Popular T-shirt Printing Methods:
The popular t-shirt printing methods are as follows:
- DTG Printing: If you look for convenience, like putting your shirt into the machine and receiving your printed tee, then the direct-to-garment printing machine is good for a readymade shirt. DTG is the best method for printing on a 100% cotton tshirt or a 75% cotton blend.
- Sublimation Printing: Dye-sublimation printing has endless printing applications. It uses heat transfer paper which fuses the ink into the fabric under the application of heat press. Whether the fabric is stitched or unstitched, you can cover varied print areas. Moreover, you can print on polyester-based fabrics like jerseys, polyester shirts, jackets, polyester hats, etc. The downside of sublimation printing is that the print is likely to lose color over months due to continuous wash and direct sunlight.
- Silk Screen Printing: Silk screen printing is one of the oldest and the low-cost printing per piece if printed in bulk. If properly cured, the print lasts the longest. The printing is a bit sophisticated which needs prior experience. Moreover, you need essential screen printing tools & equipment such as mesh screens, film positive, squeegee, flash cure unit, conveyor dryer and screen printing machine. Although the printing cost would be the lowest, if you are on a budget and have a small business, handling small orders, then this method is not your cup of tea.
Who should look for DTG over screen printing?
It is better to prefer DTG over screen printing when you have a small quantity to print. That is to say, small print businesses or startups should look for DTG over screen printing. If you have orders to print 24 pieces or less.
10 Best Professional T-shirt Printing Machine for Small Business:
Being specific to professional t-shirt printing machines, DTG printers are the most convenient as it is solely manufactured for printing on t-shirts.
So, the best t-shirt printing machines for t-shirts are:
- Freejet 330TX Plus
- Ricoh Ri 1000
- Aeoon Compact Micro DTG Printer
- Coldesi DTG G4
- Epson F2100
- Brother GTX
- Roland VersaStudio BT-12
- NeoFlex 800
- Azon Tex Pro
- Summit RT
1. Freejet 330TX Plus:
Freejet 330TX plus can print on cotton and blend garments. Most importantly, you can print on 100% light and dark polyester garments. You can successfully print full color full detail designs on 100% dark & light polyester, dark and light cotton and blends. The automatic print height adjustment will automatically set the print height saving time and effort in manual height adjustment.
It is equipped with a bulk ink delivery system which completely eliminates the need for cartridge- based system. You can easily refill your ink bottles as needed without dealing with the clutter and ink cartridges. The automatic white ink circulation prevents white ink separation by circulating the white ink throughout the day. Thus, it reduces the need to perform multiple head cleans which saves money on white ink.
2. Ricoh Ri 1000:
Ricoh Ri 1000 is used to decorate garments such as t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags and more. You can print full color graphics in less than 10 seconds. Print high resolution graphics with CMYK+ white pigment inks on both black and white colored cotton or polyester fabrics. The printer automatically detects the thickness of the garment. As a result, it adjusts the table height for accurate printing.
Moreover, the printer comes with auto clean, white ink agitation and continuous ink supply, which makes it easy to use and maintain.
3. Aeoon Compact Micro DTG Printer:
The compact dtg printing machine is an ideal choice for existing companies or startups. It is available in two configurations. The machine has two printing stations that support a maximum printing size of 40×45 cm/ 16×18 in.
You can print dark shirts up to 120 pcs/hour. The pallets are changeable for special design requests. Moreover, you can print efficiently at 600 dpi resolution with superior quality on cotton, mixed fibers, and polyester.
4. Coldesi DTG G4:
The greatest advantage of choosing DTG G4 over Epson F2100 is the patented vacuum platen. While Epson comes with a standard medium-sized platen. The vacuum platen, as it names creates a vacuum pressure below the shirt which tightly holds the shirt into its place. As a result, it reduces maintenance, at least lower than the Epson F2100. Because the vacuum platen actually sucks ink down into the shirt. So, you get a nice and vibrant print using less ink and less overspray on the inside.
5. Epson F2100:
The best thing about the Epson 2100 is that it is a very simple machine to operate from beginning to end. The printer comes with its RIP software is very simple to use. It gives you a few options for each color shirt, white and dark shirt. The printer has a very simple control panel. You can scroll through all your print files and set up the designs by connecting through the USB. It also has a simple loading method for your shirts. You can easily hoop a shirt as you dress it over the top of the standard platen.
6. Brother GTX:
The GTX is Brother’s fourth-generation DTG printer. It utilizes two print heads to print over a wider print area. The full-color display allows you to show the image you are about to print and its position on the platen. Moreover, the printer comes with 800 MB of internal storage. It allows you to store 100 print files. It creates a better workflow and increased productivity.
