Are you struggling with printing on dark fabric? Dark surfaces, especially fabric, require special care, but with proper techniques and tools, you can achieve impressive results for personal or business projects. As demand for printing on dark fabric rises, so does the need for top products and strategies, but finding unbiased information online can be tough.
Worry no more; our expert team tests the finest methods and products in the printing world to save you time and ensure you make the right choice. We’ve examined leading printers for dark shirts and identified the top 7 options. Our guide includes a list of the 7 best sublimation printer for dark shirts and a comprehensive buying guide to help refine your search. With this knowledge, you can confidently select the ideal sublimation printer and effortlessly create stunning prints on dark shirts.
NOTE: The inkjet printers selected for our list must be converted for sublimation using sublimation ink.
Refer to the table for a quick comparison of the most important features.
7 Best Sublimation Printers for Dark Shirts Printing
Given are our top picks for sublimation printers for dark shirts. Each printer is categorized by its area of expertise, simplifying your decision-making process for choosing the ideal printer.
Now let’s get to review each printer without further ado.
1. Epson EcoTank ET-3830: Editor’s Choice
The printer has won the nod of Editors’ choice for its impeccable paper handling, compact size, connectivity options, and superb quality output. The printer is simple to convert for sublimation, and its prints come out excellent on dark shirts.
I have been using Epson ET-3830 for years, and I won’t exaggerate if I call it the best of all time. I tested the printer for sublimating on dark shirts, which proved exceptional. Although it is slow compared to other printers, what comes out of it as output is worth waiting for. Its prints come out as accurate with the finest detail imprints and color accuracy, which efficiently can be transferred to dark shirts.
The printer has trays capable of handling up to 250 sheets, saving you from waiting to feed a single sheet at a time. You will barely find a compact printer with this paper handling and price. Its robust and sleek design will fit anywhere, so leave the worry if you are tight on space.
Furthermore, the printer is coupled with easy connectivity offering wireless and USB options making it a great convenient option. Furthermore, its 2.4 LCD also backs up its ease of use. The screen displaying settings and navigation options provides an interface you can easily control with your fingertips.
- High-capacity ink tanks eliminate costly cartridges, making refills easy and economical with Epson’s EcoFit ink bottles.
- Boost productivity with a fast 8 ppm printing speed.
- EcoTank printers minimize cartridge waste, contributing to a greener planet.
- PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology ensures sharp text and vibrant colors on various papers.
- A 250-sheet paper tray that facilitates efficient paper handling boosts output.
- High-resolution flatbed scanner and 2.4″ color display for seamless document copying and navigation.
- Enjoy high-quality sublimation prints with a sharp 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution.
- Offers Ethernet, wireless, and voice-activated printing; print from your smart device using the user-friendly Epson Smart Panel App.
- Quality output
- WiFi support
- Large refill ink tanks
- Sometimes show issues with connectivity
- Small screen for some users
The compact Canon PIXMA TR150 is a fine working printer that exceeds your expectations in every aspect. Its size, connectivity option, and print quality leave its rivals far behind in printing.
Refer to Best T-Shirts for Sublimation to explore the best t-shirt blanks you can use for sublimation.
2. Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850: Best for Business
Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 is ideal for businesses that expect a higher quality output in less time. With 25 prints per minute and up to 500 paper capacity with two separate trays, it can churn out up to 4000 pages per month. It is enough to run your dark shirt printing business and cater to other printing-related needs, i.e., copying and scanning.
Speaking of quality, the sublimation inks that need to fill the ink tanks are responsible for the vibrant and sharp output. Its production is no lesser than professional quality prints that you buy in shops and are worth it.
The printer offers the ultimate wireless and Ethernet solution for connectivity. You can connect it to Ethernet, PC, or smartphone and have your prints with network-free printing.
- Low-cost replacement ink bottles can cut costs by up to 80%.
- PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology enables up to 25 ISO ppm for black and color prints with no warm-up time.
- Professional-quality prints, including instant-dry borderless prints up to 8.5″ x 14″.
