The Pros and Cons of DTF vs DTG

DTF printing vs. Direct to Garment Printing (DTG printing)

Both DTF and DTG printing have been around for some time. Both have their pros and cons.

DTF is an excellent add-on to have the ability to print on certain material types that were previously difficult to print with DTG. In addition, DTG is more time-efficient.

Both types of printing are fit for small pieces or personalization, such as T-shirts or masks. However, the results and the printing method are different in both cases, so it can be challenging to decide which one to prefer as a profitable business.

Direct to film is cheaper and more accessible than DTG print. For DTF, all you need is a heat press and a conventional printer that has been modified. DTG requires a very expensive printer that is also quite bulky.

DTF also uses less ink (60% color and 40% white). DTG uses a lot of ink, around four times as much white ink. White ink is the most expensive, which adds to the running costs of DTG. It also means higher maintenance costs due to a clogged-up white ink print head, which requires separate white ink channels. You need to use the DTG machine constantly to reduce how often the print head gets clogged.

You only apply powder to the film in Direct to Film transfer, but you need to pretreat a fabric in DTG. Aside from this, DTF is versatile. They can be printed on anything from custom apparel like sweatshirts to even a bag. However, DTF has better transfer characteristics.

Pros and Cons of DTF Printing

To summarize, let’s make a quick recap on both the advantages and disadvantages of personalizing a T-shirt with a DTF printer.

Pros of DTF Printing:

Low investment.

You can print on T-shirts of any colour or fabric.

Very elastic prints that won’t crack when stretching the fabric.

Very high wash and wear resistance.

Cons of DTF Printing:

The print feels slightly plasticized, similar to what you would feel with a screen print transfer or HTV.

The printing process is more complex than other techniques such as sublimation or DTG.

Pros and Cons of DTG Printing

Pros of DTG Printing:

DTG is the most versatile.

Has a great soft feel when executed correctly.

Very efficient – the process can be shorter than DTF; you don’t require to transfer.

Cons of DTG Printing:

It needs to pre-treatment. This step is necessary before printing, as we will work directly on the fabric, which will allow the ink to be well fixed and avoid transferring it through the material. In addition, we will need to heat the fabric before printing to begin this treatment.

Very steep learning curve.

Ink cost is expensive.

Easy to crack if not washed properly.

Limited to specific material types – we can only print on cotton garments.

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