Are you thinking about starting a clothing line? What about your own brand of home goods and accessories? With a print-on-demand company like Printful, it’s easy. There are no monthly fees (unless you upgrade to a paid plan), and no order minimums.
In this Printful review, we look at all the features and services Printful offers. That way, you can decide if you want to use it as your primary dropship supplier.
What is Printful?
Printful is a company that offers print-on-demand services, like Printify. With it, you can dropship a variety of products to customers. You only pay a fee to Printful for the product itself. You set the price so you’re in control of your profit margin.
Printful is more than a custom printing company, though. They also have other service offerings, including:
Printful offers branding services for white label and print-on-demand products. With these services, you can add your brand’s logo to the inside label of garments, such as t-shirts, tank tops, dresses, leggings, and more.
If desired, you can add branded packaging and branded receipts to your print-on-demand products. This is available for an additional fee, based on the size and type of packaging. You can also include branded pack-ins or inserts, like thank you or business cards.
Adding pack-ins will add a small fulfillment fee to each order. It will also add to your monthly storage costs. You’ll pay $.50 per pack-in that’s added to an order. They base storage fees on the number of units and the amount of space you take up in cubic feet. There’s a $25/month minimum.
Do you need graphic design? Ecommerce photography? Video production? You’re in luck! Printify offers these services at an additional cost. You can take care of everything in one place. Ultimately, this approach simplifies business operations.
Warehouse & Fulfillment
Printful offers warehousing and fulfillment services for products you sell at your ecommerce store. Send the products to one (or more) warehouses, and Printful will dropship everything to your customers. Your customers will never know you’re not the one doing the work. This solution works well for people who sell products besides POD.
If you’re an established print-on-demand business with sales records, you can also use Printful warehouse and fulfillment services to stock up on your best-selling products. This ensures you can get products shipped out even faster – sometimes on the same day the customer places the order.
Store Setup Services
If you don’t already have an ecommerce store set up, you can have the Printful team take care of it for you. You’ll have to submit a request and let the team get back to you.
If you want Printful to build your store from scratch, the price starts at $450. You’ll get to choose from a list of ecommerce platforms you want to use, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Wix.
Printful asks that you have the following prepared in advance:
- Product choices and designs
- Store layout ideas (show them examples of what you like, so they know what you want)
- Visual assets (logos, photos, etc.) that you want to be included in your store
- Product photos – if you don’t have them, send examples of the style you want, unless you’re okay using Printful mockups.
If you already have a store that you want to be connected to Printful, prices start at $300. (You can also connect it yourself.)
Printful also offers other store services starting at $50, meant for help with simple store tasks.
How Does Printful Work?
Printful offers access to over 230 quality products with in-house printing. It uses a dropshipping business model. You create products with your own custom design. Then Printful sends the products directly to your customer. Printful has a network of distributors all around the world, so that no matter where your customers are, you can present brand consistency.
Once you sign up and create your store, you choose items to list in your store. You can use the Printful design and mockup tool, along with a graphics and clip-art library, to create products.
If you have a third-party online store, you can integrate Printful with it. Alternatively, you can run Printful without an online shop. There’s a bit more work involved for small businesses that don’t use an integration.
Whenever a customer orders something from your store, Printful will fulfill it and drop ship it for you. You keep the profit. The only thing you focus on is creating custom designs and marketing your store.
Printful different printing methods, depending on the end product. They use direct-to-garment (DTG) printing for its standard process. DTG sprays high-quality ink directly on the fabric, where it soaks into the fiber. It works much the same way your inkjet printer does when printing on paper – except the paper, in this case, is fabric. This is a cost-effective alternative to screen printing because you don’t need an extensive setup.
Sublimation printing is also an option. Also known as all-over printing, this approach prints the images onto special paper. Using heat, the image transfers from the paper to the shirt. The ink disintegrates into the fabric. The final product lasts longer and will not crack and peel with time. Sublimation uses CMYK, which cannot be used to create the color white. If white is in the design, you’ll need to use another printing method.
Embroidery and engraving are available for a few products. Printful will always use the best printing method for the chosen product.
Unlike other POD companies, Printful does all its printing in-house. They work with partners all around the world to provide fulfillment. This approach is the opposite of Printify. They use a network of printing providers and let you choose the company you want to work with.
What About Print Quality?
Print quality is always subjective. Two people may see the same product, with the same printing method, and have different opinions about how it looks.
Compared to Printify, which uses a system of different providers, the print quality should be the same regardless of what network provider printed the product. It’s all done in-house with Printful.
