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Screen Printing vs Heat Transfers: Cost, Time, Profit

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As a garment decorator, you have two primary methods of doing business – screen printing and heat transfers. Stahls’ performed a time study to find out how long it took to complete a job of 6 with screen printing vs heat transfer . For this test we used a 2-color design and left chest placement. **Screen Printing** Screen printing has a far longer set up time. In order to print the design you have to: - Create and expose the screen - Wash and dry - Prep the screen - Register - Print Altogether, the process of printing the 6-shirt job takes 38 minutes with screen printing. Without labor, the cost of screen printing per design comes out to $6.67. Now let’s take a look at heat transfer printing. **Heat Transfer Printing** Here are the steps required to apply a design to a garment using a heat press: - Cut the design from a vinyl cutter - Weed the design - Apply with a heat press The same job took 21 minutes to complete using heat transfers. Without labor, the cost of heat transfers per design comes out to $0.45 **Cost with Labor** Now let’s factor labor in. With screen printing, most of the labor happens up front with setup. After setup the cost of labor falls considerably and the amount is amortized over the number of pieces that you make. With heat transfers, the same amount of labor is involved with each piece. **Screen printing and heat transfers go hand in hand** When you do a side-by-side comparison of cost with labor added, you’ll see that each method is well suited for specific types of jobs. Screen printing makes sense when the quantity is high enough because the quantity will outweigh the labor in set up. Smaller quantities are well-suited for heat printing, since the labor cost remains the same throughout. Heat applied graphics and screen printing go hand in hand, so in order to make the maximum profit for your business, you need to have access to both. The heat press featured in this video was the Hotronix Fusion heat press, available at: www.stahls.com/fusion-heat-press.
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Text Comments (136)
Printinc Stuff (4 hours ago)
Excellent! Do check us out as well!!
Kris Ofstie (6 days ago)
You forgot to show emulsion/mixing setup. Having a darkroom. Printing the negatives. Ink cost and film costs to print the negative. Color matching. Ink cleanup. Emulsion reclaiming. Drying to re emulsion... Screen printing is dead.
BEN GHANA (10 days ago)
This is misleading because the set up charges for heat transfer is not calculated in the price. 2 colors would be $60 set up fee for heat transfer at the lowest priced company I've found so far.
Farhan Ali (14 days ago)
Bro the heat printing is washable??
HITESH VIRMANI (26 days ago)
Plain t shirts 9650202155
HITESH VIRMANI (26 days ago)
Plain t shirts for printing +919650202155
HITESH VIRMANI (26 days ago)
For buying plain t shirts contact us
Yeezy westy (26 days ago)
Thank's guy
Yeezy westy (26 days ago)
hahaha this is the most blingged out set up.
Dean Slegos (27 days ago)
Which one does the crumble and flake? I'm betting heat transfer
Imperial Maccabee (1 month ago)
Thanx fam
Danielle Daniels (1 month ago)
Which print lasts the longest?
N. Shannon Walker (1 month ago)
You could have ganged four jobs like this on the two screens instead of using a whole screen for one small design. And the drying time isn't wasted because you can do other things while the screens dry. The $20 per screen isn't cost, it's the charge paid by the customer. I calculate chemicals and emulsion to make a screen at about $3-$4. Actual time spent working on it is about 10 minutes. I did the math a few years ago and decided that for a single color job I'd do vinyl for 5 or less shirts and screen printing for 6 or more.
Razvan Bondea (1 month ago)
I don’t work in Industry , which printing last longer ? I have some T-shirts from DC and BILLABONG and the design last years
Rishiraj Omi Vaidya (2 months ago)
what company heat press is this please tell??
Stahls' (1 month ago)
Stahls' 1 second ago The heat press featured in this video is the Hotronix Fusion. For more information on this and our heat presses, please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines
mr logick (2 months ago)
Bryan Seward (2 months ago)
Sure, for only 6 shirts making screens and setup is a lot of work. But your comparison is pretty poor and obviously leans in the favor of the machines you’re trying to sell. I use HTV for less than 10 shirts and screen print for 10 or greater. After 2 years of only using HTV, investing into screen printing was a no brainer.
