Best direct-to-garment and t-shirt printing machines: Small businesses and home

A big fan of a logo or slogan tees? Or are you thinking of catering to those who are? We get you started on the know-how and best buys of the t-shirt printing machines. Keep reading to find all the best direct-to-garment and t-shirt printing machines for small businesses and home use.

blue t-shirt

The Col-Desi (DTG) Digital M2

It is your best shot if you’re looking for something worth the money. That’s because the printer has a dual platen feature that you won’t find in many places. You can load two T-shirts at once. It is great for those who are serious about their small business and require a larger imaging area.

You’ll be spending around $19-20K on this buy.

Mophorn Heat-press

Not only can you set the desired temperature in this bad boy. You can even set up a timer to control the duration of the pressing. A full 360-degree swing-away design allows for setting aside the heating element for fewer chances of accidents.

The press can be used for all types of miscellaneous fabrics like mugs and clothes. It also works with coasters and puzzles. You can even use it for tiles and ceramic plates. It’s truly versatile like no other! It even comes with the most wanted attachments. It’ll be a steal at just $275 on Amazon.

540 Reviews
This is our absolute top pick for hobbyists.

Your partner for life – Brother GTX

It is slightly up in the price range but a worthwhile buy. This printer allows you to keep things running smoothly with its benchtop design. The open bottom allows for quick dry and humidification options that other printers rarely feature. Brother’s brand reliability is another thing to consider since it has long been dominating the automotive machines sector.

The quick and truly easy Cricut Easy Press

Easy on the eyes as well as the work. This machine can produce long-lasting designs in under 3 minutes. You can even adjust the temperature according to the fabric.

With almost 32000 ratings on Amazon, this product has still maintained a whopping 4.8 stars. It comes in three exciting colors: mint, raspberry, and lilac.

13,482 Reviews
Impressive, small heat press

Immense Value-for-money Epson F2100

Looking for something relatively cheaper but equally effective? Epson F2100 is your best bet. It’s 4-5k cheaper than the other printers listed above. It’s even quieter than other models like the Brother GTX. But keep in mind that it will need its support system and space since it isn’t free-standing. Great for new home businesses.

The versatile VIVOHOME 8 in 1

When it comes to clothing printing machines, this one takes the cake. Not only does it have a set of 8 ranges for you to work from, but it has a strong 4.5-star rating to prove it. You can print everything from numbers and images onto t-shirts and mugs.

It also works great with other fabrics. The heating plate has a non-stick Teflon-protected shield that prevents any burns during the process. The LED timer is convenient to pre-heat and set the right temperature for each print. The 360-degree rotation is a feature that makes it easy to use for anyone and everyone, including amateurs.

355 Reviews
It's great from a range of things. It includes clothes and cups.

The Savvy SUNCOO heat transfer machine

Another 8-in-1 clothing printing machine, much like the VIVOHOME. However, this one is famous for its multifunctional color prints. The heat-transfer system is very safe and automatically switches off overheating.

The smart system avoids any kind of sticky and burning accidents with its temperature control. Because of its very durable materials, it is sturdy enough to be used both at home and commercially. The ergonomic handle helps save up on the strain that you would normally get from printing presses on your arms and back.

869 Reviews
It can be used for hats and mugs!

The portable CO-Z

It may look small, but it can still accommodate designs up to 10×12 inches. It ensures flawless heat transfers and even has easy setup options. Take the work to your client and print it right in front of them if you like! It will only take a minute – within 10-60 seconds. Your heat transfer will be done.

And if you think it’s only good for clothes, think again! Use it for tiles, mugs, mousepads, coasters, and more! There’s no wonder it’s gotten 4.3 stars on Amazon.

178 Reviews
It's small and portable.

Heavy-duty Dulytek DHP7

It’s not every day that you get a 7-ton pressing force ensuring your designs are up to par. But contrary to its sturdiness, it’s still quite lightweight for such an enormous force. It also has an ergonomic jack handle to accompany the 7-ton pressure so that you don’t have to feel the bulk of it.

