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


What is the price difference between White Toner Laser Printers and DTG machines?


Transfers: The Okidata Pro8432wt (now shipping) allows for transfers up to 11 x 17 size transfers and costs $6,895 (subject to change)

DTG: The majority of all the new DTG printers sold range from $20,000 to $30,000. Some new DTG machines can be purchased for around $10,000 with the highest end models selling for up to $200,000.




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 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.


What about Hard Goods and Other Durable Surfaces?

Transfers: 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 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.

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.


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.



What is the average cost for a print?

Transfers: CMYK images cost about $.90 for paper and toner and approximately $2.50 with white for letter sized images.

DTG: DTG costs an average of $.75 for CMYK and $1.75 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 OKI 8432WT laser printer uses 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.