7 Best Sublimation Inks for Out-Of-This-World Color (2024)

7 Best Sublimation Inks for Out-Of-This-World Color (2024)

Sublimation printing is supposed to be fun. Nobody buys a sublimation printer and thinks, "Gee, I hope I struggle with this!"

But somehow, as you search for supplies like sublimation paper and ink, the confusion sets in.

I am so freaking confused

Why are there so many options? What are the differences? And which one will create the best-looking sublimation prints?

Not to mention, ink isn’t cheap. You don’t want to spend a lot of cash on sublimation ink just to find it doesn’t work the way you expected.

Instead, you want to find the right brand of ink for your printer so you can get the most vibrant and true-to-life colors possible.

Because when your design prints just right and then transfers so perfectly onto your t-shirt or tumbler, it feels a lot like this:

excited hockey fan

So to help you find the best sublimation ink for you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the top 7 sublimation ink brands you’ll find on the market.

We’ll explore the pros and cons, price, and which ink you should consider for best results.

Without further ado, let's get started!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using third-party links.

What's the Best Sublimation Ink Brand?

Best Sublimation Inks:

  • Our Favorite: Epson Sublimation Ink
  • Runner Up: Cosmos Ink Sublimation Ink
  • Honorable Mention: Hiipoo Sublimation Ink
  • Honorable Mention: A-Sub Sublimation Ink
  • Honorable Mention: HTVRONT Sublimation Ink
  • Honorable Mention: Printers Jack Sublimation Ink
  • Best for Sawgrass Printers: Sawgrass Sublijet UHD Ink

Epson Sublimation Ink

Our Favorite

Epson sublimation ink

Epson T49M sounds like some kind of futuristic printer robot, but it’s the name for Epson’s official brand of sublimation ink.

This ink was designed for Epson’s line of sublimation printers, the SureColor F170 and F570.

If you’re using an Epson true sublimation printer, you’re going to get the best results with this ink.

(By the way, we recommend that serious sublimation crafters choose a true sublimation printer instead of converting an inkjet printer for sublimation. Converted printers have a different internal structure, which makes them susceptible to clogging and damage. Not the kind of thing you want to run into the week before a big sale.)

And in case you needed another reason to choose this brand, this is a big one: You’ll void your F170’s warranty and lose tech support from Epson if you use anything else.

How to load this ink: Remove the cap and plug it into each ink tank for each color you want to fill. No syringes required.

You can see how to set up the F170 with Epson sublimation ink with this set-up guide by Angie Holden, blogger at Country Chic Cottage.

How this ink looks when printed: At MakerFlo, we use this ink for all our sublimation projects! Here's how the ink looks on our 20-oz skinny sublimation tumbler: 

Epson sublimation ink tumbler

Price: You can buy four 140ml bottles of Epson Sublimation Ink for $159.96 from MakerFlo Crafts.

Buy Epson Sublimation Ink at MakerFlo

Cosmos Ink Sublimation Ink

Runner Up

Cosmos Ink Sublimation Ink

So let's say you go against our best advice and use a converted printer for sublimation. (That's okay, we still love you!)

In that case, you might want to check out Cosmos Ink for your sublimation ink of choice. 

It seems to be a big favorite among MakerFlo Facebook Group members who use converted printers.

Cosmos Ink was started by a video game enthusiast who wanted to make game merch. Eventually, he found sublimation, and the rest was history.

The brand carries sublimation ink for converted printers like the Epson EcoTank line. They also have their own sublimation shirts, paper, DTF ink, and more, so it's worth checking out.

Downside: Some reviewers had issues getting the colors to print correctly. You might need an ICC profile to achieve the look you want.

How to load this ink: You can find tons of tutorials on Cosmos Ink's website to show you how to install this ink. You can use it with Epson printers without needing a syringe, but other models may require the syringe attachment.

How this ink looks when printed: Check out Erastus Snorweah's review over on YouTube to see a sample.

