After getting the software program for designing and the printer for sublimation, the next thing you need is sublimation ink. In most cases, you will need sublimation inks that work well with your Epson or Sawgrass printer.
But there are all sorts of sublimation inks available on the market. Choosing the best ones according to our needs will be an overwhelming task. In this guide, we will discuss some of the best options to serve your purpose.
We have tried all of these inks to perform our printing tasks, and they have worked out pretty well. We will be discussing all that in the following text, so keep reading.
If you are looking to buy sublimation ink, you must consider ICC color profiles. The ICC is the set of standards that were established back in 1993 by eight top industry vendors.
The purpose here was to design a color management system for creation, promotion, and encouragement of evolution and standardization of vendor-neutral, open, and cross-platform architecture with various components.
In simple words, ICC designed and developed different color profiles for mapping various color values. These profiles are represented as RGB colors on your computer display. The ICC has also established different guidelines for developing these color profiles.
When you are adjusting your color values or saturation on your computer, you are altering this mapping. Perfectly mapping all colors that we can see on a computer and a display is almost impossible. So, there’s plenty of leeway for these profiles.
You might be asking, “if there is plenty of leeway in these profiles, should I use them?” Yes, these profiles are a must-use for anyone using various devices when working on the same file. If you don’t use these profiles, printers and digital devices will alter the images and colors.
Regardless of the scenario, using a correct color profile guarantees that your file has the same colors when moving from one device. Conversely, if you don’t use these profiles, there is a significant chance that your design’s colors will alter from your computer to the printer.
When you make your design on your PC, you will use various color profiles. These profiles come with your monitor. If you have messed around with your display settings, this won’t be the case.
There are guidelines for you to dial these settings optimal to get the best colors according to your expectations.
After you have created your design, you send it to your printer. But that is not the case because you are not sending the design itself but the profile. This is because your display monitor and your printer have different color profiles.
So, your printer is mapping those colors from the image to print onto the page. If you are not using ICC profiles, then the colors on your monitor will be different when they come out on the page.
When working with dye sublimation, things get even more complicated. It is because the pressure and heat will further alter those colors that you are seeing.
That is why you have to work with these color profiles to get all the colors right and buy sublimation inks with these profiles.
When you go out to buy sublimation inks, you will also find another type of pigment ink. Pigment and sublimation inks are both frequently used in the industry.
The difference between the two is primarily due to whom they are produced. Therefore, you can use sublimation ink on different materials as opposed to pigment ink.
Sublimation ink is created by mixing different solvents with pigments and dyes. They evaporate when you heat them. On the other hand, pigment ink also has one more step in the process, and it deals with the application of resin.
It is done to create a special coating on your paper. Sublimation inks don’t need those additional steps because it is already integrated within the process.
- Possible to print on fabrics.
- Works better for entire colors.
- More expensive.
- Gradients or multi-color prints are not that great.
- Not readily available (because only one company is producing them)
- Less expensive.
- More readily available.
- Adherence to surfaces is better.
- Environmentally friendly (you can’t recycle sublimation paper.
- Fades over time.
- Not applicable with some materials like plastics.
- The level of detail is not as much as sublimation.
- Pigment printers are more difficult to use.
As we have mentioned above, choosing the best sublimation ink is not an easy task. But before you buy sublimation inks, you must focus on one point. And that is the primary purpose of this ink.
You are using this ink to amplify the entire printing process and use various print heads. As you will be dealing with different stuff, you need to choose the best type of sublimation ink. These inks need to handle different colors and work with different materials. And most importantly, they shouldn’t fade away over time.
So, where to buy sublimation ink? Amazon is an excellent place to buy sublimation inks. You’re going to get quality products at affordable rates, and their delivery service is exceptional too.
Another thing to keep in mind before you buy sublimation inks is your printing technique. You have to focus on the printing technique that you are using.
Dye-sublimation uses heat and pressure, so you will need ink that can handle this heat and pressure. With heat and pressure, the fabric opens up, and the ink goes into the pores. After that, you apply the pressure to close those pores and cool the ink down.
Color inks transform into powder, and then they heat up and vaporize into gas form. When you apply the pressures, it transforms back into its solid form. This way of printing allows you to work with more details in your design.
This printing technique is a top choice for small batch orders and designs with details. Dye-sublimation is also called all-over printing because it allows you to pick the best design. You have to focus on this printing method and choose the right type of ink that can handle this heat and pressure.
Concerned about which brand to choose to buy sublimation inks? Better focus on what usage or purpose the ink will serve. Sublimation printing allows you to work with a broader range of colors. It can also handle vast amounts of details.
