Different types of t-shirt printers 2022 -Detailed Reviews

Do you want your outfits to be unique? Perhaps, you have a specific design in mind but can’t seem to find it anywhere? If yes, then maybe it is time for you to start customizing your t-shirts yourself, exactly the way you want!

Now, we know that all the various t-shirt printing techniques and advanced tools can leave your head spinning. So to help you out with the process, we have compiled a list of our four favorite t-shirt printers which promise to turn your dream outfit into reality.

Types Of T-Shirt Printers

What are the different types of t-shirt printers?

Dye-Sublimation Printer
Digital to Garment (DTG) Printer
Heat transfer vinyl printer
Airbrushing Printer
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Conclusion

Dye-Sublimation Printer

Are you bored with your regular minimalist t-shirts and are looking for something with big and complex design? If yes, then a dye-sublimation photo printer is exactly what you need!

A dye-sublimation printer is super easy to use. It works by heating the solid ink to gas particles which are then deposited onto the fabric substrate. So all you need is a good transfer paper, sublimation ink and your dye photo printer to spice up your old shirt with your favorite online design.

Instead of the traditional black overcoating, these dye-sub printers employ a special CMYB (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) overcoating system which assures that the images reproduced are of vibrant, high-quality colors and that the tones are continuous without any harsh lines.

However, the sole limitation of this run-of-the-mill gadget is that it is only applicable on polyester fabrics. Light, polyester shirts guarantees high image transfer efficiency, while using it with cotton can surely turn into a nightmare.

PROS

  • Its small framework takes up minimal space
  • Produces fade-free colors which lasts for a long time
  • Suitable for large designs
  • Preferable for multicolored and unique patterns
  • Simple operation
  • No drying time

CONS

  • Prints only on light fabrics
  • Does not cover all parts of shirt such as the seams and armpits
  • Slow Printing Speed
  • Can be expensive when used for small volumes
  • Not compatible with cotton t-shirts

DTG Printer

Digital to Garment printers are relatively new in the garment industry and have quickly made their way to the top due to its remarkable results. For those of you who are artistic and want to experiment with your style, DTG Printers should be your first choice.

DTG Printer is a textile printing tool that works like any conventional paper printer; you insert the fabric and the printer applies the ink on it to produce your chosen design. This pretty straightforward setup and usage makes DTG beginner-friendly and a perfect confidante when starting your garment business.

Although DTG printers can be a little costly, but, its phenomenal prints with high resolution and neutralized contrast usually overshadows it. The thin ink imprints the image without leaving any thick lines and thereby maintaining the soft touch of the shirt.

When choosing a DTG printer, always review the resolution, stated at the back of the box, so that you can obtain brace and clear images. Also, a DTG with a self-cleaning filter will give you a hassle-free printing experience without the fear of your printer jamming in-between and thus, ruining your fabric.

PROS

  • Easy setup and operation
  • Soft finish
  • Lets you switch to different designs
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can print complex designs without compromising on their quality
  • Many DTG printers come with a self-cleaning feature
  • Friendly with cotton, linen, polyester and almost every fabric

CONS

  • On the pricier side Prints may not show completely on dark fabrics
  • Less durable designs which can fade away in a year or less
  • Consumes more time when producing in substantial quantities

Heat transfer vinyl printer

Heat transfer vinyl is undoubtedly the most famous type of printers for t-shirts, mugs and decor items. It is best suited for on-site printing in small quantities with customized designs, fonts and colours.

Making use of a transfer paper to print the design on your fabric, heat transfer vinyl printer is extremely easy to learn and use! Not only can you use the heat press machine without having a large space for it but the versatility of vinyl allows you to print on different parts of clothing materials.

One of the worst outcomes of t-shirt printing is the mess created in the process. Fortunately enough, heat transfer vinyl printers guard against any kind of ink spills and offer super clean, tidy and productive working hours.

In addition to its simplicity, vinyl printers also promise amazingly high definition designs on your t-shirts and mugs. Through the direct heat and embedding printing technique, heat transfer vinyl creates the most detailed and spectacular designs which promise to last for a long time without fading or chipping away.

Lastly, let us talk about the investment involved with printing t-shirts using heat vinyl transfer machines. Since its operation requires no ink cartridges,  trained labour or expensive equipment, vinyl printers have a low running cost. We highly recommend this type of printer for creative amateurs who are on a tight budget.

PROS

  • Suitable for t-shirts, mugs and wall murals
  • Offer high customizability options
  • Simple and user-friendly controls
  • Function without making a huge mess or leaving ink stains behind
  • Embeds image permanently on the fabric for long lasting effect
  • Stunning and high definition quality
  • Very affordable investment

CONS

  • Consume lots of time and effort for mass orders
  • Not usable on heat sensitive fabrics

Airbrushing Printer

Are you planning to create the most impressive and artistic designs over your t-shirts and looking for the right machine to do this with? If yes, then the airbrushing printer is the best match for you.

Although its use is restricted to small-scale business owners and low quantities, airbrushing printers are perfect for intricate and complex designed garments. Moreover, these also act as an alternative for screen printing, decorating a cake or making a caricature in public parks.

Airbrushing on t-shirts is no walk in the park but definitely worth the practice and time spent on perfecting it. These are usually composed of water based paints that are instantly absorbed in the fabric and therefore, have good and durable print quality.

The biggest downside with airbrushing on t-shirts is the time and cost involved. Despite having a low initial setup cost, airbrushing tools are quite expensive and require trained labour to operate them. Just airbrushing a single t-shirt can take up many hours and requires extreme concentration and dedication from the user’s side.

PROS

  • Suitable for intricate designs and graphic t-shirt prints, cake decor and caricature
  • Affordable and easy setup
  • Water based paints instantly soak up and stick on fabric
  • Offer an artistic 3D digital effect

CONS

  • Consume lots of time to learn and practice on fabric
  • Airbrushing tools are expensive
  • Difficult to control, need trained labour to teach you its operation
  • Only suitable for small-scale business and low production scales

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Even though many garment-specific printers are available on the market for t-shirt designing, but your typical inkjet printer, accompanied by an iron and transfer paper can help you customize your shirts in instance, without investing in any other fancy equipment.

With polyester shirts, your best bet is sublimation printing to give you an all over print that is waterproof and fade-resistant to last lifetime. However, it you are looking for a precise impression of your designs and working on cotton or leather, then we recommend Digital to Garment (DTG) printing.

Many different types of inks are used during the heat transfer process, depending on the make and model of the printer. Inkjet ink is one of the most commonly used ink, thanks to its low cost and easy accessibility. Other typical heat transferring inks include sublimation ink for digital printing and pigment ink which is compatible with a myriad of printers including Epson, Sawgrass and Canon.

Gone is the time when you needed to go to a garment shop or some professional to get your desired pattern on your clothing. Now, you can print your logo anytime, within the permises of your home, through a special paper called transfer paper. Simply print your logo onto the paper, and iron it onto the fabric to see the magic happen. 

Conclusion

With that being said, we conclude our article about the different types of t-shirt printers used in the clothing industry at the moment. We sincerely hope our list helps you find the most suited printer as per your skill and style, and adds to your designing experience.

Remember to first go through your needs and only spent on a printer that offers you the best performance in terms of ease, comfort, color quality, and stability. Happy designing everybody!