Difference Between DTF and DTG Printing Solutions
Oct 11,2023

Comparison of DTF printing and DTG Directly Printing (Technical Perspective)

1. Color

Both processes are digital printing, with similar color richness but different processes.

DTG directly printing: directly print white ink on the fabric, and then print color ink on the white ink. Since white ink is directly printed on the clothing fabrics, part of the white ink will be absorbed by the fabric, and the surface of most fabric fibers is uneven, so the white ink we see is not so white. Therefore, when color ink is printed on the white ink, it does not seem very bright.

DTF transfer printing: first print color ink on the transfer film, and then print white ink on the color ink. After sprinkling powder on the white ink, transfer it on the clothes in reverse. DTF ink is directly printed on the film, which is actually printed on the coating of the film. The coating will not absorb any ink and can ensure that the ink does not spread. White ink is printed on the color ink, and then sprinkled with powder to ensure bright colors. At present, it seems that the color of DTF printing is better than that of DTG directly printing.

2. Fastness

Generally, there are three types of clothing fastness: dry rubbing fastness, wet rubbing fastness, and washing fastness.

Dry rubbing fastness: The dry rubbing fastness of DTF printing is generally level 4-4.5, and directly printing is generally above level 4. DTF printing is better, but both of them can all meet the requirements.

Wet rubbing fastness: The wet rubbing fastness of DTF printing generally reaches level 4, and directly printing is generally level 3-4. DTF printing is better. Washing fastness: DTF printing usually reaches level 4, and DTG direct printing usually reaches level 3-4. DTF printing is still better.

3. Product Applicability

In principle, pigment ink is suitable for any clothing fabric, and pigment particles rely on adhesives to adhere to the clothing fabric, but in practical applications, there are differences.

Heat transfer process: Heat transfer process is suitable for almost all fabrics.

DTG directly printing process: In principle, pigment ink is suitable for any fabric, but the fastness of directly printing process on some fabrics does not perform well , such as polyester fabrics or fabrics with low cotton content. With the advancement of technology ,this problem will be solved.

From the current technology, the heat transfer process is suitable for more fabrics and processes.

4. Cost

Cost consists of two parts: material cost and production cost.

Material cost: Digital DTF ink has relatively low requirements for ink because it is printed on the film. The transfer film printing market is developing rapidly and the competition is fierce. Currently, the price of DTF ink is lower than that of DTG ink. In the DTG directly printing production process, the fabric needs to be pre-treated. The material cost of the pre-treatment is relatively high, which will be higher than that of the film.

Production cost: The production cost is directly related to production efficiency, and the complexity of the process can also affect efficiency.

DTF printing process: film printing ➡ cutting ➡ transferring

DTG directly printing process:pre-treatment liquid ➡ drying (heat pressing) ➡ printing ➡ drying by air ➡ drying (heat pressing) color fixation

DTG directly printing process and heat transfer process, printing the same pattern and using the same time, but besides printing, DTG directly printing requires two more processes than heat transfer process. From the perspective of time, it takes about twice as much time and production efficiency is twice as low.

In terms of the printing process, there is not much difference between the two processes, but besides printing, the DTF transfer process is simple, efficient, and the corresponding labor cost is not high

5. Comfortability

Looking at the bright part from the back, the DTG directly printing part has even light coming through it, while the DTF printing part is completely black without any light. If we blow air on the cloth with our mouth, we will find that the directly printing part is breathable, and the DTF printing part is non breathable. For summer clothing, good breathability and comfort are essential.

Conclusion: Compared with the direct printing process, heat transfer printing is simpler and lower in cost, but less comfortable. DTG directly printing is rising rapidly and mainly targeting the high-end clothing industry. Therefore, the affordability of DTF printing cannot meet the needs of high-end customers.

Hongsam focuses on inkjet printing solutions for 22 years, we offers both DTF printing solution and DTG printing solution. If you are still confused, please contact us, we can offer the recommendation based on your actual situation.

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