Choosing DTF vs White Toner: Pitting Versatility Against Speed 

Direct-to-Film is a transfer process that involves printing a design onto film. Understanding this definition is important. The term “Direct to Film” is such a common term, that it ends up assigned to several diverse types of printers. DTF and white toner printers have similar transfer processes, but different uses. Here we give you a comprehensive Direct to Film vs White Toner Comparison


When building a customization business, it is necessary to pit DTF vs white toner. Both technologies are great for customizing t-shirts, but which is best for you? It is time to break down both processes. This will highlight where both methods have some similarities, and where they differ.

DigitalHeat FX: A Printer for Every Idea

DigitalHeat FX is a series of transfer printers that use white toner. One of the many differences starts with how it prints. These printers print with sheets of transfer paper, rather than on a roll.

Many of the standard models of white toner printers are also smaller, like desktop printers. This means that a white toner business can fit into compact spaces.

A point of contention is the difference in transfer processes. DigitalHeat FX uses a 2-step process, rather than DTF powder, to complete creating the transfer. What makes creating transfers with a white toner printer a 2-step process is that it utilizes an A sheet and a B sheet.

The A sheet is what the design prints on, while the B sheet contains the glue that holds the design together. Using a heat press to press both sheets together and then peeling off the B sheet creates a transfer.

This gives the transfer the adhesive it needs to go onto a surface. From there, it is as simple as pressing the transfer onto the textile of choice.

Direct to Film vs White Toner Comparison

One of the most crucial factors with when doing a Direct to Film vs White Toner Comparison is production speed. DigitalHeat FX works like a traditional printer, it can only print one sheet of transfer paper at a time.

One sheet does not mean one design, as it is possible to fit many designs onto one 11 x 17 sheet. When compared to DTF, it will take longer to make transfers with white toner printers. Time per transfer also includes things like adding transfer paper between prints.  white toner printers, like DigitalHeat FX, also work with a wide variety of materials including t-shirt fabrics like cotton, polyester, and blends.

With the right transfer paper, it can even work with surfaces like metal and wood. This provides businesses with the most opportunities to customize a variety of products.

Another factor that contributes to the best printing technology is maintenance. Several printing machines need daily maintenance to keep in top condition. This can range from needing to print every day, to changing out inks and parts. It also involves using functions in the machines to test certain parts of the machine.

Running regular tests, like nozzle checks, will keep the machine running healthy from day to day.

One important thing to mention is inks. Also, in this direct to film vs white toner comparison: White toner printers, like DigitalHeat FX, use toner to print their images. This means there is no ink in the machine and no chance of any potential clogging.

The most maintenance white toner printers need is changing out empty cartridges.

DigitalHeat FX: Defined by Versatility and Ease of Use

Direct to Film Printers: Leveling Up the Customization Game

After learning about white toner printers, the differences with DTF are easy to see. The first thing that many will notice is the difference in scale. Professional DTF printers need a lot more room, as they may have included shakers and dryers.

This means that a DTF business needs to start with a much larger workspace than a white toner business. Space alone can be a big decision-maker for businesses.

With DTF vs white toner, the DTF powder makes a significant difference. The powder creates an adhesive that allows the transfer to stick to the shirt, as well as giving it a soft hand touch. Depending on the DTF printer producing transfers, the transfer process can be different. 

Many DTF printers handle each step of the process with separate machines. This creates an assembly line that allows for large print jobs. This includes the printing, powder application, and curing of the transfer. Some DTF printers do not have these included tools.

This means applying powder and curing the transfer need separate processes to make a transfer. For powder, the most effective way to coat a transfer is using a shaker. This means placing the transfer in a shaker, filling it with DTF powder, and shaking it. While this provides a usable coating, the time spent shaking to apply powder will add up in a high-production run.

After shaking, the next step is curing the transfer. This means using a heat press to heat the inks and combine it with the powder.

To achieve a high-quality transfer, the inks are as important as the powder. With the right DTF inks, the printed transfers have great durability and color.  High-quality inks also lower the chance for potential reprints.

Great inks even flow through the printer better, creating less opportunity for clogging. The benefits of great ink and great powder highlight why DTF is such a great transfer option. Combine that with the high print speeds and transfers produced per hour, and it is easy to see why DTF is a popular option.

Now, DTF transfers only work on fabrics and textiles. This method does not have the same capabilities on hard surfaces as white toner does. This provides two pieces of guidance for any DTF business. Using this printer provides extreme quality on a smaller variety of items. This means that businesses can feel confident ordering hundreds of specialty t-shirts or bags.

They know their printer can handle that workload. DTF Businesses succeed with larger print jobs. This means easily printing a multitude of t-shirt logos for big businesses and the ability to handle merchandise lines for sports teams.

Premium transfers and high production provide bigger opportunities.

Direct to Film Printing: A Lightning-Fast High-Quality Option

DTF vs White Toner: What’s Next for Your Business?

Understanding the differences in this DTF vs White Toner comparison can be a challenging task. But, the opportunities that come from both technologies can define the scope of your business.

No matter if it is DTF or white toner, ColDesi provides the resources for businesses to thrive. With in-depth online training, as well as a support team ready to help a business at every step of the way, ColDesi has a path to success for every business.

For more information on ColDesi’s line of DigitalHeat FX White Toner Printers or DTF Printers call 877.793.3278 or Live Chat with a Pro below.