This Epson F170 Printer Review will show you how well it performs as a sublimation printer so you can create your custom accessories, home decor, clothing, and personalized gifts.
The Epson SureColor F170 Dye-Sublimation Printers are great for both beginner and experienced sublimators. It has an affordable price that produces quality sublimation prints.
- “True” Sublimation Printer
- Vibrant Sublimation Prints
- Budget-Friendly Ink Refills
- Includes warranty and tech support
The F170 is the most affordable “true” sublimation printer in the market. This means it does not need to be converted to sublimation as it is designed for it already. The sublimation ink is also budget-friendly, comes with a warranty, and includes tech support.
This F170 Sublimation Printer review is based on our own experience as we use it for our sublimation business. It is an unbiased review as we have not been given the printer for free…we paid for it ourselves.
About The Epson F170 Sublimation Printer
The Epson SureColor® F170, model number C11CJ80201, is a compact dye sublimation printer that lets you create custom and personalized shirts, mugs, tumblers, home decor and more for your personal and business use.
Epson released this printer in November 2020 and the printers were available for purchase from authorized dealers in December 2020. Those dealers received the actual printers in January and began fulfilling orders to their customers in January 2021.
The F170 is a direct competitor to the Sawgrass SG400 (retired) and SG500 printers. They are all “true” sublimation printers which means they do not need to be converted into one. They are a plug-and-play sublimation printer that will have you printing and pressing your first sublimation creation soon after set up.
This printer is available to purchase from authorized dealers only with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $400 (price as of 05-05-2023 from Grimco). This price can change based on availability, demand, and each authorized dealer can also increase/decrease their prices.
|PROS OF THE EPSON F170 PRINTER||CONS OF THE EPSON F170 PRINTER|
|Easy to set up||Not a wide format printer|
|Designed for a variety of sublimation blanks||No borderless printing|
|Great print quality|
|Affordable ink refills|
|Ink is Oeko-Tex® certified|
|Warranty with Tech Support|
Pros Of The Epson F170 Printer
1. Easy Set Up
Setting up the F170 is easy with the included installation guide. It’s as simple as unpack, fill with ink, download drivers, connect to your computer, and print.
2. Designed For A Variety of Sublimation Blanks
The F170’s printer driver has settings for both rigid and soft materials. These two settings allow you to sublimate on a variety of blanks to include clothing, kitchen towels, neoprene mouse pads, ceramic mugs, metal tumblers, aluminum, and more.
3. Great Print Quality
The colors you get from the pressed results are colorful, bright, and vibrant. The maximum print resolution this printer is capable of is 1200 x 600 dpi. It uses a total of 784 nozzles to achieve this.
4. Sublimation Ink
The F170 printer comes with a full sized set of ink, all 140ml in size. It is more than enough to fill the CMYK ink tanks and lines when you first set it up.
The good news about this printer is the cost of the sublimation ink. It is the least expensive sublimation ink designed for use in “true” sublimation printers.
The cost of each bottle of ink is about ⅓ of the competing sublimation printer’s ink cost. And the size of each bottle is almost quadruple than their competitors (140ml versus 31ml of Sawgrass Sublijet Ink).
5. Ink is Oeko-Tex Eco Passport Certified
The ink earned a OEKO-TEX® ECO PASSPORT certification which means the ink that’s pressed on clothing and other garment products is safe for use by adults, childrens, and babies.
This is an important certification to have especially if you are in the sublimation business. This information may be required to get your products to be Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) certified.
6. Warranty With Tech Support
The F170 is backed with a one (1) year manufacturer’s warranty with a toll-free phone support that you can call Monday to Friday (days and hours may change without notice).
Tech support phone number is (888) 377-6611. Make sure you have your printer’s serial number before contacting them. You can also reach them via their online support portal.
7. Small Footprint
The printer has a small footprint so it’s great for small spaces. It measures approximately 15” x 7.5” x 13.5” (W x H x D) and weighs under 10 lbs.
