Flash Unit or Tabletop Conveyor Dryer?

According to ScreenPrinting.com:

As much as a new business owner may wish and strive for it, not all have a budget to cover all their startup expenses. So, decisions have to be made and creative solutions have to be discovered. New screen printers may find themselves in this dilemma. Sometimes, they might have to pick one piece of equipment over another, like deciding between a conveyor dryer and a flash dryer. How do you know which is the better investment? Well, it depends on what you want to do. Here are three factors to consider to help you decide which is better for your shop.


Curing shirts quickly is key to ramping up t-shirt production. The quicker a shirt cures, the quicker you can get through your job and on to the next one. With a conveyor dryer, you’ll be able to increase the all-important shirts-per-minute (SPM).

Since the shirts rest on a conveyor belt, all you need to do is a little testing to dial in the proper cure time and temp and then set the shirt on the belt when it’s time to cure. Set up a bin or box at the end to catch shirts, or take them off yourself when they’re ready.

With a flash dryer, things take a little longer. You’ll need to hover the flash over a single shirt and make sure that each shirt is getting properly cured before moving to the next job. It makes multitasking a little more difficult. There are also a few more factors that can affect a flash dryer when curing, like air movement in the shop. Use your laser temp gun religiously to make sure everything is going to plan.

A flash dryer is great for shorter print runs but does take some time to cure garments. A tabletop conveyor will increase your shop’s SPM and make you more productive.


When curing ink, it’s important to create consistency so you’ll always know that a print is fully cured before it hits the box. Since a conveyor dryer is covered, it’s more accurate when curing garments in a print run. Once you’ve dialed in the cure times and temp, it’ll stay pretty much the same throughout the whole job.

A flash dryer, on the other hand, isn’t as accurate. On top of being an uncovered heat source, it also has a sweet spot in the middle. This “sweet spot” generally is smaller than the surface area of the heating element. While it’s usually located in the middle of the flash unit, that’s not always the case. The best way to figure out where the sweet spot of a flash dryer is? Create a heatmap with puff ink to see which areas of the print puff first. 

While both curing methods will get the job done, a conveyor dryer provides a more consistent cure, because the dwell time and temperature can be adjusted. 


The last factor to consider when choosing between a flash dryer and a conveyor dryer is versatility. A conveyor dryer is only a dryer, whereas a flash unit can gel and cure garments.

With a conveyor, you’ll be missing out on print-flash-print, which is a huge benefit to screen printing. Flashing after every print stroke or color creates vibrant prints and means you can do more with the ink you have. One-color jobs are perfect for printers with only a conveyor dryer.

Are you looking to print-flash-print? Check out a flash unit. Create vibrant colors by flashing every ink color before printing the next one. Flash units are used for flashing or gelling the ink and can cure garments as well. A flash isn’t the fastest for curing, but will get the job done and will open up more print techniques with print flash print.


Which piece of equipment you select entirely depends on your goals and your budget. There are advantages and disadvantages to each scenario. Here’s a quick recap:

Tabletop ConveyorFaster curing, Accurate & stable heat sourceUnable to print-flash-print, Higher price tag
Flash UnitMore affordable, Ability to print-flash-printLonger curing process, Fewer settings

Every shop is different and needs different equipment to make its process work. If your goal is to print quickly, a conveyor is perfect. If you want to create super vibrant prints that take a bit more time, a flash dryer is a way to go. What is the best advice? Trust your gut and save up for an upgrade later down the road.

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