Sublimation Vs DTG | Differences Between Them

When there are several types of printing methods, it is always hard to choose the right method of printing. When you want to start a lucrative t-shirt business you must need to have a look at the differences of each printing equipment, budget, profit, pros, and cons. Since the right type of printing method will take your business above the mist.

One of the famous printing methods is sublimation and DTG and you must know the differences between sublimation vs DTG before investing in them.

Sublimation vs DTG

What Is The Difference Between DTF And Dye Sublimation

The main difference between DTG and sublimation is that DTG is a perfect method for natural fibers to print. You can easily print cotton and linen stuff with the DTG process additionally black color fabric can be also printed. On the other hand, sublimation is best for synthetic polymers like polyester, and nylon, suitable for ceramic and hard substrates. You can only print light colors with sublimation.

Moreover, the DTG printing method skips the use of transfer paper and directly prints on the fabric using D2 water-based aqueous textile ink. Besides that, sublimation is a two-step process that uses specially coated sublimation paper and sublimation ink to print via a sublimation printer. After that, the sublimation paper is heated, and placed on the surface to transfer the design onto the fabric.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

Sublimation printing uses a heat press to transfer the image onto a substrate. First of all, an image is designed via sublimation designing software, then it is printed using a sublimation printer and sublimation ink onto the sublimation paper, then it is heated via a heat press to convert the solid printing state into a direct gaseous state. Sublimation print diffuses into the fabric therefore it becomes a permanent part of the fabric.

Sublimation printing is not prone to peeling off or fading if you keep using washing it with precautions. It is a permanent print until the fabric is worn or torn. This printing method has also gained popularity in recent years. Many business owners have started selling customized items online to make part-time income.

How Does DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing Work

DTG printer prints directly onto the fabric or garment by skipping two-step of transfer paper. Printing is a matter of minutes in the DTG process. DTG printers have special platens to fix the fabric and then the fabric is inserted into the printer in order to get printed. The print head of the printer sprays the ink droplets onto the fabric and the designed image is formed.

DTG printers fairly allow any type of color and garment type to produce prints. They are also infamous for peeling or fading away but after dozens of washes depending upon the detergents they start getting faded.

Detailed Differences Between Sublimation Vs DTG

Detailed Differences Between Sublimation Vs DTG

There are detailed differences between sublimation vs DTG. Both have their advantages, disadvantages, printing cost, and profit. So let’s begin!

Pieces of Equipment

Well, both printing methods require different kinds of printers and inks. Sublimation uses specific sublimation printers like Epson sublimation printers, Sawgrass sublimation printers, and Ricoh. Sublimation also requires a heat press to transfer the image onto a substrate. Additionally, t-shirt sublimation printers are used for garments.

In addition, butcher paper, heat-resistant tape, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, standard designing software, and heat-resistant gloves are also required.

On the other hand, DTG requires 3 major pieces of equipment. One is the DTG printer itself, a heat press machine, and a pre-treatment machine usually a heat press is used. A heat press is used to cure the ink with a heat process. It fixes the ink to stabilize on the top of the fabric rather should not be absorbed into the fabric. The process achieves the washing lifespan of a DTG printing.

In addition, a heat press can also be used as a pre-treatment machine instead of buying a separate machine. If you want to print vibrant colors with DTG printing you must need to pre-treatment the fabric with a heat press and a pre-treatment liquid to cure the fabric.

This helps to control the natural fabric fibers of cotton and linen. An excellent pre-treated dark shirt with white ink printed under the base ensures the bright colors and perfect results of DTG printing. You can buy pre-treated shirts for DTG.


Both printing methods use different types of ink. Sublimation uses a special type of ink called dye sublimation ink. It is waterproof and additionally smudges resistant. Whereas DTG printing utilizes a special type of water-based special type of textile ink called aqueous ink. It is capable to solve any type of pigment ink and dye ink too.

