We all know the home inkjet printer as a daily-use printer, but DTG Printing is different from normal printing as you get the prints directly on fabric instead of paper sheets. The clothing industry has improved a lot over the past years as technology plays a vital role in the advancement. When it comes to printing on clothing, then you need a competitive DTG printer.
Small businesses must go for the printer, which is very cost-effective as, in the end, it will lower the cost of operation. However, it should be decent in quality to use for a longer period. The industry’s rage for DTG printing is so much due to its quality output and excellent performance.
Before you start your clothing line, you must be aware of all the nitty-gritty of the business. A decent DTG printer is must-have equipment for your business to create a unique design. Let’s understand the DTG to print your unique designs for your small business.
- 0.1 What is DTG Printing?
- 0.2 What Are The Advantages Of DTG Printing?
- 0.3 Are Screen Printing and Sublimation Printing the Same?
- 1 Top 6 Best DTG Printer for Small Business
- 1.1 1.) HRM DTG Printer T-Shirt Printing Machine for T-Shirts/Onesies/Socks/Bags
- 1.2 2.) Automatic A3 Size T-Shirt Hoodies and Other Garment Printing Machine
- 1.3 3.) Epson DTG Printer SureColor F-Series
- 1.4 4.) CHEN JIA DTG Printer
- 1.5 5.) DTF L1800 Printer A3 Direct to Garment Printer
- 1.6 6.) Refretonic Digital Textile Printer MT-TA3
- 1.7 7.) Brother GTXpro DTG Printer
- 1.8 How To Print Using DTG Printer Like A Pro?
- 1.9 Buying Guide For A Best DTG Printer for Small Business:
- 1.10 Conclusion:
What is DTG Printing?
It is important to understand the DTG technology to get the best DTG printer. DTG means Direct to Garments as it is self-explanatory that you print designs on garments with the help of the advancement of technology. It is different than laser or inkjet printers as you get print designs on fabric directly instead of paper. DTG printer is what your clothing business requires as it would boost your business’s reputation by getting high standard product quality and quantity.
You must know that DTG printing is a printing method where you get the high-quality finish that would stick on your garments for years to come. Previously, we have witnessed the iron-on transfer method, where designs used to fade or crack after a single wash. People also prefer this method as digital direct-to-garment printing, inkjet to garment printing, or digital apparel printing.
Ink is mostly water-based to get print on pants, onesies, t-shirts, and hoodies. It requires a larger printable area due to its size, whereas an inkjet printer fits any small table or desk. DTG is capable of providing digital high-definition printing with a lot of variation and gets creative designs.
In addition, the ink dries and soaks into the fabric that becomes part of the garment. You would not face any crack or fade issues after washing since the ink is dissolved permanently. In contrast, you get crack or peel in iron-on transfer after a single wash of your garment and the sheer number of utilities that you can avail of from DTG printers.
What Are The Advantages Of DTG Printing?
As we have covered the DTG printing and now, we will look into the advantages of having the best DTG printer for small businesses. You must know many benefits so that you can get maximum benefits from using a DTG printer. Also, these major advantages would help you skyrocket your business simultaneously, and here you have it.
Are Screen Printing and Sublimation Printing the Same?
Screen printing and sublimation printing are two different methods when it comes to print on fabric. You can print almost everything, such as pictures, messages, figures, and many more. In addition, you can get prints on coffee cups, mouse-pads, badges, and more. Thus, you need to choose the right printing method as they are somehow different from each other.
Dye-sublimation printing technology enables to print of a digital image on sublimation paper. The paper is put alongside an object or blank fabric with the help of a heat-press machine, and you get the design directly into the fabric. Sublimation requires time and effort to perform, but results are neat and long-lasting. However, it demands a sublimation printer and processes to run the same, but the result is always outstanding.
Screen printing or silk screen printing is a method, which uses a stencil to print the required design and ink to paint the same design. Ink is spread over the stencil and a device that helps spread the ink evenly to go through the material. Screen printing takes enough time to perform; however, you can repeat the same process easily. The result is bright and lively that makes this printing an amazing and unique placement.
