While there are a lot of printing methods out there, there are two competing for most popular. The battle is screen print versus DTG print. A while back, we put this Direct-to-Garment vs. Screen Printing article together for you to help break down some of the differences. The problem was, it didn’t address one important thing – what the actual prints look like. So we teamed up with our friends at Shirt Agency and compared the two, very different print processes using the exact same graphic. The artwork we used had a lot of detail, so in the video below, you’ll be able to see a noticeable difference between the two resulting prints. Check it out!
Are you still undecided about which method to use? Don’t worry! We have outlined the most important factors to keep in mind.
Detail of Screen Print versus DTG Print
Typically, the quality of a DTG print is better when you have a graphic with a lot of color or a lot of fine detail. Since with a screen print, the design can only include 12 colors or less, you might lose some detail and get a more pixelated print. That was the first thing we noticed when making the video.
Type of Garment
Screen printing is more forgiving than DTG, meaning it’s easier to screen print on a variety of fabrications. DTG is typically only recommended on 100% cotton. However, as we’ve discussed before, a lot of DTG printers have been able to get an amazing print on our BELLA+CANVAS Triblends, Heather CVCS and Flowy tees. But that takes a lot of expertise and mastery to get it just right!
You can do a DTG or screen print on a carded open-end or combed and ringspun cotton, but the 100% combed and ringspun cotton we use at BELLA+CANVAS will always yield a better print, no matter which method used.
With screen printing, the cost per garment decreases as you increase volume. Therefore, a high unit order will be much cheaper to screen print than a DTG print. DTG, on the other hand, has more of a set cost (basically, you’re accounting for the cost of the ink used for the print). A one-off or small unit order is more cost-effective on a DTG printer.
Print Time for Screen Print versus DTG Print
DTG is a much slower process compared to screen printing. Depending on the machine, you can average about 30 – 60 tees per hour on a DTG printer. While, with screen printing, you will churn out an average of 1,000 prints per hour. Again, the timing really depends on the machine, but if you’re these guys, you’re printing 2,139 shirts an hour. That’s what we call efficient!
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to use both methods. Ultimately your decision should come down to the product you are trying to produce. If you’re still wondering which one to choose, check out the infographic we put together here, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!