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M2 DTG Printer VS Brother GT-381

What to look for when comparing the M2 DTG to the Brother GT-381 dtg printer.

The Brother GT-381 DTG Printer is Brother’s flagship t-shirt printer. So how does it compare to the M2 DTG printer machine in features, output, quality, size, costs, and ease of use?

We compare each dtg printer in the following 6 ways:

Cost per Print– How much do prints cost on each machine

Print Quality – Which one has better quality and feels softer

Productivity – M2’s removable platen system vs Brother’s stationary system

Print Size – What are the advantages of the M2’s larger field size

White Ink Management – M2’s automatic design vs Brother’s manual agitation

Construction – Which machine is built better / Quality of Construction


Comparing ROI & Cost Per Print

T-shirt printer profitability is what business owners look for most.  The M2 DTG printer brand is the hands down market leader in this area.  The M2’s industrial direct to garment printer turns out to have the lowest cost per print when compared to the BrotherGT-381

When your DTG printer helps you keep more money in your pocket each month, that extra money can be used to fulfill your dreams.  That’s what we call getting a great return on investment.  But to know where you stand, you have to know what things cost.

The included Rip Pro software that comes standard with the M2 machine counts the costs for you.  It allows virtually any custom t shirt business to do Job Costing Up -Front.  No more guesswork, know where you stand on your jobs.

How much to charge for a t-shirt is a common question. The job costing feature built into the Rip Pro software lets you know exactly how much ink you will need when pricing out a job.

Compare that to the Brother print driver which does not offer job costing. In fact, in a recent cost per print comparisonthe Brother GT-381 was estimated at over three (3) times the cost per shirt in ink costs.

The published retail price per liter for the M2’s Genuine DTG inks is $266.59/liter for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, or Black.  Whereas the white inks cost $299/liter.  You can compare that to the published prices on the PAS store for the Brother GT-381 (GT-361, GT-341). Their white ink works out to $806/liter.  That’s nearly four times the price per liter.

Not only that, but you get even more savings on DTG printer Ink with our new Ink Savers program!

Print Quality Comparison | M2 – Best Quality DTG Printer

There are some measurable differences in quality of output between the Brother dtg printer and the M2. The maximum print quality of the Brother gt-381 machine is 1200 dpi compared to the M2 DTG brand which sports 1,440 dots per inch precision.

Also, the M2 applies 240 more dots into every inch of its print output. That’s over three thousand (3,000) more dots in a standard 14” design.

There’s enough precision and quality to satisfy the needs of even the pickiest customers or artists.

M2 Has Precision Encoding

The M2 also has a single encoder strip across the full print area of the dtg printer. This encoder strip maintains registration over distance so the machine always knows the position of the print head.  That’s what leads to the better precision of the M2.

Furthermore, along the up and down axis is a direct screw-drive mechanism made of solid steel.  This mechanism gives precision control of the distance between the garment and the print head. It allows the M2’s print head to get closer to the substrate which means each print can look crystal clear when compared to the Brother GT-381.

If you look closely on the encoder strip, you can see the tiny lines that go up and down, those sensor lines are used to know where the print head carriage is at all times. 

Complete Control Over Look and Feel

ColDesi, Inc.’s flagship M2 DTG printer comes equipped with DTG Rip Pro C6 software for higher quality and a softer print on light and dark garments compared to the Brother DTG printer, which uses a standard printer driver.

You’ll have complete control over every aspect of the print job. And, the software is well known in the graphics world by professional printers.The Rip gives unlimited customization of the print job for different fabric & item types.

Considering the thousands of different fabric types and styles in today’s garment industry, it’s important to be able to control each aspect of look, quality, and feel of the printed garment.

This image shows how the operator can stage multiple jobs and have them processed and waiting for the operator to simply hit “load” again. Combined with the preloading, you’ll have non-stop production.

Unlimited Customization

The RIP (raster image processor) allows for unlimited customization of the print job for different fabric & item types. Considering the thousands of different fabric types and styles in today’s garment industry, it’s important to be able to control each aspect of look, quality, and feel of the printed garment.

The DTG RIP Pro C6‘s unique print queues come pre-loaded with the Rip Pro C6 software.  Rather than waiting for each job to process, the operator or artist can “pre-rip” the design while the machine is printing.  Compare this to the Brother GT-381 (and GT-361, 341) dtg printer which requires additional processing time. The print drivers that come standard on the Brother t shirt printer typically use even more ink per print and do not allow for the customization that the DTG M2 system provides.

Comparing Productivity and Output

The GT-318 is a traditional DTG printer with a single load, fixed platen system. It has been designed to load or print one garment at a time.  While printing, there is no additional platen to prepare the next shirt.

Also, each garment must be opened and pressed onto the platen one at a time.  Correct alignment is tricky and is done in the upside down position. The machine is idle while you unload the previous garment AND while you prepare the next.

A Sticky Situation

The Brother t-shirt printer uses a specialized sticky substance called “pallet glue”.   It has to be brushed on and allowed to dry to ensure adhesion of the shirt to the platen. Not only that, but the glue must be scraped off periodically and replaced. The fuzz on the inside of the garment builds up causing a loss of adhesion.

The end result is downtime, more hassle, and multiple periods throughout the week where the operator must stop printing and scrape.

Removable Platens and Interface

The M2 DTG printer uses a flexible, removable platen system. This is a superior design and lets you preload garments, much like an embroiderer will hoop garment #2 while garment #1 is sewing.

With preloading, the operator can simply swap platens and press start again to keep on printing.  Furthermore, the M2 has a snap-in-place positioning system that allows the platens to be changed in seconds.  There are no handles or levers for the garments to get caught on.

DTG’s flexible platen system is also the key to being able to print 1, 2 or 4 shirts at once! Or up to 12 shirts with the DTG M6!