!

Moreover, it does offer connectivity through a USB cable only. There’s no Wi-Fi option available but one could compromise on it as far as laziness ain’t a problem.

Smudge and Distortion-Free Prints!

Using the inkjet color printing technology, C88+ delivers exceptional results. The prints it makes are resistant to smudge and distortion.

Paper Sheet Tray Capacity!

Although the default paper tray sheet capacity is only limited to 120 papers. There’s an exception! The printer comes with an extra paper tray to accommodate special papers as well.

Borderless Design Printing!

Worried about wasting time over trimming every design you print? Trust Stylus C88+ and enjoy borderless imprinting on sub-paper that you can later transfer to t-shirts easily.

Photo Editing Software!

Design customization comes under the tips of your hands, thanks to this machine that offers an easy to use photo editing software. Use it and edit your designs before you press the final printing button.

Extensive Print Field Size!

Sublimating large designs on t-shirts is not a problem at all for the Stylus printer. It offers a large 8.5” x 14” printing field size for imprinting larger designs onto sub-paper conveniently.

PROS

  • Borderless color printing.
  • Smudge-free Fade-free and water-resistant prints.
  • Delivers high-resolution image quality.
  • Integrated photo editing software included.
  • 120-sheet paper tray with extra specialty tray included.

CONS

  • No wireless connectivity option.
  • A bit expensive for people on a budget.

2. Epson Artisan 1430 – Premium Choice

Recommended

Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer

Features

  • Brand: Epson
  • Connectivity: Wired/USB
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • DPI Resolution: 5760×1440
  • Borderless Prints: Yes
  • Print Field Size: 13” x 19”
  • Warranty: 1 Year

They say, “You Get What You Pay For!” and we certainly agree with this expression while talking about Artisan 1430. More expensive and more advanced compared to Stylus C88+, this wireless sublimation printer is deemed perfect for professional t-shirt printing. Not only does it offer high-res image quality, but users can also enjoy wireless printing options with it for an easy t-shirt printing experience.

Cutting right to the chase;

Ultra-High Definition Design Prints!

There’s a reason why Artisan 1430 is so expensive. First, it delivers ultra HD design printing as it uses 6-color Claria ink. More than that, the DPI resolution of 5760×1440 plays its part in making the designs enriched in brightness and contrast.

Wireless Printing!

Not only does the printer offer wireless connectivity, you can also connect it to iPhones, tablets, and other smartphones, etc. On top of it, CD/DVD printing is also possible. 

Borderless Images!

What makes this printing machine quite impressive is that it offers large borderless image printing, which is quite exceptional. A large 13” x 19” print field size is included for that purpose.

100 Sheets Paper Capacity!

Well, that’s certainly a little less than that of Stylus C88+, but still more than enough for hassle-free t-shirt printing. Besides regular papers, the machine accepts 20 specialty papers in its feed tray as well.

Inkjet Printing Technology!

Well, the inkjet technology not only consumes 80% less power than laser technology, but it can also deliver smooth and detailed design prints on sublimation paper as well.

PROS

  • Delivers Ultra HD Image quality.
  • 100 regular paper sheet trays with 20 specialty paper capacity.
  • Wireless connectivity for mobile and tablet printing.
  • 6-color Claria Ink removes minor distortion from color prints.
  • Recommended for professional t-shirt printing businesses.

CONS

  • Pricier than C88+.
  • No other major issues.

3. Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer – Best Ready to Go

Recommended

Sawgrass SG500

Features

  • Brand: Sawgrass
  • Compatibility: Smartphones/PC/Laptops
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Printing Technology: Sublimation
  • Print Field Size: 8” x 24”
  • Warranty: 2 Years 

The sawgrass SG500 is a brilliant solution for printing t-shirts even on dark colors. The sawgrass SG500 is the specific sublimation printer that ignores two-way converting processes like Epson. Sawgrass allows you to print onto various substrates like mugs, fabric, cardboard, and leather. Keeping an eye on its predecessor SG400 the SG500 enables you to print more highly defined images. 

