There are endless choices of direct-to-garment printers available in the market. On one end, you have machine such as Kornit Hexa Storm, Brother GTX. On the budget end, you have DTG printers such as KatanaDTG, TexJet, or DIY DTG.
This guide aims to help you in identifying which DTG printer is suitable for your business model. Unlike buying a screen printing manual/auto, a wrong DTG buy will kill your business model. The DTG machines are not as universal and modular as a screen printing manual, and you can’t repurpose a DTG easily without spending another round of investment. By investing in the correct DTG, you already won 70% of the battle.
The DTG Printers split to 3 major range:
- Budget DTG Printer ~ 1000 – 6000 USD
- Entry Level DTG Printer ~ 10,000 – 25,000 USD
- Industrial DTG Printer ~ 70,000 – 250,000 USD
Budget DTG Printer
These are usually Epson Consumer Printers converted to DTG Printers. Budget DTG manufacturer buys these printers off Amazon and turns them to DTG Printer. To get the printer to emulate one-pass/two-pass white, they use third-party RIP software to trick the printer into printing white on specific print head channels.
The usual brands for these printers are:
- Fast T-Jet
There are too many brands to be listed here. If you are unsure, you can always ask the manufacturer.
They are cheap to start, but hard to grow your printing operation with if you do not have excellent technical skills. If used correctly, you can undercut your competitors and grow your print business fast.
Read more on our budget DTG Printer Guide and find out if its right for you.
Entry Level DTG Printer
These DTG Printers are printers built from the ground up by the respective companies. They are not the cheapest, and each manufacturer targets the market differently, and this reflects on the proprietary inks used in their printer.
The ink issue alone can make or break your entire DTG business. You cannot buy one Epson F2100 and one Brother GTX, and then run them on the same order. Otherwise, all the printed shirts will not have their colors matched. You will always certainly see one print shop has one single brand DTG printers.
Unfortunately, your choices for entry-level DTG Printers are quite limited:
- Epson F2100
- Brother GTX
- Kornit Breeze
Given that, all these printers are quite reliable, the only real differentiation of these printers are the print speed, the self-repairability, and the ink cost.
We will do deep dive on which entry-level DTG printer is suitable for which business model in the Entry Level DTG Buying guide.
Industrial DTG Printer
These are the big guns of the direct-to-garment industry. If you are looking for a recommendation on what industrial DTG printer to buy, chances are you already engaged in some form of contract printing with brands who expect nothing less than a consistent, fast turnaround service.
Again, this is highly dependent on what business model you have and the location of your factory. For instance, if your business model involves print-on-demand then getting Kornit Storm Hexa (North America) or Aeoon (Europe) is a no brainer.
However, if you are doing short-run contract production for Zara, then Kornit Vulcan/Similar in line DTG Printer will be a great choice.
There’s Kornit Vulcan Chinese Clone (it uses Spectra Print head) will be a great choice too if your factory is in China. The only downside of China made printers are their software. If you intend to go with using a Chinese industrial machine, make sure you test their software extensive before making a purchase.
We won’t be doing a deep dive on which industrial printers to buy since it’s highly specific to each respective business.