A Complete and Comprehensive Guide to buying Dye-Sublimation Paper in 2020
Running a dye-sublimation business can be difficult. You have to deal with frustrating clients, tough deadlines, and a constant push to sell more. But it can also be extremely rewarding. There are plenty of ways to make running your business easier though! And one of the most obvious ones is having the best supplies. But how can you make sure you are buying the best sublimation paper? What are the differences between different types of sublimation papers?
In this 2020 buyer’s guide, we’ll be reviewing and learning about the different sublimation paper brands out there, and which is the best sublimation paper for your needs. If you aren’t sure which paper to get, or if you’re looking for a better sublimation paper, then this is the guide for you!
If you aren’t too familiar with dye-sublimation, or are wanting to get started with dye-sublimation, then check out some of our other articles. We are constantly trying to make great content for you to help you grow and develop your dye-sublimation business!
Let’s dive into the best sublimation papers available to you!
How will we be judging these sublimation papers?
Before we get started with our reviews, I have to inform you that we make revenue from affiliate links on the products we recommend. But don’t worry, we will never let this affect our reviews! We will always review the products that we genuinely think are the best!
So how exactly will we judge different sublimation papers? I mean sublimation paper is super important in the dye-sublimation paper process. It’s the thing that holds and transfers your designs! You want to make sure that you’re using the best available paper for you. It can really make a difference when it comes to ensuring you get the best possible results.
First and foremost, we will focus on the quality of the results from the sublimation papers. If the sublimation paper doesn’t transfer very well, then it’s not a very good sublimation paper, is it? We will also be placing a lot of emphasis on things like price, availability, and consumer reviews.
When reviewing the best sublimation papers, we like to make sure we emphasize things like price, availability and consumer reviews. This reason is pretty obvious. Ever had an order coming due, needed to put your nose to the grindstone, and bust out some hard work? Ever had to do that, but run out of sublimation paper? It’s god awful. You can definitely protect yourself from running out of supplies with proper planning, but I think every business will encounter these types of problems. Especially newer businesses.
What are all these characteristics of paper, like weight?
When you’re shopping for the best sublimation papers, you’ll constantly come across different ways of measuring the quality of the paper.
There are some obvious metrics, like the size of the paper. But there are some less obvious ones, like paper weight. What exactly do these mean?
This one is pretty obvious. The size of the paper refers to, well, the size of the paper!
You’ll want to make sure you are buying sublimation paper that fits the size requirements for your designs and transfers. You’ll also want to double check that your printer can handle your paper.
A standard A4 (8.5 x 11) size paper won’t do you much good if you are looking to transfer large designs onto t-shirts or sweatshirts. But a big size paper like Super B (13 x 19) may be overkill when it comes to smaller size transfer for socks or hats. Pick a good size that fits both your designs and your printer. You won’t be wasting money on paper that’s worthless, and you’ll be saving money on unused printer paper!
Paper weight can be a kind of confusing metric to measure paper, but trust me it’s simple. But what does it mean exactly when a paper is “115lb”?
Paper weight can refer to a couple of different things. In general, a paper’s weight refers to the weight of a ream of paper. For reference, a ream of standard print paper has a 20lb weight, which refers to the weight of 500 sheets!
But if you pick up a ream of standard printer paper, you’ll notice it definitely isn’t 20lbs. This can be confusing, but there’s a reason. Manufacturers aren’t weighing using 8.5 x 11 paper! They measure with a much larger sheet of paper. Phew! That’s kind of confusing.
But wait (pun not intended, well a little intended), there’s more! Paper weight can ever vary between different types of printer paper! What the hell? Why are they switching things up on me?
But worry not, for I have a solution for you. There’s a much easier to understand, standardized way of measuring paper weight. It's called GSM (grams per square meter).
It’s a measurement that expresses the density of the paper. How much does a sheet of paper way per square meter. And it’s a great way of comparing the thickness and density of paper! Most paper types will express their weight in GSM, so you’ll be able to easily compare papers with each other.
If this hasn’t made a whole lot of sense to you, I can’t blame you. Paper weight is kind of confusing, and is hard to explain. Check out these articles if you want to learn more about paper weight. You can also check out this chart of paper weights, to see how different papers compare in weight.
Time to get into the best sublimation papers out there!
Okay, enough with the boring stuff! Let’s get into something more interesting (if shopping for paper is interesting to you. I don’t judge!).
A-SUB Sublimation paper is my absolute favorite sublimation paper brand. I definitely think it’s the best brand of sublimation paper you can get, and is absolutely my go-to brand.
A-SUB provides paper in varying weights, but in general is some of the thickest sublimation paper available, typically ranging between 120 and 130 GSM depending on the specific paper you get (I normally aim for around 125 GSM myself).
Thicker paper makes for much better design transfers, in my opinion. The paper is less likely to crease when you are transferring your design, and can stand up to a lot more stress than thinner paper. It holds the sublimation ink well, and allows high quality and high fidelity transfers.
