Printful vs. Printify
Wondering which print on demand company is right for you: Printful or Printify?
If you’re looking for an in-depth comparison of these two popular POD companies, you’ve come to the right place.
In this Printful vs. Printify post, I’ll compare them in terms of:
- Ease of use
- Product variety
- Production time & locations
- Branding options
- Support & policies
I’ve been running print on demand businesses for over 3 years. Having personally tried both print on demand companies, as well as several other POD sites, I am now ready to share my experience and findings.
By the end of this post, you’ll know what exactly the differences between these POD companies are, and have an understanding of whether Printful or Printify is right for your business.
Introducing: The Two Competitors
Printful and Printify are both print on demand drop shipping companies.
They help you print custom merch and sell it on various eCommerce platforms, like Shopify, WordPress or Etsy, under your own brand name.
Printful is a print on demand drop shipping company that has its own printing facilities in the US, Mexico, Latvia and Spain, as well as 3 partner facilities in Japan and Australia.
Here’s how Printful works:
- Choose a blank product from Printful Catalog
- Upload your design and place it on the product, using Printful’s Mockup Generator
- Connect Printful to an eCommerce platform of your choice (Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy or many others)
- Market goods and make sales
- Printful prints, packs and ships orders to your customers
Having delivered 21M+ items since 2013, Printful currently leads the print on demand market.
Here’s a Google Trends view that shows where Printful and Printify stand in terms of search interest over the past 5 years.
Printify is a print on demand drop shipping app that acts as an intermediary between you and numerous independent printing facilities worldwide.
Here’s how Printify works:
- Choose a blank product from Printify Catalog
- Choose a print provider from Printify’s list of 20+ printing companies
- Upload your design and place it on the product, using Printify’s Mockup Generator
- Connect Printify to an eCommerce platform of your choice (Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, eBay, PrestaShop, BigCommerce or Wix)
- Market goods and make sales
- Your print provider prints, packs and ships orders to your customers, while Printify updates you on order status and manages communication between you and the print provider
What's the difference between Printful and Printify?
The main difference is that Printful prints in-house, but Printify outsources printing.
Since Printful owns its facilities, it is in complete control of production process and quality. Printful prints exclusively on industry-leading Kornit printers that produce the most saturated colors, which are as close to the colors on your screen as possible. Because of that, Printful has a reputation for having the best print quality on the market.
Printify, on the other hand, is an app that connects you to huge printing facilities that small businesses normally wouldn’t be able to access. That’s why Printify can introduce new products much faster than Printful, and the prices are considerably lower.
Before we go on to detailed analysis of these POD companies, here’s a brief summary of my findings.
Pros and Cons
Ease of Use
When you’re just starting out with print on demand drop shipping, it is crucial to consider how easy to use your POD company’s services are.
Some printing companies struggle to combine great print quality with great user experience, but Printful and Printify both stand out with clean and simple interfaces.
Printful Ease of Use
Printful’s user interface is really intuitive.
On the dashboard, you’ll find tips, guides, shortcuts and trending products – everything you need to start out a POD business stress-free.
My favorite part is Printful’s outstanding onboarding experience, which makes Printful the most beginner-friendly POD company of all.
When you sign up, the onboarding guide will take you through the whole site until you have published a product in your online store.
It’s likely you won’t have any questions about Printful’s services, because there are step-by-step tips and useful links literally everywhere.
Another great thing is Printful mobile app.
This app helps you check order status, talk to support, confirm incoming orders and even create new ones on the go. Very convenient, and as simple as it can get.
Printify Ease of Use
Compared to Printful, Printify’s dashboard is even cleaner. Without long introductions, you’re taken straight to the product catalog when you login.
Personally, I love using it because it’s almost impossible to get lost in Printify interface.
Top menu has all the links you need to create new products and track orders.
Compared to Printful, Printify seems less beginner-friendly, because you won’t find trips and tricks and useful links on every corner. However, this is solved by the extensive amount of information in the Help Center.
Printful vs. Printify: Ease of Use - Winner
It’s a tie.
