The Best T-Shirt Printing Machines in 2022

Last Updated on 27 September 2022 by Outmane

Printing your own T-shirts is a great side hustle or small business idea. You can even run it from home if you choose a suitable T-shirt printing machine. So, here’s my guide to the best direct-to-garment printers available in 2022. 

If you’re new to T-shirt printing, you’ll need a reliable yet easy-to-use machine. But with so many options out there, it’s easy to get confused. 

You’ll find everything from budget printers to professional printing machines. So, how can you narrow down the choices and find the right T-shirt maker machine? 

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to the best T-shirt printing machines. I’ll walk you through the key factors when buying a T-shirt printing machine for your small business. Plus, I’ll share my recommendations for the best machines to make shirts for any budget.

Printing T-shirts is a fun, creative hobby. But it can also be a way to start your own business and earn money from your designs. 

With the power of the internet, you can sell to people all over the country (and the world). Plus, it’s pretty rewarding seeing someone wearing something you’ve made.

So, let’s dive in and look at the best DTG printers and heat press machines for T-shirt printing! 

Top 3 Machines to Make Shirts: Quick Comparison

Here’s a quick summary of the top 3 T-shirt printing machines if you’re in a rush.

In my opinion, the best sublimation printer for T-shirts is the Sawgrass SG1000. It can produce large designs up to 11 x 17 inches and is a very efficient printer. The SG1000 has the excellent print quality and was designed specifically for sublimation printing. 

For the best heat press, I’d recommend the Vivohome 8-in-1. It’s a reliable printer with a large aluminum heating plate and an LED display for easy operation. This heat press can handle designs up to 12 x 15 inches and produces a clean, even transfer. 

If you’re looking for a professional printing machine, check out the Col-Desi M2. It’s an excellent DTG printer that can print two shirts at once. It will increase your productivity and output, so you can sell more products and make more money. This desktop printer is a little bulky but would fit in a home office. It’s a considerable investment, but it could be the right choice for your business.

Buying Guide to the Best T-Shirt Maker Machine

Here’s what you need to know before buying a T-shirt-making machine. These are the key factors to consider when weighing up if a printer suits your needs.

Type of T-shirt Printing Machine

The first decision you must make is what kind of T-shirt printing machine you want. The main options for T-shirt printing are a sublimation printer or a heat press machine. 

(You’ll find reviews for both types below to help you pick the right one for your needs). 

But what’s the difference between a heat press and a sublimation printer? And which is better for printing and selling T-shirts?

Sublimation Printer

A sublimation printer uses special ink that sinks into and fuses with the fabric. So, it becomes integral to the material, rather than sitting as a layer on top. 

best printers for t-shirts

As a result, sublimation printing tends to create more durable, long-lasting designs. However, you’ll still need a heat press to transfer your design to the fabric.

Plus, sublimation inks are only compatible with polyester fabrics. They won’t work with 100% cotton or other materials. So, you’ll need to use heat transfer paper instead. 

Heat Press Machine

You’ll need to buy heat transfer paper and print out your design with a heat press. Then, you’ll use the heat press to apply the design to the fabric. As mentioned, using heat transfer paper gives you more options for your materials.

t-shirt printing machine

But there’s a possibility the designs won’t last as long compared to sublimation printing. There’s a risk that the designs will start to peel or fade over time. 

I’ve reviewed the best products below, whether you use sublimation or heat transfer paper. Either way, you’ll need a printer and a heat press for the entire process.

Direct-to-Garment Printer

Or, you could go for a direct-to-garment printer. They can print directly onto the fabric, saving time and streamlining the process. Businesses use these machines to produce clothes on a large scale. And so, they tend to be much more expensive.

Ease of Use

If you’re new to direct-to-garment printing, you’ll want a machine that’s simple and accessible. Some great entry-level machines don’t need an expert to run. 

In contrast, a professional T-shirt printing machine could be much more complicated. It may provide some advanced features or better specs. But that’s not a lot of use if you don’t know how to use the machine in the first place. 

Consider how much time you want to spend working out how to use your new printing machine. Do you prefer reading the entire manual and watching a few tutorials? Or are you the type who likes to dive right in? That should help you decide what kind of T-shirt printer to go for. 

You also might want to look into the customer support each brand provides. For example, Epson has technicians who help you if you have any issues with your printer. So, that could be a real bonus if you do experience any problems.

Price

You’ll need to know what you can afford before you start shopping around. Otherwise, you may get tempted by a print machine that’s out of your budget. 

The good news is that there are good options ranging from low-cost to premium models. So, you can find something that suits your budget. I’ve reviewed the best T-shirt printing machines for every budget below, so read on to find the right one for you. 

Maintenance Overhead & Cost

But it’s not just the initial cost you should look into when it comes to a print machine for T-shirts. The overhead of the running costs and maintenance can soon add up. 