Price: You’ll pay $40 for 4 bottles of ink. You get an extra-large bottle of black (127ml) and 70ml of cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Hiipoo Sublimation Ink

Honorable Mention

Hiipoo Sublimation Ink

Hiipoo Sublimation Ink is another favorite among sublimation crafters. And while no one seems to be exactly sure how to pronounce the name, we're gonna go with "hippo" like the big gray animal. 🦛

And according to Karley Hall's review of Hiipoo ink on YouTube, the final printed image was extremely close to the colors she saw on her screen. It helps that Hiipoo provides free ICC profiles on their website to help you color match more easily.

Roger's Shop on YouTube said that unlike other inks that clog in his converted printer, he's never had a problem with Hiipoo ink.

How to load this ink: This ink attaches directly to Epson EcoTank ink tanks to fill them. For other models, you might need a syringe.

How this ink looks when printed: Check out tutorials and comparisons from Roger's Shop, Karley Hall, and Snazzy Moon Designs to see how this ink performs.

Price: You can find a 4-pack of 100ml bottles for about $30 on Amazon.

Buy Hiipoo Sublimation Ink on Amazon

A-Sub Sublimation Ink

Honorable Mention

A-Sub Sublimation Ink

A-Sub is a huge printing supply brand headquartered in Singapore. Their sublimation ink works just as well as the other major third-party brands.

They also provide their own ICC color profile to help you color-match your ink to your computer screen.

The only difference between A-Sub and other brands is that A-Sub inks come with syringe tips to load into an EcoTank or other converted printer. This can be very messy.

How to load this ink: A-Sub inks come with a set of syringe tips to load into your printer, which can be messy. But one reviewer decided to just stick the tip of the bottle into her ink tanks and it worked fine, so you could try that, too. 

How this ink looks when printed: Check out this review by Color Me Porcha and this one by Sweet Country Glam to see some projects printed with A-Sub ink.

Price: You can find a 4-pack of 120ml bottles of ink for under $30 on Amazon.

Buy A-Sub Sublimation Ink on Amazon

HTVRONT Sublimation Ink

Honorable Mention

HTVRONT Sublimation Ink

In our previous in-depth review of sublimation paper, HTVRONT took the crown for the lowest cost per sheet. They also provide the lowest-cost ink per ml.

YouTuber Crafting Unedited reported that blacks printed with HTVRONT sublimation ink were darker and more pigmented than other brands. And she could achieve that dark black color without changing any print settings.

How to load this ink: You can stick them directly into an EcoTank printer without a syringe. Other printers might require syringes to fill.

How this ink looks when printed: Check out Crafting Unedited's review where she tests out the ink on multiple projects to see how it performs.

Price: The EcoTank-friendly ink type goes for $21.99 for four 100ml bottles.

Printers Jack Sublimation Ink

Honorable Mention

Printer's Jack Sublimation Ink

When you hear about sublimation printing brands, you’ll often hear the name Printers Jack. It's a favorite of crafters like Katrina's Graceful Creations and Color Me Porcha.

The Printers Jack website talks about the brand’s commitment to quality: they aim to choose “the best” ink powder for each batch and put every ink bottle through rigorous testing. 

They also share weekly deals on Facebook and Instagram, so you might be able to score some good discounts each time you buy.

Downside: Crafting Unedited said that black prints made with this ink weren't as dark as other brands.

How to load this ink: Load these inks directly into an EcoTank printer for mess-free installation. If you use a different brand of printer, you might need a syringe.

How this ink looks when printed: Check out this comparison of Printers Jack vs Hiipoo from Karley Hall and this review by Color Me Porcha.

Price: You can snag a 4-pack of 100ml bottles for EcoTank printers for under $30 on Amazon.

Buy Printers Jack Sublimation Ink on Amazon

Sawgrass Sublijet UHD Sublimation Ink

Best for Sawgrass Printers

Sawgrass Sublijet UHD Sublimation Ink

Sawgrass printers are without question some of the highest-quality sublimation printers you'll find on the market.

