How many prints can you get from sublimation ink?

If you are a CMO who manages a print business that uses sublimation technology, then you must understand the print yield of the sublimation ink. Knowing how much ink your business uses for every print and how many prints you can get from a single ink cartridge is essential for cost-effective printing. In this blog post, we will discuss what sublimation ink is, how it works, and how many prints can you get from sublimation ink. This post will help you optimize your printing costs and plan better for your business.

What is Sublimation Ink?

Sublimation ink is a type of ink used in a printing process called dye sublimation. In sublimation printing, the ink is sublimated, which means it changes from a solid to a vapor state without passing through a liquid state in between. This process is facilitated by heat and pressure. The sublimation ink penetrates the surface of the printing medium (e.g., paper, fabric, or polymer) and turns into a gas upon exposure to heat, bonding with the surface to create a permanent, full-color image.

How Does Sublimation Ink Work?

In sublimation printing, the sublimation ink is loaded onto a specialized transfer paper and then transferred onto the printing surface using a sublimation heat press. The heat press applies high temperature and pressure to the transfer paper and the printing surface, causing the ink to vaporize and then condense onto the surface, creating a permanent image. The image quality produced by sublimation printing is high, and the images last for a long time, making it an ideal printing process for items such as t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases.

What is Print Yield?

Print yield is the number of prints you can produce from a single ink cartridge. Understanding the print yield of your sublimation ink is essential to control your printing costs effectively. The print yield for sublimation ink varies depending on factors such as the brand of ink, the printer model, the printing settings, and the printing medium. Most ink cartridges come with a manufacturer’s recommended print yield estimate, which can guide you in planning your ink purchases.

How Many Prints Can You Get from Sublimation Ink? A Brief Answer

The print yield for sublimation ink cartridges varies depending on several factors such as the printer’s model and the ink cartridge’s capacity and settings. However, most sublimation ink cartridges can produce anywhere from 100 to 500 prints per cartridge. You can extend the life of your ink cartridge by setting your printer to the proper color profile, using the right printing settings, and opting for a high-capacity cartridge.

The Bottom Line

Sublimation ink is a popular printing technology used for producing high-quality and long-lasting images on various products such as mugs, t-shirts, and phone cases. Knowing the print yield of your sublimation ink is crucial in managing your printing costs and optimizing your business operations.

The print yield varies between different printer models and ink cartridge brands, and you can extend your ink’s life by using the right settings and profiles. As a CMO, understanding how sublimation printing works and the print yield of your sublimation ink will help you run your print business more effectively.

Factors that Affect the Print Count Per Ink Cartridge

  1. Quality of the ink

One of the most important factors that determine the number of prints per ink cartridge is the quality of the ink. Using subpar sublimation inks can have a drastic impact on how many designs you can print. When quality declines, the printer compensates by using a lot more ink, ultimately lowering the print count per cartridge. Therefore, investing in high-quality sublimation ink is key to getting the most prints per cartridge.

  1. Imprint Coverage Area

The Imprint Coverage Area can have a major impact on the number of prints you can produce with a sublimation ink cartridge. A larger design requires more ink to cover it completely, whereas a smaller design will require less ink. So, if you want to maximize your average print count, it’s essential to keep this factor in mind. It’s amazing how such a simple factor plays a key role in sublimation printing, requiring varied amounts of ink for different designs.

  1. Quality of the printer

The third factor that impacts print count per sublimation ink cartridge is the quality of your printer. If you want your prints to stand the test of time, you need a printer with high-quality specs to make sure your sublimation ink lasts.

When you opt for a top-notch printer, you can save ink and preserve the leftover ink for later use, allowing you to make the most of each cartridge. So don’t skimp on quality – it matters more than you may realize.

  1. Strategies to Save Costs

While sublimation printing may seem like a costly choice at first, it ultimately pays for itself over time. However, in an effort to save money, people often resort to purchasing cheaper equipment which can negatively affect their sublimation printing process. This can lead to lower-quality ink and printers, resulting in a decrease in the number of high-quality prints.


Sublimation printing is an incredible process that brings designs to life. It’s not only highly profitable but also uniquely executed, thanks to the sublimation ink. This ink can’t be used for regular printing, so it’s reserved only for sublimation printing.

With an average of 200 prints per ink round and a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 500, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re thinking about starting your own sublimation printing business. Ultimately, the decision is up to you but the rewards can be great.

Check out 8 Best Printers For Color Flyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long does the ink last in a sublimation printer?

The lifespan of a sublimation ink cartridge can vary depending on the quality of your printer. Even if you have a top-notch printer, leaving the ink unused for long periods can cause it to dry up and change color, rendering it unusable. To ensure your ink remains in optimal condition, it’s recommended to use it within six months.

Q. Can you print regularly with sublimation ink?

Sublimation ink may seem like a great way to spruce up your prints but don’t be fooled. While it works wonders for occasion-based designs, the ink is simply not cut out for regular printing. In fact, doing so will only lead to a sub-par quality of prints and a slaughtered printer. So, unless you want to hasten the demise of your printing machine, avoid using sublimation ink for your daily print needs.

Q. Is sublimation cheaper than vinyl?

While sublimation printing may have a higher starting cost as compared to vinyl, it’ll surely make you more moolah in the long run. Because the color variety of sublimation is way better than vinyl and is in high demand. And even though the final cost may depend on the person using the methods, the profits made from sublimation printing can recover the initial cost and then some.

Q. Can you use a sublimation print more than once?

Sublimation prints, unfortunately, can’t be reused. It’s all due to the polymer-coated paper and heat press combo. You see, the heat press bonds the ink to the polymer, resulting in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. So, as tempting as it might be, don’t even try using an already-sublimated print for another project. 

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