What’s Better: a DTG Machine, Sublimation Printer, or Transfer printer?

It’s always good to have options so you can make better choices. The same goes for choosing the right technology for custom-printed t-shirts. Over the years, numerous printing technologies have been introduced to cater to the needs of customized t-shirt businesses.

Although you get the freedom to choose the method you want, it can be challenging to choose the right equipment for your custom printing needs. Whether you want the highest production speed with minimum printing cost, you must select the proper printing methods to get you the most ROI. Take a look at these different printing methods so that you can make a better decision.

DTG Machine Quality

The garment printing process involves a lot of mechanical movement, which can cause a lot of wear and tear to different components of the printer. DTG printers are made with the most sturdy material that ensures durability. That means you don’t have to worry about constant maintenance issues like loose and noisy components. Even if you leave your DTG machine idle for days, you’ll find it working smoothly when you use it again.

The print heads are also robust, and the best quality ink ensures the print heads don’t get clogged. That way, you get an even and smooth print and avoid any print stains caused by clogged heads. Hence the price range of DTG printers between $20000 to $25000 is worth it.

Sublimation Printer Price

Sublimation printers are the most affordable printing solution as they cost around $1000 to $2500. It costs a lot less than other printers and offers the most simple yet effective print quality.

Sublimation printers are a great way to create an additional source of revenue for clothing manufacturing businesses. If you already own a t-shirt business, it makes a lot of sense for you to go for a sublimation printer as you’ll be spending only a few cents per t-shirt as a printing cost. The toner cost per t-shirt ranges from around 20 to 25 cents, while the sublimation paper costs about 30 cents. That means if you are already manufacturing your blank t-shirts, you’ll be spending around 50 to 60 cents for one custom printed shirt that will quickly sell for $20 to $25.

Transfer Printer Versatility

The printing surface may restrict the functioning of other printers, but that is not the case with heat transfer printers. Printers like the Digital HeatFX use transfer paper to transfer your desired image onto the garment. Though the prime usage of these printers is to print on clothing items made with polyester, they offer the versatility of printing on different materials like cotton tees, aluminum, and wood. That is why they are priced at around $6000 to $15000.

Which printing method offers the best return on investment?

The price of any custom printed t-shirt easily ranges from $20 to $30 in offline and online stores. That is an excellent indicator of the potential of custom printing businesses. Regardless of the printing method used, the quality of the print is almost the same.

The sublimation print process costs around 30 cents per t-shirt. If you buy a black t-shirt at $4, add the approximate cost of toner ($0.25) and paper ($0.30), the t-shirt will cost around $4.55. You can sell this custom t-shirt at the price of $20 to $25. That means you can earn a profit of approximately $15.5 per t-shirt. If you buy a bulk order of blank t-shirts, each one might cost about $2 to $3 and substantially increase your profit margin.

The Digital Heat FX method requires a transfer paper that costs around $3.69, which means along with a black t-shirt with the price of $3 and approximate toner cost of $0.25, the custom t-shirt made with Digital Heat FX costs around $7.9 to $8. Though it may be a little costlier than sublimation and DTG printing, you can print on darker colors of cotton t-shirts along with white poly t-shirts.

When it comes to DTG printing, you don’t have to deal with any paper. You need to pretreat the t-shirt surface with a pretreat machine, and your t-shirt is ready for printing. The cost of pretreating is around $0.05, so along with the ink cost of $0.27 and the blank t-shirt of $4, the final product costs around $4.3, which is less than other printing methods.

These three printing methods cost around $1 to $3, and the custom printed t-shirts sell for about $20 to $30. That means it is worth doing custom printing work on blank t-shirts and substantially improving your profit margins.

What’s the range of products you can print with different printing methods?

Custom printing businesses can offer their customers a wide range of designs for different occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. For example, a family would surely like to buy exclusive custom printed t-shirts for a family member’s birthday party. Apart from t-shirts and other clothing apparel, you can print on a wide range of products that sell for equal or more profits as custom t-shirts.

As the sublimation process requires a special polyester coating of the product’s surface, it may limit the range of products you can print with sublimation. You might need to add the polyester coating by either spraying on the surface or using a sheet to add a thin layer. You can custom print on mousepads, tote bags, puzzles, metal blanks, mugs, key chains, etc.

Though the Digital Heat FX method is a little costlier than sublimation, it doesn’t require a polyester coating. You can print on different hard surfaces that don’t have any polyester coating like Nylon, glass, hats, wood, aluminum, cotton and polyester clothes, etc.

A DTG machine like the DTG G4 does print on hard surfaces but not the same ones as sublimation and DigitalHeat FX. You can print on linen, denim, cotton, polyester, canvas, tile, and rally towels.

You will make significant profits no matter which printing method you choose if you have a great design, the right marketing strategy, and a passion for creating masterpieces with custom printing.

Samir Prakash Author