Dye sublimation printers can provide you the professional quality photos and have become the most favorite asset among hobbyists, small business owners, and craft consumers. We tested top 30 models to come to the list of best sublimation printers. Mitubishi CP-D70DW is our editor’s pick. Our list has some other options for you that you might consider buying.
Our Top Choice
1. Mitubishi CP-D70DW – Best For Photo Booths
MitubishiCP-D70DW fits in to the category of professional sublimation printer. It is a perfect choice for photo booths, professional events, or any other printing business. The best part is that it can handle high volume and at the same time maintain the printing quality. Its speed is also outstanding. It can give a 4 by 6 print in as less as 8 seconds. Thus, an ideal buddy for kiosks or digital photo lab. Whiles testing fast performance, we found that it can give you a full size A4 photo print in around 1 minute. This is actually much more better then the competitors.
Moving on to its operation, there is only a single button to open the door. You need to be hooked to your PC. But be rest assured, it has image algorithm to enhance natural image sharpness and clarity and give you the best of pictures. Lastly, in the box you get a printer, a paper tray, a paper strip bin, and a paper flange set, and a couple of spacers to fit in different sized rolls. The only down side it comes without any free sheet rolls, you need to buy them separately. We love the fact that the machine is quiet efficient to give you a good 400 standard size photo prints with just one roll. This way for sure the overall cost of printing would be much lower than the standard prices.
An excellent dye sublimation printer in the market with accurate sharp printing and both matte and glossy effects. This is designed for all the professional level work done in photo labs, kiosks, photo booths, etc.
2. Sawgrass Virtuso SG400 – Best For Businesses
This is another amazing unit for professional photo printing work. You will find this unit in most of the large to medium scale businesses like kiosks, digital labs, photo booths, or for that matter with professional photographers. Sawgrass models are known among the customers for its performance and design. You can use this dye sublimation printer to print photos on photo paper, and other merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, acrylic glass, tiles, plaques, socks, pillows, printable vinyl, shirts, jerseys, polyester apparels, etc. it has a high resolution of 1200×1200 dpi and can handle large format media size up to 8.5 by 14 inch. This size makes it more feasible for almost all type of printing works.
Last but not the least, it comes in a full set of ink and paper to get you start right away. This way you don’t have to shell out a penny extra. In the kit, you get a set of ink cartridges, 100 sheets of sublimation paper, a USB cable and a flash drive containing the drivers and the instruction manual. There is no after maintenance cos, you just have to pay for the paper and ink depending on the type chosen by you.
The Sawgrass SG400 is one of the high end heat transfer machine in the market. It offer a great balance of speed and performance. We recommend it for any commercial business that involves printing photo on paper or any other merchandises like tiles, jerseys, t-shirts, shirts, mugs, CD’s, etc.
3. DNP DS40 – Best For Apparels
This one took the third spot in our list. It has all the exciting features you want to start your small business of printing on different apparels. It can stand out for you because of its high speed and impressive pint quality. We tested and found the prints on apparels produced by this are quiet durable. They can water resistance, smudge resistance, and fade resistance provided you hand wash them separately which is valid for every printed apparels. While testing it for speed, we found it can produce good quality 4 by 6 images in 10 seconds on a fine mode and takes a few seconds extra for the ultra-fine mode. The maximum media size it can handle is 6 by 8. Be carefree, that with in few seconds it can give you high quality HQ prints.
The other features include a powerful print engine and image upgrade software to auto enhance the quality and bring out the true natural colors. In the kit you get the dye sublimation printer, a plastic and metal catch tray, a few spacers for 6 by 8 prints, driver, power cord, a 4 by 6 tray, and an instruction manual.
A good printer for business that involves printing on apparels and it would certainly be a good fit for crafters and hobbyists also who always are up to new projects. The after maintenance and use price is affordable than others. We recommend it a good buy for people who want standard size of high quality HD prints on an array of papers and merchandises.
