If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best screen printing squeegee available on Amazon, our choice is the Speedball Nitrile Fabric Squeegee – 4492
Screen printing is a job that requires many tools and supplies, especially for small screen printing businesses. One of the most necessary items needed for screen printing are squeegees. There are several different types of screen printing squeegees for different needs and types of printing.
Choosing the best screen printing squeegee may seem like a difficult choice, but knowing all the information you need will make the decision easier.
Shapes of Squeegee Blades
There are different squeegee shapes you can choose from, and the right one depends on your printing projects and types.
Square or straight-edged squeegee blades are flat on the bottom. These are the most common types of squeegee blades, and are typically used for simple screen printing jobs.
Round or ball-nosed squeegee blades are intended for heavier ink deposits. This type of blade may be useful for printing on heavy materials or with special inks.
Beveled squeegee blades are angled on one or all sides of the blade, and are typically used for printing on uneven or curved materials.
Screen Printing Squeegee Hardness and Rigidity
Some screen printing jobs require a hard blade, which can ensure that the ink spreads completely and evenly. Jobs that require heavier ink deposits would benefit from the use of a harder squeegee blade.
The hardness or softness of a blade is measured by a durometer range. Any blades within the 50 to 60 range are considered to be ‘soft’, and are best for heavy materials or specialty inks.
The most common form of squeegees are measured as 70 durometer, also known as “medium” hardness. These are in between soft and hard squeegees, which makes them ideal for most standard screen printing tasks.
Hard squeegees range within 80 to 90 durometers. They are great for leaving a light ink deposit, printing very detailed jobs, or printing anything that requires a four-color process.
Composite squeegee blades have layers of various durometers. Typically, the printing edge is somewhat low for moving smoothly on the screen. There is usually also a strong, high durometer layer, which prevents the squeegee from bending.
Squeegee Materials For Silk Screen Printing
Squeegees are also made in a variety of materials, varying from natural rubber to neoprene to polyurethane.
Although rubber blades are inexpensive, they tend to absorb solvents and break easily.
Rubber can easily be damaged by solvents or from abrasion resistance. As a result, most screen printers tend to choose squeegees of other materials, such as neoprene or polyurethane.
Squeegees with neoprene blades are usually less costly than polyurethane squeegees. Neoprene is a essentially synthetic rubber, so they have a similar look and feel to rubber blades.
Neoprene blades are durable and are less likely to break than rubber blades, but they aren’t quite as durable as polyurethane blades. Although polyurethane squeegee blades are the most expensive choice, they are also the least likely to break. They are typically used for longer jobs, or for printing on an automatic or semiautomatic press.
Screen Printing Squeegee Handle (More important that you’d think)
Although having a great squeegee blade is important, having a squeegee with a comfortable handle is just as necessary.
For those screen printing manually, the squeegee handle may make the difference between an easy job and a difficult job. Manual screen printers should seek a squeegee with a durable and comfortable handle. To be able to get your printing jobs done as efficiently as possible, you’ll need a handle that won’t be uncomfortable.
Wooden handles are a popular choice because they can begin to feel warm as they are held. This can make them feel especially comfortable, but there are still some negative aspects of wooden handles. They easily absorb moisture, and can be very tough or impossible to clean. Squeegee blades cannot be changed easily if you are using a wooden handle, so that may present another issue.
Although plastic and aluminum aren’t the most comfortable materials to hold, cleaning handles made with these materials is very easy. Changing blades with these types of handles is also usually a simple process. If you’re concerned about comfort, however, you can always choose one with an ergonomic shape that will easily fit in your hand.
Why it’s important to have a quality squeegee in good condition
There are many reasons why having a great squeegee is necessary. A squeegee that is too dull or damaged will likely not transfer the ink evenly to the screen.
Of course, you can never avoid damage to a squeegee completely. Abrasion from the screen will slowly dull nearly any squeegee, and solvents can also cause damage. Solvent inks or UV inks can significantly limit the usability of your squeegee. All of these things can affect the quality of your printing, so it’s very important to replace your squeegees as often as needed, and sharpen them when necessary.
You can sharpen blades using a belt sander, grinding wheel, hot knife, diamond wheel, cold cutting blade, or a rotating blade. However, there are many factors regarding how much you should sharpen it, and which tool to use. The simplest method may be to pay an equipment company to sharpen your blade for you.
