The global print on demand industry was worth $6.17bn in 2022 and is forecast to increase to $39.4bn by 2030. It’s time for you to get a piece of the pie.
Printful is the market leader known for innovation and its high quality printing but that comes at a cost as Printful’s prices are higher than many print-on-demand companies.
Are Printful the best POD companies for you to use?
Having sold many items using Printful, placed sample orders, and regularly wear hoodies and t-shirts printed by Printful, in this Printful review I break down everything you need to know (and probably some stuff you don’t, Im thorough like that).
- Printful is one of the largest POD companies out there = a credible
- Easy to use = get started quickly with no learning curve
- Printful is done in-house = Better support as Printful owns the end to end.
- Known for their print quality = less returns
- They have a global reach = quicker shipping
- More expensive than some = less profit
- Volume-based discounts = great for bigger sellers = make more profit
What Is Printful?
Printful has quickly become one of the leading print-on-demand dropshipping services.
Founded in 2013 by Davis Siksnans and Lauris Liberts, Printful has experienced incredible growth alongside the booming e-commerce industry.
Since its inception, Printful has been on a remarkable journey.
Did you know – Printful was founded after an online store run by the founders “Startup Vitamins” grew too big for the posters to continue to be printed in the co-founders living room they needed help with printing and fulfillment but didn’t find a suitable solution so they launched our own business.
That’s how Printful was born.
The company’s growth has been nothing short of monumental. In 2021, Printful recorded a staggering $289 million revenue, reflecting a significant year-over-year growth.
In line with global market trends, Printful continues to expand exponentially. North America leads the pack, with notable contributions from economic powerhouses such as the United States.
Emerging markets across the Asia Pacific region are also witnessing a surge in print-on-demand services, offering significant growth prospects for companies like Printful.
This growth has largely been facilitated by a rapid shift from traditional retail to eCommerce, coupled with an increasing demand for personalized and eco-friendly products.
Print On Demand Approach
Printful is one of a few print on demand suppliers that do the majority of their printing in-house.
This helps ensure higher quality and better customer support as they don’t have to deal with third parties when resolving issues.
Other suppliers use third-party companies to fulfill orders.
Printful Product Catalog – More than just t-shirts
Printfuls product catalog contains 350+ items with more being added all the time.
The catalog includes the POD staples of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, phone cases, and mugs.
It also includes less common products like:
- Sports bras
- Baby bibs & baby bodysuits
- Bucket hats and visors
- Fanny packs,
- Flip flops & shoes,
- Laptop cases & mouse pads
- Aprons & towels
Their catalog isn’t as big as some POD platforms and suppliers but it has a wide range from basics to the less common / niche specific that you can sell in your ecommerce store.
I do get a little frustrated when I find they don’t offer the color of the hoodie I need or the product I want to sell isn’t available in the region or country I want to sell it to.
Printful’s Top Selling Items
Printfuls top selling items include
- Holdalls & backpacks
- Hats / caps
Printful Branding Options
You can enhance your brand’s image and create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers by exploring Printful’s branding options and packaging choices.
Printful offers a range of branding options, allowing you to customize your products with your logo, labels, and tags. This helps to create a cohesive and professional look for your brand.
Printful Software – Easy To Use
Navigating through Printful’s platform is a breeze, with its intuitive interface and seamless user experience. From the moment you log in, you’ll find it easy to navigate and discover the various features and tools available.
Whether you’re designing custom merchandise, managing your orders, or checking on the status of your shipments, Printful’s platform is designed to make your experience as smooth as possible.
The user-friendly interface allows you to easily upload your designs, choose from a wide range of printable products, and customize them to fit your brand.
With just a few clicks, you can create and launch your own online store, connect it to popular ecommerce platforms, and start selling your custom merchandise.
One feature I really like is the ability to import orders that aren’t synced with Printful. For example, if you sell on Etsy using Printify and they are out of stock of an item, you can go into Printful and see all your non-synced orders (as long as you’ve connected your store to Printful).
Printful POD Mockups
Printful mockups are better than a lot of their competition. All POD suppliers provide mockups like Printful does but the quality just isn’t the same.
Everyone with a Printful account gets access to their Design Maker which includes their mockup generator.
You can now customize your background with your own images to make the product mockups look a little less erm boring.
I always recommend using a service like Placeit to add professional lifestyle mockups to your store alongside those Printful provides to make your store stand out.
Printful Integrations – Ecommerce Platforms
Printful offers more integrations than all other POD suppliers I have used, 23 in total. This includes:
|Adobe Commerce||Store Envy||GumRoad|
|Nuvemshop / Tiendanube||ShipStation||Shift4Shop|
|Launch Cart||Printful API|
So you’ve probably heard that Printful is more expensive than some print on demand suppliers. This is true. How much more expensive? Let’s have a look.