- Zero-cartridge waste and high-yield ink bottles contribute to low energy consumption.
- 500-sheet capacity with two front trays and a rear feed for specialty paper, enhancing productivity.
- Experience increased workflow efficiency with a swift 25 ppm printing speed.
- Achieve exceptional print quality with a 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution.
- High printing speed
- Multiple paper trays
- Shop quality prints
- A bit bulky
- Can be noisy
The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 prints generously with additional scan, fax, and copy features. Its enormous sheet handling and high speed make it the top choice when your concern is productivity with the finest quality.
3. Epson Expression XP-6100: Best for Heat Transfer
As an avid t-shirt designer, I’ve searched for the perfect printer to handle heat transfers on dark shirts. I can confidently say that the Epson Expression XP-6100 is the best one I’ve found so far. The exceptional photo quality produced by its 5-color inks is simply amazing, resulting in striking 8″ x 10″ images and sharp text. The dedicated photo and DVD trays are a convenient bonus, making printing smoother.
I was pleasantly surprised by how fast the XP-6100 can print 4″ x 6″ photos – just 15 seconds! The voice-activated printing feature has made managing my creative projects and everyday documents much easier. I can produce high-quality prints with fast print speeds of 15.8 ISO ppm (black) and 11.3 ISO ppm (color).
The 2.4″ color LCD offers easy photo preview and printing, streamlining the entire process. The ultimate wireless connectivity is a game-changer, allowing me to print seamlessly from my iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. Plus, the Wi-Fi Direct feature means I can print without a network connection.
- 9600 x 9600 dpi resolution produces striking 8″ x 10″ photos and sharp text, with dedicated photo and DVD trays included.
- Print high-quality photos in just 15 seconds
- Hands-free printing for various creative projects and everyday documents
- 15.8 ISO ppm (black) and 11.3 ISO ppm (color) for efficient printing
- 2.4″ color LCD for hassle-free photo selection and printing
- Seamless printing from iPad, iPhone, Android tablets, and smartphones; Wi-Fi Direct enables network-free printing
- Ultra-powerful performance in an ultra-slim package
- High resolution for quality output
- LCD display
- High printing speed
- Can cause paper jams
The Epson Expression XP-6100 excels in heat transfer printing for dark t-shirts. Its exceptional photo quality, fast print speeds, and wireless connectivity provide a seamless experience. The compact design packs a powerful punch, and the high-resolution output ensures professional-looking designs.
4. Epson WorkForce WF-7720: Best for Large Prints
The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 is an exceptional printer for creating large prints on dark shirts. Powered by PrecisionCore technology, it delivers fast and high-quality results that elevate professional t-shirt printing.
I love the WF-7720’s ability to create stunning borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″, making it stand out from other printers. Its energy efficiency, reducing consumption by up to 80% compared to color laser printers, makes it cost-effective and eco-friendly, which is a huge plus.
The printer’s efficient multitasking capabilities include printing, copying, scanning, and faxing, along with a 35-page auto document feeder for streamlined workflows. The intuitive 4.3″ color touchscreen offers a user-friendly interface for effortless navigation and control.
- Experience advanced printing capabilities with PrecisionCore technology, delivering faster, high-quality results.
- Achieve borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″ for impressive presentations, photos, and documents.
- Reduce energy consumption by up to 80% compared to color laser printers, saving money and the environment.
- Manage large print jobs easily thanks to a 500-sheet capacity, dual trays, and specialty paper support.
- Enjoy printing, copying, scanning, faxing, and a 35-page auto document feeder for streamlined workflows.
- Navigate and control your printer effortlessly with the intuitive 4.3″ color touchscreen.
- Print wirelessly from a range of devices.
- Accelerate your printing tasks with a 10 ppm speed for better efficiency.
- Experience crisp, detailed prints with a high 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution.
- Low running costs
- Excellent print quality
- Wide format printing upto 13″ x 19″
- Can be noisy
The WF-7720’s versatile connectivity supports wireless printing from various devices. Its low running costs, superb print quality, wide format printing up to 13″ x 19″, and affordability make it the top choice for large prints on dark shirts.
