Screen printing is a popular technique for a reason: the variety of colors that can be used. Not only does this process work on lighter fabrics, but it also prints well on darker materials. If you want to print shirts or other apparel, then your DIY lab is going to need a screen printing machine.
We’ve reviewed 22 options to choose the 7 best screen printing machines, with the VEVOR Screen Printing 4 Color 2 Station Screen Printing Machine as our Editor’s Choice. One of the most essential considerations while choosing is the number of colors. Planning prevents messes and wastage, whether you know precisely how many colors you’ll need or not. It’s good to have a fair idea of the kind of design you want too. If it’s something small and straightforward, one or two colors might suffice. It’s crucial to remember that anything needing an underbase will also necessitate a station. If you are printing on darker garments, this could result in lengthy delays if you only have one station.
More features: 1.8″ max screen thickness, perfect for different materials, includes 6 aluminum screen frames with yellow 305 count mesh
If you’re looking for the best screen printing machine, then this could well be it. There are four colors and two stations that are going to be able to give you a good capacity, but it may still be a little too small for those looking for mass production.
The best manual screen printing machine needs to be easy to use and highly durable, and this model ticks both of those boxes. While offering the opportunity to print many shirts, this screen printing machine kit is still quite compact.
With the 1.8” screen thickness that they have, the screen printing machine is great for those who need to work with difficult materials. It enables you to produce high-quality results time and time again, without having to worry about mistakes or ruined garments.
Apart from those qualities, the screen printing machine is also easy to assemble. That’s great for those who won’t be printing every day and may need to store it from time to time. It’s quite compact while still being highly effective. It’s an excellent model that you’ll love using while creating your own designs.
If you’re only going to need a small amount of printing, this affordable product will be perfect for you. There is only one color and one station, making it ideal for simpler designs where you can reproduce them quickly.
It is a great option for your hobby, and if you have plans to start more difficult projects, then you could always upgrade to a new machine while still using this for simple jobs. With the effortless ease of use, you’ll become an expert in no time.
The machine has a premium level of quality, and this relates to the durable steel that isn’t going to rust. It can be a little tricky to set up, but once you do, you’ll enjoy the portability and versatility it has.
You’ll be able to store it away easily without having to take it apart . There is also plenty of adjustability to this machine, which will allow you to work it into the perfect position. It has a compact size, and therefore, it doesn’t need much storage space.
More features: 1.2″ max screen thickness, micro-adjustments, metal stand included
INTBUYING has been able to make a screen printing machine that is an absolute beast. There are six different stations with six frames for various colors that can rotate. It enables you to produce a huge amount of garments in a short period of time.
It makes it the best screen printing machine for a small business, and it works extremely well. Therefore, you’ll be able to fulfill a large number of orders without making your clients having to wait.
With that huge size, it expectedly has a huge weight. At 335 pounds, this is a serious heavy-duty machine that will require much more space compared to smaller cousins. You won’t be able to move it without partly deconstructing it, so bear that in mind.
Still, you do get great stability with that, and the legs are adjustable that will allow you to make sure that it’s level. The construction is very durable, and it will be able to cope with frequent use. It has all the adjustability you’ll need to make those perfect designs.
Having four colors and two stations is seen as a very good balance between size and productivity. It enables you to produce a lot of shirts on any given day without your machine taking up a vast amount of space.
It’s another screen printing machine that has a lack of instructions, which can be very annoying, but it’s not too hard to put it up without them. Luckily, the bundle has some tools that you might need to set it up. Once you have it installed, you’ll see that it’s well-balanced with a good level of stability.
One of the most impressive parts of this screen printing machine for T-shirts is the level of adjustments that you can make. This includes micro-adjustments for better accuracy.
It’s completely constructed from metal to give it a marvelous level of build quality. It does give it significant weight, so the portability isn’t one of its strong points.
More features: rust-resistant construction, adjustable clamp, perfect for different kinds of printing, space-saving design
If you’re looking for a one-station screen printing press that still has a good level of stability, then this would be a great option. The high-quality materials used give it that balance as well as the amazing durability.
With this screen printing machine, it’s going to be the best idea to find a table or a worktop that you are going to be able to bolt it onto. This way, you’re going to be able to use it with a high level of confidence. But do not worry, it won’t take much space.
It’s ideal for a wide range of different prints, and you’re going to be able to complete a wide range of different garments. That is helped by the adjustable screen clamp that it has to ensure that you get the exact results that you’re looking for. It is a wonderful choice for beginners who enjoy T-shirt printing and want to give it a try.
It’s yet another screen printing machine that doesn’t have the best instruction out there, but thankfully, you’ll be able to work it out as it’s quite easy to assemble. It’s another great option for those that don’t have a huge quantity of printing to get through.
