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Product

Description

Where to Buy?

Product

Epson EcoTank ET-8550

Description

A Great Photo and Sticker Printer

Where to Buy?

Product

Epson EcoTank ET-2800

Description

The Economical Choice

Where to Buy?

Best Sublimation Printers

A Great Photo and Sticker Printer

Epson EcoTank ET-8550

The Economical Choice

Epson EcoTank ET-2800

Are you searching for the best printer for stickers and sublimation? It is vital to ensure you purchase the right product from the right place to boost your chances of success and satisfaction. In this article, I help you cut through the noise and focus what decision making factors that matter: quality, efficiency, and cost. Expect straightforward comparisons and essential facts to help you invest wisely in a printer that matches your creative ambitions.

But first things first – you cannot print stickers with sublimation ink. Therefore, I recommend having a separate printer for sublimation and a separate one for your stickers and similar craft projects. In this article, I provide printer options that are good for both sublimation and for stickers. However, you should not be using the same one for both crafts – as I mentioned, sublimation ink is not appropriate for sticker printing. An exception to this is if you use sublimation stickers – in that case you can use any dedicated or converted sublimation printer with sublimation ink for your stickers. To learn more about selecting a sublimation printer, read my article on choosing the best printer for your sublimation prints.

Snapshot Summary: The Best Printers for Creatives

Among the array of options, a number printers stand out with the following models, including some top-rated inkjet printers. In my opinion, two printers that work well both for stickers are the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 and the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550. To learn more, continue reading. I began my summarizing the two of the best printers for stickers and sublimation in the table above, and now it is time to take a deeper dive into each option.

Epson EcoTank ET-8550: A Great Photo and Sticker Printer

Sublimation printer with two stickers on workroom table

The first item here on my list for stickers and sublimation is the Epson EcoTank ET-8550. You can find the item here.

This model is one of the EcoTank models that can be converted to sublimation. It is also a great printer to use for photos and stickers. I will give you a few details about a sublimation test performed using this printer – using sublimation ink (to convert the printer), A-SUB sublimation paper and pressing the resulting designs on to a towel blank. The results were great and the ET-8550 is certainly a good choice for sublimation.

Pros:

  • High level of quality for photograph printing
  • Wide format capabilities for sublimation

Cons:

  • You will require a higher initial investment compared to some of the other options available such as the smaller format Epson EcoTank printers

Overall, for those of you with a higher budget and have wide format needs (e.g. plus-sized t-shirts), the EcoTank ET-8550 is a good option for a printer that can be used for stickers and sublimation projects.

Epson EcoTank 2800 – The Economical Choice

 Sublimation printer next to box of stickers on workroom table

So here we are! The next printer on my list is the Epson EcoTank ET-2800.

This is another Epson model that you can use for sublimation or for your sticker projects. For more details on installation, you can check out epson.com/support/et2800.

For sublimation on t-shirts, let’s review a test done with the ET-2800. It’s strongly recommended to start with a brand new printer for your sublimation projects. Converting an existing printer is an option, but the process of changing and installing new ink can be complex. In this test, Hiipoo sublimation ink was used. The sublimation blank used was 100% polyester shirts, and the outcome was really great.

Pros:

  • This Epson printer is your most cost-effective option – great if you are on a budget
  • Great results with stickers and similar projects
  • Affordable ink costs

Cons:

  • A major factor to keep in mind is that you should print regularly (weekly) to reduce the risk of clogs
  • Such issues make it less user-friendly than dedicated sublimation printers
  • Does not offer large format capabilities like the EcoTank 8550.

Overall, the Epson ET-2800 is an affordable Epson printer that you can convert to sublimation, as well as use for your sticker projects. If you are on a tighter budget or only have small format needs (e.g. mugs and coasters), you probably want to go for this option.

Sawgrass SG500 – The Professional’s Pick

Two boxes of stickers next to sublimation printer

Hey, we aren’t done yet! We still have one major player to cover on the list, no other than the Sawgrass SG500. You can find this printer here.

The bundle comes with the printer, ink, paper and some other tools. I will begin my exploring the pros and cons of this option.

