Curious about buying your own t-shirt printing equipment? Thanks to the rise of t-shirt printing in recent years, getting logos, photos, and other custom designs printed onto shirts is easier than ever. Whether you’re planning a corporate event, a family reunion, or a fundraiser, getting custom t-shirts made is an easy way to promote your event and make it successful.

You might even decide to start your own t-shirt printing business so you can make custom shirts for your family, friends, and fellow community members. Let’s dive into what equipment you’ll need to get started.

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T-Shirt Printing Equipment Buying Guide

Wondering what you need to start a t-shirt printing business at home? Here’s the equipment you need to get your business up and running.


A shirt printing machine is the first piece of equipment you need to start a shirt printing business. The printer prints designs on special paper that is then transferred onto shirts. Digital heat transfer is a common method for t-shirt printing. These are the three main types of t-shirt printers, along with their pros and cons.


Pros Cons
  • Affordable option
  • Better at printing photos 
  • Slow speed
  • Only a 100-sheet printing capacity


Pros Cons
  • More efficient
  • Better at printing vector-based images
  • More expensive

Direct To Garment (DTG)

Pros Cons
  • Most efficient because it transfers designs directly onto t-shirts
  • Versatile because it works for more than just t-shirts
  • Available in a range of prices
  • Expensive
  • Slow printing process
  • Not effective for all t-shirt materials

Heat Press Machine

A heat press machine transfers the design onto the shirt using heated metal plates. First, you put the shirt on the bottom plate and the design on the top plate. Then, you press down on the top and hold until the design transfers to the shirt. Heat press machines come in manual and electric options.


Pros Cons
  • More affordable
  • Better for small-scale businesses
  • Less efficient


Pros Cons
  • More efficient because it can meet a higher shirt demand, helping you increase output
  • More user-friendly
  • Better for large-scale businesses
  • More expensive
t-shirt printing equipment: heat press machine



A cutter automatically cuts designs, so you don’t have to do it manually, preparing designs for heat transfer. Invest in a quality cutter to ensure accurate designs.

Inks & Transfer Paper

High-quality ink ensures a high-quality design. It’s widely available in stores, on Amazon, and elsewhere. Be sure to get plenty of colors so you can fulfill all types of orders. Buy in bulk to lower costs and decrease production time.

Not all transfer paper is created equal. You need the right kind to ensure a quality print. For example, light transfer paper is designed for light-colored garments, whereas dark transfer paper is designed for dark-colored garments.

Factors to consider when selecting transfer paper include:

  • The fabric color you'll be printing on
  • The image you plan to print
  • The type of printing method you're using, as different printers use different transfer paper

Screen Printing Machine & Screens

Screen printing is an alternative method to heat transfer. Someone might choose to use a screen printing machine instead of a heat press for t-shirt printing when they need to produce a large quantity of shirts with the same design. Screen printing is more efficient for bulk production as it allows for consistent, high-quality results and is cost-effective when producing large volumes. Additionally, screen printing can offer a wider range of ink colors and special effects, making it a preferred choice for complex and vibrant designs.

You’ll need to invest in the screen printing machine along with several screens. Get a screen for each ink color you plan to use. We recommend using professional screens over DIY screens for a higher-quality product.

t-shirt printing equipment: screen printing machine


Emulsion is a substance you apply directly onto the screens to reduce the screens’ sensitivity to light. It also makes space for the ink to ensure even printing. Buy in bulk so you can apply thick layers without running out too quickly.


A dryer dries the design once it has been applied to the t-shirt. It does so by curing the wet ink, allowing it to set in the fabric.

Powering Your T-Shirt Printing Equipment

Some t-shirt printing equipment is high-voltage and requires more than the single-phase power your utility line delivers. Here’s why it’s important to consider how to power your t-shirt printing equipment before you begin operations.


Ensuring the equipment is powered safely is paramount to prevent electrical hazards, fires, or accidents. Proper electrical setup and adherence to safety standards minimize risks to both operators and the workplace.


Choosing the right power source and voltage can help reduce energy consumption and operating costs, saving you money on your monthly utility bill.


Properly powering your equipment ensures it operates at its optimal capacity, maximizing production efficiency. Inadequate power supply can result in slower printing speeds or frequent downtime.


A stable and consistent power source is crucial for the reliability of your printing equipment. Power fluctuations or interruptions can cause everything from misprints to equipment damage, leaving you with costly repairs or replacements.

T-Shirt Printing Equipment

Using Three-Phase Power for T-Shirt Printing Equipment

Three-phase power is a type of electrical distribution that uses three alternating currents to deliver electricity to heavy-duty machinery, like t-shirt printing equipment. It’s commonly used in the t-shirt printing business due to its higher efficiency and ability to provide consistent power for heavy machinery.

Three-phase power delivers a continuous flow of electricity, resulting in smoother and more reliable operation of printing equipment, which is essential for maintaining consistent print quality and production output. A phase converter converts single-phase power into three-phase power your equipment can use.

These are the top benefits of using a phase converter for t-shirt printing equipment:

  • Greater product output
  • More accurate designs
  • Reduced downtime
  • Enhanced safety
  • Lower operation costs
  • Improved equipment performance

Power Your T-Shirt Printing Business With a Premium Phase Converter

When you need your t-shirt printing equipment to run efficiently without malfunctioning or breaking down, you need a quality phase converter. At Phoenix Phase Converters, we have a generous collection of digital and rotary phase converters available in a range of sizes and prices. We can even customize yours to meet your unique business needs. Browse the collection today to find the right phase converter for your business, also browse Imprint

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