What Is a Sublimation Printer? – Pros and Cons

Do you want sharp and durable printing result? But you have regular printer. Then you have to upgrade your printer with sublimation printer. But, before updating you must know about what is a sublimation printer?

what is a sublimation printer

Dye sublimation is one of the trends that everyone follows nowadays. You can sublimate the images of your choice on a piece of blank polyester fabric with ease. The sublimation term looks tricky, but the technique is effortless and quick to understand.

Sublimation is a process in which solid ink is transferred into gaseous form with the help of a heat press without going into the liquid state. A sublimation printer is an essential tool that is needed for sublimating images onto your favorite objects. If you do not own a good quality sublimation printer, you will not get high-quality results on the fabric. Here is a complete guide about a sublimation printer, its benefits and its working. This review will help you understand the sublimation process through a sublimation printer in detail.

What Is A Sublimation Printer?

A sublimation printer uses the chemical process of changing a solid state into a gaseous state without converting it into a liquid state. In this technique, you can convert any design of your choice on a piece of fabric like shirts, t-shirts, and other fabrics. You can convert any artwork on your favorite shirt with high-quality images and vibrant colors.

Sublimation printers are expensive than standard printers and require sublimation ink to transfer images to your fabric. A good quality sublimation printer with high resolution will give you high end images and vibrant colors.

If you cannot afford a sublimation printer, you can also convert your standard printer into a sublimation printer. Not all regular printers can be converted into a sublimation printer, but some brands come with such a feature to convert your regular printer into a sublimation one. For that, you will require additional sublimation ink and some good quality sublimation paper.

How Does Sublimation Printer Work?

To print through a sublimation printer. You will need sublimation paper, sublimation ink, a polyester fabric on which you want to sublimate your design, and a heat press machine. First of all, you will have to print a design on sublimation paper through a sublimation printer.

Now place this paper on a shirt and pass it through a heat press machine. The heat press machine will infuse the ink on a piece of fabric through high-intensity heat of 300 to 400 degrees and high pressure. With the help of this technique, you will see a sublimated patch on a piece of fabric.

The sublimation results are durable and permanent. The fabric will receive the exact image you wanted. Furthermore, sublimation printers will give you great results on a light-colored fabric. But, for dark-colored fabric, you can use other heat press methods.

Benefits of Sublimation Printer

  • The tremendous advantage of a sublimation printer is that the results are permanent and destroyable.
  • You can customize the design.
  • The image quality is excellent with HD colors and is durable.
  • The image does not crack or fade over time.
  • We can use our dye sublimated shirts or fabrics for as many years as you want.
  • This technique is excellent for business and customization materials like home decor, mugs, mouse pads, and polyester shirts.
  • We can print various colors and designs, and this technique is ideal for small designs or patches.

Drawbacks of Sublimation Printer

  • Sublimation printers are costly and can be used on large scales.
  • Sublimation ink is difficult to find for specific sublimation printers.
  • A sublimation printer does not sublimate on a dark colored fabric directly.
  • If you want to sublimate your favorite image on a shirt other than polyester, you will not receive fine quality results, and the image will not last long.

Materials Print through A Sublimation Printer

We can print on a polyester fabric through sublimation printers. We can customized other rigid substrates like glass, plastic, ceramics, and metal substances according to our desired prints. The sublimation process is ideal for polyester-coated fabrics. If we want to print on ceramic mugs and metal plates, we must coat these materials with polyester to get a high quality image. We can also customize blank rigid products through sublimation printing.

Materials Suggestion for Sublimation

We suggest polyester fabric because polyester melts at high temperatures, leaving your fabric with a high quality image and color.

Sublimation Printer Vs. Heat Press Method

The significant difference between the sublimation printer and the heat press method is quality, cost, and result. Both methods are used to convert artwork to a piece of fabric but differ in quality and durability. The result of the sublimation printer will last longer and produce a high-quality image.

The image it produces does not fade or crack over time. On the other hand, the image quality through the heat press method is not durable and will crack or fade over time. Moreover, the result you will get through a sublimation paper will be tremendous and infused on a fabric. In contrast, the result of heat transfer paper will be patchy, and you will feel a tough patch over the fabric.


What is the difference between an Inkjet printer and a sublimation printer?

An Inkjet printer converts solid ink into a liquid form and prints it on the top of the fabric. In contrast, a sublimation printer uses a chemical process to convert solid into a gaseous state and infuses the ink on the top fabric without going into a liquid state. A sublimation printer is ideal for printing polyester fabric or rigid substrates like glass, plastic, ceramic, metal, or fiberglass material. On the other hand, inkjet printers are best for printing documents.

Can I use a regular printer for sublimation?

Yes, you can convert a regular printer into a sublimation printer. For this, you will have to buy sublimation ink. It is vital to remove all the previous ink from the regular printer and replace it with sublimation ink. The sublimation ink will mix and create a messy image if you do not remove the already present ink. Once the ink is eradicated, pour sublimation ink and print your desired design on paper.

What materials can be sublimated?

You can use a sublimation printer to sublimate mugs, mouse pads, polyester shirts, glass sheets, aluminum sheets, canvas, metals, and ceramics. The material must be 100 percent polyester to get a great quality result. If the materials are not 100 percent polyester, you must first coat the material with polyester to get the desired image through a sublimation printer.

What does a sublimation printer do?

In sublimation printing process, you can transfer your design on any material. You can sublimate any image or design mugs, fabrics, glass, t-shirts etc. In sublimation printing process special type of sublimation ink and sublimation is used.

What kind of ink is used for sublimation?

As the process is very specific for dye sublimation. A special type of ink is used in sublimation which is known as disperse dyes. When heat is applied this special type of ink convert from solid to gaseous state and at cooling come to solid state and merge in to fabrics.


After this detailed discussion now you can easily understand what is a sublimation printer? Sublimation printers are costly, but they give you excellent quality results with a vibrant color scheme. You can use dye-sublimated shirts for a long time without fear of the image being faded or cracked after multiple wash. Moreover, you can always convert a regular printer into a sublimation one by using sublimation ink. It was a detailed review about a sublimation printer to guide you about its usage and what materials can be sublimated through a sublimation printer.

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