Overall, there are many things to keep in mind while considering what type of screen printing squeegee you’re looking to purchase. Although it may seem very difficult to choose, comparing some good product options may help you make your choice. These are a few screen printing squeegee options you may want to consider.
Speedball 8-Inch Graphic Squeegee for Screen Printing
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This 8-inch 70 durometer squeegee is made with a hardwood handle and urethane blade. The urethane material makes this squeegee durable and long-lasting, and the wood handle should allow for a comfortable grip. Because of the durometer gauge on this squeegee, it is probably best for standard screen printing jobs. It also is likely indended for paper use, rather than heavy fabrics.
- 70 durometer blade could likely handle standard screen printing jobs
- Comfortable hardwood handle
- Long lasting material
- Wood handle is probably difficult to clean
- May not be suitable for printing on fabrics
Speedball Art Products SB4479 Red Baron Squeegee Dual Edged, 9-Inch, Fabric and Graphic Blade
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This Red Baron Squeegee is intended for craft applications and basic screen printing. The design of this squeegee includes dual edges, with one end for fabrics and the other for graphics. Centered in the middle are fingertip grips, so that it’ll be comfortable enough to hold. The size of this squeegee is 9 by 3 inches, and each package contains one singular squeegee.
Because of the dual sides of this item, you can use it for printing on fabric and paper. However, this may not be the best item for consistent screen printing, as the material will likely not last long. This squeegee is probably more appropriate for a screen printing demonstration or for one-time use.
- Dual edge allows for printing on both fabric and paper
- Fingertip grip makes it comfortable to hold
- Material would likely not be difficult to clean
- Material won’t be long lasting
- Would not be suitable for long-term use or ink-heavy screen printing jobs
Speedball Nitrile Fabric Squeegee – 4492
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This 10-inch squeegee made with a nitrile blade is intended for easy fabric screen printing. The rounded edges help push the ink through the screen, and reduce binding while printing. The handles are made with hardwood, which should feel comfortable enough to use consistently.
Although the wood may be difficult to clean, the materials used in this squeegee should be durable enough to last for a sufficient length of time.
- Nitrile blade shouldn’t break very easily
- Wood handle would likely be comfortable to hold
- Rounded edges would help push the ink through the screen
- Wood handle would probably absorb moisture easily and could be difficult to clean
- May not be appropriate for printing on materials other than fabric
INTBUYING 45cm(18″) Width of Wooden Handle Silk Screen Printing Squeegee 75 Durometer
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This 18 inch squeegee is intended for both graphic and fabric printing.
The blade is made with rubber, while the handle is made of wood. The straight shape of the handle is suitable for a comfortable grip, and is intended for abrasion and solvent resistance.
This squeegee is gauged at 75 durometers, which makes it appropriate for standard or slightly heavy screen printing. It should be able to handle slightly more ink than a standard 70 durometer squeegee.
- 75 durometer blade could likely handle standard to heavy screen printing jobs
- Wood handle would probably be comfortable to hold
- Abrasion and solvent resistant
- Wood handle would probably be very difficult to clean and could absorb easily
- Rubber blade would likely not last very long, and may break quickly
5″ – Aluminum Silk Screen Printing Squeegee Handle with Squeegee Blade Red (60 Durometer)
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This 5 inch squeegee is made with an an aluminum blade, and is gauged at 60 durometers. It’s likely ideal for standard screen printing jobs, and the aluminum handles should be easy to clean.
Changing blades for this squeegee should also be simple due to the aluminum handle. This squeegee is solvent resistant, and commonly used for manual screen printing. The handle is compatible with 5mm, 7mm, and 9mm blades.
- 60 durometer blade could likely handle standard screen printing jobs
- Aluminum handle would probably be easy to clean
- Handle is compatible with several blade thicknesses, and can be changed easily
- Solvent resistant
- Aluminum handle may not be very comfortable to hold
The best screen printing squeegee
Overall, the Speedball Nitrile Fabric Squeegee – 4492 seems to be the best choice for most screen printing. Although the wood handle may be difficult to clean, it should be comfortable to hold and the nitrile blade is durable and would not break easily. Screen printing can be a task that involves a lot of effort ant time – which is why using the best squeegee can make a huge difference.
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