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Best DTF Printer For Small Business: DTF Printer Comparison Chart

With the rapidly increasing interest in DTF printing new desktop direct to film printers seems to be hitting the market all the time. 

dtf printer, small business, transfers, dtf, direct to film, tshirt transfers

As someone who has four (don't judge) DTF printers I thought it was time to give you a comparison so you can decide which desktop DTF printer is best for your custom t shirt business.

DTF printers print DTF transfers which are ready-to-press t shirt transfers that can be applied to any color or type of garment. They are not limited to lights or polyester like sublimation. They don't require cutting or weeding like ecosolvent, HTV, or other printable materials. And they don't require pretreat like direct to garment.  For all of these reasons DTF is quickly gaining popularity as the relatively new technology tries to keep up with the rapidly growing demand especially from small shops where budget and space are big factors. 

I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on four DTF printers (marked on the chart with a Silhouette School logo) all of which are a little bit different.  The comparison chart below will give you a quick glance at some of the key features to consider when deciding on the best desktop DTF printer

Prestige A3+ / A3+ R DTF Printer

Update June 2023: The Prestige A3+ DTF printer has been discontinued by the manufacture. 

The Prestige A3+ and A3+ R were among the first desktop DTF printers to hit the market.  The biggest benefits are their small footprint and relatively low price making it ideal for in-home shops. With a Prestige A3+ or A3+ R DTF printer you can get into DTF printing for about $3500. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Prestige A3+, Prestige A3+R

The A3+ model is sheet fed only and requires manual powdering. The similarly-sized Prestige A3+ R can print off a roll to create gang sheets and has the ability to connect to an inline system for automatic powdering and drying.  Both printers have a max DTF width of 13" wide.  

While the Prestige offers a low cost and low cost ink, it seems to require more troubleshooting than some of the other DTF printers which can be time consuming and frustrating.  You can read more on the Prestige A3+ / A3+ R DTF Printers here. 

Uninet 100 DTF Printer

The Uninet 100 DTF Printer is comparable in size and function to the Prestige A3+.  However, there are some key differences between the two A3 size DTF printers. 

The compact desktop Uninet 100 includes ink with the printer where the Prestige does not. The Uninet 100 also includes a video masterclass to walk you through the set up step by step and you also have the opportunity to schedule a live onboarding via video conferencing. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Uninet 100 Dtf printer

I did find the setup of the Prestige more straight forward, however the relatively quick and helpful tech support directly from Uninet is an added benefit. 

The Uninet 100 is PC compatible only like both the Prestige and the Roland BN-20D.  The Uninet 100 uses refillable ink bottles that require the use of a syringe to move the ink from the larger bottle to the printer bottle. This can be a messy and time consuming process and I much prefer the ink cartridges however...the Uninet's refillable bottles keep the price lower.

Roland BN-20D DTF Printer 

The Roland BN-20D is a 20" wide cartridge-ink DTF printer that prints exclusively from a roll and doubles as a vinyl cutter.  The BN-20D runs on both Cadlink (included free) and PC-compatible (only) Versaworks software like it's ecosolvent sisters the BN-20 and BN-20A.  

The BN-20D has a larger footprint and a bigger price tag than both the Prestige DTF printers and the Uninet 100 DTF printer. With ink, the Roland BN-20D will cost you at least $6800 to jump in. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Roland BN-20D DTF

Despite printing off a roll of DTF film, the BN-20D can not be connected to an inline system and can't print more than about 24" long at a time. The reason is due to how the Roland DTF printer lays down the ink in two completely separate passes. First the entire image is printed in full color with the CMYK ink. The printer then feeds the DTF film back and lays down the white ink on top.  Due to this rollback, if the print is too long it will end up rolling on itself and smearing the ink ruining the print. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Roland BN-20D

Aside from the 20" wide printing capability, the biggest benefits to the Roland DTF printer are with Roland itself - a well respected name in the digital printing industry.  Adapted from the well tested and refined BN-20 ecosolvent printer and cutter, the DTF model puts out high quality DTF prints and doubles as a vinyl cutter. 

While it requires maintenance, like all DTF printers, the automatic white ink circulation system system and regular maintenance don't seem to have the same problems as some of the other DTF printers.  In addition, the BN-20D is backed by Roland's customer service and warranty. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Roland DTF, Roland BN-20D

The biggest downsides to the BN-20D are the slow printing speed, the price of non-refillable replacement ink cartridges, and the inability to connect to an inline system.  It's also worth pointing out the steps required to set up a DTF print in Versaworks are relatively extensive - although not difficult - and I do offer a printable cheat sheet for easy reference.  

Epson F2100 DTF and DTG Printer

The Epson F2100 is a DTF and DTG combo printer that is as close to an all-in-one t shirt printer that you will find with the added benefit of being both PC and Mac compatible. The price tag most definitely puts it in the "small business" user category, but its size pushes the boundary of in-home use. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Epson F2100 Printer

While the Epson F2100 is not a new printer, it was not capable of out-of-the-box DTF printing until April 2023 when Epson enabled a white overprint feature in Garment Creator.  Both the printer and the Garment Creator software are easy to use and relatively easy to maintain.  The print speed and quality are both very good - but custom settings impact both meaning if you want a higher resolution print it will take longer to print. 

dtf printer, small business, dtf, direct to film, Epson F2100 printer

The ability to print directly to any color garment or to create transfers in the same printer gives you max flexibility but it comes at a higher price. The price of the Epson F2100 is about 10k minimum and that includes a full starter set of inks.

The drawbacks of the F2100, compared to the other DTF printers mentioned, are the price, the price of refill cartridge inks, the 16x19" max DTF transfer size, and the inability to connect to an inline system. 

If you are not in business, a DTF printer will not make sense - due to both the cost and the maintenance and you may want to stick with HTV, sublimation, or purchasing transfers. 

If you are in business, but don't print transfers daily you'd be better off going with another printer option like a Roland BN-20A print and cut machine or a White Toner Printer both of which do not require near the maintenance.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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