Are you having a hard time deciding between Printify vs Printiful?
Don’t worry – I’ve done thorough research on the two options, which represent two of the best print on demand companies. I’ve analyzed the top 10 factors you should consider before choosing between Printiful and Printify.
Below is a quick overall summary – then check out the rest of the article for a more in-depth comparison.
- Print-on-demand services
- Flexibility's and Scalable
- More expensive
- Slower delivery times
- Offers on-demand printing
- Creative services offered
- Global shipping offered
- Limited product variety
- Higher shipping fees compared to other providers
- Shipping delivery takes longer than usual
How do Print on Demand T Shirt Companies Work?
In 2020, the global custom t-shirt printing market (print on demand) was valued at 3.96 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to reach a value of 7.57 billion U.S. dollars by 2028.
Before I go any further, let’s take a look at what print on demand companies do.
Instead of printing a large quantity at once – say, 100 or 200 shirts – print on demand companies make each individual piece when it’s ordered. This works well for independent artists, because it takes all the uncertainty out of placing orders.
The downside? Even the best print on demand companies charge significantly more per piece than you’ll pay for bulk orders. They do this out of necessity – it’s more expensive to print a shirt or mug by itself than it is to print that same design on one of a hundred pieces.
Ultimately, print-on-demand services are the best option for small-scale artists because they’re scalable. You probably want your business to grow, right?
Imagine that you have a design that suddenly becomes popular. If you’re placing bulk orders, you may suddenly need to order hundreds of thousands of a particular mug or T-shirt.
This could mean you have to take out a loan just as your business is getting off the ground.
But a print-on-demand service will scale with your business, so you’re never going to be stuck with too many customers and not enough cash. That’s what both of these services have in common.
Other than that, there are significant differences between these companies. Next, I’ll show you the specifics of how each one of these companies works.
Follow this Step by Step Guide to Start a Shopify Print on Demand Business.
How Printful works
Getting started with Printful is quick and easy – simply sign up and connect your online store to Printful’s service. Then you can get started designing your products.
Not a designer? Don’t worry – Printful offers a library of templates that you can use to customize hundreds of items, including T-shirts and other clothing, coffee mugs, blankets, tote bags, stickers, phone cases and more. You can pick any of these items to sell in your store, and the mockup generator feature of Printful lets you design gorgeous, high-resolution graphics to feature on them. Piece of cake.
Once your products are loaded into your store, you can promote them to your target audience and then watch the orders roll in. Printful will print, package and ship all orders submitted to your store without your having to lift a finger.
Founded: July 16, 2013
CEO: Davis Siksnans (Sep 2015–)
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
The company hit a milestone when it was valued at $1 billion in 2020 and has scaled to a team of 1,400+ people across fifteen fulfillment centers around the world.
How Printify works
Printify also offers a robust product catalog and a design-help tool to make setting up your online store as simple as possible. Printify also works with a curated set of designers to improve the overall look of the final product that sells in your store, and product choices range from T-shirts and hoodies to canvas prints and much, much more.
And guess what else? With Printify, you have the option to request samples in advance, so you’ll know exactly what your customers are getting when they purchase from your store. Just market your store, and when customers make an order, Printify fulfills it and ships it on its way. Easy peasy.
Co-founders: James Berdigans and Artis Kehris
Google Trends Comparison
While Printful enjoys much higher overall search term interest over time, interest in both stores tends to move in correlation. Both stores, for example, have seen their search interest grow over the last five years, and both print on demand providers enjoyed particularly high search term interest in May of 2020.
The top five states for Printful searches are Montana, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware and West Virginia, and Printful tends to outperform Printify in all states and regions when it comes to searches.
And as you might expect, searches for either Printful or Printify usually go hand in hand with searches for Etsy and Shopify.
Printful vs Printify – 10 Factors Compared
I’m going to score these companies in 10 areas: suppliers, order fulfillment/lead time, integration with online stores, pricing and selection, shipping, earning potential, customer support, quality and white label/branding opportunities. Finally, I’ll offer an overall rating that will include all of the above plus any extra features the services offer.
Let’s take a deep dive into the Web’s top two T-shirt fulfillment companies.
