UV flatbed printer

Choose Best UV Printer? Find Features, Pros & Cons of Each Type

UV printer is a printing machine category for UV printing (an advanced digital printing technique that uses ultraviolet light to cure the ink on the surface of different substrates). UV printer can widely work to various products such as: cups, bottles, phone cases, key chains, toys, PVC board and more. 

In the UV printing market in 2024, the 3 popular UV printer types are:

So which UV printer to choose? Knowing their own features and pros & cons is great helpful to choose the best UV printer for your business, to support specific UV printing requirements and customers, the content followed-by gives detail explanations.

UV Flatbed Printer

The feature of UV flatbed printer is mainly used to print on items with flat surface, such as apply in tile background wall, advertising industry (e.g. advertising panel, outdoor advertising poster) and digital products ( for example, phone cases, mouse pad).

UV flatbed printer printing process

Top 7 Advantages of UV Flatbed Printer

The benefits of UV flatbed printer include:

  • UV flatbed printer costs less in labor and original material.
    UV flatbed printing does not need make screen versions, which reduces the time and labor cost and saves the printed materials too. Therefore, the labor and original material costs less.
  • UV flatbed printer is not limited by printing material.
    Compared with traditional digital printing methods, UV flatbed printer is able to print on almost everything, from common plastic, metal, wood to glass. In terms of printing effect, the UV flatbed printer can not only print the pattern of the plane, but also print the 3D embossed effect. And in terms of quantity, UV flatbed printer can print single pattern or small batches of patterns at a time.
  • UV flatbed printer outputs more colorful and vivid patterns.
    It is very difficult for traditional screen printing to print more than 10 colors, but that is not problem for UV flatbed printer, which is rich in color. Whether full color printing or gradient color printing, the UV flatbed printer completes easily. This advantage greatly expands the design space of the product and improves the product level. Printed pattern is of high clarity and rich in grades. Besides this, UV flatbed printer can print patterns of three-dimension visual effect, photography and painting style patterns too.     
  • UV flatbed printer can print embossed patterns.
    Using UV flatbed printer to print embossed patterns makes the patterns look alive and unique. More important is that the printing process is very convenient, where form patterns at one time, print and cure at the same time. This is what ordinary production technology can not do.  
  • UV flatbed printer is widely applied in many industries.
    With the maturity of the UV flatbed printer industry technology, the UV flatbed printer has gradually emerged in all walks of industries, especially in phone cases, home decoration and advertising processing. In addition to this, there is still a lot of applications of UV flatbed printers waiting to be explored. In the future, UV flatbed printer will be the first choice of printing needs.
  • UV flatbed printer meets personalized customization needs.
    Nowadays, the market is pursuing innovation and creativity. The more special the item is, the more popular it will be. However, traditional printing machines fail to satisfy personalized printing needs. Under this situation, UV flatbed printer is a better choice, which is able to print almost all the patterns you designed.
  • UV flatbed printer is environmentally friendly.
    As the global natural environment becomes worse and worse, more and more people focus on environmental protection. Meanwhile, countries has formulated strict environmental protection standards to make contributions to protecting the bad environment. In this case, UV flatbed printer discharges no waste air and water, which perfectly meets the environmental protection standards. You will not worry about putting pressure on the environment during printing.

Disadvantages of UV Flatbed Printer

  • UV flatbed printer is limited to printing on flat surface.
    For the items of curved surface which include several slopes, UV flatbed printer cannot print on it, that’s what UV roll-to-roll printer better works to.
  • UV ink is expensive.
    UV flatbed printer uses UV ink which has special internal structure which makes it can dry quickly under the lightning of ultraviolet. For this reason, UV ink is expensive.

UV Roll-to-Roll Printer (UV DTF Printer)

UV roll-to-roll printer is designed to realize continuous printing on substrates in roll forms such as outdoor banners and signage, breaking the limitation of UV flatbed printer which can only work onto flat surface. Though there is limitation, UV roll-to-roll is still a hot trend in the UV printing market in 2024 as UV DTF film very well solves the problem.