The suction cups at the feet of the machine ensure that all stay safe and you don’t end up toppling the machine while working. Best of all-it’s all ready to start working and you won’t need to buy one extra thing. Some additional accessories for the machine are also included.

289 Reviews
This hydraulic heat press gets the job done.

The all-new Brother GTX pro

If you thought GTX was good, think again. The GTX pro model promises even more minute details with precision and clarity. You can forget about reruns since the printer will ensure that your job is done within one pass.

The gap between the substrate and head ensures that you can print over difficult areas like zippers and pockets. And let’s not forget the largest print area that Brother has produced in its DTG line yet: 16″ x 21″.

While you do print bigger and more efficiently with this model, it was built keeping in mind eco-friendliness as you can use replaceable pouches. Hence, less plastic is wasted in the process.

The Ultimate Epson F3070

It is the ultimate machine to own if you have a big business to run. It is super pricey, but it’s a given that your business volume will earn back the money pretty soon. It has industrial speeds to equip your business with the utmost efficiency. 16000 nozzles mean that your prints are super-precise and achieve perfection in a single pass.

It has a self-cleaning system with solution channels and a wiper system for the fabric head. It comes with the amazing Garment Creator software. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows and has neat features to ensure sophisticated designs that the F3070 can bring to life!

The DTG G4

Increasing in popularity in the last few months, the G4 has a very promising new Vacuum Platen feature. Gone are the days when you would be expected to hold down the t-shirt with sticky surfaces or hooks. All you need to do now is drop the t-shirt, and you’re good to go. The vacuum feature keeps the t-shirt locked into place.

What’s more, you can get this machine for cheaper than other DTG printers at just $15000! Their website also gives many tutorials to get you started on the machine as soon as you receive it. That means you can quickly set up shop and become part of the 10 billion dollar industry of custom t-shirts in the United States.

The remarkable Ricoh Ri1000

Here’s a value-for-money that we swear by. It’s perfect for beginners who wish to start with something easy-to-use. If you’re uncertain about the business and want to do a trial run, this may be the machine for you.

You can expect prints within 28 seconds and that too of 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution. You can work with the interactive operation guide to produce great results through the touch screen display. It will even remind you of the routine maintenance tasks to be performed.

What to look for?

It can be tricky to make the right choice if you’re just getting started on a hobby or a small business. Let’s look at the things you must consider before you get started.

The load

How much are you looking to use the printer? Will the load be that of a weekend hobby, a serious home business, or even something bigger? If you’re looking at a large volume of work, you might consider commercial models. Even in-home businesses, you will consider sturdy but budget-friendly options that will pay off in the coming months.

The quality

In this case, you will be looking at how good the colors are and how well the pictures come out. As well as this, you must also see the durability of the print- how long will the print last after multiple washes.

The speed

The speed is of utmost importance. You’ll want the speed to be up to par in a high-volume deadline. But it won’t matter as much if the volume is less. In hobby printing of t-shirts, the time is insignificant.

The Ink costs

How much the ink cost is an important question. It could be that your printer either gets refills inks in cartridge form or milliliters. It may be that your ink may be quite expensive, but the yield turns out to be pretty high. You would also need to know the cost per t-shirt or garment that you are printing for the yield. It will give you an idea of how much ink you will require.

The budget

Of course, it all comes down to the budget. That includes the budget to buy the direct-to-garment printer and the ink cost. The cost of the t-shirts is also not to be forgotten. You should buy a model within your range but don’t hesitate to spend a little extra if you hope to earn it all back with a thriving business.

The features

Extra features always increase efficiency and ease of use and thus are always welcome. Some will offer innovative plattens like the Vacuum Platten in DTG G4. Others will have a great interactive operation guide to work with. Some models like Brother have great software to design your products on.

