Can Your Laser Printer Work for Sublimation | Explained

Sublimation is a popular printing technique that uses heat and special ink to create custom graphics and designs on various media. From t-shirts to mugs, sublimation has a wide range of applications. However, there is a common misconception that sublimation can only be done using inkjet printers. Many people believe that laser printers are not suitable for sublimation printing because of the way they work. But is this true? In this blog post, we will explore whether you can use a laser printer for sublimation printing.

How sublimation printing works

A sublimation printer uses specialized dye-sublimation ink that turns into a gas when heated. This gas then permeates the fibers of the substrate, such as a garment or mug, creating a permanent image. The process requires heat, pressure, and a material that can absorb the ink. Typically, sublimation printing is done on materials that have a polymer coating, which can absorb the ink and hold onto it, resulting in a vibrant and long-lasting print.

Now, let’s talk about laser printers. Laser printers use toner, which is a fine powder that is electrically charged and fused onto paper using heat. The heat from the printer melts the toner onto the paper, creating a permanent image. Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers do not use liquid ink. So, can they be used for sublimation printing? The short answer is no.

Sublimation ink is designed to work with materials that can absorb it and hold onto it. Laser printers use toner, which is not designed to be absorbed by materials like fabrics or mugs. Also, the heat required to fuse the toner onto paper is much higher than the heat required for sublimation printing. Therefore, using a laser printer for sublimation printing is not recommended.

But hold on, don’t lose hope just yet. There is a workaround. You can still create sublimation prints with a laser printer, but you will need to use a special transfer paper designed for laser printers. This transfer paper has a polymer coating that can absorb the toner and hold onto it, allowing you to transfer the design onto a substrate using a heat press.

There is a catch, though. The quality of the sublimation print when using transfer paper is not as vibrant or long-lasting as with a sublimation printer. This is because the transfer paper is not specifically designed for sublimation printing. Also, the transfer paper may not work with all fabrics, so you may need to do some trial and error to find the best materials to use.

Is A Laser Printer For Sublimation Printing Better Than An Inkjet?

If you don’t require photorealistic quality and your products don’t face too much wear and tear, a dye sublimation laser printer could be a smart choice compared to an inkjet. It works great for simple line art or vector-based illustrations on products with a shorter lifespan.

When it comes to sublimation printing, the cost is often a major factor to consider. While dye sublimation laser printers are known for their efficiency and user-friendly features, the high price of toner can be a major turn-off for budget-conscious individuals. When searching for the cheapest sublimation printer, it may be wise to explore inkjet dye sublimation options.

Although they may not offer the same level of speed and convenience as their laser counterparts, inkjet dye sublimation printers often come with a lower price tag and can produce equally vibrant and durable prints. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type of printer before making a decision and consider the long-term cost of supplies.

While a laser printer for sublimation may not be feasible for all hobbyists due to the initial cost, there are still options available for those on a tight budget. The cheapest sublimation printer may not be a laser printer, but rather an inkjet printer with sublimation ink capabilities. While the quality may not be as high as a laser printer, it can still produce vibrant and lasting prints. This alternative may be suitable for hobbyists or creators who do not need a high volume of daily use and are looking for a cost-effective option to create personalized items.

It’s important to do research and compare prices before making a decision on which type of sublimation printer is the right fit for your needs and budget.

Items Good For Laser Sublimation

  • Mugs
  • Mousepads
  • Key Chains
  • Coasters
  • Balloons
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Caps
  • Aprons
  • Ornaments
  • Name Tags

Unlock a world of endless laser sublimation possibilities with top-selling promotional items. From pens to t-shirts, and everything in between, get creative with your marketing strategy. Discover the wonders of laser sublimation today.


In conclusion, while it is technically possible to create sublimation prints with a laser printer using transfer paper, it is not the recommended method. The quality of the print may not be as vibrant or long-lasting, and it may not work with all fabrics. If you want to create high-quality sublimation prints that will last a long time, investing in a sublimation printer is the way to go.

However, if you only need to do a small number of prints or don’t have the budget for a sublimation printer, using transfer paper with a laser printer can be a viable option. In either case, it is essential to use the right equipment and materials to achieve professional results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which printer can be used for sublimation?

You can transform the most common type of printer, Inkjet printers, into a sublimation printing machine by simply replacing their ink with dye-sublimation ink. And when it comes to these transformed printers, the Epson Ecotank ET-2803, ET-2760, ET-4760, and ET-15000 are the most in-demand inkjet printers out there for sublimation printing.

Q. What is a sublimation laser printer?

Sublimation printing is an incredible technique to transfer unique designs onto a vast range of materials, from trendy T-shirts to must-have ceramic mugs, utilizing a carrier material. This process employs special sublimation printers and inks, and it’s perfect for adding personality to all your favorite things.

Q. Can you use a laser printer for heat transfer?

To get great prints on heat transfer paper, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the inkjet or laser type that matches your printer’s technology. Keep in mind that these two types of heat transfer paper don’t play well together, so don’t get them mixed up.

Q. Can you print t-shirts with a laser printer?

The quality of T-shirt printing can vary greatly. Fortunately, we have a fantastic method to achieve beautiful results using a laser printer and heat press which we’d love to introduce to you. But if you don’t have this equipment, don’t worry. You can still transfer foil to fabric easily with simple tools such as iron.

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