DTF vs DTG printing: What are the differences and which is better?

When you’re dealing with awesome custom merch products like custom t-shirts, custom sweaters or even custom workwear, product quality is everything. It’s what separates a dazzling, durable design your brand can be proud of from a dull and unprofessional alternative. 

So how can you ensure that your custom merch stands out above the rest? 

Top-quality printing.

In the world of garment printing, there are two primary printing techniques: DTF (Direct-to-Film) and DTG (Direct-to-Garment), each with its advantages and downsides. 

The question is, of these popular printing methods, which type of garment printing is superior in terms of durability, cost and other important factors? In this article, that’s exactly what we’re going to uncover. So let’s dive into the fascinating world of garment printing methods and answer the age-old question; DTF vs. DTG printing, which is better?

DTF vs DTG printing: Differences 

First, let’s get a better understanding of these two printing processes.

On one hand, DTF printing involves printing your custom logo or design directly onto film and then transferring this design onto fabric using heat – it’s a more traditional and bespoke approach to garment printing.

On the other hand, DTG printing employs a high-tech printer to directly apply ink onto garments which is then cured into the fabric. It’s like graffiti for your threads, but with a high-tech twist!

So, which stands out? Let’s consider some important criteria.

  1. DTF v DTG Cost

The first factor to consider when making printing decisions is cost. After all, your budget is likely the least flexible element of your decision-making process.

The good news is that there is no difference in cost between DTG printing and DTF printing; they are exactly the same price. This means you won’t be constrained by your budget and can make a decision based on some of the more outcome-driven criteria. 

  1. DTF v DTG durability

When it comes to durability, DTG printing is slightly less durable than DTF printing and is known to fade with time and intense wear or without proper care. This may mean that money may be spent down the line to replace worn-out products.

Alternatively, DTF printing generally promises longer-lasting prints that can survive the wildest urban adventures. However, like all garment types, it too can be subject to significant damage without proper care.

Other important variables

Beyond cost and durability, various other factors may influence your decision, it all depends upon what is important to you. To help you out, here’s a table summary of some factors that many of our customers value.

FactorsDTF PrintingDTG Printing
CostExactly the same priceExactly the same price
DurabilitySlightly more durable, though still requires some careFairly durable, particularly when treated with care
Eco-friendlinessEco-friendly inks and minimal water usage, though, slightly more energy consumptionEco-friendly AND vegan! Near zero wastewater and slightly lower energy consumption 
Colour VibrancyBold and vibrant coloursVivid colours with details
Pre-treatment NeededNo pretreatment requiredPre-treatment may be necessary
Fabric RangeMost, if not all garmentsUpwards of 80% cotton

DTF vs. DTG printing: Which method is better?

As we have hinted at so far, there is no “one size fits all” approach to custom merch heat press printing (pun intended). It all depends on your unique circumstances and the factors you value the most.

Put simply, if showcasing your brand will involve a single-colour design, especially on a dark garment, then DTF should be your go-to. We like to think of it as the spray paint of the printing world – bold, vivid, and exciting! It’s also the streetwise choice with slightly more durability ready to weather consistent wear and tear.

But hold up – if your brand’s heart beats for intricate, multi-colour designs with vivid details then DTG is likely the printing solution you need – it handles multiple colours and easily layers inks to create a symphony of style. And while these showstopping designs may fade slightly over time, you can extend their lifespan by washing them with care.

PrintLocker offers both DTF and DTG printing options for you

We understand that printing services should be flexible; it’s all about what’s right for you and your brand.

So whether you are after DTF (Direct-to-Film) or DTG (Direct-to-Garment) printing, you can’t go past PrintLocker. We are the top manufacturer of custom clothing in Sydney, Melbourne and right across Australia. The high quality of our prints, and our wide range of custom clothing, including custom t-shirts, custom polo shirts and custom hoodies, make us the ideal choice for long-lasting custom prints in Australia.

Learn more about PrintLocker’s range of custom-printed clothing today.

Frequently asked questions

Can DTF transfers go on any colour shirt?

Yes, printing your design directly onto a film and then transferring it to a T-shirt (DTF Printing) will work regardless of the garment’s colour, as it can work with white ink. 

Can DTF be used on mugs?

Yes, DTF use can range from standard apparel items, custom t-shirts, custom polo shirts and custom hoodies to hard goods like mugs. DTG printing however is limited to 100% cotton garments.

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