One of the highest cost in DTG printing is ink. If you compare the cost difference between screen printing and DTG , it illustrates how expensive DTG ink can be. This is because DTG manufacturers produce their own inks for their printers due to proprietary reasons. Not only that, DTG printers are infamous for going through white ink fast, and you will find yourself spending a lot of money on ink.
To solve this cost issue, you could buy a Kornit printer as their ink cost is very cheap compared to Brother and Epson. The upfront cost, however, is expensive; a Kornit Breeze is worth $62,000, which is more than double the cost of a Brother GTX and thrice the cost of an Epson F2100.
While Kornit’s industrial DTG printers are great, most of us do not need an industrial sized DTG printer for our business. Hence the more practical solution is to buy cheaper ink.
This is where Epson printers have the advantage. They are compatible with a wide range of third-party inks. White ink from DTG manufacturers is about $220 per 8 oz. bottle. Epson-compatible ink prices can be as low as $32 per liter!
If I switch to compatible inks, how much do I really save?
This is what we will talk about: the financial aspect of using compatible ink and how much you can save. This is assuming that the ink quality is the same for both types of ink.
Let’s compare the ink cost when you print using Epson ink and an Epson-compatible ink. To make this more realistic, we conducted an experiment by printing the following design using both types of inks and analyzed the costs using actual data from the experiment .
You could be saving $0.96 per shirt, almost $1! This is because black/colored shirts need a white base for the printed colors to be more vibrant. You will also use white ink for ink flushing and cleaning cycles you have to run on your DTG printer. All these will result in a faster depletion of white ink than the CYMK inks.
$1,760 a month on white inks alone is not a small amount! That is why using Epson-compatible inks can help to reduce ink cost and also achieve ROI faster.
Let’s make some calculations. This is assuming you can produce a custom tee shirt in 5 minutes and you work continuously for an 8 hour shift.
Imagine that! You can buy your second DTG printer with only the ink cost saved in 6 months time! Though it may be an estimation, you can see the powerful effect of the incremental saving in just a few months’ time. You can check out our article about the True Cost of Owning a DTG Printer and how you can achieve ROI fast with the right business model.
Are there any cons to buying compatible inks?
The issue with compatible inks is that you will consume 10% more ink than using Epson ink. However, we think it is still worth buying compatible inks because you will have frequent cleaning cycles and white ink flushes, which still uses up a lot of ink.
If you are considering compatible inks for CYMK to further save ink costs, you definitely can! However, you need to generate a custom ICC profile to match the colors correctly. This will ensure that your print quality remains even with cheaper ink.
To conclude, ink costs really matter when you print with DTG, because with the saved up ink costs, you could finance your second DTG printer in 6 months. If you own an Epson DTG printer, we recommend you to buy Epson-compatible white ink that can produce similar print quality as Epson genuine ink to save costs.