Getting started in the dye-sublimation industry can be difficult and intimidating, but hitting the ground running is the best way to build confidence in yourself and your growing business. The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is one of the best printers to make sure that you hit the ground running, but you have to consider the drawbacks of starting off with the SG400. Read our review below to make sure that you make the best decision for yourself and your growing business.
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
At an entry price of $600 on Amazon - the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is a hefty price to pay and can serve as a large barrier of entry to many newcomers to the sublimation industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. The SG400 is an incredibly easy machine to get started with, being specifically designed for sublimation printing. Once you get all of the settings and all of your preferences entered-in, all you have to do is press that ‘print’ button, and the SG400 will do exactly what you expect it to do. Not to mention the deal currently going on Amazon - where you will receive both sublimation ink and sublimation paper with your order!
But alas, not all is glorious with the SG400 - the Sawgrass printer has a lot of limitations that can put-off a number of people. First and foremost is the size of the printer. The printer has a maximum print size of 8.5” x 14” - which isn’t all too large (note that there does exist an Optional Bypass Tray that you can purchase and install for the printer, and it’ll extend your maximum print size to 8.5” x 51”). The size will certainly not cover an entire shirt, nor will it be able to print anything that can transfer to any particularly large substrate. However, if your primary intentions are to print on small surfaces, like hats, socks, or t-shirts, then this limitation won’t be relevant. Do remember that you will not have the ability to print on more surfaces if you ever want to print on some larger substrate - you will need to buy a larger printer. (You could also check-out the big sister to the SG400 - the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800!)
The size of your printer won’t be the only potential limitation of the SG400. You will also have to keep in mind the cost of ink and paper. You by no means need to purchase the cartridges and ink exclusively from Sawgrass (although they do offer high quality ink & paper), but if you do end up going with those supplied by Sawgrass, you should expect to pay a premium for the quality. There are, of course, a number of workarounds; namely, you can purchase a refillable cartridge along with large ink jugs online, and refill your own cartridges. You can also find high quality sublimation paper from other sources (we recommend A-Sub!). It is worth considering the potential costs from these higher supplies.
So should you buy it?
The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 is a great starter printer for getting started in the dye-sublimation industry, and is very easy to learn and master your craft. However, there are a number of size and cost based limitations to the SG400. If you feel confident that these potential limitations will be irrelevant to you, and you can swing the cost - then by all means go for it! If not, there are other options, such as the Epson WF-7710, that may require more set-up time and effort, but will have more capabilities for you moving forward.