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What’s the Differences between UV Printing, DTF Printing, and UV DTF Printing? The Ultimate Purchase Guide

on March 12, 2022

Development of UV/DTF/UV DTF Printers

With various challenging printing applications occurring, traditional printers could no longer satisfy different customers’ needs such as rapid processing, abrasion and even printing on hard surfaces. As a result, an innovative technology -- UV printing -- was invented to fill the gaps of traditional printing. Although the UV printer was developed to meet customers’ unsatisfied demands, it still has its shortcomings. For example, if the surface of an object is a bevel face with a relatively obvious slope, it will be hard for UV printers to print what you designed accurately.

UV printing-phone case

To solve the problems left by UV printers, a more innovative and cleverer idea was applied to DTF printers. Since UV printers cannot print on an inclined plane, DTF printers prints on the PET film first instead of printing directly on the surface of an object. After finishing the powdering and heat-press process, your design will be transferred to the object even if its surface is irregular or an inclined plane. But for now, DTF printers are mainly applied to textile/leather printing.

DTF printing on film

However, due to the differences in ink and lack of UV printing technology, the color vibrancy of patterns printed by DTF printers is slightly lower. And, although DTF printers are professional in printing on substrates such as textile and leather, the printing effect on other substrates is not as satisfactory as UV printers. So those who pursue ultimate printing technology combined the advantages of UV printers and DTF printers and created the UV DTF printers. This type of printer can not only print on surfaces that UV/DTF printers are not capable to print, but also print out high-quality patterns with tenderness and accuracy. UV DTF Printer

 

Similarities and Differences between UV Printers and UV DTF Printers

Similarities: UV printers and UV DTF printers both utilizes ultraviolet heating technology to print. That is, when the substrate passes through the press, it will receive unique ink, then the substrate will be exposed to ultraviolet(UV) light instantly. Due to the particularity of this type of ink, it dries rapidly under ultraviolet(UV) light, there is virtually no ink leakage or diffusion, which guarantees the clarity and details of images. So, the ink used by both types of printers is UV ink.

Differences: UV printers print directly on the surface of the item. If an object has a slope on its surface, the printing result of UV printers might not be satisfactory. However, UV DTF printers prints the logos/patterns/stickers(or we say crystal stickers) on the A film first. With the help of a laminator(and the adhesive), the patterns on A film will be laminated to B film(transfer film). After the above process, you need to press the transfer film with your fingers on the item you need to transfer on for a second, then tear off the film and finish transferring. These stickers can be transferred to almost all materials and surfaces, which overcomes the shortcomings of UV/DTG printers. 

When you print stickers with a traditional UV DTF printer, you need to print on the film first, then laminating process is the next essential part. But, is there a UV DTF printer that prints stickers that can be transferred to items directly just with fingers pressing, and does not need to finish laminating process manually? We will give you the answer at the end of this article.

 

Similarities and Differences Between UV DTF Printers and DTF Printers

Similarities: DTF printers and UV DTF printers both print on the PET film first and a transfer process are needed for both type of printing.

Differences: The ink used by UV DTF printers is different from DTF printers. UV DTF printers use UV ink, while DTF printers use DTF ink. 

Although they both need a transfer process, the tool used to transfer is different. UV DTF printing needs laminating process as mentioned above. After that, you just need to press and tear off B film to finish the transfer with fingers.

Laminating UV DTF printing process

But DTF printers need hot-melt adhesive powder and a heat press machine to transfer your design on fabric or other substrates. 

Hot press -- DTF printers

Plus, DTF printers are more professional in printing on textile and leather. While UV DTF printers are better at other substrates that DTF printers are not good at printing on. But that doesn’t mean UV DTF aren’t capable of printing on textile, the printing effect is just not satisfactory as DTF printers’.

 

Main Applications of UV Printers, DTF Printers, and UV DTF Printers

Applications of UV printers: 

Home decoration field, including customization of tile wall, glass sliding door, wardrobes, and so on.

Advertisement field, including labels and packaging, posters and signage, bottle printing, etc.

Other customized products, including leather printing, phone case printing, glass, metal, and 3D objects.

Applications of DTF printers:

DTF printing technology is mainly applied in printing on textile and leather.

Applications of UV DTF printers:

The applications of UV DTF printers are broader, which almost combine the applications of UV printers and DTF printers.