Screen printing does not require specialized equipment, but the right tools must be present. The result is pretty outstanding. There are few factors to be considered that differentiate each other, which would help you understand more easily.
Image Quality: Firstly, both printing methods deliver photorealistic images that look outstanding. Thus, screen printing has a bit upper hand as it delivers a little more detailed and complex outcome. Sublimation has CMYO inks that enable us to print complex designs without much time and effort.
However, screen printing takes more time and effort to print the unique designs. However, it is possible to reproduce a simpler design with the help of a four-color process. Screen printing uses unique inks to achieve shimmer, foil, metallic looks, and 3D effects.
Image quality is perfect in both methods, but screen printing uses additional ink options to deliver unique images print. Yet, sublimation is easy to print complex designs on the other hand.
Color Application: Sublimation uses several colors to print the unique designs, making it easy to add color with less effort and time. Sublimation has the edge over screen printing due to its ease of use. On the other side, screen printing is more complex and works in simple designs as it requires one stencil per ink color to print the design.
It makes screen printing consume more time and effort. It has more chance to mess up with print due to its complexity.
Durability: It is a kind of difference that users always consider when using the printed fabric for a longer period. Screen printing has a shorter lifespan as it fades or peels over time. Even ink may chip away or crack after several piles of washing.
When talking about sublimation, it remains stick to the fabric. The heating process allows every single dye particle to go deep into the fabric that becomes difficult to chip, fade, or crack over time. The sublimation printing method is always a good choice for durability; however, as per most manufacturers, DTG printed designs remain longer-lasting printing performance for only 50 washes.
Some models also come with weatherproof and durable, which works irrespective of printing method.
Speed & Volume: Both printing method has a significant difference in speed and volume. If you get to print a large volume, then screen printing is faster than garment printing as once the stencils and ink colors are ready for printing, repetition is easy and takes less time to deliver the end product. Whereas the printing performance in sublimation is not that fast and works pretty well for small batches, it requires more time to print large volumes.
Cost: This factor also plays an important role in deciding while choosing the right printer for a small business. A sublimation printer may cost a lot, but it is good at delivering complex designs for low volumes. On the other hand, screening printing is costly, but it delivers outstanding results for large volume and simpler designs.
It all depends on the nature of work, as if you plan to print large batches, then screen printing is the right option as per the affordable price point. Sublimation would do well if you get to print small batches with detailed designs.
Compatible Materials: You can get the screen to apply printing on various garments, such as print on polyester, silk, and cotton. Also, it is capable of printing on glass, ceramic, and plastic. At the same time, the sublimation printing method cannot print on such material as you can only print polyester with sublimation ink. Also, it works with objects with a polymer coating such as print on skirts, hoodies, polo shirts, t-shirts, pants, leggings, baby bodysuits and bibs, sleeves, socks, underwear, pockets.
In addition, the material must be light-colored or white. Screen printing is good material compatible than sublimation printing. However, the material does not bulge to get the best outcome.
Limitations: There are limitations in sublimation and screen printing methods, but who has the fewer limitations that matter most. Sublimation has more problems as it only prints on polyester fabrics and objects to stick to the fabric. Also, the surface must be light-colored or white to get a better print quality.
On the other hand, screen printing requires one color at a time that takes enough time, and decreases the chance to create complex prints. Screen printing has fewer limitations than the sublimation printing method.
Potential Problems: Both methods have different kinds of problems that you may experience while printing designs. Screen printing tends to spread one color over the other when the stencils are not properly aligned. Too much ink may stain the garment, or previously used ink stays on the stencils and leaves a stain on the latest one.
Sublimation printing faces over-heating fabric that leads to darker than normal results. The color might not look bright on dark surfaces. Therefore, screen printing has more problems than the sublimation printing method.
