Sublimation printing is the best way to print designs on objects. With sublimation, you can print on anything from t-shirts, to tote bags, to mugs! The process involves printing on a special piece of paper, which you transfer on to another material with heat. Of course, if you want to do sublimation printing, you’ll need a sublimation printer. But what if you can’t get hold of one? Is there a home printer that’s up to the job?
The answer is an Epson printer. Epson printers are renowned for their print quality, and they can easily be converted to work with sublimation ink ike those in the Epson UltraChrome Inks line. With the right ink (we recommend the Printers Jack Artisan set), you can start printing on anything – without investing thousands in a costly new machine. There are several lines that work well for sublimation, depending on how much work you’re willing to put into the conversion. So, which is the best Epson printer for sublimation? We’ve looked at all the models available to bring you a top-5 list.
Product Comparison Table: Best Epson Printer for Sublimation
|Best in class
|Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 SuperTank Printer
|Best Print Quality
|Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 SuperTank Printer
|Best for Large Volumes
|Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer
|Epson Expression Photo HD XP–15000
|Best Wide Format
|Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Colour SuperTank Printer
The Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 SuperTank Printer uses bottle inks instead of cartridges, which are easily switched out for sublimation inks. Epson claim the ET8550 offers ‘lab-quality’ prints, and it certainly has the technology to back it up: Epson’s high-accuracy printhead and Claria ET Premium 6-color inks print a 4 x 6″ photo in as fast as 15 seconds, at a resolution of up to 5760 x 1440 dpi.
It has a very wide range of media support, including borderless photos up to 13″ x 19″. This means it handles speciality media like sublimation paper incredibly well. You can connect to the printer using your smartphone, laptop or tablet, via wireless connection. The Epson Smart Panel app allows you to set up, monitor and operate the printer from these devices too.
- Very high resolution for stunning prints
- Handles a range of paper sizes
- Wireless connection
- Bottle inks, not cartridge
- Very expensive
The Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 SuperTank Printer is the best Epson printer for sublimation if you prioritize print quality. It has the highest resolution of any printer on this list, and delivers exactly the results you’d expect – crisp, bright, professional-looking prints. If you’re planning to sublimation print a lot, or use your prints for professional purposes, this machine is definitely worth the price.
The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 SuperTank Printer uses Epson DURABrite ink bottles, making it incredibly easy to convert to sublimation. All you need to do is substitute new inks for the included bottles, and you’ll be ready to go. It uses the trademark EcoTank PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology to achieve the lightning speed of 25 ISO ppm, in black and white or color.
As for paper formats, it supports wide format prints up to wide-format prints up to 13″ x 19″, and borderless prints up to 11″ x 17″. They’re also instant-dry so you won’t risk smudging if you print lots at once. Lastly, this printer has a 500-sheet total paper capacity and a built in ADF (auto document feeder), so your printing will be seamless. Wireless connection is available, and you can even try out voice-activated printing if you’re feeling adventurous.
- Large paper capacity and format range
- Super fast printing speeds
- Wireless connection
- Bottle inks, not cartridge
- Very, very expensive
- Large and bulky construction
The Epson EcoTank range is the best selling supertank printer line in the world, and for good reason. The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 SuperTank Printer is the large volume edition of the EcoTank, allowing you to print larger quantities of sublimation papers. This is the perfect machine if you’re planning to make money from your prints; however, you would have to be sure your business would make returns, as this is the most expensive out of the whole EcoTank range.
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer offers high-performance printing at a low price. Powered by PrecisionCore technology, this printer uses 4x DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridges to deliver a print quality of 4800 x 1200 max dpi. Due to the fact it uses cartridges, it’s not so straightforward to convert to sublimation, but it does work well once set up.
Like others in the WorkForce range, the WF-4730 is very fast: 20 ppm for both black and colour, enough for over 1000 an hour. There is also a 500-sheet paper capacity using two trays, plus a 35-page Auto Document Feeder,so you’ll replace paper less often. Plus, a 35-page Auto Document Feeder enhances your productivity. Lastly, it prints at a reasonably wide format: the max width is 13 inches.
- High resolution for good quality
- Superb paper handling and fast speed
- Great value low price
- Wireless connection option
- Uses cartridges, not bottles
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 Wireless All-in-One Printer is the fastest Epson sublimation printer. Although the price is low, this doesn’t show in the performance; it prints in high quality, and can even manage wider format papers. However, it is a cartridge printer, so it’s harder to convert to sublimation. You’ll need to refill the cartridges with sublimation ink, but this is very doable if you’re willing to make the effort.
The Epson Expression Photo HD XP–15000 inkjet printer provides great printing quality thanks to the 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution. Individual 6 color Claria photo HD inks include red and gray for an ultra wide color gamut and enhanced black and white prints, and even offer Amazon Dash Replenishment which, after activation, keeps track of your ink usage and orders more from when you are running low.
This machine can handle larger paper, too – in sizes up to A3. Despite its wide format, it’s still 30 percent smaller than its predecessor and features a 50 sheet rear tray for specialty media, including cardstock. It accommodates a variety of paper finishes and borderless sizes from 4×6 to 14×9, making for the largest size capability of any printer on this list. It supports USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, AirPrint and ePrint connections.
- Borderless printing up to 13 inches x 19 inches
- Very good print quality
- Wireless connectivity
- Small for an A3 model
- Slow speed of printing
- Difficult to convert
The Epson Expression Photo HD XP–15000 is the best on our list for wide print capability, handling the most versatile range of sizes with impressive quality and speed. Although it makes a great sublimation printer, the Expression isn’t the easiest to convert; it uses six cartridges, which are slightly more fiddly to switch to sublimation. However, if you’re handy, this is an excellent wide format choice.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Colour SuperTank Printer is fast, affordable and easy to use. As a multifunctional machine, it scans, prints and copies too. Its biggest innovation is being entirely cartridge-free; instead, it uses Epson’s exclusive EcoFit ink bottles. Each ink bottle replaces 90 conventional cartridges, and can easily be switched for a sublimation bottle..
The unique Micro Piezo Heat-Free technology makes sharp text, impressive colors and clear graphics, even on sublimation paper. Connectivity options include WiFi, hands-free voice activated printing and the Epson Smart Panel smartphone app. The primary downside is slow printing speeds, at approximately 5ppm.
- Super easy to convery
- Wireless connectivity
- High resolution for good quality prints
- Slow printing speeds
- WiFi connection fairly weak
The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Colour SuperTank Printer is our best Epson printer for sublimation overall. Although it prints slowly, the bottle technology is invaluable as it makes converting a piece of cake. The print quality is amazingly sharp, even after the prints have been transferred on to the new material. Not only is this the easiest to use Epson printer for sublimation, it’s also the easiest to set up, and the best value for money.