Both companies provide great user experience with simple and intuitive websites. It takes only a brief moment to figure out how these websites work, which, to my mind, is a great achievement for both companies, bearing in mind how complex POD process can be for beginners.
The first thing to note is that both POD services are completely free to use, there are no membership or subscription fees, or any other hidden expenses.
Using both Printful and Printify, you are only charged when you sell a product via your eCommerce platform and it is sent to production.
Product pricing is one of the most important factors when choosing a print on demand company, and I’d argue that this factor differentiates Printful from Printify the most.
Printify offers lower prices on almost all products. This, to my mind, is the biggest advantage of this POD company.
If your primary concern is profit margin, Printify is clearly the way to go.
To illustrate my point, here’s a quick comparison table of production prices for some popular products:
- Bella+Canvas 3001 unisex jersey short sleeve tee
- Men’s all-over-print shirt
- Gildan 18500 Unisex Heavy Blend™ Hooded Sweatshirt
- 11oz Mug
*Printify print providers used in the comparison: Bella+Canvas shirt (Awkward Styles), AOP shirt (MWW), Gildan hoodie (SwiftPOD), mug (SPOKE).
Note that these are Printify Free plan prices. If you upgrade to Premium for $29 per month, you’ll get up to 20% off these prices, making the difference between Printify and Printful even more substantial.
Price - Quality
Some say that Printify’s low prices come at the expense of print quality.
Partially, I agree with this. But it really depends on what kind of artwork you want to print.
If your artwork is very bright and colorful, Printful’s top-notch printers will do a better job at printing bright and saturated colors on fabric.
When it comes to text-based prints, the difference is not that visible.
Another important thing to note is that Printify print quality can differ, depending on which print provider you choose. All of them are huge factories, so there might be slight differences in quality.
Printful vs. Printify: Product Pricing - Winner
Printify is a clear winner to me, because the price difference is simply huge. If I get to save $2-5 per product, this improves my profit margins immensely.
When it comes to quality, Printful’s prints will be brighter and crisper. It’s up to you to decide if they are worth the extra money.
Printful Product Variety
When it comes to Printful, it definitely focuses on bestselling products, such as T-shirts, hoodies, hats, leggings, mugs.
Printful doesn’t experiment much with novelty products, and it’s understandable, because all product blanks are stored at Printful’s own facilities. This is also the reason why it doesn’t introduce new products as often as its rival Printify.
If you’re planning to start a T-shirt business, Printful will, no doubt, cater to all your needs. T-shirts, long sleeves, crop tops, tank tops, embroidered tees, all over print tees, you name it.
If, however, you’re more interested in home decor or other eye-catching items, Printful’s catalog might fall short. Sure, there are wall canvas and bean bags, but Printful doesn’t really go the extra mile with its selection in the Home & Living category.
Here’s a quick look at Printful’s product categories. Click on the category to discover specific products.
- All-over-print shirts
- Polo shirts
- Tank tops
- 3/4 sleeve shirts
- Long sleeve shirts
- Embroidered shirts
- All-over-print shirts
- Tank tops
- Crop tops
- Embroidered shirts
- 3/4 sleeve shirts
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sports bras
- All-over-print shirts
- Baby bibs
- Baby bodysuits
- Baseball caps
- Trucker hats
- 5-panel hats
- Mesh hats
- Bucket hats
- Tote bags
- Drawstring bags
- Fanny packs
- Phone cases
- Flip flops
- Face masks
- Wall art
- Bean bags
Printify Product Variety
Printify’s catalog seems similar at first, but at a closer look its selection is so much richer.
Printify stands out, because on top of the popular products it also offers an amazing variety of unique items you won’t find on Printful. Here are just some of them:
- Shoes (sneakers, boots and heels)
- Bathroom decor (shower curtains, bath mats, towels)
- Bed linen
- Accessories, such as neckties, scarves
- Pet beds
- Loads more
This doesn’t mean that Printify focuses only on these items. Bestsellers like Bella Canvas 3001 and Gildan 5000 are in Printify’s catalog, too.
To me, this means that if you start a successful T-shirt business and want to diversify your product range with, for example, home decor, Printify will easily make it happen.
