best dye sublimation printer

4 Best Dye Sublimation Printers In 2023

Looking for the best dye sublimation printers? We’ve got you covered.

After spending hours researching and testing several dye sublimation printers, we narrowed our list to the top 5 picks.

Here’s our handpicked best 5 dye-sublimation printers:

  • Epson SureColor F170
  • Epson SureColor F570
  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500
  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000
Product:Best For:
Epson SureColor F170Beginners and hobbyists in dye sublimation printing.
Epson SureColor F570Advanced printing needs with wider format capabilities (up to 24 inches).
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500Solopreneurs or hobbyists focusing on small items like phone grips, mugs, t-shirts, etc.
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000Growing businesses, requiring enhanced speed and versatility in sublimation printing.

Want to take a closer look? Read on until the end as we describe each of these printers in detail, along with some crucial points you need to consider before purchasing your dye-sublimation printer. We also discuss the difference between inkjet printers and dedicated dye-sublimation printers.

Best Dye Sublimation Printers

Epson SureColor F170Wireless connectivity
10.5lbs (4.76KG) only
Refillable ink tanks
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Epson SureColor F5704.3 inches (11CM) LCD Touchscreen
Refillable ink tanks
Wireless connectivity
Prints up to 24 inches (61CM) wide
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Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500Comes with Sawgrass Creative Studio
Wireless connectivity
Cartridge based refill
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Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000Comes with Sawgrass Creative Studio
Wireless connectivity
Cartridge based refill
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1. Epson SureColor F170

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Trusted brand with a history in imaging and precision electronicsMay be limited to sublimation printing needs
Focused on dye sublimation printingBest results recommended with original Epson sublimation ink only
Equipped with genuine Epson dye-sublimation ink technology
Features a 150-sheet auto-feed tray
Comes with print software compatible with Mac and Windows
External ink tank for easy refills
LCD display for easy printer control
Multiple connectivity options: Ethernet, USB, wireless
Quick and easy setup for immediate printing

Heading the list, we have the trusty Epson. This Japanese company is known for imaging and precision electronics such as printers and projectors. At one point in their history, Epson even made wristwatches!

The SureColor F170 continues the tradition of fine printers from Epson, focusing on dye sublimation printing instead.

It is equipped with genuine Epson dye-sublimation ink technology, a 150-sheet auto-feed tray, and print software compatible with Mac and Windows.

The printer also has an external ink tank for easy refills and an LCD display to easily control your printer. You can connect your device to the printer through Ethernet, USB, or wireless.

With these specs, you can very quickly set up and turn on the printer to begin printing your projects, a proper turnkey solution. Just fill the ink, turn it on, connect the printer to your computer, feed in some sublimation papers, and print away.

Epson recommends you use their original sublimation ink to ensure the best print results.

2. Epson SureColor F570

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Superior to F170, suitable for advanced needsLarger size (38.2 inches or 97CM) may require more space
Can print up to 24 inches (61CM) wideHeavier weight (84 lbs or 38KG) makes it less mobile
Supports large paper sizes: A3, A2, A1Might require more than one person to move
4.3 inches (11CM) color LCD touchscreen controls
Comes with external ink tanks for easy refills
Multiple connectivity options: USB, ethernet, wireless
Recommendation for a custom stand for easier placement and mobility
Best results with original Epson sublimation ink

Suppose the SureColor F170 is a superb turnkey sublimation printer perfect for beginners and hobbyists. In that case, the F570 is its bigger, better, faster, stronger cousin.

It essentially does everything that the F170 does, with more. For example, the F170 prints papers up to 14.8 inches (37.5CM), but the F570 prints up to 24 inches (61CM) wide. You can print on large paper sizes, such as A3, A2, and even A1.

Instead of using physical buttons on the F170, you can play with its 4.3 inches (11CM) color LCD touchscreen controls on the F570. The printer also comes with external ink tanks that you can refill easily.

You can also connect the printer to your device of choice via USB, ethernet, and wireless.

The downside of this printer could be its size and weight. The printer is much more comprehensive than the F170, at 38.2 inches (97CM). This means it will take up more space. The weight also makes it less mobile, at 84lbs (38KG).

You might require more than a single person to move this printer at a time.

