COMPARING EPSON F2100 VS. OKI PRO9541 PRINTER [Now branded the "Crio" 9541WTD white toner printer]

The Epson F2100 is a popular direct to garment t-shirt printer.  Like its predecessor, the Epson F2000 DTG printer, the machine is fairly easy to use and readily available. Plus Epson has a big name, good  advertising and lots of small dealerships in the t-shirt printer business around the country.

And, while  F2100 has the same pros and cons of other direct to garment printers, it has a few unique things you should be aware of when comparing it to other options.

The typical comparison would be to compare the Epson F2100 to other popular DTG printers – like the Brother GTX or DTG M2 or even the Freejet printer.  But here we’re going to compare the Epson F2100 DTG printer to the OKI pro9541 [Now branded the “Crio” 9541WTD white toner printer] full-color t-shirt transfer printer instead.

T-Shirt Printer Comparison [We’re Assuming You Want To Print T-Shirts]

We know what it’s like to spend hours on the internet doing this research.

Looking for ways to turn your small business dreams – or big business growth plans – into reality.

That might be how you ended up researching the Epson F2100 -because you want to make custom t-shirts.

 If your like most people you don’t really care HOW it gets done as long as it looks good when you hand it to the customer. Chances are, you were focused on the look of the shirt, the cost, and what it’s going to take to LEARN and maintain the systems.

So let’s first look at what the Epson F2100 and the OKI pro9541 [Now branded the “Crio” 9541WTD white toner printer] have in common:

Other than that, just about everything is different.

Note: for comparison, we’re using the DigitalHeat FX system bundles as examples. ColDesi is the #1 seller of OKI’s white toner printers in the world. You can learn more here. 

Direct to Garment vs Transfer Printing

Epson F2100 DTG vs OKI 9541

The Epson DTG Printer is a traditional direct-to-garment inkjet printer.

That means when you load a blank t-shirt into it, the ink is directed onto the shirt to create the image.  It works just like your home color inkjet printer. You then need to heat press the image in order to cure the ink.

Transfer printing however, as with the OKI 9541, and the pro8432WT separates the printing process from the transfer process.

It uses color toners, like a color laser printer does, to first print onto a transfer sheet which you can store up and use whenever your ready on whatever you wish!

You will print the image, and continue printing while you press your prints onto transfer sheet for maximum flexibility. 

You don’t have to have the shirt right there in the printer.  You can collect and process or even sell your transfers up to a year later.  The same transfer sheet can be used on virtually any garment in any virtually any placement at any time.

Pros and Cons of Inkjet Printing

On the plus side, DTG images look great, and you only use the exact amount of ink you want to.

That’s really important because that’s where your first expense is with printing with DTG – the Ink cost.  Take into account that you’re going to pay a lot more per print on a dark shirt to get a good image.   With darks, you have to lay down tons of white ink in order to create a base layer to print your colors on.  And on the flip side, you’ll pay a lot less to print on a light shirt.

For more on comparing the F2100 ink cost per shirt, you can read this article here. But even if you do only dark shirts using white ink your ink costs are typically under $3.00 per shirt (*not including misprints).

Here’s why an ink – based t-shirt printing system is a Con, not a pro: Ink is wet.

Why Ink can be a problem:

Ink is wet – and it REALLY needs to stay that way. So the F2100 dtg printer needs to be maintained religiously. Because if the ink dries – in the ink lines, in the print head (that’s what the ink squirts through to get from the cartridge to the shirt) – you’re “hosed”. (couldn’t resist😊)

So if you don’t maintain it every day, the heads can get clogged and you’ll need to replace them.  That would typically cost around TWO THOUSAND dollars. And normally you’ll spend another $1K on installation and all the small parts that will need to be replaced as well.

That’s a $3K bill if the ink gets too dry in the heads.  Ouch.

White ink is unique. Because of the metals inside it, which create the white color, it can settle over time, you have to ‘shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture’… (shout out to Outkast).  Several times a day, you’ll need to remove the white ink cartridge from your machine, then shake it a bit. Then put it back. And then do that again, and again.

See? Maintenance.

Just for a point of reference, the Maintenance section of the Epson F2100 Printer is about 40 pages of their owner’s manual.

