Choosing the right direct-to-garment (DTG) printer for your business is imperative if you want to create awesome custom gear as quickly as possible without compromising on quality.
But, not everyone knows all there is to know about DTG printers, so far too many business owners end up choosing printers that are subpar or don’t adequately fit their needs. So, how can you make sure you’re choosing the best DTG printer for your small business?
Let’s take a look at seven popular DTG printers on the market and cover some of the pros and cons of each. In the end, what you choose will likely be a matter of personal preference. But, it’s important to know what you can expect from each option.
The Epson F2100 is one of the top sellers in the DTG industry, and for good reason. It prints on more than just t-shirts. You can create koozies, hats, gifts and more. But, just because it’s popular, does it mean that’s the best?
- Great printer for beginners
- Minimal maintenance
- High printing quality
- Prints slower than other models
- A price tag of almost $18,000
Kornit Avalanche HDK
The Kornit Avalanche HDK costs about $250,000. While that may seem like a lot for a beginner, there is nothing ‘beginner’ about this printer. If you’re willing to make an investment, it’s a great option for seasoned pros who need to crank out quality apparel quickly.
- Can put out over 200 garments per hour
- High definition printing technology
- Large printing area for different materials
- Doesn’t work well with spot color artwork and may look splotchy on clothes
Anajet RICOH Ri 6000
This printer ranges anywhere from $25,000-$30,000, making it a sort of mid-level price range for those who are really considering investing in garment printing.
- Can print high quality graphics on a garment in 27 seconds
- You can lay a white base beneath your colors to help them pop
- 192 nozzles per channel
- Uses older technology
- Should only be used for small-scale projects, not mass-scale printing
- White ink cost is quite expensive and needs to be replaced frequently – two white inks cost $360, and have to be replaced ever 40 shirts or so, costing about $9.00 per shirt just in white ink
FreeJet 330TX Plus DTG Printer
This printer starts at around $19,995, and while that might be a hefty price tag for some, one of the biggest benefits is that it has an extremely low production cost, as well as a low maintenance cost. So, your investment will balance itself out in no time.
- Can print full color on both light and dark polyester material
- No cartridge-based system
- Saves money on white ink by circulating it throughout the day
- Manual setting for print height
- Great with fine details
- Takes a long time to print
- It is a daily-use printer that can clog easily if it doesn’t get used enough
- Quality isn’t always consistent
NeoFlex 800 DTG Printer
This $17,995 printer is becoming well known for its user-friendliness. It’s easy to use and can print 1400×1400 resolution images on just about any color with one pass through the machine.
- Fast printing process – can print up to three shirts at once
- Print head life of 45,000 impressions
- Can print an 8×10 image in less than 40 seconds
- Can take a bit of research and education before you get started
It’s important to note that there are very few drawbacks associated with this printer. Many people who have worked with DTG printers for years swear by it, and while it is easy to use, it takes some knowledge to get used to it. So, take your time with the machine if you start getting frustrated, and make sure you know what you’re doing before you start sending garments through.
Summit AT DTG Printer
This printer is known for one-pass prints, and it works well on more than just t-shirts. In fact, it’s great for thicker items, including sweatshirts. For fast and beautiful prints, it’s incredibly easy to work with. It’s also a bargain compared to some of its competitors, at just under $10,000.
- Variable ink droplet system for fine details
- Auto-clean feature
- Prints on dark colors, as well as wood and tile
- May not be the best for beginners, but Summit has a great toll free support system as well as a 3-year warranty
This DTG printer clocks in at $14,000, and gives you eight print heads for that price for a superior print quality that focuses on attention to detail.
- Four of the print heads are white, offering a clear base for printing
- Only takes 35 seconds to cure the ink
- The machine itself weighs 260 pounds, which can either be a positive or a negative, depending on your needs. It is built to last and work all day for high-volume businesses. If you’re a small business that doesn’t need a high output, it might not be the best option.
Choosing the Right DTG Printer for Your Small Business
When it comes to choosing the right DTG printer, consider everything from your output to your budget. Hopefully we’ve given you some ideas within this article that can make the selection process easier for you. While some of the higher-end printers are great for big businesses, there is no need to throw every cent you have into something if it won’t get used the way it’s supposed to. In fact, printers that are meant for high outputs that don’t get used frequently can end up clogging and breaking down.
So, instead of focusing on all of the bells and whistles of a DTG printer, focus instead on how your business could put any of the printers listed above to good use on a regular basis. That will help to make your decision much easier.