Can You Use a Regular Printer for Sublimation Printing?

Trying to start your own custom sublimation printing business? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the technicalities? You may be asking yourself questions like, which printer do I choose or can I use a regular printer for sublimation printing?

Don’t worry – we have the answers to all of your questions right here! In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about finding and using the best printer for sublimation printing.

With our knowledge and tips, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful designs that wow customers and make impressive profits! So pour yourself a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of professional-grade sublimation printers.

Can you use a regular printer for sublimation?

The short answer is no. To do sublimation printing, you need a special type of printer that is specifically designed for the sublimation process. A regular printer will not work for sublimation.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do sublimation printing with your regular printer. To use your regular printer for sublimation, you have to convert it to sublimation mode.

Once you have converted your normal printer to sublimation, you can use it for sublimation printing.

In simple words, you can use a regular printer for sublimation, as long as it meets certain requirements.

  • It must have piezo print heads.
  • It uses sublimation ink.

However, if it does not meet these requirements, then you will need to invest in a sublimation printer.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a type of digital printing that uses heat to transfer images onto a substrate. It is often used to print on fabric, but can also be used on other materials such as metal, wood, and glass.

The process begins by printing an image onto a transfer paper using sublimation inks. The sublimation inks are made of dyes that turn into gas when heated. The sublimation paper is then placed on the substrate and passed through a heat press.

The heat press applies high temperatures ( 350-400°F), which cause the dyes to turn into gas and penetrate the substrate.

Sublimation printing is a great way to create customized designs because it allows for full-color, photo-quality prints. The prints are also durable and will not fade over time.

If you are interested in creating custom-printed designs, sublimation printing is a great option to consider.

So what kind of printer do you need for sublimation printing? Two main types of printers can be used: inkjet and dye-sublimation.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are one of the most popular types of office printers and home printers. They provide high-quality prints at a reasonable price, and they’re relatively easy to use.

Inkjet printer working

An Inkjet printer works by spraying ink onto a piece of paper. The ink is stored in small cartridges that are inserted into the printer. When you print something, the inkjet printer uses tiny nozzles to spray the ink onto the paper.

The ink is drawn from the cartridges and passed through the nozzles by a small electric charge. This charge is created by tiny wires that are located inside the printer head.

The ink droplets are sprayed onto the paper in a precise pattern, and they fuse with the paper to create the image that you’re printing.

Can you use an inkjet printer for sublimation?
Yes, you can use an inkjet printer for sublimation if and only if it has piezo print heads.

Depending on the quality of your printer, you can get prints that are nearly photo-quality. And because these printers don’t rely on physical contact between the print head and the paper, they’re much less likely to cause damage to delicate papers.

If you’re looking for a printer that can provide high-quality prints at a reasonable price, an inkjet printer is a good option.

Dye sublimation printers

Dye-sublimation printers are a type of printer that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as paper, fabric, or plastic. This printer uses dye sublimation inks and the ink is transferred onto the material by first being printed onto a sublimation paper.

How does it work?

The sublimation paper is then placed on the material and passed through a heat press. The heat press applies pressure and heat to the dye, causing it to vaporize and sublimate, or change from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid stage.

This printing process allows the dye sublimation ink to penetrate the material, resulting in a durable, high-quality image. These printers are commonly used to print photos and images onto mugs, t-shirts, and other objects.

These printers are more expensive, but they offer higher-quality prints.

So what printer can be used for Sublimation? 

To select a printer for sublimation, you need to consider the print heads.

There are two types of print heads.

Any printer whether it is inkjet or dye-sublimation can be used for sublimation printing if it has piezo print heads.

If your printer has thermal print heads instead of piezo print heads, you cannot use that printer for sublimation. Therefore, printers with thermal print heads can’t be used for sublimation.

Can you use sublimation ink for regular printing?

Sublimation ink is not regular ink. Unlike other ink, it is specially used for sublimation.

Sublimation ink is a type of ink that is used in printers to produce images with superior levels of detail and clarity. The sublimation ink is made up of dye particles that are sublimated or turned into gas when heated.

This gas then condenses onto the surface of the print media, such as sublimation paper or fabric. Sublimation printing is often used for producing high-quality images, such as photographs or graphics.

The process is also commonly used for transferring images onto objects, such as mugs, acrylic keychains, or t-shirts.

Also, the prints you get with sublimation ink look dull and not very bright. It is because the colors get brighter and more vivid when it is heated in the heat press.

Therefore, Sublimation ink can’t be used for regular printing.

Piezo Printing Technology

Piezo print technology is a type of inkjet printing that uses piezoelectric ceramic crystals to create an electric field. This field then creates charged droplets of ink that are deposited onto the substrate, causing it to stick.

