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Buying the Best Printer for Shirts – Best Options for UK T-Shirt Businesses

When it comes to running a successful customization business, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing the right printer for shirts you’re going tosell. .

In the realm of custom T-shirt production, the printer is the unsung hero. It’s the heart and soul of your operation, responsible for bringing your creative designs to life on fabric.

But selecting the right printer goes beyond simply getting the job done. It’s about ensuring that the end result meets your expectations and those of your customers.

Importance of Choosing the Right Printer for a UK T-Shirt Business

The YES Group specializes in a variety of different t-shirt printing technologies. Instead of just pushing you into a printer for shirts, we can help you evaluate what’s the right fit for your business goals.

In this comparison, we’ll explore three different printers for shirts: white toner, direct to film, and direct to garment, to see what makes sense for your business.

We’ll be comparing White Toner Transfer Printers, DTG Printers and DTF Printers as your tshirt printing options below.

>> What are White Toner Printers?<<

White toner printers are t-shirt transfer printers that many are calling the one-stop shop for starting a business. This printer for shirts goes beyond the traditional T-shirt market because it produces transfers that can be applied to hard surfaced goods as well.

White toner printing combines the power of colour AND white toners with a strong adhesive to produce mess free t-shirt transfers. This machine basically works like a desktop printer, making it a great option for your home-based business of small kiosk.

White Toner Printer Key Factors to Consider


The white toner is what gives this printer for shirts it’s oomph. The technology prints your full colour designs with a layer of white toner underneath. This means that you’re going to get vibrant prints on light and dark garments.

A white toner printing system is paired with a specialty transfer paper that can be heat pressed onto a huge variety of items. The different transfer papers used dictate what projects you can complete. Cotton, polyester, denim, nylon, you name it. White toner transfers will stick to it!

There is even white toner transfer paper that sticks to hard surfaced goods. So this machine has the ability to expand your business model to include custom promo goods. Signage, mugs, coasters, cardstock, mylar bags… the list goes on!
Production Speed:

The downside to this printing system is efficiency. Users can queue up tons of different designs and press print, but the printer is going to spit out those transfers at about the speed of a normal printer. And most transfer paper for making t-shirts requires an additional step of applying the adhesive backing. Long story short, you’ll spend a decent amount of your production time hovered over a heat press.

Luminaris printer for shirts and transfers


Machine maintenance is a big deal for business owners with printers for shirts. A machine that requires a lot of upkeep could mean printing jobs constantly or having extra staff to help with maintenance. White toner printers are basically maintenance free. Because they are toner based, they don’t use any messy liquid inks. No liquid ink also means no clogged print heads!

What does that mean?

You don’t have to have a constant job flow and you can turn your machine off for as long as you’d like. This is ideal for business owners that want to take things slow, test the water, and work when they want to work.


White toner printing has been coined a business in a box. So, if you’re looking for a big bang for your buck, this system could be right for your startup business.

Ricoma Luminaris 200 and the Print Wizard A4 are super affordable. But time is money! If your business plan involves high t-shirt production, this system might not be right for you. The YES group offers some printers for shirts that mean serious business.

Read on…. We’ll talk about these soon.

What are Direct to Film Printers?

Direct to Film (DTF) printers are a type of digital printing technology used primarily for creating high-quality, full-colour, and detailed designs on garments, textiles, and other materials.

DTF Printers are a commercial grade, high production printers for shirts specifically.

DTF Transfers have a unique soft hand feel. This is a result of the exclusive powdered adhesive layer. Unlike the use of bulky transfer films or vinyl materials, the Direct-to-Film Process employs only two key components: ink and a thin powdered adhesive coating.

Direct to Film Printer Key Factors to Consider


DTF printing involves transferring ink directly onto a special film, which is then heat-pressed onto shirt and other fabrics. This makes the DTF printer a transfer printer similar to the white toner printers.

And it allows for precise, detailed, and vibrant prints on a variety of textiles, including cotton, polyester, and blends.

DTF printing can be used on a variety of materials, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and other fabric-based products. It can also be used on non-apparel items such as tote bags, pillows, and more.

