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Printful Too Expensive? Try These Alternatives

Printful is really, really expensive. And they can afford to be, because they’re big. In fact, Printful is so big that the rising influx of online traffic due to the covid-19 pandemic has severely slowed them down. 

And that’s weird because there are dozens of print on demand alternatives to Printful. But most people stick to Printful.

Even though, most print on demand competitors (if not all) are far cheaper options than Printful. And many of these companies aren’t delayed on operations. 

Look at this example from our recent blog post where we compared the “Bella + Canvas 3001 t-shirt” on Printful to Gooten and Printify. 

As you can see, Printful leaves very little room for profit. The shirt, that costs a whopping $13.27 on Printful, only costs $6.76 on Printify. If you have the premium plan, you can even get it for as cheap as $5.91. Printful is more than double as expensive. 

But it’s not just Printify that’s way cheaper than Printful. The same shirt, is $8.90 on Gooten.

On every shirt that you sell for a base price of $25, you will make a profit off $11,73 on Printful. In comparison, you can make $19,09 with Printify and $16,10 profit on Gooten. 

Those numbers are big enough to make you start thinking: Isn’t Printful TOO expensive? 

Why Printful is so expensive

Before we throw them completely under the bus, let me explain why Printful is so expensive compared to alternative print on demand suppliers. 

1. Printful has unrivaled print quality

If you’ve ordered samples from Printful before, you know this already: Printful has amazing print quality. And that’s because they have the best equipment and don’t save on ink, unlike competitors. 

When comparing Printful to others, other prints always look faded. 

Don’t believe me? Check out this video:

2. Printful has fast customer service

When working with a print on demand supplier, that supplier becomes your “business partner”. And with your business partner, you need to have smooth communications. This is the case with Printful. 

They have live chat support available for you, a feature that is missing with most competitors. Did you know Gooten once made me wait 6 days for a reply? Yikes.

Another thing to note is that everything is done in-house. There is no outsourcing so if you contact them regarding a particular order, they can help you out. 

This cannot be said from most competitors, since they outsource the products. This means that if they have questions, they need to contact their suppliers, and that causes delays. 

3. Printful has multiple locations, worldwide

Another huge plus about Printful is that they have many locations. If you have an order in Europe and the US on the same day, one of the orders will be fulfilled in Europe and the other in the US.

This is all done automatically, which is just amazing. This speeds up shipping and makes your brand look a lot better, for having multiple “fulfillment” locations. 

On top of that, this means Printful can offer very competitive shipping from each of these locations. 

If you have many international orders, it’s very hard to justify an alternative to Printful. 

Making Your Decision

Now that we’ve learned why Printful is so expensive, we can decide whether or not it’s worth it to look for an alternative print on demand supplier for our business. 

Here’s some questions that can help you decide:

  • Do I care more about profit or product quality?
  • Are most of my orders in one location or from all over the world?
  • Do I want good communications with my supplier?

Fill in those questions for yourself. If you find that you value product quality, smooth international shipping and communications with your POD supplier, Printful is probably still the way to go. 

However, if you find that you can step away from those “luxuries” in order to make more of a profit, keep reading to find out which printful alternatives might be a better fit for you. 

Read Also: Ultimate POD Starter Guide

Printful Alternatives

1. Teelaunch

printful alternative: teelaunch

Teelaunch is a made-for-Shopify app and print provider. While their name is Teelaunch, they sell a whole lot more than just t-shirts. In fact, Teelaunch has one of the most extensive product catalogs to make themselves stand out from the competition.

They even mention it on their about us page, they believe that everyone and their dogs are selling t-shirts. They aren’t wrong, often the main mistake beginners make is that they only focus on t-shirts.

Product Catalog

Teelaunch has an interesting product catalog. Probably the most interesting catalog on this article. Next to your usual apparel products and accessories, they have a wide range of products that you don’t see anywhere else such as power banks, charging stands, dog bowls, plates, and even dog bandana’s. (Taking that “everyone and their dogs” a little too seriously there, Teelaunch?)

If you’re looking for a Printful alternative with a lot of original options, Teelaunch is a good place to start.

Read also: Teelaunch vs Printful

Pricing and Shipping

Teelaunch charges a flat rate of $5 on US orders and $10 on International orders.

The cheapest t-shirt you can find on Teelaunch is $8.50.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $11,50 on US orders and $6,5 on International orders.