Print field size

 The sawgrass SG500 enables you to print a larger design up to  8.5” x 24” onto the fabric you’re desired to transfer the design

Sawgrass Creative Studio designer

With the Sawgrass 500, you will get a one-year license-free creative studio application that offers to print the design-ready sublimation templates. In addition, you’ll be able to cut print designs with the creative studio.

Print manager color control

To ensure the great quality of printing, sawgrass never disappoints you. Printer manager control allows you to adjust, contrast, and sharpen the images easily. It ensures the quality of the prints and accuracy, reducing the wastage of the ink.

Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer

Connectivity

Whether you’re using a printer from home or office you can easily print it out via wireless connectivity options available in the printer. You even don’t need a USB cable to connect.

Photo resolution

It uses modulated technology that prints small and precise dots with the sublijet HD ink that produces 4480×1200 DPI resolution.

Reliable

Not to forget it’s easy to use interface via backlit display but remember the display is not the touchscreen, Since sawgrass is my first choice to make customized t-shirts without any hassle.

PROS

  • Sawgrass free print manager
  • Creative studio to create and use templates
  • Large print field size and improved durability of the images
  • Eliminates the need of USB cable due to wireless
  • Compatible more features than SG400

CONS

  • No touchscreen
  • High running cost

4. HRM Automatic A3 DTG T-Shirt Printing Machine – Best For Running Business

Recommended

HRM Automatic A3 DTG

Features

  • Brand: HRM
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Printing Technology: Heat Press
  • DPI Resolution: 5760×1440
  • Borderless Prints: Yes
  • Print Field Size: 12” x 19”
  • Warranty: 1 Year

HRM Automatic T-shirt Printing Machine is an innovation from a Chinese brand, which is compelling for many T-shirt businesses. Compared to other sublimation printers that require a two-way printing process, HRM does it in a single step. You adjust a T-shirt in its printing tray, customize the design using its integrated software, click on printing, and VIOLA! The design will get imprinted on the shirt within a few minutes. Isn’t that amazing?

Well, let’s get into some of its major features as follows:

Automatic Printing Height Adjustment!

The machine automatically adjusts its printing height to heat transfer the design on shirts and hoodies in the best possible manner.

RIP 9.0 Software for Editing!

Customizing your designs before the final print has become quite easier with RIP 9.0. It’s already integrated with the printer to offer ease of use and convenience.

USB Connectivity!

Connect your PC or a USB device directly to the monitor for flawless design transfers. Wireless connectivity is unfortunately not available in this machine.

Easy to Refill Ink Tanks!

The ink tanks are installed on the outside of the machine. So, you can easily refill them with compatible sublimation ink to get the best results out of t-shirt printing.

Intuitive Control Panel Buttons!

The control panel interface comes with a Delete button to delete any pre-saved design on the machine. Meanwhile, it also features Power and Print buttons for hassle-free t-shirt printing.

Emergency Stop Switch!

Not to mention, there’s an emergency stop switch available on the machine that offers instant stoppage of the printer before it starts the whole process.

Extra Accessories!

Although the printer machine is quite expensive, it does offer some extra accessories. That includes a USB cable, ink filling syringe, one set of ink bottles, a USB user manual, and a magnet to enhance the overall printing experience.

PROS

  • Directly prints all kinds of garments.
  • High-resolution printing quality on t-shirts, hoodies, and jeans.
  • Washable and vibrant prints.
  • Emergency stop switch included.

CONS

  • Not for small businesses.
  • Heat press is not as durable as sublimation.

5. Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 – Best premium Cartridge free choice

Recommended

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650

Features

  • Low running cost
  • Easy to use interface via robust LCD
  • Sleek and compact design
  • 80% more efficient than other printers
  • Print up to 13″x19″ borderless prints

The Epson Ecotank ET 16650 is one of the premium cartridge-free choices with the lowest running cost to start the sublimation t-shirt printing business. Despite not having ink cartridges, the printer prints exceptional resolution images via piezo printing technology.

The high-volume printing of the monthly duty cycle makes it a perfect choice to start the business on the commercial level. Comparing its performance to other premium cartridge-free printers, this model provides great value without compromising on quality and features.

