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DTG Vs DTF Printing – Which is better for Custom Printing

DTG VS DTF Printing – Which method is best for custom t-shirt printing?

Direct-to-film and Direct-to-garment are popular when you want to know the techniques involved in garment printing. Both techniques produce prints; however, these differences make them unique.

If you look into the DTG printing technique, the process is quite simple. That is because you use specialized inkjet prints that produce the desired garment printing. The best feature of this printing method is that you can directly get the prints on the shirts.

However, you may come across a special printing technique for dtf shirt printing. That is about a special transfer film that does the job of printing. To start this process, you are required to print the desired design on this transfer film. Then, with heat, the print gets printed on the garments. The colors exhibited by such a printing technique always impress people because of the vibrancy and saturation garments get. 

After reading about the basic knowledge about dtg and dtf printing, you would be curious to know which technique is best for custom t-shirt printing. Well, DTG always gets a preference for custom t-shirt printing over DTF printing. Thus, it works for highly customizable orders of t-shirts.


How Does DTF Printing Work, And What Is It?

The only other component of the direct-to-film printing technology is a specialised film called the transfer film. With this film, you can peruse this printing technology. The basic phenomenon involved in this technique is the heat press. Mostly, this technique is suitable for printing dark-colored fabric. Moreover, the material you could print with this method includes blended fabric, cotton, and polyester.  

What does dtf feel like on a shirt? Initially, the plastic film makes you feel slightly stiff on the t-shirt. However, after a few washes, it gets smooth. 

So, to start with this technique, follow up the method below.

  1. Select the design you want to get printed on the garments.
  2. Then, you shall get this design printed on the specialized transfer film. Remember that you shall use water-based inks for the printers to deliver supreme dtf print quality.The next step is coating the film paper with a sticky powder-like substance.
  3. Afterward, the action of the heat press will let the printed image get printed on the substrate fabric.

Before jumping to the difference between dtf and dtg printing, you shall learn DTG printing. 


What Is DTG Printing And How Does It Work?

The process of printing includes specialized inkjet printers. The important aspect of this printing is that the ink gets sprayed on the substrate fabric. Similarly, you can choose different fabrics to print through, like bamboo and cotton. 

For this, you shall look into the steps below. 

  1. To start the process, you shall pre-treat the garment that undergoes printing. This pretreatment helps the ink to stick to the garments. 
  2. The next step is to place the garment in a special position on the platen. Then, the printer ejects the water-based ink onto the garment’s surface. 
  3. The final step is to cure the printed ink on the garment. If you want to know the difference between dtg vs dtf durability then yes, DFT is more durable than DTG.

What Are The Differences Between DTF And DTG?

Let’s introduce you to their differences. 

  • Printing Speed

When comparing the speeds of the two printing techniques, you will find that DTG printing is faster. That’s because, in this process, the garments get printed directly. Similarly, this technique can get multiple prints done at a time.

However, DTF consists of two steps: transfer film and printing. So, the printing speed for this technique is slower than the other DTG techniques.

  • Durability

The dtf printing durability is always better than the DTG printing because of the heat press technology that helps the prints to withstand color and quality during the washes. But you shall handle the washing clothes properly to prevent the cracks from forming on the garments.

The durability of DTG could have better results if cured properly.

  • Washability

One of the major differences in dtf vs dtg printing is the wash ability difference. As in the DTF printing, a film is used. Therefore, it results in producing a thick ink print on the garment. During the wash, it would not crack or peel off. 

However, if you consider DTG printing, then it involves water-based ink. The fabric print then gets cured with special material to prevent the print from fading away. 

  • Quality 

If you want to get the on-demand prints for the fabric, is dtf printing good quality? To answer this, you can compare the both of these techniques. Well, the DTF produces high-quality prints. Similarly, the prints it produces are soft if you touch them. Even if you wash the garment several times, the print on the garment might feel hard and stiff. It becomes smooth and even on the fabric with several washes. 

However, a DTG technique is perfect if you want colorful prints and patterns on the garments. As you know, the garment easily absorbs the inks spread on it, reducing the vibrancy of colors on the fabric. 

  • Versatility

Is DTF printing worth it on versatile surfaces? Then, yes, it is. You can print it on many different surfaces, unlike DTG printing, which only works on specific materials for garments. For example, you could print it on polyester, nylon, silk, etc. The DTG printing results in the best with cotton and blended cotton fabric. 

  • Color Vibrancy

Both printing techniques involve the use of CMYK colors. The print first gets printed on the transfer film for the DTF printing. Therefore, the coating on the film prevents the ink from spreading on the garment. In this process, experts first print the white ink and then follow the colored ink. In the final step, they sprinkle a powder for the prints to last long and enhance the color vibrancy.

On the other hand, for DTG printing, the experts print the white ink on the fabric instead of any other material. Therefore, the substrate fabric absorbs the ink. Eventually, it results in reducing the color vibrancy impact on the garments.

  • Eco-Friendly

To find which is better dtg or dtf? Let’s see the eco-friendly property first. If you look up to the environmental friendliness feature, then DTG printing is a great choice. Whereas for the DTF process, it generates waste because of the plastic film used for printing. 

  • Order Quantity

If you want to know which printers to choose from, dtg/dtf printer, let’s see which can produce bulk prints. The DTF process can produce bulk prints because of the technology involved. At the same time, the DTG prints the custom prints for small-scale businesses. The initial setup cost is the reason behind it. 

Which Is Better For Your Printing Business, DTF Or DTG Printing?

The selection of DTF or DTG typically encompasses the requirements of your business. For smaller businesses, it is better to use the DTG printing technique. That is because it can print custom-made prints in small quantities. Similarly, the initial setup cost of the printing machines might be higher than the DTF setup.

However, if your business requires the production of medium or larger orders, then DTF is the best to go with. Also, you have a choice of versatile material to go with the printing.


The debate of DTF vs DTG Printing is a long-lasting debate, but the choice of these two techniques mainly depends upon user requirements. After thoroughly analyzing the methods and knowing their differences, you can have a strong grip on which method to choose.