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DTG Printing vs. Screen Printing: Essential Knowledge for Garment Manufacturers

This article is intended to assist clothing makers in selecting the best printing process for their company by educating them on the distinctions between screen printing and DTG (direct-to-garment) printing, as well as the costs, quality, and durability of each.

DTG printing: what is it?

With DTG printing, ink is sprayed directly onto clothing using specialized inkjet technology, allowing the ink to seep into the fabric. 

DTG printing has changed the fashion business even though it has only just come to the notice of a wider audience. 

DTG printing is now seeing rapid growth, and a recent report by Keypoint Intelligence predicts that in the near future, high-end/industrial machines will use this technology to take a bigger share of the garment market.

The quick and simple printing procedure of DTG printing is one of its main benefits. 

Batch printing just requires a brief setup period. 

Working with a supplier that provides DTG printing services will make the entire process run extremely smoothly for your company. 

The manufacturer is notified right away and printing starts as soon as a buyer purchases an item via an e-commerce platform that is integrated with the print-on-demand platform. 

After that, the order will be packaged and sent straight to the client.

What is screen printing?

An age-old printing method called screen printing transfers ink onto fabric using a screen stencil. 

This process is derived from old printing techniques that extend back thousands of years. 

But screen printing didn’t become well known in modern culture until the 1960s, thanks to Andy Warhol’s rise in popularity, the widespread use of printed t-shirts, and the development of the multi-color screen printing press.

Because screen printing was first used to print silk, it is also known as screenprinting. 

To get the impression of printing the design onto the chosen fabric, the printer makes a stencil on a fine mesh screen and uses a squeegee to push ink through the stencil.

Thicker inks must be used with this technique in order to prevent the ink from soaking into the fabric and instead lying on the material’s surface. 

It is essential to use various stencils for each color and several layers of ink when creating multicolored artwork. 

Printing time increases with the number of color layers in a design.

DTG Printing vs. Screen Printing

Two of the most widely utilized methods for printing personalized clothing are DTG and screen printing.

Screen printing involves scraping ink across a screen stencil to transfer it to the fabric, whereas DTG employs a specialized fabric printer (akin to a computerized inkjet printer) to spray ink onto clothing.

These two printing techniques yield excellent results, but each has pros and cons, so you may decide which one best suits your goals as a business. 

To help you make an informed choice, let’s examine both printing techniques in more detail.

(1) Quality

In order to satisfy customers, print quality is crucial, regardless of whether you plan to print on custom t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, or any other kind of clothing.

The prints produced by screen printing are renowned for being vivid, rich, and excellent. 

Nevertheless, it has fewer color possibilities, longer production periods, and more expensive labor.

On the other hand, DTG printing offers the same excellent print quality at a significantly reduced price. 

With the use of this technology, you can print incredibly realistic graphics and intricate designs that rival or surpass the quality of screen printing.

DTG printing is becoming the go-to technique for designers, creatives, and other print-on-demand vendors due to its many benefits for profitable printing.

It’s crucial to remember that the kinds of clothing that can be printed on DTG printers now available on the market are restricted. 

Although certain customized machines can print several types of fabrics at a greater initial investment cost, the majority of machines are only suitable for cotton materials.


Well-made, long-lasting products are becoming more and more valuable in today’s FMCG and rapid fashion culture.

DTG printed clothing can survive over 50 washings and still look acceptable to the client if care guidelines are followed.

 Screen printing is perfect for goods like business uniforms and sportswear because it lasts for approximately 25 to 50 washes on average. 

However, DTG printing will be your best bet if you intend to offer personalized t-shirts and other personalized clothing.

(3) Minimum Order Quantity

The fact that DTG printers don’t require a minimum order quantity is one of the factors contributing to their rise to popularity as print-on-demand technology. 

You can place as many or as few orders as necessary. DTG printing is inexpensive, simple, and convenient, making it ideal for small orders.

Screen printing minimum order requirements are typically specified by many third-party print service providers and range from 5 to 100 pieces. 

Screen printing can be an arduous and time-consuming process for those of you who are just starting out in business or who want to experiment with new ideas. 

With expensive expenses and a large inventory, you can find yourself under strain.

(4) Platform Commissions

Platform commissions should also be taken into account while selecting a printing technique. 

It is possible for various platforms to impose varying commissions on certain categories and product types. 

As a seller, you must consider a number of things before determining which printing technique is appropriate for your company.

(5) Production Speed

It is true that, in terms of production speed, DTG printing is unable to match screen printing. 

It’s important to remember, too, that screen printing needs some setup time in order to offset its speed advantage. 

Because of this, screen printing works better for large orders because it allows for speedy manufacturing when the template is established. 

Even 1,080 goods can be printed every hour by certain screen printers.

DTG printing has a distinct benefit due to its flexibility to print on demand, even though its production pace is somewhat slow. 

Only a limited quantity of products may be printed, and in the event that market demand is low, you can quickly modify or switch up designs without having to worry about building up inventory. 

This flexibility is especially helpful for sellers that want to expand into new areas but have limited resources.

(6) Design finesse

Details, such as textures, delicate lines, or little features, are frequently the final touches to a design in the printing industry. 

Without a doubt, DTG printing leads in these sectors. 

It works particularly well for displaying detailed full-color designs, including gradients, patterns, photos, and other elements. 

In contrast, the product of screen printing could have noticeable dots on it. However, DTG printing offers an almost imperceptibly high resolution, guaranteeing that your fine, detailed drawings will be printed flawlessly.

(7) Cost Considerations

Ordering in bulk will be a vital preparation if you decide to go with screen printing. 

This is due to the fact that screen printing is not cost-effective for small orders with multiple colors and has a significant setup cost. 

The color of the print and the quantity of screens will also have an impact on the order’s ultimate cost. 

Screen printing may be difficult to budget for because of these features. 

Naturally, a thorough discussion of these specifics with your print service provider is necessary.

On the other hand, DTG printing makes production simpler and more cost-effective by lowering setup costs for each garments. 

It can still be expensive, though, especially for larger enterprises. 

However, this is not an issue for the typical print-on-demand user. 

You can continue to make money using DTG printing even if you only print a limited quantity of goods. 

In summary, a variety of aspects should be taken into account when selecting the best printing method. 

These include the complexity of the design, your brand image, the monthly demand for clothing, and your ability to invest upfront. 

Making the choice that best suits your company can only be accomplished by thoroughly assessing your demands.