So, you should compare how the different brands and models fare. For example, some printers have automatic cleaning programs. And that can keep them working better for longer with minimal input from you. 

Brother and Epson printers are well-known to have lower maintenance needs. These printers should run smoothly for a good long time. So, you won’t need to spend much time (or money) on them. 

Whatever you go for, make sure you read the reviews carefully. You should look out for any mentions of durability, repairs, and overall maintenance. That can help prepare you for any costs further down the line. 

And don’t forget to find out if the printing machine comes with a warranty. That info can provide further peace of mind and confidence in your investment. 

The Best T-Shirt Sublimation Printers

Here’s my round-up of the best sublimation printers. I’ve summarized what each printer has to offer. You’ll find details on its specs, pros, and cons, so you can find the machine that best suits your needs.

Sawgrass UHD Virtuoso SG500

Best Sublimation Printer for Home Businesses

machines to make shirts - Sawgrass UHD Virtuoso SG500

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

Sawgrass products don’t come cheap and for a good reason. This company produces some of the best sublimation printers around. 

It offers products for home businesses right up to huge professional printing machines. But the UHD Virtuoso is one of the best machines to make shirts at home. 

The UHD Virtuoso SG500 is a compact printer that can easily fit on top of a desk. So, it won’t take up too much space in your home. But it’s also super powerful, allowing you to create high-quality printed shirts. 

For this reason, the SG500 is one of the most popular T-shirt printing machines available. It’s an upgraded version of the earlier SG400 model and offers much.

You can create designs up to 8.5 x 14 inches using this printer. However, it also supports bigger designs thanks to the addition of a bypass tray. 

So, you can actually make sublimation prints up to 51 inches wide. That provides you with more versatility – although the max length is still 8.5 inches. You might find that a little limiting, but at least it’s cool to have the option.

Another bonus of this Sawgrass printer is its automatic maintenance cycle. That means you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning and maintaining this printer. So, it’s more hands-free, simple to use, and less likely to run into clogging issues.

This printer is a sturdy and durable model, so it’s a great investment. Plus, it comes with a 2-year warranty that covers any malfunction. Sawgrass even offers a free onboarding session to help you start your new printer.

For all these reasons, I think the Sawgrass SG500 is the best T-shirt maker machine around. It’s not cheap, but it provides excellent value for money. With this printer, you’ll have everything you need to create and sell amazing T-shirts. 

Specifications:

  • Printing Technology: Dye Sublimation
  • Brand: Sawgrass
  • Paper Formats: Up to 8.5 x 14 inches or 8.5 x 51 inches using the bypass tray
  • Printer Output: Color

Pros:

  • A superb T-shirt printer
  • It produces bright, high-quality designs
  • It’s a hardwearing model that comes with a 2-year warranty
  • It’s compact and practical for home businesses

Cons:

  • It’s not cheap

Check price on


Sawgrass UHD Virtuoso SG1000

Best Wide Format T-Shirt Printing Machine for Small Businesses

machines to make shirts

(Image credit: Sawgrass)

If you liked the sound of the Sawgrass SG500, keep listening. The SG1000 is another fantastic Sawgrass product for printing T-shirts for your business.

And while this model is more expensive, it has a few advantages over the SG500 model. First, this printer can handle larger media. You can print designs up to 11 x 17 inches, giving you more flexibility in what you create. 

But the Sawgrass SG1000 also has a handy bypass tray. And that allows you to print anything up to 13 x 51 inches long. So, you have the potential to create larger products (and make more money!). 

Despite being a large-format printer, the SG1000 is pretty compact. That’s much more convenient for home use or small businesses. 

This printer uses high-quality SubliJet UHD inks specifically designed for sublimation. So, your designs will appear sharp, crisp, and vividly colored. Even better, the printer comes with sublimation ink, so you can start immediately. No extra cost is necessary. 

You don’t just have to use this printer for T-shirts (although it’s ideal for them!). It’s compatible with a wide range of materials. You can also print on glass, slate, ceramics, wood, plastic, and aluminum. So, you could produce mugs, signs, and all sorts for sale. 

As you’d expect, it also comes with a 2-year warranty. Plus, Sawgrass offers lifetime support to its customers to help you get the most out of your printer.

Specifications:

  • Printing Technology: Dye Sublimation
  • Brand: Sawgrass
  • Paper Formats: Up to 11 x 17 or 13 x 51 inches with the bypass tray
  • Printer Output: Color

Pros:

  •  A fantastic dye-sublimation printer for T-shirts
  • You can also produce a range of other products as it can print on different materials
  • It creates vivid, bright, and sharp designs
  • You get a 2-year warranty and lifetime support 

Cons:

  • It’s expensive, which makes it a big investment

Check price on


Epson EcoTank ET-2720

Best Low-Cost T-Shirt Printer

t-shirt printing machine for small business

(Image credit: Epson)

If you’re looking for a more affordable printer, check out the Epson EcoTank ET-2720. 

