DTF film and print products: T shirt, bags, pillows, hat

DTF Film: Hot Peel vs. Cold Peel, Which Is Really Better? How to Choose?

DTF film is one of the most important supplier in Direct to Film printing process, T-shirt printing cannot be done without transferring the print patterns onto the clothes, (so the DTF Film is called DTF Transfer Film as well), Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film are 2 types of DTF Film used for the transferring. 

The key differences between Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film are: Hot Peel Film is more efficient, for large patterns with lower press temperature (140℃-150℃) while Cold Peel Film can be applied to more types of fabrics with longer-term water washing fastness at lower cost.

Key Differences Between Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film

What is DTF Film?

The following table presents major differences between the 2 types of films from: main component, pressing temperature, pressing time, application material, transfer size, cost, efficiency and washing fastness.

 Hot Peel FilmCold Peel Film
Main ComponentWaxSilicon
Pressing Temperature & Processing TimePressing at 140-150℃, 5-10 seconds; Cooling 2-3 secondsPressing at 150-170℃, 10-20 seconds; Cooling 30 seconds
Application MaterialAll kinds of fabricsAll kinds of fabrics, Perfect for special fabrics such as: tarpaulin, coated cloth, canvas, flannelette
Transfer FeaturesLarge images, patterns, such as: T shirt print on front and backComplex, intricate patterns such as fine lines, small icons, letters with details
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
EfficiencyMore efficient, up to 100 T-shirt in a hourLess efficient
Washing FastnessShorter-term than Cold Peel FilmLong-term water washing fastness

DTF Film (DTF PET Film, DTF Transfer Film) is a special film with coating, it’s required in DTF (direct to film) printing that transfers design to fabrics or other materials. Usually, there are 6 layers contained: base layer, release layer, viscose layer, printing layer, protective layer and antistatic layer. (Everything to Know about DTF Film)

To adapt different DTF printing requirements and printout best quality, usually there are 2 versions of DTF film offered: hot peel film and cold peel film. (How To Use DTF Film?)

Detail Differences Between Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film

Main Component of DTF Film: Hot Peel vs. Cold Peel

In order to ensure better release effect, main component of hot peel film is wax, which is difficult to melt and apply evenly. So the requirements for coating process are more strict.

The main component of cold film is silicon. Silicon is easier to melt and apply to film compared with hot peel film. That’s why the cold film is more stable than hot peel film in market.

Hot Peel Film vs. Cold Peel Film: Different Pressing Temperature and Processing Time

Hot peel film needs to be pressed under temperature of 140-150℃ for 5-10 seconds with 2-3 seconds cooling time after pressing.

Pressing temperature of cold peel film is longer than that of hot peel film, usually at 150-170℃ for 10-20 seconds, after pressing, it requires about 30 seconds cooling time before tearing off.

Hot Peel Film vs. Cold Peel Film: Application Materials, Transfer Features

Both hot peel film and cold peel film are suitable for all kinds of fabrics, however, cold peel film is perfectly suitable for some special fabrics such as tarpaulin and coated cloth, it also can be applied to rough texture fabric such as canvas and flannelette. These fabrics have enough time to restore adhesion and flatness after heat pressing.

If using hot peel film onto above materials, it is easy to create wrinkle and perhaps damage the fabric, the final print result is less quality than cold peel film.

As a result, cold peel film is more ideal for printing requires better quality at complex patterns, small letters and icons, intricate lines and transferring texture.

Fine T-shirt printing with complex patterns transferred by excellent DTF film

Cost of Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film, Which is Higher?

As producing process of hot peel film is more complicated and requirements for uniformity and coating accuracy of the coating machine are stricter, hence, cost of hot peel film is higher than cold peel film.

Efficiency of Hot Peel Film and Cold Peel Film

As introduced in above section, hot peel film can be torn off nearly without waiting after pressing, this saves a lot of time. The printing business owner or operator just need to focus on heat press, once heat press is finished, you can tear off the film and then quickly produce another piece of t-shirt. This makes 100 pieces of t-shirt printing in one hour possible.

On the other hand, as cold peel film has better printing quality on detail and granularity, the efficiency is relatively lower than hot peel film.

Different Washing Fastness Between Hot Peel and Cold Peel Film

Hot peel film has adhesive layer which uses a water-based back coating technique. If the adhesive layer is not torn off in time, the cooled glue will stick to the clothing, making it difficult to remove the film from the clothing. Furthermore, there is no guarantee the long-term water washing fastness of the water-based adhesive layer.

The adhesive layer of cold peel film uses an oil-based back-coating method, which has good washing fastness.

Hot Peel vs. Cold Peel Film, Which is Really Better?

All in all, hot peel film and cold peel film have their own transfer features suitable for different printing requirements.

In general printing business scenario, choosing DTF hot peel film is ideal for large volume printing onto common fabrics such as cotton T-shirt, the cold peel film is a better choice on print complex and fine small patterns onto special material such as tarpaulin, coated cloth, canvas and flannelette.

Though choosing DTF transfer film is not as complicated as to choose the best DTF printer for profitable printing business, here are 6 key features that could help you to choose the right DTF film:

  • Ink-absorption capacity
  • Coating layer
  • Powder shaking effect
  • Release effect
  • Storage capacity
  • High temperature resistance

What Are The Other DTF Film Types from Different Categorization?

Though most known types of DTF film are hot peel and cold peel, that’s only one of the way  to classify: by release process, in fact, there are more types named from different perspective.

For example, by coating process, the DTF film can be categorized into: single side coating and double-side coating, by visual effect, the DTF film can be: reflective colorful film, laser film, luminous film, temperature change film, shining film.

More information is explained in detail in this great DTF Film guide written by printing experts, the guide gives all the basic and fundamental information about DTF PET film for Direct to Film Printing. Reading this will definitely help you to choose the best DTF Film.

Get DTF Film for Free, Try It Yourself

Choosing the most suitable DTF film is a key influencer to high performance DTF printing for the successful printing business, no text nor technology is better than try it yourself, you can request DTF film sample (free) to feel the difference between hot peel DTF film and cold peel film and decide the better one.

FAQ

DTF Film (DTF PET Film, DTF Transfer Film) is a special film with coating, it’s required in DTF (direct to film) printing that transfers design to fabrics or other materials. Usually, there are 6 layers contained: base layer, release layer, viscose layer, printing layer, protective layer and antistatic layer.

To adapt different DTF printing requirements and printout best quality, usually there are 2 versions of DTF film offered: hot peel film and cold peel film.

To use the DTF transfer film:

  • Find the side with adhesive layer and use for printing;
  • Carefully handle and install the film to avoid scratches on the surface;
  • Heat 40-90 seconds for drying, adjust the temperature according to the DTF powder; (advanced DTF printer integrates the automated drying process requires no manual action)
  • Tear off the film: tear off immediately for hot peel film, wait about 30s for cold peel film;
  • Keep in cool and dry environment;

The side with adhesive layer is the one Direct to Film printing should work onto. Usually the adhesive layer can be identified by slightly scratching or dropping water, if the coating reflected, it’s the side for DTF printing.

No. DTF film can be used only 1 time, after printing and transferring, the coating (layer) is consumed. However, the PET film is recyclable, you may return it for re-production.

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