Top 6 Best DTG Printer for Small Business
We have covered the most basic information about the DTG printer and its methods that would help you to make a better decision. Further, we have shortlisted the top 6 best direct-to-garment printers that you can go through and choose the best one for your small business requirement.
|1||HRM DTG Printer T-Shirt Printing Machine||● Print Speed: 12ppm|
● Max Resolution: 5760*1440dpi
|2||HRM A3 Size DTG Printer for T-Shirts||● Print Speed: 111 seconds|
● Printing Size: 329*500mm
|3||Epson SureColor DTG Printers||● Resolution: 1440 x 1440 dpi|
● Faster Performance
|4||CHENJIU DTG Printer||● Printing Size: A4|
● Prints in bulk
|5||Punehood DTF L1800 Printer||● Resolution: 2880dpi|
● Automatic features
|6||Refretonic MT-YA3 Digital Textile Printer||● Resolution: 2880dpi|
● Eco Friendly
|7||Brother GTXpro DTG Printer||● Resolution: 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi|
● Platen Size: 16 x 21 Inches
Here it goes!
This A4 size DTG printer is for printing on thin clothes like onesies or T-shirts. The maximum printing size is 210*300mm. This machine cannot print on thick clothes like sweatshirts and hoodies. Also, it is compatible with Windows operating system, and you must have a heat press machine for this machine to work.
You will receive a free printing brand-new system software, AcroRip 9.0, that can only run on the Windows operating system, and web-to-print innovation can be downloaded. It is a low-budget DTG printer and is good for those who are getting into the merch business. It has all the features for small businesses, and if you are a first-time DTG owner, it will be a good option and not good for mass-scale printing.
Here is another A3 size model printer machine by HRM, which is great for thicker items like hoodies and sweatshirts. Also, you can get prints on onesies, pants, and t-shirts. It has an automatic height adjustment feature, and you do have the option to adjust manually and fall in the mid-level price range.
It can print in both color and white simultaneously. It leads to increased overall production of the printer, and this feature must be present as it helps small businesses print high-quality graphics. The automatic height adjustment feature saves from printing error as it senses the desired height.
This DTG flatbed printing machine has a micro-piezo print head that uses a non-contact inkjet printing method. The ink droplet system is so efficient that it saves ink from wastage. It would be best if you did not use this for canvas bag printing as it is desirable to get print on a flat surface only.
This F-series model is by Epson, and they are experts in making the best DTG printer for small-scale projects. Multiple reasons make this number one shipping printer by Epson. It is designed to promote low maintenance costs, increase production, and save time and money.
It is a versatile DTG printer, and the printer’s printing quality is at the next level. You get high levels of precision in prints due to Epson PrecisionCore print head technology. 1440dpi print resolution and the latest print head technology come up with flawless print quality. The graphics are extremely clear and sharp as Epson F-series uses quick-load grip pads to produce amazing print quality.
Next on the list is the DTG printer by CHENJIU that can print A3 and A4 both in size. It allows you to print on sweaters, T-shirts, phone cases, and many more. This machine comes with all the essential features that enable you to start printing as soon as you unbox it.
It comes equipped with an Epson L800 print head with a six-color continuous ink supply and an independent ink cartridge. This unique machine gives you high-definition printing and an infrared sensor for automatic height adjustment. Square rail and hydraulic track help improve the printing speed, make the positioning more accurate, and dual-nozzle staggered printing technology improves printing speed.
This state-of-the-art printer leaves the blank spaces and prints the positions only with the help of a servo motor. Water and air cooling technology are there to keep this printer going. You can print on several materials with this automatic flatbed UV printer, such as DIY clothes patterns, print advertising materials, tile decoration, wallpaper, DIY printing of metal patterns, mobile phone case printing, cylinder printing, and many more.
There is another multi-tasking printer by Punehod that is a two-in-one printer. It is the best t-shirt printer in the market that you can go for it. The heat transfer PET film printer helps to remove the need to pre-process the cloth for printing. You can find it faster than a regular direct-to-textile printer.
You can print the PET film using a DTG printer, and heat press printing is all you need to transfer the print to your t-shirt directly. You get better printing results at a small fraction of the cost as well as fast processing. This model allows you to save on DTG printer costs, as many business owners recommend the same model due to its cost-effectiveness and popularity among small businesses.