All-in-one Choice!

The versatile printer fulfills all the needs of an enthusiast enabling you to print, scan, fax, and copy simultaneously. Along with that, it is capable of printing borderless prints up to 11″x17″ which is excellent.

Immense paper capacity!

It features 2 trays of paper sheets that can accommodate 250 each which means you can feed 500 sheets that can be used simultaneously. Not only that but it also features a dedicated feed tray for auto document feeder up to 50 sheets on the top of the printer.

Auto duplexing!

The dedicated feature which impressed me the most is it can print duplex printing, faxing, copying, and scanning. Along with that, it can also print auto-duplexing on auto document feed papers. The versatile and efficient auto-duplexing feature is rare among the other printers but thanks to the Epson ET 16650 it enables us to save the paper.

Printshop Quality and Speed!

The Ecofit bottles are large and can be filled with either sublimation ink or pigment ink depending upon the user’s preference. It contains two precision core printhead chips that produce superb color accuracy and fast prints without any flaws. Moreover, you do not need to worry about its printing speed. The reliable printer is adequate for heavy workloads and capable of printing 25 sheets per minute for monochrome and color prints.

Connect with your Gadgets!

Connect your laptop, PC, and handheld gadgets via wifi and Bluetooth with ease to print directly from Apple Mopria and cloud platforms. Lastly, you can also scan your document directly from mobile devices.

PROS

  • A 2 years limited warranty
  • Pigment ink bottles in the package
  • Flexible control panel
  • Heavy duty monthly print volume
  • Economical running

CONS

  • Pricey product

6. Epson SureColor T5170 – Best Wide Format Dye Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts

Recommended

Epson SureColor T5170

Features

  • Brand: Epson
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/USB
  • Printing Technology: Inkjet/Precision Core
  • DPI Resolution: 2400×1200
  • Borderless Prints: No
  • Print Field Size: 11” x 17”
  • Warranty: 1 Year

SureColor T5170 from Epson offers compactness and portability while you use it for sublimating designs on t-shirts and hoodies. It also features the latest printing technologies to ensure adding minor details of designs onto the sub-paper rather easily. More than that, this sublimation printer prints faster than screen printers (have a look at the comparison between Dye & screen printing) and Epson printers in general and that’s one of the reasons for trusting this machine.

Out of the box, the printer features the following qualities:

Precision core Printing Technology!

The commercial-grade precision core combined with heat-free technology delivers exceptional printing results. With a DPI resolution of 2400 x 1200, you can expect beautiful and vibrant t-shirt designs from the machine.

Large Color Touchscreen Display!

Well, there’s a 4.3” color touchscreen display available within the T5170. It ensures easy navigation and allows users to print their designs onto sublimation paper with few taps.

Compact and Mess-Free Design!

SureColor sublimation printer comes in a compact shape and body. You can easily adjust it on your personal workspace or on an office countertop to enjoy flawless printing.

Large Print Field Size!

Although the machine does not support borderless printing, it still offers a large 11” x 17” field size for scanning and 35 inches large imprint designs for t-shirts conveniently.

Smartphone Printing!

Mobile printing is also possible, thanks to the presence of wireless connectivity. Moreover, the printer accepts connections from tablets, iPhones, and iPads as well.

Water Resistant and Smudge-Free Prints!

In the end, you will surely get entertained with the machine’s ability to print water-resistant and smudge-free designs. More precisely, it can avoid distortion in images to maintain the high resolution at all costs.

PROS

  • An upgrade over other entry-level sublimation printers.
  • PrecisionCore Printhead for vivid image imprints.
  • Reliable, sturdy, and more advanced.
  • Improved color printing speed.

CONS

  • Still an expensive option.
  • Ink Cartridges are expensive.

7. Epson EcoTank ET-4760 – Affordable best sublimation printer for T-shirts

Recommended

Epson EcoTank ET-4760

Features

  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • Brand: Epson
  • Connectivity Technology: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Auto 2-sided Printing
  • 150-sheet Paper Tray
  • Auto Document Feeder (ADF)
  • Borderless printing
  • Dpi: 4800×1200

Epson ET 4760 is the best for those business owners who are under a budget. Because ET 4760 has a minimal price with an extremely low running cost of ink cartridges and paper media. However, you need to convert it to a sublimation printer because the et 4760 is not a sublimation printer specifically.