Transfer Paper

Sublimation cannot be done without printing onto the sublimation paper and then heating to transfer the design whereas DTG printing can be done without transfer paper printed directly onto the fabric,


If we compare the pricing structure of both printing methods DTG printing will be like ripping off the skin of a beginner. A quality DTG printer itself can go above $15,000+. A heat press machine for curing and pre-treatment can cost you around $2000 to $3000 and a pre-treatment solution is an addition to that. So the whole printing setup cost you around $30,000.

Besides that, sublimation is a low-cost printing method compared to the DTG.

A Sawgrass sublimation printer may cost you around 2000 to 3000 US dollars though you can start with Epson eco tank printers and convert them into sublimation. Sublimation inks, sublimation papers, a heat press, and other pieces like butcher paper and tapes will cost you under $4000. So the sublimation process is economical.


Well, this depends upon how many substrates or t-shirts you sell per month after cutting down all the expenses and price per shirt. But DTG printing has the advantage that you can print all types of garments and colors so it may sell out more than sublimation.

Which Is Best Sublimation Or DTG

In my opinion, this depends upon you according to your needs. Both printing methods are best in their way. If you want to print white shirts and poly-cotton blended material then sublimation is best for you and also cost-effective. On the other side, if your business is all-in-one and prints all types of natural fabric materials like cotton and linen also, preventing color restriction then DTG is the best partner method.

Also check more comparisons: sublimation vs Heat transfer paper

Is DTG The Same As Sublimation

No, sublimation and DTG are two different printing methods that utilize different types of printing equipment, ink, and substrates. DTG printing method uses a special type of direct-to-garment printing inkjet printers that utilize water-based ink to print on natural fibers like cotton, linen, and canvas.

Meanwhile, the sublimation is way different from DTG. It doesn’t print directly onto fabric but uses sublimation paper and ink to produce the print first.

Furthermore, sublimation is suitable for small business startups whereas DTG is for printing large-volume prints. Both have different processes. You can know more about DTF vs sublimation.

Advantages Of Sublimation

  • Prints become a part of the fabric
  • Budget-friendly printing method
  • Allows to print on hard surfaces
  • Short process
  • Permanent prints

Disadvantages Of Sublimation

  • Cannot print black color
  • Not able to print 100% pure cotton

Advantages Of DTG

  • Able to print a large volume of prints
  • Prints on all types of fabric colors
  • Not specified to any fabric material
  • Great quality vivid prints
  • Able to print white ink
  • Bulk printing

Disadvantages Of Sublimation

  • A pre-treatment is required
  • Equipment and maintenance are costly
  • Not durable prints like sublimation


Does DTG printing crack?

DTG printing is a much more durable, vibrant, aesthetic, and reliable process if you perform it in the right way. DTG printing’s durability depends upon the quality of the products like the ink and printer you utilize. Since high-quality DTG printers infuse ink into the fabric therefore they become less prone to fading and peeling off. You can check the difference between htv and sublimation.

Is DTG printing the same as sublimation?

Both printing methods are different from each other. Both utilize different kinds of equipment and processes. Both have advantages and disadvantages different from each other. Thus you can choose the printing method that is suitable for you only according to your needs. Check which is better than sublimation.

Is DTG permanent?

If you have produced a print from the DTG printer the DTG ink still needs to be heat pressed via a heat press in order to become a permanent part of the fabric. We use a heat press machine to cure the fabric as a heat press is a part of every artist’s home and printing journey so we won’t need to buy a separate curing machine. It is said that DTG printing will last for 50 washes if you wash them according to precautions. You may check the best sublimation printer for heat transfer.


So we have clearly mentioned the advantages and disadvantages now it will be clear to you the difference between sublimation vs DTG. If you’re still confused let us clear your confusion. Both are different in their ways. DTG printers and sublimation printers are completely different.

They both use different inks. The sublimation process is cost-effective and perfect for a beginner. On the other hand, DTG is for those whose pockets are filled with thousands of dollars because a DTG printer is hell expensive. You can sell DTG garments online on the next level. Whereas sublimation is for small business owners.


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