Printing on a Budget? Get a Cheap Sublimation Printer!

In most cases, craft enthusiasts are interested in getting started with a sublimation printer, but how many of them are willing to pay a high price for premium-quality results? Considering the high cost of sublimation printers, most of us can only take deep breaths. In spite of this, we will not leave you behind if you are looking for a cheap but quality sublimation printer, because you will still be able to achieve high-quality results with the best cheap sublimation printer.

There are a number of inexpensive sublimation printers available, ranging from high-quality manufacturing to cartridge-free systems. When it comes to results, not all of them are the same. The following budget-friendly sublimation printers were selected after hours, and even days, of research to determine their quality.

What To Look For In The Cheapest Sublimation Printer

In order to showcase your brand effectively, small sublimation business owners know that high-quality printed materials are essential. It is recognized that sublimation printers are among the most effective options available on the market. It is important for small business use to find a cheap sublimation printer, however, because investing in a sublimation printer can be quite expensive. Our guide covers everything you need to know about sublimation printers and how to find affordable ones.

Cheap Sublimation Printer collection

Finding the Right Printer for Your Needs

It is important to remember that not all cheap solution printers are the same. It is possible that some of these printers will offer you decent features to meet the requirements of high-end printers. Here are some of the features you should consider in order to obtain the most appropriate one.

1. The Quality of Your Printing Matters

When choosing a sublimation printer, it is important to look at the DPI resolution and color accuracy it is capable of producing. Stay away from a printer that prints low-quality images that have faded results. For printing photos, you should select a minimum DPI of 300.

2. Cost-Effective Running

If your initial purchasing power is low, you may not be able to support the high operating costs of the printing business. Purchase an affordable sublimation printer with a low operating cost per print of only 0.10 cents. Additionally, sublimation ink tanks will provide thousands of pages without needing to be refilled.

3. Size and Quantity of Media

It is recommended that you select the maximum printing size of 8.5″ by 14″ if your business does not require wide printing. It is important to note that cheap printers with low operating costs will not be able to provide you with printing in super-tabloid size. It is necessary to make a compromise either on the initial price or the running cost. You may be interested in the best 13×19 sublimation printers. In addition, 100 sheets should be the minimum amount of paper handled.

In addition, it is important to obtain a printer that is capable of printing multiple media sizes to sublimate small substrates, such as mugs, glasses, acrylic keychains, leather, and stainless steel.

4. Gadget Connectivity

The Ethernet connection might also have to be compromised, but still, cheap options will be worthwhile if you have access to iOS, Android, and Windows wireless connectivity options. It is important to note that the SD card slot is an additional feature.

sublimation printing suplies collection

Cheapest Sublimation Printers – Top 6 Affordable Printers

Our selection of the most affordable sublimation printer was based on several factors:

  • We reviewed 20 printers that are affordable
  • Analyzed the printing quality and the cost of sublimation ink
  • Taking into account the cost per print
  • Printing on a variety of substrate sizes

1. Epson Premium EcoTank 4700

As a successor to the Epson ET-4700, this is an economical AIO solution that comes at a reasonable price. In spite of its compact size, the body is highly durable and weighs only 11 pounds. It also has a classical design, making it an ideal choice for home desk use. As a result of the Ecofit system, it was easy to fill the ink tanks, and the ink levels are well visible and easy to determine before they run out.

Along with the initial low purchase price, the running and page-per-print costs were extremely low, yet the Epson printer produced satisfactory quality prints, even though the maximum resolution was good. Despite this, the printing speed of the coloring pages was not up to standard. The auto document feeder, however, made up for this disadvantage.

The automatic document feeder can hold up to 30 sheets which can be scanned and copied in the size of 8.5″ x 11″. However, the flatbed scanner can be adjusted to scan thicker items. The LCD display is not particularly appealing due to its small size and lack of buttons. However, it can be used for device maintenance purposes. It is worth noting, however, that the ET-3830 listed below offers a touchscreen LCD with a much better view.

Epson EcoTank ET-4700

A significant feature of this Epson printer is the sheet tray, which can accommodate 100 sheets of different sizes up to a legal size, which measures 8 by 14 inches. In addition, it has an output tray capable of holding 30 sheets. However, the product does not meet the requirements of businesses.

The connectivity options provided by this Epson sublimation printer were excellent. It is equipped with Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint for iOS devices, and Mopria Print service for Android devices. There’s also voice-over printing, but you can’t load data from SD cards or USBs because there’s no external storage support.

