Over the years, printing technologies have evolved quickly, and there are now many options available for printing on various materials. Eco-solvent and DTF printing are now two of the most widely utilized printing techniques in the sector. Eco-solvent printing is a method of printing that uses eco-solvent ink, which is a type of ink that is less harmful to the environment than traditional solvent inks. DTF printing, on the other hand, requires a specific film that is placed to the substrate and a heat press to transfer the ink to the substrate. In this blog, we will analyze eco-solvent vs DTF Printing and explore their advantages, disadvantages, applications, and environmental impact.

AspectEco-solvent PrintingDTF Printing
Equipment CostHigherLower
Ink TypeSolvent-basedPowder-based
Color GamutWiderMore limited
Print QualitySharp and detailedSlightly softer
DurabilityHighMay not be as durable
Cost per PrintHigherLower (except for film)
Maintenance CostHigherLower
Environmental ImpactNot eco-friendlyRelatively eco-friendly
Eco-Solvent vs DTF Printing comparison

What is Eco-Solvent Printing?

Eco-solvent printing is a form of printing that employs eco-solvent ink, which is composed of a liquid pigment carrier that is water soluble. During printing, the carrier liquid evaporates, leaving the pigment particles on the substrate. Because it doesn’t contain hazardous substances like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), eco-solvent ink is less harmful to the environment than traditional solvent inks.

Advantages of eco-solvent printing

  • Because it emits fewer harmful emissions than conventional solvent inks, eco-solvent ink is more environmentally friendly.
  • Eco-solvent ink has a lower likelihood of clogging print heads, which reduces maintenance costs and save time.
  • Eco-solvent ink can produce high-quality, vibrant prints on a wide range of substrates, including vinyl, fabric, and paper.
  • Because the ink doesn’t damage the print head, eco-solvent printers tend to last longer than other types.


  • Eco-solvent ink is typically more expensive than traditional solvent inks, which can make it cost-prohibitive for some users.
  • It may take longer for eco-solvent printers to dry than other types of printers, which can slow down the printing process.
  • Eco-solvent ink may not be as long-lasting as other kinds of ink, resulting in fading or peeling over time.
  • Glossy or textured surfaces may not perform well with eco-solvent ink.


  • Eco-solvent printing is commonly used for creating outdoor signage, such as banners, billboards, and vehicle wraps.
  • Indoor graphics including posters, illuminated displays, and wall graphics employ eco-solvent printing.
  • Flags, banners, and soft signs are examples of textile graphics with eco-solvent printing.
  • We can make fine art prints, such as canvas prints and picture prints with eco-solvent printing.

About DTF Printing

Digital printing known as DTF (Direct to Film) employs a specific film to transmit ink to the substrate. It involves imprinting an image using specific inks that are made to stick to film onto a substrate. The film is then put on the base, and a heat press is used to move it. The heat and pressure cause the ink to transfer from the film to the substrate, creating a high-quality, vibrant print.

dtf printer white tshirt

Advantages of DTF printing

  • DTF printing can provide prints of exceptional quality that have fine details and brilliant colors.
  • DTF printing can be used on a variety of substrates, including cotton, polyester, and blends.
  • Compared to other printing techniques like screen printing or direct-to-garment printing, DTF printing is less expensive.
  • Design versatility is increased with DTF printing since it easily prints gradients and complicated graphics.


  • DTF printing requires specialized equipment, including a printer, film, and heat press.
  • It takes a lot of time since each print involves many stages.
  • DTF prints may not last as long as other kinds of prints because the ink can crack or peel over time.
  • Some applications may not be suitable for the slightly textured feel of DTF prints.

Applications of DTF printing

  • DTF printing is often used to make personalized t-shirts, caps, and other clothing products
  • We can make custom advertising things like tote bags, mouse pads, and phone cases with DTF printing.
  • DTF printing is used for creating small to medium-sized runs of custom prints, such as for events, sports teams, or small businesses.

What’s the difference between eco solvent and DTF?

1. Cost

Eco-solvent printing:

  • Eco-solvent ink is typically more expensive than traditional solvent inks, but it is still cheaper than DTF ink.
  • Eco-solvent printers are more expensive than DTF printers, but they have a longer lifespan.
  • Overall, the cost of eco-solvent printing is moderate to high, depending on the printer and ink used.

DTF printing:

  • DTF ink is typically more expensive than eco-solvent ink.
  • DTF printers are generally more affordable than eco-solvent printers, but they may not last as long.
  • The overall cost of DTF printing is generally lower than eco-solvent printing.