Top 3 Advantages of UV Roll-to-Roll Printer

The benefits of UV roll-to-roll printer include:

  • UV roll-to-roll printer is ideal for large-format substrates.
    UV roll-to-roll printer gains more popularity in producing large-format soft material items. For example, light box cloth, which is usually seen in market, exhibition or metro station to show specific advertising information. Transparent soft film, which is favored for advertisement applications, car body stickers or glass window decorations. You may see large advertising banners or signage in outdoor activities. Those are able to be made by UV roll-to-roll printers too.    
  • UV roll-to-roll printer is of better printing effect.
    In comparison with eco solvent printer that has same applications of UV roll-to-roll printer, patterns of UV roll-to-roll printer are more real, clear, colorful and three-dimensional.
  • UV roll-to-roll printer improves soft film printing result.
    Many advertising manufacturers favor soft film for printing due to its lower price, but soft film is easy to deform. The appearance of UV roll-to-roll printer solves the problem. UV roll-to-roll printer is more stable and can output patterns of high definition. As a result, it can ensure the accuracy and speed, and keep the soft film in good condition when printing on soft film. It can be said that this new technology opens up new possibilities for seamless and efficient printing processes.
uv dtf printing

Disadvantage of UV Roll-to-Roll Printer

  • UV roll-to-roll printer cannot print on rigid materials directly.
    The main disadvantage of UV roll-to-roll printer is that it fails to print on rigid substrates directly like phone cases, ID cards. But if you use UV DTF film, you can print on the rigid substrates.

UV Hybrid Printer

UV hybrid printer is a type of multifunctional UV printer integrates roll-to-roll and flatbed use in one printer. It is a good choice for those who has limited budget but want to print on various materials.

UV roll-to-roll printer printing

Top 4 Advantages of UV Hybrid Printer

The benefits of UV Hybrid Printer include:

  • UV hybrid printer is versatile.
    The versatility of UV hybrid printer makes it can print on a wide range of substrates, whether flatbed or roll-to-roll. Meanwhile, the printing quality will not become worse. It has wide applications in advertising industry, home decoration industry and etc.
  • UV hybrid printer makes high-quality prints at high speed.
    Patterns by UV hybrid printer are of High definition, high precision and high saturation and will restore the original color. Fast printing speed will improve the printing efficiency greatly. Businesses will complete their orders swiftly and efficiently. This results in faster turnaround times, ensuring that customers are satisfied and delighted with the prompt service they receive.
  • UV hybrid printer will not occupy too much space.
    As the UV hybrid printer can handle flatbed and roll-to-roll printing at the same time, you do not need to purchase separate flatbed printer or roll-to-roll printer.
  • UV hybrid printer is environmentally friendly.
    The UV-cured ink used in the UV hybrid printer is completely free from harmful chemicals and doesn’t release any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This makes them an excellent choice for businesses that prioritize sustainability and aim to minimize their environmental footprint.

Disadvantage of UV Hybrid Printer

  • Maintaining UV hybrid printer takes more time.
    UV hybrid printer needs professional people to maintain regularly to ensure normal operation. Whats more, if there is a part of the UV hybrid printer broken, you will need to renew the whole printer, which will be a big expense. So you have to spend time and effort in maintaining the machine to guarantee daily operation and save cost.

How to Choose One Suitable UV Printer?

As listed above, each type of UV printer features its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. From this aspect, it is better to choose one UV printer according to specific business direction.

UV Printing for Beginners: A Simple but Complete Guide (with Video) may help you make an informed decision. You can also talk with the UV printing expert for professional advice.


Can UV printer print on leather products?

Yes, UV printer is able to print on leather products. Besides, UV printer can also print on wood, plastic, glass, acrylic and metal.

UV printing uses UV ink, which does not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Therefore, UV printing is totally environmentally friendly.

Yes, UV printing is suitable for personalized printing. Producers can design and revise patterns on computer directly and then use UV printer to print the patterns. 

Due to the UV coating, patterns printed by UV printer are resistant to fading, stretching and water damage. Therefore, they can last for a long time.

Just like DTF printers, UV printers also need regular maintenance to ensure normal work.

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