This model is one of Epson’s ink tank printers, making it very cost-effective. Instead of using ink cartridges, it has an ink tank you can fill up instead. 

As a result, you’ll save a lot of money on cartridges in the long run. Plus, it’s more eco-friendly as it cuts down on single-use plastic.

You can easily convert the Epson ET-2720 for T-shirt printing. All you need to do is fill the ink tank with sublimation ink instead of regular ink. 

The ET-2720 has a 1400 DPI image resolution. So, your T-shirt designs will come out crisp and vibrant. 

This printer offers a good range of connectivity options, including WiFi and Ethernet. So, you have more flexibility in how you print your designs. 

The Epson ET-2720 is a great choice for anyone on a budget. You can print fast, reliable designs without blowing your savings. 

Specifications:

  • Printing Technology: Inkjet
  • Brand: Epson
  • Paper Formats: 3.5″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, 8″ x 10″, 8.5″ x 11″, 8.5″ x 14″, A4, A6, half letter, legal, executive
  • Printer Output: Color

Pros:

  • This printer is very affordable
  • You can fill the ink tank with sublimation ink
  • The cost per print is low – so it can save you money
  • It has WiFi connectivity

Cons:

  • The paper tray only holds 100 sheets

Check price on

Amazon

The Best T-Shirt Heat Press Machines

Once you’ve printed your designs, you’ll need to transfer them to your shirts. So, you’ll need a reliable heat press machine for the next step. 

Here are my reviews of the best heat press machines to make shirts. 

VIVOHOME 8 in 1 Combo Heat Press Transfer Machine for T-Shirt

Best Heat Press Machine for T-shirts

heat press machine for t-shirts - print machine for shirts

(Image credit: VIVOHOME)

The Vivohome 8-in-1 machine is one of the best heat presses for making T-shirts at home. This model is one of the more expensive machines, but it provides everything you need. 

This heat press machine can handle designs up to 12 x 15 inches. You can upgrade to the 15 x 15-inch model if you need something bigger. 

With the Vivohome heat-press, you get a clean and even application every time. The guard rail ensures that the design is aligned and comes out perfectly. 

The LED display and 360-degree rotation make it easy to operate. You can set the designed temperature and timer for hands-off, accurate printing. Plus, this heat press works with all sorts of materials and products.

Pros:

  • It has a good-sized heat plate, suitable for designs up to 12 x 15 inches
  • The designs come out clean and precise, with an even application
  • It’s simple and easy to use
  • You can choose the temperature and set a timer 

Cons:

  • It’s more expensive than the other heat presses on this list

Check price on

Amazon

F2C Pro 5 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine T-Shirt

Runner-Up Heat Press Machine for Printing Shirts

print machine for shirts - heat press machine for printing shirts

(Image credit: F2C)

This heat press is another great option for printing shirts at home. This model can transfer large designs up to 12 x 15 inches. So, it’s suitable for most T-shirts you’d like to create at home.

It has an LED display you can program with the time and temperature. Plus, it comes with separate attachments for printing mugs and hats. So, it opens up the option for selling different products, too. 

This heat plate is practical, compact, and has a 1-year warranty. It has a durable build and should last you a long time. So, it’s a fantastic buy for anyone who wants to print and sell T-shirts from home. 

Pros:

  •  A reasonably priced heat press 
  • You can create large T-shirt designs up to 12 x 15 inches
  • It’s easy to program the LED display
  • It comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have as many options and features as the Vivohome heat press

Check price on

Amazon

PowerPress Industrial-Quality Heat Press Machine for T-Shirt

Best Budget Heat Press Machine

best budget heat press machine - direct to garment printer

(Image credit: PowerPress)

The PowerPress machine could be just what you need if you’re on a tight budget. It’s slightly cheaper than the other heat presses listed here and a bit more basic. But it does the job, making it ideal if you want to print shirts without spending too much money. 

Even better, this heat press is suitable for designs up to 15 x 15 inches. So, you can create large designs that will look amazing on your shirts.

The PowerPress has a removable silicone mat that’s easy to clean and maintain. Plus, it comes with a 3-year limited warranty. 

Pros:

  •  An affordable heat press
  • Comes with a 3-year limited warranty 
  • You can set your desired temperature
  • It’s ideal for printing large T-shirts

Cons:

  • It doesn’t come with any extra accessories or attachments
  • You can’t print on other products like mugs

Check price on

Amazon

Professional T-Shirt Printing Machines

Here are some of your best bets if you’re looking for a professional T-shirt printing machine. These printing machines are best suited if you invest a bit more and have enough space for a larger machine.