  • Excellent high black and color page yield
  • Cost-per-print is amazing
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Supertank system that’s cost-effective
  • The printing speed is slow

2. Epson EcoTank ET-2760

It is a small, inexpensive sublimation printer with low operating costs suitable for small tasks. There is no automatic document feeder or Ethernet connectivity, but I was able to scan and copy manually as a result of the all-in-one feature. As compared to the ET-4800, the LCD visibility and tilting were satisfactory, but the printing quality was not excellent.

In order to get started with the sublimation process, the running cost was relatively low. Ecotank printers offer four CMYK refillable inks, which made refilling a breeze. There is a maximum print size of 8.5 by 14 inches along with various sizes it can print. It is expected that the sheet capacity of the input will be adequate, which is 100 sheets in various sizes.

Although the printing speed was passable, it was only 10 pages per minute monochrome and five pages per minute for coloring pages. Therefore, you will have to wait a bit longer for the larger images to be printed. However, the printing on sublimation blanks that were then produced was excellent.

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

It would have been helpful if you had offered the duplex printing option, as it was not a necessity for me with sublimation printing.

Regarding connectivity, it is notable that the device does not support Ethernet networking, but offers wireless printing, Wifi, Wifi direct, and USB, as well as an SD card slot on the left bottom corner of the device, which enabled me to print directly from it. Printing and maintenance were a breeze with Epson’s smart panel app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.

  • High page yields
  • Double-sided printing is automatic
  • Excellent cost-per-print
  • Innovative OCR scanning for small items
  • Multiple sheets size printing
  • Color accuracy is poor

3. Epson EcoTank ET-2720

This is another printer from the 2700 series. Due to its low cost per print and high page yield, the ET-2760 meets the requirements of small businesses due to its similar build quality to ET-2760, which is acceptable. As a result of the super tank refillable system, the ink tanks are easy to fill and can produce a large number of prints. In addition, the front of the device provides a view of the ink levels.

There is only a 100-sheet input tray and 30 plain paper sheets in the output tray. This is similar to the ET-2760, which can handle a variety of sizes of printing papers. It lacks an automatic document feeder, which can be frustrating. However, the scanning hinges were not extendable to scan thick items, so you have to scan and copy the pages manually despite the excellent scanning resolution.

As the maximum print size is not very wide, it can print images for a wide variety of substrates such as frames, personalized photos, t-shirts, and many others. It was possible to adjust the print resolution to meet the needs of the user, but the printing speed was significantly slower for higher-resolution images.

Epson EcoTank ET 2720

Further, it provided only 5 PPM for coloring pages, which is similar to the ET-2760, so you might have to wait a bit for the printing to be completed, but the quality was excellent.

This device features a 1.44-inch color display that can be used to perform regular maintenance, copy, print, and scan tasks.

The printer is equipped with Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, which make it compatible with both Windows and iOS. The device does not support any external storage devices such as USB or SD card slots. There is also no Ethernet connectivity.

  • High black and color page yield
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Excellent cost-per-print
  • Produces a wide range of colors
  • There is no automatic document feeder or duplex printing available

4. Epson EcoTank ET-3830

A decently constructed sublimation Epson printer that also had a premium feel. There is a slight difference in size between the ET-3830 and the above-listed printers. Also, the navigation screen is one inch larger and provides a better view than our top pick and other products listed. There are also buttons on the screen for navigation.

A disadvantage of the ET-3830 is the absence of an automatic document feeder (ADF). Yet, thanks to its printing speed that is comparable to that of the above-mentioned Epson printers. Using the cartridge-free super tank system, the ET-3830 also provides high page yields at a low cost. Compared to ET-2760 and 2720, the ink tank visibility is also better. I still had a lot of ink in the reservoirs so I didn’t have to refill it often.

The AIO printer has a flatbed scanner that lets you scan and copy manually. There is an input extendable tray that can accommodate a reasonable number of sheets, which is 250. In addition to the rear paper tray, I have also installed a front paper tray to accommodate some of the pages to increase productivity. Despite the fact that auto duplexing was also available, I did not utilize it for sublimation.

Epson EcoTank ET-3830

With its combination of excellent color depth and high-resolution scanning, the device is ideal for capturing minute details in photographs. I was impressed by the printing quality, which produced sharp graphics. As well as providing the large borderless prints, the printer also provided me with large substrates on which the images could be printed.