In terms of price, DTF printing is usually cheaper than eco-solvent printing because the machines and special paper used are cheaper. However, DTF ink may be more expensive than eco-solvent ink, making it less cost-effective for some applications.

2. Quality comparison

Eco-solvent printing is known for producing high-quality prints with vibrant colors and sharp details. Eco-solvent inks are made to work with a wide range of surfaces, including plastic, fabric, and paper. The ink goes deep into the surface of the substrate, making a print that is strong, long-lasting, and less likely to fade or peel over time.

Eco-solvent printing is ideal for producing high-quality outdoor signage and displays that will be exposed to the elements. The ink is a fantastic choice for applications that need long-term durability since it is UV and water resistant. Eco-solvent printing can also make high-quality images for car wraps, posters, and other marketing materials.

DTF printing can also create prints of exceptional quality that have fine details and brilliant colours. However, some applications might not prefer the slight texture that DTF prints may have. Design versatility is increased with DTF printing since it easily prints gradients and complicated graphics. The specialized film used in DTF printing adheres well to a variety of substrates, including cotton, polyester, and blends.

For making personalised t-shirts, caps, and other fashion items, DTF printing is fantastic. Additionally, it can be used to make promotional products like phone cases, mousepads, and tote bags.

3. Eco-Solvent vs DTF Printing Durability

Eco-solvent printing is known for being strong and long-lasting. In order to produce a long-lasting print that is less prone to fade or peel over time, the ink is specially formulated to permeate the surface of the substrate. Eco-solvent ink is perfect for outdoor applications since it is both UV and water resistant.

The ink is a wonderful choice for long-term marketing campaigns since it can endure adverse weather conditions. Eco-solvent prints are a popular option for car wraps and graphics since they are exceptionally durable when applied to automobiles.

While DTF printing is a more recent printing technology, little is known about how durable it will be. Over time, it might not hold up as well as eco-solvent prints.

DTF prints could be more susceptible to cracking, fading or peeling over time, particularly when exposed to inclement weather. DTF prints, however, may last a very long time and provide excellent value for small to medium-sized runs of customised prints if they are treated properly.

3. Speed comparison

Eco-solvent printing is a relatively fast printing process. Depending on the printer type and the degree of design complexity, the printing pace may vary, but in general, eco-solvent printers can create prints of good quality at a rate of several square metres per hour. For large-scale printing jobs where speed is crucial, eco-solvent printing is a viable option.

However, DTF printing is typically slower than eco-solvent printing. The printing process involves several steps, including printing the design onto the film, applying the adhesive powder, and curing the print. In general, DTF printers can generate high-quality prints at a pace of several shirts per hour. However, the printing speed might vary depending on the printer type and the intricacy of the design.

Although printing with eco-solvents is typically quicker than printing with DTF, it might not be the best choice for all printing projects. DTF printing is a fantastic option for small to medium-sized businesses, when quality and flexibility may be more essential than speed. For larger-scale printing jobs where productivity and efficiency are crucial considerations, eco-solvent printing is appropriate.

4. Environmental impact

Eco-solvent printing is known for its relatively low environmental impact. Low VOC (volatile organic compound) ink is specifically created for eco-solvent printing, which results in less hazardous emissions and fumes during the printing process. As a result, eco-solvent printing is a wise choice for indoor printing tasks where air quality and security are crucial considerations.

Additionally, many eco-solvent inks are biodegradable and made from renewable resources, making them more environmentally friendly than conventional inks with solvent bases. Some eco-solvent inks can be recycled as well, minimising their negative effects on the environment.

ecosolvent ink bottles

DTF printing is known for having a minimal negative effect on the environment. Since the printing process doesn’t use any water, it’s a good option for places where conserving water is important. Furthermore, the speciality film used in DTF printing is usually created from recycled materials, making it more environmentally friendly than conventional vinyl materials.

It is important to keep in mind that the adhesive powder used in DTF printing could include hazardous substances like phthalates that are bad for the environment. The glue powder should be disposed off carefully and appropriately.

5. Cost comparison

Compared to DTF printing, eco-solvent printing often needs a bigger initial equipment investment. Depending on the brand and size of the printer, the cost of an eco-solvent printer may vary from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, special ink cartridges for eco-solvent printers are needed, and these can be more expensive than regular ink cartridges.

