Sublimation Vs Vinyl: Choose A Method For Best Results

Sublimation vs Vinyl: There are a lot of methods to create a design on any fabric. The two most well-liked methods are sublimation and the heat vinyl method. We use heat in both methods to transfer the design from the sublimation paper to the fabric. 

Which is a better method Sublimation or Vinyl? In short, it depends on different factors like the design you want to sublimate, the budget you have for sublimation, and the fabric you use for this purpose. For quality and long-lasting designs sublimation method is a perfect choice.

difference between sublimation vs vinyl

If you don’t care much about the durability of the designs you can go with the heat vinyl method for sublimation. Fabric is also an important factor to consider. The vinyl Method also proves a good choice for some fabrics. In this article, we are going to discuss a detailed answer to your question. So, let’s dig into the details.

Difference Between Sublimation vs Vinyl

    On the basis of the process
    Quality and Durability 
    Material and Items
    Initial Cost

Printing process (Sublimation)


sublimation printing


Sublimation is basically a conversion of a solid into a gas state without passing through the liquid state. Here is the process of sublimation step by step:

1: Create a design:

 First of all, create or download any design you want to sublimate on any fabric.

2: Transfer the design on the Transfer paper

Once you have created the design transfer this design on the transfer paper by using 

sublimation ink or a printer. The liquid sublimation inks convert and become solid when printed on the fabric.

3: Sublimation of the design on the fabric

After placing the design on the transfer paper it’s time to transfer the sublimation design to the fabric. For this purpose, the transfer paper (facing the design side of the fabric) is Heated under a heated roller.

The transfer of the printed design from the Transfer paper to the fabric occurs in the heated roller. The high pressure and heat between (320 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit) are given. Due to this high heat, the pores of the fabric open, and the ink moves deeper into the fabric. Then, after removing the heat from the fabric ink inside the fabric becomes solid.

4: Removal or cutting of the Transfer paper

Once the design is transferred to the fabric it is time to cut and remove the transfer paper from the fabric. Finally, your design is sublimated to the material.

This type of sublimation ink is hard to wash out, and damage, or crack any fabric. Because the ink completely fuses deep into the pores of the fabric.

Printing process (Vinyl)

heat transfer vinyl printing

This is a slightly different process of sublimating design on a piece of fabric. Here is the step-by-step process of Vinyl printing.

1: Create a design

First, you have to create a design that you want to sublimate by using vinyl material. You can get many colors and different sorts of textures for designing. These designs can be cut in any shape you desire with a machine.

2: Place the design on the transfer paper

After creating and cutting your sublimation design place the Vinyl piece on the transfer paper. When you place the vinyl piece on the transfer paper it would be easier to transfer it onto the fabric.

3: Transfer the design to the product

Once you have placed the design on the transfer paper select the position on the fabric where you want to sublimate the design. After selecting the position transfer the design to the fabric.

4: Heat pressing of the sublimated design

Lastly, take a heat presser to heat and press the design. This would help the vinyl design to stick with the product.

When the vinyl design is transferred to any material, product, or fabric a layer of Vinyl occurs on their surfaces. This type of design does not permeate deep into the fabric, instead makes a layer and the sublimated design can damages, crack, and peel easily.

Quality/Durability Difference Between Sublimation and Vinyl

Sublimation and Vinyl are different in quality and durability of the design on fabric.


Sublimation is a process in which the design completely permeates into the pores of the fabric. This makes the sublimation designs high-quality and long-lasting. Sublimation gives an amazing look to the design as compared to the vinyl. This is because there is no layer occurring on the surface of the fabric while sublimation, instead the sublimation ink fuse into the fabric. Sublimation does not just increase the durability of the design but also prevents the design to crack, peel, or being damaged.


In this type of sublimation, the design does not infuse into the fabric instead the vinyl makes a layer on the surface of the material. The design looks like a plastic layer on the fabric.

Vinyl offers more colors and texture but does not offer a good quality sublimation. This is because the design does not infuse into the fabric pores so it can be cracked, peeled, or damaged in a short time.