Another thing. Since Printify is adding more and more print providers to its network, the amount of products in its catalog is also growing month after month. It’s exciting to watch Printify add more awesome items and come up with strategies to sell them!
Here you can take a look at all of Printify’s product categories.
- Long sleeves
- Tank tops
- Long Sleeves
- Tank tops
- Baby bibs
- Long sleeves
- Bomber jackets
- High-top sneakers
- High heels
- Platform heels
- Canvas boots
- Phone cases
- Other (scarves, Christmas stockings and tree skirts, hooded blankets, aprons, watch bands, laptop sleeves, pin buttons, neckties)
- Art & wall decor
- Bathroom (bath mats, shower curtains, towels)
- Pillows and covers
- Pet beds
Printful vs. Printify: Product variety - Winner
Printify is the winner. Not only is its product catalog more varied at the moment, but it also keeps growing, as Printify’s print provider network expands.
A mockup is an image that visualizes how your product will look when it’s printed.
Both Printful and Printify have mockup generators that automatically create mockups of all your products. You can then use these pictures in your online store to avoid the costs of producing every product and hiring a photographer.
Printful’s mockup generator is the most advanced I’ve seen among all POD companies. There are basic product mockups on transparent or white background, mockups on male and female models, flatlays and so much more.
For every product you design with Printful, you’ll get tons of great mockups you can use for marketing. And it’s absolutely free.
Images are versatile, placements look realistic and quite accurate.
Take a look at the variety of Printful mockups for Bella+Canvas 3001 tee.
All you have to do is choose a product, upload your design and choose the photos which you want to put your designs on.
Here’s another example with Printful’s POD jewelry.
Printify’s mockup generator doesn’t offer such a variety of mockup images, but it still serves its basic purpose. With Printify you can create basic product photos on white background. In some cases, there will also be mockups on models.
Here are the only mockups Printify offers for Bella+Canvas 3001 tee.
Mockups in Home Decor category are slightly more varied, though. Shower curtain interior mockup looks professional and appealing.
And in the case of blankets you even get a little bit of variety.
Printful vs. Printify: Mockups - Winner
Printful’s mockup generator is superb in terms of quality and mockup variety. There’s such a variety of models and environments that Printful’s mockup generator really outperforms Printify’s, especially if you compare apparel mockups.
Running a print on demand business means that you don’t have a stock of printed goods and you produce them only when a customer makes an order.
Once a customer orders a product, there are 2 factors that determine total order fulfilment time:
- production time
- shipping time
Print on demand companies can’t affect shipping time, but production time is definitely something you should pay attention to when choosing a POD company.
Printful Producton Time
Printful’s estimated production time for apparel is 2-7 business days. Non-apparel products (mugs, phone cases, etc.) are printed within 2-5 business days.
From March till August 2020 production times were severely affected by COVID-19. Although currently production estimates are back to normal, you can check Printful COVID-19 Updates for more details regarding each product category.
Printify Production Time
Printify’s estimates are similar. It states that production usually takes 2-7 business days (not including shipping time).
Because Printify works with so many different print providers, knowing how long exactly each print provider takes to fulfil orders is essential.
Luckily, Printify makes it very easy to check each print provider’s average production time over the past month.
If you go to Catalog and choose the product you want to sell, the list of available print providers will give you very precise estimates.
You’ll see that most print providers tend to fulfil orders within a 2-4 day range.
Printify’s production timing were also strongly affected by COVID-19. Check Print Provider Status page to see if there are any production or shipping delays.
Printful vs. Printify: Production time - Winner
It’s a tie.
Both Printful and Printify in 2-7 business days, and the average production time is normally within the 2-4 day range.
When a customer makes an order in your print on demand store, you want your printing facility to be as close to your customer as possible.
This decreases shipping time and price and greatly improves customer satisfaction.
Printful fulfils orders in 5 of its own production facilities, located in North America and Europe, as well as 3 partner facilities in Japan and Australia:
- Los Angeles, CA
- Charlotte, NC
- Tijuana, Mexico
- Riga, Latvia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Amakusa, Japan
- Brisbane, Australia
- Victoria, Australia
These are the locations where all of your Printful orders are shipped from. Orders are automatically routed to the facility that is closest to your customer.