Cons Of The Epson F170 Printer
1. Not A Wide Format Printer
This is not considered a wide or large format printer so you are limited to printing 8.5 inches in width x 14” in length. But for most sublimakers, this printer will print sublimation prints that will let them create a variety of products.
If you are interested in sublimating larger items such as doormats, shirts or hoodies in sizes XL and larger, then you will need a wide format printer. The two (2) sublimation printers capable of printing those sizes include the Sawgrass SG1000 and Epson SureColor F570 Pro.
You can also convert a Wide-Format Epson EcoTank Printer as a substitute too.
2. No Borderless Printing
Borderless printing is not supported by the F170. It needs a 3mm margin on each side blank or without print (total of 0.24 inches). So you need to make sure the designed images you print fits within these limits.
What’s In The Box
Inside the box, you’ll get the installation guide document, the F170 printer, a complete set of CMYK ink, and the power cord.
The installation guide document has detailed, step-by-step instructions with diagrams on how to set up your new printer. It also has a short troubleshooting guide, control panel guide, technical support phone numbers, and part numbers for the replacement ink.
The F170 is wrapped in plastic and easy to pull out of the box as it’s a lightweight printer, weighs about 10 pounds. It has several protective tapes to keep parts from shifting during the shipping process. The first step is actually removing all these tapes. Make sure every single one is removed including one inside the top printer cover.
The 4 CMYK sublimation inks included in the box are 140ml in size. They are individually sealed in vacuum packed plastic bags. Epson suggests not to open them until you’re ready to fill your printer with the ink to maintain its freshness and reliability.
The only cable it comes with is the power cord. If you plan to connect to this printer directly from your computer or laptop, you’re going to need a USB 2.0 cord. Ethernet connection from your LAN (local area network) hub is also possible using a Cat7 or the newest Cat8 10base-T cable.
Epson Dye Sublimation Ink
As stated earlier, the printer comes with a complete set of full-sized, 140ml CMYK ink. It’s enough to fill the tanks completely so you won’t need any replacement ink anytime soon.
At the first ink installation, the ink also has to fill the lines and some will be used to charge the print heads. So your first set of ink may print fewer pages compared with the replacement refills.
Out of all the inks for true sublimation printers, the epson ink costs the least expensive. These ink refills are actually the same exact ones used in the F570 version. As of 05-2023, the F170 Ink Set from Swing Design is under $100 (price may change without notice).
When you need to order your refills, they are:
The tops of these sublimation ink has two parts, the outer cap and the inner cap. Make sure you only unscrew the outer cap and leave the inner cap on.
The inner cap differs from each color as they are uniquely shaped keys that only fit in the ink port (tank) it goes into. This is a smart design so you won’t ever make the mistake of adding the wrong ink color into the wrong ink tank.
Once you insert the ink bottle straight into the port, the ink will automatically flow into the tank. You don’t have to squeeze the bottle to make this happen.
When the ink levels get to the top fill line, simply pull the bottle off and ink flow stops. You can recap the bottle if you have some leftover in the bottle.
The shelf life of the ink when it is sealed The shelf life of Epson’s sublimation ink is 2 years from the printed production date or 6 months after the bottles have been opened.
Epson also offers a recycling program for their ink bottles. This green initiative is an environmentally responsible way to save resources, reduce the amount of landfill waste, and reduce pollution.
The most important thing about the Epson Sublimation Ink is that they earned a OEKO-TEX® ECO PASSPORT certification.
They passed the rigorous chemical testing and the certification means the pressed inks on garment products are completely safe to be worn by babies, children, and adults. This reduces your liability especially when you are in the business selling sublimated shirts, sweatshirts, baby bodysuits, and other garments.
F170 Printer Setup
The F170 is very simple to set up. You just have to fill the ink tanks with the supplied sublimation ink, plug it into the electrical outlet to charge the inks, connect to your computer, then download the drivers.
Our detailed, step by step setup instructions for the Epson F170 will walk you through the entire process to get you printing your sublimation designs quickly.
use a usb cable, not wifi
Connect your sub printers directly to your computer. It’s the simplest way and more reliable than WiFi. If the wireless signal is poor or lags during the printing process, it will be interrupted and will not print the entire sublimation design.