 

Comparison of UV Printers, DTF Printers, and UV DTF Printers


Specification

Printers
UV Printer
(e.g. A5 UV Printer)
DTF Printer
(e.g. A3 DTF Transfer Printer)
UV DTF Printer
(e.g. A3 UV DTF Laminating printer)
Printing Media
Phone case/
Leather/Lithograph/
Crystal/Acrylic/
Card/CD/
U disk/Name plate
Leather/Textile, etc.
Phone case/
Leather/Lithograph/
Crystal/Acrylic/
Card/CD/
U disk/Name plate/Textile, etc.
Consumable Needed
UV Ink
Hot Melt Adhesive Powder/DTF Ink/PET film
UV Ink/AB Film/Glue
Printing Steps
1.Set the Software
2.Place the Item on the Platform
3.Set software and Print
4.Wait for Printing to Finish
1.Software processes design
2.Print the design
3.Shake powder
4.Oven Drying
5.Hot Press
6.Tear off PET Film
1.Install AB Film
2.Upload Patterns
3.Press Print Button
4.Laminating
5.Transferring
Ink Needed
UV Ink
DTF Ink
UV Ink
Price
About $2299-$2699
About $1799
About $5899-$5989

Pros and Cons of UV Printers, DTF Printers and UV DTF Printers

UV Printers:

Pros:

  • The capability of printing on a wide range of materials and surfaces is mentioned in the table and above.

  • Printing clarity, accuracy, and color saturation were improved. Plus, there’s no ink absorption and less chemical interaction with the substrate thanks to UV printing technology, which allows different types of substrates including recycled materials can be made use of.

  • The UV ink is more environmentally friendly because it releases little VOCs.

  • The durability, flexibility, and scratch resistance are improved.

  • Higher production efficiency.

  • The printed pattern has a rich tactile feel.

Cons:

  • UV ink can cause skin irritation. And it won’t dry without being exposed to UV light.

  • The price of the ink is more expensive because of its particularity.

  • If the printing surface has a certain slope, it may affect the printing quality.

DTF Printers:

 

Pros:

  • Ability to print on almost all kinds of fabrics.

  • No pretreatment is needed.

  • Fewer printing steps and faster printing than DTG printing.

  • Extraordinary light/oxidation/water resistance provides a subtle feel when you touch it.

Cons:

  • The printed color is not as vivid as sublimation printing.

  • The printed pattern lack smoothness and tenderness. 

UV DTF Printers:

 

Pros:

  • Breaks the limits of UV printers -- UV DTF printers can print on almost all materials and surfaces.

  • It takes simple steps to finish printing.

  • Support varnish printing and provide higher working efficiency.

  • Other advantages that UV printers enjoy. 

Cons:

  • You need both UV ink and PET films(AB films).

  • Operators should be cautious about UV ink.

  • Price is a little bit higher because the printer combines the advantages of two types of printers.

Future Trends

We all know that various types of printers and tools had been invented to satisfy more stringent requirements of niche markets, which makes printers more and more professional in a certain field but at the cost of more and more limited functions. Excellent as UV DTF printers that share similar advantages with UV printers and DTF printers, UV DTF printer users can never escape from laminating process. They all have their shortcomings. So we believe that uniting the functions of different types of prints will be the next trend of this industry. Especially in a period of post-pandemic economic recovery, the demand for customers will be stronger and stronger which needs more powerful and efficient printers. So we are very proud to launch our 2022 new arrival 17" 2-in-1 Dual Heads A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer has integrated all the advantages of UV/DTF/UV DTF printers with a bonus: 

1. A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer -- A Time-saver

This machine can also finish laminating process for you while guaranteeing excellent printing. It only takes simple 3 steps to finish printing: first, install AB film. Second, upload the stickers or patterns. Finally, press the print button on your computer to finish. It saves the time consumed by laminating process or heat-press process. A3 is also equipped with dual Epson printheads, which upgrade the efficiency to a higher level.

2. Also a Money-saver

As mentioned above, laminating function has been integrated with A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer. So you don’t have to spend extra money buying a laminator. This saves you a huge amount of money.

3. Patented Technology

The white ink automatic circulation, which is our patented technology, has been also applied in A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer. White ink circulation cooperates with an automatic cleaning system of printheads, these two techniques will greatly prevent the clogging of the printheads.

4. UV Varnish Printing 

A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer also supports UV Varnish Printing. This kind of printing creates an exquisite and luxurious surface, which brings a more vivid touch. This technology is widely used on the packaging, business card, etc.

If you think UV DTF printers are what you need, our 17" 2-in-1 Dual Heads A3 UV DTF Laminating Printer is the best choice for you. But if you want UV printers/ DTF printers/ DTG printers, we can also meet your needs. 

UV DTF Laminating Printer 2-in-1