Sublimation printing and heat transfer printing are two different transfer principles applied to textiles. Heat transfer printing is a process from solid state to gaseous state, in which sublimation ink on transfer paper is printed onto fabric or object by heating.Sublimation is basically from a solid state to a gaseous state without going through a liquid state. In this way, you can print on countless materials.
A major difference between sublimation and heat transfer printing is that sublimation must be printed on an object having a polymer surface with a synthetic polymer ink. They have an invisible layer of paint or transparent synthetic polymer ink. Therefore, if you want to perform sublimation printing, please remember that the items you want to print, such as bowls, puzzles, T-Shirts, etc., must be dedicated to sublimation.
Heat transfer printing works in different ways. In this printing process, it is a thin vinyl with an image printed on it. Then we stick this vinyl paper to a shirt or an article. The biggest difference is that the heat transfer printing is exclusive to the fabric and cannot be transferred on the cup, glass, metal surface, etc. So you should choose heat transfer paper to stick on the fabric.
As you can see, heat transfer paper focuses on textile printing (mainly T-shirts), and has no other advantages that sublimation can provide you. On the other hand, if you want to print on textiles in a fast and personalized way, heat transfer printing is undoubtedly the best choice.