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Used T-shirt Screen Printing Equipment: Should You Consider?

Buying used screen printing equipment can be a double-edged sword.

Yes, they can save a lot of cash, but always carries the risk of being a complete waste of money.

By investing time and effort, it’s possible to find great deals on used items.

But you must conduct proper examinations and extensive research before making the purchase.

Below are a few tips that you should follow before getting second-hand screen-printing instruments.

Let’s get things underway.

Don’t Buy If You Aren’t Experienced Enough

Buying old screen printing appliances is a tricky business.

Even ace screen printers exercise extreme caution while getting pre-owned items.

So, if you are a beginner and have no prior experience with screen printing gears, you’d be well advised to refrain from purchasing used equipment.

For, it would be virtually impossible for you to distinguish between a quality product and a piece of crap.

At the very least, you should take advice from an experienced screen printer while purchasing used printing machinery.

See the Machine in Action

The biggest problem with investing in used items is that you might be purchasing someone else’s problem along with the machine.

So, how do you ensure that you are not buying some else’s headache with your hard-earned money?

The answer is simple. Ask the seller to run the machine and witness it in production.

If there’s a problem with the machine, you will be able to detect it early and pull out of the rotten deal or get your money back if you have already purchased it.

Inspect the Device Thoroughly From Outside

When buying a press machine, it’s always important to get a closer look as it will help you to determine its condition.

Make a proper examination of the moving parts as to whether they are worn out due to heavy use. Dents or signs of outside damage show that the device wasn’t properly cared for.

Look if the arm of the printing machine is bent or at an odd angle to the device.

Rotate the parts slowly and then without using your hands. Look out for wobble or any other unusual movement which might indicate poor center bearings.

Also, watch out for any sign of maintenance or recent grease on the bearings.

Try To Learn About Past Problems

Ask the seller about past problems with the machine. Appliances with problematic history can more trouble than it’s worth.

However, you shouldn’t expect the owner to be completely honest with his answer.

Educate Yourself on the Price of Equipment

The principal purpose of purchasing used equipment is to save money.

Hence, you ought to possess sufficient knowledge about the price before getting in touch with the sellers.

A few minutes of online research can give you an idea about the price of the equipment.

Ask For Detailed Pictures during Online Purchase

People nowadays prefer to shop online as online sites offer countless options and enable them to compare the prices.

If you have decided to follow suit, I’d suggest that you ask for detailed pictures and if possible a live video of the machine in action from the seller.

That will help you to get a rough idea about the actual condition of the equipment.

Know What You Are Searching For

No, I am not talking about specific brands or products.

You need to find out what you should expect from the machine.

Details such as minimum specs, size, and quality will narrow down your search and make your job much easier.

Don’t Purchase Old Machine

Frequent use of a machine for years can make it defective and frail.

So, investing in a decade-old machine might not be a bright idea.

Pros of Buying Used Equipment:

​Helps To Overcome Budget Restraints

Tight budgets can often get in the way of our dreams.

And starting a screen printing business with a limited budget can make things extremely tough.

In such situations, used equipment can become the short-term solution and help things get underway.

Great Value for Money

Second-hand items in many instances have proved to be a bargain.

For they provide high-quality service at a very low price.

Therefore, if you put your money in the right equipment, it might prove to be a steal.

Cons of Buying Used Equipment:

No Warranty

As is the case with most of the pre-owned gears, you won’t get a warranty.

Warranty-less machines are a risk due to the fact that if malfunctioned the cost of repairmen will go out of your pocket.

No Technical Help and Training

Manufacturers provide factory technicians to install a new press and train you on its usage.

Unfortunately, that luxury won’t be extended to you and you will have to install the press by yourself.

Parts May No Longer Be Available

If any part of the equipment gets damaged, it will need to be replaced.

However, if the model is too old, then a replacement for the damaged part may not be available in the market.


Although second-hand screen printing equipment can offer good value for money, it will always carry a risk.

The real question is: are you willing to take the risk?

If you are not, then it’d be better for you to stay away from used items.

And if you are, then follow the above-mentioned tips to strike a fantastic deal and reduce the risk of buying garbage.

In case you have any questions or suggestions, please share them in the comment section.

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James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.