Printify has teamed up with printing facilities all around the world. It gives you the opportunity to work with 23+ different printing companies in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, China, Australia.
When you visit Printify Catalog, you can sort products by Print Providers. This is an easy way to discover available products in specific locations.
Print Geek, for example, fulfils orders in Canada and offers 15 different products (see below).
It takes a bit of time to figure out which print providers fit your business needs best.
First, you have to scroll through the list of print providers to figure out their locations. Then, you can check out what products they offer. Then, once you’ve selected a product, you can finally check Shipping fees, delivery timeframes, details about printing technology, inks, packaging and more.
Going through all this information and comparing it, no doubt, takes extra time. Especially because with Printful you don’t have to do it at all. However, I appreciate the fact that Printify is so transparent about these details. They really help you find a reliable printing partner for your business.
Printful vs. Printify: Production locations - Winner
Not only does it have more production locations right now, but its business model allows it to scale and team up with more and more facilities very quickly.
Let’s take a look at Printful’s and Printify’s shipping costs and timeframes.
Printful’s average shipping time is 4 business days, but it depends on your customer’s location, as well as any force majeure situations like the 2020 pandemic, that may prevent the shipping carrier from delivering on time.
Here’s a map of Printful’s shipping time estimates (click on the link for an interactive version).
As you can see, fastest delivery is in the countries where Printful has its facilities.
If your customers are US-based, delivery will only take 3-4 business days. When it comes to Europe delivery estimates vary from 2 to 8 business days.
Printful shipping costs vary from product to product.
Shipping a single T-shirt to a customer in the US costs $3.99. For hoodies, jackets and pants domestic US shipping is $6.50.
You can check the shipping costs of every product on Printful catalog here.
When it comes to packaging, Printful uses poly bags and cardboard boxes.
You can add your logo and a custom message to the packing slip for free. This helps your customers recognise your brand and adds a personal touch to the unboxing experience. Adding a custom message also works great if you want to promote a sale or mention a new product.
Another great thing is that Printful lets you add business cards, stickers or flyers to the order. It costs $0.75 per order, plus storage costs.
When it comes to Printify, figuring out shipping costs and timings is not as straight-forward. Shipping really depends on the print provider and the product you are selling.
To make sense of Printify shipping, you’ll have to open Shipping rates page and literally click on each print provider to discover the rates.
Unfortunately, there’s no tool that would let you compare shipping rates by print provider, destination country or product type.
Domestic US shipping of a single T-shirt costs $4 with most print providers and normally takes 2-5 business days. If your customers tend to order more than one product, The Dream Junction has the best rates for additional item shipping.
If you plan to sell to European customers, it is highly advisable to pick EU-based print providers.
For example, German print provider Textildruck Europa ships to European countries within 5-7 business days with DHL.
Since packaging is provided by each individual print provider, there is no standard packaging you can expect from every print provider.
You can check what type of packaging a print provider uses by going to Catalog, choosing a product, then the print provider, and clicking Shipping and more details. Typically, shirts are shipped in poly bags, but multiple product packages are shipped in cardboard boxes.
Printify shipping from multiple print providers
Here’s an important thing to note, especially for print on demand beginners.
If you use multiple print providers in your store and your customer orders several items that are produced by different print providers, each item will be shipped separately.
Printify will not put the items together for you.
This means that shipping costs will turn out higher and your customer will be confused about receiving their order in parts.
Make sure you stick to a limited number of print providers or communicate this very clearly.
Printful vs. Printify: Shipping - Winner
It’s a tie, because shipping costs and timing estimates are very similar. Printify’s shipping details take a lot more time to figure out, but essentially they are almost the same as Printful’s.
Packaging is also industry standard for both POD companies – small orders are shipped in poly bags, bigger ones in plain cardboard boxes.
Adding your brand’s logo to the product and its packaging is a great way to create a strong, memorable brand and raise brand awareness. Let’s see what kind of branding options you can get with Printful and Printify.