In addition to its low price, the printer offers a variety of connectivity options such as wireless connectivity, Ethernet, USB, Epson smart panel app printing, and compatibility with smart devices.

  • Auto-stop technology is featured on ink bottles
  • Auto Document Feeder
  • Paper tray with a high capacity
  • Cost-effective printing
  • Fast printing speed
  • A standard print quality

5. Epson EcoTank 2800 Series

On our list, this is the lightest and cheapest sublimation printer. It is the Epson ET-2800 that is the cheapest sublimation printer that you can purchase for under $200 to $250. Although you will not be able to take advantage of the full benefits of the printer, such as ADF, good printing speed, and Ethernet connectivity. However, this printer can be used to print legal-sized documents, scan at a decent resolution, and copy color documents.

With a weight of just 4 kilograms, the printer is small enough to fit on a small desk in your home. Due to the use of CMYK refilled Eco tanks, both the cost per page, as well as the purchase price, were extremely low with this inkjet printer. In terms of running costs, it can save you 90% without compromising the quality of the print. It had a higher DPI resolution than the other basic printers as well.

Despite being small, the display screen measures only 1.4 inches and is shaped like a square on the front panel. However, thanks to the tilting mechanism, you may raise the display according to your preferred position. Similarly, the printing speed was the same as that of the ET-2700 series above, which is 5 for coloring pages.

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Series

To accommodate sublimation paper sizes up to 8.5″ x 14″, Epson has added a 100-sheet input tray. This tray can be extended to accommodate larger sizes.

Several modern connectivity options were available, such as wireless printing, voice-over printing, Airprint printing, Windows compatibility, and Epson’s smart panel app for various tasks including printing and maintaining the printer from a smartphone.

  • Design that saves space
  • The MicroPiezo inkjet technology
  • The automatic correction of images 
  • Auto-stop technology is featured on ink bottles
  • Inexpensive regular inkjet ink bottles
  • Duplex printing and automatic document feeder are not available

6. Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820

This is one of the fastest and best cheap sublimation printers on the market, as well as the successor of the WF-7720. It is a decent sublimation printer equipped with a cartridge system. Despite the fact that I received refillable new cartridges except for the packaging. Additionally, I was able to install the CISS chipset for the quick refilling of ink cartridges.

One of the features that appealed to me was the automatic document feeder, which could accommodate 50 sheets of paper. There is also the benefit of wide format printing up to 13 x 19 inches with the rear tray with borders, and borderless printing up to 11 x 17 inches without borders. Due to the cartridge system, the printing cost was a bit higher (11.3 cents), however, the page yield was decent.

Additionally, its scanning and copying sizes are also wide format to allow printing of super tabloid-size sheets, except for faxing. Furthermore, as the cheapest printer the WF-7820 has only a single paper tray that can hold 250 sheets. Although this is almost half the capacity of the WF-7720, it is acceptable if you do not frequently print heavy volumes on a monthly basis. Epson WF-7840, however, has two trays.

I liked the print quality with precise dots, but it turned out a bit faded on sublimation paper. However, after heat-transfer the image, the colors became more vibrant.

Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820

Featuring a large color touch screen measuring 4.3 inches, it is the only one on our list with a mobile-sized navigation interface. Honestly, viewing angles were good, and vertical visibility provided even better viewing for those who were sitting and standing.

It offered me a printing speed of 25 pages per minute for black and white documents, as well as 25 pages per minute for color documents. Several connectivity options are available, including Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, and USB ports for importing data from external sources. The device is also equipped with Bluetooth connectivity.

Mobile devices printing, Mopria Print, and AirPrint are useful and compatible with iOS and Android devices. The Epson iPrint app also allows printing, scanning, and copying from smartphones as well as monitoring ink levels and maintenance tasks.

  • PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology 
  • High-speed printing
  • Automatic Document Feeder
  • 250-sheet paper tray
  • Black page yield is poor

Is it a Good Idea to Purchase a Cheap Sublimation Printer?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your printing requirements. A cheap printer will be a good choice if your printing needs do not require high-end features. Additionally, cheap printers offer a low running cost and minimal maintenance, making them a wise choice for beginning printer users.

What You’ll Need to Convert a Printer for Sublimation

Here are the necessary steps to convert an Epson EcoTank Printer to sublimation:

  • Epson EcoTank Printer
  • Sublimation Ink

Yes, that is all! To ensure everything is working properly, you may also want some printer paper.