You can always expect photo-quality printing on your surface. You can use sublimation printing for high-quality photo printing.
Moreover, you can use this printing for indoor and outdoor decor. Sublimation ink can handle logos, signages, and tattoos. You can use it for writing pads, banners, apparel, and a range of other trade show displays.
Sublimation printing is the perfect choice for printing onto polyester fabrics. The vivid inks are also great for designing hardware items such as mugs, ceramic, wood, and other metal items. So, it’s a highly versatile printing technique.
What to look for before you buy sublimation inks
There are some essential features that you must consider before you buy sublimation inks for your printing purposes. Here are some of the points you need to keep in mind when buying,
You have to check the ink quality out through your printer before buying the ink to work on your designs. You can do this by performing a test right before your purchase.
Ensure that the photo has all the versatility in its color range and brightness so you can assess and evaluate the quality and how the prospective sublimation ink will handle it.
Make sure to go for the right kid if sublimation ink is compatible with your sublimation printer. Even the best quality sublimation ink will not work if it is not compatible with your specific type of printer. Therefore, the brand and model of your printer must be kept in mind when buying these inks.
One of the main factors you must check on when buying sublimation inks is their reliability and expiry dates. It is going to hugely impact the quality of the stuff that you customize with this ink. Plus, it will also influence how long their lifespan is going to be.
This rate refers to how much of this ink can transmit from your paper to your work surface. You need to look at a transfer rate of at least 90 percent to get an accurate design with bright and vivid hues.
Your products will have a more living sensation if they have vivid colors on them. These are the features that will represent your artistic side in the eyes of the beholder.
When you produce vivid designs, the details will look much more apparent to the eye, and your design will look catchier. So, make sure the ink you choose can produce color vividness.
The substance goes from solid to liquid form; it needs to have a minimum drying time. Cheaper brands use a lot of water content in their inks, and it increases the drying time. With more water, the ink gets worse, and its drying time significantly increases.
Sublimation inks that can handle and maintain on their own are a better choice. It means that you won’t spend more time cleaning these inks. Some inks take much longer to clean as you have to scrub and scrub. But denser inks are much better because you can clean them with just a single swipe. Of course, you have to make your workplace look tidy.
You must go for a sublimation ink with a smaller particle size to give you that smooth finish. It will also avoid printer clogging, and drying time will reduce further. The ideal particle size needs to be around 0.1 microns.
You need to use inks that can handle dark surfaces too. It is especially the case if you are dealing with ceramic tiles for home. Not all inks work well when it comes to dark transfer. Therefore, if you do more dark transfers, look for these features in your sublimation ink.
If you’re looking for those elegant designs, then you need to deliver sharpness in your prints. Your design will look much more detailed with more sharpness, and quality will be evident to the eye. In addition, the quality of your design or your image will show your creative side.
This way, you will be able to work with even finer details, and you will be able to create more eye-catching prints with clarity.
Make sure that you go for sublimation inks that come in bottles with seals. It will prevent them from getting dry over time in your storage. Moreover, go for the inks that have different styles of nozzles. It will help you in creating a range of customized styles in your designs and prints.
Right, enough of the forewarnings that you must address before you buy sublimation inks. It’s crunch time in this buyer’s guide for sublimation inks.
Here we will review the best sublimation inks that are fully compatible with your Epson WF-7710, Sawgrass SG400, and other sublimation printers. So, without any further ado, let’s begin our reviews.
When you go out to buy sublimation inks, look for this brand. The best sublimation ink right off the bat is the Printer Jack. It is the most commonly used sublimation ink because it provides you with the best results. The best part is, it comes with an ICC color profile and does precisely more with more sharpnessYour delicate what it claims.
If you are using Epson WF-7710, then this is the ink that you need to use. You will also notice that this ink doesn’t come with too many negative reviews. The users that have some negative things to say about this ink have problems with their printer settings. Or the issues inherent in their printers.
It is the best Epson sublimation ink out there. But you need to keep in mind that you have to make some adjustments to your printer’s settings. You need to do this before you start working with this ink. But this is something you will have to do with every other sublimation ink too.
This ink is compatible with different Epson printer models including,
- Stylus C Series – 68, 88, 88+, 288.
- WF Series – 7610, 3640, 3620, 3540, 3520, 7110, 7010, 7710, 7720, 7620, 2750, 2630.
- ET Series – 2750, 2650, 3750, 4750, 3700.
- XP Series – 434, 440, 320.
- NX Series – 515, 420, 330.
- Works with high-resolution graphics.
- Excellent color fidelity.
- You can use the design right after the press.
- Best choice for inkjet printers.
