What is the Best "DTG" Direct to garment printer?
This is simply not an easy question to answer. It can depend on a number of things. What are your business goals? What might be the best for your business may not be the best for another’s. When it comes to these DTG printers there are facts you should learn before making such an expensive business decision.
- Ink Cost
- Print speed
- Software "RIPS"
- Prints both light and dark shirts?
These are just a few of the main questions I would look for when making a decision on a DTG printer.
For a quality DTG Printer, I have seen prices range from $6995 up to $250,000+
Maintenance is something that you should be very aware of. These machines require quite a bit of maintenance. Some less than others. Does the machine have white ink recirculation? Are there mandatory Ink flushes to keep your warranty? These ink flushes can get expensive. The cost can be around $100-200 a month just on maintenance. How long can you leave the printer on standby without printing? Majority of these printers if you leave a day without printing you will have major issues with your print head clogging. Some of the manufactures advertise that you can leave up to a month without printing. Also depending on the printer, every day after printing you should be cleaning your wiper blade and maintenance station.
Ink cost should also be a huge factor in your decision of the printer that you choose. That can make or break the price that you would feel comfortable selling your t shirts for.
Print speed is something else that should be very important in your decision. Some of the printers advertise the ability to print as fast as 20 seconds a shirt. Some may take up to 5 minutes or longer to print a shirt. Some of the more production grade printers are advertised to print 300 shirts per hour.
When it comes to support with these printers the best way I can explain to you is that the situation can be something like buying a used car. Before purchasing the car the salesman will be very nice answering all your questions calling you back, guaranteeing you stuff that will simply not be true. Their job is to simply sell you this machine. It is a good Idea to first check the BBB. Also check online reviews. I like to call and ask to speak with someone in technical support. That is where you will see the true company that you are dealing with. A lot will give you attitudes or may be very rude and short with you. If your warranty ends remember these are the people you are going to be dealing with when something goes wrong. Also how far are you from their repair center? If you are in New York and the company is in California that is a long ways to send your printer when you are not able to get over the phone support. Shipping cost can also be expensive almost $800 before your machine even gets looked at. Another thing is will this company sell you all the parts that you may need? Some of you may know or have the ability to fix the machine yourself. How old is this printer? How long will parts be available for this DTG Printer? All good questions to ask.
Look at the software that comes with the machine. How much freedom does this program give you with your ink settings will it print what is on the monitor? All customers’ graphics will be different. This will mean you will need the ability to make adjustments in a rip software. Some rips are better than others. You may also want to find out if there is an after-market rip.
Light and dark shirts?
Some printers do not have the ability to print white ink. Without that ability, you will not be able to print on dark garments. The white under base goes down first on dark garments. Then the CMYK will go on top giving you the end result. Also to print with dark shirts, you currently need to use a Pretreatment on the shirts before printing white ink. Some of the more expensive printers have a pretreatment process built in to the printer. You will normally need to manually spray the t shirt or purchase another piece of equipment that sprays an even coating on to the shirt. This process can make or break the print quality of the shirt so it is important to have an evenly sprayed t shirt with just the right amount. Too much pretreatment may cause your image to be washed off. Too less and you will not get a good quality print.