That said, many things influence the overall print quality, such as
- The printing technology
- The source product (the product type determines the printing technologies)
- Source image quality (you must have a high-resolution image)
How to Use Printful
To get started with Printful’s services, sign up for your account.
After you sign up, create your products with the Mockup tool. Upload your graphics, or choose graphics from the Printful library. Position the graphics accordingly, and choose the base color, if applicable.
It’s always a good idea to request samples before listing your product for sale. This way, you can be sure the final product is what you expect. You can also get the same experience as your customers. Printful gives customers a 20% discount on all samples orders. You can place one sample order a month, with up to three products in that order.
Once you inspect the samples and decide you’re happy with the quality, you can list the product for sale.
Products You Can Sell With Printful
Printful has an extensive product catalog but lacks as many choices as some other POD services. Products you can sell with Printful include:
- Men’s clothing: T-shirts, embroidered shirts, polo shirts, tank tops, long sleeve shirts, jackets, hoodies, sweaters, sweatshirts and sweat pants, leggings, underwear, shorts
- Women’s clothing: As above, plus: crop tops, dresses, skirts, swimwear, and sports bras.
- Kid’s clothing: Shirts, jackets, hoodies, hats, leggings, baby bibs and bodysuits, swimwear
- Hats: Baseball caps, snapbacks, trucker hats, 5-panel hats, mesh hats, beanies, bucket hats, visors
- Bags: Tote bags, laptop cases, duffle bags, fanny packs, drawstring bags, backpacks
- Phone cases: iPhone and Samsung cases
- Jewelry: Bracelets, necklaces, earrings
- Drinkware: Water bottles and coffee mugs
- Blankets and pillows: Throw blankets, throw pillows, pillowcases, etc.
- Wall art: Posters, framed posters, canvas prints, flags
- Stationery: Postcards, notebooks, stickers
- Engraved pet ID tags
- Bean bag covers
- Towels and aprons
- Face masks
- Key chains
- Flip flops
It’s worth mentioning that Printful doesn’t determine product quality. That’s all in the quality of the brand you use for your designs. If you’re looking for a quality t-shirt, for instance, we recommend going with the Bella + Canvas 3001. It’s a bit more expensive than the Gildan shirts but will hold its shape after multiple washes.
How Much Does Printful Charge?
Printful has two pricing models: per item pricing, and a premium plan. If you place a samples order, you’ll receive a 20% discount. Once your store reaches $1,000 in sales for the month, you’ll start receiving an item discount. If you decide to place a bulk order (of 25+ items), you’ll receive up to a 30% discount.
Plans and Pricing
A basic Printful account is available for free. There are no monthly fees to use the service. You’ll pay per-item pricing on everything you order. This applies to products you order for yourself or products that ship to customers.
- For a t-shirt, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7.95 to $28.95.
- For a hoodie, you can pay anywhere from $20.75 to $48.
- You could pay anywhere from $14.95 to $24.95 for a tote bag.
This pricing doesn’t include shipping. Shipping rates for each item are available on the Printful website. Shipping costs vary depending on the product.
For instance, you’ll pay $3.99 for a single product (t-shirt, tank top, etc.) and an additional $1.25 per product if shipping within the USA. When shipping a hoodie, sweatshirt, or sweatpants, the single product shipping jumps to $6.50 and the additional product shipping goes to $2.00.
Check the product and shipping prices for each product you’re interested in, then set up shipping prices in your store based on your chosen strategy.
If you want to do so, you can upgrade to Printful Pro. You’ll pay $49/month or $539/year with an annual subscription. The Printful Pro plan comes with a 14-day free trial.
What do you get with Printful Pro?
- Extra Tools: Keyword Scout to help boost Etsy SEO, a custom mockup maker, a background remover, and a promo maker.
- Free Design Assets and Services: Access to Getty Images at no extra cost ($1/each with the base Printful account), 400+ exclusive clip art and customizable designs, free embroidery design digitization (savings of up to $6.50 per design).
- Carrier-Based Shipping: Choose your own shipping carrier when shipping orders within the United States, Canada, and Europe.
How Much Can You Make with Printful
There’s really no limit to what you can earn with Printful and your online brand. You’re in full control of the product prices. You can pass your shipping prices to your customer. If you get your monthly volume up to more than $1,000, you’ll qualify for discounts. This increases your profit margin overall.
Printful provides a wide variety of features to all customers. The Printful Pro plan comes with additional features. The base plan has everything you need to own and operate a product-based business.
Use Without an Online Store
You can use Printful without connecting it to an online store. Doing so means that you’ll have to submit orders for custom items manually in the Printful dashboard. As your store grows, you’ll appreciate the automation you get from integrating Printful with your online store.