Integrations

As far as integrations go, Teelaunch is only available as an app for Shopify. However, you can integrate it with Etsy if you want but you will still need to have a Shopify account to do so.

Our Teelaunch Rating

  • Print Quality
  • Pricing
  • Shipping
  • Communication
  • Overall

2. Customcat

Customcat is an alternative to Printful

Customcat is a POD print provider and alternative to Printful that will give you far better profit margins that you are used to. You can find some really apparel and accessories on customcat and they also integrate with many different platforms.

Product Catalog

Customcat has a basic product catalog. You’ll find apparel products and some basic accessories. They have a couple of original products such as ornaments, baby bibs, and a done pet tag.

Pricing and Shipping

Customcat has a bit of a confusing pricing model. They have 4 different brackets: lightweight, heavyweight, lightweight drinkware, and heavyweight drinkware.

For regular t-shirts, you’ll fall under the lightweight category, for mugs you’ll fall under the lightweight drinkware category.

US shipping is $4.99 for lightweight apparel and $5.99 for US International shipping is $8.50 for lightweight apparel and $10 for drinkware.

The cheapest t-shirt available on Customcat is $7.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $13.01 on US orders and $9.50 on International orders.

Integrations

The following integrations are possible with Customcat:

  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • API

Our Customcat Review

  • Print Quality 3/5
  • Pricing 3/5
  • Shipping 3/5
  • Communication 3/5
  • Overall 3/5

3. Gooten

Gooten as an alternative to printful print on demand

Gooten is a relatively new print provider, entering the market only 5 years ago in 2015. Their name is based on Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press (that’s great branding right there).

Gooten offers both in-house printing and shipping but also makes use of a network of third-party printing providers as well.

According to them, this multi-routing business-model, offers the best of both worlds and the best part? You don’t have to do anything, they make sure your product gets to your customer. How they manage that, is their problem.

Product Catalog

Gooten has an extensive product catalog that expands past apparel into home & living, accessories, and pet products.

Business an holiday cards are also available through Gooten.

Pricing and Shipping

Shipping information with Gooten is super easy to find as they have dedicated shipping info on every single product page.

The cheapest t-shirt on Gooten costs $8.90. Flat rate shipping fees within the US are $3.99 and $6.99 for international orders.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $12.11 on US orders and $9.11 on International orders.

Integrations

The following integrations are possible with Gooten:

  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • WooCommerce
  • API

Our Gooten Review

  • Print Quality 3.5/5
  • Pricing 3/5
  • Shipping 3/5
  • Communication 2.5/5
  • Overall 3/5

4. SPOD

SPOD is a printful alternative

Spod is a POD provider owned by Spreadshirt, a major print on demand marketplace that competes with Redbubble and Teespring. 

This proves they have a lot of experience in the field, of which they have been in for more than 16 years.

However, SPOD is completely independent from Spreadshirt and you don’t need a Spreadshirt account or store to use them as your print provider. SPOD, just like Printful and other competitors listed here allows you to sell independently on your own Shopify store and other platforms.

Their description on the Shopify app store reads “Pandemic-proof”. 

And they aren’t wrong. While Printful and alternatives have been severely affected with delays during the pandemic, SPOD has been able to keep up orders and ship out packages within 48 hours. 

So if you came to this article looking for an alternative because Printful is backed up on orders right now, you could consider fulfilling some of your products through SPOD instead. 

Product Catalog

SPOD has a very basic product catalog. They sell apparel products, drinkware, pillows, and other accessories. Compared to other alternatives to Printful listed here, SPOD has a very limited product catalog. 

Pricing and Shipping

SPOD is very transparent about their shipping and displays shipping calculators on their website. While most POD providers have exact prices and charge a certain fee per additional product, SPOD shipping depends entirely on the value of the goods shipped.

The cheapest t-shirt on SPOD is $6.39. US shipping for such a t-shirt would cost you $3.57.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $15.04 on US orders.

SPOD has different products at different prices in European warehouses.

Integrations

SPOD is available as a Shopify app and has no other integrations. If you still want to integrate SPOD with other services, you’ll have to look into a third-party app like Orderdesk.

Our SPOD Review

  • Print Quality 3.5/5
  • Pricing 4/5
  • Shipping 3/5
  • Communication 3/5
  • Overall 3.4/5

5. Shirtly

Shirtly is one of the print on demand alternatives to printful

Product Catalog

What’s different about Shirtly is that they let you bundle products which is a really nice feature. This creates many options such as selling matching father/son or selling matching shirts for couples. It’s a nice add-on and good for increasing profits. 