Don Mega (2 months ago)
would make sense to start with htv and test the waters whether you can attract the big buyers. if you have a store front then surely you can, but working purely online it'll really depend on your ability to sell. if it's your only business then you'd have to make it work, but if it's only a side income then i totally understand why many won't bother with screen printing.
Sharif Mia (2 months ago)
Sharif mia
Greg Bolin (3 months ago)
Bunch of angry screen printers on here. HTV serves a purpose and is a good addition to any shop. Nobody is claiming it will replace traditional methods.
What kind of heat press was that?
Stahls' (1 month ago)
The heat press featured in this video is the Hotronix Fusion. For more information on this and our heat presses, please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines
JAZ Z (3 months ago)
What makes the design crack more the heat press or silk screen press?
Don Mega (2 months ago)
silk screen. heat press vinyl cracks only if it's not cured properly.
Drfhurhhv Eafyhxs (3 months ago)
Sir i won't matching plasae info me....
Stahls' (1 month ago)
What information are you looking for?
arif ansari (4 months ago)
How much in BD
Stahls' (1 month ago)
Please reach out to [email protected] for information.
MuttonChops24 (4 months ago)
ive had issues with the vinyl curling on the shirt which means i have to iron the shirt every single time i wear it. how do i prevent that?
urjnlegend (4 months ago)
For huge amounts of one design, screen print, for small batches, weeding vinyl or plastisol, depending of course
Ken Kirawyn (4 months ago)
This is the apotheosis of the 90's idea of futuristic music.
Julian Hall (4 months ago)
Don't forget that you have to buy two machines for the heat-transferred shirts!!
Dippi07 (4 months ago)
dont make any profit and go bankrupt very quick
Charles Wilson (4 months ago)
No screen printer worth their salt would screen print a six piece two color job 😂 .. seriously guys come on
Redbird Romannose (5 months ago)
So I should stay with heat applied vinyl...
mahabub nipu (5 months ago)
pls sir how much prise. pls pls pls
Stahls' (5 months ago)
Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-presses-vinyl-cutters for more information relating to the various equipment used in this video. Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-transfer-vinyl-twill for the different heat applied materials available for heat pressing. If you have additional questions, please call 800-478-2457 or email [email protected]
DJ Dead Llama (5 months ago)
What is the song in the background sounds like shadowrun music?
Stahls' (5 months ago)
It's licensed music from a resource that we subscribe to. Unfortunately, the video is older so it's hard to know which resource was used.
Dhiraj Heliya (6 months ago)
Nicely explained. Keep up the good work brother. Love from India
screen print (6 months ago)
screen print set Up $20 ? you know you can wash the screen rigth? False screen print cost
Don Mega (2 months ago)
only if you run a stingy operation. obviously they keep the screens incase customer comes back. and buy them really cheap on bulk maybe $5 a screen. not worth anyone's salary to spend time reusing them even if they were $20 cos if your salary is $50-100/h and you're a very successful one man operation that'd mean you'd have to reuse the screen in like 10mins and you'd lose the potential incase the customer comes back for more. not worth the time either way.
Mikael Karlsson (7 months ago)
Having done professional screenprinting for six years now my eyes were rolling ringht at the start of this video, when I realized he was doing a heat transfer/screenprint comparison with six tshirts. If you have a machine park that would allow you to utilize either of these techniques, who in their right mind wound do a screenprint setup for six tshirts?? We have a startup cost per colour that the customer pays for screenprints, and good luck trying to sell them six tshirts that has two start costs attached to them. Quick calculation (and dollar conversion) says that the customer buying those six tshirts would wind up paying approximately $32 per garment!
Joe Chabaks (7 months ago)
Screen cost is much cheaper than that especially if the customer repeats or you reclaim the screen and use it for another job.
Godfred Ocansey (7 months ago)
Great Video, whats the name of the material you used for the heat transfer?
Stahls' (7 months ago)
The material used in this video is CAD-CUT Thermo-FILM. For more information on this product, visit: https://www.stahls.com/heat-transfer-material-thermo-film
PWill (7 months ago)
good content
Gameplay Music (7 months ago)
i read everywhere the same thing htv after 3 washes the htv peel off, but screen print will last for ever as is just water base paint or plastisol, the thing is if you have a small business and want to sell personalized shirt to use the screen print and make money minimun you have to do like 30 tshirts because of emulsion preparation and printing the positive to reveal the image, heat press you just use vinyl and cutter and thats it, you can print 1 - 10 tshirt and save lot of money but customer must know about the durability.
