White toner printing is one of the latest forms of heat transfer. It’s quickly becoming popular due to it’s relatively low costs, prep time, versatility, and great results. It’s comparable to sublimation or DTG printing.
White toner printing uses a laser printer loaded with white toner instead of black toner. You print on a semi transparent sheet (A). Then use your heat press to transfer the image from sheet A to B. Sheet B is used to transfer the image to a t shirt or other garment.
White toner printing requires a laser printer with a white toner cartridge, transfer sheets, a heat press, and a blank. A white toner printer is more expensive than a sublimation printer. However, it isn’t limited to certain fabrics or materials like sublimation. DTG printers are much more expensive, geared toward small businesses.
DTG printing requires you to pretreat the garments. Sublimation and white toner do not. DTG and white toner are more versatile than sublimation. All three have great results.
Advantages and Disadvantages
White toner printing works with any fabric, light or dark. Like any transfer, rough materials don’t have as good of results as cotton or polyester fabrics.
White toner transfers don’t fade with washing. However, they can wrinkle after a few washes. I’ve seen tiny cracks after many washes. Vinyl and sublimation transfers are the most durable in my opinion.
White toner printing feels more like vinyl transfers. But knocking out the black or rasterizing the image drastically reduces the papery feel of the transfer.
White toner printers don’t require any maintenance. Just add toner when it runs out. Unlike other printers, laser printers don’t dry out or have any issues from sitting idle for weeks.
In my experience white toner transfers aren’t capable of the same detail as sublimation or DTG. Images with halftones and gradients are difficult for any laser printer. White toner printers have the best results with vector images that have solid blocks of colors.
If you’re looking to start a small business white toner is a better choice than DTG. It doesn’t cost as much to start up as DTG. White toner has less maintenance, no pretreat, and is uncomplicated compared to DTG.
A white toner printer is simply a laser printer loaded with a white toner cartridge instead of a black toner cartridge.
White toner printers are good for heat transfers to t shirts or other materials.
White toner works with any fabric while sublimation works with polyester fabrics. White toner transfers are a two step transfer while sublimation is transferred once.
White toner is less expensive that DTG. DTG requires pre-treatment and takes longer than white toner transfers. In my experience white toner has better quality than DTG. DTG feels better and white toner cracks after many washes. Unlike sublimation, both white toner and DTG work on any fabric, light or dark.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.