Dye Sublimation Vs. Inkjet – Guide On Which Is Best

Sublimation and Inkjet are both widely used in printing. You can print on both fabrics and sheets. Both produce a quality print. But which one will you choose between them? But before opt for one; you should know the comparison of dye-sublimation Vs. Inkjet Print properly.

Dye sublimation takes less time than Inkjet and has a more natural look. Inkjet gives better color blending. Both have different color tones. Sublimation is relatively cheaper than Inkjet. Inkjet requires regular maintenance, but sublimation doesn’t need such things. Printing materials for dye sublimation and Inkjet are different too.

Printing cost stays the same even if you print 1000 units. So, dye sublimation and Inkjet are very cost-effective for business purposes. But you can’t buy both variants. So, you need to decide on one for yourself.

Dye Sublimation Vs. Inkjet

What Is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a unique process where dye vapors are sprayed on fabric or paper. As a result, it needs less drying time than other printing methods.

The print has better durability than other prints. In addition, dye heat pressed in the fabric gives a more natural look. Ceramics and polyester are commonly used in sublimation.

Product color of dye sublimation fades if it’s exposed to sunlight. Another advantage is that sublimation doesn’t require regular maintenance.

What Is Inkjet Printing?

Inkjet uses color droplets onto paper to give a better print. It is widely used to print office documents, envelopes, etc.

Cartridges with different types of color are used in the printing process. You can use different sizes of paper in an inkjet. It is also a time-saving process and makes less noise.

The inkjet printer is a lightweight, plug-and-play type of machine. As a result, you’ll have a better color blending in your product. But the device needs regular maintenance.

Difference Between Sublimation Printer Vs. Inkjet Printer

Sublimation and Inkjet printers are both entirely different from each other. Some significant factors set them apart. Here are a few:

Printing Process

The sublimation printer sprays the dye on the material. It gives the fabric a more natural look.

A sublimation paper transfers the design onto the fabric. First, it puts the color and the material together. Next, the dye is heat pressed into the fabric. Finally, you’ll have solid printing on the material.

Inkjet printers follow a straightforward method. It just puts dots on the paper or material using Dot technology.

Printing Materials

Ceramic and polyester are the best and most popular printing materials for the sublimation printer. Therefore, sublimation printers commonly use Polymer, Polyester, Ceramic, and Plastics as printing materials.

Inkjet uses standard copier paper. Sometimes the Cardstocks and thick papers are also compatible with it.

Product Quality

It actually depends on personal preference. Sublimation gives a better color tone with a more natural look. Its product is stain-free. The print doesn’t come off quickly even if you wash it.

On the other hand, Inkjet uses dots to generate a print. You’ll see the dots if you zoom on the print.


Inkjet uses ink cartridges to print on the surface of the paper. Therefore, liquid ink in the cartridges is visible on a freshly printed copy.

Sublimation uses dye-sublimation ink. Ink vapors penetrate the material surface when it is sprayed.


Inkjet might seem to have a low cost at first. But the price increases if it is unused for a long time. Then, you’ll have to buy new cartridges to start printing.

You may think sublimation is expensive. But it is way cheaper than Inkjet when it comes to the overall cost.


In a sublimation printer, you can express your creativity. Towels, sportswear, and mugs are some products you can print on. The list stops when you stop dreaming.

Inkjet printers put you on a limit. It only prints documents, envelopes, and other paper-related prints.


Depending on ink volume, an inkjet can print 130 to 1000 pages. A quality toner can help you to print from 1500 to 10000 pages.

Sublimation is like a batch process. For example, in a standard sublimation printer, you can print 750 to 1000 units or 4000 sq. m/day.

Advantages of Sublimation Printing

You can print many photos and documents and get a better quality print with sublimation printing. Here are some significant advantages of using sublimation printing:

Less Drying Time

You can print on a T-shirt or fabric and immediately wear it. You won’t see any ink running down your shirt. In sublimation printing, it takes only 12 seconds to print a photo.

Image quality

Sublimation uses a continuous color range that gives a nice tone to the print. It is much better than a usual lab print. Even with a microscope, you’ll see the high-resolution with detailed colorwork.


