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Best Overall: Mitsubishi CP-D90DW at Amazon
"The printer is one of the fastest ones on the list while still printing at 300 DPI resolution."
Best Budget: Epson Stylus C88+ at Amazon
"If you need a basic printer for basic sublimation printing processes, this is a solid machine for the job."
Best High-Resolution: Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 at Amazon
"Has a printing resolution of 600 x 1200, quite a bit higher than most printers this size."
Best Large-Format: Epson SureColor T5170 at Amazon
"If you have the budget for it, it will make your large-format prints look fantastic."
Runner-Up, Best Large-Format: Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800 at Amazon
"Supports prints up to 11 x 17 inches or up to 13 x 19 inches with the optional bypass tray."
Best Compact: Kodak Dock at Amazon
"A great portable photo printer that can connect to mobile devices in a snap for seamless printing."
Runner-Up, Best Compact: Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S at Amazon
"A portable and unobtrusive option that's great for small-format sublimation printing."
Best Multifunctional: Epson Workforce WF-7710 at Amazon
"A printer that you can use for heat transfer as well as your typical document printing and scanning needs."
Courtesy of Amazon
The Mitsubishi CP-D90W has a few key features that make it a great buy, and while it is a little more expensive than some of the other options on this list, it's still our definite pick for the best overall sublimation printer.
The main appeal here is speed. Sublimation printers can be notoriously slow, and this printer is one of the fastest on the list while still printing at 300 DPI (dots-per-inch) resolution. While that isn't extremely high-res, it's suitable for the vast majority of users. This printer also has 256 color gradations which allow it to recreate about 16.7 million colors — that level of color variation means your printing possibilities are pretty much endless. It has a large paper size selection too, which is always helpful.
The Mitsubishi CP-D90W measures 9 x 11 x 14.5 and weighs 30 pounds, so it's heavy but relatively compact considering its wide range of printing sizes.
If you don't need an ultra-high-tech sublimation printer, then there's no need to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a high-end model. Instead, check out the Epson Stylus C88+, which is an older and less advanced machine that's also a lot less expensive. Like any sublimation printer, it can print on transfer paper, plus it has a paper tray that can hold up to 120 sheets. It's also pretty fast, with the ability to print 14 color pages per minute. If you need a basic printer for basic sublimation printing processes, this is a solid machine for the job.
It's important to note that this printer is not wireless, so you'll need to hook it up to your computer using a USB connection. Fortunately, it's quite compact, weighs under 13 pounds, and looks like any other inkjet printer, so it shouldn't take up too much space on the table in your craft room or the desk in your office.
If high-resolution prints are a top priority, then the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is a great printer that can produce the quality you need. It has a printing resolution of 600 x 1200, which is quite a bit higher than most other printers this size, and it doesn't take up the same amount of space that many industrial-quality high-res printers do. Dimension-wise, the printer sits in at 22 x 14 x 22 inches and weighs about 30 pounds, so it's relatively heavy but should fit nicely in most home offices or small businesses.
There are other things that make the printer a good option too. For example, it comes with 200 sheets of Sawgrass’ sublimation paper to help get you started, though keep in mind that you can’t use it with cotton shirts. It also comes with Sawgrass’ Creative Studio software.
If you need a printer that can handle large-format printing, the Epson SureColor T5170 has you covered. The printer itself is 28 x 50 x 36 inches and weighs a hefty 101 pounds, so it's big enough that it requires multiple people to move. Of course, the trade-off of such a large device is that it can print media up to 11 x 17 inches in size, which is much larger than your standard piece of paper. The maximum resolution on the printer is also a stunning 2400 x 1200 DPI. If you have the budget for it, the SureColor T5170 will make your large-format prints look fantastic.
It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, and has a rather intuitive interface thanks to its 4.3-inch touch display. It can also print through both a USB cable or Wi-Fi Direct. The main downside of this printer is, of course, the price. But if you have a business that needs it, it may be worth investing in a sublimation printer of this size.
Perhaps you want a good sublimation printer for your home but don’t want one of those large-format printers designed for business use. If that’s the case, then we recommend the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800, which supports prints up to 11 x 17 inches, or up to 13 x 19 inches with the optional bypass tray. It has a printing resolution of up to 600 x 600 DPI and is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers.
The printer is geared towards versatility, too. It makes use of Sawgrass’ sublimation technology, which allows it to print onto hard substrates like metal, ceramic, glass, and more. It also comes with a step-by-step guide to sublimation, which is extremely handy for beginners. The device measures 28 x 14 x 20 inches so it's large but not overly imposing in a home office.
If you like the idea of a compact wireless printer with some sublimation printing capabilities, then the Kodak Dock is a whole lot smaller and cheaper than the other printers on this list. it isn't a designated sublimation printer, and its ultra-compact size will definitely restrict the size of your printed products. But it is also a great portable photo printer and can connect to mobile devices in a snap for seamless printing.
The print size of the Kodak Dock is limited to 4 x 6 inches, which is a pretty standard photo size — if you are working in smaller formats, this is a great way to get decent sublimation printing without paying too much. As you would expect from a device in this price range, there are some trade-offs for the price — the printer is on the slower side, and the ink can be expensive. But it’s able to deliver high-quality prints and is small enough to take on the road, which can be a huge benefit for some. On top of that, it’s very easy wirelessly connect it to your computer or smartphone.
Weighing in at over 30 pounds, the Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S isn't exactly something you can toss in your bag on your way out the door. But it's compact footprint still makes it one of the most portable and unobtrusive options on the list that's great for small-format sublimation printing. The CP-K60DW-S can print up to 6 x 8 photos, which is large enough for most users, with a resolution of 300 DPI.
This printer is also extremely energy-efficient — it has 96 percent less standby energy use than other other sublimation printer models, according to Mitsubishi. This is an overall benefit if you plan to leave it plugged in in your home, and even more important if you intend to take it to events or anywhere that power is in higher demand. The Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S isn’t overly expensive either.
Looking for a printer that you can use for heat transfer as well as your typical document printing and scanning needs? The Epson Workforce WF-7710 may be the right printer for you. It supports the use of sublimation ink and can print standard pages, too. Not only that, but it supports prints of up to a hefty 13 x 19 inches, which is pretty impressive. It also has double-sided printing capabilities, which make it much more helpful in an office setting.
Apart from printing, the Epson Workforce WF-7710 can also be used as a scanner and fax machine. The printer is a little bigger than some of the other options, coming in at 32.2 x 22.3 x 13.4 inches and weighing about 40 pounds.