This printer also comes with an L1800 print head, as we see other DTG printers equipped with the same print head. This PET oven is practically designed compared to an industrial oven, and it is a lighter and cheaper, and very practical machine at the same time. You can easily heat A3 & A4 size patterns due to its large 44x30cm heating area.
This digital textile printer by Refretonic uses dye sublimation printing technology to print on garments. It goes well if you own a small shop due to its size and requires no printing plate. This machine comes with one-piece quantity production that gives this machine edge over other printers in the market.
The size is A3 in this DTG printer, and this machine allows you to print polyester using sublimation ink and cotton with pigment ink. It is the upgrade version of the Epson R2000 textile printer and comes up with the training materials. You will find it very easy to operate the machine and carry all the required materials to start your business.
Customer service is always there to assist if you find any difficulty or problem while using. You can always contact them for support as they have trained the tech support team immediately to resolve issues for the customizations. You can always get customized printing on bags, t-shirts, scarfs, shirts.
It enables you to print directly on polyester fabric, cotton material, and others, as it is compatible with almost all the materials. There is no problem while printing on light or dark color t-shirts as well. As we said earlier, it is very easier to use, and you can press a button for a single product to start printing for the same.
7.) Brother GTXpro DTG Printer
Operating System: macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.15 Catalina, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
This direct-to-garment printer equips with all the required functions and amazing printing accuracy that enable you to start printing on a production scale. The new GTXpro has an edge and makes it the right choice of DTG printer due to its advantages and features. Since it is a bigger GTXpro, then it has the edge over compact models.
It is a versatile DTG printer that allows you to print various garments such as shoes, caps, trousers, and many more. Even it is capable of printing on silk, polyester, and cotton, etc. You get the automatic cleaning process in this model that helps you to increase overall productivity in your business. An authorized technician performs all the required installation or setup.
Also, it comes equipped with a white print head that reduces the consumption of white ink while cleaning. Internal ink circulation helps to prevent ink mist and ensures excellent quality. This DTG printer comes with an automatic height sensor that adjusts the height while printing itself.
How To Print Using DTG Printer Like A Pro?
Having a DTG printer is the first step, but you must know how to use the printer to maximize your profits. There is always a right method to use printing devices, and DTG printer also requires those practices. Proper guidelines should follow to get the maximum productivity out of it. We would share the four common steps to follow and start using a DTG printer like a pro.
1.) Prepare your T-Shirt:
Professionals refer to this step as pretreatment, and it is the most important step as it enables your printer to attach the color to the fabric better. Especially when it comes to print on fabric like denim or canvas, pretreatment is all you need to do. Pretreatment spray comes with the printer normally, and if you do not get one, it is recommended to buy one separately.
The spray must cover the whole garment for better quality output. Pretreatment machine also works well, but if you are fine with the hand spray, then you do not require the machine.
2.) Creation of Design:
Once you have prepared your T-shirt, then the next step is to create the design or graphics to print on the garment. A right direct-to-garment (DTG) printer offers you outstanding color output and resolution that gives you amazing results for your design on the dedicated software. Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw work well, and many professionals recommend using the same software.
Resolution and quality should always be high as they directly impact the result you get on your fabric. If you do not maintain good quality, then you may not get the desired results. Therefore, you must learn professional software to get better output from your printer.
3.) Design Printing:
Once the design is ready, then the next step would be printing your design on the fabric. You need to transfer the print to your fabric, and it requires RIP or Raster Image Processor to do the same task. This software enables the DTG printer to understand the design and transfer the same to the fabric.
Almost all the printers come equipped with RIP software, and if you do not get one, you can buy third-party software. This software can enhance some of the color details to assist you with the best printing results. Also, you can create awesome custom gear to get prints from DTG printers.
4.) Finalization or Curing Period:
It is the last step in DTG printing, and you give some time to the fabric so that the artwork can stick to the garment properly. Professionals refer to this step as the curing period, and it plays an important role in the durability of the design. It cures in two to three minutes if your garment exposes to 160 degrees Celsius.
