Best Cheap Sublimation Printer: Affordable Picks

Best Cheap Sublimation Printer: Affordable Picks

Sublimation printing’s surge in popularity is due to its ability to produce durable, high-quality prints. However, finding an affordable yet reliable sublimation printer is challenging, particularly for those on a tight budget. The market is saturated with options, often making unrealistic promises, resulting in disappointment and poor-quality prints.

Locating the best inexpensive sublimation printer is a common issue. Thorough research and evaluation of various printers are crucial before purchasing, though there are no guarantees of finding the perfect match for your needs and budget. Our expert team has performed in-depth research and testing on multiple models, considering factors like print quality, price, wireless connectivity, print speed, and user-friendliness. We’ve also considered customer reviews, brand reputation, and overall value for money, compiling a list of the best cheap sublimation printers that cater to various budgets.

NOTE: The printers in the list are inkjet printers that must be converted for sublimation. These are selected as they render high-quality prints when converted and are the most affordable ones.

Comparison Table

Refer to the table for a quick comparison of the most crucial features.

image product shop
9.8
Epson EcoTank ET-2720
Epson EcoTank ET-2720
Editors Choice
Functionality: Print / Copy / Scan
Printing Speed: Black: 10.5 ISO ppm, Color: 5.0 ISO ppm
Connectivity: WI-FI, Wireless, USB
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Size and Portability: 14.8″ x 22.8″ x 10.0″ and 12.7 lbs
9.7
Epson Expression-15000
Epson Expression-15000
Best for T-Shirts
Functionality: Print
Printing Speed: Black: 9.2 ISO ppm, Color: 9.0 ISO ppm
Connectivity: USB, Wireless, WI-FI, Ethernet
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi
Size and Portability: 18.7″ x 30.9″ x 16.2″ and 18.7 lbs
9.7
Epson EcoTank ET-3830
Epson EcoTank ET-3830
Best for Beginners
Functionality: Print/ Scan/ Copy
Printing Speed: 15 ppm Black, 8 ppm Color
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB
Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
Size and Portability: 14.8 x 19.8 x 7.4, 16.57 pounds
9.6
Epson Expression XP-7100
Epson Expression XP-7100
Best for tumblers
Functionality: Print / Copy / Scan
Printing Speed: Black: 15.8 ppm, Color: 1 ppm
Connectivity: USB
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Size and Portability: 17.2 x 23.5 x 8.1 and 21.5 pounds
9.7
Brother MFC-J995DW
Brother MFC-J995DW
Best for Small Businesses
Functionality: Print/Scan/Fax
Printing Speed: Black:12 ISO ppm, Color: 10 ISO ppm
Connectivity: Wireless, NFC, Ethernet, WI-FI, USB
Resolution: 6000 x 1200 dpi
Size and Portability: 17.1 x 13.4 x 7.7″ and 19.4 lb
9.8
Epson Ecotank 15000
Epson Ecotank 15000
Best for Large prints
Functionality: Scan/ Print/ Fax/ Copy
Printing Speed: Black: 17 ISO ppm, Color: 9 ISO ppm
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
Size and Portability: 19.6″ x 29.6″ x 14.3″ and 26.46 lb
9.6
Epson Ecotank ET-4700
Epson Ecotank ET-4700
Best for Cricut
Functionality: Print/ Scan/ Copy
Printing Speed: Black: 15 ISO ppm, Color: 8 ISO ppm
Connectivity: Wireless, Ethernet
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Size and Portability: 16.5 x 17.6 x 12 and 11 pounds

Top 7 Best Cheap Sublimation Printers

Given are our top picks for the best affordable sublimation printers. Each product is specified for the purpose it serves the best to help you choose the right one as per your needs.

Let us get straight to reviews without further ado.

1. Epson EcoTank ET-2720 – Editors Choice

Epson EcoTank ET-2720

I had the pleasure of testing the Epson EcoTank ET-2720, and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed with its performance. It is the Editors’ Choice for the best cheap sublimation printer with an innovative cartridge-free printing system with high-capacity ink tanks. This feature saves ink costs and makes the printer eco-friendly by reducing cartridge waste.

The Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology produces sharp and vivid prints on any paper type, making it perfect for sublimation printing. The prints can be transferred to various substrates and become more vivid and sharp with sublimation. Moreover, its all-in-one functionality with a built-in scanner and copier and modern connectivity options like wireless and voice-activated printing make it an easy and convenient option.

The printer’s sturdy construction and low ink consumption further add to its appeal, making it an ideal choice for those looking to convert it for sublimation.

