HTV Vs Screen Printing – Which One is Best

HTV Vs Screen Printing: Which One is Best and the Main Difference between them.

The printed promotional apparel is many of the well-known types of promotional items. From formal to casual outdoors to clothing, apparel is a thing that everyone enjoys. 

When it concerns designing t-shirts and other clothing products there are two main methods of getting the image or another artwork to be printed on the product that are heat-transfer printing as well as screen printing.

Screen printing prints layers of ink through a fine mesh screen to the fabric. The process uses heat to secure the design of a vinyl onto the shirt.

Heat Transfer Vinyl designs are of higher resolution and appear more appealing when they are first created.

Screen printing soaks into fabric and will last for a longer time as time passes.

This article you’ll discover how screen printing works and how the heat press process works. 

Learn about the materials you require for each process. Additionally, you will be given advice on which method is best for you!

HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl)

The heat transfer vinyl is a thin vinyl that can be fed into an equipment, also known as a cutter.

It is used to cut and design patterns that are then heat-applied to shirts by the heated press machine.

Vinyl that is heat transfer (HTV) is primarily depends on pressure, and not surprisingly it is heated. 

After securing the sheet of vinyl that you wish to apply, you can cut it into the shape you’d like to.

A heat press functions as an iron that is flat or a panini press. It seals the fabric and vinyl between two plates that are heated.

You can find tiny heat presses that are suitable for the DIY crafter, or huge commercial heat presses that have massive heated plates.

It’s an affordable DIY, self-made method of creating customized T-shirts. It’s easy to find heat transfer vinyl wholesale as well.

In reality, you can cut whatever you like at this moment. After cutting and weeding any unnecessary pieces of vinyl apply your cut-out pattern to an adhesive sheet.

Then, you can put this transfer sheet on the T-shirt and then run this through the press. It is possible to press more than one sheet at a time for more intricate designs, but make sure you don’t overlap the vinyl pieces.

The majority of artists utilize computers to design cutouts of vinyl transfers, like Circuit’s Design Space.

Then, an electronic cutting machine cuts out the desired design for example, the lettered logo, an image, or even a humorous expression.

Once the HTV cut The artist places the vinyl on the fabric and then utilizes the heat press to melt it. The adhesive is placed on the reverse on the vinyl.

There is a myriad of HTV colors, which include patterns, glitter and some that even glow in the dark.

A completed HTV image on a t-shirt is slightly raised and has a somewhat plastic appearance and feel. It is sharp and is attractive, however it typically, it only has one color.

The combination of different colors of vinyl can result in bumps and ridges that may not look very appealing, however, sometimes an artist with talent can combine several colors side by side to create a stunning effect.

If you want to know Top 10 Best Inkjet Printer for Vinyl Stickers in 2023 then this guide will be perfect for you.


  • Vinyl for heat transfer has its flexibility to be customized and capability to make small quantities. 
  • It is not necessary to follow the rigidity of a template.
  • HTV perfect for families of four that wants personalized shirts for everyone.
  • It also won’t cost you a lot while you create these tiny orders.
  • For the vast majority enthusiasts and the majority of owner of T-shirt shops, HTV is the way to take.


  • The designs don’t last longer than screen printed shirts.
  • The colors aren’t as vibrant as screen printed shirts.
  • Not the best choice for darker shirts.
  • It creates a firmer feeling on the fabric

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Screen Printing

Screen print transfers can also be heat-applied for garments such as hoodies and t-shirts. bags, and so on.

Instead of using vinyl, this type of transfer makes use of plastisol inks identical to direct screen printing to produce your design.

Screen printing uses stencils and ink. It is possible to create a specific stencil for each color and apply layers one at an onto the garment.

The ink is pushed through the stencil to create the pattern you want on the fabric. It is also a method referred to as silk screening.

The stencils let ink only to flow through the area you apply the pattern, preventing it elsewhere.

Making these stencils requires time and they can be used only on one T-shirt design or unless you alter the stencils of previous designs to future designs.

A screen-printed design that is finished on a T-shirt gives an incredibly thick, raised appearance. 

They typically have only one or two colors, and sometimes only one color, due to the difficulty of placing one stencil on over another. 

You can however create images or photographs by printing on screen if you are equipped with the right tools.

This printing method uses distinct processes as compared to DTG which is also known as direct-to-garment printing. 

DTG printing can print multiple colors directly on the fabric, similar to how the laser printer prints directly onto paper.

This method produces intricate and multi-colored designs quickly however it does not come with elegant, polished ink that can last for a longer time than screen-printed designs.

How to make screen print transfers at home? You can make this type of print at home using the most basic of tools for arts and crafts and a special Plastisol ink.

Professional printing companies employ huge screen printing machines that have multiple arms each one holding screens that create designs with multiple colors.


  • It could be worthwhile when you are dealing with large quantities of more than 500 T-shirts.
  • HTV gives you complete control over the procedure. For larger-scale projects, it will necessitate more manual labour than screen printing does.
  • Provides more vivid colors, even on dark-colored fabric.
  • The designs are durable, and they last for longer.


  • The process could be messy and time-consuming at the beginning
  • Requires more chemicals and equipment than heat transfers.
  • Costly to setup and requires higher minimums.
  • Not the best for little orders.
HTV Vs Screen Printing

Screen Printing VS Heat Transfer Vinyl – 3 Main Differences to Keep in Mind

Note: The method of printing that is best for you is based on your specific needs.


