DTF vs DTG printer-a hot topic. The printing industry has experienced a lot of changes and made great improvements over the years. One of the most advanced technologies is DTF(direct to film printing). Maybe you are considering whether DTF and DTG are part of the shop’s future expansion of services. You have been doing screen printing for a long time and want to try something new and appeal to new customers. You have heard these two ways, and you are doubtful that they work and promote your business further.
It’s not easy to make decisions. How much can you pay for the budget? Which way is the best to appeal to the customer? You also require judging so much conflicting information on which one is better.
Well, calm down. Let this article help you decide whether DTG or DTF is the way to begin your business.
What is DTG Printing
DTG printing (direct-to-garment printing) is digital printing on a garment, just as you would normally do with a desktop printer. A design must first be scanned into the system, which is then translated by RIP (Raster Image Processor) software into a set of instructions that the printer can use to print it.
Before printing, the garment must be pre-treated with a special solution. This solution prevents the inks from soaking into the garment and brings out the colors of the inks. After pre-treatment, simply dry the garment briefly with a heat press.
Once ready, place the shirt on the printer table and make sure it is in the place correctly for printing. The printer applies ink to the surface of the garment with carefully controlled print heads and creates the design.
The main strength of DTG printing is the ability to print complex designs with multiple colors at relatively high print speeds. It is best suited for small customers who want customized one-off prints for less than 30 shirts per order, which is not possible with screen printing.
Screen printing is very suitable for large orders as cost efficiency increases as orders increase; the more orders received, the lower the unit costs. This is detrimental for small orders as printing small quantities is less cost-effective due to the time, labor, and preparation required to print a batch.
What is DTF Printing
DTF printing, on the other hand, prints designs on a special transfer film. This powder acts like an adhesive, helping the ink to adhere to the garment, and the printing presses the design onto the chosen garment.
DTG and DTF are similar in that they use digital inkjet technology to print the design, the difference being that DTG prints directly onto the substrate, whereas DTF uses a transfer film as the carrier to transfer the design onto the substrate.
The main advantage of DTF printing is its cost-effectiveness. Consumables such as ink, transfer film, and hot melt adhesive powder are relatively inexpensive, reducing cost while maximizing efficiency. In addition, it is easy to print multiple designs on a single sheet or roll.
DTF is also an extremely versatile printing method. It can be printed using a thermal press on a wide range of materials as well as clothing. You can use it one Polyester, glass, ceramics, and even metals.
So, how to choose DTG or DTF? Which one is better for your business? If you are new to this industry and want to broaden your business. I recommend those pointers before you buy one to meet your need.
We’ll make a comparison of DTG and DTF based on the following tips:
Startup Cost :
The cost of two options is the most important thing when deciding on the previous investment. And DTG is more expensive than another one. For DTF equipment, all you need is a DTF printer, ink, transfer ribbon, and a heat press. You can easily purchase an expensive converted desktop printer, heat press, and other necessities for a relatively small budget. Most importantly, you won’t need a pre-processing machine or solution, further reducing your costs.
DTG inks are extremely expensive, especially white inks. When printing on black clothing, white ink is the base color, and DTG printers can use twice as much white ink as color ink! You can find authorized Brother DTG ink retailers selling compatible Brother inks for $89 or more for just a 1-liter bottle. Original cartridges and ink bags cost even more! By comparison, DTF ink is more affordable, and their transfer film and fusible powder are relatively inexpensive. Not only that, but DTF also uses much less ink than DTG, especially white ink. The hot melt adhesive powder binds the ink to the garment. So you don’t need as much white ink as a base color. You can easily expand the number of orders as needed without a significant impact on business costs.
DTG printing can create prints with a very soft hand. And many consider it the smoothest compared to other popular printing methods.
You can print garments at high speeds without compromising print quality. Complex patterns, shadows, multiple colors, and different gradients are no challenge for DTG printing. At the same time, the garment remains as breathable as possible because the ink does not clog the fibers of the garment.
In DTF, transfer images usually have a plastic feel because they are printed on film before heat-pressing onto the garment. When printed on cotton garments, the print has a firm, plastic-like surface when you feel the print. However, on substrates like polyester, the print is indistinguishable from the substrate.
DTG printing brings a lot to the table, but unfortunately, it is not compatible with non-cotton-based substrates such as nylon or polyester. DTG printing works best on cotton and certain cotton blends, such as canvas or hemp, because water-based inks are easily absorbed permanently into the fabric. Substrates, such as polyester, have water-repellent properties that make it difficult for the ink to remain on the surface of the substrate. In contrast, DTF can do this easily because you can customize the size of your design on the film. It’s just a matter of careful positioning when pressing the hot ink onto the substrate.
Depending on where your business is at the moment, DTG or DTF printing offers you a range of flexible options.
If you’re ready to print small quantities of customized T-shirts with complex designs and a vibrant color palette in a relatively short period of time, then DTG printing is the right choice.
If you want to be able to fulfill medium to large orders for a wide range of materials, DTF is a good choice.
Let’s say you have the resources to support both solutions. In this case, you have an advantage over your competitors and have a wide range of options to meet the needs of different customer solutions.