Industrial Scope

Piezo print technology is commonly used for industrial and commercial applications, as it is more precise and can print on a variety of materials. However, it is also becoming increasingly popular for home users, as it can produce high-quality prints.

Piezo print technology has a number of advantages over traditional inkjet printing, including its speed, accuracy, and durability.

Additionally, it is less likely to clog than traditional inkjet printers, making it easier to maintain. As piezo print technology continues to improve, it is likely to become the preferred choice for all types of printing applications.

Can you use Epson printers for sublimation?

Any printer that uses Piezo printing technology can be used for sublimation. Most of the Epson printers can be used for sublimation as Epson printers are well known for producing the best sublimation prints.

The same thing applies to all other printers too, whether you are using Canon printers or HP printers, you just need to check what kind of printing technology it uses.

I have seen many good reviews about the Epson printer, they are quite good for sublimation. Epson EcoTanks and Workforce printers are one of the best sublimation printers.

And the good thing is that if you don’t have a sublimation printer, you can also convert your Epson printer to a sublimation printer.

HP, Canon, Brother printer. Which one is best for sublimation?

When it comes to sublimation printing, HP, Canon, and Brother are all reliable brands that can provide excellent results.

1. HP Printers for Sublimation  

However, if you’re looking for the absolute best printer for sublimation printing, then an HP printer is the way to go. HP printers boast a range of features that make them perfect for creating high-quality prints with stunning color accuracy. The ink used in these printers is specially formulated for sublimation printing and provides vibrant colors with crisp lines and clear details.

Additionally, HP printers have advanced image processing technology that ensures images print accurately with the highest resolution possible. Finally, the special coating used on these printers helps prevent fading of prints over time and allows for long-lasting results without losing any of their original color or clarity.

But HP sublimation printers are not on a small scale like Epson which is available in all ranges. For Example, the HP Stitch S500 and S1000 Dye sublimation printers cost thousands of dollars as they are made for heavy commercial use.

So, HP printers can’t be used for sublimation by individuals as they are too expensive.

2. Brother Printer for Sublimation 

Brother printers are also an excellent choice for sublimation printing. They have a wide range of features and functions that make them perfect for the job. They can handle both sheets of paper and transfer media, allowing you to print on various materials such as fabric, metals, wood, etc.

With their high-precision inkjet technology, they produce vibrant colors and crisp details on whatever material you’re working with. Additionally, Brother printers offer fast printing speeds and energy-saving performance. This means you can get your prints quickly without worrying about wasting too much electricity.

With its easy-to-use interface, even someone who’s never done sublimation printing before should be able to figure out how to get started in no time at all.

The flexibility of Brother printers is another huge benefit when it comes to sublimation printing. Most models are compatible with both dye-based inks and pigmented inks – so if you want to switch between different ink types depending on what kind of project you’re tackling, Brother has got you covered.

Overall, Brother printers offer a great combination of features that make them perfect for sublimation projects – from their intuitive software interfaces and versatile ink options to their speed and energy efficiency.

3. Canon Printer for Sublimation 

Canon printers are not suitable for sublimation as they use thermal print heads which is not good for sublimation printing. However, if you found a Canon printer that uses piezo print heads, you can ask Canon support to check if it supports sublimation.

My Opinion

Overall, while there are many printers on the market suitable for sublimation printing. Most printers use the latest technology to give you printed results.

But since you want to use it for sublimation, there are two brands that are a perfect fit for it.

Epson and Brother Sublimation printers are the most popular and best sublimation printers available out there as they are available in almost all price range and uses piezo print technology.


Can I use normal printer for sublimation?

No, a normal printer cannot be used for sublimation. Sublimation requires a specific type of printer called a sublimation printer, which uses special inks that can turn into gas and bond with the material when heat is applied during the sublimation process.

Can you convert a regular printer into a sublimation printer?

You can convert your existing printer into a sublimation printer, but this involves cleaning out the ink lines, and afterward, the printer will only be suitable for sublimation printing, not regular ink printing

Is a sublimation printer better than a regular printer?

When selecting a printer, the primary factor to consider is the print quality. In this context, sublimation outperforms inkjet printing, delivering better prints due to the heat press that enables colors to blend seamlessly at high temperatures during the sublimation process.

Final Thoughts

There are several factors to look for when selecting a sublimation printer, like ink consumption, print quality, and most importantly the cost.

Sublimation can produce high-quality prints, but not all printers can be used for sublimation. You need the right type of printer to do it. So carefully select your sublimation printers while keeping the main aspects in view.

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