UV flatbed printer

UV Flatbed Printer vs. UV Printer, What’s the Difference?

UV printer is the digital equipment for UV printing onto all kinds of substrates like plastic cards, phone cases, mugs, boxes, pens and etc. Due to its fast drying feature and wide range of applications, the UV printer becomes popular as soon as it comes to the market.

According to the data from Google Trends, the UV printer and UV printing technique have been attracting more interests in the global printing market. When people do research before investing printing business or buying printers, they usually just use “UV printer” as a search term, this can bring one of the most common misunderstanding: UV printer equals to UV Flatbed Printer, UV Flatbed Printer is UV printer. 

This could be confused because of some manufactures, articles or content, even the search engines correlate inaccurate term and returns vague results, as a result, buyers and beginners confuse, or even misled to wrong UV printer type which is not best suitable for their printing business.

Is UV Flatbed Printer same to UV Printer?

Simply remember the answer: No, UV flatbed printer is NOT exactly same to UV printer, and vise versa. The truth is: UV flatbed printer is one type of UV printer, UV printer category includes other UV printer types.

If you did search “UV Printer” on Google, you’ll see that many results are related to “UV flatbed printer”, it’s not completely wrong though it’s not accurate, this is because: UV flatbed printer is a major type of UV printer, it mainly prints on flat surface. Now in 2024, in the printing market, flat UV printing still dominates the printing business requirement, hence, it’s reasonable that a lot of “UV Flatbed Printer” results are getting listed as UV printer.

What is UV flatbed printer? How does it work? Following video gives a really good explanation.

On the other hand, as introduced, UV printer is a category of UV printing machine includes some other types. If you wanted to invest into printing business, find a suitable UV printer type is the most important factor to satisfy various customer needs in the market, knowing what is uv printer is the first lesson.

What is UV Printer?

As introduced in the What Is UV Printer ? Know Its Advantages and Disadvantages, UV printer is a kind of digital printer that uses ultraviolet light to dry the ink on the prints. Based on the definition, once a digital printer uses UV light, it is UV printer, regardless if it works onto flat surface or not. In this situation, UV printer is a category name.

UV printer 3 popular types: UV flatbed printer, UV DTF printer, UV hybrid printer
UV printer 3 popular types: UV flatbed printer, UV DTF printer, UV hybrid printer

There are 3 popular UV printer types in the market in 2024: UV Flatbed Printer, Roll-to-Roll UV Printer (UV DTF Printer), UV Hybrid Printer, each has their pros and cons. They are classified by material types. As the name shows, UV flatbed printer prints on flat substrates, and roll-to-roll UV printer(UV DTF printer) prints on materials in roll forms, UV hybrid printer can print both on flatbed and roll substrates. 

UV Flatbed Printer vs. UV Printer, What’s the Difference?

The key difference is: UV printer can work to applications at almost any shape while UV flatbed printer can only print onto flat surface. If you asked why? Above has explained: UV printer is just a category name while UV flatbed printer is a specific type.

Comparison Table: UV Flatbed Printer vs. UV Printer(Other types)

Printer Type

UV flatbed printer

UV printer of other types

Print Materials

  • Acrylic
  • Wood / Plastic
  • PVC board/Metal
  • Ceramic tiles / Glass
  • Leather/Rubber
  • Business card
  • Wood / Keychain
  • Plastic / Glass
  • Fountain pen / Crystal trophy
  • Gift bags / PET film

Print Shape

Flat surface

  • Flat surface
  • cylinder (roll)
  • Curved surface

Consumable Needed

UV ink

UV ink / AB film

Printer Cost



A real example is: in fact, there are other differences between UV flatbed printer and UV DTF printer such as printing process. If you want to explore more, please read this passage What’s the Difference Between UV Flatbed Printer and UV DTF Printer?

UV Flatbed Printer or Other Types UV Printer, Which to Choose?

Different types of UV printers can meet diverse needs, for instance, if you want to focus on phone cases customization business, there is no doubt that UV flatbed printer is the best choice because it can realize multiple designs printing at the same time, but if you wanted to print something onto glass bottle, UV DTF printer is a better choice.

Hence, it is better to decide which type of UV printer is most suitable for you according to your specific plan or the local market needs around your business. You can also read this article UV Printing for Beginners: A Simple but Complete Guide to look for more ideas, or talk to professionals in UV printing industry, or just leave your comment.

What can I make with UV flatbed printer?

UV flatbed printer is ideal for printing on rigid surface like phone cases, key chains, boxes, metals, boards and other rigid products of flatbed surface.

The advantages of UV flatbed printer are wide range of applications, quick turnaround time, user friendly opperations and multiple prints at the same time.

It can print on almost everything, but if you want to print on roll-form substrates, it is better to use a UV DTF printer.

A UV flatbed printer is totally able to print on rubberized goods like basketballs, golf balls, softballs. It can also print on leather products.

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