Printful, like Printify, does not offer a storefront that’s accessible to customers. Printful offers store set up services if you need help. That’s part of what makes Printful easy.
Design Tool and Mockup Generator
Thanks to the Printful Mockup Generator, you don’t have to have any kind of graphic design or technical background to create products people will love. All you have to do is choose the product’s base color and upload your images. You can use the drag-and-drop editor to change the position of those images on the final product.
One thing to keep in mind is that product colors are specific to brands. Not all brands will be available in all colors.
The design tool will alert you if your image is stretched too much, or is low resolution. There is a learning curve if you’re brand new to working with design files, but it’s fairly easy to get the hang of.
Product Personalization Tool
Do you want to offer personalized branding options to your customers? You can if you use Printful with Shopify, Etsy, or WooCommerce. Enabling the product personalization tool lets your customers create personalized products.
Make sure your integration is set up. Enable the personalization tool on your Printful dashboard. Enable the tool when you’re adding new eligible products to your store. Personalization is available for DTG, embroidery, jewelry, keychains, and wall art products. Choose the design elements for personalization. Then, push the product to your store. Keep in mind there is a digitization fee that applies to each unique embroidery design.
Custom Order Import Tool
Printful has a different way to handle order imports for each of the integrations. You can learn more when you link your Printful account to your online store.
Alternatively, you can use the CSV order important tool to import orders in bulk. There are two ways to do this:
Click the New Order button at the top right corner of your dashboard. From there, you’ll be able to access the CSV order import tool.
Visit the orders section of your dashboard, then click Import Orders.
You can use a Printify template and fill it on the fields. Or, you can use your own file that includes all the specific information you need.
Product Migration Tool
If you’re connecting Printful to your Shopify store, you can use a product migration tool. This tool makes it easy to move your existing Shopify products into Printful. Taking this step ensures you don’t lose any of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Ecommerce And marketplace Integrations
Printful makes it easy to integrate stores on most ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. You can automate your fulfillment process if you integrate your store with Printful.
Ecommerce Platform Integrations
Shopify integrates with your Printful account courtesy of the Printful app in the Shopify App Store. Install the app, link your account, and then you’re ready to go.
Integrating Printful with your BigCommerce store is as simple as downloading the app from the BigCommerce App Store. In just a few clicks, you’ll have everything imported and ready for when the next customer places an order.
WooCommerce integrates with Printful, too. Though it’s not as straightforward as with Shopify or BigCommerce, Printful does provide instructions. There’s a set of instructions for WooCommerce stores hosted with SiteGround. Then, there’s another set of instructions for existing stores.
Wix also integrates with Printful through an app in the Wix Marketplace. Setup is quick and only takes a couple of clicks.
BigCommerce also integrates with a number of online marketplaces.
If you’ve got an existing Etsy store, you can easily connect to Printful. You’ll have to authorize the Printful app to connect to your Etsy store. Spend a few minutes to assign products and upload print files. Then, you’re done.
Integrating your Printful and eBay accounts works like Etsy. It’ll take a bit more time though because after you authorize account access, you have to fill out a lot of information. You need to provide general information, a payment policy, and a return policy before you can finalize the connection.
If you have the Amazon Seller Pro account ($39.99/month), you can take advantage of the Printful Amazon integration. Not only can you use it for the U.S. Amazon marketplace, but you can open your products to an international audience.
If you have a ShipStation account, you can use it to integrate Printful with Walmart and other sales channels.
How to Integrate Printful With Your Online Store
Once you’re logged into your account, you can create multiple stores. If you have an existing store:
Click the Choose Platform button.
You’ll be presented with a list of options. Click Connect on the ecommerce platform you wish to connect to Printful.
Follow the on-screen instructions to finish Printful’s integration with your chosen platform.
If you want to connect Printful to another platform, like Walmart, you’ll need to use ShipStation. This requires a separate plan, with prices starting at $25/month. You’ll need an API key to connect the accounts. Once finished, you’ll assign Printful’s products to your store’s products and upload print files.
Printful Shipping Time: Where Products Ship From
Shipping time varies, depending on where the products are coming from and where they are shipping to. Generally, fulfillment times run anywhere from two to seven business days.
Typically, your order will be sent from the fulfillment center closest to your customer’s shipping address. Printful has providers in:
- Toronto, Canada
- Los Angeles, California
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Tijuana, Mexico
- Dallas, Texas
- Other locations worldwide
Printful Shipping Options: How Products Ship to Customers
Unless you are a Printful Pro member, you do not get to choose the shipping partner used for your fulfillment service. Printful will choose the carrier based on what makes the most sense for their dropshipping process.
