What Is Better Than Sublimation: DTF or DTG? A Comparative Discussion Of 3 Printing Methods

In the vast sea of printing methods, it can be a challenge to discern which technology will best suit your needs. Sublimation, Direct-to-Film (DTF), and Direct-to-Garment (DTG) are all contenders in the arena of printing greatness. However, the question remains, “What is better than sublimation?” 

If you find yourself grappling with this query, our thorough exploration into the advantages and drawbacks of DTF and DTG compared to sublimation will offer clarity. From print quality to cost efficiency, I’ll provide an in-depth analysis to help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive into the depths of these printing technologies and unearth their true potential.

what is better than sublimation

What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a dye transfer process that uses heat to infuse graphics and images into the fabric. This technique imparts a more breathable, softer feel to the fabric, resulting in a high-quality print that is resistant to fading or chipping.

In sublimation, specialized paper is used to print the desired graphics and images, which are then placed on the fabric. The dye on the paper is transformed into gas when heat is applied, which then penetrates the fabric’s fibers. This process allows the dye to become part of the fabric, resulting in a print that is resistant to water, sunlight, and other environmental factors.

One of the key features of sublimation is its ability to print rich, vibrant colors that stay true even after multiple washes. This is because the dye becomes part of the fabric, unlike traditional printing methods that only sit on top of the surface. Sublimated prints also have a high level of detail and can be produced with stunning photographic realism.

Sublimation is commonly used in sports uniforms, team jerseys, and custom apparel production. This is because the process allows for a wide range of customization options and can easily produce multiple variations of the same design. Additionally, sublimation can be used on a variety of fabrics, including polyester, spandex, and performance fabrics, making it a versatile solution for graphic printing needs.

What Is DTG?

DTG, or Direct to Garment printing, is a relatively new technology in the field of garment printing that is gaining much popularity among textile industries. The process involves printing digital artwork directly onto fabric using specialized inkjet technology. It is a much more economical, faster, and cleaner method compared to traditional screen printing techniques and has several unique features that make it a better alternative for modern-day printing requirements.

DTG printers boast a remarkable feature: the ability to create exquisitely detailed and vibrant designs that burst with vivid colors and sharp images. This is made possible by the inkjet technology employed in DTG printing, which surpasses traditional screen printing in terms of color reproduction accuracy and precision, resulting in prints of unparalleled quality. Also, with the added advantage of an expansive color spectrum, DTG printers have the power to produce designs that rival photographic masterpieces.

DTG printing is also very versatile, as it can print on a wide variety of textiles, such as cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, and even canvas. This makes it ideal for printing on t-shirts, hoodies, bags, hats, and other textiles, providing the perfect method for creating customized apparel and merchandise. Additionally, as DTG ink is environmentally friendly, it is a preferred choice for eco-conscious textile printing. It does not harm the environment, and it does not require any complicated rinse or cleaning processes.

Moreover, DTG printing is a fast and efficient printing process, making it highly desirable in today’s fast-paced business environment. Unlike screen printing, DTG printing is less labor-intensive and can provide quick turnaround times, enabling orders to be completed within the same day or even within hours. DTG printing also offers a more cost-effective solution, as smaller print quantities can be produced at a lower cost compared to traditional screen printing methods.

Lastly, DTG printers are also very easy to operate and maintain, with minimal setup costs required. They are compact, relatively small, and require little space, so they can be placed in any workspace, making them convenient for small-scale print runs. This technology is changing the game of textile printing and revolutionizing the fashion industry.

What Is DTF?

DTF, short for direct-to-film, is a printing technique that has gained immense popularity in recent times, making it one of the most sought-after printing methods. As the name suggests, it involves printing a design or an image directly onto a film and then transferring it onto a T-shirt made of cotton, polyester, or blends, regardless of their color.

One of the most significant advantages of DTF is the ability to print your design in any color, including white, which is often challenging to do with other printing techniques. This is because DTF uses a special type of ink that adheres to the film and produces crisp, vibrant, and high-quality images that can last a long time.