What You Need to Know Before You Start

IMPORTANT: Before you convert an Epson EcoTank printer, remember these things:

  • It is only possible to perform this conversion on a brand-new printer that has never been used or filled with ink. (With an old printer, it is possible to do this, but the sublimation process is much more time-consuming and crafters have had mixed results.)
  • The printer should not be turned on before the conversion is completed.
  • The Epson warranty will no longer apply once the printer has been converted.

How to Convert a Printer for Sublimation Ink Printing

Using Hippoo sublimation inks is extremely easy since they come with an EcoFill cap. It may differ from model to model depending on the EcoTank you are using. Changing the original ink for the sublimation ink is as simple as following the Epson instructions, here is a step-by-step guide.

  • The first step is to open the top of the printer. Depending on the model, it can be difficult to lift the top lid high enough to keep it in place. You should then open the tank cover.
  • The next step is to open the lid of the actual ink reservoir. It is best to do them one at a time.
  • Once the ink bottle has been uncapped, carefully tip it over, aligning the nozzle with the hole in the tank. The bottle will automatically fill when you press down on it. The sound of “glug glug glug” may be heard if you listen closely. The bottle should not need to be squeezed.
  • Take a look at the tank’s front to determine its level.
  • Once the top line has been reached, remove the bottle. If any drips occur, clean them up as soon as possible because ink WILL stain. The ink may appear to be full in your printer’s reservoir, but if you give your printer a small bump, the amount of ink may decrease.
  • The process should be repeated for each color of the tank.

You can now plug in the printer and turn it on. In order to get your new sublimation printer up and running, simply follow the on-screen instructions.

What Are The Benefits Of Getting A Cheap Sublimation Printer?

Having a cheap sublimation printer does not necessarily mean that it will be constructed with low-quality materials and will have a short lifespan. It is important to note that these printers do not offer high-end features that help you get prints quickly or produce accurate colors as do high-end printers.

To put it simply, cheap products are only able to satisfy the basic requirements of printing. This includes printing, copying, and scanning. The printers will, however, not be capable of providing good printing speeds or better color gamuts. Comparing the ET-2700 or 2800 series with high-end series like the ET-8000, 16000, or 5000 series will not make sense.

High-end Ecotank models contain multiple paper cassettes, an automatic document feeder, a wide range of specialist sublimation ink tanks, fast printing speeds, larger displays, and a variety of other features. These features are not included in cheap sublimation printers. Nonetheless, you will receive the maximum benefit from a WF-7820 cartridge printer.

You may also find that the cheapest solutions lack automatic document feeders; however, with some of the above-mentioned printers, you will also receive the ADF.

epson sublimation printer converted

Frequently Asked Questions

With a sublimation printer, what materials can I use?

With a sublimation printer, you can print high-quality designs on t-shirts, mugs, smartphone cases, mousepads, bags, and purses. A heat press can be used to transfer sublimation to any hard substrate that is coated with polyester.

Is it possible to use any printer as a sublimation printer?

Sublimation cannot be performed using any printer. In order to print on various materials, it is essential that you use a dedicated sublimation printer. For sublimation, consider the piezo print head as an essential component.

Is there a printer that is the cheapest to convert to sublimation?

The Epson Ecotank series is generally considered to be one of the most affordable sublimation printers. One of the more affordable choices is the ET-2800 or 2803.

Is it possible to print both sublimation and regular prints on the printer?
No, once a printer has been converted, it is essentially a sublimation-only printer from that point forward. Even though it may be possible to convert the ink back to regular ink, the process is long, expensive, and cannot be guaranteed.

Sublimation prints last how long?

Unlike other types of printing, sublimation prints are extremely durable and can last for years without fading or peeling.

With a sublimation printer, can I use any transfer paper?

It is necessary to use transfer paper that is specially designed for sublimation printing. You may experience poor print quality if you use the incorrect transfer paper.

Final Thoughts

The use of the best sublimation printers is ideal for small businesses, DIY projects, as well as home offices. It is possible to print desired designs on various items, such as T-shirts, mugs, and many others. Choosing the right printer for your needs can make sublimation printing easy, smooth, fun, and affordable.

There are some features that can only be found in premium printers, so when choosing cheap sublimation printers, bear this in mind. As a result, you should consider the features that you require on a priority basis and buy the cheapest sublimation printer possible.

Enis Sh
Enis Sh

As an innovative IT Tech entrepreneur I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Stay ahead of the curve with up-to-the-minute tech news and reviews, while diving into the realm of computer hardware geekery.

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