Possible shipping carriers include:
Since you don’t choose the carrier unless you pay for Printful Pro, you don’t have much control over the shipping speed you offer customers.
Printful Customer Service
Reading online, you’ll find that customer service is mixed. While working on this review, I reached out with a question regarding shipping. The chat agent was helpful, but still didn’t quite answer my question. She disconnected from the chat without letting me know, and no attempt to reconnect was ever made.
While Printful certainly has room for improvement in its customer service, many users find it better than the competition. Customers can easily access a FAQ page, a blog with printing tips, and a help center. These materials make it easy to get the information you need. The support team is accessible via live chat and a phone number, which Printify doesn’t have.
The Printful return policy is customer-friendly. It covers most situations where Printful is at fault.
Printful doesn’t provide customer service for your customers. As a dropshipping service, your end customer has no idea that Printful is even part of the equation. Thankfully, there are tons of tools out there to help entrepreneurs offer customer service – from live chat to a help desk.
It’s a good idea to come up with a return policy for your own customers. Display it prominently on your ecommerce website, as this will make it easy for customers to get answers without having to talk to you.
How to Get the Most of Your Printful Experience
If you want to maximize your small business effort, don’t just create your account, start designing, and launch your store. Spend a bit of time researching your options across the product range. This way, you always work with high-quality products. Familiarize yourself with Printful products and the fulfillment aspects of the entire process.
If you’re just starting your own business, it makes sense to order samples before you list products for sale. You want to make sure you know what your customers are getting, right? It will make for easier customer service in the long run.
With Printful, you can place one sample order a month, with up to three different products. You’ll get a 20% discount on this order.
When you receive the sample, make sure it looks the way you want it to. If you notice issues with it, make edits before pushing the product live to customers.
Opt for Higher Contrast Images
The image you see on your computer screen won’t be the same image that’s printed on your t-shirts. The DTG printing process dampens color a bit. If you want something to be bright on the final product, you’ll want to use a higher contrast image. This is another reason to order samples. You want to make sure the image appears the way you expect.
Where Printful Does a Great Job
Printful gives you the best of both worlds. There are no minimum order requirements, so you don’t have to worry about carrying an inventory. But, if you want to, you can place a bulk order and keep the product on hand for faster fulfillment.
With additional services like store setup and branding, you can take care of everything you need to launch a full ecommerce business with a single platform.
You never have to worry about which printing method is best for your product. Printful will always use the one that makes the most sense.
Where Printful Could Improve
Printful’s pricing doesn’t include shipping and taxes. This can make it hard to project profit. While you’re still in control of the prices you charge, Printful costs more than Printify.
While it’s awesome to have branding options, they are limited. You’re not allowed to use your own boxes, poly-mailers, or even tissue paper. If they don’t offer it, you can’t use it.
Though the profit margin is fairly small, that can be said of all dropshipping services, really. You trade not having to keep an inventory and fulfill orders yourself for a bit less money.
Compared to other platforms, product selection is limited. Right now, it’s mostly apparel and accessories, with a few home goods. Some products, like canvases and framed posters, may not ship everywhere.
Not convinced that Printful is the right solution for your business? Look at these other options.
Printify is a POD platform that offers a wide variety of products. The main difference between these two services is the features they include. You won’t have branding and warehousing options with Printify. You also won’t have custom design services or other store setup services. The good news is though, you’ll have higher profit margins for many of the same products. That makes it a great option for small businesses running on a limited budget.
Gelato is a similar platform to Printful. There aren’t as many products to choose from, though. If you can’t find the products you want to include in your store, you’ll have to choose another provider. You don’t need to worry about hiring a designer since the platform integrates with Canva.
CustomCat is a print-on-demand service much like Printful. It’s free to use and you only pay for the items you sell. You set your pricing, and there are higher profit margins here. It integrates with many ecommerce platforms. It may not be the best solution if you’re outside the U.S. Wait times tend to be longer than others in the industry.
Is Printful Right for Your POD Business?
Ultimately, there’s no one perfect POD service. There are plenty out there to choose from. All of them have their pros and cons. What works well for one business may not be the best solution for another.
That’s where doing your research makes a difference. If product variety is the most important factor for you, then Printify may be the better option. But, if knowing you’re going to get consistent print quality is more important, then Printful is better than Printify.
Have you used Printful before? Would you share your experience with us? The only way we can continue to provide impartial reviews is with input from readers like you.