Small business owners may find it difficult to maintain this temperature. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your t-shirt sit for at least 24 hours to cure properly. You can use the fabric once it is properly cured, and there would not be any problem even if you wash complicated prints on t-shirts.
Buying Guide For A Best DTG Printer for Small Business:
When it comes to investing in garment printing and buying a printer for small businesses, it must be a good affordable DTG printer as it requires investment. These printers are not as cheap as inkjet printers for home use; therefore, you must go for the right one as it directly involves maximizing your profit. There are a lot of factors involved that you need to see before buying a digital textile printer.
Once you know your business requirement, it would help you decide the right printer for your business. However, we have covered some of the essential elements that you should go through before buying a high-end DTG printer or entry-level digital garment printer as per your business requirement.
1.) Printing Resolutions:
Resolution is what makes your design amazing and look professional. You cannot compromise on quality as it leads to a decline in overall profit in your business. It is the first thing that you must go for, which is printing higher resolution.
The least requirement is 1440dpi when it comes to print on the fabric. If you go above that, it will always give you sharp and better image quality. You should never go below 1440dpi, which is the bottom line in DTG printers.
2.) Printing Speed:
Printing speed is what increases your overall productivity as businesses deal with large volumes. It can only happen if you own a high-speed DTG printer. It must not be very slow, but the average speed would suffice, and you can check the same feature before buying a new one for your business. If you get a decent volume within two hours, it is an acceptable option for small-scale businesses.
One-pass prints are one feature that you may check as it is pretty useful for increasing the overall production process.
3.) Ease of Use:
You may find a DTG printer difficult to use as they do not work as normal inkjet printers and are not user-friendly design equipment. It is recommended to hire a professional who can teach or use this printer. There are printers in the market, which are best for beginners but it all depends on your business requirement in the end.
Some models have intuitive design making that is helpful for a beginner to operate the DTG printer. Epson is known for producing user-friendly machines that make life easy for amateurs. Intuitive machines are trouble-free and give you the desired outcome at the same time.
4.) Printable Area:
Speed is not the only feature that increases productivity, and a printable area also plays an important part as some printers come with large printing areas. It helps you to print multiple garments in a single pass and gives additional printing ability. If you go for the industrial-type printer, then you can print up to five t-shirts simultaneously.
It increases your overall printing efficiency if you go for a printer with a large printing area.
5.) Quality of Print:
Everything in business depends on quality, which you cannot comprise at all. The same goes with the DTG printer that you need to look for in a printer. Color printing accuracy and resolution play a vital role when it comes to the quality of print. If you find a printer that delivers these two things with high quality, you must buy the same for your small business requirement.
You can ask for a sample print to verify the quality of the print. Even user reviews would give you a rough idea about the overall quality of a printer.
6.) Type Of Clothing:
As we discussed earlier, the clothing is what tells your business requirement. Your business may involve printing t-shirts only, and if you are into printing hoodies, sweatshirts, bags, or aprons, then a DTG print would do your job, but you must buy a unit that can do all these jobs for you.
Some printers have fixtures and platens, which enable you to use decoration in a specific garment. The right printer is all you need to get the better output as per your type of clothing. You can even print the sleeves of the shirt with the help of DTG printers and go for cotton as it is quite comfortable to wear in summer.
7.) The Total Cost Of Ink:
A low-budget DTG printer is not what you pay as an upfront payment. There is operation cost involved that impacts profit directly. Cost per print is that you calculate over the ink cartridge, and you must check before buying a DTG printer.
It also varies depending on the ink you are using, such as black, white, or color images. Cleaning cost occurs if you use the printer frequently. However, printers in the market have automatic cleaning features to help you save cleaning costs.
8.) Maintenance Necessities:
Maintenance is an integral part of machines. It must happen as per scheduled time, but if it happens other than schedule, it would directly impact your operational cost. You can perform minor maintenance as DTG printers come with an easy and simple maintenance process.
You only require a professional repairer if only anything serious happens to your printer. The owner’s manual is the right way to deal with the maintenance. Also, some machines are designed to reduce maintenance.