Epson Sublimation Paper
Epson recommends their Epson DS Transfer Paper be used in this sublimation printer. They are designed to hold the sublimation ink on the coating and release it to your sublimation blank when it is heated with a heat press properly.
For our test prints below, we used their recommended paper. We also tested this F170 Printer using the Texprint DT Heavy Sublimation Paper to see if there’s a difference between the two papers.
Texprint DT Heavy Paper
This is the paper we used along with the Epson DS Transfer Paper. The test print results show the sublimated mages are very comparable between the two brands of paper.
In the future, we’ll test and compare the Epson sublimation paper using this F170 printer, against other most commonly used sublimation paper such as:
We previously did this same print test in the past using our Sawgass printer. From that test, we decided to stick to using the Texprint Paper.
Don’t forget to sign up for our eNewsletters so you can be notified when we publish this paper test.
Test Prints Used For This Epson F170 Review
When you have a new printer, patience is mandatory because you will need it when you’re trying to find the right printer settings to get the sublimated results you want.
The most important thing you need to do and have before printing your first sublimation print is to make sure you have the most updated firmware and drivers downloaded. If you need help with this, check out our post on How To Set Up The Epson F170 Printer where we guide you on where and how to find the drivers.
This image shows the exact JPG design we used for our testing. It was designed in Adobe Photoshop and saved as a JPG. We opened that file and sent it to our F170 printer.
Mac Print Settings For Epson F170
The below settings is what works for us. Please keep in mind that your settings can differ based on the type of computer you’re using, the resolution/type of monitor, designs, heat press settings, and sublimation blanks used.
It’s recommended that you practice and test your settings until you find the one that works for you and your designs.
With the Epson F170, it was surprisingly easy to find the setting that we’re happy with. It literally only took two (2) test prints. This is a testament to how great this printer is, the drivers and ICC color profiles they’ve programmed, and quality of their sublimation ink.
Here are the steps on how to apply the settings to your F170 Printer using a Mac computer:
1. Open your sublimation design.
2. Click File → Print → Choose the Epson F170 Printer.
3. Choose the paper size and scale to 100%. If your paper is big enough to print more than 1 copy, then you can select that amount here too.
4. Select “Color Matching” from the drop down menu and choose “ColorSync” with the profile that you need. In this test print, we’re using a drink coaster so we selected the Rigid option (Epson SC-F100 Series General Purpose Rigid).
5. Select “Print Settings” from the drop down menu and enter the media type and quality. We chose DS Transfer Multi Use/Rigid with a print quality of “Fine”. We also added a checkmark to the “mirror image”.
6. Select Print to send it to your Epson F170 Printer.
Screen Images Versus Sublimated Image from F170 Printer
The actual image you see on your monitor may not closely match your sublimated image. This is true for all printers.
There are various reasons for this which includes: monitor brightness settings, sublimation blank quality, type of sublimation blank, heat press settings, and the actual design can also play a role in this.
Images on your monitor are brighter than your actual printed and sublimated image because the screen acts as a light source. Learn more about why your sublimated images are different from your monitor screens in our Sublimation Design Image And Color Basics You Need To Know.
Final Pressed Results
Here’s a side by side comparison of how well this Epson F170 prints.
The left image is the actual computer image that we sent to the printer using the Epson DS Transfer Paper. The right image is the actual pressed sublimated coaster.
The left image is the actual computer image that we sent to the printer using the Texprint DT Heavy Sublimation Paper. The right image is the actual pressed sublimated coaster.
And here’s the side by side comparison of the pressed sublimation coasters using Epson DS Transfer Paper against the Texprint DT Heavy Paper. We didn’t find a significant difference between the two when pressed on the drink coasters.
Don’t forget to grab your free sublimation design!
This Epson SureColor F170 Dye Sublimation Printer is perfect for beginners and experienced sublimators alike! It offers high quality sublimation prints that will let you create whatever your heart desires.
It has a low price tag, making it a great value for your money. So, if you are in the market for a new sublimation printer, be sure to consider the Epson F170.