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What is the best Dtg printer? This is not an easy question to answer. It can depend on a number of things. What are your business goals? What might be the best for your business may not be the best for another’s business? When it comes to these DTG printers there are facts you should learn before making such an expensive business decision.
Honestly, these are things the manufacturer will say. The truth is it depends on your budget and your shop space. Below are some of the things you should find the facts on before purchasing a printer. Let's find out the best printer for T-shirt printing.
Below is one of our Brother GT 381 Printers printing a customers shirt.
These are just a few of the main questions I would look for when making a decision on a DTG printer.
For a quality DTG Printer, I have seen prices range from $6995 up to $500,000+
Maintenance is something that you should be very aware of. Some of these machines require quite a bit of maintenance. Some less than others. Does the machine have white ink recirculation? Are there mandatory Ink flushes to keep your warranty? These ink flushes can get expensive. The cost can be around $100-200 a month just on maintenance. How long can you leave the printer on standby without printing? The majority of these printers if you leave a day without printing you will have major issues with your print head clogging. Some of the manufacturers advertise that you can leave for up to a month without printing. Also depending on the printer, every day after printing you should be cleaning your wiper blade and maintenance station.
Ink cost should also be a huge factor in your decision of the printer that you choose. That can make or break the price that you would feel comfortable selling your t-shirts for.
Print speed is something else that should be very important in your decision. Some of the printers advertise the ability to print as fast as 20 seconds a shirt. Some may take up to 5 minutes or longer to print a shirt. Some of the more production-grade printers are advertised to print 300 shirts per hour.
When it comes to customer support for these dtg printers the best way I can explain to you is that the situation can be something like buying a used car. Before purchasing the car the salesman will be very nice answering all your questions calling you back, guaranteeing you stuff that will simply not be true. Their job is to simply sell you this machine. It is a good Idea to first check the BBB which 90 percent of the time still won't be accurate. Also, check online reviews. There are online communities where you can also get real user feedback. I like to call and ask to speak to someone in technical support. That is where you will see the true company that you are dealing with. A lot will give you attitudes or may be very rude and short with you. If your warranty ends or even if something goes wrong within your warranty remember these are the people you are going to be dealing with when something goes wrong. Also how far are you from their repair center? If you are in New York and the company is in California that is a long way to send your printer when you are not able to solve your problem with phone support. Shipping cost can also be expensive almost $800 before your machine even gets looked at. Another thing is will this company sell you all the parts that you may need? Some of you may know or have the ability to fix the machine yourself. How old is this printer? How long will parts be available for this DTG Printer? All good questions to ask.
Look at the software that comes with the machine. How much freedom does this program give you with your ink settings will it print what is on the monitor? All customers’ graphics will be different. This will mean you will need the ability to make adjustments in a rip software. Some software rips are better than others. You may also want to find out if there is an after-market software rip.
Some printers do not have the ability to print white ink on custom t shirts. Without that ability, you will not be able to print on dark garments. The white under base goes down first on dark garments. Then the CMYK will go on top giving you the end result. Also to print with dark shirts, you currently need to use a Pretreatment on the shirts before printing white ink. Some of the more expensive printers have a pretreatment process built into the printer. You will normally need to manually spray the t-shirt with something like a Wagner paint sprayer or purchase another piece of equipment that sprays an even coating onto the shirt. The Wagner sprayer works good and can be the inexpensive choice. This process will make or break the print quality of the shirt so it is important to have an evenly sprayed t-shirt with just the right amount. Too much pretreatment may cause your image to be washed off. Too less and you will not get a good quality print. Learn more about the best dtg pretreatments and how to wash dtg printed t-shirts.
There are a couple differences between these printers that separate them big time.
Epson Based printers are usually desktop printers that photographers use to print photos. The Print engines are usually removed and installed inside a shell with some new electronics to control the platen. The usual choice of ink for Epson based printers is DuPont's garment ink. There are other printer inks that can be used with Epson print heads but DuPont has shown longevity. For the most part, all of the Converted Epson based Printers will print the same speed and Quality wise. The difference will be the larger print engines such as the 4880 and 3880 and some use the smaller 1900 and 3000 print engines. There are more print engines such as the Epson New P600 but we would go on all day about this. Epson has Also released its own DTG printer. The Epson F2000 and F2100 which uses Epson very own ink. Which produces great quality prints.
Brother built its DTG printer from the ground up. They have their own line of inks also. It is one of the more expensive inks between all the other printers. Inks for the GT series are around $634 a liter, compared to DuPont inks that are around $150 per liter. The GT series also has a print head for every color. The GT-381 has a total of 8 print heads. The cost for each print head is $1295 each. The good thing is that brother makes one of the most reliable printers on the market.The resolution is not as high as the Epson based printers but they still produce Great Quality Prints. The highest dpi is 1200x1200 and also has a faster setting at 600x600.
Richol recently purchased Aanajet which has the MP5i and MP10i and Sprint. Both the MP5i and MP10i use Richol print heads. Both printers still use Dupont but it uses one of Dupont's new Formulas. It is supposedly more Vibrant. There are other manufacturers that also use Ricoh print heads along with this new Dupont ink. Another printer is Belquette's very own Gynesis that is scheduled to be coming out this late 2016. I went to the SGIA trade show in Atlanta and I must say their demo was very impressive. Of course, there are some more Printers feel free to add in the comment section and I will update.
Kornit is the manufacture of few industrial dtg printers. They are also one of the most expensive printers on the market.When it comes to the cost of ink it has one of the cheapest priced inks. It also has one of the faster Print per hour ratios. Some of the faster models print at speeds up to 600 prints per hour. They have their own Spectra Piezo Electric print heads and also use their own NeoPigment Ink.
When we first wrote this article From my own personal experience viewing comparisons, I would say that the Epson F2000 produces the better-looking prints when it comes to DTG Printers. Now its up for grabs, the New Brother GTX has released a new printer that is awesome and has a whole new set of inks. (UPDATE) The Epson F2100 has just released and promises even better print quality.
Again Based on my own personal experience viewing the Kornit DTG at a trade show. It was one of the fastest DTG Printers I have seen. I Beleive they have a printer that can print up to 500 shirts an Hour. The Kornit saves a lot of time by pretreating inside the printer and then printing directly on it. You will then use a conveyor to cure the ink instead of using a Heat press.
I recommend taking the time to go to a trade show and viewing these printers for yourself. The experience I had was pleasant. Let me know what you guys think or if I am missing anything in the comments.
Currently, Epson now has two dtg printers.
Epson SureColor F2000 - The first is called the f2000. The print quality from these printers is amazing. The inks are more on the expensive side. Unlike other dtg printers, you must use the ink that is also manufactured by Epson. Also, the maintenance on these machines is more on the expensive side. Just maintenance the bill every month from cleaning is around $125-$150 a month. If you are looking for a great machine to put in a kiosk in the mall then this machine is for you. It is not a printer that you will want to offer low prices with. You should plan on selling t-shirts for at least $19.99 to $30 each with this printer.
Anajet has several printers on the market. Anajet has recently been purchased by Richol.
The brother series consists of multiple different printers.
Take a look at the link above to sell and buy used DTG Printing Equipment. You can also list your business to be apart of our fulfillment network. Listing your business under fulfillment allows on us and other companies to call on you when we are swamp and need to outsource some of our work.