- It is not suitable for cotton fabrics.
As you can see, this ink is compatible with a range of different Epson printers. As a result, this ink can produce quality results with great work details.
Hence, you can use it to print onto a variety of products. It is the best sublimation ink out there. But make sure you don’t use cotton fabrics for printing.
Another high-quality sublimation ink is Aopane Anti-,UV sublimation ink that works with ICC color profiles. You can use this ink on a variety of different materials.
The transfers will always be resistant to fades and vibrant. You will also get a 1-year guarantee from the manufacturer so you can use this ink with peace of mind.
Again, you will have to make some adjustments to your printer settings. The ink works well with refillable cartridges or with CISS (continuous ink supplying system. But once you have set it all up, you won’t have to deal with any issues getting your transfers.
Again, you won’t get any negative reviews directly associated with the ink itself. Most people have had issues with their printer settings when not getting the desired results. But you can quickly overcome such issues if you choose a high-quality printing profile.
This ink is also compatible with different Epson printers models.
- Epson Stylus C Series – C68, C88, C88+, C288.
- XP Series – 434, 440, 320
- WF Series – 7610, 3640, 3620, 3540, 3520, 7110, 7010, 7710, 7620, 2750, 2630.
- ET Series – 2750, 2650, 4750, 3700.
- Highly accurate dying.
- Less harmful in usage.
- Doesn’t need much hard work.
- Handles minuscule designs very well.
- Does end up clogging printers at times.
This ink does come with a very convenient storage capability, and it won’t leak at all. The sealing that it has on its bottle won’t let it dry. The ink is compatible with different Epson models, and you can use it with Sawgrass printers too.
It’s a top choice for printing on shoes, pillows, cups, mugs, and apparel. But it slightly lacks self-maintenance, and you will have to clear the clogging in your printer after some prints to keep it going.
Looking for consistently high-quality results in your transfer and prints, then choose the InkXPro. It is compatible with a plethora of different printers, and it will produce vibrant colors on a host of different substrates.
The best thing about this ink is that it comes with an ICC color profile. So, it will just make your life easier to get those prints and transfer them with matching houses. However, this ink is not that great with gradients, but that’s the case with most sublimation inks.
You will see that this ink also comes with numerous positive reviews. But some people have talked negatively about the vibrancy of some of their prints using this ink.
We think that there might have been some issues with their printer settings. Because this ink can manage to produce brighter and more vivid hues compared to most of the inks.
Thisink is compatible with different Epson printer models including,
- Epson Stylus C – 68, 88, 88+.
- WF Series – 3520, 3540, 3620, 3640, 7010, 7510, 7520, 7110, 7610, 7620, 7710, 7720, 7210.
- Four-color Epson EcoTank printers.
- Comes with auto-filling inks.
- Completely mess-free and self-maintaining.
- Fast drying time.
- Handles minute details very well.
- Needs slow pressing to produce better results.
This ink is all about vivid and bright hues, but you won’t be able to get transfers that have gradients in them. However, the ink does come with good permeability and quick-drying features.
You won’t have to deal with any messes, and the ink is self-maintaining. So, clogging is not going to be an issue that you will have to handle.
This sublimation ink comes with top-notch performance and is highly regarded as one of the best across the printing industry. This ink doesn’t come with ICC profiling, which is good if you know what you’re doing.
But if you are new to your printer and PC with those designs, you might have to go for different adjustments in your display and printer settings. That is probably the only major thing that you have to be concerned about when using this ink.
This ink comes with a filling feature and will make your substrates UV protected. Therefore, you can use it for substrates that are going outdoors too. No need to worry about any fades at all.
It also comes with a high rating if you go through the Hiipoo sublimation ink reviews. However, the only issue that most people faced was dealing with the settings.
You will hear a lot about people comparing Hiipoo ink vs. Cosmos ink. However, Cosmos is not bad either in terms of quality. But it does come with a limited color range. So, Hiipoo is a better choice if you are looking for a more color range.
This ink is compatible with different Epson printers including,
- Epson Stylus C Series – 68, 88, 88+.
- WF Series – 3520, 3540, 3620, 3640, 7010, 7510, 7520, 7110, 7610, 7620, 7710, 7720, 7210.
- Four color Epson EcoTank printers.
- Comes in automatic filling bottles.
- Completely mess-free and self-maintaining.
- The ink comes with ultraviolet protection.
- Small particle size for better results.
- This ink is prone to non-recyclable waste.
- It requires slow pressing.
This ink features a small particle size which means it is capable of handling minute details very well. It also means that its drying time is speedy. It comes with UV protection and is a top choice for transfers that you can use outdoors too. Though it might need slow pressing, and you will have to be very patient in handling it, the ink does produce sensational results.