However, Epson recommends purchasing this printer with their custom stand to make it easier to place, use, and move. Using Epson’s own sublimation ink will also ensure the best print result.

3. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500

Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer with Inks, 330 Sheets SUBLIMAX Paper, 3 Rolls Tape, White Buy on Amazon

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Sawgrass is a trusted, pioneering brand in digital ink and sublimation dyeBest results are achieved using only Sawgrass sublimation inks, which may limit ink choices
Market leader with several US patents
Wi-Fi connectivity
High-resolution print output: up to 4880 x 1200 dpi
Power-saving features
Ideal for a casual sublimation approach with a range of small products (e.g., phone grips, t-shirts, mugs)
Comes with subscriptions to CreativeStudio Online Designer and Color Management Software
Known for top-quality sublimation inks

Sawgrass was one of the first companies to sell digital ink and sublimation dye. It has been in business since 1988. It is the market leader because it is an American brand known for its cutting-edge sublimation printers and has several patents in the US.

One of its most popular series is the Virtuoso series. The Virtuoso SG500 has been one of the most reliable sublimation printers in the US.

The printer comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, a high-resolution print output of up to 4880 x 1200 dpi, and power-saving features to help you save on your electricity bill.

Support you are approaching sublimation printing with a more casual mindset. You just want to print on smaller things like phone grips, mouse pads, jewelry, business cards, t-shirts, mugs, tumblers, keychains, hair bows, small flags, etc. The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 should be more than enough.

A Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 also comes with subscriptions to its CreativeStudio Online Designer and Color Management Software.

You can utilize this software to design your prints, manage the color scheme, and print the best-looking products for your clients.

It probably goes without saying here, but Sawgrass has some of the best sublimation inks. You can only get the best result when using their printers, making this another point for you to get this printer.

4. Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000

No products found. No products found.

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Designed for growing businesses requiring versatility and speedMight be more than enough for hobbyists or very small operations
Enhanced capabilities over the SG500
Improved direct-to-garment (DTG) printing
Faster printing speed, leading to better business efficiency
Compact design suitable for home offices
Features a backlit LCD and a control panel for easy operation
Compatibility with accessories designed for SG500 and SG800 models
Suitable for boutique or gift store businesses, and those needing more substantial support

Suppose Virtuoso SG500 is for solopreneurs or hobbyists. In that case, the SG1000 is for more serious printers – a growing business that needs versatility and speed in printing their designs.

A more simplified way to describe the Virtuoso SG1000 is that it is the SG500 that has gone to the gym and gotten all muscled up. It’s a more powerful version for sure.

The SG1000 carries over all the same qualities as the SG500, with improved capabilities for direct-to-garment (DTG) printing and producing garments and soft items.

It is also much faster, allowing businesses to execute more orders simply by being able to print out more designs.

The printer is faster and better, but not too big to the point that it does not fit a desk. It still looks normal and can fit a home office just fine. Similar to the SG500, the SG1000 also comes with a backlit LCD and a control panel. This allows the printer to be simple to operate and comfortable to handle.

Consider a Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000 if:

  • You operate a small business such as a boutique or a gift store
  • You find that you require more substantial support, or
  • You are using a Sawgrass sublimation machine.

Suppose you are an avid supporter of the brand. In that case, you may also want to consider purchasing the SG1000 because it is compatible with accessories designed for the SG500 and SG800 models.

What Is The Difference Between Inkjet Sublimation Printer and Dye Sublimation Printer?

Dye-sublimation printers are generally built especially for sublimation printing, while inkjet sublimation printers are not. The inkjet sublimation printers were initially built for regular printing, but some printers replaced the ink with sublimation ink to convert it for sublimation printing.

If you’re new to the world of sublimation, you might be wondering about the entire process. Check out this guide on sublimation printing for a comprehensive understanding. The article breaks down the sublimation process in simple terms.

Four Inks and Wide Format Printer

Regular inkjet printers are built with one thing in mind, to print documents and images on regular copier paper. These printers use regular inkjet ink and are usually built to print on the most common paper size, A4.

They are also affordable, with entry-level regular inkjet printers priced from $100 only.

However, these printers may need conversion work before they can be used for sublimation printing. To convert these printers for sublimation printing, you first need to ensure that the print head uses piezoelectric technology, not thermal. Thermal printheads cannot work with sublimation ink.

