DTF vs DTG printing

DTF (Direct to film) is quickly becoming a brilliant new DTG (Direct to garment) alternative. But is it actually a perfect solution? I have had a lot of experience in both and I believe there is time and place for each printing method. Lets look at some pros and cons.


DTF printing is more accessible compared to DTG printing. You can easily convert a conventional desktop inkjet printer such as Epson L1800 or R2400 to be used as a DTF printer. The only other piece of equipment you will need is a heat press and you are ready to go. DTG printers on the other hand are very expensive and often bulky. A popular reliable Epson SureColor SC-F2100 DTG printer could cost you upwards of £13,000 whereas a brand new L1800 as well as a heat press could be purchased for under £1000. You will recoup your investment in no time.

DTF printing is cheaper because it does not require pretreatment and it uses a lot less ink. (For those of you who are acrorip users, DTG printing is usually done at 80% color ink and 200% white ink. DTF printing only needs 60% color ink and 40% white ink. Because white ink tends to be the most expensive, it adds up to a huge saving). Lets not forget the cost of time. It takes a few seconds to apply the powder to DTF film but how long does it take you to pretreat and dry a shirt? 5 minutes? 10 if you are pretreating manually with a spray bottle and a roller. It might not seem like much but if you can save 5 minutes per shirt that’s a lot of saved time per day.

Because DTF does not require pretreatment there is no vinegar smell or pretreat boxes to deal with.

DTF printing is very versatile. You can print your transfers in advance and press them when required. You can sell your transfers the way they are and easily ship them to your customers in regular letters who can then apply the transfers themselves to whatever garment they like. DTF transfers can be applied to many different surfaces and items that would otherwise be very awkward to print on. Can your DTG printer print on luggage?

DTF requires less maintenance because DTF white ink does not clog up the print heads as much as DTG white ink does.


DTG is still the king of great soft feel. Even though DTF feels a lot better than laser heat transfers, it is still not as soft as good old DTG printed shirts. Thankfully, you can use DTF inks in your DTG printer so if you already own a flatbed, you can do both!

Buy DTF printing supplies here


  1. Valery
    November 19, 2020


    can you please tell me how much CMYK, White ink and powder your DTF printer consumes per 1 cm2 of mage with 50% print density?
    Does RIP show ink consumption before printing particular image?
    If yes can you pls send sample print-screen for reference?

    • Hello Valery,

      Thank you for your interest. We do not provide RIP software. Ink and powder consumption will depend on your RIP settings as well as type of transfer film as some films hold more ink than others. With acrorip for example you can print with 10% white – 200% white and get acceptable results using both extremes. CMYK range is usually between 15-80%. The range is pretty wide so we can’t give you exact numbers. By the way, this is just a regular Epson L1800 printer with a few simple tweaks. You could try Epson L1800 technical specification for more details. We will try and weigh the ink + powder before and after printing using our preferred settings and we’ll get back to you.

      Best regards,

  2. miguel angel santana
    November 23, 2020

    hola tengo una DTG ¿se puede imprimir con la tinta dtf indiferentemente sobre camiseta o sobre transfer solo utilizando la tinta dtf ?

    • Hola. Puede imprimir con tinta DTF en una impresora DTG como lo haría con una tinta DTG. Aún necesitará aplicar un pretratamiento y quizás ajustar los colores.

  3. name
    November 30, 2020

    can you just place a DTF ink into your DTG printer, and do DTF printing and DTG aswell? does the idea of ink placing into garments are the same from dtg to dtf?

    • Yes, you can put DTF ink into a DTG printer and print both on DTF transfer film and directly onto t-shirts. You will still need to pretreat your t-shirts if you are printing on your DTG printer with DTF ink and you will be using a lot more white ink for the underbase. DTF does not use as much white ink.

  4. February 9, 2021

    Can you print with DTG printer and DTG ink on a DTF transfer film?

    • You can but DTF ink is there for a reason. You are not going to get a good result with DTG ink.

  5. Mike
    March 25, 2021

    Can I use dtf ink directly onto shirts like dtg ink?

    • Yes you can. During our transition period from DTG to DTF we were running flatbed DTG printers that printed on both the film and t-shirts directly using just the DTF ink.