4. DNP RX1HS 6″ – Best For Mass Production
If you are going to start your printing business and you want something economical yet quality wise decent, then look no further. DNP RX1HS is a great printer machine for both photo booths and gift shops. This product falls in the professional and commercial category but yet is reasonable in rate when compared to other printers of this category. The overall quality, performance and speed doe justice to the price. Its size and shape is almost equal to other printers. It looks bulky and for sure require a good space and designated place. On the front panel, they don’t have any press buttons but it does have a series of lights. For connectivity it has two options, USB port and an Ethernet cable.
The machine is compatible with both Windows and MAC operating systems. The drivers come along with the kit. Not only this, you also get few helper apps like to monitor the printing process and another utility app to make the entire photo printing process quick and easy. You can get the download link of these additional support apps on their website. Overall, it comes with a printer, power cord, a CD for driver, and a cable.
The DNP DS-RX1HS is a economical kind of printer for beginners who are going to try their hand on photo printing business or are planning to open a kisok or digital lab. A 4 by 6 roll sheet can give as high as 700 prints and a 6 by 8 paper roll can give good 350 prints. We give it a thumbs up for speed, performance, and print quality.
5. HiTi P525L – Best For Beginners
HiTi can be a good choice for you if you are going to start with your digital printing and imaging work. This is an entry level, easy to operate printer in the market. We give it a thumbs up for its compact size. It is a boxy shape printer resembling to the size of a convection oven. The front door opens to install new media rolls. On the front panel you will find a few menu buttons and a small size display screen. It is not the largest size when compared to other sublimation printers but, it is far from tiny.
Furthermore, it has professional photo software to enhance and meet to the natural colors. You can easily produce ID/passport photos, event photos, instant photos, etc. The color print is vibrant but is on the lighter side when compared to similar dye sublimation printers. In the package, you get the printer a scrap receptacle, two paper adapters, driver dis, and 2 paper flanges. The driver disc has the Windows 8 compatible driver if you want the higher version you need to download it from the company’s website.
The HiTi P525L is a great choice for customers to enter in to sublimation printing business. You can also consider it as a home use printer if you have that kind of volume and need. We recommend you to go this if you work on Windows as people face problem when using it along with Mac devices
6. Kodak Dock – Best For Instant Photo
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If you are looking for the most portable sublimation printer to match your need as nothing can be better than this. Kodak Dock is a good choice for anyone who has to only produce the standard size photo options and have to go from one place to another for on-spot printing work. You will find this one generally with photographers on on-site tourist places who provide instant quality photographs to the customers(tourists). Nevertheless, it is also a handy device for home use, if you often end up producing photographs for your crafting projects, journals, or your kids school projects. The device has some limitation but has impressive printing capabilities.
You need to buy the papers and the ink separately both of them are affordable. You will never face paper jamming or troubleshoot issue with this printer. The package comes with the printer, ten sheets of photo paper, a paper tray, lightning adapter, and an ink cartridge. Last but not the least, you can access to a mobile app to add stickers, filters, text boxes, or for any other quick editing tool.
This is the best affordable budget-friendly printer in the market. It is meant for small businesses where people want instant standard size photos on-spot. It is mostly find with photographers who move from one place to another for their work needs. The photo quality is pretty good. What more you get is the flexible connectivity using the Wi-Fi with the smart phones and USB drive.
7. Canon SELPHY CP1300 – Best For Home
This one from Canon Printer is a wireless printer that make use of the sublimation or heat transfer technology to give you instant photo print. This one is the best device to treasure your memories. You can simply connect it to your laptop, computer, memory card, USB flash drive, to print in the most convenient and fun way anytime anywhere. You can print up to 4 by 6 dimension photo from it. We recommend you to download the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app to print your favorite Facebook and Instagram photos directly from your mobile device/tab/laptop. We loved the way the Wi-Fi option lets print wirelessly.
What more we liked in this unit is the Party Shuffle feature. It allows you to create water-resistant collages to give you instant photos from several smartphone. Operating this device is extremely easy, it has a built in LCD to choose the size and type of printing you wish to have. Along with the printer you get an additional battery pack to help you when you are running out of battery.
If you love traveling or your photography job requires instant printing, this can be a good choice. We recommend it for its quality, decent performance, sleek, portable, and light weight.