Another great feature of DTF is its versatility. It can work with a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, spandex, and blends of different materials. This means you can print your designs on almost any T-shirt you want, regardless of its composition or color.

One of the most significant benefits of DTF is that it produces stunning designs that are both durable and long-lasting. This is because the ink used in DTF is resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling, making the final product look almost as good as new for a long time.

What Is Better Than Sublimation: DTG or DTF?

While sublimation is a great option for printing on lighter colors, it can prove to be a challenge when it comes to printing on dark-colored fabrics. However, there are other printing methods that offer superior results when it comes to handling darker fabrics, such as DTG or DTF.

Is DTG better than sublimation?

Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is a specialized inkjet technology that directly applies ink onto the garment substrate. It excels at printing intricate designs with precision and sharpness, capable of producing fine lines and intricate patterns. 

Additionally, DTG printing ensures accurate colors, making it an excellent choice for dark-colored fabrics. Applying ink directly onto the garment achieves high-contrast and vibrant colors.

In contrast, sublimation is better suited for light-colored fabrics. However, when it comes to printing in dark or black colors, DTG emerges as the superior printing method.

Is DTF better than sublimation?

DTF printing is a sublimation-like transfer process that involves printing on a transfer film instead of directly onto the garment. This film is then applied to the garment using heat and pressure, allowing the ink to transfer onto the fabric. 

This process is ideal for printing on a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, and is able to produce high-quality prints with vibrant colors and sharp detail. DTF printing is also able to produce images that are more vibrant and long-lasting than traditional sublimation, making it ideal for items that will be washed and worn frequently. Like DTG printing, DTF is also a good option for printing on dark and black color fabrics.

For more comparative idea between sublimation and DTF, check out the below video content.

Is DTG better than DTF?

DTG and DTF both printing methods are good for black and dark fabrics. But which one is better than them? 

When deciding which printing method is better, DTG (Direct-to-Garment) or DTF (Direct-to-Film), the answer largely depends on the fabrics and designs you want to print. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one for your business requires careful consideration of your requirements and preferences.

The DTG technique is best suited for natural fabrics like cotton, bamboo, linen, or their blends. This is because DTG machines use water-based ink that is absorbed into the fabric fibers, creating a soft and breathable print. This helps to retain the natural feel and texture of the fabric, making it ideal for apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, and tote bags. 

Additionally, the DTG technique is best suited for more uncomplicated designs such as text, logos, or graphic art with minimal colors, although it does support colorful images and designs as well.

On the other hand, DTF technology is better suited for synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, fleece, or other synthetic materials. This is because the DTF technique uses a special film that adheres to the fabric, creating a durable and vibrant print that can withstand harsh conditions and repeated washings. 

Moreover, DTF printing allows for greater flexibility regarding the types of items it can print on, including bags and hats. Its ability to print on a wider variety of items and its durability make it an ideal choice for businesses specializing in activewear, sportswear, or workwear.


So, what is better than sublimation? When it comes to printing on natural fabrics in dark, black, and vibrant colors, DTG outperforms sublimation. Similarly, DTF is superior to sublimation for printing on synthetic fabrics in vibrant, dark, and black colors. But, when it is about to print on light-colored fabrics, sublimation is still the best option. 

So, consider the fabric’s material and the desired result before choosing a printing method. Depending on your needs and preferences, any of these three techniques can create unique and eye-catching prints for your products.

Tamim Shikder
Tamim Shikder

Head of the editorial team of myapparelsourcing.com. I have been working as a merchandiser in the apparel-sourcing industry for the last seven years. Over the years, I have gained a strong understanding of the clothing business and have developed skills in product development, quality control, pricing negotiation and customer service. I am also well versed in the latest trends of fashion and retail industry. For any clothing manufacturing needs, please email me at info@myapparelsourcing.com

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