Pricing and Shipping

The cheapest t-shirt on Shirtly is $5.25.

Shirtly charges a flat rate of $4 for us shipping.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $15.75 on US orders.

Integrations

  • Shopify
  • Etsy (through Shopify)
  • Amazon (coming soon)

Our Shirtly Rating

  • Print Quality 4/5
  • Pricing 5/5
  • Shipping 4/5
  • Communication 3/5
  • Overall 4/5

6. Printify

Printify is a Printful alternative that offers cheaper pricing

Printify works a bit different compared to other print on demand suppliers. They have a network of suppliers that they work with and you can pick from.

Everything is very transparent on Printify, when scrolling through the products you will find which suppliers are charging what for the product and what their shipping costs are. You’ll also see an individual rating for each print provider and their average production time.

Printify is a great Printful alternative for those who really want to increase their profit margins. They also offer a premium subscription model, for $29 a month you’ll receive an extra 20% off on all orders which becomes beneficial to your profit margins once you start shipping multiple orders per week.

Product Catalog

Printify has an extensive catalog consistent of apparel products, accessories, home decoration and more. Next to DTG (direct-to-garment) they also provide AOP (All-over-print).

Pricing and Shipping

The cheapest t-shirt on Printify is from Awkard Styles, starting at $6.82. The same shirt, costs $5.50 for premium Printify subscribers.

US shipping is $5 and international shipping is $11.

If you consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $13.20 on US orders and $7.20 on international orders.

For those who want to sell internationally, it’s best to pick a supplier that has affordable shipping rates for both the US and international orders.

For example it’s better to pick the “Bella + Canvas 3100” from The Dream Junction instead of the Gildan 5000 from Awkard Styles.

While TDJ looks more expensive at $8.46 per t-shirt, they have far better shipping rates: $4 for US orders and just $6 for International orders.

If we once again consider a retail price of $25 with shipping included, you’ll be left with a profit of $12.54 on US orders and $10.54 on international orders.

Integrations

Printify beats out the competition when it comes to integrations. They support just about anything. The following integrations are possible with Printify:

  • Shopify
  • eBay
  • PrestaShop
  • BigCommerce
  • WIX
  • WooCommerce
  • Etsy
  • API

Printify is easily integrated with Etsy.

Our Printify Rating

  • Print Quality (depends on print provider!!) 3/5
  • Pricing 5/5
  • Shipping 3/5
  • Communication 3/5
  • Overall 3.5/5

Which Is The Best Print On Demand Alternative For Printful?

It’s hard picking favorites as each and every one of the print on demand providers have their benefits and drawbacks.

If all you’re doing is selling t-shirts, I highly recommend you check out Shirtly as they are cheap and have good delivery times. The product-bundling option is also a huge bonus.

Otherwise I also recommend SPOD for their fast 48hour processing times and Printify for the many possible integrations and the fact that you can freely choose your printing provider.

For those looking for something a little more original, Gooten and Teelaunch have some cool, alternative products in their catalog.

POD Marketplaces As An Alternative To Printful

The main part of this article has been about exact alternatives to Printful, with that we mean print on demand providers that allow you to white label and sell on your own Shopify store, Etsy shop, eBay and so on.

However, that’s not the only way you can sell using Print on Demand. You can also sell print on demand products using POD marketplaces.

Examples of these marketplaces are Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Redbubble, Teespring, and so on.

The way a POD marketplace works is that you upload a product design that anyone is able to buy directly from their website.

This also means that the POD marketplace is in charge of marketing, customer service, returns, and so on. All you do is upload designs and make a profit from those.

These are not exact alternatives to Printful but they are definitely worth mentioning and they are a great way to make a passive income for those who love Print on Demand.

Wrapping Things Up

Printful is not just the only print on demand provider out there. There are many Printful alternatives that are far cheaper and have better shipping times than Printful.

While they are the biggest one, they have been in big trouble due to COVID-19 and the fact that they are still handling delays after months means they do not have the personnel and equipment for the large operation that they are.

If you’re asking me, now is the best time to look into alternatives to Printful.

If you have any questions about these Printful alternatives, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

This article covers everything you need to know to get started with print on demand.


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