1 Printful vs Printify Suppliers
Printify doesn’t actually produce any of its own merchandise. Instead, your orders will be completed by third-party suppliers, so the quality may vary. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
On the one hand, if you’re not happy with the quality of your product, you can change suppliers.
On the other hand, if you’re not careful, you can end up with some upset customers.
While investigating individual suppliers is beyond the scope of this Printify review, there are plenty of Reddit threads and other resources you can use to do your own research.
As with any T-shirt fulfillment service, a good rule of thumb is always to order a sample before you list your item for sale.
That way, you can correct any issues before they become customer service issue.
On the other side of the board, Printful does all of its work in-house. This makes it easy to correct basic problems such as color misalignment or vibrancy, since you won’t be dealing with a third-party supplier.
This also can save you time, meaning you can get your product listed faster and start making money.
Unfortunately, if you have more serious problems, such as poor quality material, you won’t have the option of switching suppliers. You’re basically stuck with whatever Printful is willing to provide.
Thankfully, these issues are rare, and Printful generally gets great reviews on product quality.
Printful does all of their work in-house. This makes it easy to correct basic problems such as color misalignment or vibrancy, since you won’t be dealing with a third-party supplier. This can save you time, meaning you can get your product listed faster and start making money. (Click to Tweet)
2 Who has Order Fulfillment/Lead Time
When you’re running an online store, where your order is produced can be as important as how fast it’s produced.
For example, a Chinese supplier may be able to produce your mug within 24 hours, while a local supplier may take three days for the same job. But by the time you account for international shipping times, the local supplier will still get your mug to the customer faster.
Printful doesn’t rely on third-party suppliers – it fulfills orders directly from its own locations, and shipping time is 7-8 business days depending on the delivery destination. In the U.S., Printful has fulfillment locations in California and North Carolina, and Texas. The company also fulfills orders in Mexico and Latvia.
On the U.S. side, Printify has suppliers in California, Georgia, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina. The company also has overseas suppliers: three in the UK, and one in China. When you’re calculating order times, keep in mind that Printify only offers express shipping in the U.S.
Because the suppliers are fulfilling your orders, and not Printify itself, locations may vary depending on the exact product your shipping. Common products like T-shirts and hoodies will ship from most locations, while some niche products will only ship from a few suppliers.
At the end of the day, which service is better depends on where your customers are. In the U.S., things are more or less equal. Overseas, it depends on what country you’re located in. For UK sellers in particular, Printify is better than Printful.
Closely related to order fulfillment is lead time – the number of days between the time your customer places his order and the time it’s actually shipped.
This is one area where Printify’s supplier network really hurts them. While some suppliers have a lead time of only two days, others can take as long as a week to ship your customers’ orders. This can lead to unnecessary customer service issues for you.
While Printful’s lead time isn’t as fast as the very fastest Printify suppliers (in some cases), it’s certainly faster on average. More than that, it’s predictable, so you can give your customers a more accurate timeframe – generally, Printful ships all orders within 2-7 days after they’re placed.
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3 Printful vs Printify Online integration
Both Printify and Printful allow you to share your products on major e-commerce sites. You will just need to link your Printify or Printful account with your ecommerce store.
The exact process is different depending on which service you’re using, but in both cases it can be done easily through the app. Once you’ve done that, any design you create on Printful or Printify will automatically appear in your online stores.
- Wix Stores
While both services have apps and are easy to use, Printful clearly has the edge when it comes to integrating with your existing stores.
For unsupported e-commerce sites, you’ll need to create your listings manually. This is easy to do, but can become tedious if you have several online stores across multiple platforms.
Turning your design into reality is great. Actually selling that design is another matter entirely. For a print on demand service to be truly great, it needs to provide you with the tools necessary to put your product in front of customers.
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4 Printify vs Printful Products
Which service is better here will depend on your exact needs.
Printify has more than 400 products in its inventory. It offers a large selection of apparel products, including T-shirts, long-sleeved tees, hoodies, shoes, sports tees, sweatshirts, tank tops, leggings, skirts, dresses, swimsuits, socks, hats, scarves, and baby onesies.
