The old saying, “Different Strokes for Different Folks” is perfect for answering the question of where to buy a t-shirt printer.
The reality is that just about everyone in the world wears t-shirts. People wear them because they are comfortable, inexpensive, and useful. But they are also a great way to express yourself or identify with a group or team. But did you know that the average t-shirt only lasts for about 18 months?
So, you can imagine that the market for t-shirts is gigantic. And the types of t-shirt printer machines you can buy is enormously diverse. Here we’ll give you a quick breakdown of the different types of printers you can buy and what your options are.
Chances are once you’re ready to start up your own t-shirt business, you’ll be able to narrow it down to a couple of choices that are best for your market.
Types of T-Shirt Printers
Sublimation was developed originally to print on plastic parts and items for the trophy and awards industry. This system is different than most methods of printing because the pigments that are used are specifically designed to bond to plastic or polyesters on a molecular level.
Sublimation has been around for a long time and works for plastics of all sorts including polyester t-shirts. While the systems for sublimation are relatively inexpensive, the downfall is that the items are expensive.
You can only transfer on plastics and other polymers and not other types of fabrics. But if your market is exclusively polyesters, then sublimation works fine.
Cut vinyl offers a quick and inexpensive way to produce names and numbers and other images. It’s a tried and true process that has been around for dozens of years.
The material is typically sold as a single-color media, but it has unique blended options that allow for glitter, neon, and interesting patterns.
The cut vinyl media is cut with a relatively inexpensive cutter machine, and a razor is used to cut out the outline of the image.
Once the vinyl is cut, there’s a very involved process called “weeding,” which requires picking out all the negative image areas by hand. This can take a lot of time, especially if working with small letters.
Cut vinyl is best if you need a t-shirt printer alternative that is mainly one color, and if you have lots of time on your hands to do custom weeding of designs.
Multiple colors and designs that have blended gradients are virtually impossible with cut vinyl.
DTG – Direct to Garment Printing
Chances are this is the machine you heard about or wanted to learn more about when you found this article. When someone says, where can I buy a t-shirt printer, they are probably talking about a DTG printer.
Direct to Garment Printing has been around for over 15 years now and can produce great high-color results on most t-shirt fabrics.
It’s a process that works best with cotton garments because the water-based ink holds to the shirt better. DTG (direct to garment) requires the garments or items to be pre-treated with a hand sprayer or a specialized pre-treatment machine.
The DTG process has the advantage of dramatically reduced setup-times and labor costs compared to the other methods. You can quickly print up 1-48 shirts in full color, and you can do that without having to go through some complicated artwork separation or processing.
The newest DTG machines also have advanced features that let you quickly load and hold shirts. Our top choice for a t-shirt printing machine is the G4 DTG.
It beats out the competitors in ease of use, has reasonable ink pricing, and comes with one of the most advanced RIP (raster image processing) software packages available. And when the day is done, maintenance is a breeze.
Screen printing is one of the original methods of printing on garments. It dates back to the first part of the last century. You create fine-mesh screens for each color used in the design and then squeeze the ink through the screens onto the garment.
For larger orders (200+ ), it is arguably the least expensive way to print t-shirts and many other items.
However, that advantage goes down with each color printed, and the shorter the print run. DTG outperforms for the standard size order and allows you to do make-up orders quickly without hours of additional set-up labor.
White Toner Printers
One of the newest technologies to hit the market is white toner printers, like the OKI 8432wt, and the 9541wt.
These t-shirt printers do not require any messy pre-treatment sprays. And they do not need particular framing, tucking, or flattening of the garments. If you want to know where to buy one of these t-shirt printers, look no further than the DigitalHeat FX system.
DigitalHeat FX does not require individual screens created for each color. You can print dozens of items before most jobs would even be ready to print on a typical screen press. T-Shirt transfer printing results on any of the DigitalHeat FX systems are consistent and clean without messy inks or long setups.
Keep in mind that you are still working with transfer material. The final feel and quality of the garment after the transfer is not as good as DTG prints. But for small orders or small size prints, having an OKI white toner printer in addition to any other method of printing is a huge plus. You can quickly do make-up orders in transfers and satisfy your customer’s needs quickly without long setup times.
Unlike DTG, Digital Heat FX transfers can be printed up in groups and can be transferred on even the most complex areas of garments in multiple locations. The pressing time for application is dramatically faster, requiring only seconds per transfer and edge around the transfer, as well as the colors in the prints, are similar.
Buy Based On Reputation
One of the main reasons people buy is because of the recommendations of others. You want to know that the company you are going to trust to help make you successful has your best interests at heart. You want to know that they have a great reputation for teaching, training, and supporting the equipment. It’s one of the essential factors that shoppers will use when making a purchase. And that’s even more true for larger purchases.
When it comes down to deciding precisely where to buy your t-shirt printer, ColDesi, Inc. is hard to beat. They have been a pioneer in the t-shirt printer market in the US.
With a strong focus on making sure the equipment is perfect when it arrives, and then all the way through training, the company outperforms in many areas.
When it comes to making big purchases, chances are you’re looking for a long term, hassle-free relationship. ColDesi’s business philosophy is “Achieving Dreams.” It’s the WHY behind everything they do.
And with over 30,000 customers that they have helped put into the business, your business is in good hands.