Direct to Garment (DTG) Compared to Transfers Using White Toner Laser Printers


We’ve got an edge!

ColDesi has a unique edge over our competition.  We are BOTH a white toner transfer printer company AND a direct to garment printer company.

Here on our Digital HeatFX site we help people interested in making t-shirt transfers.

Over at we sell one of the most established DTG Printer lines on the market.

So, the FAQ below is based on intimate knowledge of BOTH.

Noe: this comparison was recently updated to include our Digital HeatFX 9541 CMYKW printer and the new Digital HeatFX i550.

Click on each of the FAQ’s below, or feel free to chat with one of our experts.

What Are The Price Differences?

Transfers: All Digital HeatFX Systems use whiter toner.  The larger of the systems are the Okidata Pro8432wt and the newly released OKI Pro9541.

The OKI Pro8432 allows for transfers up to 11 x 17 size transfers and the OKI Pro9541 allows up to 13″ x 19″ transfers. They range from around $6K up to $13K or $14,000

DTG: The majority of all the new DTG printers sold range from $15,000 to $30,000. The highest end models selling for up to $200,000.

So while the exact difference depends on the models you’re comparing – it’s pretty significant.

Can one printer be used for both light and dark garments?


Transfers: Yes, the Okidata 8432wt uses the same papers.  These CMYW white towner laser printers allow for a no-cut, no-weed, and no-background transfers for both light and dark garments. No special treatments are needed for dark garments.

DTG: Yes, but dark garments have to be pretreated / pre-coated before the ink can be applied. This can be done either by a second machine or by a hand sprayer. A pretreat machine can cost between $3,000 – $7,000.



How long does it take each machine to image the garment?
Transfers: The OKI8432WT takes about two seconds to print each transfer sheet and about 45 seconds is needed to heat press the transfer onto the garment.

Transfers can be printed and stacked immediately as soon as the toner is dry.

DTG: DTG machines take on average two to five minutes for imaging the shirt.  That’s not including pretreat / pre-coating or any heat press steps.


What other substrates can be printed?

Transfers: The OKI Pro8432WT, 9541 nad our Digital HeatFX i550 can produce transfers that apply to cotton, 50/50 blends, polyester, nylon, leather and practically any fabric available.  Also, hard goods such as bags, hats, wood, ceramics, and plastics can be transferred.

DTG: DTG machines can currently print directly onto cotton or in some limited cases 50/50 polyester cotton blends.

The image that a DTG printer makes is beautiful, but your ARE more limited to what you can print. 


What about Hard Goods and Other Durable Surfaces?

Transfers: The new OKI 9541 and the OKI Pro8432WT have the ability to produce transfer papers for imaging to the widest array of substrates in the industry including hard goods.

DTG: DTG machines printers are more restricted in what they can print on; You can image onto cotton or any other rough or unfinished textile, like canvas, or onto wood.



What daily maintenance is required?

Transfers: The OKI Pro8432WT, OKI 9541 and the Digital HeatFX i550 printers do not have printheads, and as such, do not require daily maintenance. Even if the printer is not used for an extended period of time, it will work typically without issues.   The humidity and temperature of the environment for white toner laser printers do not affect the machines if operated within normal range. Toner is MUCH easier to maintain that ink-based systems!

DTG: DTG machines have a daily morning and evening routine to prevent problems. Additionally, if the printer is not going to be used for any period of time, there is an additional procedure to follow.

And you MUST do this to avoid costly repairs. 


What about PrintHeads and other Parts?
Transfers: The Pro8432WT has an upgraded print engine for faster start-up print times.  The print engine is designed to last the life of the machine.

DTG: If a DTG printhead goes bad, the cost to replace it ranges from $400 to $3,000 depending upon the type of printhead. Additionally, if the printhead is out of warranty, there is a service charge between $400 to $1,000 to replace it.



How much DTG ink is wasted on cleaning and flushing?

Transfers: No toner is wasted because cleaning or flushing is not necessary.

DTG: Has an automatic white ink management system to help prevent clogs and problems.  It’s important however to keep the printhead moist so that it does not clog. An eight-ounce bottle of cleaning solution costs around $90. This is very dependent on your specific printer and ink set.



What is the average cost for a print?

Transfers: The cost here is in the transfer paper. Toner cost is negligible. Transfer papers usually cost between $3.50 and $5.00 per sheet. So if you can get 2 prints onto one sheet, or 4 prints, you would just divide the price of the sheet. 

DTG: DTG costs an average of $.75 for CMYK and $1.75-$4.00 for CMYK plus white for the same sized images and $.30 – $.80 per print for pretreating fluid.




How many shirts per hour?
Transfers: The White Toner Laser Printers can press approximately 70 light colored shirts per hour and 35 dark shirts per hour under normal circumstances.  Print times vary and may take longer, however.

DTG: Approximately 50 light colored shirts per hour and 15 dark shirts per hour under normal circumstances (400 light shirts in an eight hour day or 120 dark).


How long does it take to learn the software ? How easy is it?

Transfers: The Digital HeatFX systems use a specialized “Print Optimizer” software suite which streamlines workflow and enhances productivity.  The software comes configured with individual queues for the most common types of shirts.

DTG: DTG offers a more comprehensive, yet more complex RIP software.


What type of warranty is offered?

Transfers: The OKI 8432WT includes a one-year onsite warranty.

DTG: Most DTG providers offer a parts only warranty and in some cases, do not cover the ink delivery or printhead at all.