If you’ve ever wanted to print a large sublimation print this post is for you. Today we’re going to talk about large-format sublimation printers, also referred to as wide-format sublimation printers.
This post will be all about wide-format sublimation printers. If you’re looking for a wide-format or large-format regular printer, I will have that post ready for you at a later date.
If you’re new to sublimation printing and would like to learn more about regular sublimation printers, I have a post all about choosing the best sublimation printer which is a great place to start.
What is a Large Format Sublimation Printer?
A large format sublimation printer is a sublimation printer that prints wider than 8.5″ wide. I’m talking 11″ wide, 13″ wide, and even wider. There are sublimation printers that can print 44″ – 66″ wide on huge rolls of sublimation paper.
I don’t know about you but my craft room doesn’t need a printer that large. For that reason, I will be mostly talking about more budget-friendly large-format sublimation printer options.
You can watch me walk through these sublimation printers by pressing play on the video below.
What is a Sublimation Printer?
A sublimation printer is a printer with sublimation ink inside for creating sublimation prints on sublimation paper. For sublimation printing, I generally choose an Epson or Sawgrass printer. I will mainly be talking about those two brands today.
How to Choose a Large-Format Sublimation Printer
What large format sublimation printer is right for you? That will depend on both your budget and what you’ll be using it for.
Different options are an Epson EcoTank that is converted to sublimation, the Epson SureColor, and Sawgrass sublimation printers. These all print in larger, wider formats.
Epson EcoTank ET-15000
An Epson EcoTank is a regular printer you can convert to sublimation by adding sublimation ink instead of the regular ink that comes with the printer. A very popular wide-format Epson EcoTank is the ET-15000. There are other versions of EcoTanks that print wider but the 15000 is a very popular version.
When converting an EcoTank for sublimation, you cannot install the regular ink that comes with the printer and use it. You need to install sublimation ink instead.
IMPORTANT: Because you’re using the printer in a way that is not intended by Epson you are most likely voiding the warranty of that printer.
I want to call that out because the ET-15000 is not a cheap printer. You could almost get the Sawgrass option for what this EcoTank costs. I have noticed that the price seems to fluctuate on the EcoTanks quite a bit, especially the large format options and it can be difficult to find in stock as well.
Because Epson EcoTank printers were not made for sublimation, in my experience they are more prone to clogs and color issues than dedicated sublimation printers.
If you choose to go this route, just know you will need to take the time to get the color corrected and you’ll need to print regularly, at least once a week, from your converted printer.
If that all sounds like it’s not for you, let’s look at another large-format sublimation printer option.
In my opinion, the SG1000 is the best large-format sublimation printer. This printer is made for sublimation, it can print up to 11″ wide by 17″ long on its own. With an additional bypass tray, you can print up to 13″ wide on a roll of paper that will allow you to print much longer lengths.
NOTE: The additional tray is an additional expense.
If you leave your Sawgrass sublimation printer plugged in, it will do its own maintenance which is amazing to me. I love that I don’t have to worry about printing weekly so I can go out of town without worrying about a clog in my printer.
Sawgrass also has the best customer support. From setup to color issues, you can call them and get help at any time. I also have had the best success with color on my Sawgrass printer right out of the box. It has the easiest set up in my opinion and the colors are amazing.
Epson does make a dedicated sublimation printer line. The large-format sublimation printer is the F570 which prints up to 24 inches wide. Epson sublimation printers jump from the F170 which is a standard 8.5-inch by 14-inch printer to the F570 which is a very large printer.
The F570 is a great option. It comes with sublimation ink and is made for sublimation. If you are an Epson fan and need a large-format sublimation printer, the F570 may be right for you. It is more expensive than the other options I’ve talked about here but it also prints wider than those other options.
In my experience, Epson printers don’t do their own maintenance. That means you will still need to print on them regularly. I have the F170, not the F570 but I haven’t had a lot of issues with clogs or anything and the colors look good to me.
I have heard some people have had issues with colors with the F170. Personally, I haven’t had that issue but wanted to mention it in case you do.
Because the F170 and F570 are dedicated sublimation printers, you don’t void the warranty using sublimation ink. This means you have full Epson customer support if you run into any issues using it.
Note – I have tried all of these brands. I did not purchase all of the large-format sublimation printers. Personally I don’t have room for these very, very larger printers.
Extra Large Format Sublimation Printers
If you’re reading along and you’re thinking to yourself that 24 inches is just not wide enough, there are other options for you. There are a variety of brands including Epson and Sawgrass that make very, very large sublimation printers. A couple of other brand names are Virtuoso and Mutoh.
When I say very large, I mean, probably larger than I could fit in my craft room large.
These printers can print 44 inches wide and even 64 inches wide. They print on huge, wide rolls of sublimation paper that come in lengths long enough that you could probably sublimate anything you can imagine.
Why Would You Need an Extra Large Format Sublimation Printer?
I think for most people, a sublimation printer that can print from 11 inches to 24 inches is large enough for the projects you may want to make.
If you’re running a sublimation business where you may want to sublimate an entire adult-sized shirt or a blanket, you may want to look at the very large printer options out there. I do think you would need more than a craft room if you’re looking at those larger printers because you would also need a larger heat press for those gigantic projects.
Another thing to note is those really large printers are a big investment. I don’t see someone who is doing sublimation as a hobby needing something that large and expensive.
What Extra Large Format Sublimation Printer Should You Get?
I have not personally used one of those printers. I will say I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. At that price range, you’re getting into very high-quality printers with extensive customer support and warranties.
If you’re looking to purchase one, I would do your research. Find a couple that look like they would do what you need and then watch some videos from people who own them. See if they answer the questions you have and if they don’t, you can ask them.
I tend to stick with brands I know. If I was going to purchase one of those giant sublimation printers, I would probably still choose an Epson or a Sawgrass because I am familiar with those brands.
I will say that I would choose a dedicated sublimation printer and NOT convert an Epson EcoTank. It is just not worth the risk for the amount of money these printers cost.
Final Thoughts on Large-Format Sublimation Printers
I hope you’ve found all of this helpful. My goal with this post is to give you more information on how to print sublimation larger than 8.5-inch by 14-inch.
I personally would choose the SG1000 if I was purchasing a wide-format sublimation printer today. I really love how easy Sawgrass sublimation printers are to use right out of the box and their customer service can’t be beat.
My second choice would be a converted Epson EcoTank like the ET-15000. Those give you the ability to choose a less expensive sublimation ink or paper if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option.
My last recommendation would be the Epson F570 but only because it is more expensive than the other options. I do like that you can print up to 24 inches which is really wide. So if you’re looking to maximize your printing area without purchasing a gigantic printer that could be the way to go.
My personal goal with this video was to tell crafters how to go a little bit larger. So for those of you that wanna go a little bit larger than 8 1/2 by 14, I really think one of the printers that I talked about in this video will definitely help.
If you have any questions about large-format sublimation printers leave them in the comments and I’ll get those answered for you.