Last updated on February 15th, 2020 at 06:50 pm

Dye sublimation printers have been known to produce high-quality photos and have become a favorite for most people compared to inkjets. Because of the photo quality, more and more people have started buying these, including photographers who praise the image quality that they get from some of the best dye sublimation printers.

As such the best printers for dye sublimation are ideal for small business owners, and crafty consumers as well. Whether you fall into our above-listed category or just want to create some great photos for memory’s sake, we have listed some of the best options for you that you can consider buying.

#1 – SAWGRASS VIRTUOSO SG400 and SG800 – Best for T-Shirts and Apparel

Perfect for T-Shirts (Polyester), Merchandise and Other Apparel…

Sawgrass-Virtuoso-Sublimation-Printer
Sawgrass-Virtuoso-Sublimation-Products

Introduction

The Sawgrass Virtuoso is a collaboration between Ricoh and Sawgrass to introduce the first desktop sublimation printer to the market.  Unlike many other printers in this list that focus on printing photos, this dye sublimation prints to special dye sub paper that can then be passed to merchandise like T-Shirts, Mugs, socks, etc.

If using dye sublimation for custom merchandise is your primary purpose, than the SG400 or 800 is for you.  If you want a dye-sub printer for mostly photo printing and event photo booths, you’ll want to check out the HiTi P525L below.

The SG400 ranges in the $600 price range and can print on paper up to 8 1/2″ by 14″ (but with the optional bypass tray can print on 8 1/2″ by 51″ (although this comes at an extra cost of around $175).

The SG800 ranges in the $1700 price range and can print on a wider paper of up to 13″ by 19″.

With a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, the SG400 may be the only true dye sublimation printer on this list that tops when it comes to picture quality. It can also manage lower resolutions such as 600 x 600 dpi, but what is truly remarkable is the speed at which it prints. This model can print 157 pages per hour at the highest resolution setting, all the way up to 240 pages per hour at the highest speed setting.

Pros

  • Perfect for transfer to polyester apparel and merchandise, other dye sub printers only useful for photos.
  • The CreativeStudio software included walks you through apparel design.
    • Also compatible with CorelDraw or Illustrator, but can save you thousands in software
  • $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot for complete ink saturation.
  • Can alter speed and/or quality based on needs.  Choose either very fast printing or very high quality.
  • Upwards or 1200 DPI for extremely detailed and high quality printing.

Cons

  • Only complaints so far have been regarding corresponding with customer service at Sawgrass.  However most people have never needed to contact the company for support.

For an in-depth look at this printer in action, check out this video below:

#2 – HiTi P525L Compact – Best for Photo Booth and Events

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HiTi-P525L-Compact-Dye-Sub-Printers
HiTi-P525L-Compact-Dye-Sub-Printers-Front

Fast and high quality, perfect for events and photo booths

For event photo booth operators, speed and quality are the most important factors.  Since you will be serving one customer at a time, volume is not necessarily very important.  For this reason we have selected the HiTi P525L as our top pick for photo booth operators.

The quality is extraordinary, its very fast, and cuts paper for you.  Many users have reporting using these with great success at events.

It’s only due to the unfortunate issue of it failing to sort photos correctly (even given the photo catcher addon) that you cannot use this to print at scale to fulfill orders.  If you do so, you risk mixing up customer orders.  However its perfectly suited for events where you print one customer at a time.

One other caveat to keep in mind, you really should use Windows with this machine, as many users have reported difficulty using Android or Mac.

#3 – Mitsubishi CP-D70DW – Best for Mass Photo Printing

Mistubishi CP-D70DW

The Mitsubishi CP-D70DW is rather different than the last few dye sublimation printers we have looked at mainly because portability is not a feature for this pro performer. The CP-D70DW can crank out regular 4″ x 6″ prints in just 8.4 seconds, making it ideal for people who are looking at printing from a commercial perspective. It makes it suitable for photo booths as it can produce 6″ x 9″ prints in about 33 seconds and standard A4 prints in about 77 seconds.

Design-wise, however, there’s no hiding the CP-D70DW. Weighing in at 26 pounds, Mitsubishi focused on functionality more than visual appeal as is the case with some of the smaller printers below. You should also know that the printer lacks physical controls on it apart from the button that opens its main door. This means that to get the best out of it, you would have to have it hooked to your PC as it does not have memory card slots either.

While it may come off as a bit retro, the CP-D70DW is a favorable choice for those who are not too keen on looks and features but prefer quality and reliability. In addition, if you’re after borderless prints, 300 dpi resolution and different printing modes such as ultrafine and superfine, the CP-D70DW would be a good pick.

#4 – Epson C88+ Inkjet – Honorable Mention

Epson Stylus C88+
Epson Stylus C88+ Details
Epson Stylus C88+ More Details

Epson’s C88+ Inkjet printer lies in between a Mitsubishi CP-D70DW and a Canon Selphy CP1300 in terms of size. The C88+ is also an upgrade for those who initially worked with the Epson Stylus C88+ Workforce printer. Performance-wise, this printer can easily manage printing up to 19 pages per minute which is faster than other sublimation printers from Epson. This is because Epson included the automated printing functionality which aids in the process.

