After having owned and produced both, screen printing is more durable. A lightly worn garment could last years as will a screen printed design. There is simply less ink/dye used in DTG, and it will fade. With DTG the white underbased prints are more fragile to get right, even the best prints will eventually crack, lighten, or at best fade. In most cases it won't matter by the time a properly printed DTG shirt starts to show it's age. In my case most DTG clients want full color on low quantity. These aren't people looking for something to last for years and years.
When people worry about longevity it's because they have purchased a shirt that was improperly cured with either format and didn't make it through more than a few washes. A low temp cure or scorched screen printed shirt will wash out over 2-5 washes. That is soon enough for people to notice. How many of us have Nike or Under Armor shirts whose logos eventually come off in the wash, no one bats an eye.
If you are looking to invest in equipment. DTG has several pro's, ie unlimited colors, no setup, minimal square footage. However, I found the 1st party inks to be heinously expensive, single shirt machines to be prohibitively time consuming, and the process more difficult to control. It took our guys 8 minutes to do a full front white underbased shirt. To make real money you want high volume, 200 shirts into the process you realize that 8 minutes is with perfect timing, and the job actually took 11-12 (per side) 5 full shifts of operating the equipment later you've produced 200 shirts. Meanwhile I've setup a 3 color job on a manual and printed those 200 shirts in half a shift. DTG is more niche and more demanding than the sales material makes it seem. You can quickly become a slave to it, and the ongoing operating costs quickly can turn it into a money pit.
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