Pros:

  • The Sawgrass SG500 is extremely user-friendly and easy to set up
  • Ink lasts a long-time before the need to refill
  • Dedicated sublimation software and color profiles are built in. I have a separate guide covering the sublimation color chart.
  • Beautiful, potentially professional-grade results on sublimation blanks

Cons:

  • Premium price point and potentially expensive ink replacements

Overall, for anyone who has the budget, the Sawgrass SG500 is a fantastic option. Being a dedicated sublimation printer, it can save you the hassles of conversion and other issues associated with it. For complete transparency I must mention that the printer is the most expensive, and could result in additional expenses for ink replacements. Nevertheless, this would be my go-to option if it is within your range.

Now its time for a numerical assessment of the product:

  • Print Quality: 5/5
  • Ease of sourcing: 5/5
  • Ease of Use: 4.8/5
  • Affordability: 3.8/5

My Overall Conclusion – What IS The Best Choice?

Several stickers featured in a workroom

So now we have completed our deep dive, you might ask what is your overall conclusion? As I mentioned earlier, if you are looking to print sublimation stickers, you can use any sublimation printer (check out the link in the introduction for a guide on choosing a great sublimation printer). Otherwise, you should have a separate printer for sublimation and for stickers. In this article, I highlighted two Epson EcoTank printers that are great for sticker projects and for converting to sublimation – the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 for those with smaller format requirements or with a tighter budget, and the EcoTank Photo ET-8550 for those with larger format needs and a higher budget.

Navigating Your Perfect Printer Purchase

The process of selecting the right printer involves understanding the printing process, which includes:

  • Evaluating print quality requirements
  • Considering size and volume needs
  • Taking budgetary restrictions into account
  • Comprehending the printer’s capabilities, print settings and maintenance demands

Determining Print Quality Needs

The quality of your prints is paramount in sublimation printing. DPI, or Dots Per Inch, determines the sharpness and detail of your images. However, while higher DPI values can lead to finer printed patterns, excessive DPI may cause ink saturation and blending of dots if the material is not capable of supporting high-resolution printing.

Assessing Size and Volume

The sublimation paper size you choose is key to ensuring project efficiency and minimizing waste. A4 is a versatile size that fits many custom projects. However, to ensure complete coverage and avoid unnecessary trimming, the sublimation paper size needs to closely match the dimensions of the customized item.

For items with unique shapes, selecting a sticker paper size that can be accurately trimmed to fit the product’s contours while providing full design coverage is essential.

Budgeting for Long-Term Costs

Sublimation printers have costs that extend beyond the initial purchase. From ink to paper, blanks, and heat press equipment, the costs can range from $170 to $90,000. Different printers come with different ink systems, some offering cost efficiency in ongoing usage. While generic inks may reduce immediate expenses, they can lead to quality issues and increased labor costs, affecting overall profitability and production efficiency.

Therefore, accounting for these long-term costs is a critical aspect of choosing a printer, such as a laser printer, ink cartridges or printing stickers.

Summary

In the journey of sublimation and sticker printing, the choice of printer is as crucial as the artist’s vision. Whether it’s the precise strokes of the Epson SureColor F170, the budget-friendly Epson EcoTank Series, the professional prowess of the Sawgrass SG500, there’s a perfect printer for every artist. So, choose wisely and let your creativity flourish!

Frequently Asked Questions

What printer is best for sublimation?

The best printer for sublimation is the Brother SP-1, which offers great performance and affordability.

Which EcoTank printer is best for stickers?

One of the best EcoTank printer for stickers is the EcoTank Photo ET-8550, which is specifically designed for high-quality photo and sticker printing.

What is DPI and why is it important in sublimation printing?

A higher DPI, or Dots Per Inch, is important in sublimation printing as it determines the sharpness and detail of your images, leading to finer printed patterns.

How does the size of sublimation paper impact the printing process?

Matching the size of sublimation paper with the dimensions of the item being customized is important to ensure complete coverage and avoid the need for trimming. This allows for a smoother and more efficient printing process.

What are the long-term costs associated with sublimation printers?

The long-term costs of sublimation printers can range from $170 to $90,000, including expenses for ink, paper, blanks, and heat press equipment. Be mindful of these costs when considering a sublimation printer for your needs.