Unfortunately, that professional-grade quality comes at a price as Sawgrass products don’t come cheap. Inks, for example, are 7x more expensive than Epson ink and 48x more expensive than HTVRONT ink.

That said, Sawgrass printer owners should use this ink. It's the only ink covered by Sawgrass' warranty and it's going to produce the highest quality prints for you.

Now, Sawgrass produces 3 types of ink, but not all are made for sublimation. So here's a quick breakdown:

  • SubliJet Ink is Sawgrass’ all-purpose sublimation ink. It works for every use case, but it doesn't play well with their EasySubli product line, which is designed to sublimate on cotton.
  • EasySubli Ink is designed for the EasySubli system which makes sublimation prints that work on cotton. You should only choose this brand if you're going to use EasySubli products regularly.
  • ChromaBlast Ink - This is NOT a sublimation ink. It's similar to heat transfer technology, and it's not suitable for a sublimation printer.

TLDR; unless you’re a regular user of Siser EasySubli vinyl, SubliJet ink is the best choice for a Sawgrass printer.

How to load this ink: Sawgrass printers take ink cartridges, so these inks come in cartridge form.

How this ink looks when printed: You can see some examples in this review by Allan Wade of A-Dubb Productions.

Price: Each cartridge retails for $80 or more on Amazon. That's a total of $320 for the entire set.

Buy Sawgrass SubliJet Ink on Amazon

How Much Does Sublimation Ink Cost?

You've seen the details of each major brand of sublimation ink and how much it’ll cost for a starter package.

But not all ink packages are created equal. They can range in size from 124ml up to 560ml and higher.

That’s why we’ve calculated the per ml cost for each sublimation ink brand.

Here’s how they stack up:

  • Sublijet UHD Ink: $320 / 124ml = $2.58 per ml
  • Epson Sublimation Ink: $159.96 / 560ml = $0.29 per ml
  • Cosmos Ink: $40 / 337 ml = $0.12 per mil
  • Printers Jack: $28.99 / 400ml = $0.07 per ml
  • Hiipoo Ink: $28.99 / 400ml = $0.07 per ml
  • A-Sub Ink: $22.99 / 480ml = $0.05 per ml
  • HTVRONT Ink: $21.99 / 400ml = $0.05 per ml

(Note: These prices are from February 2024 and are subject to change.)

Clearly, A-Sub and HTVRONT have the cheapest inks out of the bunch. But should you make a decision based solely on price?

We say no.

Pay Attention to Ink Quality for Long-Lasting Prints

The cheapest ink might not be the best option for you. 

It really comes down to your printer and the color performance of the ink brand you choose.

If you're still shopping for a printer, we recommend the Epson F170; it’s affordable while still creating the kind of professional-quality prints you’d expect from a true sublimation printer. And you won’t void your warranty by loading it with sublimation ink, unlike converted inkjet printers.

But ultimately, the best sublimation ink brand for you comes down to your personal preference. If you’re on the fence between a couple of options, your best bet is to do some testing yourself.

Caution: Each time you want to try a new brand of ink, you’ll need to completely flush out the old ink from the printer or buy a new one.

Getting the Best Results From Your Sublimation Printer

The best results will come from combining sublimation ink and sublimation paper from the same brand, since they're designed to work together. 

Even better is to have a printer that was designed for sublimation, plus ink and paper that was designed for the printer. (That narrows down the list to Epson SureColor printers and Sawgrass sublimation printers.)

Best Sublimation Ink: Comparison Table

Brand Epson Cosmos Hiipoo A-Sub HTVRONT Printers Jack Sawgrass
Type Autofill Syringe Autofill Syringe Autofill Autofill Cartridge
Best for Epson printers Converted printers Converted printers Converted printers Converted printers Converted printers Sawgrass printers
Price per ml* $0.29 $0.12 $0.07 $0.05 $0.05 $0.07 $2.58
One bottle / cartridge contains 140ml black, 140ml colors 127ml black, 70ml colors 100ml black, 100ml colors 120ml black, 120ml colors 100ml black, 120ml colors 100ml black, 100ml colors 31ml black, 31ml colors
Total price for ink* $159.56 $40 $22.99 $25.59 $21.99 $28.99 $298.99
Effect on printer warranty Protects warranty** Voids warranty Voids warranty Voids warranty Voids warranty Voids warranty Protects warranty**

*Prices are from February 2024 and are subject to change.

