Best Sublimation Printer for Tumblers: Top Picks

Best Sublimation Printer for Tumblers: Top Picks

Are you tired of scouring the internet, searching for the perfect sublimation printer for tumblers, only to be bombarded with endless options and conflicting reviews? It’s easy to feel agitated and overwhelmed, wondering how to choose the best printer to easily create stunning, personalized items. The challenge of finding the right printer amidst an ever-growing market can leave you feeling frustrated as you strive to unlock the true potential of dye sublimation printing without wasting time or money. Well, stress no more! We’re here to help you eliminate the confusion and find the best sublimation printer for tumblers that meets your needs.

Our team of printing enthusiasts has researched and tested numerous sublimation printers, creating a list of the top 7 for tumblers. Analyzing factors like print quality, color accuracy, durability, ease of use, and price, we’ve included a detailed buying guide to help you make an informed decision.

NOTE: The Epson printers selected for our list must be converted for sublimation by using sublimation ink. The printer renders high-quality results to be transferred on tumblers.

Comparison Table

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

image product shop
9.8
Epson EcoTank ET-2800
Epson EcoTank ET-2800
EDITOR’S CHOICE
Technology: Inkjet
Printing Speed: 5 ppm (Color), 10 ppm (Monochrome)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Weight: 12 pounds
9.8
Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600
Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600
Best for large prints
Technology: Inkjet
Printing Speed: 12 ppm (Color), 25 ppm (Monochrome)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Resolution: 600 x 1200 dpi
Weight: 52 pounds
9.6
Epson Expression ET-2650
Epson Expression ET-2650
Best for business
Technology: Inkjet
Printing Speed: 20 ppm (Color), 20 ppm (Monochrome)
Connectivity: Wireless
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Weight: 10.8 pounds
9.7
Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer
Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer
BEST FOR quality output
Technology: Dye Sublimation
Printing Speed: 100 ppm (Color)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Resolution: 4880 x 1200 dpi
Weight: 27.2 pounds
9.7
Sawgrass SG1000
Sawgrass SG1000
Best for Heat Transfer
Technology: Dye-Sublimation
Printing Speed: 15 ppm (Color), 20 ppm (Monochrome)
Connectivity: Wireless
Resolution: 4880 x 1200 dpi
Weight: ‎37 pounds
9.8
Brother MFC-J497DW
Brother MFC-J497DW
Best for Cricut
Technology: Inkjet
Printing Speed: 6 ppm (Color)
Connectivity: Wireless
Resolution: 6000 x 1200 dpi
Weight: 19.7 pounds
9.6
Epson EcoTank ET-2850
Epson EcoTank ET-2850
BEST for Beginners
Technology: Inkjet
Printing Speed: 5 ppm (Color), 10 ppm (Monochrome)
Connectivity: Wireless
Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
Weight: 16.46 pounds

Top 7 Best Sublimation Printer for Tumblers

We have gathered the best sublimation printers ideal for printing, with special emphasis on Tumblers. The list reflects the rigorous testing and evaluation we did to bring you the best from the printing market. 

Let’s dive into reviewing each printer without further ado.

1. Epson EcoTank ET-2800: Editor’s Choice

Epson EcoTank ET-2800

As someone always looking for the latest technology, I was excited to get my hands on the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 printer. Anybody interested in using sublimation on stainless steel tumblers will find this printer a game-changer. Simple sublimation conversion of the printer means no more costly ink cartridges.

One of the things that impressed me the most about this printer is how environmentally friendly it is. It’s an excellent option for those considering lessening their carbon footprint because there is no cartridge waste. Additionally, the sharp text and impressive color photos on any paper type make this printer a top choice for professionals who want to produce high-quality work.

The all-in-one functionality of this printer is also a major plus. Completing all tasks in one place is simple with an integrated scanner and copier. I especially appreciated the modern and convenient wireless connectivity with voice-activated printing. AirPrint or the Epson Smart Panel App made printing from my phone or tablet a breeze.