Contrarily, DTF printing necessitates a lower initial equipment expenditure. Depending on the brand and size, DTF printers may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Additionally, DTF printing doesn’t need any unique ink cartridges, which can ultimately save you money.

However, it’s worth noting that the cost of film and adhesive powder used in DTF printing can add up over time, particularly for large-scale printing projects. The normal vinyl material used in eco-solvent printing, in contrast, is often less costly than the speciality film used in DTF printing.

Eco-solvent printing could eventually cost more than DTF printing in terms of continuing expenses. Compared to conventional ink cartridges, eco-solvent ink cartridges need more frequent replacement, and the price of new cartridges may build up over time. Additionally, the maintenance costs for eco-solvent printers are typically higher than those for DTF printers, which can increase the overall cost.

Eco solvent ink vs DTF ink

eco solvent ink bottles

Eco-solvent ink and DTF ink are two popular options for printing on a variety of materials. The sign and graphics sector often uses eco-solvent printers, hence eco-solvent ink is a kind of ink that is okay to operate with them. Contrarily, DTF ink is suitable for use with DTF printers, which we use to print on fabric.

Eco-solvent ink is a solvent-based ink that includes additives intended to increase its tensile strength and fading resistance. In contrast, DTF ink is a water-based ink that is less costly to create and more ecologically friendly than eco-solvent ink.

Both DTF ink and eco-solvent ink are capable of creating prints of a high quality. However, because it can be used to print on a wider variety of materials, such as vinyl, canvas, and other flexible media, eco-solvent ink is generally regarded as being more adaptable than DTF ink. On the other hand, DTF ink may not create as high-quality prints on other materials and is more suited for printing on cloth.

DTF ink is often more affordable than eco-solvent ink in terms of price. This is because DTF ink is water-based and less expensive to manufacture than eco-solvent ink, which contains compounds that make it more fade-resistant and durable. However, DTF printing calls for extra supplies like a heat press and release paper, which can raise the price of the process of printing.

Conclusion | DTF vs Eco Solvent

To sum up, both eco-solvent printing and DTF printing offer benefits and drawbacks. The particular printing technique you choose will rely on your unique printing requirements and budget.

Eco-solvent printing is a wonderful option for outdoor and long-lasting printing projects because of its resilience and broader colour spectrum. In terms of equipment costs as well as cost per print, it might be more costly than DTF printing.

However, DTF printing has become popular due to its affordability and high-quality fabric prints. However, its colour gamut is more constrained, and it might not be as long-lasting as eco-solvent printing.

In the end, it’s crucial to carefully analyse your printing requirements and budget, then choose the printing strategy that will best satisfy those requirements while keeping inside your spending limit.


What is eco-solvent printing?

Eco-solvent printing is a sort of digital printing that prints on a number of materials, including vinyl, banners, and other flexible media, using solvent-based ink. The ink is designed to dry rapidly, creating a print that is strong and long-lasting.

What is DTF printing?

Direct-to-Film printing, or DTF printing, is a new method of digital printing. It involves applying a powder-based ink to a film, which is then heated and pushed to the printing surface, usually a fabric.

Which printing technology is better, eco-solvent or DTF?

Both techniques offer benefits and limitations. Eco-solvent printing is a wonderful option for outdoor and long-lasting printing projects because of its resilience and broader colour spectrum. DTF printing, on the other hand, is more cost-effective and capable of creating prints on materials of a high calibre.

Which ink type is better, eco-solvent or DTF?

DTF ink is cheaper and produces high-quality fabric prints. On the other hand, eco-solvent ink is solvent-based and intended for outdoor and long-term printing applications.

Can we use eco-solvent ink on fabrics?

Although we can use eco-solvent ink on fabrics, the results might not be ideal. While DTF printing is made specifically for printing on fabrics, eco-solvent ink is made for printing on vinyl, banners, and other flexible media.

Can we use DTF ink on non-fabric materials?

DTF ink is mainly designed for printing on fabrics, while it can be used on various non-fabric surfaces including porcelain, glass, and plastic.

Is eco-solvent printing eco-friendly?

Eco-solvent printing uses solvent-based ink with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that harm the environment. But, there are eco-solvent ink formulations with reduced VOC levels.

Is DTF printing eco-friendly?

DTF printing is fairly eco-friendly because it uses powder-based ink, which is better for the environment and makes less trash than solvent-based inks. Additionally, DTF printing can use recycled materials.

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