Connect with Us

Table of Contents

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It means if you click and/or buy, we receive a small commission at zero additional cost to you. Read our Disclosure Policy for details.

Are you wondering whether the Sawgrass SG500 is the most reliable sublimation printer? Are you looking for an analysis of the quality of its prints and the value it offers for your money? If you are trying to determine whether the Sawgrass SG500 suits your needs, you need look no further. My review on the Sawgrass SG500 sublimation printer cuts through the noise as I dissect its performance, ease of use, and overall value to give you the clear picture you need, without excess or sales fluff.

Right of the bat let’s get an important question out of the way. Why am I the right person to review this product you might wonder? Well, I have a website featuring vast resources on sublimation crafts, and in this review I outline results of research and tests that were conducted on the SG500.

Key Takeaways

  • The Sawgrass SG500 is a dedicated sublimation printer that’s easy to set up and designed for both small businesses and hobbyists, including everything needed to start printing in the box. You are spared the frustrations related to converting a regular printer to sublimation.
  • It offers high-quality, vibrant and stunning prints with a robust design, capable of handling print sizes up to 8.5” x 14”, and upgradable to 8.5” x 51” with a bypass tray, while being energy-efficient with versatile connectivity options.
  • Despite being a high-end printer with an upfront cost of and expensive ongoing ink expenses, the SG500’s ease of use, reliable performance, and added values like a two-year warranty and technical support make it a solid investment. However, it is more affordable than the Sawgrass SG1000, more appropriate for commercial use.

Unboxing the Sawgrass SG500: First Impressions

A workroom features white sublimation printer next to printer box

Unpacking the Sawgrass SG500 is a pleasingly simple process. The design ensures the printer is protected, and all necessary accessories are conveniently included. The package includes:

  • The printer
  • Sawgrass UHD starter ink set
  • Sublimation paper. Check out this guide about using Sawgrass sublimation paper.
  • Other supplies such as tape

Everything you need to start printing is right there in the box. Make sure you read the accompanying safety manual. For installation support, you can visit sawgrassink.com/install.

The robust, compact design of the SG500 offers rugged reliability, making it an ideal fit for both small businesses and hobbyists. It also provides diverse connectivity options like Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi support to cater to various user preferences and environments.

Although aimed at small businesses and hobbyists, the unboxing experience clearly reveals the SG500’s commitment to combining high-quality printing with user-friendliness. But does it live up to these claims? That’s what we’ll put to the test.

Setting Up Your Sawgrass SG500: A Step-by-Step Guide

A workroom table contains sublimation printer next to instruction manual

The setup process for the Sawgrass SG500 is designed with user-friendliness in mind. The printer comes with a manual that provides detailed instructions on how to set it up. You start by finding a stable space with good ventilation, away from humidity, dust, direct sunlight, and heat sources. The SG500 should be left on continuously, so ensure there is a nearby electrical outlet.

Next, you carefully unbox the SG500 by removing all protective tapes and Styrofoam blocks, and handle the printer by using the indents on the back sides. The full ink cartridges are then installed in the order of black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. You should avoid touching the ink supply ports during installation. After the ink cartridges are installed, the first ink charge process begins, which uses some ink to fill the lines and print head.

Lastly, you install the printer driver. If you’re using a USB connection, wait for the installation prompt before connecting the cable to the PC or Mac. The Sawgrass provides a PrintMate software for easy printer installation and a dedicated Care Team for support during the setup process. Once you have purchased your printer, you can learn more about using the Sawgrass sublimation printer in a separate guide.

Navigating the Design and Features of the SG500

A sublimation printer seen in front of shelves in a workroom

The Sawgrass SG500 is more than just a pretty face; it combines innovative design with practical functionality. While maintaining the compactness of a standard inkjet printer, the Sawgrass SG500 offers versatility in print sizes, accommodating up to 8.5” x 14” with the standard tray and an option to extend to 8.5′′ x 51′′ with the Bypass Tray, all while utilizing high-quality Sawgrass ink.

It also improves upon its predecessor, the SG400, with a more energy-efficient design, increased printing resolution, and the inclusion of Wi-Fi connectivity.