Highlighted Features

  • No more expensive ink cartridges.
  • Efficient creativity with a printing speed of 5 pages per minute (color), enabling faster production.
  • Environmentally friendly with zero cartridge waste.
  • Stunning, high-quality tumbler prints with an unprecedented resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi, ensuring crisp and vivid designs.
  • All-in-one functionality with a built-in scanner and copier.
  • Voice-activated printing is available with modern, practical wireless connectivity.
  • Easy printing from smart devices using AirPrint or Epson Smart Panel App.
  • High reliability for long-lasting performance.
Pros
  • Easy to convert for sublimation
  • Wireless connectivity
  • High print quality
  • Low running costs
Cons
  • Relatively slow printing speed

The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 is a highly recommended printer for its reliability, wireless connectivity, high print quality, and low running costs. It is the best option for anyone seeking a durable and effective printer for imprinting creative designs on tumblers.

2. Epson EcoTank ET-16600: Best for Large Prints

Epson EcoTank ET-16600

As someone who specializes in tumbler printing, I had the pleasure of personally testing the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600 printer. It is undoubtedly the best option for large prints on tumblers. The printer is a game-changer because of its characteristics, which set it apart from the competitors.

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600 is an all-in-one machine that incorporates scanning, copying, and wide-format printing, making it an ideal choice for businesses looking to increase their productivity. The printer’s impressive printing speed of 12 prints per minute for color images and 25 prints per minute for monochrome ensures you can finish your work quickly and efficiently.

What sets the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600 apart is its ability to produce high-quality prints that professionals seek in the sublimation industry. The colors are accurate and brilliant, and the prints are produced with great precision.

Highlighted Features

  • Prints made with inkjet technology are of a high standard and have vivid colors and precise details.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows for easy printing from multiple devices without cables.
  • 600 x 1200 dpi resolution ensures that prints are sharp and clear with crisp details.
  • Fast wide-format prints and scans up to 25 ppm.
  • High-yield ink bottles with zero cartridge waste and extremely low energy usage.
  • 500-sheet paper capacity with two front trays and rear feed.
Pros
  • High Input paper capacity
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Large paper handling
  • Speedy printing
Cons
  • Expensive on initial purchase

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600 printer is a top-of-the-line choice for large prints, especially for tumblers. Its all-in-one functions, fast printing speed, wireless connectivity, and large paper-handling capacity make it an excellent investment for small businesses.

3. Epson Expression ET-2650: Best for Business

Epson Expression ET-2650

The Epson Expression ET-2650 is lauded with features that make it stand out from the crowd of printers. The printer is great for business with additional copying and scanning features. With 1.44 inches LCD, the printer is fairly easy to operate and control. The printer is the lightest weighted printer on our list, which serves you with value and convenience.

And speaking of its printing speed, it’s modest enough to keep your work going. With a printing speed of 20 prints per minute, you can imprint your personalized designs on any surface you choose. To add more, it has a wireless connectivity option enabling you to have your prints by connecting them to any device that supports wireless connectivity. 

Regarding its printing output, I find its prints qualify for the quality standards. The sharp prints with precise imagery on plain paper meet the expectations of professional-level printing. So you can expect to imprint your favorite designs on tumblers with near-perfect accuracy.

Highlighted Features

  • Reduced printing costs and convenience with cartridge-free printing.
  • The printing speed of 20 pages per minute enables more efficient and faster production.
  • Easy-to-use and refill supersized ink tanks make the printer ideal for converting for sublimation.
  • Exceptional print quality with a 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution, ensuring your tumbler designs are consistently sharp, detailed, and visually striking.
  • Wireless connectivity enables easy and hassle-free printing from various devices.
Pros
  • Clear prints with high resolution
  • Speedy printing
  • LCD display
  • Compact size
Cons
  • Might cause clogging

With shop-quality prints and great features, the Epson Expression ET-2650 is a smart and convenient printer for tumblers. It is lightweight, with powerful printing and connectivity options to conveniently bring your designs to life. 

4. Sawgrass SG500: Best for Quality Output

Sawgrass SG500
Image Credit: Amazon

With ever-evolving printer brands, Sawgrass is the most widely known brand that keeps upgrading its printers for more excellence, efficiency, and productivity with lesser costs. The upgraded version of its predecessor Sawgrass SG400, the Sawgrass SG500, offers the same high quality and reliability with more improved features. The printer is more advanced in resolution to boost your Tumbler printing quality.

