White Toner Printer vs DTG (Direct to Garment) Printing? | Which is Better?

If you’ve been planning to print custom t-shirts for a while, the natural question is which printing method would best suit your needs. Maybe you have even narrowed it down to two options: the White Toner Printer and the Direct-to-Garment Printing method. However, which one would be better for your project? Both of these methods are highly-priced, so it’s essential to choose the right one; otherwise, it would be a waste of money.

To begin with, you should ask yourself specific questions when deciding between the two printers.


Are you concerned about having enough space for the machinery? Direct-to-Garment printing requires less space compared to the White Toner laser printer. However, both machines are relatively compact.

The Price Range

In the customization business, it’s well-known that the cost of the printer directly affects the production cost. For instance, the price range of the White Toner Laser printer can be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, while the price range for DTG printers starts at $15,000, with the highest known price being $200,000.

Garment Color

If you’re considering a custom t-shirt machine like Sublimation, you may wonder whether DTG or White Toner have similar limitations. While White Toner transfers work on both light and dark colors, some paper types may only be suitable for light-colored garments. With White Toner, the color is first printed on the paper and then heat pressed onto the clothing item, so the paper type plays a significant role in whether the color will show up on light or dark garments.

With DTG, any natural fiber garment can be printed regardless of its color. The garment simply needs to be pre-treated before applying the ink. Early models of DTG printers had problems with printing white ink on dark clothes, but those issues have been largely resolved.

Next, let’s examine the different types of equipment.

White Toner Laser Printer

If you have the appropriate equipment and supplies, the White Toner Laser Printer is an excellent choice for custom t-shirt printing.

In this case, transfer film is used to cover the garment, which is then heat pressed to permanently imprint the graphics. While screen printing is also an option, the restrictions that come with it can make the advantages of White Toner laser printing moot. ColDesi Inc. and DigitalHeatFx are good examples of companies that offer quality laser printers for t-shirt transfers.

The DigitalHeatFx printer package includes an OKI 8432wt Printer, which is used to print the graphics onto special laser paper known as Transparency. This paper is similar to regular laser paper and can be printed quickly using any graphic application. After printing, the paper is placed on top of the B paper, and the two sheets are heat pressed together to create a white layer that makes graphics on dark shirts look amazing. This transfer sheet is then heat-pressed onto the garment of your choice.

White Toner laser printing is not limited to garments; it can also be used on almost any material, including books, mugs, bags, performance clothes, wood, and polyester. The printer laser-prints the colors onto the sheet, eliminating the need for weeding. The large printer can cover a good area of the item being printed. Printing on the transfer sheets takes about 15 seconds, attaching the two sheets takes 75 seconds, and heat pressing the transfer sheet to the garment takes about 45 seconds, saving a lot of time overall.

Direct to Garment Printing (DTG)

DTG utilizes inkjet technology to print directly on various materials such as textiles, canvases, and garments. The machine is advanced and produces high-quality prints with rich and vivid colors, giving a photographic appearance to the final output.

The process is relatively simple. First, the shirt must be treated, especially for dark shirts, where a primer should be sprayed on it. Pretreating is not necessary for light-colored shirts, but it can still be done. Next, the shirt can be loaded onto the DTG, which can accommodate up to four shirts at once.

To print, the graphic is opened on the printing software and sent to the DTG. After printing, the shirt is heat pressed for about 3 minutes to smooth out any wrinkles. The final product has exceptional quality, and the garment remains soft to the touch even after printing.

Generally, printing on white shirts is quicker than on black shirts. However, with inkjet printers, not all the ink is utilized for the garment, and some of it may end up on the printer or in the air. As a solution, the G4 DTG printer model has a vacuum plate inside the printer that vacuums and cleans the ink during printing.

The DTG is versatile and can print on various materials besides garments, making it a popular choice for customization businesses. The high-quality prints, coupled with the ability to print on demand and in small quantities, make it a profitable investment.

Final Thoughts

Both White Toner Laser Printers and DTG have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s difficult to determine which one is better than the other because the decision depends on the type of business you run. If you create custom products of all kinds, then White Toner might be the better option for you. However, if you focus solely on clothing items, Direct to Garment Printing might be a better fit. Nonetheless, if you don’t want to deal with cleaning up the printer, you might prefer the DTG with a built-in vacuum system.

It’s also worth noting that DTG printers are typically more expensive than White Toner printers, but as we mentioned earlier, product cost is a significant factor to consider.

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