Print from dye printers is water-proof and dries instantly. Ink dries up as soon as it leaves the printer. The product doesn’t peel off, crack or come off the garment or material.


You can use a sublimation dye printer as a batch process. Some of the printers can print 750 to 1000 units at a time.


Not much maintenance is needed when you use this type of printer. You plug it into a power source to use the printer and turn it on. You don’t even have to clean it regularly.

Disadvantages Of Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing also has drawbacks, and you’ll face some difficulties because of these disadvantages.


You’ll find fuzzy edges when you try to print an image. It is a bit hard to use for school or office work. Charts and graphs are easily tarnished in this type of printer.

Printing Material

Printing material must be made of polyester. Otherwise, the finished product won’t look good.

Material Color

Always use light or white color fabric for printing. Dark color fabric or paper can’t give you the expected color tone.

Life Expectancy

The color of the print decays if it’s been exposed to direct sunlight. Likewise, the image doesn’t last long if it is washed many times. Sometimes, dirt causes the decay of the print.

Advantages of Inkjet Printing

Inkjet printer is a blessing when you use it regularly. Here are some advantages you will get from an inkjet printer:


You can start printing once you start the printer. So it doesn’t need startup time like a laser printer.

Image Quality

Inkjet printers will give you natural shade, color, and gradient. Moreover, it can produce more accurate work cause it has a resolution of 1440*1440 dpi (dots per inch).

Less noise

It produces less sound than matrix printers and laser printers. So why not use the environment-friendly one?


It is a compact, plug-and-play, light-weighted printer. Just plug it into a power source, turn it on and start printing anywhere.

Supports Different Sized-Papers

Inkjets are mainly used on regular paper. But you can use it on cardstocks, envelopes, and A3 size papers. It can also blend smooth colors easily.

Disadvantages of Inkjet Printing

Inkjet printers are primarily used for office work and school purposes. However, there are some cons to using an inkjet printer.

Low  Capacity

You can’t print a lot of documents in Inkjet. This is because it takes a lot of time to print a bulk of documents. Color printing makes the situation much more complicated than general printing.


Clogging of ink frequently occurs if you don’t use it regularly. Water-based inks are sensitive to water. Don’t keep your copies near water. Otherwise, it’ll cause smudges.

Ink Dry Up

Inkjet uses water-based ink. Ink dries faster if the printer is unused for a long time.


Maintenance costs, the price of Cartridge seems low in the beginning. However, quality cartridges cost almost equal to the printer itself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which is better: dye-sublimation or Inkjet?

Sublimation gives a fade-free and water-resistant image. It has a strong appearance but less color saturation.

Inkjet gives a better quality image but is not sturdy like sublimation. So it’s better to use inkjets for wall art and sublimation for personal interest.

2. Is dye sublimation the same as Inkjet?

No, they are not the same. Both are different in terms of color quality, media, efficiency, use, etc.

Sublimation is a chemical photograph process. On the other hand, Inkjet operates by primary color dots.

3. Can you use an Inkjet printer for sublimation?

In simple words, you can’t. Both printers use different types of ink. Any mistake and you’ll make a mess.

Sublimation ink doesn’t create any strong bond with the material, and it’ll make a mess of the printing material.

4. Is sublimation ink better than Regular Ink?

Both of them are good depending on the demand.

If you want to print images, and envelopes, use regular ink. But when you search for accuracy, durability, and performance, you should use dye sublimation.

5. Is dye sublimation suitable for photos?

Dye sublimation is a modern method for printing photos. It gives high accuracy, high-quality images. It is also a budget-friendly technology. So, you afford good quality photos within your wallet range.


Dye-sublimation printing and inkjet printing both are suitable printing methods. It depends on personal choice. Dye sublimation will give you a more durable, nice color tone in your print. These types of the print give your product a natural look.

To print on papers, cardstock papers, for school projects and office documents, use inkjet printers. The discussion on dye sublimation vs. inkjet printer will give you a better view of choosing the suitable printing method. Best of luck with your printing!