What Is The Difference Between Heat Transfers And DTG?

What is the difference between heat transfers and dtg?
What is the difference between heat transfers and dtg?

Heat transfers and DTG (direct-to-garment) printing are both popular methods for applying designs to blank t-shirts and other blank apparel items, but they have key differences in their processes, costs, and resulting product. So what is the difference between heat transfers and dtg? Both have pros and cons but both can create amazing custom apparel for yourself or your customers. The best method for you really depends on your clientele and business model.

Blank Apparel Printing Methods:

  • Heat Transfers: A pre-printed design made of vinyl, paper, or another material that is applied to the garment using a heat press. There are two main types:
    • Cut vinyl: Designs are cut from colored vinyl sheets using for example a Cricut cutter and then heat-pressed onto the garment.
    • Digital transfers: Designs are printed onto special paper or film using a digital printer and then heat-pressed onto the garment.
  • DTG: Ink is directly printed onto the garment using a specialized inkjet printer. It’s like printing on paper, but on fabric.

Difference In Material Feel:

  • Heat Transfers: Can feel slightly raised or stiff on your blank hoodie or basic tee, especially cut vinyl, as it’s an additional layer on top of the fabric.
  • DTG: The ink soaks into the fabric, leaving a softer, almost undetectable feel.

Color Options:

  • Heat Transfers: Limited to the colors available in the pre-printed material. Can be tricky for complex designs with many colors.
  • DTG: Can print any shade or combination of colors with photorealistic detail. Ideal for gradients, blends, and intricate designs.


  • Heat Transfers: Can crack or peel over time, especially with rough washing or heavy wear. Cut vinyl tends to be more durable than digital transfers.
  • DTG: Properly cured DTG prints are very durable and last as long as the garment itself, with good wash and wear resistance.


  • Heat Transfers: Generally cheaper than DTG, especially for small quantities. The cost per unit decreases with bulk apparel orders.
  • DTG: More expensive upfront, especially for smaller batches, due to the cost of the printer and ink. However, the cost per unit decreases significantly with bulk orders as there’s no setup or material cost for each design.


  • Heat Transfers: Ideal for simple designs, limited quantities, or specific materials where DTG isn’t suitable.
  • DTG: Perfect for photorealistic images, complex designs, large orders, and achieving a soft, natural-looking print on your bulk apparel.

Ultimately, the best choice between heat transfers and DTG depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider your budget, design complexity, desired texture, durability, and quantity, and choose the option that best meets your requirements. Still want to know more about what is the difference between heat transfers and dtg?

Moving on let’s now compare wholesale t-shirts and wholesale sweatshirts suited best to each method.

What Is The Best Wholesale Blank Apparel For Heat Transfers:

There isn’t a single best blank apparel for heat transfers, as the ideal choice depends on several factors, like the type of heat transfer you’re using and the desired look and feel. However, I can guide you through some key considerations to help you find the perfect match.


Other factors:

Bulk Apparel Wholesaler Recommendations For Heat Transfers:

For blank wholesale tees I recommend the Bella Canvas 3001 T-Shirt Unisex Short Sleeve in a dark color such as trendy deep teal or deep olive. But with 85 color options there is something for everyone. The extra soft and smooth 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton will ensure excellent heat transfer print clarity and quality. Plus this will be one of the softest tees you will ever own.

What is the difference between heat transfers and dtg? Featuring the Bella Canvas 3001 T-Shirt Unisex Short Sleeve from Bulk Apparel wholesale distributor.


Now for putting heat transfers on a blank wholesale hoodie I recommend the Tultex 320 Unisex Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt. Although not 100% ringspun cotton, the 80/20 cotton poly blend still offers ultra-printability with a little extra durability from the polyester. Plus this one is more affordable than a 100% ringspun cotton hoodie.

What is the difference between heat transfers and dtg? Featuring the wholesale Tultex 320 Unisex Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt from BulkApparel.

Let’s continue exploring what is the difference between heat transfers and dtg?


What Is The Best Blank Apparel For DTG (Direct-To-Garment) Printing?

Determining the best blank apparel for DTG printing depends on several factors specific to your needs and priorities. However, I can offer some guidance on well-regarded options based on key considerations.


  • 100% cotton: Offers optimal DTG print results with vibrant colors and good ink absorption. Consider combed or ringspun cotton for extra softness.
  • Cotton blends: Blends with polyester (50/50 or 60/40) provide a softer feel, wrinkle resistance, and sometimes a lower price point, but color vibrancy might be slightly muted.
  • Tri-blends: Blends with polyester and rayon (often 50/25/25) offer a similar softness and drape to cotton but might show vintage-style distressing on prints. It’s impossible to be unhappy with wholesale tri-blend apparel.

Popular Choices And BulkApparel Recommendations:

For DTG printing I recommend the wholesale Next Level 3600 T Shirt Premium Short Sleeve Crew. Just like HTV, DTG performs exceptionally well on 100% cotton tees. The 3600 is made of premium 100% combed ringspun cotton and if you know anything about cotton you know the comparison to regular cotton is night and day. Combed and ringspun cotton has been combed of impurities that would create a rougher texture.

Wholesale Next Level 3600 T Shirt Premium Short Sleeve Crew by Bulk Apparel distributor.

Sure DTG prints will look great on any cotton hoodie but why pick any one when you can have a premium wholesale hoodie. One like this

Bella + Canvas 3939 Unisex Triblend Lightweight Hooded Full-Zip Tee. I have never found a basic hoodie that I love more than this one. It’s so incredibly soft and comfy you can treat it as loungewear or pajamas. Plus the fitted look is super stylish and flattering and comes in 4 classic colors.

Wholesale Bella + Canvas 3939 Unisex Triblend Lightweight Hooded Full-Zip Tee

So what is the difference between heat transfers and dtg? We hope this helped you understand the difference and are now capable of making the informed decision for your apparel brand. No matter which form of apparel printing you choose you can make your small business or clothing line successful. So try out some different tees and prints and have fun with it!
Don’t forget to Countdown The New Year with our Bulk Apparel wholesale distributor discount codes here!

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