All in one solution!

On the other hand, the eco tank model is the one solution for print, scanning, and fax. At the same time, it can print out duplex images.

Compact design

The eco tank model design is decent and simple with a 2.4” touchscreen display on its front control panel. Its stand-alone operating system is hassle-free and can be connected toersatile devices.

Ink bottles

With the package, you will get the set of ink bottles for usual printing not for sublimation. Although ink bottles are the subsequent option for you after sublimation printing, they are capable of printing 7,500 monochrome and 6,000 color pages.

Robust print quality

Upon closing the examination of print quality, the images it produces are quite sharp and attractive. The graphics and letters were fairly precise and smoother.

Connection and setup

The printer usually takes 10 minutes to load after connecting up the printer with a laptop or pc. The eco tank model contains 1 paper tray capacity of 250 and 30 paper capacities for ADF. Therefore, it maximizes your productivity with vivid and crisp results generated by precision core-powered technology.

PROS

  • Entry-level printers.
  • PrecisionCore Printhead for vivid image imprints.
  • Affordable
  • Free cartridge printing
  • Voice-activated printing

CONS

  • lacks premium options

What to Consider Before Choosing a Sublimation Printer for T-Shirts?

Your t-shirt printing business could either boom overnight or flop within a day if you do not choose a reliable sublimation printer. How do you make sure that the printer you are getting is worthy enough of your trust?

The answer’s simple!

You look out for some important factors in a t-shirt sublimation printer before making the last whistle. This is where we would help you out. Go through this section thoroughly and you’ll end up getting one of the best t-shirt sublimation printers in 2021.

Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts
Infographic: Best Sublimation Printers for T-Shirts Buying Guide

High DPI Resolution

Before mentioning anything else, we’d like you to ponder upon the DPI resolution of a printing machine. Better and improved DPI density ensures high-resolution printing. That said, you can imprint beautiful designs on t-shirts without degrading their quality.

Hence, a sublimation printer with improved DPI is a must for those who are serious about their business. Models like Epson Stylus C88+ and Artisan 1430 feature a whopping DPI resolution of 5760×1400, which is simply extraordinary.

Budget sublimation printers have a density revolving around 2400×1400, which will do the job for people who are low on budget easily.

Borderless Printing

Borderless printing is the need of the hour these days, especially if you do not want to waste your time trimming the designs after they get imprinted onto sub-paper. To avoid this unnecessity, simply choose a printer that offers borderless printing.

It will not only make your job much easier, but you can also simply imprint the design on a shirt using a heat press machine without any need for trimming. 6 out of 8 printers that we have discussed above offer borderless printing, so you can choose from those options according to your preferences.

A large printing field size is a must from a t-shirt printing perspective. If you follow the t-shirt design trends carefully, you’d see that many businesses use large prints of different celebrities or movie posters on the shirts.

That large design printing is only possible when you get a sublimation printer with a broader and wider print field size. While some printers would offer a print field size of 8.5” x 14”, you can also consider the ones that offer a wider space with 11” x 19” dimensions.

Depends upon you, but we will suggest investing in a printer that offers a broader print field so that you can imprint large designs on it easily.

Connectivity Options!

While most of the activities have shifted to mobile phones and tablets, t-shirt design editing has also seen a shift from PCs/Laptops to smartphones. In that case, if your printer does not offer wireless connectivity, you will feel a little rattled and disrupted by fast design transfer.

Choosing a sublimation printer with wireless connectivity is thus a must, especially if you use a smartphone and tablet for editing your designs.

Integrated Image Editing Software!

Wouldn’t it be easier if you had the royalty to have a last go at customizing t-shirt designs before hitting the “Print” button? Well, you can enjoy this luxury in many high-end sublimation printers that we have discussed above.

