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SUBLIMATION Vs DTG? Which One Is Better?

SUBLIMATION Vs DTG? Which One Is Better?

SUBLIMATION Vs DTG? Which One Is Better?

It’s another apparel method showdown this week on Apparel Academy! In this episode, Henry compares the differences in quality, garment variety, output potential, and cost between sublimation and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. By the end of this video, you’ll be able to decide which custom apparel method is best for you and your business.

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Check out how you can sublimate on a cap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJxhH2LLFUg&t

Learn how to print on a dark T-shirt with DTG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z1ojayL1Bo&t

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When it comes to understanding the differences between DTG and sublimation printing, it’s important to understand how they work.

Sublimation involves a process where you print a design onto paper and press it onto a polyester garment using a heat press. When heated, the toner is transformed from a solid to a gas that embeds itself into the polyester fabric. When it cools, it goes back to a solid and becomes a permanent part of the fabric.

Direct to garment, however, is a newer printing method where you print directly onto garments. This method requires an actual DTG printer and pre-treating your garment before loading it onto the printer.

When it comes to print quality, keep in mind that sublimation printing should be used on light color polyesters and results in a super soft touch since the design becomes part of the garment. But sublimation does not allow for printing white colors, so lighter colors will not show up on darker shirts.

Now, while DTG can print white and super vibrant designs on any T-shirt, DTG printing on garments leaves a thin layer of ink on the shirt surface. So not only will you feel the difference between the two but a sublimated shirt will last longer and through more washes than a DTG shirt.

As far as variety, sublimation allows for a lot more variety of garments you can make. This is because the DTG printer only allows for flat garments like T-shirts and jacket backs and other items that can be fed through the printer. However, remember that with sublimation you’re limited to polyester-coated fabrics.

You also want to consider the differences with speed and output. With DTG, it’s faster to do a bulk order since the design is already programmed into the panel and can print as soon as another garment is loaded. Plus, you can purchase pre-treated designs to skip that step and save even more time.

Sublimation, however, is best for small batches and one-off orders since it involves printing the design onto paper, positioning the design and then pressing it on with a heat press, making it a slower process.

And finally, let’s compare the costs. DTG can, on average, cost $1.5-$3.50 per print and while sublimation ink costs less than DTG, you’ll need paper for sublimation which adds to your material costs. So, both methods are pretty tied in this category.

At the end of the day, choosing between sublimation and DTG depends on your business’s needs and the kinds of products you plan on creating.


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Comments (34)

  • Cebubohol Reply

    Very useful video thank you

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Domonique Paul Reply

    whcih is the best printing method for bamboo fabric?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • feelsand_LLC Reply

    What did you spray on the shirt?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • azure strike Reply

    I learned that I do not like the feeling of sublimation shirts. It feels like a piece of paper on a shirt and it feels like heat is trapped when I wear my shirt

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Louis Dorato Reply

    This is very good comparison between the two. I want to point out, however, that sublimating cotton is possible as long as the garment is pre treated with a special application. Sublimating dark colors is also possible as long as the portion being sublimated is pre bleached to take the dark color out.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • mercy.printing Reply

    Oh yea

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Josephine Relos Reply

    How much is the investment for DTG printer

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Hakim Muhamad Reply

    Between sublimation and DTG which one is better and what is the difference ?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Eagle Eyes Reply

    How I can buy this machine because am interested

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • B' Philma Reply


    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • 2Stroke Tyson Reply

    DTG is way better just cost way more for a DTG printer

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Mário Nunes Reply

    Thank you so much for this!
    Very clear and detailed.
    I tip my hat to you sir.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • All Crafts Channel Reply

    I'm so torn about which to choose…Being limited to only poly items is kind of a bummer

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Ranjini Raja In 🎥 Reply

    Thank you for these info ☺️

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • darren hill Reply

    great video

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Nodsaibot Reply

    lol tell your mom to iron your shirt man

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Emmanuel Carrie Reply

    Can you do a compare and contrast between sublimation and DTF?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Go Fish Office Reply

    This was great info, thank you

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Julie Coleman Reply

    Fantastic presentation!!!

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Emily Blunt Reply

    Nice video.
    Can DTG print gradients? And 50% transparent pixel?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • The Joker Reply

    TY very informative! New to POD, used to 4+Color Heidelberg quality, so the sublimation I've seen is just terrible (that's being kind). For eons I've work in AI, PS, lately more in Affinity Designer & Affinity Photo so I comprehend files, dpi's, colorways etc, but thus far my only POD sublimation experience is Redbubble's. And the quality of anything they've printed is so unacceptable to me. Even simple 1 or 2 colors designs are a blur, fuzzy, forget gradients, thin lines or crisp TEXT. Is that just the quality I can expect from sublimation or just the quality of Redbubble's sublimation? I've not seen a decent sublimation print from them. I hope it's just their printers & there is better print quality for POD out there?! Can you talk of the print quality comparability of sublimation, DTG or DTF ? Realizing they will never be Heidelberg quality, but I've had desktop printers with better quality then any of the samples I've seen thus from Redbubbles sublimation. TY in advance.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Destiny Thompson Reply

    How much is the printer overall!? I see on your site 235$ a month, but for how many months!?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Marita Rodriguez Reply

    Do you have any videos on Spanish

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Kidus 187 Reply

    What a helpful video
    Thank you a lot

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • mahalia wilson mclea Reply

    Where is ur company

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Kelli Reply

    Couple questions about dtg. One once done can you feel it on the shirt, like you do with vinyl? Like it's rough and thick and not part of the shirt.
    Second does the dtg printers have to have internet to be able to use it?
    Third are dtg printers portable? I've been doing sublimation all my machines are portable but since I do customization on the spot I have to have internet. Which makes it hard to go set up at rallies and other venues.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Leo James Reply

    This was a really great video. thank you.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Richard Baechle Reply

    Does DTG give that stiff sticker look like the heat transfer does?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Tech Traveler Reply

    Ricoma R550, I checked website no longer available selling printers.

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • fresia tran Reply

    What's a good dtg printer that is Bluetooth compatible with an android phone?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Karl Kelly Reply

    Are you you limited to print size when doing heat transfer?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Vishnu Koshey Reply

    This video is great😳 so much info in 10mins

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • Raww Life Ent. Reply

    I need both

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
  • maximilien kolbe Reply

    Thank you, this is a great video. what about maintenance?

    November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm

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