Screen Printing VS Digital Printing. What Is the Best T Shirt Printing Method?

T shirt printing becomes a profitable business since people are looking for something unique, comfortable, and exclusive. This business covers their needs because they can create any design and directly print on a t-shirt. Screen printing and digital printing support the process to produce high-quality t shirt printing right away. Yet, what is the best t shirt printing method? We will discuss it based on several elements.


The screen printing method gives a better saturation and brightness. As a result, the t-shirts will be stunning and attractive. On the other hand, the digital printing method offers a duller appearance on the t-shirt. In this case, the screen printing machine is using plastisol ink made of suspended PVC particles. It gives a wider range, sharper, and brighter colors.

Digital printing machines often use water-based inks. These inks lack the opaqueness and vibrancy compared to plastisol inks, especially on darker t-shirts. This method relies on CMYK or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black color models, whereas a screen printing method can use other colors besides CMYK.

Color Blending 

You may see a custom t shirt printing with smooth color gradients. The manufacturers may use the digital printing method to produce it. Yes! Digital printing machines are excellent at color blending. The system allows the machine to have smooth transitions, subtle elements, and precise blends.

You can also create a spectrum of colors using a screen printing machine, yet the setup process is sophisticated. The water-based inks are better compared to plastisol ink dealing with creating smooth gradients.

Color Matching 

The screen printing machine has a specific feature that allows you to duplicate any color you need. It means you can create colors outside CMYK. The result is also better than digital printing machines. It is because a digital printing machine isn’t opaque enough. You will have a problem when working with darker shirts and color shirts.

Some digital printing machines have extra slots for bright green and bright red, but it is still hard to defeat the quality of screen printing machines. Indeed, a screen printing method helps a lot when you are doing corporate orders that need to print a logo or brand in exact colors.


Details in the printing business include fine lines, small types, textures, and tiny elements. It is often determined by the screen tension, pressure and speed of ink application, squeegee sharpness, the viscosity of the ink, ink gain, or ink spread. You will see small dots on a t-shirt printed by a screen printing machine.

The dots in a t-shirt printed by a digital printing machine are so small, so you can’t see them. It is because digital printing machines can print up to 1200 DPI and use a diffuser. Unlike digital printing machines, screen printing machines can only print up to 30 LPI to 65 LPI. The lower the LPI, the dot is bigger. The drawback is the grainy look on the t-shirt, but the digital printing method is much better at dealing with small details.


A versatile t shirt printing machine means that you can use the machine to print on a variety of textiles, garment styles, print locations, and placements. In this element, screen printing machines are the winner. Let say you will see a maximum result of a digital printing method when you print images in a 100% cotton material. This machine will have a problem when printing in 50/50 blends and polyester. The result is even worse when a dye migration happens. It happens when the garment dye bleeds into the ink and causes discolor.

Screen printing machines are better because it works on cotton, blends, polyester, canvas, denim, and other fabrics. So, having a screen printing machine is crucial if you accept orders in a variety of fabrics. This product is also good for placing a specific object, such as a small logo. It even can place a logo 1 inch from the collar of an upper back location where digital printing machines can’t. The result is also more durable than the digital printing method.

The Bottom Line 

Dealing with the explanation above, a screen printing machine is a good option for developing a t shirt printing business. It works well to give an attractive design in t-shirts. The colors look brighter and sharper. The most important thing is that the t shirt printing is more durable. Imagine that you can wear the t-shirt in a good printing condition for up to 20 years with proper treatment.

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