Metropolitan Project

Urban Development

The best T-shirt printer

You are already determined to start a custom t-shirt business and have concluded that you are interested in buying a T-shirt printer . It is great that with this printer you can print on demand from 1 unit, without having to keep a stock of different designs and sizes. But what model to choose? Which one best suits your needs? Choosing the right printer model can be confusing , as each manufacturer incorporates different features and features.
In this post we will make a comparative study to make it easier to choose your T-shirt printer.

The origin of t-shirt printers

In order to better understand how these printers work, it is interesting to know the origin of these printers. And based on its origin we find 2 groups of printers:

1. Modified printers:

Created from a paper printer that adapts or transforms to use textile inks and print directly on garments.
This group includes both the most basic adaptations and new printers built from pieces of a paper printer that becomes a T-shirt printer. Arriving in some cases, even to develop a firmware and specific software for direct printing on garments.

The use of these printers seemed to offer advantages, because models of printers that had shown good performance in their usual use were chosen. However, when transforming an inkjet printer into a textile printer, problems arise. An inkjet printer is not ready for textile ink that is much thicker. These printers require frequent revisions of the head and the injectors that sometimes generate problems and repairs, with the consequent period of inactivity for their repair. Textile ink does not work properly on components designed for other inks. To try to avoid the problem of clogging of ink channels, some models include agitators or components for recirculating ink, but the problem can not be solved.
Brands of printers such as Rainbow, Evolution-Tex that are currently no longer marketed in the Spanish market, possibly due to these mentioned problems.

2. Dies printers for DTG:

True digital textile printers are not made from components of paper printers, but have been designed and built especially for printing on textile. Currently there are 2 competitive brands that offer an interesting solution: Brother and Epson .
Brother was a pioneer in this sector because he already offered a team for direct digital printing in 2005. For his part, Epson had a late entry into this market and launched its first t-shirt printer in 2014, the SureColor SC-F2000 . The SC-F2000 incorporates the most innovative technology.
Comparison Brother and Epson in DTG

These two models of direct digital printers are machines that can easily be incorporated into a personalization business thanks to their versatility and ability to handle small or medium volume orders . And the current market trend is customization on demand or in very short runs. With this new technology, you are able to handle this type of orders.

Comparison chart

The following table shows the most significant data of these two printers in order to make an objective comparison:

Brother GT-381 Epson SC-F2000
Inks CMYK WWWW (8 channels) CMYK WW (10 channels)
Cartridge capacity 380ml 600ml
Ink expiration 1 year 2 years
Oeko_Tech Certificate Yes Yes
Resistance to washing AATCC * Do not Yes
Max print area 355 x 406 mm 406 x 508 mm
Cost approx. ink € 460 / liter € 280 / liter
Productivity 55 light / hour20 dark / hour 50 lightnings / hour20 dark / hour
Heads 8 Brother heads 8 Epson heads
Resolution 600-1200 dpi 2880 dpi
OS PC Mac or PC
Daily maintenance Yes Only when you print
DTG designed head Yes in 2005 Yes in 2013


* AATCC: American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists

Brother GT-381

The head of this printer was designed specifically for textile printing in 2008 and offers excellent performance. However, it is necessary to perform daily head cleaning and the price of ink and pretreatment is very high. Also the selling price of this printer is higher than the Epson.

Epson SureColor F2000

The majority of printers adapted to direct textile printing use Epson brand heads and ink systems. But we must be clear that these parts were not designed for use with textile ink and have nothing to do with the TPF PrecisionCore head that incorporates the SC-F2000 and was designed for use with textile ink.
The Epson SC-F2000 incorporates components that can not be found in any other T-shirt printer model. To avoid problems of sedimentation of the white ink, Epson has added several ink filters and incorporates a system of recirculation of the ink to avoid obstructions.

Maintenance is very simple and should only be done when the printer requests it through the digital display. Thanks to the new technology that incorporates it is not necessary to perform any maintenance before turning it off and the printer can be inactive for 10 days without any maintenance.
Epson UltraChrome inks allow you to reproduce colors of maximum intensity. UltraChrome ink and pre-treatment are Oeko Tech certified and have passed the most demanding tests in terms of resistance to washing. All these features and the 12 month on-site warranty that they offer make the Epson SC-F2000 the best t-shirt printer on the market at the moment.