Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer, Which Method Works Better?

The two most common printing methods to print a logo on t-shirts, or clothes are screen printing and heat printing. Then, what is the difference between screen printing vs heat transfer, and which one is better?

Many factors can determine which t-shirt printing method is better. For example, image quality, durability, cost efficiency, and speed. If you want to know more about screen printing vs heat transfer, here is the review:

What Is Screen Printing?

screen printing vs heat transfer

It is a method of printing graphics on clothes through a screen by pressing the ink. Then, like a stencil, the mesh screen works to block the ink in several areas to create the design you want on the garment.

To print your order, the number of screens you will need will depend on the number of colors in a design. If the design has many colors, the more screens you will use. This is because each color requires its screen.

What Is Heat Transfer?

screen printing vs heat transfer

If you want to know screen printing vs heat transfer, you need to know what heat transfer is like. In general, transfer press transfer uses a product called HTV, or heat transfer vinyl.

The goal is to create a raised design on the fabric. Each HTV always has an adhesive layer on the back, although it comes in a variety of textures and colors.

Furthermore, The adhesive when exposed to heat will activate and permanently adhere the vinyl to the fabric. In simple terms, a heat press works like a waffle iron, in that it seals the vinyl and fabric between two heated plates.

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Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer, The Differences

Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer, The Differences

After knowing what screen printing and heat transfer are, now is the time to know the differences between them. This is because the two methods have quite striking differences. If you want to know what the differences are and which one is the best, here is the review:

1. Durability

The most noticeable difference between screen printing vs heat transfer is the durability. The ink on the screen printing will absorb into the fabric. While the heat transfer will only be on the surface of the fabric so it is easier to fade and also crack.

So, when you take care of your screen-printed clothes properly, they will last as long as possible. Meanwhile, heat transfer will be easier to thin, crack, and fade. Then, the quality of the vinyl you use will also affect the durability of the heat transfer design.

2. Cost Efficiency

Regarding cost efficiency, it depends on many factors. However, in general, the more cost-effective method of clothing printing is screen printing.

You can reuse your screen multiple times to make more shirts at a lower cost than heat transfer. However, instead of buying plastisol ink and other chemicals for screen printing, basic heat transfer supplies such as vinyl will be cheaper.

Then, heat transfer will also be much cheaper if you want to make one or two shirts. Meanwhile, if you want to make t-shirts in large quantities, screen printing is much more cost-effective.

3. Speed

If you only want to make one or two designs, heat transfer is much faster than when you set up screen printing. However, if you have completed all the settings, you will find it easier to use screen printing if you want to print in large quantities.

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Moreover, it is much faster to produce many t-shirts at once than to mass-produce using heat transfer. So, using the heat transfer method is much faster if you want to make just a few t-shirts.

Meanwhile, if you want to mass produce a lot of t-shirts, it’s faster to use the screen printing method. It’ll be easier and more effective than other methods.

4. Quality

Another difference between screen printing vs heat transfer is the quality. Based on the quality, screen printing is superior because it is easier to layer colors on screen printing. Then, instead of heat transfer, screen printing produces more vibrant colors.

Then, the heat transfer results will only look better on light-colored shirts. Meanwhile, you will get successful screen printing on dark and light shirts. Then, screen printing also allows you to produce more complex designs and see layered colors.

5. Difficulty

If you are looking for a more straightforward method of printing clothes, then choose heat transfer. This is because the heat transfer design requires only minimal settings.

While screen printing requires a lot of complicated equipment, a lot of materials, and takes a lot of time to prepare.

That’s an interesting review about screen printing vs heat transfer that you should know. Both printing methods have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, to find out which one is better, adjust the choice of printing method to your goals in printing clothes.


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