How Much Does a Sublimation Printer Cost? Detailed Guide

How Much Does a Sublimation Printer Cost? Detailed Guide

Are you tired of paying high costs for custom-printed items? Do you want to take your DIY game to the next level? If so, you might have thought about buying a sublimation printer. But before you do, be warned: these high-tech devices can come with a hefty price tag. How much does a sublimation printer cost? The answer is not simple, as there are many factors to consider, including different types of printers and the cost of supplies needed for sublimation.

As you navigate the world of sublimation printing, be prepared to do your research and weigh the costs carefully. This article will examine the various sublimation printer types with cost so you can decide whether this investment is right for you.

Different Types of Printers for Sublimation

Sublimation requires a special printer to handle the sublimation ink and produce high-quality prints. There are numerous varieties of sublimation printers on the market, each with special features and prices.

Dye-Sublimation Printers

The dye -sublimation printers are actual sublimation printers specifically designed for dye-sublimation. The printers render high-quality results that can be neatly transferred to any substrate under heat and pressure.

The printers are costly compared to converted printers, but you can expect consistent results without harming the printer. Furthermore, the printers have a warranty and technical support, a huge plus for beginners.

The dye sublimation printers are costly compared to inkjet printers, with a price range between $700 to $8000, depending on size and use. The compact-size printers mostly used for small businesses are cheaper than industrial printers. The costs of larger printers fall in the highest range and increase with size and media handling capabilities.

Inkjet Printers

As mentioned, there is another sublimation method if you can’t afford a sublimation printer. You can convert your standard inkjet printer for sublimation which is cost-effective as standard printers are cheaper than sublimation printers. 

But before moving on, you should know that converting every ordinary printer to a sublimation printer is impossible. Printers with thermal printing technology, such as Canon and HP, can’t be converted to sublimation printers as the ink heating capacity makes it impossible for conversion. On the other hand, inkjet printers working on piezo technology and compatible with sublimation can be readily converted. Among the easiest for conversion in the market are Epson Ecotank series printers.

The inkjet printers cost between as low as $150 to $2000. In addition to the printer costs, you will be required to buy sublimation ink separately, which can cost between $20 to $40 for each set of 4 color bottles.

Additional Cost Considerations

When calculating the cost of sublimation for your small runs or large-scale business, the expense is crucial to take into account. You should consider the cost of a printer before purchasing one. Furthermore, creating artwork, printing the plates, and the cost per item are also worth consideration.

It would be best to consider the expense of each design you create. You should also think about how many items you intend to print because this will affect the kind of sublimation printer and other equipment you will need to buy. Below we have mentioned some essential items necessary for sublimation and their possible costs. It will let you calculate the expenses for creating prints with sublimation.

Ink Costs

Most people mostly ignore the ink factor, but it is crucial. It determines how your prints will cost over time and is necessary to keep it in check if you are gaining any profit or are your prints worth the costs that go into the process. Sublimation inks can be expensive and cost much money, so evaluating before buying a printer is necessary. How much a printer uses ink is also a factor worth considering. 

Sublimation inks are available for each popular brand of printer. You can use sublimation ink with dye sublimation printers but not standard ink with inkjet printers. For converted inkjet printers, you will need to buy ink separately, and considering Epson printers, using third-party ink usually voids the warranty.

The sublimation ink can cost between $20 to $40, usually for 100 ml 4 ink bottles. You can calculate the expenses with page yield as it varies with variations in media size.

Paper Costs

Paper cost is another vital factor to consider before getting into printing. The cost of paper varies depending on the paper size you frequently use for printing. The printing paper can also affect your ink costs. If you don’t use the right paper, it can be responsible for high ink costs. If the paper is too thick, it will consume more ink, and your print cost can increase.

The sublimation paper pack of 100 sheets normally costs between $13 to $20 for the standard A4 size, which is 8.5×11 inches. You can calculate the costs accordingly as per your project requirement.

Printer Repairing Costs

Before buying a printer, its repair and maintenance costs should be considered. The printers must be repaired occasionally as they can’t run without issues for longer, just like any other machine. The cost of maintenance and repairs differs depending on what kind of issues your printer has and what model it is. The expenses that go into higher production printers are higher than small printers. Some printers also come with a warranty of 1 to 2 years, so it’s a good bet, but you have to be careful what the warranty covers. 


The price of a sublimation printer changes based on what it is used for. Printers for high production are expensive compared to printers for personal and small groups. Furthermore, sublimation printers cost more than standard inkjet printers, but the best thing is that you can convert inkjet printers with piezo printing technology to sublimation printers. 

It’s wise to inculcate the costs that go into sublimation printing, and you know by now that it’s not just the cost of the printer. Along with the cost of the printer, the ink, paper, and repair costs should also be considered seriously to compare the cost and benefit if you are running a business. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is sublimation printing affordable?

It is safe to say that sublimation printing is not cheap and can cost you money, just like any other business. But you have to calculate what’s affordable for you as only buying a printer won’t suffice for getting started if you are aiming to start a business. There are other factors to consider when calculating the expenses, and they can be affordable to some and not to others.

What is the price of a sublimation printer?

The quality affects the price. A high-end sublimation printer will function far better than one with a small budget.
The price ranges from $300 to $600. It sounds like a costly one. However, with little math, you can see that it is a cost-effective choice. You may produce many custom prints on various substrates using this printer daily. As a result, you’ll start to make money quickly.

What is the lifespan of a printer?

Like anything else, your printer will last longer if it is high quality, used, and maintained properly. A top-notch dye sublimation printer ought to last ten years.

Can conventional printing be done with sublimation ink?

Sublimation can’t be used to print like normal. Most printers are not able to use sublimation ink. Still, some printers can be changed into sublimation printers. When this happens, sublimation ink will be used to make sublimation prints.

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