Best Direct To Film Printers for Small Businesses Under $1,000


You may be a small business wondering to open your brand new print on demand shop or printing business. But you may have considered not spending too much on your first printing machine.

We know how it feels to start a new printing business on a tight budget, that’s why we are here. In this blog post, we will talk about the best Direct To Film printers for small businesses under $1,000.

We have done deep research on this topic and our choice goes to the HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdn printer. It costs about $700-$850, it boasts wireless printing features and high-resolution printing at a fast pace.

If you wonder to know the reasons for our choice and are curious about Direct To Film technology, keep reading until the end and you won’t regret it.

Let’s dive in!

Why Direct To Film Printing Is So Popular?

DTF Printing is also known as Direct To Fabric (DTF) Printing because the image is printed directly onto the fabric without using a screen or film. DTF technology has been around for decades, but it’s only recently become more affordable and available for home use. 

The DTF printer heats the liquid polymer in a heated chamber until it reaches its final temperature and then it is injected into a die. The hardened polymer is then withdrawn from the die and cooled down to solidify it. This technology allows you to produce custom-printed T-shirts on a large scale, at a low cost, and with high-quality prints.

Pros of Direct To Film Printing

The advantages of this technology include high-quality results at low costs as there are no tooling expenses involved. You have also more flexibility with your designs since you can make changes on-the-fly without having to re-tool in advance. 

Other advantages are:

  • No need to pre-print anything on your garment
  • No need to dry clean or iron after applying
  • No need to hire an expert or operator, because it’s easy to use

Why Should You Use Direct to Film Printing?

These are some of the main reasons why Direct To Film printing is becoming more popular with businesses across the world:

  • Cost savings. Using Direct To Film printing can reduce ink and paper costs. This is because the printer uses fewer chemicals and materials when compared with traditional printing methods.
  • No need for maintenance. There aren’t any ink cartridges or paper rolls involved, so there’s no need for regular maintenance or cleaning. You simply close down your shop once you have finished and wait until you receive a new printing order!
  • Durability. The film itself is much stronger than most conventional papers and can hold up well even after extensive printing.

Which Are the Best Direct To Film Printers for Small Businesses Under $1,000?

And here we go with our selection of eight Direct To Film printers that show the best cost-value ratio. In the end, we will pick one out of these, although all of them are great products.

Epson Stylus Pro 3880

The Epson Stylus Pro 3880 prints up to 48 prints per minute while using two cartridges of black ink or one cartridge of color ink. It has a maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi, which is almost twice as high as standard resolution. The printer also has an automatic document feeder that works even when the machine is turned on or off. This feature makes it ideal for busy offices where people are constantly coming in and out of the room with important business documents.

The build quality of the printer is also decent, being made of high-quality PVC with metal plates. The printer includes Epson UltraChrome® K3, which ensures the highest print accuracy with the fewest errors.


  • Epson UltraChrome® K3
  • 17″ x 22″ printing size, good for large-sized size t-shirts
  • Good-looking dual-tone colored design


  • At that price, they should have offered the LCD feature

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 

The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 is a great printer for anyone willing to print Direct To Film designs at home. It has a built-in scanner, so you won’t have to buy one separately. It can handle even the most demanding Direct To Film projects with ease. According to the company, it generates no more than 49 dB of sound and can produce the highest quality prints in less than 45 seconds.

The machine prints up to 13 x 19 inches in size, which makes it ideal for small businesses that need to print in bulk at once. It even comes with a built-in photo lab and printing software, so you can easily use your smartphone or tablet without having to purchase additional tools.


  • It can print within 45 seconds
  • 200-sheet large tray
  • It can print on transparent decals


  • PVC of poor quality

HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Printer

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 is an excellent printer for small businesses and home offices. It has a 4800 dpi print resolution and a built-in wireless setup that makes it easy to connect to an external device. It also comes with automatic duplexing, which means it can print both sides of a sheet at once. Plus, it has mobile print features, so you can send documents from your smartphone or tablet directly to the printer. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 makes great prints at speeds of up to 36 pages per minute in black and white and up to 24 ppm in color.