Epson F2100

Best Desktop Professional Printing Machine

The Epson F2100 is ideal if you want a compact yet professional printing machine. It can easily fit on a table and won’t take up too much space. However, it’s much larger than the regular sublimation printers listed above.

But with the F2100, you can produce high quantities of printed T-shirts. The quality is superb, and this printer works quickly and quietly. It has a self-cleaning system and comes with a robust garment design program. 

All these features make it perfect as a DTG printer for a home business. The Epson F2100 is a professional printer far more effective than a regular printer. But it will also set you back a lot more money. 

If you’re ready to invest seriously in your business, this printer could be perfect for your needs.

  • Printing Technology: Direct-to-garment printing
  • Brand: Epson
  • Maximum Print Area: 16 x 20 inches
  • Printer Output: Color
  •  One of the best DTG printers on the market
  • It’s compact, with a tabletop design
  • It takes up less space than a freestanding model
  • It’s fast, efficient, and quiet when in use
  • It’s extremely expensive 

Brother GTX

Best Professional Printing Machine

Brother is a well-known brand, and this DTG printer doesn’t disappoint. It ticks all the right boxes, from automated maintenance to incredible print quality.

This Brother printer is quite heavy and bulky at 4.5 x 4.25 feet. You can either place it on a desktop or order the custom stand if you have enough space for it. 

Despite this, it’s an excellent DTG printer for large-scale T-shirt production. You can produce all sorts of products with this printer, widening your range. 

Brother provides outstanding customer support and a generous 2-year warranty. And it makes sense when you’re investing so much money into a machine. So, that provides peace of mind and confidence when buying this printer.

The Brother GTX is a reliable printer for large-scale production with consistent results. 

  • Printing Technology: Direct-to-garment Printing
  • Brand: Brother
  • Maximum Print Area: 16 x 21 inches
  • Printer Output: Color
  • This printer is reliable and consistent
  • Your designs will come out crystal clear and vivid
  • You can produce a range of different products with the GTX  
  • It comes with a 2-year limited warranty
  • It’s very expensive – a huge investment
  • It works best with the custom stand for humidification
  • It can be noisy when in use

Col-Desi (DTG Digital) M2

Best Dual Platen DTG Printer

The Col-Desi M2 is another of the most popular DTG printers out there. It’s even more efficient and speedy than the GTX and the F2100. 

The reason is that it has dual platens so it can print two T-shirts simultaneously. As you can imagine, that will speed up your workflow considerably. So, you can produce (and sell) even more products. 

The Col-Desi M2 is a desktop printer, so you’ll need to have a suitable surface. It measures 4 x 3 ft, so it’s not the most compact printer. But with its printing capacity, that’s not the highest concern. And despite the dual platens, this printer is pretty quiet when in use. 

Overall, the Col-Desi M2 is worth considering if you want to increase your output. You’ll print more T-shirts so that you can increase your sales. If you plan to scale your business, this printer could be exactly what you need. 

  • Printing Technology: Direct-to-Garment printing
  • Brand: Col-Desi
  • Maximum Print Area: 
  • Printer Output: Color
  • You can print two shirts at the same time
  • It brings greater productivity to your business
  • You’ll be able to increase your output
  • It fits on a desktop 
  • It’s pretty quiet when in use  
  • It’s also very expensive

FAQ

How much does a T-shirt printing machine cost?

You’ll find T-shirt printing machines ranging from basic to premium models. You’ll most likely need to buy a printer and a heat press, so factor that into your budget. 
The good news is that some very affordable ones are on the market now. Check out my reviews to find one that suits your budget. 
You could save money in the long run if you can afford a professional printing machine. Not to mention that they’re faster and more efficient. But they will set you back a lot of cash upfront. 
So, you can take your pick and choose a T-shirt maker machine that fits your budget.

What printer is used for T-shirt printing?

You can use a sublimation printer to make T-shirts at home. But you’ll need to make sure you buy a printer suitable for sublimation ink. Don’t put any regular ink in the printer, or you can’t convert it for sublimation. Find my reviews of the best sublimation printers here.

How do you print T-shirts at home?

You can print T-shirts at home by creating a design and printing it on sublimation paper. Alternatively, you can use heat transfer paper. Then, you’ll need a heat press to transfer your design onto the T-shirt. 
If you have more money to spend, you could invest in a direct-to-garment printer. That way, you won’t need to use a heat press at all. Instead, you’ll print your design straight onto the fabric. 

best printers for t-shirts

The Wrap Up

Now, you know all your options for T-shirt printing machines, from budget to premium. However much you have to spend, you’ll find the right option out there. 

So, which one will you go for? Share with me in the comments below! And let me know if you have any questions about printing T-shirts at home.

Follow Proactive Creative on Pinterest for more reviews, tips, and tutorials! I’ll keep you updated on all the best content for creative professionals (and hobbyists).

This post contains affiliate links. Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase.

Author

My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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