Mind you! This image software is not for full-fledged editing. You can do some basic customization with it only. So, while we do endorse getting a printer with image software, we do not suggest relying on it completely.

What Else Would You Need for T-Shirt Printing?

A sublimation printer is only a single step to starting your t-shirt printing business. Here are some other important things that you’ll need to keep carrying on with imprinting beautiful designs on t-shirts:

Sublimation Inks:

The process of sublimation does not happen without the use of specialty inks, commonly known as sublimation inks. So, you will need a pack of sublimation ink bottles to refill your printer if you want to imprint beautiful designs on t-shirts without any hassle.

These inks are resistant to frequent wash. More accurately, they can get embedded into the fabric and increase durability at the same time. Hence, we use such inks for the sublimation of different images and artworks on the shirts.

An Image Editing Software

As already said above, you cannot rely on integrated image software all the time. To properly design the images, you will require investment in image editing software. Some worthy software to pay for includes Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Canva Premium, and Picsart Premium. (For Smartphones)

Sublimation Paper

Sublimation is a two-way process. First, the printer imprints the design on a transfer paper. Second, we use this paper on a shirt and press it with a heat press machine to finally imprint that design on a shirt. That specific transfer paper is called a sublimation paper. You will need it to properly embed a design onto the shirt without facing any problem.

Testing Fabric/Shirts

To test the quality of imprints, you will require testing fabric or practice t-shirts. Keep in mind that sublimation will not take place on cotton shirts. You will either need a 100% polyester shirt or a fabric that contains 60% polyester and 40% cotton. Only then you could expect the sublimation process to go smoothly.

Heat-Resistant Tapes

Heat-resistant tapes are a must as they hold the transfer paper in its original position while you are about to apply heat press on it. Make sure that the tape can withstand high temperature or else if it melts, it will not only damage the fabric but the heat press machine as well.

Heat Press Machine

Having a heat press machine is as necessary as having a sublimation printer for t-shirt printing. You miss out on any of the machines, you simply cannot finish your imprinting task.

Investing in a proper heat press machine will offer easy design transfer onto the fabric with an easy-to-use interface. Make sure that you have all these things available at your disposal before you start a t-shirt printing business from scratch.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What’s the best sublimation printer for t-shirts?

While there are many options available in the market, we’d give the title of BEST to none other than Epson Stylus C88+. It can imprint borderless designs onto the transfer paper while maintaining the resolution and quality. More accurately, converting this printer into a sublimation one is quite easier than other models. So, that’s what we will choose as the best sublimation printer for t-shirts.

2. What is the cheapest printer to convert to sublimation?

Canon TS5120 is the cheapest printer available on the market that you can convert to imprint beautiful designs on t-shirts and other apparel. It has an improved DPI resolution of 2400×1200 with borderless printing option enabled. A wide print field of 8.5” x 14” also ensures large printing. All that at an affordable rate suits the demands of people who cannot invest in expensive machines.

3. Can you embed designs on t-shirts directly?

Sublimation is a two-way process and you will have to go through it to imprint designs on t-shirts. However, some of the commercial t-shirt printers offer direct printing including the HRM Automatic A3 DTG and PUNEHOD L1800 DTF. However, the printing quality is a little lower with these machines as they use heat transfer technology rather than sublimation to embed designs on t-shirts.

Final Takeaways:

With the trend of the t-shirt printing business going up with each passing day, starting this business can make you rich within a few months.

Make sure that you choose a reliable sublimation printer such as the latest Epson Stylus C88+ along with other peripherals to enjoy hassle-free t-shirt printing.

Do tell us about your experience with t-shirt printing and about these printers so that we could keep this guide updated in the near future.

Author

  • Hello, artists and crafters. Welcome to Our State Of the Art! I am Leo O'Neal. I'm confessing that I am an artist and printing enthusiast. I've been working with my dad in the printing business since my childhood. After spending my whole childhood in the arts, I can easily write and review art, craft, and printing products including sublimation printers, sticker printers, Cricut, vinyl projects. cardstock, Art prints, and many more. From printing t-shirts to tattooing, you'll love the in-depth reviews and how-to tutorials on our blog.