Sawgrass sublimation printers are a top pick for printing on fabric and other objects. It makes sense–-after all, Sawgrass makes printers exclusively for sublimation, unlike printers like Epson that need to be converted.
This might be confusing if you’re a little uncertain about what sublimation actually is. Basically, sublimation printers use a combination of heat and ink to print onto fabrics and household objects.
Fabric printing and patterning is the most common application. Unlike other types of fabric prints, a sublimation printer will infuse the fabric with ink instead of having a layer of ink over top of the fabric. This makes sublimation less likely to fade and a very permanent form of print.
Users of the Sawgrass sublimation printer have been pleased with a beginner-friendly interface and high-quality prints for a price that’s just slightly above average. This is thanks to Sawgrass’s focus on sublimation. The company has been producing sublimation printers since 1988—a long time to hone the craft!
The result? Sawgrass can streamline the sublimation printing process in a way that its competitors simply can’t.
Best Deal Today
- Sawgrass SG500 Dye-Sublimation Printer with Sawgrass UHD Starter Ink Set - 20ml per ink color
- 100 Sheets of Premium Sublimation Paper specifically designed by Sawgrass for their printers, 5 - Design Access Cards for Sublimation Designs - SVGs, JPGs, Commercial Use (Each card is good for up to 30 designs)
- Sublimation Blanks Sample Pack, 4 Rolls of ProSub Heat Resistant Transfer Tape 1/8in, 1/4in, 1/2in , 1in, CreativeStudio Online Designer Software, Printer Recommended with Windows 10 or newer, Mac OS 10.9 or newer
- 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty, Premium Manufacturer 1-on-1 Onboarding, Lifetime Support
- IMPORTANT: Please note that Sawgrass includes starter inks with their printers. A large percentage of the ink is used to fill the lines. Even though you may get a low ink warning the starter inks should provide over 200+ full coverage prints. Sublimation does not work on cotton or dark fabrics
Sawgrass Sublimation Printer Overview
Sawgrass makes three different models of sublimation printers. Really, only two of them are relevant to us. The last one is a commercial model for large corporations, costing well over $4,000 and requiring a commercial freight truck to ship.
Out of their models, the SG500 is most popular for small businesses and hobbyists. Some businesses who feel the need to upgrade also purchase the SG1000.
Here are the three models, listed in order of price (and specs):
- Sawgrass SG500 Printer
- Sawgrass SG1000
- Sawgrass VJ628
We’ll be focusing on the SG500, as the most accessible and popular option, for most of this review. The SG500 has many of the same traits and features as the SG1000.
Release Date and Price
The Sawgrass SG500 Printer is a consumer model that was released on June 29, 2020. Originally, it was listed by dealers for around $500. These days, though, you’d be lucky to find it lower than $600 to $700.
As a souped-up version of the SG500, Sawgrass’s SG1000 costs over twice as much. You can purchase it at most places for between $1,500 and $2,000. It was released more recently than the SG500, in July of 2022.
From your computer, you can install Sawgrass-specific software called Print Manager. This software is designed to make the printing process, from digital design to finished physical project, go as smoothly as possible.
The Print Manager is included free with every Sawgrass printer. Through it, users can control print settings, color management, and their overall printing workflow.
Users also receive an online design tool called CreativeStudio. Similar to alternatives like Canva and Adobe products, CreativeStudio will let you create designs and seamlessly move them to print form.
Sawgrass printers are also programmed to have an automatic maintenance cycle. This might seem like a basic quality of life change, but it can be a big deal–-neglecting maintenance has consequences.
The automatic maintenance cycles mean that you don’t have to worry about trying to manually clean printheads. Problems like dried out or clogged printheads are virtually impossible with a functioning Sawgrass printer.
|Sawgrass SG500 Printer||Sawgrass SG1000|
|Size||15.75″ x 17.25″ x 8.5″||21” x 14.25” x 14”|
|Resolution||4880 x 1200 DPI||4880 x 1200 DPI|
|Ink||SubliJet UHD Sublimation Inks||SubliJet UHD Sublimation Inks|
|Max Printing Size||8.5” x 14”||11” x 17”|
Sawgrass Sublimation Printer Review
There are some disadvantages to a Sawgrass sublimation printer, but many advantages. The main pros of this printer are an easy-to-use interface and consistent quality.