Highlighted Features

  • Innovative cartridge-free printing with high-capacity ink tanks for worry-free filling.
  • Dramatic savings on replacement ink compared to cartridges.
  • Zero cartridge waste for reducing environmental impact.
  • Excellent print quality thanks to the innovative Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology, which produces clear text and color graphics on any paper type.
  • Integrated scanner and copier with a flatbed scanner with a high resolution and a color display.
  • Modern connectivity with wireless and voice-activated printing for convenience.
  • Epson Smart Panel Application for simple printing from smart devices.
Pros
  • Creates vivid prints
  • Sturdy construction
  • Easy to convert for sublimation
  • Low ink consumption
Cons
  • Renders inconsistent results sometimes

The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is a great printer that provides excellent value for its price. Its cartridge-free printing system, impressive print quality, all-in-one functionality, and modern connectivity options make it an outstanding choice for those looking for a sublimation printer that is both reliable and cost-effective.

2. Epson Expression-15000 – Best for T-Shirts

Epson Expression-15000

The Epson Expression-15000 printer is the perfect choice for sublimation printing on t-shirts, thanks to its professional ultra HD photo quality that delivers brilliant borderless prints up to 13 inches x 19 inches. We tested the printer with various materials, and the fabric was the best substrate. The prints on sublimation t-shirts came out beautiful and vibrant, with no signs of cracking and smearing.

The printer has a 50-sheet back tray for specialty media to support a variety of paper finishes. A printer offers versatile media handling with borderless sizes ranging from 4 by 6 inches to 13 by 19 inches. Furthermore, the ultra-compact printer won’t consume much space, and you can use it on a desktop, making it a space-saving option.

The Epson Expression-15000 also features a 200-sheet front tray for uninterrupted printing, wireless connectivity, and a touchscreen for simple navigation, making it an easy and convenient option.

Highlighted Features

  • Stunning borderless prints up to 13 by 19 inches.
  • Professional super HD photo quality prints with  5760 x 1440 dpi resolution.
  • A rear 50-sheet tray for specialty media for convenient media handling.
  • Allows for a wide range of paper treatments for added versatility.
  • Ultra-compact size to be handled with great convenience.
  • 200-sheet front tray for uninterrupted printing.
Pros
  • Borderless printing upto 13 x 19
  • High-capacity sheets
  • Wireless connection
  • Touchscreen for simple navigation
Cons
  • Lakcs automatic document feeder

The Epson Expression-15000 is a superb sublimation printer for t-shirts, providing borderless printing up to 13 x 19, high-capacity sheets, wireless connectivity, and a touchscreen for simple navigation. If you are looking for a reliable and high-performance sublimation printer, the Epson Expression-15000 is an excellent choice.

3. Epson EcoTank ET-3830 – Best for Beginners

Epson EcoTank ET-3830

I had the opportunity to test out the Epson EcoTank ET-3830, and I must say, I was impressed with its performance. Beginners in sublimation printing should choose this printer. Its high-capacity ink tanks and unique cartridge-free printing delivers worry-free filling and significant cost savings for ink replacement.

The Epson EcoTank ET-3830 also delivers impressive print quality with sharp text and color graphics on any paper type, making it a reliable choice for sublimation printing. It’s a great plus for beginners who are always uncertain about using a sublimation printer, as the output usually never comes out well.

Moreover, the printer’s robust paper handling with a 250-sheet paper tray enhances productivity. Thanks to the integrated scanner and copier with a high-resolution scanner and 2.4″ color display, it is a flexible all-in-one alternative.

The Epson EcoTank ET-3830 features modern connectivity with Ethernet, wireless, and voice-activated printing for convenience. Also, using the Epson Smart Panel App to print from smart devices is straightforward.

Highlighted Features

  • Innovative cartridge-free printing with high-capacity ink tanks for worry-free filling.
  • Significant savings on replacing ink when using replacement ink bottles instead of cartridges.
  • Zero cartridge waste for reducing environmental impact.
  • Impressive print quality with sharp text and color graphics with 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution.
  • 250-sheet paper tray for higher productivity.
  • Built-in scanner and copier with 2.4″ color display and high-resolution flatbed scanner.
  • Modern connectivity with Ethernet, wireless, and voice-activated printing for convenience.
  • The Epson Smart Panel App is easy to use and makes it easy to print from smart devices.
Pros
  • Good print quality
  • Easy to convert for sublimation
  • Easy to refill large ink tanks
Cons
  • Display might be small for some users

The Epson EcoTank ET-3830 is a great option for beginners in sublimation printing, offering good print quality, easy conversion for sublimation, and large ink tanks that are easy to refill. It is a cost-effective printer with reliable performance suitable for personal and small business use.

4. Epson Expression XP-7100 – Best for Tumblers

Epson Expression XP-7100

If you’re looking for the best affordable sublimation printer for tumblers, the Epson Expression XP-7100 is an excellent choice. This printer boasts superior photo quality, perfect for producing stunning prints, especially on tumblers.