The cost of a Gildan 5000 medium black t-shirt
|Supplier||Product Cost (no memberships)||Shipping Cost to US Customer|
|Printify||$7.09 (using swiftpod)||$4.75|
Printful has two free plans that provide a number of benefits, including discounts, if you reach certain sales thresholds across a period of 12 months.
You can get free shipping and 20% off sample orders? Pretty cool right?
Soon you can pay a monthly subscription to get these benefits, but the cost hasn’t been confirmed yet. There are two plans, Growth and Business.
If you’re selling globally and dont want the hassle of order routing and dealing with different suppliers in the Printify network, Printful is worth using.
Printful Printing & Decoration Services
Many POD companies offer DTG (direct to garment) printing as that’s probably the best-known type of printing.
However, Printful also offers AOP and Embroidery options that not all suppliers offer.
All Over Printing (AOP)
All Over Print products enable you to print all over the product using a method called sublimation. Sublimation printing is a digital printing technique that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as plastic, card, paper, or fabric.
The process involves using sublimation ink, heat, and pressure to transfer images from a printed paper onto another material.
The ink becomes a gas, bypassing the liquid stage, and is absorbed by the material where it permanently dyes the substrate. Sublimation printing is commonly used on fabrics and hard surfaces like mugs, phone cases, and plates.
Embroidery has been around for years and its still an unexploited way of adding premium products to your store as it maintains a higher perceived value than normal printing.
There is one downside with embroidery; you are limited in the number of colors your design can include.
That sucks right? Not anymore.
Earlier this year, Printful launched its Unlimited Color Embroidery offering that dyes the thread as the design is being embroidered. This gets around the constraint of needing different color threads in the embroidery machine.
Currently only available in the US, but this will become huge when people realize what it can do.
Printful Print Quality
Printful has built its reputation on its consistently high print quality. They publish their stats on reshipment rates and the good news is they continue to drop.
All orders go through a three-step quality assurance process:
The graphics are checked for quality
Fulfillment specialists check quality while orders are in production
The quality of the products is then checked when it’s printed before it goes out.
Printful Customer Service
Printful’s customer service is up there with the best POD suppliers. The scale of their organization means they can invest more in customer support and customer service.
Printful provides a help center with videos and articles to help you get started and grow your business.
They have an active facebook group that is manned by Printful staff.
They have a web chat option (during office hours) and an email mailbox for when they are closed.
When I have had reason to contact Printul I have found them to be helpful and responsive.
What Printful Customers Say
What Do Customers Like About Printful
- Printful offers a remarkably user-friendly and intuitive interface.
- Is that they have a big selection of items to sell as merch. So sometimes it’s hard to pick just one.
I was blown away at how easy it was to brand the merchandise and sync it with our WooCommerce bookstore on our WordPress website.
- Definitely product quality, fast processing times
- Printful integrates with a lot of different platforms, Squarespace, Wix, Etsy, Weebly, etc
What Do Customers Dislike about Printful
- Their prices are really the highest in the industry for us to purchase wholesale, have printed, and shipped.
- Not happy at all with their service. There is no number to call, only an email
- There are high shipping fees
Printful Enterprise – For Big Brands
If you have a big brand, or a large established ecommerce store then Printful is a safe choice. Given their size, they have the resources to support large stores.
To further their capability, Printful purchased Snow Commerce in June 2023.
They offer services that other POD suppliers just cant.
Printful Warehousing & Fulfillment For Ecommerce
Take advantage of Printful’s warehousing and fulfillment services to efficiently store and ship your products to customers.
You can store your inventory in their secure facilities, eliminating the need for your own storage space.
This not only saves you money but also ensures that your products are stored in a controlled environment.
This is ideal if you sell a readymade product alongside POD products and need them both to ship from the same place.
Printful can print the POD product and ship it with the readymade product that they hold for you in their warehouses.
Printful Pros and Cons
- High quality printing
- Global print facilities
- A large number of ecommerce integrations
- Printful App for Android and iOS
- Warehousing / dropshipping capability
- More expensive than some competitors
- Small catalog that other print on demand services like Printify
- Not all products are available at each fulfillment location
Who Should Use Printful?
Entrepreneurs who sell globally who want to deal with the people actually doing the printing and not need to mess around with 3rd party print companies.
Enterprise scale businesses that want a print partner that can match their own size.
Beginners who want an easy to use platform with great support and helpful resources.
Sellers who use platforms that arent supported by other POD companies. You dont want to be manually placing orders if you sell on a platform that Printify doesn’t support for example.
Business owners who are already selling in high volumes and would therefore would benefit from the volume discounts.
Whilst Printful is one of the best print on demand companies, it may not suit every ecommerce business.
Here are a few alternative suppliers if Printful isn’t for you.
I’ve tested and or used these suppliers on a regular basis so I know each offers a good printing service for POD business owners.
The obvious competition. Printify is cheaper than Printful, has a bigger product catalog but doesn’t integrate with as many ecommerce platforms and does all their printing via third parties.
Great if you are selling only to the US. Less so if you sell globally or in other regions.