They also have a wide range of sizes. Whether you are working with smaller designs for hats and beanies, or are looking to do big designs for t-shirts and sweatshirts, A-SUB will definitely have the size you are looking for.
A-SUB Sublimation Paper is also the best sublimation paper because of its wide availability. It’s on Amazon! I love Amazon, and have been a Prime member for years. When you run out of supplies, it’s a godsend to know that you only have to wait 1-2 days for your shipment to arrive. A-SUB is readily available on Amazon, so you don’t have to worry about waiting too long for your sublimation paper to arrive.
So A-SUB has great quality, great availability, and provides a great transfer. What’s the catch? Well, the price. You have to pay for quality, but it’s well worth the fee. If you place an order for 110 sheets of A-SUB Sublimation Paper, 125GSM, it’ll run you about $20. That’s a little on the pricey side, but you pay for quality.
I can’t recommend A-SUB Sublimation Paper any higher, I think it’s the best sublimation paper available!
Koala similarly provides a wide range of both paper sizes and paper weights. They don’t quite offer the selection of A-SUB Sublimation Paper. But they do still have enough options to make sure that you’ll be able to complete any project you take on. Whether you want the smaller 4x9, or the bigger 13x19, you can take on any project, big or small, with Koala Sublimation paper.
Koala Sublimation Paper is also a brand of paper that is on the thicker side of things (which is good!). Their papers generally run within that 120-130GSM range, typically at 123GSM. This is a great thickness to make sure that your transfers don’t easily crease or fold. It’s a great weight to give you the best results when it comes to transferring your designs!
Much like A-SUB Sublimation Paper, Koala Sublimation Paper is readily available to you. They haven’t been on Amazon for quite as long as A-SUB, nor do they handle similar levels of volume. But you shouldn’t ever have an issue with placing your order! It can be nice to work with a brand like A-SUB since they deal with such a high volume, because that means they have a high inventory. But trust me, Koala Sublimation Paper is a very popular brand, and should pretty much be available for you in your times of need.
So if Koala is a great sublimation paper brand, why do I have it ranked second. Well quite simply, it’s just a little bit worse than A-SUB at everything. Not quite as popular, not quite as well reviewed, and not quite as high quality on it’s transfers. But being second place isn’t a bad thing, not at all! Koala makes great sublimation paper, and I would definitely recommend giving them a try, especially if you aren’t interested in A-SUB.
Not to mention, Koala comes at a much lower price than A-SUB. Where 110 sheets of A-SUB might cost you upwards of $20, the equivalent from Koala Sublimation Paper will only cost you $16. That’s a reduction of 20%! That’s great if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality or a little bit of higher revenues. Either way, you can’t go wrong with A-SUB or with Koala Sublimation Papers. They both make some of the best sublimation papers out there!
Okay, rounding out our list of the best sublimation paper available: Printers Jack. I think Printers Jack makes good sublimation paper, but if you want my honest opinion, it’s not quite as good as either A-SUB or Koala sublimation paper. Sure, it’ll get the job done, but I’d generally only recommend it to people who have had bad experiences with our previously mentioned brands or people who are just looking to try something new.
They don’t advertise, or even display their paper weight on any of their listings. From using Printers Jack sublimation paper, it definitely feels flimsier and thinner than Koala and A-SUB counterparts. I can’t exactly confirm the paper weight, but I can tell you it doesn’t feel as solid as the highly recommended A-SUB and Koala brands.
They also have a limited variety when it comes to sizing and volume options. This can be difficult to work with. If you are using a particularly small or particularly big design, your paper may be going to waste! You don’t want to unnecessarily waste your sublimation paper. That’s why it’s very valuable when you have options on your sublimation paper sizes.
There’s also not a huge advantage when it comes to cost (although it is a little cheaper). You’ll only save a few dollars. Their 8.3x11.7 paper, 100 sheets, will run you about $16. This is a little bit cheaper than Koala when it comes to the total amount of paper, but is a relatively small difference.
Their paper is readily available, however. Just place an order on Amazon, and you’ll have your sublimation paper with a day or two! While it may not be the best sublimation paper available, it can definitely get the job done in a pinch. If Koala or A-SUB are not available, or if you’re looking to try something completely new, then I’d recommend Printers Jack. Otherwise, I think it best to go with either A-SUB or Koala for your sublimation paper needs.
A quick summary
I would recommend A-SUB Sublimation Paper above all else. I think it’s without a doubt the best sublimation paper available. It’s my go-to brand, and the brand I personally use for all of my transfers.
Koala Sublimation Paper makes great paper too! And at a cheaper price. It’s a great option if you are looking to save a little bit of money. So long as you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality.
A quick round-up
I hope this guide has helped you understand sublimation papers a little bit better. There are a lot of brands out there, and it can be difficult to navigate the differences between different sublimation paper brands.
There’s lots of factors that go into sublimation paper, and they can be hard to understand. But if you put a little bit of time into it, it can be well worth it.
Not to mention, your sublimation paper is very important for high quality transfers! I mean, it’s literally what transfers your designs. Making sure you are using the highest quality paper available to you is important in ensuring the best transfers.