In non-apparel products, they sell bibs, purses, bags, backpacks, jewelry, phone cases, wall art, towels, shower curtains, bath mats, blankets, duvets, pillows, mugs, water bottles, stickers and custom journals.
Printful has 307 products on its inventory. It sells a similar array of apparel, with the addition of shorts and athletic shorts. On the other hand, they sell fewer non-apparel items; just a handful of bags and cell phone covers.
That said, their clothing selection is different, so check out the exact options if you want a specific style.
5 Printful vs Printify Pricing Comparision
In terms of pricing, Printify is slightly better. Its lowest-priced T-shirt is $7.73, while Printful’s costs $8.95.
Printify is free to start; however, it also offers Premium and Enterprise plans. The Premium plan costs $29/ month or $24.99/ month if billed annually, whereas the Enterprise plan pricing depends on your business needs.
Printful is also free and there are no minimum order requirements or subscription fees. However, Pro plan offered by Printful costs $49/ month, allowing you to gain exclusive access to background removal, free digitization, premium images, and more
Again, keep in mind that you’ll want to compare both services’ exact selection before making a decision.
Ready to get started?
Follow this Step by Step Guide to Start a Shopify Print on Demand Business.
6 Printful vs Printify Shipping
For Printful, shipping solutions include FedEx, DHL, USPS.com, and DPD. The company has a detailed guide on how to calculate the shipping rates.
For print products like T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, crop tops, or tank tops, this is what your customers will need to pay for shipping:
- USA: $3.99
- Europe: $4.39
- Canada: $6.49
- Australia/ New Zealand: $6.99
- Worldwide: $5.99
Each additional product
- USA: $1.25
- Europe: $1.09
- Canada: $1.25
- Australia/ New Zealand: $1.25
- Worldwide: $1.25
You can choose to let the customer calculate shipping at checkout or include it in the retail price. Customs fees also may apply depending on the geographical location of your customer.
Printify also fulfills orders using top carrier companies. The company has also partnered with local fulfillment companies to effectively support drop shippers selling products from different corners of the world. The rates on some of these solutions are, however, a bit higher.
Shipping solutions on Printify take longer to deliver international orders since they have fewer fulfillment centers. Here’s a breakdown of the shipping times:
- USA: 7-15 business days
- Canada: 10- 15 business days
- International: 10-30 days
Printify doesn’t explain much about how long it would take to manufacture a product. Printful, on the other hand, updates, in real time, the shipping rates during checkout. To take the bad with the good, Printify offers a faster solution for merchants using the Advanced Shopify plan.
7 Earning Potential
Now that you know the basics, I can feel your burning question. Which platform allows you the higher profit margin so that you can earn more?
The answer? It depends – on the products you’re selling and where you’re shipping them. Let’s take a look at an example, using a basic T-shirt that sells well on both platforms.
Before we calculate your profit, let’s look at your costs. There are two main costs to you when you sell an item through either Printful or Printify:
- Production costs, which are essentially fixed.
- Shipping costs, that vary widely depending on shipping location.
For this example, the total cost of ordering a Bella + Canvas 3001 T-shirt from Printful for shipping within the U.S. will be $16.94, using the base price of $12.95 and shipping costs of $3.99.
The same shirt and shipping location through Printify would cost a total of $12.82, based on a production cost of $8.82 and shipping costs of $4.
So – all other factors being equal, like color, product, shipping location, etc., Printify would offer a higher profit margin for this particular product. Depending on the product mix you’re selling, you can calculate which platform would offer the higher profit margin for your particular business.
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8 Customer support
Printful invests a lot in engaging with customers. For example, the company offers a free onboarding workshop to all new users. Its blog section also offers useful insights on how to run a profitable print on demand business, and you can connect with Printful’s customer service team through phone, email or live chat.
In comparison, Printify offers a help center featuring articles on everything from payments and troubleshooting to mockup designs, specific products and online integrations. Its blog also provides tips on marketing and design trends, plus highlighting successful businesses. The one key area where Printify lags behind Printful is its lack of 24-hour live support.
You can find mixed reactions regarding Printful’s customer support when it comes to online reviews. A substantial online group praises the print-on-demand service for its responsive dashboard, while others assert that its customer support is slow to respond to urgent questions from customers.