Ginny Newman (7 months ago)
Gameplay Music, if your vinyl is peeling off, it was incorrectly applied. Just like screen printing, it has to be done correctly.
Anil Yadav (7 months ago)
Robert Jenkins (7 months ago)
Sir could you please tell me if there is a vinyl press material out there that will hold up to the washer and dryer and normal wear like a screen printed shirt will? I've always heard that a screen printed shirt was unbeatable. Is this true? I'm willing to spend the money on a good machine and on good vinyl if it's within reason and is as durable. Many thanks, Robert....
Stahls' (7 months ago)
Many of our materials are guaranteed to outlast the life of the garment if heat applied correctly. Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-transfer-material for more information regarding the various materials available. As far as heat presses, we recommend Hotronix heat presses : https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines
blessingbrother (8 months ago)
can someone please tell me the name of the heating machines?
Stahls' (8 months ago)
The vinyl cutter is a Roland GS-24 and the heat press is the Hotronix Fusion. Find out more information by visiting https://www.stahls.com/heat-presses-vinyl-cutters.
MrOGG (8 months ago)
whats the background music,
micvee (9 months ago)
When doing a short run of six pieces with simple artwork, like the video shows, another option is to use vinyl on your screens rather than photo emulsion. That way you only have to weed once and you have lower consumable costs than either of the two methods shown. The clean up is also minimal, just peel the vinyl from the screen and rinse it off. Nobody would use new screens for a six piece order, that's crazy talk.
Don Mega (2 months ago)
didn't they wash their screens on the video though? like it's part of their business practise. dunno why everyone is talking about using new screens. my guess is they saved the screens incase the customer returns, cos perhaps the 6 shirt order was only a sample order to test the quality of your work. depends of how big your business is whether you'd save them for mere 6 screens. there is quite a bit of work changing the mesh. 5-10mins, so if you buy screens as bulk and if your salary is like $50/hour it starts not being worth it. then again of course you could hire someone to do just that. so it may be a legitimate cost to add for screen printing at least for their particular business.
Shiloh Edsitty (9 months ago)
What type of printer should I buy for a heat transfer as a start up business?
Stahls' (9 months ago)
For a start up, we recommend a vinyl cutter and a heat press. For vinyl cutter options, visit https://www.stahls.com/vinyl-cutter. For heat press options, visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines. If you prefer to speak to someone directly, please call us at 800.478.2457.
david martinez (9 months ago)
Question? How does it compare to laser print, no weed, transfers. I hear that beats dtg by a long mile and gives screen printing a run for the money. Is that true? Thanks..
Signum T-Shirt Printing (8 months ago)
david martinez it’s a lot more expensive per print and can be very inconsistent. It’s suitable for high detail/small print runs.
Anu's Kitchen (9 months ago)
Big joke....scree printed will reamin same for any ammount....heat press will increase as per the quanity
Screen Printing Machine (10 months ago)
If you are looking to buy the best screen printing machine, visit screenprintingmachine.net to get buying guides and reviews.
dave carvill (4 months ago)
Don’t no were he gets his prices from but they don’t sound accurate to me
Richard Sheppard (1 year ago)
Well broken down
Stahls' (11 months ago)
Please reach out to tech support: [email protected]
Jaime Diaz de Leon (1 year ago)
where did you buy your heat pressure machine?
Stahls' (11 months ago)
Hotronix heat presses are available through Stahls'. Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines for more information on the various heat presses available.
jazmine oyola (1 year ago)
thank you so much for the information and strait foreword approach. 👍👍👍👍👍
Bob Urquhart (1 year ago)
Looks like you can "spin" the numbers to support whatever claim you are making or products you are selling!
Yeezy westy (26 days ago)
and it won't scale to a smaller shop. there should have been a * disclaimer
Yeezy westy (26 days ago)
small run vs larger runs
Don Mega (2 months ago)
not really cos these numbers work for their line of business. may not necessarily for yours though if you do any step differently. so use as a guideline only how to make your own calculations based on your specific business model. it sounds to me like many tend to reuse their screens here, unlike the video maker, and that's the big controversy when it comes to pricing.
