“What sublimation printer should I get?”
“What’s the best sublimation printer out there”
I see these questions shared online - a lot. Different folks may have different responses based on their experiences. I’m blessed with a unique perspective. In addition to my own personal experience with sublimation, I get to talk to a lot of our customers at HeatPressNation.com and hear their experiences as well. I’ve heard the good, bad, and ugly from real-life users of different sublimation systems.
After taking all of this information into consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Sawgrass products are hands-down the way to go for sublimation. This isn't to say that other options won't get the job done; I'm sure they'll work. However, there can only be one #1. In this blog I’m going to share my 4 main reasons why Sawgrass is the #1 choice for sublimation.
The Sawgrass SG500 and SG1000 printers are the only desktop printers that are actually designed for sublimation. Anything else you might find is going to be a regular inkjet printer that’s been converted to a sublimation printer by replacing the OEM ink with 3rd party sublimation ink (which may void the printer's warranty). I don’t know about you, but when my business is on the line, I only want to be using equipment that was actually built for what I’m using it for.
With converted sublimation printers, you have to print something every 1-3 days to keep the print heads fresh and free from any clogging. If you neglect this routine maintenance, you’ll have to perform a head cleaning to get back up and running - which wastes your ink. Leave the printer unused long enough, and it could be damaged for good! This isn't a problem for busy shops, but definitely can be an issue for those who may not be printing daily.
Here’s a feature that you'll only find on a printer designed for sublimation: automatic self-maintenance. Your SG500/SG1000 printer will pass a very tiny amount of ink through the nozzles, to keep itself fresh and ready to print at all times. You won’t have to worry about daily maintenance like with other sublimation systems.
The SG500 & SG1000 also have other great features that really solidify them as the top choice for desktop sublimation printers: WiFi Printer Connectivity, Energy-Efficient, Large Backlit Display, 2-year Manufacture's Warranty, and the Highest Resolution On Any Sublimation Printer (4800x1200 in Ultra-Fine Photo Mode). While other printers may have some of these features, the Sawgrass SG500 & SG1000 are the only printers to have all of these features in one machine.
The latest Sawgrass printers are equipped with Sublijet-UHD ink, which is designed and manufactured 100% in the US by Sawgrass under the most strict quality standards. Thanks to this intentional design, your ink system is perfectly matched with your printer. This ink is also complemented by Sawgrass Print Manager, an easy-to-use color management software that ensures you get the best prints every time.
A converted printer may not know how to “interpret” the 3rd party sublimation inks put inside of it. This results in graphics not being true to color on the final, sublimated product. To correct this, you’ll need to locate a color profile to install into your graphic design program. Color profiles are not available for all printers and/or ink systems, which leaves you to manually calibrate your artwork to achieve proper colors. Print Manager cuts this hassle out, freeing you up to focus on your creativity and what to sublimate next!
As previously mentioned, your Sawgrass printer comes with Sawgrass Print Manager for free. But that’s not the only free software for Sawgrass users. Sawgrass also provides CreativeStudio, GO Exchange, and GO Expression to all users free of charge. Let me share why this is such a big deal…
This is Sawgrass’ free online design program and it’s amazing. First of all, they have tons of templates for the most popular sublimation blanks out there. Second - and most important, in my opinion - is that they have an enormous library of images, clip art, backgrounds, and pre-made designs that are free for your personal AND commercial use. If you’ve ever purchased digital artwork from stock sites online, you know how incredibly valuable this is. CreativeStudio also saves you money, since you don’t need to purchase expensive design software.
Creative Studio is totally free. But if you want to unlock more features, plus thousands of additional graphic elements, you might want to consider upgrading to CreativeStudio Premium.
The Sawgrass Network
Look… the awesome folks at Sawgrass really get it: when you do good, they do good. So they created an online platform unlike to make sure you do good! GO Expression is a digital marketplace where you can sell custom products with YOUR designs, with no up-front costs. You can choose to produce & fulfill your own products or outsource those aspects through GO Exchange. That means you don’t even have to have sublimation or heat press equipment to sell your designs!
GO Exchange is a network of Sawgrass users around the world who specialize in making & fulfilling orders. Are you looking to take on some extra work with your sublimation equipment? Sign up for GO Exchange to receive and produce orders that are matched to your capabilities and the customer’s location.
The Sawgrass Network really is an incredibly valuable asset, especially for budding entrepreneurs who are just starting their sublimation businesses. Like the rest of their digital products, GO Expression & GO Exchange are free to access and have no up-front costs. Sawgrass handles the transaction and all back-end processing and appropriates a small percentage of every sale to “keep the lights on”. This frees you up to stay creating!
Free supplemental programs like this really add to the value of your Sawgrass printer, making it worth every cent of your investment. Purchasing an inkjet conversion kit may save a little on the hardware itself. If you need a design program, stock graphics, or an online store, those will each come with their own individual costs. On the other hand, you get all of those things for free with your Sawgrass printer.
Experienced users and industry veterans are likely able to setup and troubleshoot their inkjet conversion setups on their own. To them, I un-sarcastically wish the absolute best. For everyone else - especially those new to sublimation - I can’t stress how important it is to purchase equipment from a trusted retailer who is ready to back up their products with quality support, both before and after the sale.
Sawgrass support is awesome. Even before you spend a dime on Sawgrass equipment, you have free access to Sawgrass Academy. There, you can educate yourself on sublimation in general, how to use Sawgrass printers and software, navigating the Sawgrass Network, and more! Combine Sawgrass Academy with HPN's video library of sublimation content, and you’ll be a sublimation pro in no time!
After purchase, you will have access to the legendary Sawgrass Technical Support. In addition, if you purchase your equipment from Heat Press Nation, this will be supplemented by HPN’s Free Lifetime MyExpert™ Support. The friendly and helpful MyExpert™ support staff are ready to help you get the most out of your SG500 or SG1000: from installation to basic troubleshooting, and more!
HeatPressNation has always been about helping each one of our customers find the products that are right for them. If you still have questions about choosing which sublimation system is right for you, please give us a call at (800)215-0894. One of our friendly and helpful MyExpert™ representatives will be happy to hear you out and make a recommendation based on your business' needs.