DTG digital printing is the latest in t-shirt technology. In many cases it’s a more affordable option for t-shirts, but does it have the same quality as screen printing?
This blog post will answer this question and some others you might have with regards DTG digital printing verses Screen printing processes.
Why use DTG instead of Screen Printing?
If you are a screen printer, you will always get customers who only want a few shirts printed. This is a problem for all t-shirt screen printers out there, because most I know have a minimum order quantity.
In this case DTG digital printing may be the answer to this problem. It’s an affordable way to print low volume orders without compromising on the quality. It also removes the hassle of making screen for small orders.
From a small quantity perspective, the DTG process is much faster than traditional screen printing because you don’t have the hassle of setting up the screens. However for large quantities, screen printing will always win.
Is DTG Digital Printing Better Than Screen Printing?
- Nether is better than the other. They both have pros and con’s for each of them.
DTG is getting better, in spite of what you may have heard. You can get the same quality prints with DTG digital printing that you would with screen printing. There is a few exception to the answer and you will soon see.
There are a lot of benefits of going digital when you compare it side by side with traditional screen printing.
Pros vs Cons Of DTG Digital Printing And Screen Printing
- DTG is usually better for colourful designs and fine details on a relatively small print run.
- DTG is usually better for any print run smaller than 10 pieces.
- Screen printing – For print runs over 10 pieces and printed with single spot colours like, “white” or “Purple”. Screen printing is better.
How To Choose Which Print Option Is Better?
We get asked allot about how to choose the right print option. This is how we determine the screen printing minimum print run verses whether to use DTG digital printing.
For every additional colours in the design, the minimum run should increase by about 25 pieces. For example a 2 colour design = 25min order quantity otherwise DTG is a better option.
1 colour = 10 minimum, 2 colours = 25 minimum, 3 colours = 50 minimum, 4 colours = 75 minimum, 5 colours = 100 minimum, 6 colours = 125 minimum, 7 colours = 150 minimum, 8 colours = 175 minimum, 9 colours = 200 minimum, etc.
Is DTG Digital Printing Cheaper Than Screen Printing?
It’s difficult to say which is cheaper, because there are many factors that can affect the cost of shirt printing. However topically, DTG digital printing is only cheaper than screen printing for full-coloured designs.
- For large quantities, DTG digital is less efficient (fewer shirts per hour)
- Owning a DTG would require new training for your employees who currently screen print instead of those who work with digital equipment.
- For small quantities, screen printing will be priced higher due to the extra labour required in preparing an image for production as compared to printing directly with the ink-jet technology.
- If you don’t have a good number of small orders each day, owning a DTG machine can be quite expensive and may not make the investment worthwhile.
It all comes down to the t-shirt design itself, how many colours are being used in the design.
On average though, screen printing is usually the way to go – it’s prints faster with higher quantities. However, if you need to print high quality prints with lots of colour gradients then DTG can give really great results.
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Result: Is DTG Digital Printing as Good as Screen Printing?
We all know by now that Digital printing has some limitations that screen printing doesn’t. And the same is true for screen printing.
If you are being asked constantly as a screen printer to do small runs with colourful designs, then DTG will be as good as screen printing for you – from a business point of view.
However keep in mind that the cost of running a DTG machine are quite high. So 25 shirts a day would be a good starting point to owning your own machine.
If you don’t think you can get at least 25 shirts a day to print on a new machine, then DTG might not be as profitable as you would think. (..or what you get told by the machine distributors.)
Many screen printer are choosing this route, and are holding off buying a new DTG machine until they are regularly getting consistent small order printing jobs.
Related to DTG?
- What is DTG printing and how does it work
- Pros vs Cons of DTG Printing
- Why use DTG instead of Screen Printing
- How to get started with a DTG printer
- Tips for getting the most out of your prints from a DTG printer
- FAQs about using a DTG printer
If you’re considering making the switch to digital printer or if your local screen printers can’t keep up with demand, fill in the form to get a quote on a range of DTG Machines!