Pretreatment – You’re also going to need to lay some primer down on your blank t-shirts before you print. That’s called Pre-Treat. It’s a pretty small expense per shirt, but…

It’s also another piece of equipment you’ll need. A Pre-Treat Machine like this one is just under $4K.

And guess what? It ALSO requires maintenance. Not a lot, but… you still have to do it.

You CAN use a hand sprayer instead, but then you’re doing the pre-treating outside or you have to buy a spray booth. Nobody wants that.

Pros and Cons of Transfer Printing with the OKI pro9541

A few “Pros” will jump right out at you.

There’s no ink. Just toner.

Toner is not wet, so there’s NO maintenance.

No maintenance so there’s no $3K risk of a printhead to replace. (There’s also no reason to make another bad 90’s music reference about shaking the ink cartridge.)

Saving time and money on maintenance means more time for you to make your business work – and more money to make it grow.

It’s not a direct print process, so the OKI 9541[Now branded the “Crio” 9541WTD white toner printer] printer doesn’t require pretreatment.

So you don’t have to maintain a pretreat machine either. Or spend that extra $4K.

Even without having to buy the Pretreat machine, the DigitalHeat FX 9541 is $4,000 cheaper than the Epson F2100 printer. Or $2K + when it’s that Epson dtg is on sale.

Investing SO MUCH less in equipment means you’ll have more money to invest in marketing, sales, your website, your new products. In this case, LESS really is MORE.

Why White Toner Transfers are Better than DTG (Depending on your Business)

The Epson F2100 DTG printer makes shirts.

The DigitalHeat FX 9541 (OKI pro9541 white toner printer) makes Transfers.

You CAN apply transfers to t-shirts. But you don’t HAVE to.

With t-shirt transfers you have OPTIONS.
And OPTIONS mean more ways for you to make money in your business.


Make custom t-shirts

Applying to front or back like a dtg printer

Make DIFFERENT custom t-shirts

You can apply transfers as tags, on the sleeves, on the inside of the shirt – many different locations that are crazy hard to print on with DTG

Make custom caps

Yes, there’s a heat press that lets you apply a transfer to caps. You CAN do this with DTG, but only on unstructured caps… on Tuesdays… if you’re really good. (it’s hard, that’s what we’re saying)

Print on polyester shirts

Poly shirts and performance wear. Blends. Lots of different fabrics are harder to do with DTG. Piece of cake with a t-shirt transfer.

Make promotional products

Like koozies, picture frames, etc. Lunch bags, backpacks – A lot more things will fit in a heat press than will fit in an Epson dtg printer – think about that.

This next one deserves to be considered all by itself.

You can sell the Transfers too!

That put a whole new market in front of you. You can sell the transfers to anyone with a good heat press. Easy business to fulfill – no t-shirt orders, no retail customers – just make the transfers and add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your monthly income. All because you chose the OKI pro9541 [Now branded the "Crio" 9541WTD white toner printer] and DigitalHeat FX instead of the Epson F2100.

Comparing the Epson F2100 to the OKI pro9541 White Toner Printer

There’s one more thing to compare between the 2 printers.


On a dark shirt, you can expect to spend about 4 or 5 minutes from start to finish using the Epson DTG. That’s from pre-treatment to final heat press.

With the DigitalHeat FX OKI pro9541 t-shirt transfer system that time is almost exactly ½ that.

2 minutes may not seem like much if you’re just doing one shirt at a time. But even if you just print 100 shirts per week that’s 200 minutes.

200 minutes = 3.3 hours per week that you’ll save  3.3 hours per week x 50 weeks per year = 165 hours that you can do other things

165 is almost 21 work days. That’s time you can use to spend time with family, make sales, learn something new.. grow your business… every year.

And that’s not included the 10-20 minutes per DAY you’ll save by NOT doing maintenance.

That could be another 7 or workdays worth of labor your saving.


You’ve got the broad strokes here.

The next step is to review the chart on this page.

Look that cost differences.

The maintenance.

Watch a video to see what it’s like to use DigitalHeat FX.

Then talk to a Pro about any of your questions.

Great thing about you finding us is that we can talk both.

We sell the M2 Direct to Garment Printer, and the OKI white toner printers, and heat transfer vinyl, and embroidery. So you can talk to us about your business and what you want to do and guide you in the right direction.

Let's Talk

There's a BIG DEAL going on RIGHT NOW! Find out more and get your questions answered.