Sublimation Printing vs Inkjet: What’s the Difference?

Whether you are a teacher looking to add more engagement to your lessons with vibrant images, or an administrator considering printing options for marketing materials, chances are you’ve encountered the two main types of printing processes—sublimation vs. inkjet. But what is the difference between them?

Learning what makes the two printing methods different will allow you to make the right decision before purchasing. Furthermore, you’ll know what’s the perfect option for your future class activities, projects, and more.

Exceptional Printing Methods to Choose From

Two of the most popular printing methods today are sublimation and inkjet printing. But the printers for both are different. For instance, in sublimation printing, you must use a sublimation printer and an inkjet printer for inkjet printing.

Each of these techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Learning these will help you choose the suitable printing method for your needs. Choosing the right one is essential since you’ll use it in the classroom for your students to learn more engaging and stimulatingly.

Sublimation Printer
Sublimation Printer

Sublimation Printing 

Sublimation printing is a transfer process that produces vibrant, full-color images on a sublimation paper. After that, a heat press transfers the image from the sublimation paper to the substrate of your choice. So the main component is temperature.

Due to its popularity, tons of sublimation printers are on the market today, which is why it’s an ideal option for a classroom setting. It’s perfect for printing on fabric and tons of other items. Moreover, it’s an easy process to teach your students during art projects.

What are the Advantages of Using a Sublimation Printer? 

Many people prefer the former due to its many benefits when it comes to dye sublimation vs. inkjet. Plus, it’s a fast process that lets you see the results immediately.

Other benefits are as follows:

  • Print on hard surfaces: Sublimation printing enables you to print on more rigid surfaces and other non-fabric materials.
  • Hundreds of materials to print on: With so many items you can print on with sublimation printing, it will be easier to achieve the desired product.
  • See outcomes on the same day: Sublimation printing has a fast process with a short learning curve. Because of that, you can get your desired products on the same day.
  • Multiple ranges of hues available: The ability to print high-resolution, exceptionally clear images is because of the hundreds of shades available.
  • Won’t scratch or lose color after being transferred to the medium: Once you transfer an image through sublimation printing, it won’t scratch or lose any color over time.

Inkjet Printing 

Between a sublimation printer vs. an inkjet printer, the latter is much easier to use. But it’s only because inkjet printers are more popular compared to sublimation. It’s also a digital-based printing process where the image must be in a digital format before printing.

Furthermore, inkjet printing involves using tiny ink particles from a nozzle during the printing process. Afterward, the ink must dry for some time.

What are the Advantages of Using an Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printing has been around for a long time. It has its own advantages, which are also an excellent option for your classroom. 

  • Quality images: Inkjet printers use vast amounts of ink, which results in notably better photos. However, using a cheap inkjet printer will produce a different outcome.
  • Efficient in preserving inks: Inkjets are known to conserve their inks much more satisfactorily, which means more savings.
  • Print on a wide range of papers: Inkjet printing is ideal for various papers. But it can’t print on fabric and other non-paper materials.
  • Cheaper in every print: With many generic ink cartridges and papers available, the running costs become more affordable.
  • Larger sizes for prints: If you want to print wall art, inkjet printers are the best option since they can produce prints on a large scale.

The Main Differences Between Inkjet vs. Sublimation

Since each technique has features that make them stand out, you now have a better idea of which printing process to choose. But it’s also excellent to know what makes them different and unique, which will further enlighten you as you decide on the best printing method.

Quality of the Print

The first thing you’ll consider when choosing a printer is the quality. And in this case, sublimation is much better than inkjet since it produces higher-quality prints. It’s all thanks to the heat press, which uses a high temperature to allow the colors to blend beautifully during the sublimation process.

Transfer Paper Sizes

For inkjet printing, you can use any size of paper. So it’s better for large or massive prints. On the other hand, sublimation printing has a lower press rate dimension.

The Kind of Ink Being Used

Inkjet printing only has four primary colors: cyan, black, magenta, and yellow. On the other hand, sublimation has three colors, which are red, blue, and yellow. But these three colors are enough to create hundreds or thousands of different shades.

Materials You Can Print On

Sublimation printing allows you to print on numerous materials or mediums. So it’s a fantastic option for textiles, mugs, and other merchandise. On the other hand, inkjet printing is only used for paper materials, such as cards, bond papers, strip papers, etc.

The Level of Efficiency

You want to ensure the printer is efficient and can produce results without problems. And with this in mind, sublimation has a higher efficiency level than inkjet printers. The main reason is that ink is only sometimes used for printing. On the other hand, inkjet printing is less efficient since it relies on ink.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Sublimation vs. Inkjet

Overall, it depends on the application you will do most of the time. For instance, inkjet printers are the best choice if you print primarily on paper. But if you want to use it for different projects, then sublimation is much better. Other factors to consider are the following:

  • Consider the price of the printers since sublimation is more expensive than inkjet.
  • Sublimation is more promising for fabric materials and other rigid products, while inkjet is ideal for paper materials only.
  • Consider the cost of supplies since sublimation is costlier since there are tools to consider, such as a heat press, cutting mechanisms, sublimation papers, sublimation inks, etc.
  • Inkjet may be more suitable for large projects since you can use any paper size.
  • Research the type of printer you will be using, such as their limitations regarding colors, resolution, and other capabilities or features.
  • Know what kind of projects you’ll be using for both.

Opt for the Printer Method that Works for Your Students & You

Printing can make your classroom’s atmosphere fun, especially with the hands-on experience it offers. And if you want a broad range of print materials for the different activities you have planned, then sublimation is an impressive process to consider.

At AGC Education, you can find our sublimation station. It’s an easy-to-use sublimation printer to add to your school equipment list. But if you have other questions about our other materials, contact us today so that we can find the right product for you.