I love how customisable Printful’s products are. If you are willing to pay extra, Printful can print inner and outer labels on your garments, embroider your logo, print logo on the sleeves.
Here’s a list of all Printful branding options:
- Inside labels on most apparel products ($2.49 per label)
- Outside labels on tees, hoodies, sweatshirts ($2.49 per label)
- Short sleeve prints on T-shirts ($2.49 per sleeve)
- Long sleeve prints on sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets ($5.95 per sleeve)
- Embroidered logos on hats, aprons, hoodies, tees ($2.95 per placement)
Printify lets you print your logo only on the inner and outer neck label areas, as well as on the sleeves of T-shirts. Embroidery and long sleeve prints are not available.
It’s important to note that not all print providers do this. You can check whether a print provider offers branding areas in the Product Catalog. Just like with Printful, each additional branding area costs extra.
Printful vs. Printify: Branding Options - Winner
Compared to Printful, Printify’s branding options are very limited.
If you are looking for a POD company that prints and embroiders logos on various garment areas, as well as adds your stickers or business cards to the order, Printful is definitely the best choice.
Printful has built smooth and easy to use integrations with 20+ platforms.
If you decide to work with Printful, you can literally use almost any eCommerce platform for your online store.
Here’s the full list of Printful’s integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, Ecwid, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, Weebly, Bigcartel, Magento, Gumroad, Shipstation, 3dcart, Launchcart, Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Wish, Storenvy, Bonanza.
Printful Integrations page is a handy resource for beginners choosing the best eCommerce platform for their business. There you can compare setup time, price and other features before making a final decision.
Printify has 7 integrations, which is considerably less than Printful. However, the number is growing.
Currently Printify works with Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, eBay and Wix, as well as beta versions for PrestaShop and BigCommerce.
Printful vs. Printify: Integrations - Winner
Printful is a clear winner with its 21 integrations, compared to Printify’s 7.
Support & Policies
Customer Support and Help Center
Both Printful and Printify have dedicated customer support teams ready to asnwer your questions via chat and email 24/7.
There are also useful Help Center articles covering various topics from printing and shipping to design, eCommerce platforms, taxes and more:
Returns & Exchanges
Returns and exchanges policies are very similar for both Printful and Printify.
Since both companies produce items on demand, they do not accept returns or exchanges if your customer has ordered a wrong product, size, color, or simply doesn’t like the product.
Returns are only accepted in case of misprinted, damaged or defective item.
Printful Content Policy
Printful states that all content is subject to review, and Printful reserves the right to remove it at any time and for any reason. Printful evaluates each case individually.
You cannot print content that infringes on the intellectual property of others. It is also forbidden to print content that promotes illegal activity or expresses hatred towards any person or group.
Here’s more info about Printful content policy.
Printify Content Policy
Printify has a Quality Check process, in which all new and updated products have to go through inspection before you can print them.
Quality Check takes up to 12 hours. If there are any quality or copyright issues, production will be put on hold and you will be notified by e-mail.
You can print anything that doesn’t infringe on the intellectual property of others and that doesn’t contain abusive content.
Here’s more about Printify content policy.
Printful vs. Printify: Support & Policies - Winner
It’s a tie.
Both companies provide 24/7 customer support via chat and email, and plenty of information in their help centers.
Returns & exchanges are handled similarly by both Printful and Printify.
Printful and Printify are two strong print on demand competitors, both have their strengths and weaknesses.
The choice between these companies depends on your priorities:
- Printful is expensive but well-known for the high quality of its prints. Using Printful’s branding options, you can create a strong and memorable brand, which is important in the long run.
- Printify is cheaper and has a more varied product catalog. However, it has fewer integrations with eCommerce platforms and has very limited branding options.
Choose Printful if:
- Consistency of quality is top importance to you
- You want to invest in branding and create a special experience for your customers
Choose Printify if:
- You want to maximise profit
- You want to choose from a vast variety of products
I really hope you enjoyed this guide.
Has it helped you choose between Printful and Printify? It’s time to test these POD companies in action:
Looking for more information about print on demand drop shipping? Check out Print on Demand Drop Shipping in 2020: The Definitive Guide