Which One Is Better [ DTG vs. DTF ]?


Which One Is Better [ DTG vs. DTF ]? - Picasso Print

In the ever-evolving world of garment printing, two popular methods have emerged as frontrunners: Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing and Direct-to-Film (DTF) printing. Both methods have their unique advantages and are used for custom apparel, but understanding the differences between them is essential for making informed choices. In this article, we'll explore the intricacies of DTG and DTF printing, comparing their strengths and weaknesses, and helping you decide which method suits your specific needs.

DTG Printing: The Art of Precision

DTG printing, as the name implies, involves applying ink directly onto the garment. It uses specialized inkjet technology, akin to your regular desktop printer, but with water-based inks. The process begins with a digital art file, which is sent to the DTG printer. The garment receives a pre-treatment solution to ensure that the ink adheres correctly. This solution is cured with either an air dryer or a heat press, flattening the printing surface. The garment is then placed on a platen, which holds it in position as it's fed through the DTG machine. The machine applies the aqueous ink, which is cured once more to lock in the design.

One notable advantage of DTG printing is its ability to reproduce intricate designs with incredible detail and a wide color gamut. It's perfect for gradients, shadows, and complex patterns, making it a top choice for businesses specializing in custom apparel.

DTF Printing: The Versatile Transfer Method

Direct-to-Film (DTF) printing is a relatively recent technique. Unlike DTG, DTF doesn't print directly onto the garment but instead prints the design onto a special transfer film. This film is coated with a fixing powder, making it adhesive for proper placement on the garment. A heat press is then used to bond the design to the fabric, curing the ink and making it ready for wear.

DTF printing is renowned for its vibrant colors and strong opacity, especially on dark fabrics. It offers versatility, allowing for prints on various materials, including nylon, fleece, and even non-garment items like backpacks or shoes, as long as the transfer can adhere to the substrate.

The Process

DTG printing is a technique that involves using specialized inkjet printers to directly print full-color designs onto garments. Think of it like a regular desktop printer, but instead of paper, it prints on fabric. DTG printing is renowned for its ability to replicate intricate designs with incredible detail and a wide color range. It excels in handling gradients, shadows, and intricate patterns, making it a popular choice for custom apparel businesses.

DTF printing, on the other hand, is a relatively new method where a design is printed onto a special transfer film, which is then transferred onto the garment using a heat press. DTF printing offers vibrant colors, strong opacity, and is particularly effective for printing on dark fabrics. It provides versatility by allowing prints on a wide range of materials, including cotton, polyester, and blends. DTF can even be used on non-garment items, such as backpacks and shoes, as long as the transfer adheres to the substrate.

Comparing DTG and DTF Printing

Now, let's delve into a detailed comparison of DTG and DTF printing to help you make an informed choice.


When comparing DTG vs. DTF, one of the initial considerations is the cost of the required printing equipment. DTG printers can range from $1,800 to over $14,000 for a high-quality machine. In contrast, DTF printers tend to be priced below $10,000, but they may involve a higher ongoing cost for aqueous inks. However, a cost-effective alternative is to partner with a print-on-demand service, eliminating the need for a significant upfront investment.

2-Production Time

Production time is another crucial factor to consider. DTG printing is generally slower than DTF printing, partly due to the two-step curing process. DTF requires only one round of curing and utilizes a heat press, which can speed up the process. For those with time-sensitive designs, partnering with a print-on-demand provider can reduce production time significantly.

3-Fabric Options

DTF printing offers greater versatility when it comes to fabric options. It can be used on a range of materials, including nylon and fleece. DTG printing, on the other hand, is more suitable for natural fabrics like cotton. This distinction is crucial when selecting the right method for your specific material requirements.

4-Order Quantity

One advantage of both DTG and DTF printing is their flexibility in accommodating order quantities. Whether you need just one t-shirt or a thousand tote bags, both methods are capable of handling a wide range of order sizes, making them ideal for businesses with varying printing needs.

5-Print Color

When it comes to print color, DTF printing includes a white ink base, enhancing the vibrancy of the transferred design. DTG printing uses a white base only on dark or colorful garments, with no white base for lighter-colored fabrics. Both methods utilize the CMYK color model, offering a wide range of color options.

6-Print Intricacy

In the print intricacy category, DTG takes the lead. DTG prints are known for their exceptional detail and precision. The direct application of ink to the garment ensures that intricate designs maintain their crispness. While DTF printing still offers excellent print quality, some precision can be lost in the transfer process.

7-Print Comfortability

DTG prints are known for their soft and lightweight feel, as they are applied directly to the garment without a fixing powder. In contrast, DTF prints can feel thicker and heavier due to the adhesive used for DTF inks. The difference in comfortability is a key consideration for those who prioritize the tactile experience of their apparel.

8-Print Durability

Both DTG and DTF produce durable prints, but DTF prints, with their thicker layer of ink, can be more resistant to cracking and fading over time. DTF prints are well-suited for sportswear and garments subject to frequent stretching and movement.


In terms of sustainability, DTG printing is the more eco-friendly option. DTF printing consumes more white ink and may produce more waste, whereas DTG uses less ink and materials overall. With no need for transfer film or screens, DTG printing minimizes waste and environmental impact.


dtf - dtg

Choosing the Right Method for Your Needs

The choice between DTG and DTF printing ultimately depends on your specific requirements. If you prioritize intricate designs and quick turnarounds, DTG is a suitable choice. However, if you seek vibrant colors, versatility, and durability on various fabrics, DTF printing is the way to go. Both methods have their strengths, and the decision should align with your business goals.

In conclusion, the world of garment printing offers incredible options to bring your designs to life. Understanding the differences between DTG and DTF printing can help you make informed choices, ensuring your custom apparel business thrives in a competitive market.

 Look Our Product : Custom DTF Gang Sheet

Subscribe Us
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a selection of cool articles every weeks