Setup time and accessories

Some models come ready to work on straight out of the box, while others will take up a considerable amount of time to set up. Some models will still not be ready to use even after setting up until some spare parts and accessories are bought to accompany the machine.

You will also need to consider how much these accessories are costing you. Some machines will have walk-to ready, while others will take time to start up.

Now you’ve learned all about the great models at hand and the features to look out for in DTG. We hope you will make the right choice. We look forward to hearing about your new business ventures, and it’s an exciting experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some burning questions people usually have about the best direct-to-garment and t-shirt printing machines for small businesses and homes.

blue t-shirt on the ground
How much does a printer for t-shirts cost?

Due to their many features, the best direct-to-garment machines or t-shirt printers can vary in cost. While some are more suited to being used as hobby devices, others are for serious professional or commercial use.

The cheapest ones you can find will be in the range of $120-130. The slightly better ones that are eight-in-one or more on the commercial end will cost you in the range of $200-500.

Which printer is used for t-shirts?

A direct-to-garment or clothing printing machine is also known as a Heat press transfer machine. It is used to transfer designs onto t-shirts and other things. This can include mugs, mousepads, ceramic tiles, and bags.

How much is a direct-to-garment printer?

A direct-to-garment printer will cost you upwards of $15000. If you’re looking at high-end commercial models, those will be in the range of $17000-20000. However, cheaper models of heat transfer machines and presses can be found for small businesses and hobby creation within $250. The cost increases as the number of features increases.

Are DTG printers worth it?

Certainly! If you’re looking to start your business with custom t-shirts, DTG printers can make you profitable fast. A custom t-shirt can cost you anywhere between $5 and $10. If you purchase a DTG printer that’s built to produce large volumes, the cost of ink shouldn’t be more than $2. We’re talking about the most intricate designs here.

Simpler designs might even be less than a dollar in ink cost. The cost of t-shirts will vary depending on the quality. However, your total cost of t-shirt plus ink shouldn’t total more than $4 per unit. That means you’re left with a $6 profit when you sell. You can quickly recover the cost of the printer and ink. So certainly, DTG printers and heat-press machines are worth the money.

Is DTG better than sublimation?

It depends on the type of fabric you have at hand. A direct-to-garment printer works best for natural fibers like cotton, denim, linen, or canvas. It produces the most quality results, no matter how dark the fabric is.

With synthetic fibers, a sublimation process might work better. Everything that includes a polyester fabric or coating should be printed using the sublimation process. A sublimation printer can cost you between $1000 and-15000.

Is direct-to-garment the same as screen printing?

Screen printing is an older method that is quite different from direct-to-garment. It is usually used for large bulk orders, while DTG is used for custom-made smaller orders. The difference lies in the method of pushing ink into the fabric. Screen printing uses a stencil and sprays the ink into the fabric. DTG uses a printer to put the layer of colors onto the top fabric layer.

Screen printing is usually used for simpler designs, and fewer colors as it will more colors will be more expensive. Also, you can only use one design for a large batch. In DTG, you can custom print as many units as you like. Complex designs aren’t a problem for the best direct-to-garment printers.

How much money can you make with DTG printers?

Consider you can earn an average profit of $3-5 with every shirt. A minimum order of even 200 shirts will earn you back $600-1000. This means within a year and a half. You would have recovered the cost of your DTG printer. Or you could even earn it back earlier if your volume of orders increases. You should become a profitable business within 2 years, which is sooner than we can say for other businesses.

How long will DTG print last?

Most prints will last up to 40-50 washes. It can last even longer if the maintenance of the fabric is up to par. If the method was average at best, it could mean a lower time duration before the print starts to fade. However, if the garment was cured properly, it could last a long time.

Which DTG printer brands are best?

You can expect Brother and Epson to give results as they are ruling the DTG market currently. They have models suitable for home businesses, small hobby creation, and large volume businesses. Other heat press brands like Cricut and Mophorn have great ratings and reviews. They will produce great results when paired with sublimation printing methods.