Material and items

HTV and Sublimation are two different methods for designing. Therefore, both can be used for the different materials to sublimate on.


No doubt, Sublimation does not come with a variety of colors and textures like vinyl But, we can use it on many items or materials for designing. Sublimation can work well for the materials like Tiles, Mugs, Frames, tents, bags, Flags, plastic, Glass, etc.


We can sublimate any design on almost all materials by Vinyl that we can sublimate by sublimation. The drawback of using Vinyl is that we get less durable and low-quality designs. Vinyl can also be used to sublimate Plastic, tents, bags, Tiles, Frames, etc.

Initial Cost Differs

The cost of designing any material really matters especially for people with a low budget. Usually, Vinyl costs less than Sublimation to transfer any design on any material.


Sublimation costs more because it requires sublimation paper, a Printer, and a heat presser. All these items are costly. The printer can cost from $700 to $800 and sublimation paper can be $20 for one hundred sheets approximately. And lastly, $200 for the heat presser.


Vinyl is a bit more affordable than sublimation. The items required for the Vinyl are a heat transfer Vinyl, a cutter, and a heat presser. A cutter can cost between $250 to $350 and a heat presser costs $200. 

Which one is better Sublimation or Vinyl?

As we have already discussed some of the factors so that you can decide which method is better for you. You might be still stuck anywhere to select one method for you. We are going to elaborate on the answer a bit more for you. Hope this will help you to make your final decision. 

Should You use Sublimation for printing?

Here we are going to enlist some of the factors read them and decide which one should you go with.

  • When you have a large budget for printing
  • If you are running a professional business
  • If you have a large number of orders to deliver
  • If you are not a beginner and trying to grow your business
  • If you really care about the quality of the design
  • When you need fast printing without wasting time
  • When you have a lot of orders to deliver in a short time
  • If you want a durable design

Should you use Vinyl for Printing?

To make the decision easier for you. Here are the conditions you should keep in mind before choosing a method for printing or sublimation.

    When you have a very small budget
    If the fabric and the garments are your main focus
    If you’re just starting your business 
    If you don’t care about the design quality and durability
    If you can wait a long for printing
    If you have a few orders to deliver

Frequently asked questions

Which is better sublimation or heat transfer?

It depends on different factors like the quality or durability of the design. You have to consider these factors to choose the method for printing. If you have a professional business to run sublimation is a perfect choice. Whereas, if you want a variety of colors and textures select heat transfer.

Is it worth getting a sublimation printer?

Yes, the Sublimation printer does an amazing job while sublimation. These printers are really effective for having fine lines and details. In short, it is a good choice to run a business.

Is Vinyl cheaper than sublimation?

Yes, Vinyl is cheaper than sublimation. Sublimation cost a bit higher than Vinyl but overall is a good choice for every business.

Sublimation and Vinyl both methods work well for printing any design on a piece of fabric. The most important thing to consider is your needs and the factors. If you keep the factors like durability and quality of the design in your mind (according to your needs) you can surely choose a suitable method. You should also consider factors like the budget you have to spend on printing. Hope you would be clear about the Sublimation or Vinyl debate and you have a better idea of what you have to choose from them.

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I am Edward Smith, a highly skilled content writer with a remarkable track record in the field. With over seven years of experience, I have honed my craft in creating engaging and compelling content that captivates audiences and drives results. My extensive experience includes working with renowned brands across diverse sectors, including technology, finance, lifestyle, and healthcare. My deep understanding of SEO principles and keyword research ensures that my content not only delivers value to readers but also ranks well on search engine results pages. At, I, hope to help readers discover the best products and information for their sublimation-related business, and to provide expert guidance and advice to help them make informed purchasing decisions.

Tech Rayss

Techrayss's main objective is to give well-researched sublimation reviews and detailed information on related topics. our prime focus is to gather sublimation-related facts and findings so users can smartly make a purchase for their business. unbiased reviews and high-value content always support people to select the right product at right time.


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