Aesthetic and Build Quality

With its sleek design and robust construction, the Sawgrass SG500 has garnered an impressive rating for build quality. The printer is compact and lightweight, making it suitable for both home and business environments without sacrificing build quality.

The printer’s design is not just about aesthetics but also functionality. Design upgrades such as a single roll-bar and an aluminum encoder strip have been implemented to avoid paper jams and minimize dust accumulation, contributing to the printer’s longevity.

User Interface and Software Integration

Equipped with a user-friendly control panel and a backlit LCD, the Sawgrass SG500 sawgrass printer simplifies navigation and adjustments of system and network settings. While the printer lacks a touchscreen, it compensates with functionalities like WPS for effortless wireless setup and an SSID Auto Search to connect to wireless networks.

Seamless integration with the included Sawgrass Print Manager and CreativeStudio software is one of the SG500’s strong suits. These software are compatible with a broad range of operating systems, including both Windows and macOS, even those running on Apple’s M1 ARM processor using Rosetta 2.

However, it’s worth noting that new users may encounter a steep learning curve when starting out, especially regarding color management and mastering the use of the software suite. But with multiple connectivity options, including Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi, and a blue wireless indicator and signal strength check, the SG500 provides an efficient printing workflow.

Putting the Sawgrass SG500 to the Test

A sublimation printer sits next to a laptop in workroom

The key question remains: how does the Sawgrass SG500 fare in practical use? Well, it’s designed to apply designs, decals, and prints to a variety of objects using heat and ink, including apparel, fabrics, and household goods.

Now I will outline an actual test performed on the Sawgrass SG500. The print is pretty fast which is great for high volume projects. The colors looked great on sublimation paper. The next step was pressing the design on to a rag of polyester at the recommended time and temperature of 400 degrees for 60 seconds. The results on the polyester rag were certainly beautiful.

Now for the second test – this time on a shirt made from 100% polyester. This time the shirt was pressed at 365 degrees for 65 seconds. There were no bleed through issues and I loved the pretty designs on the shirt.

The third test was also conducted on polyester. The print speed is really great compared to other printers, and the output was a really successful first print and the mirroring worked. Do keep in mind – you might experience color differences depending on the software used.

Print Quality and Consistency

The Sawgrass SG500 excels in producing high-quality sublimation outputs using sublimation ink, as demonstrated by its:

  • vibrant, accurate colors
  • deeper, richer black achieved by the inclusion of complete ink cartridges
  • ability to reproduce intricate details and fine lines with a maximum print resolution of 4800 x 1200 DPI

Users experience minimal color shifting with the SG500, thanks to its intelligent color management system that produces accurate colors without the need for manual ICC profile adjustments. This is a major plus for users who want to ensure consistent color representation across different prints.

However, while the printer accommodates a maximum media size of 8.5” x 14” and has a compact footprint, this may not be sufficient for all users compared to larger formats available with some competitors.

Nevertheless, the SG500’s print speed is variable based on the quality mode chosen. Here are the approximate print times for each mode:

  • High-speed mode: 15 seconds
  • Standard mode: 1 minute and 30 seconds
  • High-quality mode: 3 minutes and 20 seconds
  • Ultra-fine photo quality: 6 minutes and 40 seconds

Handling and Usability Challenges

As with all printers, the Sawgrass SG500 presents certain handling and usability challenges. However, the printer is designed to perform a brief cleaning cycle every 10 hours to reduce the chance of print head failure or clogged nozzles. Keeping the printer powered on at all times allows for the automatic maintenance cycles to function properly.

Routine manual maintenance is required for the registration sensor and paper feed belt to prevent issues like paper misfeed errors. Periodic nozzle checks are crucial, especially before large print jobs, to ensure no nozzles are clogged or damaged. If missing nozzles are detected, the manual suggests up to three head cleans or a maximum of five head flushes, each followed by a nozzle check, as part of the troubleshooting process. Incorporating your own automatic maintenance cycle could help streamline these tasks.

Difficulties with sawgrass printers’ drivers and software updates have led to temporary disruptions for some users, requiring them to seek support. In such cases, the Sawgrass Care Team is available to assist with maintenance and troubleshooting, especially when recommended troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issues.