We have tested the printer with various substrates and were most impressed by its output on tumblers. The printer media handling of up to 8 x 10 inches makes it a good fit for tumblers. Furthermore, the prints on tumblers always come out vivid and bright and last longer, making it a worthy choice.

The printer’s productivity-oriented design has a 30-page auto document feeder. It also produces crisp text for eye-catching documents. The XP-7100 also offers multiple media feeds for versatility and the ability to print on specialty paper and DVDs for creativity.

Highlighted Features

  • With a 30-page auto document feeder and the capability to copy and scan, this printer is built for productivity.
  • Multiple media feeds for versatility.
  • Ability to print on specialty paper and DVDs for creativity.
  • Borderless photo printing up to 8 inches x 10 inches.
  • Convenient, hassle-free features with a large 4.3-inch touchscreen.
  • Direct printing from USB or SD card slot for easy access to photos.
  • High-quality output with crispier text and beautiful graphics and images.
Pros
  • High resolution prints
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy navigation
Cons
  • Few choices for connectivity

The Epson Expression XP-7100 is a great option for sublimation printing on tumblers, providing high-resolution prints, easy setup, and easy navigation.

5. Brother MFC-J995DW – Best for Small Businesses

Brother MFC-J995DW

As a small business owner, I have been using the Brother MFC-J995DW printer for the last four months, and I must say, I am thoroughly pleased with its performance. This printer is ideal for small businesses as it is effortless to set up and has incredible speed. It delivers high-quality printed paper seconds after pressing the print button on the device I print from. There’s no more clunking and pounding and no more printing with white streaks.

The Brother MFC-J995DW has a beautiful design, and the build quality is durable, making it a reliable printer that can be used for a long time. It has an internal ink storage tank and an Inkvestment tank system with redesigned ink cartridges to be filled with sublimation ink for continuous printing. Additionally, the printer’s intelligent Page Gauge eliminates ink replacement guesswork.

Highlighted Features

  • Inkvestment tank system with reengineered ink cartridges and internal ink storage tank for uninterrupted printing.
  • Brother intelligent Page Gauge for eliminating ink replacement guesswork.
  • A wide variety of operating system compatibility.
  • Wireless and desktop printing from mobile devices.
  • Exceptional quality output with 6000 x 1200 dpi resolution.
Pros
  • Speedy printing
  • Scan accuracy and color depth
  • Solid construction
  • High resolution
Cons
  • LCD might be small for some users

The Brother MFC-J995DW is an excellent choice for small businesses, offering speedy printing, accurate scanning, solid construction, and high resolution. It’s a reliable printer that doesn’t cost much and does a great job.

6. Epson Ecotank 15000 – Best for Large Prints

Epson Ecotank 15000

I had the pleasure of using the Epson EcoTank 15000 printer for sublimation printing, and I have to say, it impressed me with its features and performance. This printer is an excellent option for large prints, providing versatile paper handling with a rear feed for up to 13″ x 19″ printing and ADF for up to 8.5″ x 14″ scanning/copying.

One thing that stood out to me was the printer’s high-yield ink bottles, which reduced environmental waste and saved up to 90% on ink costs.

Moreover, the printer’s high productivity with a 2.7″ color touchscreen and hands-free, voice-activated printing made it a convenient option for me. The Epson EcoTank 15000 also offers an ultimate wireless solution with easy printing from iPad, iPhone, Android tablet, and smartphone, and Wi-Fi Direct for network-free printing.

Highlighted Features

  • Save up to 90% on ink with low-cost replacement bottles vs. cartridges for cost-effective printing.
  • Versatile paper handling with rear feed for up to 13″ x 19″ printing and ADF for up to 8.5″ x 14″ scanning/copying.
  • Less waste is produced by using high-yield ink bottles with no cartridge waste.
  • It can hold 250 sheets of paper and has a front tray and a back feed for specialty paper.
  • With a 2.7-inch color touchscreen and voice-activated printing, this printer is easy to use and gets much done.
  • The iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and smartphone make it easy to print, and Wi-Fi Direct lets you print without a network.
Pros
  • Larger printing format
  • Outstanding printing quality
  • Voice activation
  • Touch display for easy navigation
Cons
  • A bit expensive

The Epson EcoTank 15000 is an exceptional sublimation printer for large prints, offering a larger printing format, outstanding printing quality, voice activation, and a touch display for easy navigation.

7. Epson Ecotank ET-4700 – Best for Cricut

Epson Ecotank ET-4700

As someone who enjoys crafting with my Cricut machine, I was thrilled to discover the Epson EcoTank ET-4700 sublimation printer, the best option for Cricut on the market. This printer is ideal for anyone looking for a new printer, as it offers high resolution and borderless printing up to 4′′ x 6′′.