Pix Geek (1 year ago)
screen printing is the best.
Don Mega (2 months ago)
it seems nobody here likes sublimation, due to it's limitations of not being able to print on cotton or on light colors including white.
I.D.O.S (1 year ago)
if want do mass production or by quantity term, then i pick Screen Printing, in my country,the price of one SP Tshirt more cheaper if we order in large-scale
Jeff Burnham (1 year ago)
Great explanation...but that background music...OMG- SO annoying!
Good Luck (1 year ago)
The is only good for that touristy/promotional garbage that ends up being shipped to Africa by the pound
Ferris Vlog (1 year ago)
what heat press was being used?
Brian Ollom (1 year ago)
Eight minutes for screen registration? Are you joking? LoL I can register a four color print on a manual press in less time than that, and I've only been screen printing off and on for about a year. Gimme a break...
Mikael Karlsson (7 months ago)
Yeah, I think the 8 minutes thing is for the automated press. We used to have one of those at work, and it was a real bitch setting up. I was in on my day off yesterday doing a four colour print on the manual carousel, and had that thing set up and every frame masked in about five-six minutes.
Moyses Garay (8 months ago)
Brian Ollom I want to hang out with you when I go screen printing. Skip the BS and get her done right the first time!
BISHAL'S CREATION (1 year ago)
heat is not feasible print technology. in my opinion. registration is done manually everytime. gradient and half tones is almost impossible. lots of wastage of colour films. limited full colors.
Natalie Marie (1 year ago)
Thank you 😊
Brannon Hinkle (1 year ago)
I use dtg / htv and screen print.. far as volume i can do 1 color design 1 location print screen printing around 100 shirts per hour with 30 minute set up including screen making.. manual press 6/6... by myself.. i have done 100 htv and 100 dtg before its an all day affair with people helping on either method.. i usally do htv on 20 shirts or less.. and just got completley out of dtg due to high consumbles cost.. i love htv as its my bread and butter.. but for volume i go to screen printing...
jazmine oyola (1 year ago)
so where is the cut cost point ? starting my own in a few days, just wondering.
Brannon Hinkle (1 year ago)
you are correct
Jason Taylor (1 year ago)
Brannon Hinkle wouldn't it be faster to screen print 20 shirts considering the weeding process?
Tomasz Czerwinski (1 year ago)
Quite stupid comparison. Why don't you make for let's say 100 t-shirts. I'd like to see you weeding 100 detailed graphics in vinyl... Good luck with that.
urjnlegend (4 months ago)
Ginny Newman sure it can be done, but it's a matter of time and reorders really over anything
Edson Campos (7 months ago)
I do it in my cart all the time... I don’t have the space for screen printing.. easy peasy IG @pressedon_tshirts check it out
Ginny Newman (7 months ago)
I do it all the time. 100 copies, weeded, pressed. Including a little league logo for the sleeves of 350 uniforms over a full 31 team league. Letters less than a quarter inch. Can be done.
Matt BDYB (10 months ago)
Quite stupid comment. Why don't you watch the whole video? It's covered right here - https://youtu.be/O_jkNM4gFeo?t=289 ... Good luck with that.
mike makes (11 months ago)
Also IF the weeding is a motherf***er screenprinting can be more profitable
E MB (1 year ago)
The pricing is not accurate in this video. You are actually using more than 45 sq inches of vinyl per design because you have to include the vinyl you throw away, not just whats used in the design. AND with screen printing, you are not going to buy two new screens. You are going to use screens you already own from a previous job. Plus, you have the option to charge the customer a setup fee that covers the cost of the screens. So in this case, the only cost you have to worry about is for the emulsion, the ink used, and any cleaning supplies used before making the screen and when done.
Don Mega (2 months ago)
they run a successful business so the numbers are true or close to true. my guess is they just buy new screens and keep the old ones in case the same customer comes back and wants to order more, you'll have them ready and waiting. would make sense to keep atleast for a year or few. saves you tons of work preparing new ones every time, and customer gets his shirts faster too, meaning he'll probably be a regular. not every business model is as stingy as keeping repurposing old screens lol. even if the numbers have some errors it still makes the point that screen printing is way more expensive. not everyone reuses their screens and you'd have to add that to the labor costs were you to.
