Screen Printing Vs. Heat Transfer

Why should you use screen printing instead of heat transfer?  The answer, you shouldn’t.  Both processes have their advantages and applications.  The purpose of this blog is to help you understand the various advantages to help you make an informed decision of which process to go with.

Let me start by giving you a little run down on how each process works.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a process in which images are created through a type of stencil process.  Artwork is separated into its different colors, and then screens are “burned” with all the different color separations.  Since the different colors have to be lined up perfectly, the art work is limited to the number of screen any specific printing machine can hold.  The average printing shops usually have machines that will hold up to six screens, allowing printing of artwork up to six colors.

Heat Transfer


Heat transfer is a process in which art work is printed with specialty ink on specialty paper and then transferred to a garment by applying heat with a heat press.  Because of this process, full color images can be applied to garments.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why not just use heat transfer it sounds better and easier?” With the recent advancements in heat transfer technologies, it is a very good process to use for garment production.  However, it is a time consuming process.  Each item produced requires an average of three minutes to produce.  With screen printing the initial set up will take a little longer, but after that, each garment can be produced in a matter of seconds.

The Decision Factor

So a lot of the decision will come down to the number of garments being produced. For small batches, say fewer than ten, it may be cheaper to go with a heat transfer process, but with larger quantities, the times savings will counteract the set up cost and you will wind up paying less all together.

If you are worried about being able to create complex full color images with screen printing, don’t worry, there are new exciting processes such as halftones that allow screen printing of anything, but we will get into those at another time.

So whether you decide to go with screen printing or heat transfer,  Branded Screen Printing and Design is here to help you.

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One thought on “Screen Printing Vs. Heat Transfer

  1. Bruce says:

    Awesome article. This was very helpful because it really gives definition on screen printing and heat transfer. I believe that Screen printing is much more efficient especially with regards of the quantity of production and speed of the process. Thanks for sharing! Thumbs up!


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