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Which Sublimation Paper Is Best? Sublimation Paper Comparison

Since I often get asked "Which Sublimation Paper is Best?" I figured it was time to do a side by side comparison. 

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For this sublimation paper comparison I used seven different sublimation papers, three different sublimation printers, the same image, and the same substrate.  Read on to find out which sublimation paper is best when it comes to color vibrancy, ease of use, price and more! 

Sublimation Printers and Paper Used for Sublimation Paper Comparison

The seven sublimation papers used in this comparison are: 

Ease of Use

As far as ease of use I found A Sub, ProSub, TexPrint, HTVRont and Starcraft to be easier to use than TruePix and the Epson SureColor paper for the simple fact the back of the paper is marked. This avoids confusion on which side to print on which can happen when the paper isn't marked. 

Granted the printable side is "more white" than the back, but it's not nearly as obvious as the other three that are clearly marked.

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I also looked at if the sublimation paper contained any type of suggested press time and temperatures and whether or not the sublimation transfer paper had any type of trouble feeding through the printers due to its thickness.  Only the HTVRont and ProSub included time and temperature suggested settings. 

All of the paper fed easily through all of the sublimation printers. 

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Color Vibrancy

To test color vibrancy, I intentionally selected a file with lots of bold colors to test the range of each of the sublimation papers and printers.  

There were 7 copies printed, one on each type of sublimation paper in each of the three printers for a total of 21 test sheets. 

I used the respective print managers for each of the Sawgrass and Epson sublimation printers and printed on as close to the same settings for each.  Each of the seven copies print on the same printer used the exact same print manager settings.

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Once printed, all of the prints were pressed on the exact same substrate at the same time and temperature. 

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This allowed me to get the truest sense of color.

While the true colors can only really be seen by the naked eye, I took the photos of the final pressed images in natural light and all within just a few minutes of each other. I did not edit the photos at all in an effort to allow you to truly compare how each of the sublimation papers performed.  

The marks you see next to some of the samples are votes...I asked my family to pick the print they found to have the best color on each of the sample sheets. The ProSub and ASub each got multiple votes. Then I asked them to each pick their overall favorite of the 21 samples- those are indicated by the circled marks.

The sublimation paper and printer used for each sample is included to show the combination of sublimation paper and sublimation printer. 

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Observations

In general, the prints on every paper were slightly different from each printer. I found the Epson F570 printed darker on all of the papers. Because that was consistent I believe that was not a paper issue and instead a slight settings change would probably result in slightly more accurate colors. 

Looking at the samples, I tend to agree with my family who had no idea why I was asking them to look at 21 teal pumpkin designs. The ProSub, A Sub, and HTVRont would be my top three picks when it comes to color. 

The ProSub and HTVRont win out of those two when you combine with the ease of use.

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Price

Finally we get to price...because for most people that will be an important factor in finding the best sublimation paper. 

All of the sublimation paper brands I compared were 8.5 x 11" size sheets which made comparing price very easy.  The lowest price per sheet of transformation paper is the ProSub at just .09 per sheet with the highest price the TextPrint at more than double the next highest sublimation paper.

Since the ProSub Sublimation Paper not only performs for color, and easy of use AND is the lowest price per sheet..it wins for my pick for best sublimation paper. 

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