Sawgrass is designed explicitly for sublimation. This means there are few quality and maintenance issues that you’ll have to deal with. Compare that with the next most popular sublimation printers from Epson, which aren’t necessarily built for sublimation, to begin with.
Epson printers regularly have quality problems like splattered/uneven ink or white lines streaked down the design. These problems are fixable but they eat into your time and energy. It’s not necessarily ideal.
On a similar note, Sawgrass printers avoid a lot of maintenance and quality issues with their automatic cleaning routine.
All of these great features are costly–-even the cheapest Sawgrass printers will force you to shell out $600 upfront. The printers also require that you only use Sawgrass ink, which is incredibly expensive. Prices vary but are around $75 to $90 for every single ink cartridge.
Sublimation ink doesn’t need to be replaced too often. You’ll only pay for new ink every year, give or take a few months, depending on how much you print. Regardless, it’s a steep price to pay when compared to other sublimation printers that let you choose what ink to purchase.
It wouldn’t be a review of Sawgrass printers without mentioning the software. The Sawgrass software bundle, which includes the Print Manager and CreativeStudio, means you have access to professional tools right from the get-go.
They cost nothing with a purchase of a Sawgrass printer. Although Sawgrass costs more than other sublimation printers, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be expensive over the long run once you factor in the cost of design tools.
If you plan on using CreativeStudio at all, then Sawgrass isn’t really going to cost more than any other design tool and printer bundle. It just depends on whether or not you’re interested in creating those designs from scratch.
The cheaper option, the Sawgrass SG500 Printer, has a relatively small printing size limit. It only prints at a standard 8.5” x 11.” You can increase the size to 8.5” x 51” with a bypass tray, but that tray on its own will run you another ~$180.
If you opt for the much pricier SG1000, you’ll have much more freedom. Still, even the SG1000’s 11” x 17” size limit can feel restricting. You need to factor in the size of the prints you want to make before you purchase the printer.
Buying a bypass tray is expensive, whether you use an SG500 or an SG1000.
Overall, we consider the SG500 and SG1000 easy-to-use and business-savvy printers because of the lack of maintenance, the solid quality control, and the efficient software it comes bundled with.
Sawgrass Sublimation Printer Pros and Cons
- Consistent quality
- Comes with an easy-to-use software package
- Expensive option
- Limited printing size without bypass tray
- Only uses Sawgrass ink cartridges
Sawgrass Sublimation Printer: Is It a Buy?
You have to weigh your options carefully before you purchase a Sawgrass sublimation printer. It’s a big investment, and it won’t really work for everyone.
Sawgrass isn’t a low-cost printer company, no matter how you look at it. You’ll always have to consider the price as a deciding factor–-upfront cost is one thing, but you’ll need to factor in the ink cartridges you will continuously have to purchase.
Needing to buy a bypass tray on top of already having purchased an expensive printer is exhausting. With that in mind, is it really worth it to get a Sawgrass printer?
Sawgrass does make high-quality printers. At the very least, you’ll know that you’re getting your money’s worth because of its superior quality and consistency. Features like automatic maintenance are just the cherry on top.
We think the Sawgrass sublimation printers are definitely a buy, but it does depend on your specific wants and needs.
Buy it if…
You want a high-quality, business-ready printer that won’t let you down. Or, Sawgrass printers could even be worth it if you’re a hobbyist who doesn’t have a lot of time (but does have money) on your hands.
Sawgrass makes printers that are ideal for people trying to achieve cost efficiency by reducing time spent working. With a home business, every minute you spend on a design is another dollar lost.
You’ll spend less time fiddling and more time getting things done with a Sawgrass printer.
Don’t Buy it if…
You’re completely fine with completing regular maintenance and doing a little troubleshooting. If you have the time on your hands, then there’s no real reason to go for a Sawgrass over another sublimation printer.
Sawgrass also isn’t worth it if you know the ink or upfront costs will be more than you’re comfortable with. The software won’t matter much if you don’t plan on using it regularly, and there are alternatives for everything.
If you’re not excited about all of the features of Sawgrass printers, then maybe they’re not a good fit for you.
Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API