We’ve compared Printful vs. Printify in more detail. Check it out.
A global supplier that is cheaper than Printful, with a global print network that whilst made up of 3rd party print companies, Gelato makes it invisible to the customer.
A limited catalogue but all the staples are covered and there is a strong focus on paper-based products.
Read our Gelato Vs Printful comparison for more
Inkthreadable / AOP+
Selling to the UK only? Inkthreadable & AOP+ are great alternatives. Cheaper and with UK-based fulfilment these are solid choices.
Both are limited in terms of integrations and have high shipping costs if you sell to customers outside the UK.
Selling in the UK? Check out which we think are the best UK POD companies.
How Does Printful Work?
Printful is a print-on-demand fulfillment service that takes care of the entire process from printing to shipping. Here’s how it works:
Choose products: Printful offers a diverse range of customizable products, including apparel, accessories, home decor, and more. You can easily select the items you want to sell and personalize them with your own designs.
Design and upload: Use Printful’s product template builder and design tool to create your unique designs. Simply upload your artwork, customize placement and colors, and preview the finished product.
Connect your store: Integrate Printful with your online store or marketplace. Printful seamlessly integrates with popular platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy, making it easy to sync products, process orders, and handle fulfillment.
Print and ship: When a customer places an order, Printful automatically receives the order details and begins the printing process. Printful then packs and ships the product directly to your customer, taking care of all the logistics.
How To Choose A Print On Demand Supplier
1. Product range: Look for a supplier that offers a wide range of products, including apparel, accessories, home decor items, and more. This allows you to offer a diverse selection to your customers.
2. Quality: Ensure that the supplier maintains high-quality standards for their products. Look for reviews and samples to assess the print quality, fabric durability, and overall craftsmanship.
3. Customization options: Check if the supplier offers various customization options such as different printing techniques, color choices, and design placement. This allows you to create unique and personalized products.
4. Integration and ease of use: Consider the supplier’s compatibility with your existing e-commerce platform or website. Look for easy integration options and user-friendly interfaces to simplify the order and fulfillment process.
5. Pricing and profit margins: Evaluate the supplier’s pricing structure, including base prices, shipping costs, and any additional fees. Calculate your potential profit margins to ensure they align with your business goals.
6. Production and shipping times: Check the supplier’s production and shipping times to ensure they can meet your customers’ expectations for timely delivery. Fast turnaround times are crucial for customer satisfaction.
7. Print on demand fulfillment network: Consider whether the supplier has a reliable and efficient fulfillment network, including multiple production facilities and shipping partners. This ensures faster delivery and reduces the risk of delays or stockouts.
8. Customer service and support: Ensure that the supplier provides responsive and helpful customer service. Look for accessible communication channels, quick response times, and assistance with any order or technical issues.
9. Environmental and ethical considerations: If sustainability and ethical practices are important to your brand, choose a supplier that emphasizes eco-friendly materials, responsible manufacturing processes, and fair labor practices.
By considering these key factors, you can choose a print on demand supplier that matches your goals and needs.
Printful Review – Conclusion
Good quality, easy to use, lots of support and information but a little more expensive than other suppliers.
Thats it in a nutshell.
Recent price drops have brought them closer to their competition for key items from a pricing perspective and their new paid subscription plans (which are free if you hit certain sales levels) mean they are cheaper still.
I recommend Printful for the following groups of people:
- Anyone selling globally who doesn’t want the hassle of order routing
- Beginners who want an easy to use platform & reliable supplier
- Anyone selling on a platform that isn’t supported by other POD companies
- Anyone already selling in high volumes who would therefore would benefit from the volume discounts.
Can you really make money with Printful?
Yes. You can make money with Printful. There are many POD sellers on Etsy and Shopify that make large amounts of money selling using Printful. Here are some examples from Printful: Successful Sellers
Do you need money to sell on Printful?
No. Printful is free to start and Printful only starts processing an order once you have received a sale on your store. Having a small amount of money for advertising (if selling on shopify) or for listing fees (if selling on Etsy) would be beneficial.
How much does Printful setup cost?
Printful is free to use and set up. Sellers may need an ecommerce store to sell print on demand products which may come at a cost.
Is it free to sell on Printful?
Yes, Printful is free to use. You are charged by Printful once you place a Printful Order and they print and fulfill it.
Do you have to pay first on Printful?
No, you pay Printful only once you place an order with Printful. Usually, this is after you have received an order from a customer.
Is signing up for Printful free?
Yes, signing upto Printful and creating a Printful account is free.
What is the difference between Printify and Printful?
Printful and Printify are both POD suppliers however whilst Printful does the majority of their printing in house, Printify uses a network of print partners to fulfill orders. Printify is known as being cheaper than Printful, but many believe Printful’s printing is of higher quality.
Can you make money on Etsy with Printful?
Yes. You can make money with Printful. There are many POD sellers on Etsy that make large amounts of money selling using Printful. Here are some examples from Printful: Successful Sellers