Ginny Newman (7 months ago)
10 inches by 4 inches is 40 square inches in black. 2 inches by 2 inches is 4, so for that job, 44 square inches is used for cutting, then weeded away the unneeded vinyl. Still used the 44 square inches, just didn't press it all.
john a. gorman (1 year ago)
re htv - the time in weeding will vary with design, but whatever design, it adds up quickly. that's the real cost
E MB (1 year ago)
For very small runs, then HTV makes sense IF the design is not complex and the customer is ok with the feel of vinyl (Siser Easyweed stretch is very soft though). For large runs, screen printing is actually more efficient and usually faster especially if you have the proper equipment.
The side by side pricing at 4:38 is kinda silly. $40 for two screens might be the price I sell it to the customer but not to myself while the cost of the vinyl is being portrayed at $.45 per. The $.45 has to be my cost not what I charge.
nihga comment (1 year ago)
what type of material is the cover sheet you use in between ? thank you.
Digit Girl (1 year ago)
Oscar Reyes usually just craft paper
booger king (1 year ago)
Thats bullshit. 38mins? For screen printing, you just swipe and swipe for every new t-shirt. You don't make new screen for each t shirt while for heat transfer, you got to remove excess material for each print. Aside from that, look at all those plastic trash you accumulate over time with heat transfer.
dirtbikeq (1 year ago)
no screenprinter is going to print 6 pieces cause yes the price will be higher. I know I wont screen 6 tshirts with 2 colors .now to be truthful that design I would ask the customer what feel they want and if they say no feel then I would charge them more and make a screen out of Decal vinyl and use waterbase ink. but I always sell my shirts for $23 & $25 so Its up to me how I want to print it since I do everything inhouse.
Rana Afridi (1 year ago)
What is the price $ ?
Courtney A. (1 year ago)
Great video! Thanks!!
De Jo (1 year ago)
the biggest difference with the two is heat applied graphics breakdown faster when washed compared to silkscreen prints. it's all a matter of quality from what I can tell.
Kris Ofstie (6 days ago)
I know this is true! I had holes in my clothes before the htv even cracked peeled or faded,
Ginny Newman (6 months ago)
I use mostly Siser Easyweed. I've tried too many to list and they all work the same...cut, weed, heat apply...some are known to be easier to weed, some are known to be more difficult to weed. But vinyl never cracks, and unless you dry it on hot for many hours, it won't lift off if the first heat apply is done correctly. You must be able to see the texture of the garment on the vinyl, as if the vinyl becomes one with the fabric.
Moussa BERETE (6 months ago)
Ginny Newman What type of HTV is that ? 🤔
Crystal Heath (6 months ago)
what brand of HTV are you using??
Ginny Newman (7 months ago)
Gameplay Music so far some of my htv are 5-7 years old and worn weekly by teenagers. Some with 50+washings, to the point the material is getting threadbare but the vinyl is good to go!
Paolo Angelo Tabor (1 year ago)
cost also include consumption on electricity.
Don Mega (2 months ago)
and don't forget the earth's gravitational pull cos working closer to ground you have to fight off more gravity which tires you faster. so we'll have to measure whether htv or screen printing equal to higher or lower working positions and other insignificant factors ;)
Steppawolf (1 year ago)
What is the heat transfer material made of? Does it really soak into the garment?
Gregory Gauthier (1 year ago)
You forgot to mention discharge ink.😁
Steppawolf (1 year ago)
And dtg, no?
dirtbikeq (1 year ago)
no vinyl sits on top of the garment. only waterbase ink, and sublimation soaks into the garment leaving a no hand feel.
Eddy Munster (2 years ago)
shirt was not included in pricing, right? great video thank you for the comparison!
Nappily Rooted (2 years ago)
I wish they had packages with the cutter and heat press. The prices are high maybe I can afford in 2 years.. Nice upload
get look up fabric transfers. you can print them and iron them on with an iron Book business
RABIH_MAHDEE (1 year ago)
Nappily Rooted they do have vinyl packages for around 400 with cutter, software, and heat press ect.

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