One of the drawbacks of the SG500 is its high price point, accompanied with expensive ink replacement costs. The ink can have the tendency to run out quickly. Therefore, ensure you have the budget for ongoing costs when you make the decision to purchase the printer.

The Bottom Line: Sawgrass SG500’s Value Proposition

A workroom featuring sublimation printer with glass blanks

Now that I’ve run a detailed review of the SG500, its time to take a step back and understand whether this printer suits your needs. This article is not a standard sales pitch, and I emphasize that it is essential to understand that the Sawgrass SG500 might not be appropriate for all users.

One of the main benefits of this printer is that it is a dedicated sublimation printer, which means you will not have to go through the challenges of conversion from a regular printer. Converting from a regular printer such as the Epson EcoTank series can also come with a number of issues such as the voiding of warranty upon conversion. Not only that, you are likely to get higher quality, close to professional grade prints with this printer. However, the Sawgrass SG500, is a more expensive option than many of the Epson EcoTank models available.

I must also emphasize how the SG500 stacks up against its competitors. When compared to Epson EcoTank models, the main feature that stands out is the fact that you avoid converting the SG500 to sublimation – this helps avoid the associated risks including ink compatibility and color problems. The SG500 is faster than the EcoTank models, but both the printer and ink are far more expensive. When compared to the Brother SP-1, the vibrant sublimation results were shown to be similar by a test – however, the SG500 has a higher print speed while coming at a higher price than the Brother SP-1. Both printers have automatic maintenance cycles. One limitation of the Sawgrass SG500 when compared to printers such as the SG1000 and Epson ET-15000 is that it has a smaller maximum print size – therefore, it might not be the best option for those with wide format needs.

So who is the Sawgrass SG500 not the best option for? In my opinion, if you are a beginner to sublimation and on a tight budget, going for the Epson Eco Tank series and converting might be a better option. If you have a slightly higher budget, you might go for the Brother SP-1 dedicated sublimation printer. If you are looking for large format print which might not be supported by the SG500, you might want to consider the Sawgrass SG1000, which has a standard tray size of 11″ x 17″ and an optional bypass tray of 13″ x 51″. You can learn more about the SG1000 in my article featuring reviews of Sawgrass printers.

However, if you have the budget, and are looking for vibrant, high quality prints from a dedicated, high-speed sublimation printer, especially if you have higher volume needs, the Sawgrass SG500 is a great choice. In my opinion, it is the best sublimation printer for smaller items such as mugs, tumblers and coasters. While you will have a higher initial investment an ongoing costs for ink, the near professional-grade quality and avoidance of issues with conversion make it an ideal choice. You can view the printer here.


In conclusion, the Sawgrass SG500 is a high-quality sublimation printer that delivers on its promises. While it comes with a higher price tag and ongoing ink expenses, its robust performance, ease of setup, and added value through warranty and support make it a worthwhile investment. If you’re looking for a printer that delivers vibrant, accurate colors, and intricately detailed prints, the SG500 could be the perfect choice for you. You can also read detailed Sawgrass sublimation printer reviews and comparisons here if you are interested in other Sawgrass printers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Sawgrass sublimation printers good?

Sawgrass sublimation printers are good because they are designed to work together, producing crisp, clean, and vivid images. Sawgrass sublimation printers offer great image quality and easy installation.

Can you sublimate on cotton with Sawgrass SG500?

Yes, you can sublimate onto cotton using Forever Subli-Light with your Sawgrass SG500 or SG1000 sublimation printer. It allows you to permanently sublimate full color images onto light cotton textiles.

How many prints can you get from Sawgrass SG500?

You can get over 200+ full coverage prints from the starter inks, even though you may receive a low ink warning.

Is the Sawgrass SG500 easy to set up?

Yes, the Sawgrass SG500 is easy to set up with its detailed manual, PrintMate software, and a dedicated Care Team for support. Give it a go!

How is the print quality of the Sawgrass SG500?

The print quality of the Sawgrass SG500 is excellent, with vibrant and accurate colors. You will likely achieve better results than with many converted printers such as Epson EcoTank printers.