in

The Best Home Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printers and Accessories

Everything you need for a home DTG printing studio, at an affordable price

With Direct to Garment (DTG) printers, creating your own custom garments at home has become easier than ever before. These machines borrow technology from conventional inkjet printers, allowing you to easily print any design from your computer directly onto any fabric item: t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bags and more. However, these machines can be extremely expensive. Some DTG printing machines can retail for as much as a quarter of a million dollars – even an “affordable” model can set you back at least 10k. For most home users hoping to run off a few garments for a hobby or miro-business, this is entirely out of financial reach. Yet, this doesn’t mean DTG technology can’t come at a lower price. We’ve looked across the market to find you the best DTG printer for home use, that performs well  in the key areas that matter to home printers: speed, value for money, quality and accessibility. We’ve also recommended the best accessories available to make sure you have everything you need for perfect prints. 

Product Comparison Table: Best DTG Printer for Home Use

Title
Price
Rating (Amazon)
Best in class
Buy
$$$
4 stars
Best Overall
$$$$
4 stars
Best for Home Business
$
3 stars
Best Portable
$$$
4 stars
Best Pretreatment Machine
$$
4 stars






Best Heat Press

HRM A4 DTG Printer

Outperforming models priced at more than double its modest cost, the HRM A4 DTG Printer has everything you need for a home setup. Working at sizes up to 210x300mm (roughly the size of a sheet of A4 paper), it can run off a vivid print on a dark-colour t-shirt in under five minutes. For statistically-minded individuals, that works out at an average speed of 0.5ppm. The resolution is great, too; the machine consistently outputs at a hugely impressive 5760×1440 dpi, which is higher than some industrial-grade machines. This will reproduce even the most intricate designs on fabric with a high level of clarity and detail. Interestingly, the print head utilises DuPont p5000+ series textile inks exclusively, the same ink set used in Epson L1800 printers. With inks like these, you can expect Epson quality at a fraction of the price. For maximum colour fastness, HRM recommends putting your completed through a heat press machine post-printing. Free AcroRip 9.0 software is included in-box – facilitating virtual proofs and costing estimates – however connection to the printer is only available via USB 2.0 cable, with no wireless option.

Pros

  • High resolution for professional quality
  • Free AcroRip software included
  • Fast printing speeds on average

Cons

  • Connection only by USB cable
  • Prints must go through heat press after completion

Verdict 

The HRM A4 DTG Printer is our recommendation for the overall best DTG printer for home use. The ink set, print head technology and included extras all work together to provide an exceptional machine, at an exceptional price. There are a couple of drawbacks; the connectivity is slightly retro, and you will have to shell out for a heat press if you want your prints to be fully sealed in. However, we found the positives overwhelmingly outweigh these negatives.

Read more reviews or buy this product

HRM Automatic A3 DTG Printer

If you need to be printing in a larger format,  you’ll need a larger printer than the HRM A4. Yet never fear, HRM have got you covered; the HRM Automatic A3 DTG Printer has all the same great technology and capabilities as the HRM A4, just with a much larger printable area. This machine has a maximum print size of 329x500mm, the size of an A3 sheet. This is enough for all sizes of t-shirts, alongside a variety of other garments including hoodies, sweatshirts, pants, bags, jeans, hats and socks. Both these machines can print on any colour of garment of 50-100% cotton content. The printhead also uses the same Epson ink technology, alongside some other features not mentioned before: a 90 nozzle setup with six colours – in YKWWMC configuration – and intelligent drop transform technology varies the size of droplet dispensed by the nozzle system to sizes as small as 1.5 picoliters, ensuring no barring or inconsistencies in prints. The HRM A3’s speed is slightly faster than its smaller cousin, however; it can print a t-shirt in 3-5 minutes. It also comes with the free AcroRip software though, and enough free inks for 540 prints. Connection is still only possible via USB cable. 

Pros

  • High resolution for professional quality
  • Large printable area for A3 prints
  • Prints on a variety of garments
  • Comes with AcroRip software included

Cons

  • Can only connect via USB cable 
  • Prints must go through heat press after completion

Verdict

The large format HRM Automatic A3 DTG Printer is a great option for users that need to process higher volumes and a wider variety of garments, such as people starting a small business venture. This direct to garment printing machine has everything you’ll need for a home-based business in terms of quality, speed and versatility, allowing you to create a diverse product range without eating into your profits with expensive equipment. The connection is still retro, however, and you will need a good heat press too. 