Quality too isn’t compromised. The default maximum resolution for this printer is 5760 x 1440 dpi. This may be an important consideration for people who are looking for great quality prints. Epson also claims that the C88+ offers smudge resistant prints thanks to DURABrite Ultra, Epson’s quick-drying formula that allows you to touch your photos/documents immediately after printing without having to worry about creating smudges. Epson’s DURABrite Ultra ink also offers fade resistant properties allowing you to enjoy your photos for up to 100 years without noticing any kind of fading.

Ultimately, the C88+ is ideal for personal use. It is a perfect choice for people who lie in between professionals and amateurs.

Pros

  • 140 sheet capacity
  • Automated printing functionality
  • Prints up to 19 pages per minute.
  • Heat transfer technology works with many types of ink.
  • Scratch resistant
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Becomes slow especially when you print too many photos at once.

Other Personal Photo Printers

The printers below aren’t meant for professional applications, but can make a great option for hobbyists or those wishing to print their own high quality photos at home.  They offer affordable alternatives to the ones above.

Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer

Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer – Catridge
Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer – Pink
Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer – White

Introduction

Canon as a brand has been known to create some of the best photography products over the years, and it’s in that line that they also have printers that still offer people amazing images. The Canon SELPHY CP760 printer is one famous model in the Canon line of dye-sublimation photo printers.

Pros

One thing that we loved about this printer is the size. It is quite small which makes it easy to move around with and has been a popular model for most travelers especially those who travel to places that have beautiful and wonderful sceneries.

This Canon printer produces high quality 4 by 6-inch images that you can use with infrared, direct print USB and USB. This allows you to have high-quality photos at whatever time of day or night wherever you are. One can also print directly from the memory card or USB drive without the need for your computer.

The dye-sublimation process featured on this printer is advanced and produces amazing 4 by 6-inch photos in under a minute with a clear dpi resolution of 300 by 300. The printer has more than 256 color levels available and has the capacity to produce 16.8 million different color fusion.

Cons

Does not offer 100 percent frame coverage.

Kodak Dock Dye Sublimation Printer

Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer Main
Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer Chord
Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer Holiday Pick
Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer Empty
Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi Portable 4×6” Instant Photo Printer USB

Introduction

Kodak is another company that has been in the photography industry for years, and you can be sure to trust their products. Kodak has different models of dye sublimation printers that make for some of the best printers for dye sublimation.

Pros

One of the leading models of the Kodak printers is the Kodak Dock dye sublimation printer that prints 4 by 6-inch photos as well as legal size papers. The legal size paper printing is quite useful, especially for portrait photography lovers. The printer is very easy to use and suitable for Kodak cameras.

The printer produces amazing photos which enable you to use it for family photo gatherings or memories that are worth keeping. The one-touch printing feature makes it convenient for you to print photos directly from your smartphone using the printer dock which includes a free iOS lightning adapter and an Android dock pin.

It has an in-built D2T2 thermal transfer technology that prevents your images from scanning or fading. You can simultaneously charge two smart devices as you wait, thanks to the unique dock that supplies a fast charge whether at home, business, school or office. It’s eligible for the free companion app – the Kodak Printer App – that has different filters, card templates, collage maker, stickers, video and SNS print among other features.

Cons

Lacks a rechargeable power source hence needs a power outlet and requires new printer cartridges with every new paper stack.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Compact Printer

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wi-Fi Wireless Compact Photo Printer – Main
Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wi-Fi Wireless Compact Photo Printer – Card Size Cassette
Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wi-Fi Wireless Compact Photo Printer – Pack
Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wi-Fi Wireless Compact Photo Printer – Wireless

Introduction

This Canon printer is a wireless printer that makes use of the heat transfer technology to give you instant copies of your photos. The Party Shuffle feature allows you to create water-resistant fin collages by getting input from several smartphones and combining them.

Pros

The Canon SELPHY CP1300 not only allows you to print out copies of your photos instantly but they also dry immediately, are water resistant and maintain the same look for up to 100 years. The Canon PRINT app3 gives you the comfort of easily connecting your tablet and smartphone. In addition, you can also print from USB or from your camera’s memory card directly without the need of a computer.

The prints produced by this printer are the size of a postcard and have a Canon watermark in reverse side. The paper and ink are only compatible with former models (the SELPHY CP series). It has a built-in LCD that helps you choose the size and type of printing you want easily. Besides, you can also edit the images before you print them out.

With an additional battery pack that comes with the printer, you are able to print from your smartphone or memory card from almost anywhere. If you love traveling and always need to carry a printer with you, this Canon printer is not only sleek but is portable and light in weight making it possible for you to go anywhere with it.

Cons

Some users have complained about wireless connectivity issues.

Final Thoughts

When you are shopping for the best printers for dye sublimation, it’s important that you consider your usage, printing speed, the type of printer, ink colors, durability and warranty and above all, the price.

All these are factors that you need to consider properly before spending money on a printer as you don’t want to buy one and realize it doesn’t get the job you needed it for done.

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