Best Direct-To-Film Printers For T-Shirts

DTF, or Direct-to-Film printing, involves transferring t-shirt designs to unique films. The process works through heat transfer and is related to the conventional screen-printing method.

The Direct-to-Film printers allow you to print the chosen design on any surface. These printers also eliminate any need for pretreatment and lengthy times by providing an easy solution for heat-pressing.

This article will highlight the best direct-to-film printers for t-shirts that work by transferring designs onto unique films:

  • DTF Knight 12

If you’re interested in discovering the best Direct-to-Film printers on the market, just keep reading, and you won’t regret it.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

What Is Direct-To-Film Printing?

Direct-to-film printing is an advanced method of directly transferring designs from films to fabrics. The process is an innovative alternative to screen-printing but is faster and more efficient in practice. 

  • The primary characteristic of DTF is that it enables the freedom of using whatever fabric. The DTF printing machines are compatible with various materials and produce colorful and durable designs. 
  • This method involves using PET films and six-color ink tanks. 
  • These printers can be integrated into computer software for multiple options regarding printing, ink, and color characteristics.
  • DTF prints are coated with an adhesive powder that makes them more durable.
  • The process eliminates any pretreatment requirement, color mixing, darkroom, or drying period and works on light and dark fabrics (the image also takes a few minutes to dry!)
  • DTF printing cuts the heavy investment requirement and operates through CMYK inks

Other elements involved in direct-to-film printing are an automatic powder shaker to remove excess, a curing oven to melt the powder, a heat press machine for transferring images, and inks that are the pigments for the images.

PUNEHOD DTF L1800 Printer

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PUNEHOD DTF L1800 is a heat transfer printing machine that allows you to transfer designs onto any t-shirt. The DTF L1800 model works quickly and efficiently through the heat press method and shifts designs from film to t-shirts with ease. 

Its powerful textile technology provides better ink adhesion and compatibility with various fabrics, namely poly, blends, cotton, and more. It eliminates any odds of ink bleeding and prints designs on both dark and white textiles. 

The PUNEHOD DTF L1800 features an automatic ink circulating system, a practical feature to save ink and prevent white ink bleeding. The printer ensures that the direct-to-film printing engine works smoothly, avoiding nozzle blockage or high energy consumption. 

The DTF L1800 supports Windows set-up integration and inkjet technology, printing A3-sized images at 297mm x 420mm size. 

This printer costs $1,756 and comes with 100 PET film sheets, a printing oven, a USB for the tutorial, and six-ink bottles. 


  • Great ink adhesion
  • Smooth functioning
  • Works with a variety of fabrics


  • The oven shuts off if it gets too hot

ColDesi DTF-24H2 Printer

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The DTF-24H2 by ColDesi is a more innovative alternative to standard DTG machines. This printer allows you to heat-press colorful designs on any fabric in less than 10 seconds. 

The ColDesi DTF-24H2 powers an advanced mechanism to produce transfer sheets that quickly transfer your designs through a heat press. The PET films are translucent with a 0.7mm thickness, compatible with cold peel and roll-fed. 

The printer also boasts a highly advanced dual printhead, enabling smooth design transfer with perfect alignment and no ink-bleeding. 

A print optimizer software allows you to control the ink laydown, and the heated print path dries the design quicker (so it’s ready for powder coating). 

The ColDesi DTF-24H2 boasts stunning HDR colors and gradients for your design to be vibrant and bright. The price starts from $24,999 and includes the print optimizer software, training, and support. 

ColDesi made it easier to transfer permanent adhesive onto your t-shirts with zero ink waste and complex procedures.


  • Pretreatment is not needed before printing
  • Hardy adhesive transfer on fabric
  • Fast procedure with less energy consumption


  • The expensive cost

DTF Printer Knight 12


The DTF Printer Knight 12 makes the digital printing process faster and more efficient, preserving affordability. The printer presents the latest technology to enable vibrant color prints on your t-shirts. 

You can print on light and dark fabrics and make a stable and intense output. The machine is compatible with various materials, like polyester, spandex, cotton, leather, and more. 

It features a dual-head F1080, which ensures fast fulfillment times and printing in both CMYK and white.

The DTF Printer Knight 12 can print designs on t-shirts five times faster than any other printing device. It has a white ink circulation set-up, and the entirely automatic system prevents any ink bleeding or separation. The machine prints 12-x13-inch sized, vibrant, and intense designs and has a roll feeder for easy attachment.

DTF printer Knight 12 costs $5,999 and comes with one roll feeder, an ethernet cord, four printhead cables, one power cord, two printheads, and 12 open dampers. 

Overall, it provides a great user experience and a bunch of essential accessories with a single purchase.


  • The system features a dual head for both CMYK and white.
  • Five times faster in service.
  • It produces vibrant and durable prints.


  • Noticeable printing area

Which Is Better, DTG or DTF?

Direct to film printing and direct to garment printing are alternatives to each other. DTG has been the ultimate procedure for t-shirt printing for a while and is essential for small-scale productions. 

Both methods appear somewhat similar. However, there are internal features that differentiate them. 

  • DTG involves the pretreatment of the garment. It consists of heating the garment before printing the substrate’s design. DTF doesn’t include any requirement for pretreatment. That is because it involves the direct transfer of images onto the t-shirt.
  • Furthermore, DTF transfers the image from the PET film to the fabric, but DTG does not in the absence of this medium. It allows you to transfer images without PET film, making it faster.
  • DTG also only works with cotton, whereas DTF is compatible with many fabrics. 
  • DTF uses white as a leading top coating, but DTG utilizes white ink on some areas. 
Generally speaking, both printing procedures have their pros and cons, but overall, DTF stands well in printing. It is mainly because of its compatibility with various fabrics and the absence of pretreatment. 

The output of DTF is also more durable because of the adhesive powder usage.

Is DTF Printing Durable?

Thanks to the adhesive powder, DTF often comes with a 20-wash guarantee. The powder is white and granular and binds pigments together in the DTF printer. 

It acts as a binding medium between the substrate and the dye to produce durable prints on the t-shirts. The adhesive process works automatically in the DTF printers, so no extra work is required.

What Ink Is Used For DTF?

DTF utilizes water-based inks. The nanodroplet CMYK DTF ink gives vibrant and high-quality standards to the final output. DTF printing ink is specially formulated to produce a suitable consistency.

It prevents nozzle blockage and clogging for smooth and efficient printing on the substrates. The DTF ink is also fast drying, cutting the long wait for the drying process. It is durable, less fading, and works perfectly with synthetic fabrics.


The direct-to-film procedure is a new advancement in the printing industry. It takes the small production company to the next level, making heat-press printing faster and easier. 

That is possible with the right DTF printers, like those listed above. 

All three are among the best performers in the market, but the one that stands out the most is the PUNEHOD DTF L1800 for the following reasons.
  • It features advanced textile technology to enable better ink adhesion on the substrate, ensuring high durability
  • The smart structure prevents ink bleeding and provides better alignment
  • The printer comes in a suitable price range compared to the other DTF machines
  • It consumes less energy while providing fast service

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Print On Demand World Staff

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