  6. Mike
    March 25, 2021

    Thanks dtf technology for the reply.

  7. Laura
    May 22, 2021

    What about the quality of the print? If printed on a dark color – which is more brilliant?

    • You can just order a free sample and see for yourself. DTF does not beat a professional £13,000 – £250,000+ DTG printer. But then you’ll struggle to make a profit. I’d recommend DTF for small print shops and high end DTG for established businesses printing 100+ t-shirts per day.

  8. Hi, like dtg printers can i use only cmyk ink for white tshirt on on dtf printer, or we must use white ink for white tshiert too.

    Because im using dtg m2 only with cmyk ink without white ink, because my shop sell only white tshirt. Is it possible on dtf printer too?

    • Yes, you don’t have to use white ink for white shirts. You just need a thicker layer of CMYK so that the powder can stick to it.

  9. Thank you for eesponse, but i dont understand that part of your answer, “the thicker layer cmyk”, how reach to thicker layer of cmyk, over print the image whitout white ink? For example double print one image on film? Am i got the point?

  10. Thank you for eesponse, but i dont understand that part of your answer, “the thicker layer cmyk”, how reach to thicker layer of cmyk, over print the image whitout white ink? For example double print one image on film? Am i got the point?

    • You need to change rip settings and apply more ink. Depending on the rip software, you can either increase the ink % or the number of passes.

  11. September 16, 2021

    Is normal epson damper good for dtf inks?? specially white ink. or is it recommended to upgrade to a dx5 damper with metal filter?

  12. Toms
    October 6, 2021


    Do you have any experience with printing DTF on previously sublimated fabric?
    My concern is that sublimation could start another vaporization process during the heat-press process for applying DTF on textile.
    Will appreciate any feedback! Thank you in advance!

    • Sublimation happens at around 200C and you can transfer DTF prints at as low as 140C so you might be OK but the best way is to just try it on a small area first and see. We have not done any sublimation followed by DTF so this is more of a guess.

  13. Theodor Lindberg
    October 10, 2021

    Hi! I am going to do on the spot printing next month, and I’m wondering how long it would take to print from getting the design to giving the shirt to my customer?
    Thank you in advance!

    • All depends on your printer, printing resolution and rip software. L1800 at 720 x 1440 with a boost = 6 minutes to print + 1 minute to apply powder + 3 minutes to cure + 1 minute to press = 11 minutes per shirt. I’d say most setups will be between 7-30 minutes. Why not just time it yourself?

  14. November 12, 2021

    Question. I own a large DTG and it is always breaking down, It is basically a 30K paperweight. I have almost 3K in DTG ink and don’t want it to go to waste. Am I able to use that ink until I run out of it then purchase DTF ink? I know they are both waterbased so I’m wondering if there is actually a difference..

    Thank you for your time..

  15. Asdren
    January 23, 2022

    Hello DTF Technology,

    I have just bought a Epson L1800. I am planning to print on garments and films also. I saw that you recommend DTF inks for these two types of prints with the same printer.
    When i print directly on Garment with DTF films, is the quality the same as DTG, does it have that soft feel also?


  16. Reynaldo
    March 10, 2022

    hi im starting my business for printing shop that means including printng T Shirts ,i want to know wht would you recommend for priting machine on shirts which one will buy is it DTG or DTF printer

    • DTG is still the best in terms of soft feel but it’s a lot more expensive. I’d start with DTF and move to DTG once you are making a profit. A lot of new t-shirt businesses fail when they buy £20,000+ worth of DTG equipment and realize they need to sell 5000 t-shirts just to make their money back. T-shirt business is very saturated so selling 5000 t-shirts when you are first starting is hard.

  17. Aviroop Chakraborty
    December 24, 2022

    Hi, can you please tell me which print lasts longer? And doesn’t fade away easily.

  18. travis
    April 4, 2023

    I owned a DTG printer can i convert my DTG printer into DTF printer? and if it’s possible do you have links that i can follow too.? thank you and best regards

    • You just load up DTF ink and print on DTF film instead of a t-shirt. There is no conversion required.

  19. Michelle Wells
    July 5, 2023

    Can I use dtf ink in my epsonf2100?

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