It is the best sublimation ink that you can use for getting your transfer on fabrics and apparel. This ink can also handle itself, so you won’t have to do much when it comes to cleaning and maintaining. It also means you won’t have to deal with any clogging in your printers over time.
No matter what brand of inkjet printer you are using, this sublimation ink will work like a charm. But you need to keep in mind that we are discussing compatibility when specifically printing on fabrics and apparel.
Its drying time is prolonged on hard and smooth surfaces like metal or ceramics. Another problem that you will have to deal with is that this ink does tend to dry out in around a couple of weeks once you open the bottles. So, you might have to use this ink if you are printing fast and multiple orders.
This ink is compatible with a range of Epson printers, including the C Series, the WF Series, the XP Series, the ET Series, and the NX Series. It is also compatible with different Sawgrass and HP inkjet printers.
- Compatibility with a host of different printers brands and models.
- Features a self-maintenance mode.
- This ink can be used in a scanner.
- Produces vivid colors on fabrics and apparel.
- Dries out fast after opening (within three weeks).
The only concern that you have to deal with here is that it dries away fast, and you can’t keep it long in your storage. Otherwise, this ink produces quality results and is a top choice for printing on fabrics and apparel. The transfers will be vivid, and the prints will last for a long time to come.
No, all sublimation inks are not made the same. Different inks come with different qualities. Some of them are better on smoother surfaces, while others are better on fabrics. Some inks have more water content in them while others don’t.
You need to pick the right kind of sublimation ink for your printing requirements. But, as is the case with every other purchase, you will get what you pay for. Therefore, consider going for high-quality inks with less water content in them.
In general, sublimation ink can last for more than ten years. But this is not the case with every sublimation ink out there. We are only talking about the quality sublimation inks that come with less water content in them.
These inks won’t fade away over time. And, of course, they are not going to crack either because they go into the pores of the coating and remain intact for an extended period to come.
No, you can’t mix two different sublimation inks as it will completely mess up the color corrections. It will also cause trouble for your printer. Therefore, you must go through the purge cycle and even run a cleaning kit for your printer before changing the ink.
Mixing things might permanently damage your printer’s settings, and you might never get the right colors using it. Whenever you are changing the ink in your printers, whether you are going for sublimation ink after regular ink or going for a different brand of sublimation ink, make sure that you flush the printer’s system out first.
There is no comparison between these two because they are entirely different types of products. However, sublimation ink is mandatory for printing designs and graphics onto your fabric and plastic substrates.
On the other hand, inkjet ink is suitable for printing documents. Unless coated or printed, the photos or documents printed using inkjet will run if exposed to moisture. However, sublimation prints are entirely immune to moisture or water damage. Therefore, sublimation inks are far more durable than inkjet inks.
Sublimation inks are made using standard heat press machines. With heat initiation controlled with pressure and time, this ink is prepared. There is no use of alcohol in sublimation ink.
Pigment ink is the type of ink that has isopropyl alcohol in it. It works as a drying agent. Therefore, sublimation ink doesn’t contain any alcohol in any amount or percentage.
Pigment ink is suitable to use with inkjet printers and inkjet transfer. However, it is not developed to bind with the substrate or fabric so that sublimation ink does.
You will need the right kind of printing or sublimation paper to make it work, and this paper only works with the heat press at a specific temperature, time, and pressure.
Pigment ink is different, so it will not produce the same detail level as sublimation ink. Therefore, you cannot use pigment ink for sublimation.
It is a specific kind of ink, and it is color-matched closely to the EcoTank Epson 522 ink. It means that it will enable you to maintain a high standard of printing pictures and documents on regular printing paper. But it is not sublimation ink and is not suitable for this type of printing technique.
There are some color limitations that you will have to deal with when using Cosmos sublimation ink. But overall, it’s good to buy sublimation inks from this brand for high-quality print results.
Yes, it does get old and has an expiry date too. This expiry date is mentioned on the cartridge or bottle. But it won’t stop working on that particular date out of nowhere. But from that day onwards, the ink will deteriorate, dye will separate, and particles will begin to clump together.
Yes, you can sublimate using plastisol ink. Many artists and small business owners do it, and it does produce pretty good results.
There are all kinds of sublimation inks available on the market. You need to pick the right one based on your print requirements. But make sure that you don’t buy sublimation inks that have more watery content in them.
Also, make sure that you buy sublimation inks compatible with your printer and come with an ICC color profile. Otherwise, you will have to work hard on your printer settings to get the required results.