Vinyl/Digital Transfers Vs. Screenprinting

Both options will give you a high quality, long lasting product, and in most cases either option will work just as well as the other.


Run Sizes

VINYL/DIGITAL TRANSFERS: Vinyl is well suited for very small runs (which we would consider anything from 1 to 12 shirts), this is because the set up time is much quicker than that of screen printing. This doesn’t make it a faster overall method though, as every shirt still requires individual set up, which becomes too time consuming beyond the 12 shirt mark.

SCREENPRINTING: Costs more for small runs, as it takes much longer to setup than vinyl. Once the setup is finished though, nothing will need to change from shirt to shirt (as long as the design stays the same), making it much quicker to print larger orders.


Image Detail and Colours

VINYL: Simple graphics work best with vinyl, think 1 or 2 coloured, text based pieces, or basic shapes. Need numbers for your sports singlets? Perfect!

DIGITAL TRANSFERS: Have lots of colours or gradient/shaded colours in your design? These are best used for lots of colours where screenprinting is just not suitable or cost effective. You cannot cut around small text on digital transfers, we include a small background behind the text, usually matched to the colour of the garment.

SCREENPRINTING: Screen printing allows for a much higher level of detail, great for small text. A gradient/shaded effect cannot be achieved. Up to 6 colours can be printed in one design. The price increases per colour.


 A common question we are asked, is what is the lifespan of vinyl heat transfers and digital transfers compared to screenprinting.

Both methods should last years under normal use.


VINYL/DIGITAL TRANSFERS: Vinyl heat transfers and digital transfers applied to t-shirts should last years under normal use when the following care instructions are adhered to:

  • Do not dry clean
  • Machine wash WARM w/mild detergent
  • Dry at normal setting
  • No chlorine bleach
  • Wait 24 hours before first wash


SCREENPRINTING: Screenprinted graphics should last the life of the garment under normal use.

Neither method should be ironed.


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 12, 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.

The other deciding factor is the type of artwork you would like to print.

Both of these play a large part in the price of your new uniforms.

Contact us if you have any questions.