The Innobella textiles inks provide an ultra-fast print speed while maintaining high resolution. The printer comes with all of its connectivity ports at the front of the printer for better accessibility. With white ink circulation and wet capping system, ink-tube cleaning is a matter of the past. Thus, it saves time, money and ink.
7. Roland VersaStudio BT-12:
Roland VersaStudio BT-12 is the cheapest DTG printer.
The VersaSTUDIO BT-12 workspace is too small. It’s fine for youth and lower bodies, but not at all suitable for adult sizes.
The two printhead DTG printer is 15.7” by 27.5” in dimension 11.5” in height. The direct-to-garment printer uses a piezo ink-jet method to print 50-100% cotton fabric at a maximum resolution of 1200dpi x 1200 dpi. It uses textile pigment ink CMY & K configuration. Lastly, you can upload print files in PNG, JPG, TIFF, PDF, BMP with the maximum upload limit of 10 MB.
The ink cost is very low which is a great advantage, but it is very slow in large orders (average 50-100 pieces per day).
8. NeoFlex 800:
Neoflex dtg printer is great for small business owners. It is the best substitute for Epson 4880 printer with additional functionality. It offers a maximum of 17″ by 42″ printing area. Moreover, it comes with average sized platens of about 11.25″ x 15″ which is the most common for printing on t-shirts. Besides, you can also print on polyester, canvas, wood and coasters.
9. Azon Tex Pro:
With Azon Tex Pro you can print full color high resolution prints on t-shirts, jeans, aprons, bags, towels, etc. The cost effective printer has 4 CMYK and 4 White ink configurations with laser beam print head protection. Achieve high quality prints up to 1440 dpi resolution. You can also apply different custom platens depending on fabric size. Moreover, it can print 50 light colored and 15 dark colored t-shirts per hour.
10. Summit RT:
The Summit RT prints a maximum area of 13″ by 23.5″. The variable ink droplet system produces drops as small as 1.5 picoliters for accurately fine detail prints. The one-pass printing achieves lighting fast prints by laying down the white and CMYK in the same pass. Thus, it reduces print times.
The Summit RT features white ink control system. It circulates the white ink. It reduces settling and clogging issues while delivering ink that allows for faster printing. The auto clean features less time on routine maintenance.
3 Steps to Follow Before DTG Printing:
Whether it is a black or a white shirt, pretreatment is essential before you start with DTG printing. Pretreatment is necessary because it creates a barrier between the fabric and the ink. Without this barrier, the ink soaks into the fabric which causes the colors to become less vibrant.
Before you can start printing on the shirt with dtg printer, you must follow the essential steps below:
- Hand-held sprayer or automatic pre-treatment machine: You can use a hand-held spray or an automatic machine to apply the pre-treatment solution to the shirt.
- Heat Press: Heat pressing the garment before and after pretreatment ensures the even distribution of the pre-treat solution. Remember to put Teflon sheets both above and below similar to sublimation printing. It provides you with a smooth dry garment for the best print quality. Also, heat pressing the garment after printing the design ensures the ink is set. Furthermore, it enhances the ink’s colors.
- Rip software: In the Rip software, Choose the desired image file > position the image > select your t-shirt settings > select the platen size. This process is similar to almost all rip software that comes with the dtg printer. Finally, load your shirt onto the platen and send the job to the printer.
Ink cost and t-shirt have always been an important part of determining the actual operating costs. Besides, everyone would have different operating costs based on location, accessibility or availability of materials.
Finally, based on the above list, we found Freejet 330TX Plus to be the best t-shirt printing machine for small businesses because you can achieve full color prints on both cotton and 100% polyester garments. A printer for all types of fabric. Thus, it eliminates your dependency on sublimation printing. Lastly, it has no ink cartridges and an automatic ink circulation system reduce maintenance costs.
Which are the best printing machine for shirts?
The best printing machines for shirts are Freejet 330TX Plus, Ricoh Ri 1000, Aeoon Compact Micro Printer, Coldesi DTG G4 and Epson F2100
Which is the best and the cheapest DTG printer under $5000?
Roland VersaStudio BT-12 is the best and the cheapest DTG printer under $5000. Its price is around $3,495.
Can you print using direct to garment print with the photo taken from iPhone?
Yes, you can print photos taken from an iPhone to your shirt with a dtg printer. In fact, you print photos taken from any phone provided it with a good quality image. Otherwise, the prints may come out to be grainy.
Is DTG more expensive than screen printing?
Yes, DTG involves a little bit more unit cost than screen printing. But you can resell it for double what you incurred in production.
Which is the best shirt for direct to garment printing?
100% cotton is the best t-shirt for dtg printing because it retains the ink much better than other blends. However, Freejet 330TX Plus dtg printer use Gamut Plus Ink that can print on 100% polyester black and white t-shirts.
Why DTG print fades after washing?
If the dtg print fades after washing, it is most likely that the garment is not pre-treated or cured correctly.