9 Printify vs Printful Quality
How do you verify product quality for each platform? You ask other people, of course! Rather than order each product myself to check the quality, I looked at what customers are saying online.
Here’s what I found:
It looks like Printful has taken the lead in finding winning product designs within the market. Printify, on the other hand, seems more like a conventional channel with long-established crowd-pleasers like T-shirts and hoodies.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a conventional approach. But having a wider selection of products that are a little more cutting edge also goes a long way.
Online reviews show that Printful is a more attractive partner when it comes to curating unique merchandise and helping build overall confidence in a brand.
So – while there’s not a ton of information online, what is there leans toward Printful as the better partner.
Most online complaints are related to Printify’s actual print quality. Many reviewers say that apparel products fade and crack within a very short time.
What contributes to this? Maybe it’s that Printify acts more as a middleman.
Remember that Printify doesn’t actually print its own merchandise. Instead, the company uses third-party partners, which is exactly the opposite of Printful’s model. Instead, Printful has invested heavily in printing machines, warehouses and graphic designers to deliver consistent product quality.
10 White label/branding opportunities
As you begin your print-on-demand business, make sure you’re thinking about your long game – focus on building a consistent brand over time instead of just lumping a bunch of products together to sell.
With this in mind, you should choose the print-on-demand partner that will help you build your brand identity.
But, the question is: Do both Printful and Printify provide white-label service?
The short answer is yes. Both platforms are classified as white-label, which means there will be none of their own branding on any packaging, products, labels or shipment packaging.
Sounds great, right? But what are your branding options for both platforms – and which should you choose? Let’s take a look:
Printful Branding Options
- For clothing: inside and outside labels, sleeve prints on the right and the left side on any clothing products to sell under your unique brand.
- For hats: your design or logo on the front, back or side.
- Other products: branded packaging slips and pack-ins to promote your brand. You also can submit a black and white logo and a custom message for customers to be added to the outside of your packages.
Here are the costs associated with each of these branding efforts:
- Inside and outside label: $2.49 per label
- Short sleeve: $2.49 per sleeve
- Long sleeve: $5.95 per sleeve
- Hats: $2.95 per placement
- Packaging slips: Free
- Pack-ins: $0.50 per pack-in available only for orders fulfilled in fulfillment centers that offer warehousing services.
- Front and back: One side (front or back) printed without any additional cost and if you want to add a design on both sides then you’ve to pay $5.95 for that additional placement
Printify Branding Options
Because Printify relies on different vendors for adding branding, the structure is a bit different. With the exception of four print vendors, all providers allow you to add your own branding elements on the front and back of T-shirts.
Currently, only Merch Made Easy, OPT OnDemand, SameDayPOD and Textildruck Europa offer additional branding opportunities, including left and right sleeves. But – Merch Made Easy will let you add inside and outside labels to a handful of T-shirts.
Printify’s print partners currently do not offer branding options for hats or other clothing products.
For packaging, Printify allows you to add your store name as text only. And Printify does not support adding custom messages to shipping/packaging labels.
It’s pretty obvious that Printful is the better option for your business’ branding, with a much larger selection of custom branding options for leggings, hoodies, hats and more – all at reasonable prices.
Ultimately, which service is better – Printful or Printify – will depend on your exact needs. Are you based in the UK? You’ll want to choose Printify because it has UK suppliers.
Are you elsewhere in the EU? Printful will be better because it fulfills orders from Latvia.
You’ll also want to consider how much control you want to have over your own product. Printful has less variety, and there’s no one else to reach out to if something goes wrong.
On the other hand, Printify can give you a broader selection and more supplier options, but some of those suppliers aren’t very good.
Finally, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to sell your designs. Printful is clearly better in this regard, since they automatically integrate with more e-commerce platforms.
That said, if you’re only selling on Etsy or Shopify, either service will work just fine.
Again, keep in mind that you’ll want to compare both services’ exact selection, plus profit margins for the products you want to sell – and how much the platform will help you build our own brand – before making a decision.
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Who Are Some Other Printful Competitors?
Of course, Printful and Printify aren’t the only print-on-demand services available. Here are a few of the competitors, and what makes them stand out.