Amazingly stylish T-shirts are produced using the HTV vs screen printing procedures. Which approach to design, though, results in clothing that looks more polished?

Despite the fact that both techniques essentially transfer images to the fabric, there are a variety of instances in which one process may be preferable to another.

Cost – Screen Printing Vs Vinyl cost

Although it depends on a variety of factors, in general screen printing is less expensive because you may produce more T-shirts using the same screens by using them repeatedly than by utilising heat transfer.

This is the short answer of Is heat press or screen printing cheaper?

On the other hand, simple heat transfer equipment like vinyl cost less than buying plastisol inks and other screen printing chemicals. 

If you are looking to print only a couple of shirts, you’ll discover that designs printed with heat transfer cost considerably less. 

Screen printing is more affordable if you plan to operate an enterprise and produce T-shirts in bulk!

Durability – Screen Printing Vs Heat Transfer Durability

Vinyl is a good choice for a long lifespan and looks good for a longer time than the DTG print, however it is likely to be damaged and fade in time.

People mostly curios about to know that which lasts longer, vinyl or screen printing, or vinyl? Screen printing is almost always much longer than. 

The primary distinction between these two types of patterns in terms of tensile strength is that screen prints allow ink to penetrate the fabric, but an HTV design will remain on the fabric’s surface and is more susceptible to fading and cracking.

if implemented properly When carried out properly, heat-set plastisol ink screen printing is unlikely to crack, peel, or lose colour over time.

Some businesses claim that screen printing will endure at least 50 machine washes. Other businesses, however, argue that when properly cared for, screen prints should last just as long as the fabric of your garment.

HTV eventually shrinks, fades, and cracks.However, it should last a long time frame of at most several years before damages occur. 

A design that uses heat will last longer if the vinyl is of higher quality. The greatest HTV designs ought to withstand about fifty washings in the washer.

A screen-printed or HTV t-shirt should be washed from the inside out. By doing this, the design will be protected from the washing machine’s rigorous handling and will last longer.

Quality of Vinyl Printing Vs Screen Printing

It’s difficult to agree with everyone on this issue, but you can discover a stronger case for why screen prints are preferable than designs that were printed on heat transfers.

This is because screen printing, as opposed to HTV, makes it easier to layer colours. Heat transfer cannot always provide as vibrant of colours as screen printing..

In addition, the designs that are heat-transferred are best displayed on lighter-colored shirt. 

Depending on the ink colour you choose, screen printing can be done on both dark and light-colored clothing.

Layers of colours are allowed in more intricate designs when using screen printing. It is an excellent method for producing realistic images, especially when taking black and white pictures.

It has vivid, vibrant colors and looks great on dark or light-colored clothing.

The HTV single-color designs look amazing. These patterns aren’t as intricate and colourful as screen prints, but, overall.


Which is better HTV or screen printing?

HTV is much more cost effective than screen printing. HTV is a water based adhesive and is more durable than screen printing.

It allows more flexibility in design and less ink is used in printing. This way, it causes less harm to the environment.

HTV has no limits in the type of garment it can be used on. It can be used on cotton, polyester and other materials. HTV adheres to the material, which means the design doesn’t peel or crack.

This has many benefits over screen printing.

Screen printing is cheaper than HTV printing. However, the printing is more time consuming and the design is limited. It is also more harmful to the environment.

Why did my HTV crack?

HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) needs to be used in a dry place. If you make your designs outside in the hot sun, it will dry out and crack. You should also not iron on HTV if it is not applied to a heat transfer material.

Does Screen Printing Peel?

Without a doubt, the best and most cheap way to get your image on a bespoke t-shirt is by screen printing. Screen printing does come with some restrictions, though.

Use large screens, high-quality ink, and make sure your picture is properly adhered to the garment if you want a design to appear as intended on a t-shirt.

If you don’t take these factors into consideration, it is very possible that your graphic will be “peeling.” Peeling is a result of a bad print, and it happens when the ink doesn’t stick well to the garment.

Why do Vinyl Shirts Crack?

Vinyl, is a long chain polyester, which is melted and cast into sheets. The problem with vinyl is that heat is not the only factor which causes it to crack.

Vinyl also begins to crack due to the sunlight. When exposed to heat, and/or sunlight, the light is absorbed into the surface of the vinyl. When the sunlight keeping heating up the vinyl, the interior of the fabric is heated up, and that leads to the vinyl cracking.

Does Siser HTV crack?

The short answer is Yes, exposure to high heat, such as from a hair dryer or flat iron, will cause siser HTV to crack. 

Siser HTV crack is the term which refers to the actual cracking of the vinyl coating when it is applied.

This is the result of the adhesive chemical reaction and occurs when the HTV is applied at too hot of a temperature.

Is Siser vinyl better than Cricut?

Siser vinyl is a great alternative if you are looking for something with a little more durability.

It is more durable than Cricut Vinyl, but it is also more expensive than Cricut so that’s really something you should consider when choosing your vinyl.

Final Words

Both methods allow you to put an image on T-shirts or other products both methods can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

If you’re printing designs with distinctive names (such as uniforms for sports teams) The heat transfer may be the most economical route to take, but it’s an option for printing a lot of similar designs and want an extra durable print screen printing is the best option.

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