More features: includes screen, emulsion sheet, squeegee, adult T-shirt platen, platen adhesive sheet, blank ink-jet transparency, 2-ounce bottle of black ink, instructional DVD and manual
If you’re looking for a more digital screen printing press, then you’ll love this model. It could also well be the best screen printing machine for beginners as you’ll be able to create your own designs quite easily.
The DIY screen printing machine includes everything that you need to get started and to complete your print. You would need to get some paint remover yourself if you did want to use the screen again in a different color.
If you’re worried about this being a little too difficult to use, then the instructional DVD will be a huge help. It will give you step-by-step instructions until you become a master. You’ll soon be able to make great apparel in no time at all.
The digital controls make it simple to burn your own images. All you have to do is to set the timer and let the lightbox do its magic. When you get it right, the results are high-quality, and you’ll be very happy with them. It does lack capacity but is ideal for small-scale production.
More features: perfect for different materials, removable and adjustable pallet and clamp, 1.8″ max screen thickness
SHZOND is another company that has been able to make a fantastic 4-color screen printing machine with two stations. At a little over 60 pounds, it is quite heavy compared to its rivals, which is worth taking into account if you need something more portable.
There is an upside to that weight, however. It offers you impressive stability that will allow you to complete your prints with a very high level of confidence. It also gives you outstanding durability as this is a machine that will last for years.
That all comes at a very reasonable price, and you get what you are paying for. It’s perfect for those who are just starting out. It’s also great for advanced users that have the need for a two-station model for their homes.
The removable and adjustable pallet and clamp help to make it very easy to use. The instructions aren’t great, which is a little bit annoying, but once you have it installed, you’ll be very happy. If you’re struggling with the setup process, then there are some online videos that can help.
For those who want to get the best screen printing machine, there is a lot of things to consider. They are all a little different with various screens and colors available. Here, we will look at all the key features that will form your buying decision. Once you’ve completed this section, you should have a clear idea about exactly what you want and what you need in order to make perfect prints.
With these two options, there isn’t a clear winner on which one is going to be the best as they are suitable for different things. A screen printing machine is better for simpler designs and is easier for the mass production of garments.
The advantage of a heat press is that it’s easier to do more complex designs, but can take more time to complete the project.
Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of screen printing:
Each method has its place, but for most apparel jobs, a screen printing machine is going to be easier to use. You can still make complex color designs with them, but this will be quite time-consuming.
In order to get the answer to this question, you first need to know what designs you plan on making and how many garments you intend to produce. Once you know that, then it makes the job of choosing the best screen printing machine a lot easier. After that, you can focus on the likes of dimensions and weight to get a perfect choice. As we go through these segments, it’s a good idea to make a note of how important each feature is to you.
It’s tempting to get as many colors as you can, but your costs go up, and you could be left with colors that you never use. When it comes to the screen printing machines, each frame can only use one color at a time. Therefore, if you plan on using more colors, you will need to find a model with more frames, which is going to be a lot larger and heavier compared to one-color models. Besides, simpler models are not as time-demanding as their bigger brothers.
For a simple one-color option, the INTBUYING 1 Color Manual Screen Printing Machine would be perfect, but on the other end of the scale, we have the heavy-duty INTBUYING Double Rotary 6-6 Colors Screen Printing Press for mass production.
It’s best to plan ahead and know how many colors you want, and whether you ‘ll make complex detailed designs or something a little different. For simple jobs, you may be fine with having just one or two colors.
The key question to ask yourself here is how many t-shirts you want to be able to make at a time. If you’re only using one color on a light garment, then it’s likely that you’ll only need one station. If you want multiple colors and designs, then your needs will grow.
An essential point to note is that anything needing an underbase will also require a station. If you are printing on dark garments, this could mean a lot of waiting around if you just have one station. Again, planning ahead is important.
If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to start small as you’ll always be able to upgrade. The Yudu Personal Screen Printer is a great option for those who only need one station.
You need to know the amount of space that you plan to be working with. While they are great for the likes of t-shirts and hoodies, these screen printing machines can also be used for bed sheets and towels, which might require a larger printing area.
For bigger prints, it’s best to get a bigger machine, but that can take up more space. It’s about getting the right balance for your printing needs. Make sure that you’re not going to compromise on the quality of the finish.
Before you buy a screen printing machine, it’s vital that you check if it will fit the space that you have. Whether it is a spare room, a garage or another type of space, you want to measure everything properly to be able to move around the room.
It’s also worth noting that some of these machines are quite heavy, and some will need to be kept stationary and be bolted onto a table or workspace. If you don’t have a lot of space available, then it’s going to be the best idea to get a machine that has a higher level of portability, such as the Yudu Personal Screen Printer.