5. Epson EcoTank ET-8500: Best for Cricut
The Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 all-in-one super tank printer has exceeded my expectations as a top choice for Cricut projects on dark shirts. As a professional, I appreciate its accurate color reproduction in graphics and sharp text, making it ideal for creative projects and professional designs.
The six-color ink system outperforms standard four-color inkjets, providing more precise results. Additionally, the ink replacement bottles offer significant savings and eliminate cartridge waste. The ET-8500 delivers impressive printing speeds, producing a 4″ x 6″ photo in 15 seconds.
Its media handling is superb, efficiently accommodating thick paper without paper jams. The ET-8500’s excellent media handling capabilities yield high-quality prints at an incredibly low cost compared to standard ink cartridges. When it comes to connectivity, the Epson ET-8500 has it all. You can expect efficient, high-quality prints if you prefer wireless printing from your smartphone or wired connection.
- High-accuracy printhead delivers vibrant colors and sharp text.
- Borderless prints up to 8.5″ x 11″ on various paper types, including cardstock and specialty media up to 1.3 mm thick.
- Comparing replacement ink bottles to cartridges can help you save up to 80%.
- High-yield ink bottles eliminate the need for cartridges.
- From iOS and Android devices, you can use the Epson Smart Panel app to print and scan.
- 4.3″ color display, voice-activated printing (9), and wireless connectivity for efficient performance.
- Optimize your workflow with a reliable 12 ppm printing speed.
- Stunning print quality with an impressive 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution.
- High-quality prints
- Speedy printing
- Easy to fill ink tanks
- Huge tanks needs more ink to get started
The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 is an outstanding choice for Cricut prints on dark shirts, offering precise color reproduction, speedy performance, and efficient media handling. With versatile connectivity options and easy-to-fill ink tanks, the ET-8500 is a top choice for professionals and creatives.
6. Epson Expression XP-7100: Best for Beginners
The Epson Expression XP-7100 is ideal for beginners starting to print dark shirts through sublimation thanks to its easy-to-fill ink tanks. The tanks can be filled directly with refillable ink bottles without creating a mess, as is more frequent with cartridges. The cartridge-free printing also cuts your running cost to make the prints affordable.
With wired and wireless capabilities, connectivity options are abundant, making the XP-7100’s operation convenient and straightforward. Users can also utilize the SD card slots on the lower side of the printer for added flexibility.
The XP-7100’s media handling is excellent, with a 30-page auto document feeder. This means users have multiple media feed options without needing to insert and receive prints one at a time manually. Load the paper, and the XP-7100 will deliver top-notch prints suitable for dark shirts.
Regarding output, the Epson Expression XP-7100 is renowned for its stunning photo printing capabilities on various paper types. It is perfect for printing on dark shirts as the prints appear stunning and clear. Its high-quality results extend beyond photos, including sharp text, detailed graphics, and accurate colors on various papers.
- Enhances documents and photos for professional results.
- Obtain remarkably sharp prints thanks to a 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution.
- Personalizes projects and customizes prints on various media.
- Utilizing a touchscreen display, navigating is made easier, and productivity is increased.
- Enjoy versatile printing and vibrant colors with advanced inkjet technology.
- Automatic document feeder
- Excellent output quality
- Large control panel
- Relatively low printing speed
The Epson Expression XP-7100 is an easy-to-operate printer with the finest quality prints and media handling. It is efficient and convenient, with the broadest connectivity options and superior media handling.
7. Sawgrass SG500: Best for Quality Prints
The Sawgrass SG500 has left a mark in the printing market for its superior quality prints. It renders accurate and precise prints with 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution. Its easy-to-use interface is also a big plus making the printer beginner friendly.
Its printing speed is also adequate for home and personal creative projects. The dye sublimation printer churns out shop-quality prints, which can be efficiently transferred to your t-shirts. I have always preferred the printer for colored prints to be transferred to dark fabric. The features and quality have driven us to add the printer to our list of the best sublimation printers for dark shirts.
