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Heat Press VS Screen Printing: The Actual Difference

Thanks to the recent innovations, you can print a t-shirt or even mass produce it for a short time.

Visit any site that sells apparel t-shirt; you won’t miss to find common printing methods like heat press and screen printing. They look cute and appeal.

But, how do you know which methods is the best for your current t-shirt printing project. In this article, you will learn the difference and what makes them special.

This difference will help you determine which printing solution is excellent for your project. Both printing methods are perfect, but it will depend with the purpose that you want to achieve with the project.

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing involves application of ink-blocking stencil to a nylon mesh or screen. The stencil will have ink, which is in liquid form. You will then take the stencil and transfer it to the fabrics and voila!! you’ve got your t-shirt.

Screen printing doesn’t work in for all designs. Unlike heat press, screen printing needs more chemical and equipment for it work. It is best for apparel companies. For screen printing to work, you will need.

  • Tape
  • Films
  • Squeegees
  • Scrubbers
  • Printers
  • Screens
  • Plastisol ink


  • Screen printing is cost effective if you have large projects, let say like you need to print 1000 units. It doesn’t have any size limitation like other methods of printing.
  • Screen printing produce bright fabric with a better soft-feel on the hand. Garments produced through screen print method tend to be durable and can endure roughness from any washing machine.


  • Screen printing is not suitable for printing small orders, if you have an apparel company, you will see that it is expensive. For that reason, screen printing is best if you are printing 500 units.
  • The limitation I see with screen printing is that it can’t take on complex multi-colored designs. It works with one or two colors in most cases. That explains why you need to take one color per screen.
  • If you were to work with several colors, you will need like 20 screens and the machine has to pass through them to get the desired print.
  • Screen printing can really delay your turn around time if you are working with complex colors.

What is Heat Press?

It is the latest innovations in the t-shirt print design. In a layman language it involves pressing you design into the material using a heat transfer machine.

Then you can apply pressure of between 40 to 80psl and temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit to embed the design into the fabrics.

Before using heat press machine reviews to do the heavy lifting, you have to design the artwork first on a piece of paper. Then transfer that piece to your fabric using a heat press machine.

Heat press is used to create custom designs like table cloths. They are several kinds of heat transfers. Here are there short descriptions.

Vinyl heat transfer

Heat transfer vinyl reviews involves cutting small pieces of shapes or designs then transferring them into a shirt. For this to work, you will use a heat press machine. It will allow you to print on-off designs or even produce them in mass numbers.

Unlike the screen printing method, the vinly heat transfer allows you to print different colors. It is best suited if you are printing jerseys of sportswear, slogans or small multi-color graphics.

Garment printed from the vinyl heat transfer are durable and stay longer.

Digital print heat transfer

The desired print is first design and then printed on special transfer paper using a solvent ink. If you have visited a site called t spring that is what they use to make their t-shirt.

First, you design the artwork using a computer, then the company transform that artwork into a special paper using a solvent ink. If you want to mass produce t-shirts of similar design, the digital print heat transfer is cost effective.

In fact, most companies that are into printing business are adopting the digital print heat transfer method.

Garments printed through heat transfer methods are of high quality and they tend to have high resolution images. Heat press methods can take you 2 to 3 minutes to print a single fabrics.

If you are going to deal with complex color stature, then heat press will is ideal for you than screen printing method.


  • Unlike screen printing method, heat press is clean and environmental friendly. Screen printing methods involves lots of chemical combinations that may be dangerous if you are health a conscious person.
  • You are guaranteed a high-quality garment because the heat press method uses specialty ink with advanced graphical software packages. This makes work easier and gives you flexibility.
  • Unlike screen printing method that utilizes one color, with heat press method, you can use an array of colors.
  • Heat press is affordable and easy to set up. It is a printing method that you can do it at home. Screen printing is expensive, and you will need equipment and chemicals that are cost.


  • For mass production of garment, the process is going to be time-consuming.
  • Most of the garments produced won’t last long. You won’t be able to lay multiple colors because you t-shirt will feel bulky.

Heat Press vs. Screen Printing: Differences

Screen printing and heat pressing are two of the most popular printing methods on apparel. They both have their unique benefits, but which one is best for your project depends on the purpose you want to achieve.

Each layer colors needs its screen with screen printing, so it’s best suited for projects with a few colors. It’s also a more expensive method, but the results are usually higher quality. Heat pressing is a more affordable option and doesn’t require as many screens, but the results can be less durable and may fade faster.

Here are some other differentiating factors:


Screen printing is more durable than heat pressing. The ink is thicker and can withstand more wear and tear. Heat pressing usually uses a thinner ink that can fade or peel over time.

This is great for projects where you only want the print to last a few washes, but if you want it to last longer, screen printing will give you better, longer-lasting results.

Width of Ink Coverage

Screen printing allows the ink to go down more evenly on the fabric because you are wiping it down versus just pressing it. This makes screen printing better for printing on wide swaths of fabric.

Heat pressing works well when you print small amounts of complex images or logos, like on t shirts.


Screen printing is slower than heat pressing. If you are looking to print large amounts quickly, heat pressing is the better option. It will be a much longer process if you just want to print high quality images for yourself or your family.


Heat pressing is a more affordable option than screen printing, but the cost depends on the specific project. The price difference is largely due to the type of machine used to complete the job.

Heat pressing equipment is cheaper than screen printing machinery, but the latter usually produces better, more durable results and is used for larger screen printed projects.

Quality of Ink and Garment

Heat pressing uses a transfer method to apply ink, producing less detailed images than screen printing. Screen printing uses an etched mesh that leaves behind the ink after it’s pressed into the fabric, which produces a higher quality, more detailed image.


Heat press is easier to use than the screen printing method. You do not need special equipment or chemicals, and it has a low learning curve.

On the other hand, when you choose screen printing, you need to buy many equipment and chemicals when rolling out your business.


There you have it, the difference between heat press and screen printing. Screen printing is old school although better tools and equipment are coming out to help you design the fabrics.

For multi-color designs, heat press is ideal; however, you will need to inspect the quality of machine. However, most of its designs are fairly durable.

For quality and long-lasting designs, screen printing is ideal but one problem. You can produce multi-color graphic designs on print. It is not ideal for sophisticated designs. If you were to go this route, you will need lots of screens.

With improvement in technology, this will change. Unlike heat press, screen printing produce lots high quality garment when used with a single color design.

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6 thoughts on “Heat Press VS Screen Printing: The Actual Difference”

  1. Hello,
    I am Jesse Mcclanhan and I will like to know if you have Blank T.Shirts available.if yes,then get back to me with the prices also the major credit cards you accept.Thank You.

    Best Regards.
    Jesse M.


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