One of the standout features of the EcoTank ET-4700 is its innovative cartridge-free printing with high-capacity ink tanks and zero cartridge waste, which results in significant savings on replacement ink. Additionally, the printer’s high-resolution flatbed scanner and color display make basic home printing convenient, and its built-in scanner and copier provide easy document copying and navigation.

Another plus point is the printer’s modern connectivity, with wireless and voice-activated printing and an intuitive Epson Smart Panel App for easy printing from smart devices. The printer’s small size, low running costs, and high page yield make it a reliable and cost-effective option for personal and small business use.

Highlighted Features

  • High-resolution flatbed scanner and color display for convenient basic home printing.
  • Innovative printing without cartridges, with high-capacity ink tanks that are easy to fill.
  • Dramatic savings on replacement ink with up to 90% savings vs. cartridges.
  • Zero cartridge waste for environmentally friendly printing.
  • Impressive print quality with sharp text and color graphics with 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution.
  • High-resolution scanner and a color display with an integrated scanner and copier for easy printing.
  • Modern connectivity with wireless and voice-activated printing for convenience.
Pros
  • High resolution
  • Small size
  • Low runnig costs
  • High page yield
Cons
  • Printheads prone to clogging when not cleaned regularly

The Epson EcoTank ET-4700 is a fantastic sublimation printer for Cricut, delivering exceptional performance and high resolution. Its innovative design and features, such as cartridge-free printing and modern connectivity, make it an outstanding option for anyone needing a reliable and cost-effective printer.

Buying Guide

There are several factors you should consider before buying an affordable sublimation printer.

Resolution

The final print’s quality is determined by the resolution of the number of dots per inch (dpi) the printer can generate. Choose a printer with a high resolution, at least 4800 x 1200 dpi, so that your prints will be clear and sharp. Remember that higher resolutions require more ink and may slow the printing process, so choose a resolution that balances quality and efficiency.

Printing Speed

When picking a sublimation printer, it’s important to consider how fast it prints. The printing speed refers to how many pages or images the printer can produce per minute. Higher printing rates are often preferred since they can boost productivity and efficiency. However, faster printing speeds may cost print quality, especially at higher resolutions. Balancing speed and print quality is essential to ensure your prints look great and are produced quickly.

Connectivity

Most modern sublimation printers offer a range of connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB, which allow you to print wirelessly or connect directly to your devices. Choosing a printer with multiple connectivity options can make it more versatile and convenient, especially if you plan to print from different devices or locations.

Printer Size

Sublimation printer size and portability are important. If you have limited space, you may want to choose a compact printer that is easy to store when not in use. Remember that smaller printers may have limited paper handling capabilities or slower printing speeds, so choose a printer that balances size and portability with functionality and performance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the best cheap sublimation printer can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Our list of the top 7 best cheap sublimation printers includes a range of models with varying features, capabilities, and prices.

The Epson ET-2720 takes the Editor’s Choice for its innovative cartridge-free printing, high-capacity ink tanks, and impressive print quality. The Epson Expression-15000 is the best option for T-Shirts, with its professional ultra HD photo quality and versatile paper handling. The Epson ET-3830 is the best option for beginners, with its impressive print quality and modern connectivity. The Epson Expression XP-7100 is the best option for tumblers, with its superior photo quality and multiple media feeds.

The Brother MFC-J995DW is the best option for small businesses, with its inkvestment tank system and mobile device printing capabilities. The Epson15000 is the best option for large prints, with its ultimate wireless solution and high productivity. Finally, with its high-resolution flatbed scanner and color display, the Epson ET-4700 is the finest option for Cricut. Ultimately, the best printer depends on your specific needs and budget, but this list is a great starting point for finding the perfect sublimation printer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are cheap sublimation printers any good?

Many affordable sublimation printers offer excellent print quality and essential features such as wireless connectivity and ease of use. However, it’s important to research and read reviews before purchasing to ensure you’re getting a reliable and high-quality printer.

Can I sublimate using a standard printer?

No, standard printers are not intended for use for sublimation printing. A printer with a heat transfer mechanism and unique sublimation ink is needed for sublimation printing. However, some standard printers like Epson Ecotank and Workforce models can be converted with modifications and sublimation ink.

What kind of materials can I print on with a sublimation printer?

Sublimation printers can print on various materials, from fabrics to metal plates. Using materials made just for sublimation printing is important to get the best output. These substrates often have a polyester coating, which effectively holds the sublimation ink and results in beautiful prints which are durable and resistant to fading and cracking.

What kind of maintenance do sublimation printers require?

Sublimation printers require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and print quality. It includes cleaning the print head, replacing ink cartridges, and maintaining the printer’s internal components. To ensure your printer lasts as long as possible, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and use high-quality ink and paper.
Refer to our simplified guide on cleaning and unclogging sublimation printers.

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