**When used with the specified printer. Epson Sublimation Ink is designed for Epson SureColor F170 and F570 Pro printers, while Sawgrass Ink is designed for the Sawgrass SG500 and other Sawgrass printers.

Having Problems With Your Ink? It May Not Be The Ink's Fault

Maybe you're here because you've been using a certain brand of sublimation ink and you're not getting the results you want.

But wait! Before you throw out a perfectly good set of sublimation ink bottles and buy something new, make sure it really is an ink problem and not another issue.

Here are some other reasons you might have printing problems:

  • You don't have the right ICC profile for your ink, which means the printed ink isn’t calibrated to match what you see on your screen
  • You may not be using the right amount of pressure when pressing a design
  • You may not be using the right temperature in your sublimation oven or heat press
  • You may not have pressed or baked your item for the right amount of time
  • You may get better results with a different weight or brand of paper
  • And you may not have chosen the right settings in your print menu. (Try adjusting the print quality and paper type to see if quality improves)

If you've tried all this and it still doesn't work? 

Then yes, it might be an ink problem.

Our Recommendation: Use Epson Sublimation Ink with the Epson F170 Sublimation Printer

The Epson F170 is, hands down, the best beginner-friendly sublimation printer designed for serious sublimation crafters. 

If you're going to make sublimation printing a serious hobby or side hustle, you don't want a printer that doesn't have a warranty or support. You want to know your printer will never clog and will produce professional-quality prints you can be proud of.

You could choose the Sawgrass SG500, another great professional-quality sublimation printer. But the problem is, Sawgrass inks cost $2.00 per ml!

In comparison, Epson sublimation ink costs only $0.30 per ml. And you get the same vibrant colors and amazing quality you would expect from a bonafide sublimation printer.

If you ask us, there's really no other choice out there!

Ready to dive in and start making your own prints? Check out the Epson F170 Sublimation Kit for everything you need to get started!

Epson F170 Sublimation Starter Kit

Buy the Epson F170 Sublimation Kit at MakerFlo

Learn More About Sublimation With Other Helpful Guides Like These!

Our mission is to give you all the information you need to succeed with sublimation printing and creating your own products! That's why we've put together the following guides to help you:

And if you have questions that haven't been answered yet, join us in our Official Facebook Group to chat with our team and thousands of other crafters just like you!

We'll see you there 😊

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What sublimation ink is the best?

Short answer: It depends on your printer. Choose Epson sublimation ink for the Epson F170 and F570. Choose Sublijet ink for Sawgrass printers. And for a converted inkjet printer, Cosmos Ink and Printers Jack Ink are popular choices.

What ink do I use for sublimation?

You should use a high-quality sublimation ink! Inkjet ink or other inks won't work. We use Epson sublimation inks in our Epson F170 and F570 sublimation printers.

What printer is best for sublimation printing?

We wholeheartedly recommend the Epson F170 if you're just starting out. It's a professional-quality sublimation printer, which means you get the warranty and support and the best performance, but it's one of the most affordable in its class!

Is there a difference in sublimation inks?

Yes! All inks perform differently. They work best with the printers and/or sublimation paper brands they were designed for. If you're not sure, the best way is to test them. (Just make sure to fully flush out the old ink before changing the ink in your printer!)

How do I get the most vibrant sublimation prints?

For the best quality, choose a professional printer like the Epson F170 or Sawgrass SG500 and paper and ink that were designed for them. Then experiment with printer settings, ICC profiles, and transfer time and temperature until you're happy with the result.

Is sublimation printing high-quality?

Yes! You can create photo-quality prints with sublimation just by printing them out on your printer. Plus, there's no adhesive or transfer paper sticking to your item—the ink sinks into your material and the paper peels away.

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