Next, you will need to replace the regular ink with sublimation ink. If your printer comes brand new, you will have an easier time since you only need to replace the cartridges or ink tanks with sublimation ink.

If you have used the printer before, you may need to add the new ink and then run deep printhead cleaning multiple times to flush out the regular ink.

Suppose you want to save yourself the fuss of having to convert regular inkjet printers. In that case, you can go straight to a dye-sublimation printer.

These printers are built specifically for sublimation printing. They are engineered right from the start to work with sublimation ink only. These printers also tend to be larger and heavier as sublimation printing tends to be associated with industrial or business use.

If you are approaching sublimation printing as a hobbyist, converting a regular inkjet printer to sublimation printing may be a good idea.

However, suppose you are starting to get really serious about turning your sublimation hobby into a business. In that case, you can start shopping around for a dedicated dye-sublimation printer.

But before diving in, it’s also crucial to understand the cost implications. A detailed breakdown of how much a sublimation printer costs can help you budget and decide which printer is right for your business or hobby.

What Should You Consider When Buying Dye Sublimation Printers?

When shopping for a dye sublimation printer, you need to consider factors such as purpose, print volume, mobility, and size. Dye sublimation printers can vary much more than inkjet sublimation printers, making your decision harder.


Are you approaching sublimation printing as a hobbyist, small business, or big business that prints on an industrial scale? You need to make your decision very clearly here, as the range of dye-sublimation printers available will vary depending on your usage.

Suppose you are approaching sublimation printing on a hobbyist, beginner level. In that case, you should keep your cost as low as possible.

Select the most simple dye-sublimation printer you can find since you should not care too much about things like speed or volume as a hobbyist.

In fact, you might even want to think about just converting a regular inkjet printer for sublimation printing, as that may cost even less.

Side-Note: Many wonder if using a standard inkjet printer for sublimation by simply swapping out the ink is feasible. While it’s possible, there are nuances to consider. For a more in-depth look at this topic, here’s a helpful article about using an inkjet printer for sublimation.

However, suppose you are approaching sublimation printing as a small to medium business. In that case, you may need more ‘firepower.’ A dedicated dye-sublimation printer is needed.

You might want to consider printers with faster printing speed as you might be printing in higher volumes. Wider printers also may make your work easier.

If you come in as one of the big boys, you need the best sublimation printers you can afford. They should print fast and can handle the widest sublimation paper you use. If you can, the printer should also be able to perform DTG printing to make your printing work easier.

Print Volume

If you are printing as a hobbyist, you do not need to worry too much about this department. A simple Epson SureColor F170 should perform well enough for you.

If you are looking at a larger volume, you may need to consider speed and width.

For example, you may not need wide printers if you usually sublimate on blank shirts. This is because you should be OK with printing on a regular A4 sublimation paper and then heat transferring the design.

A Sawgrass SG500 or SG1000 should handle your needs.

However, if you print fully custom designs, you may need a fast and wide printer. A fully custom printing involves you custom printing all the individual parts of a garment (say a t-shirt) before sewing all of it into a single piece of clothing.

A regular A4-sized printer may be able to do the job. You need something wide like the Epson SureColor F570.

Aside from being able to print the garment parts, you can also print them together since the printer can handle wide sublimation paper.

Some printers also have DTG ability, meaning you can further simplify your printing process by skipping the heat transfer process.

Of course, once you have your designs printed, the next step is transferring them onto your products, which requires the use of a heat press. If you’re in the market for one, take a look at this best heat presses guide.

Mobility And Size

If you move your printers around, you will want a light and small dye-sublimation printer. They might not have wide printing capability, but it is a tradeoff you need to take.

Smaller printers are also more friendly for home and small business use, as they do not take up too much space. Most of the time, home offices are not large, which means printer space may be premium.

However, if you are not concerned about mobility, size, and weight, then feel free to splurge. Go ahead and get the best dye-sublimation printer your budget can afford. They can be large, wide, and fast!

Now, while inkjet printers are often discussed in the context of sublimation, another question arises about the use of laser printers. Laser printers operate differently from inkjet printers, and it’s essential to know whether they’re suitable for sublimation. Read more on using a laser printer for sublimation for further insights.

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