Buying Guide – Things To Consider
You cannot go and simply pick any sublimation printer from the market. They are a big investment to your business, craft shop, or for your personal projects. The market has lot of variants available in different sizes, quality, and performance level. It’s important that you should know the considerations before buying one. If all these seems confusing to you we have a solution. We have prepared a detailed extensive buying guide to help you purchase the printer for sublimation/heat transfer that matches your need. Here is it:
1. Printer Use
This is one essential requisite that will tell you which type you should buy. You must be knowing what is a sublimation printer but you might nit be aware of the different kind of work they can do. A few models transfer the images to mug, t-shirts, shirts, jerseys, or plaque and a few other might only produce smudge proof fade resistant photos. So, make sure for what all you will be using the device. Market has two kinds of printers- professional ones that do all the jobs and the budget-friendly models that are used by hobbyists, craft experts, or for average consumers.
The sublimation printers used in businesses are high in price. They are used for digital labs, kiosks, photo booths, printing centers, etc. They are highly accurate and precise. They are the most durable and are the best for business where huge volume of printing is done on a regular basis. The best one in this category are Mitubishi CP-D70DW, Sawgrass Virtuso SG400, and DNP DS40 .
Next, are the consumer models. They are not that high in but good to print photos. These ones often require Wi-Fi connectivity and specialized ink and medium for printing. They are expensive to operate in the longer run as there dye is costly. The best ones in this category are: HiTi P525L, No products found., and Canon SELPHY CP1300.
2. Type Of Ink
All the printers use a special type of ink that may be a ribbon one or a cartridge one. The both need ink and paper to print. A few models have tie up with a third party manufacture who provide the ink and paper.Without a quality ink and paper none of the units can give you performance, efficiency, and speed.
Prefer buying their combos. The printer with ribbon ink or cartridge comes with specialized papers. Buying the combo will make sure that the ink does not smudge or fade away. For professional business, the ribbon ink is the best and for hobbyists both of them fit goods if budget is not a concern. No matter which one you are choosing, make sure you place a order for paper and ink beforehand only as most of the printers come without them.
3. Media Form
A sublimation printer uses special kind of paper for printing. The paper used by the professional machines comes in a large roll and for the consumer models you get rolls or paper packs or they even work with sticky papers. Moving on to the paper size, the standard sizes that they print include 2” x 6”, 3.5” x 5”, and the most common 4” x 6. A few advanced professional models can also accommodate bigger sizes like5” x 7” and 6” x 8” prints. Apart from coated paper supply, there are are other things that you can print on using the paper as a medium. You can use it to print on t-shirts, shirts, mugs, jerseys, CD’s, glasses, plaques, etc.
4. Resolution or DPI
DPI tells about the resolution i.e. is the sharpness, brightness, and clarity of the photo. It signifies dots per inch and has to do with the dot density of the image. It’s obvious the higher the resolution the higher the sharpness of the image. But that does not mean you need only a 1200 dpi printer. We recommend a 300dpi printer for almost all the consumers. Most of the high-end and consumer models come in this size. If you are looking for extra clarity you can op for 600 dpi also. A 1200 dpi printer is the king and is made give the gallery like photo prints. So, before deciding a dpi number think about what you will print and the type of media that you are planning to print on.
5. Connectivity Options
The top sublimation printers work on all the advanced operating systems be it windows or MAC. A sublimation printer can be connected to a PC, laptop, MAC device, or via a USB port. Our list has only the printers that are compatible with the most commonly used device in today’s era.While these are the common ways to transfer the photographs to your printers. Memory cards are also an ideal option to transfer the photos to the printer. Apart from that a few also comes with Android and iOS compatibility via the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. So, be careful to choose the one that best fit your needs.
Most of these products come with a warranty time that ranges anywhere between months to several years. It’s obvious the longer is the warranty period the better it is. On an average, you get one year warranty. Further also look for the warranty on replacement parts. These unit generally don’t need a repair service for years but if you get its always better.
When you are shopping for the top sublimation printers, its crucial to look for usage, type, ink color, durability, warranty, and the overall performance. Price is also important to consider, go only for the worthy ones. We hope that the information helped you narrow down your search. If you are still clueless, just think about how will you use the unit and the type you want or straight forward go with our editor’s pick, its worthy is all aspects.