- Custom Cat is a newer service that focuses on low prices. The advantage? You’ll pay far less per piece than you will for most other services. The disadvantage? You get what you pay for. Their ink is less durable and doesn’t stand up to repeated washing.
- Gooten is a print-on-demand service that integrates with Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and other major online stores. It’s priced higher than Custom Cat, but lower than Printful or Printify. Like Printify, they have multiple suppliers for their products, so quality is variable.
- Teespring is both a print-on-demand service and a sales platform. On the one hand, they handle sales for you.
- Teelaunch is very similar to Printful, including in-house fulfillment and the ability to integrate with online stores. Their pricing is similar, but a lot of Teelaunch reviews talk about terrible customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use Printful and Printify?
Yes, you can use both. Both classes of products can coexist in one shop.
Is Printful good quality?
Can you make money with Printify?
Yes. It really just depends on how much you sell.
What percentage does Printful take?
Printful doesn’t charge monthly or startup fees. Their product prices include the product itself and printing, but they don’t include shipping and taxes.
Is Printify cheaper than Printful?
Both Printify and Printful have free packages. Overall, Printify is cheaper than Printful because its production cost is lower.
Is Printify the same as Printful?
No, there are some significant differences between Printify and Printful. The most fundamental difference is that Printful does all of the order fulfillment procedures in-house while Printify relies on third-party suppliers to complete the orders.
Is there anything better than Printful?
Teespring, Teelaunch, Gooten, Custom Cat, and Printify are some of the most common competitors of Printful that can be considered better by some businesses as per their specific requirements.
Does Printful charge a monthly fee?
Printful does not charge any monthly fee. It also does not have any minimum order requirements of subscription charges. If users want to enjoy additional features from Printful, they can buy its Pro package which costs $49 per month.
Printful does all of its work in-house, has shorter lead times, and integrates with more e-commerce platforms
Printify uses third-party suppliers, which gets you more selection and better prices, but this comes at the cost of longer lead times.
They both have fulfillment centers throughout the world.
Did I miss something? Did you have an experience with one of these services you want to share? Let me know in the comments!
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Great read and really useful insights. Thanks Christina
Great article.. Everyone seems to ignore the fact of multiple shipping charges a consumer is given at check out... I am really confused. How to people fulfill worldwide sales? The shipping costs really add up (depending on locations) surely this is a huge flaw in this whole pod business structure... I'm now restricted to one UK print provider and only the UK.. Any help advice be greatly welcomed Best Stu
Does the base price of the shirts INCLUDE the printing cost?
Hello - I want to make print on demand throw pillows, I am located in Canada. Is there a print on demand company associated with Shopify (for drop shipping) that I could use here? I am just starting out and wanted to know if you had any suggestions. Thank you
Thank you for this article. I am located in Canada and it has been a real head-scratcher for me which company to go with (just starting out selling my designs on pillows, pillowcases and comforters) and currently have a shopify account. Because I am in Canada, there are no fulfillment centres here at all so my customers would have to deal with import costs and longer wait times. I haven't done a lot of market research in terms of who would be from Canada versus the US or UK/other countries as yet but would love to have an option of a Canadian printing service in addition to Printful. It would have to be one that prints on comforters and pillows (that's my main thing in this business) Anja
Thank you so much for this. I am based in South Africa and find that its difficult to find information of what suppliers would be available on Printify that ship here. I see that Printful can take up to 20 days to ship here. Do you have any idea whether we can select the suppliers we wish to use on Printify?
Switching to Printify because Printful print quality and shirts sizes varied W-I-L-D-L-Y. We'll see how it goes with Printify now.
Great article! Thank you for all your hard work.
Good article. I wasn't expecting the "Who Are Some Other Printful Competitors?" section, so I learned of another competitor. There are other ones that I know of but don't exactly know where they fit in with one another, such as pillow profits, printtech and teepublic.
Thank you for the comparison. This is very insightful! Great!
Very helpful article outstanding information on both companies Printful vs Printfy.
At least two of your Printful links take me to Printify. Thanks for the review.
Just starting out in the online store and custom design space. Thank you for a well written article. I am going with Printful because quality and predictability is very important to me. I hope they add more variety of products in the future. Best wishes, NancyB
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