The printer is capable of printing directly onto the fabric without using plastic sheets. However, according to the company, it is out of stock, so you might need to get it from Amazon’s old stock or the offline market. Overall, it’s a good deal at a reasonable price for your print on demand business.


  • A high level of control
  • It can print directly on paper
  • Cheap cartridges


  • No Wi-Fi support

Epson SureColor P700 13-Inch Printer, Black

Epson SureColor is one of the most budget-friendly Direct To Film printers in this review, costing only $599 with prime eligibility. Moreover, it uses Epson’s SureColor technology that makes sure to print the same image as shown on the display with proper color contrast accuracy. Not just that, it features a small 4.3″ LCD so that you can manage it from that display easily. The machine can easily print a 13-inch wide image with the help of its dual ink ejectors. All this equipment comes in a price bracket of $599, which makes it the best printer for small businesses.


  • LCD Display
  • Epson’s SureColor technology
  • It can print a 13″ wide image
  • Budget-friendly


  • Low-quality PVC built

Epson Artisan 1430

The Epson Artisan 1430 is an inkjet printer, but it’s a perfect machine to be used as a Direct To Film printer. It features a compact design, a powerful engine, and a single inkjet sprayer that uses an electrolyte mechanism to print images onto the paper. You just need to place the T-shirt or electrolyte paper on the printing bar and the image will be published on your fabric without any hassle. 

However, one thing we didn’t like about it is its menu bar. It doesn’t offer any kind of LCD, just mechanical buttons.



  • No LCD display

HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdn

The HP M479fdn is one of the list’s most modern and feature-rich printers. The best thing about this machine is that it prints wirelessly from any Wi-Fi-enabled printing device, e.g., a smartphone or laptop.

The printer can produce about 250 sheets in a minute, which is more than enough for an SME business. Due to its dual inkjet sprayers, it has made it possible to print many sheets in less than 60 seconds. And yes, it supports Direct To Film printing. Just place the fabric on the printer, and it will print the image without any third-party medium.

However, the design of this printer is very bulky. It looks like a 2000s laser printer that uses black and white toner.


  • Online support
  • WiFi-enabled
  • Powerful direct printing on the fabric


  • Very bulky design

HP Designjet T230

For those who are looking for a cheaper option and don’t like the design of the above printer, the T230 is a perfect option. Firstly, it’s one of the cheapest Direct To Film printers in this review. Secondly, it’s compact enough to be fitted in your carry bag easily. 

The machine can print about 40 sheets in a minute. Its design restricts it from using two inkjet sprayers, and that’s why its printing speed is quite slower than other models. 

The printer uses conventional mechanical buttons and no LCD screen, but of course, what can you expect from a $500 printer? However, still, it’s a WiFi-enabled printer and offers online printing support as well. 

Just place the fabric in the printing area, and the design will be printed on the fabric in no time!


  • Compact and small in size
  • It only costs $500
  • Low-cost maintenance


  • There is no LCD screen

HP OfficeJet Pro 6978

For those who want a really good design, nothing can be better than the OfficeJet Pro 6978. It’s an all-in-one machine and a complete package of features, productivity, and looks. At first glance, you’ll notice the unique spiral design on the printer.

It includes a 3-inch touch LCD for controlling the printer and printing modes, WiFi, and online features. You can either connect it with Ethernet or you can use WiFi to connect it to the internet. 

Not just that, the HP Pro 6978 also offers two ink cartridges for free as a limited edition reward on this printer if you buy it from Amazon’s official store. However, the printing area is limited to A4 size; you might need to use a transfer sheet to print the design on the fabric.


  • Great spiral design
  • 3-inch touch-LCD
  • Ethernet option


  • Small printing area

Which Is The Best Direct To Film Printer for Small Businesses Under $1,000?

If you’re looking for the best cost-effective Direct To Film printer under $1,000, all of the above are great choices.

However, according to us, we’re going with the HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdn printer.

It costs about $700-$850, it boasts wireless printing features and high-resolution printing at a fast pace.

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Print On Demand World Staff

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