direct to garment (DTG) printed clothing

DTG vs Screen Printing: Which Printing Method Is Better?

DTG vs Screen Printing: Which Printing Method Is Better?

There are a few different methods of printing on apparel. DTG (Direct to Garment) printing and screen printing are two of the most popular methods. Here's a look at some key differences between these two methods to help you decide which is correct.

DTG and Screen Printing

screen printing on garments


DTG is a digital printing method in which an inkjet printer prints images directly onto a garment. This printing method is relatively new and has only become popular within the last few years.

While Screen printing is one of the oldest methods of printing that involves creating a stencil of an image and using that stencil to apply ink to a garment, this method is best suited for large orders, as it can be pretty time-consuming and costly for smaller orders.

Pros and Cons of DTG Printing

DTG and screen printing are two of the most popular apparel printing methods. But which one is better? Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each printing method:

DTG Pros:

  • It is a digital printing process, so it’s great for short runs and complex designs.
  • The inks are eco-friendly and contain no harmful chemicals.
  • The prints don’t crack or fade over time.
  • It is a less expensive printing method than screen printing for small orders because there is no need for screens or setup fees.

DTG Cons:

  • The prints can be less durable than screen prints because the inks are absorbed into the fabric.
  • DTG is not cost-effective for large volumes because of the expensive ink and pre-treatments.
  • Limited placement options for your design.
  • You must pre-treat your shirts to get vibrant colors, white ink, or print on a dark t-shirt which can sometimes leave apparent staining on the garment.

Pros and Cons of Screen Printing

 Screen Printing Pros:

  • It is a durable printing method, so your prints will last for years.
  • The inks are very colorfast so that they won’t fade over time.
  • It is great for large orders because the price per print decreases with quantity.
  • It can produce very detailed and sharp prints.
  • It is a very versatile printing method – you can print on almost any type of fabric.

Screen Printing Cons:

  • It is labor-intensive because its set-up process is slow, so it’s not ideal for short runs.
  • The inks contain harmful chemicals, so they’re not eco-friendly.

What Printing Method Is Better?

cross-section of clothes on a rack


DTG and screen printing are both great methods for printing your custom t-shirts, but which one is the best? DTG and screen printing have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it depends on what you're looking for in a printing method.

Factors to consider when deciding between DTG and screen printing:


  • Quantity: If you're looking to print a small number of t-shirts, then DTG is the better method. Screen printing is better suited for larger orders.


  • Design: If you have a complex structure, DTG is the better choice. Screen printing can produce sharp and detailed designs, but it's not as good at printing complex designs.


  • Print Quality: Screen printing generally produces higher-quality results than DTG. This is because screen printing uses a stencil to apply ink to the shirt, which has a more precise image. DTG uses inkjet technology to print directly onto the shirt's fabric, which can sometimes result in lower-quality results.


  • Print Durability: Screen printing is more durable than DTG. This is because the ink used in screen printing is heat-pressed into the shirt's fabric, making it less likely to fade or wear over time. The ink used in DTG can sometimes crack or peel over time, especially if it's not properly cared for.


  • Cost: DTG is generally more expensive than screen printing. This is because DTG requires special equipment and ink, which can be costly. Screen printing can be done at home with basic supplies, so it's usually the more affordable option.


  • Turnaround Time: DTG has a shorter turnaround time than screen printing. This is because DTG doesn't require setup time as screen printing. Screen printing must have the stencil created before it can be used, which can take some time.


  • Apparel Choices: DTG can be used in a wider variety of fabrics than screen printing. This is because DTG doesn't require a stencil so that it can be used on any type of fabric. Screen printing can only be used on certain types of materials, as the stencil needs to be able to adhere to the fabric.


Now that you know the differences between DTG and screen printing, you can decide which printing method is best for your needs. Let's say you're running an online store for print-on-demand shirts, and you need a quick and easy way to print your shirts, then DTG is the way to go.

Screen printing is the better option if you're looking for high-quality, long-lasting prints. Whatever your needs, one of these printing methods will suit you.

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