The printer also comes with a two-year warranty and technical support leaving you worry-free from possible damages or minor inconveniences. Furthermore, the printer has Wi-Fi and USB connectivity options, giving you much freedom if you connect to the network.
- Delivers specialized, high-quality prints for various substrates.
- Ideal for hobbyists and small workspaces supports media up to 8.5″ x 14″.
- Achieve professional photo-quality prints with the consistent and smooth results of dye sublimation technology.
- It has enhanced features and performance, compatible with SG400 accessories.
- Ensures reliable, hassle-free printing experience.
- Suitable for polyester fabrics and polymer-coated rigid media.
- Enhance your printing efficiency with a brisk 19 ppm speed.
- Impressive print sharpness with a 4880 x 1200 dpi resolution.
- Excellent print quality
- Two-year warranty and support
- Easy to use
- Can be expensive on purchase
The SG500 is an excellent choice for hobbyists or professionals seeking a versatile and reliable desktop sublimation printer. Designed specifically for sublimation, the printer delivers high-quality prints on various substrates with added convenience.
In conclusion, finding the best sublimation printer for dark shirts can be challenging. But with the top 7 options in this article, you’re well on your way to achieving outstanding results. Our Editor’s Choice, the Epson ET-3830, offers an excellent balance of features and performance, making it a reliable choice for most users. The Epson Expression Pro ET-5850 best suits business purposes, while the Epson XP-6100 excels in heat transfer applications.
The Epson WF-7720 is ideal for large prints, and the Epson ET-8500 is perfect for Cricut enthusiasts. If you’re just starting, the Epson XP-7100 is an excellent option for beginners, while the Sawgrass SG500 promises top-quality prints every time.
No matter your specific needs, the printers listed above will help you overcome printing challenges on dark fabric and provide stunning results.
Check out our step-by-step guide to learn How To Sublimate On Dark Shirts.
Some factors should be considered when buying a printer, which is given here.
Printing speed is essential when working under time pressure and where productivity matters. The speed is denoted by “ppm,” meaning “pages per minute,” Every printer has a different ppm for color versus black and white prints. You must consider the printing speed, and if you are working under pressure or need to print a lot at once, look for a printer with maximum printing speed.
With more technological advancements, nearly every printer offers multiple connectivity options. Among them, wireless connectivity is now standard for printing. However, other types of connections can be useful for various projects. An ideal printer has both wired as well as wireless connectivity. Printers also come with slots for USB or SD cards to hook external means and print directly.
A high print resolution is crucial for achieving clear, detailed, and vibrant prints on dark shirts. Look for printers with a minimum resolution of 1200×1200 dpi (dots per inch) for optimal results. The prints are more clearly produced with a better resolution with minimal details added.
Consider the size of the printer, as it should fit comfortably in your workspace without causing any inconvenience. Sublimation printers come in various sizes, from compact models suitable for small spaces to larger, professional-grade machines that require more room. Before choosing, measure the available area and compare it with the printer’s dimensions.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Is printing on dark fabric impossible?
Printing on dark fabric is possible and easy if you keep it in practice. Although you have to consider some additional factors with those, you can have the same great results with any color fabric.
How to avoid print fading from shirts?
The printed fabric must be handled carefully as its prints are prone to fading if the printed surface is washed rigorously and with more direct sun exposure. Turning the printed shirt inside out is always recommended if you use a washing machine. Or better to hand wash the fabric gently and minimize direct sun exposure.
What are other factors to consider when printing on dark fabric?
As we have mentioned, the printer plays a big role, and in addition to that, sublimation ink and sublimation paper have an equally important role. The transfer paper quality determines how well the print will come from the printer and will be transferred to fabric under heat and pressure exerted with a heat press.
What technology is best for printing on dark fabric?
Inkjet printing technology yields better results than laser, and dye sublimation technology renders the best results. When put under optimal temperature and pressure, the ink efficiently seeps into the fabric, leaving a long-lasting impression and eye-catching look.