Production Speed:

One of the standout features of Direct-to-Film Printers is their incredible speed. These state-of-the-art machines are crafted to work incredibly efficiently, making it possible to produce top-notch prints quickly and consistently.

A DTF Printer like the Digital HeatFX line, can handle large orders in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional printing methods, like screen printing. Which is a huge plus for businesses looking for both speed and top-quality results in a printer for shirts.


DTF Printers are a liquid ink system, so they will need more maintenance than a toner printer. Users of these printers routinely clean the print heads and encoder strip and keep the printer in a dust-free environment.

Maintenance is easy to do, and may only take about 10-15 minutes, but it must be done regularly to keep your printer in good working order.

On the plus side, some DTF machines like the Digital HeatFX and Prestige line of printers for shirts, feature white ink re-circulation which drastically helps resolve clogging issues.


Direct to film printers can be a bit pricier up front compared to other printing options. However, it’s crucial to view this as an investment rather than an expense.

These printers come with seriously advanced technology that can take your printing game to the next level. The result?

Consistently awesome prints, the ability to work on a wide range of fabrics, and a smoother production process.

Plus, over time you’ll find that the cost savings from reduced downtime and better print quality make up for the initial investment. So, think of it as a smart move for your business that can pay off big time in the long run.

Leading Direct to Film Printers in the UK

The unmatched combination of printing speed, production time, and wash fastness solidifies Digital HeatFX Direct to Film Printers as the top choice for high production t-shirt shops in the UK.

Digital HeatFX DTF Printers are known for their reliability and consistent results, making them an excellent choice for those in need of adaptability and high production capabilities.

The Digital HeatFX 24H4 prints up to an incredible 41 meters per hour and the transfers only need to be heat pressed for 8-10 seconds. Talk about speed!

The YES Group offers three levels of the Digital HeatFX DTF Printers, and their team of experts can help you figure out which model fits your needs.

What are Direct to Garment Printers

Now let’s explore the process and technology behind Direct to garment (DTG) printers. Unlike DTF Printers and White Toner Printers, Direct to Garment Printers are not a transfer system.

They operate similarly to traditional inkjet printers, directly applying ink onto fabric, offering great precision and color reproduction.

Direct to Garment Printer Key Factors to Consider


DTG technology allows for detailed artwork, photorealistic prints, and small print runs. But this ink relies on natural fibers for the best adhesion.

These printers work exceptionally well with materials like cotton, bamboo, and linen. The reason for this is DTG inks are water-based, which allows them to be absorbed effectively by natural fibers. This results in vibrant and long-lasting prints with literally no hand feel!

Production Speed:

Something we love about DTG printing is how easily you can set up jobs. All you have to do is send your design over to the printer and let it rip!

Now the caveat is the printer can only customize one shirt at a time and the ink is wet. So, there is dry time involved as well. This is not a set it and forget it type of printer. But the ability and ease of completing fully custom one-off t-shirt designs is incredible and is comparable to white toner printers.


With the Direct to Garment printer for shirts being a liquid ink machine, it requires similar maintenance to Direct to Film printers. Print head cleaning and a good machine environment is crucial.


Pricing for professional grade DTG Printers is actually similar to DTF Printers. However, it’s important to factor in the other costs with DTG Printing. This can include a pretreatment machine and heavy-duty heat press.

Top Direct to Garment Printers in the UK

The DTG Printers can print on other fabric items but are uses almost exclusively as a printer for shirts.

And the YES line of direct to garment printers offers a balance between quality and speed.

direct to garment printers for t-shirts

Considerations for UK T-Shirt Businesses

Consider the volume of T-shirt printing your business handles to choose the printer that best matches your scale.

Smaller businesses may find white toner printers more cost-effective, while high-volume operations may benefit from DTF or DTG printers.

Balance the cost of the printer with your budget limitations. While DTF and DTG may require a larger initial investment, they can offer long-term cost savings and high-quality results.

Ensure that your chosen printer aligns with your long-term business goals. Consider factors like upgrade options, software compatibility, and the potential for scaling your operations.

Expert Advice and Consultation from the YES Group

The YES Group has apparel decorating experts ready to help. Contact the team now for expert advice, machine consultation. Plus, you can even set up a time to see these printers for shirts in action either in the showroom or virtually.