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Heat transfer vinyl vs Sublimation. Which is better?

Sublimation and heat transfer vinyl (HTV) are both popular methods for transferring designs onto fabrics and other materials. However, there are some key differences between the two methods, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.


Sublimation is a chemical process that transfers dye onto a polyester substrate using heat and pressure. The dye turns into a gas and infuses itself into the polyester fibers, creating a permanent design that is resistant to fading and peeling.


  • Durable and long-lasting designs

  • Vibrant colors

  • Can print full-color designs

  • Soft to the touch


  • Only works on polyester substrates

  • Requires a sublimation printer and heat press

  • Can be more expensive than HTV

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV)

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a thin sheet of vinyl material that is heat-pressed onto a fabric substrate. The heat activates the adhesive on the back of the vinyl, bonding it to the fabric.


  • Can be used on a variety of fabric substrates

  • Can be applied with an iron or heat press

  • Relatively inexpensive

  • Easy to use


  • Designs are not as durable as sublimation designs

  • Colors may fade over time

  • Designs can have a slightly raised feel

Which is better?

The best method for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for durable and long-lasting designs with vibrant colors, then sublimation is the better option. However, if you need to work with a variety of fabric substrates or are on a budget, then Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) may be a better choice.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between sublimation and Heat transfer vinyl (HTV)

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