Sublimation vs Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing | Know the Difference

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It’s often quite challenging to decide between sublimation and vinyl printing when it comes to the best printing process. Even though both of these printing processes are reliable, still few main differences are worthy of discussing in this article.


Remember, if you are planning to enter into the fantastic world of T-Shirt Making, it’s important to choose the correct decoration method. This article will discuss the complete process along with the pros and cons of sublimation vs heat transfer vinyl printing.

What is Vinyl Printing?

The method of heat transfer vinyl in printing is prevalent for the decoration and personalization of garments. The method of using vinyl is a type of heat transfer printing in which the decoration material is physically transferred to the Garment through the adhesive back. With this Vinyl printing process, it becomes straightforward to paste the vinyl prints to the fabric with maximum accuracy without compromising quality.


What is Sublimation Printing?

The term sublimation printing refers to the chemical process in which the designs are created on special transfer paper. The inkjet printer is usually used in this process, along with sublimation ink. After the transfer paper is placed on the fabric, a heating press is then used along with pressure to transfer the design.


What are the Major Differences Between Sublimation & Vinyl Transfer?

Even though both of these printing methods are highly reliable, but still there might be some differences that you must need to know before choosing one of these printing methods.

Setup Cost

If we precisely talk about the startup cost of these printing methods, Heat Transfer Vinyl printing is quite affordable. You will need to have a Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Press, Vinyl Cutter, and Blank Apparel to start. On average, the total startup cost will make up to 350$+ for setting up a Vinyl printing system.

On the other hand, the setup cost for sublimation is very expensive as the high-quality sublimation printer costs around 1500$. Moreover, a sublimation printer alone is not enough as you will also need to have a heat press machine, sublimation paper, and Black Apparel which will add up to the cost. However, the sublimation printing process provides better results that will easily cover all the running costs themselves.

Durability and Printing Quality

There is a visible difference in the final printing quality and durability of these printing methods. Vinyl printing is usually less durable because we can easily feel the edges of printing objects on the fabric. Due to these edges, they need additional care; otherwise, they will form cracks in the surface, looking bad.

However, there is no such thing as sublimation printing. It uses ink for printing, and you won’t be able to feel any edges on the fabric’s surface. The final results are very crucial for customer satisfaction, and the sublimation printing method never disappoints. Moreover, the quality is not different on fabric only; if we compare sublimation vs vinyl mugs, there is a visible difference in the quality.

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If you are still confused between sublimation and vinyl printing, we recommend talking to some experts who are already using these printing methods or reaching out to us through email for further guidance. It will give you a clear picture of the whole scenario. Moreover, it will also be very helpful for you to avoid making mistakes in your business startup.

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