If you plan on having your screen printing machine in a permanent position, then you will either want to have a freestanding model that is going to stay in the middle room or have a machine that you are going to bolt into place. If you are doing either option, then the weight isn’t going to be much of an issue.
However, it’s not always possible to have that permanent place for your printing machine, so the weight can be important in some cases.
There are some machines here that are still not hard to carry. The VEVOR Screen Printing 4 Color 2 Station Screen Printing Machine weighs 56 lbs. and can be used for two shirts at the same time. Having a heavier model can be quite awkward to carry when fully assembled.
With the best models out there, you should be able to have plenty of adjustability. The frame clamp, pallet, and tension should all be able to be set up in order to get perfect results.
This is important, as otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to work with other types of garments. The Screen Printing Equipment 4 Color Printer is a great example of a model where you can make micro-adjustments.
You want to be able to put the design you’ve made on the perfect spot, and you also need to apply the right pressure. Without having these adjustments, the final result may look sloppy and not up to the standard you have.
Some of these machines are heavy, have a lot of moving parts, but your main goal is to achieve exceptional results. With those aspects in your mind, you want the screen printing machine to be very easy to use, and all of the models we’ve looked at here have that superior level of quality to provide that.
If you’re a screen-printing novice, then it may be the best idea to get something that’s a little smaller in size as these machines will be easier to master. It can take some time to learn the perfect formula, but you’ll soon get to grips with them.
As well as the machine itself, it’s always good to get some great accessories with it to have everything you need to get started. If you’re going to have multiple designs, then you will want to have plenty of frames and mesh to be able to create them.
You’ll want to have squeegees to complete the prints and emulsion or ink, depending on your requirements. There are also other items that you may need, such as a dryer and adhesives. It’s recommended to check the product description to see if there are any accessories included.
While there are some that will be looking for the best value for money, others will simply want the highest quality. As you can imagine with these machines, there is a large correlation between the number of colors/stations and the price.
If you’re looking for a budget option, then the INTBUYING 1 Color Manual Screen Printing Machine is going to be a great bet. At a little under $100, it’s a wonderful model for simple projects. If you’re looking for bigger capacity, then the VEVOR Screen Printing 4 Color 2 Station Screen Printing Machine at around $300 is going to be perfect for your needs.
If you have your own business and need high capacity, then you’ll need a larger heavy-duty model. At around $1,300, the INTBUYING Double Rotary 6-6 Colors Screen Printing Press may seem expensive to some. However, with the number of garments you’ll be able to produce, you’ll soon see that it is an excellent value. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to go for a smaller model and then scale up as you increase your skills.
It’s important that you’re all set up and ready. Otherwise, you may well find yourself halfway through a project only to discover that you need to stop what you’re doing. If you’ve already put down the emulsion, then this can end up being a big waste as you will have to start again. Along with your screen printing machine, it’s a good idea to buy everything that you need at the same time. This way, there won’t be any delays by the time it arrives.
Preparation: You’ll want to apply masking tape to the inside and back of your screen to prevent spilling emulsion
Emulsion: This needs to be mixed and then poured onto the screen
Using the squeegee: You’ll now want to grab the squeegee in order to give a smooth finish
Drying: Leave the screen to dry, preferably in a warm dark room with air circulation
Getting a transparency paper: You need to print an image on a transparency paper with the black ink
Exposure: Place the transparency upside down on the flat side of the screen, and then expose it to bright light for 12-14 minutes
Washing your screen: The emulsion would have hardened except for the part not exposed to light. Use a shower head or spray to wash off the soft material
Setting the screen: Attach the screen and press it onto the shirt flat side down
Inking: Place the ink onto the screen and use the squeegee to put it onto the shirt
Ironing: Once it’s dried, iron the shirt on all areas of the design in order to cure it
With ironing, you can either apply direct heat for around 15 seconds or a safer method would be to use baking or brown paper. Iron over this paper for about 90 seconds, giving the t-shirt a break in between that time for a few seconds to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Hopefully, by now, you have a great idea of which screen printing machine is going to be perfect for you. We love the VEVOR Screen Printing 4 Color 2 Station Screen Printing Machine due to its exceptional build quality, the ease of use, and the finish it’s able to provide.
If you’re looking for a small and more portable machine instead, then the INTBUYING 1 Color Manual Screen Printing Machine would be a great bet.
Whichever one you choose from this list, you can rest assured that it’ll be the highest possible quality. Make sure you’re taking all your needs into account and choosing the best screen printing machine for you. All that’s left to do is pick one and start making some amazing apparel!