The Sawgrass is unique from other sublimation printers for its automatic maintenance cycle. It means you don’t have to switch it off; rather, the machine maintains its functioning so that it’s always ready to print with less intervention from your side.

The Sawgrass SG500 also has a remarkable two-year warranty and lifetime tech support for issues. So you can see that you are receiving quality and peace of mind for less money. Furthermore, its printing speed is also adequate, along with wireless connectivity.

Highlighted Features

  • Dye sublimation technology for long-lasting, vibrant, and professional-quality tumbler prints that resist fading.
  • Maximizes quality and efficiency while minimizing ink and power usage.
  • Automatic maintenance cycle for trouble-free printing.
  • Compact and reliable, with design improvements for higher resolution printing and WiFi connectivity.
  • Professional-quality tumbler prints with a 4880 x 1200 dpi resolution, ensuring consistently crisp imagery, brilliant colors, and smooth transitions.
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty and tech support for peace of mind.
Pros
  • Two-year warranty
  • High-resolution images
  • Low energy consumption
  • Durable
Cons
  • Slightly expensive

When buying Sungrass SG500, you own a remarkable machine with high-quality output and a price tag that is hard to compare. With 2 years warranty, speedy printing, and low energy consumption, the SG 500 sublimation printer is a must-have machine.

5. Sawgrass SG1000: Best for Heat Transfer

Sawgrass SG 1000
Image Credit: Amazon

The Sawgrass SG1000 is a highly efficient and versatile sublimation printer perfect for heat transfer tumbler printing. Its ability to print on media up to 11″x17″ with the standard tray or up to 13″x51″ with the optional Bypass tray makes it an ideal choice for those who want to produce high-quality designs on various substrates. The printer’s energy efficiency and higher resolution printing capabilities are additional benefits that allow for fast and accurate printing.

The printer’s compact size and 2-year product warranty, and unlimited tech support for the product’s life, make it a reliable and cost-effective option for growing businesses or ambitious entrepreneurs. The onboarding support provided by Sawgrass tech support is another valuable benefit for those who need help getting started.

Highlighted Features

  • Versatile printing capabilities for different media sizes.
  • Dye sublimation technology offers the advantage of minimal ink wastage, ensuring cost-effective printing with consistently impressive results.
  • More energy efficiency, higher resolution, and WiFi connectivity make printing more efficient.
  • Wide compatibility with different operating systems.
  • Includes advanced color management software and online designer software for professional designs.
  • Striking tumbler designs with a 4880 x 1200 dpi resolution, providing sharp, vivid, and detailed prints.
  • Reliable product warranty and tech support for peace of mind.
Pros
  • Great media handling
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Compact size
Cons
  • Can be expensive

The Sawgrass SG1000 is a fantastic choice for those looking to produce high-quality heat transfer tumbler designs with ease and efficiency.

6. Brother MFC-J497DW: Best for Cricut

Brother MFC-J497DW

The Brother MFC-J497DW printer is an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and functional printer for Cricut designs on tumblers.

The printer boasts a versatile paper handling system, with a document feeder and a tray that can handle up to 100 sheets of paper.

Printing speed is modest but adequate for small businesses and personal needs. The print quality is impressive, with sharp edges and accurate graphic prints that meet professional print standards.

Regarding connectivity, the Brother MFC-J497DW offers wireless options, allowing you to connect directly with your mobile device without needing an intermediate medium or router. You may also easily connect to major cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Brother’s iPrint & Scan app, and OneDrive.

Highlighted Features

  • Wireless and USB interface options for versatile and hassle-free connections.
  • Simplify document scanning and sharing with intuitive Brother Cloud applications.
  • Features an automatic document feeder and adjustable 100-sheet paper tray for various paper sizes.
  • 6 ppm printing speeds turnaround and productivity.
  • Offering extraordinary print quality designs with sharp, lifelike imagery and rich, vivid colors with 6000 x 1200 dpi resolution.
Pros
  • Durable prints
  • Lightweight
  • High quality prints
Cons
  • Compatible sublimation ink not readily available

The Brother MFC-J497DW printer is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and functional printer that can handle various tasks, including Cricut designs on tumblers. Its compact size, affordable ink, and versatile paper handling make it a great investment for printing on tumblers.