Read more reviews or buy this product

PEKOKO Portable Color Mobile Printer

The PEKOKO Portable Color Mobile Printer is a very different machine to the two HRMs, but still has a lot of potential for home use. Although not titled as a direct to garment printer, it is capable of instantly inkjet printing on any porous substance, including textiles such as cotton, denim, satin and even leather. The ergonomic handheld design and compact size (measuring only 90x78x68mm) means it is completely portable, and small enough to fit in your pocket. The 1200mAh Removable battery provides 8 hours of continuous working time and 84 hours of standby time per charge, plus the printer is fully controlled via the PEKOKO app; compatible with Android and iOS, this allows you to create designs on your phone, then print them via Bluetooth. Lastly, the printer uses only PEKOKO Tri-color Ink cartridges, which offer 5000 multi-color impressions per cartridge. Print speeds average at 3 seconds per print. 

Pros

  • Works on a variety of textiles
  • Wireless connection via Bluetooth and App
  • Long battery life and cartridge life
  • Compact handheld design

Cons

  • Very small printable area
  • No wired connections

Verdict

The PEKOKO is an interesting little device, and the best portable DTG printer we could find on the market. Although the printable area is extremely small, the versatility of the machine is undeniable. It can be used on paper and even wood as well as fabric, meaning it could be hugely beneficial for a home-based business; you can print clothing labels, branded paper bags, promotional stamps and much more. Considering the incredibly low price, this could be a very useful and fun element of your home printing setup. 

Read more reviews or buy this product

H-E DTG Pretreatment Machine

If you want to elevate the results of a low-cost DTG printer machine to a high-cost standard, you’ll need a pretreatment machine. These work by spraying the fabric to increase opacity, so colours seem to “pop” more than they would usually. The H-E DTG Pretreatment Machine fulfils this function without the use of an air compressor, meaning it is reliable and longlasting. It sprays a maximum area of 40×50 cm, making it perfect for either of the printer models reviewed above. An easy purge system allows for easy cleanup, while a precision nozzle maintains consistent pre-treatment quality; the nozzle can also be cleaned on-demand with a liquid switch to clear any blockages instantly. Simple speed controls also allow you to calibrate the machine to lay down as much or as little pretreatment as you like. A small compact design means you can easily incorporate this machine into your DTG printing setup – however, it is worth bearing in mind the machine’s significant weight. 

Pros

  • Brightens colours and increases vibrancy
  • Sophisticated anti-blockage nozzle technology
  • Simple and effective maintenance protocols
  • Large maximum treatment area

Cons

  • Heavyweight construction
  • Expensive price

Verdict

A pretreatment machine can really level up the quality of your prints. With the H-E DTG Pretreatment Machine, you can easily upgrade your prints while saving time on cleanup and maintenance. However, the heavyweight construction (the machine weighs 70kg, as much as a human being) limits the machine’s ability to fit in small spaces, and the expensive price could exclude some users. If your business is focussed on artistic quality, however, this is an essential piece of kit.

Read more reviews or buy this product

VEVOR Heat Press Machine 15×15 Inch 1400W

With a 15″ x 15″ (38 x 38 cm) large heat platen, the VEVOR Heat Press Machine 15×15 Inch 1400W provides a large enough surface for designs made by any of the DTG printers on this list. Using a Teflon coated aluminium platen, it also protects against sticking and scorching, ensuring your prints come out perfectly sealed and looking flawless. The adjustable pressure knob is front mounted for easy access, also making sure the pressure is evenly distributed across the entire platen for a consistent application of heat. An accurate digital display provides a timer and temperature control. Plus, for extra safety, the machine sounds a small alarm when the preset temperature and timing are reached. This prevents garments being left in the machine and destroyed, or causing a fire hazard. Unlike the ordinary thermostable plastic, the steel plate shell also provides a better heat resistance and premium durability.

Verdict

For all low-cost direct garment printing machines – including the ones on our list – it is highly recommended that you run your completed garments through a heat press machine after printing. That’s why we want to recommend the VEVOR Heat Press Machine 15×15 Inch 1400W. This heat press machine will provide all the functions you need to get your home prints looking professional, without the safety risks usually associated with lower-priced heated equipment. This is our choice for the best heat press to complete your home DTG printing setup.

Read more reviews or buy this product

Written by Alice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Best Affordable Direct-to-Garment Printers and Accessories

Ways to Avoid 4 Different Types of Contamination in Food & Cosmetics