What Are the Differences Between Sublimation Printer & Regular Printer

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Author : Iris
Update time : 2015-01-16 15:52:00

Sublimation Printer vs Regular Printer – What Are the Differences?

You might be surprised to find out that the history of printing can be dated back to as early as 3500 BCE but it was only in the 1950s that the inkjet printer came about. After a few years, dye-sublimation or sublimation printing was invented.

So, today, we will introduce what is a sublimation printer. Sublimation printers are used for special types of printing, not regular black and white documents. Ever wonder how fabric gets such vibrantly colored print on them? Or maybe you want to customize a mug or a wooden frame? To get a better understanding of sublimation printers and printing, let's compare them with regular printers below.


Key Differences

Sublimation printers and regular printers are quite different in terms of production capacity and production methods. Check out the key differences between a sublimation printer and a regular printer:


Printing Process

You might be more familiar with a regular printer or an inkjet printer. It uses ink-dot technology to put ink on top of the paper. Meanwhile, sublimation printers penetrate ink vapor into their media.


Depending on the printer you use, most sublimation prints also need to go through a heat press too. For inkjet printers, the documents delivered are already done. But with sublimation printers, you need to get the sublimation paper heat pressed with the medium of your choice.




Regular printers commonly use ink cartridges. These contain liquid and you can even see it is still wet when a regular printer delivers a document. A sublimation printer uses a special type of ink known as dye sublimation ink. This dye ink turns into gas or vapor when transferred.




If you have a regular printer, then it probably uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and black cartridges. Although it can reproduce different colors, the base inks are still quite limiting. Sublimation printers also have the same base colors but some can accommodate fluorescent dye sublimation inks to deliver brilliant and bright output.



Printing Capability

When it comes to the type of materials a printer can print on, both the sublimation and regular printer have their own limitations. Regular printers are of course designed specifically for normal paper but can also print on photo paper or sticker paper.

Sublimation printers print on special sublimation paper, which can then be used for a wide range of media, from fabrics to ceramics. There are also large-format models that can print directly on a tarpaulin.




What is a Sublimation Printer’s Advantage?

What is a sublimation printer good for? Clearly, this type of printer has many pros whether you have a business or have a hobby of customizing.


Fantastic Print Quality

Since a sublimation printer does not put ink on top of media, you can expect smear-free output. There is absolutely no drying time to think of with a sublimation printer. What’s more, you can expect vibrant results that do not fade over time. Colors are retained even if you keep washing a shirt with a sublimated print on it.



The initial cost of the best sublimation printer in the market may seem like a lot but in the long run, it can definitely save you money. Whether you have to work on a big batch of prints or just a single order, the cost is the same with a sublimation printer. What’s more, the printing process is pretty quick, you can create customized items in less than a day.



Aluminum frames, wooden trays, sports shirts, pillowcases, ceramic mugs, polyester towels. These are just some of the items that you can customize with a sublimation printer. You can unleash your creativity and do so much with this printing tool.



It’s easy to find out what is a sublimation printer when you differentiate it from a regular printer. A sublimation printer can definitely do more than an inkjet printer but again it has its own special use.



Again, a sublimation printer uses a special dye sublimation ink and sublimation paper. Instead of ink going on top of a piece of paper it embeds itself within the medium, such as a shirt, for a long-lasting and liquid-free output.



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