7. Epson EcoTank ET-2850: Best for Beginners

Epson EcoTank ET-2850

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is perfect for beginners who want to start tumbler printing without breaking the bank. The technology used for its cartridge-free printing is one of its unique advantages. This innovative technology saves up to 90% on replacement ink compared to traditional ink cartridges, making it an excellent investment for those who plan on printing frequently.

Additionally, the zero cartridge waste feature makes the printer eco-friendly, as it helps reduce the amount of cartridge waste. It also makes the conversion convenient as you can directly pour the sublimation ink into the large tanks without creating a mess.

The Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology in the printer produces incredibly fine text and outstanding color images and graphics on nearly any paper type. The built-in scanner and copier make document copying and navigation effortless.

Highlighted Features

  • More cost-efficient printing with cartridge-free and refillable ink tanks.
  • Less hassle and stress with fewer out-of-ink frustrations and an easy filling process.
  • A significant reduction in cartridge waste to protect the environment.
  • High-quality printing with sharp text, vivid colors, and impressive graphics on any paper type
  • A versatile and all-in-one printer with a scanner and copier.
  • Modern connectivity options for easy access and printing from various devices and platforms.
  • 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution, providing exceptional print quality, true-to-life colors, and outstanding detail.
Pros
  • Easy to fill tanks
  • Multi purpose
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Might produce inconsistent results with sublimation ink

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is a great value for beginners looking for an affordable yet reliable printer for tumbler printing. The modern connectivity options make it easy to access and print from mobile devices and the cloud, making it a versatile addition to any home office or small business.

Conclusion

The art of sublimation printing has opened up a world of creative possibilities for personalizing tumblers and other items. With our comprehensive list of the top 7 best tumbler sublimation printers, you can confidently embark on your journey to create stunning, customized products. Among the best printers in our list, the Epson ET-2800 is our editor’s choice, offering exceptional quality and value.

The Epson Pro ET-16600 is an excellent choice for large prints, while the Epson Expression ET-2650 is perfect for business use. The Sawgrass SG500 delivers excellent output quality, and the Sawgrass SG1000 is the go-to option for heat transfer. The Brother MFC-J497DW is a versatile printer suitable for Cricut projects, and finally, the Epson ET-2850 is a fantastic choice for beginners.

With this knowledge, you may choose the best sublimation printer for your tumbler printing requirements.

Buying Guide

While buying a printer for tumblers, the following factors should be considered:

Size

Size is essential as you might prefer compact printers for home or office, not fretting about space. Compact printers have an advantage over bulky ones, but their output might be in low volumes.

Ink Replacement Costs

The ink cost determines if you will be spending a fortune on per-page print or if it will come out with a reasonable price. Most printers use costly ink cartridges, so you must compare the price tag and decide according to your budget. Furthermore, cartridges cost more than ink bottles that can be used directly with printers like Epson Ecotank models.

Printing Speed

You should prioritize speed while looking for a printer. Investing in a high-printing speed printer is the best approach to reduce wasted time and boost output.

Other Features

Some features are worth considering, including automatic feed, capacity for handling paper, connectivity, and compatibility. With more features comes great performance, so you must consider features before buying any printer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of printer is best for sublimation?

A dye-sublimation printer is ideal for sublimation as it is designed to work with sublimation ink and renders high-quality results. However, dye-sublimation printers can be expensive. Another reliable and affordable alternative to sublimation is an inkjet printer which can be converted for sublimation. Convertible printers such as Epson models are affordable and render excellent results ideal for sublimation.

What else do you need for sublimating tumblers?

Sublimation is fairly simple if your surface (tumbler, in that case) is ready. The project requires a printer to imprint your designs on paper. And you will require tumbler blanks and a heat press to transfer the designs on the paper to the tumbler surface.

How does sublimation work on tumblers?

Sublimation on tumblers involves printing a design onto special sublimation paper, then wrapping it around the tumbler. Using heat and pressure, the ink transforms into gas and bonds with the tumbler’s polymer coating, resulting in a vibrant, permanent design with a smooth, photo-quality finish.

Is sublimation permanent on tumblers?

Yes. Sublimation is an easy yet effective process with heat and pressure. The prints permanently ingrained into the surface are less likely to fade.

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