The 16 Best Print On Demand Sites to Start Selling Custom Products
May 17, 2022
For aspiring creative merchants, a fun way to start an ecommerce business is to create your own swag. You can do this by putting your artwork on shirts, notebooks, mugs, and more.
For established merchants, introducing custom branded products to your lineup keeps your catalog fresh and exciting, generates additional income, and gives loyal customers an enjoyable opportunity to broadcast their enthusiasm for your brand.
No matter the experience level, merchants should consider adding custom products to strengthen brand loyalty, recognition, and interest.
One of the easiest ways to get started is by using print on demand (POD) websites.
These services can print your artwork—be it your logo or a clever design—onto various mediums, such as textiles, paper, plastic, and more.
POD sites make it simpler for people to sell custom products and their artwork online.
While most of them offer similar features, choosing the right print on demand business requires diligent research.
Fortunately, this article will help you narrow down your options by presenting some of the best print on demand websites available. We’ll also show you how they work and the key characteristics of a good POD service.
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What is a print on demand site?
Print on demand sites let you create white label products with your own unique designs and sell them online.
Some even provide an ecommerce fulfillment solution that includes sourcing, storing, printing, packing, and shipping your orders.
You can sell these custom products yourself on your own online store or sell from the marketplaces these services provide, letting them take care of the marketing and selling.
How to use a print on demand service
POD services generally use a dropshipping model.
All you need to do is create and upload your designs, customize your products, then sell your products.
Since you can connect them to ecommerce platforms like Facebook and Shopify, you can easily use them to:
Start a custom products store: Sell goods sporting your unique designs under your own brand.
Launch a clothing line with minimal capital: POD sites offer free plans where you only pay for the production and shipping of your products.
Expand your product catalog: Offer personalization by allowing customers to customize your existing products.
What to look for in a print on demand service
Here are key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a POD company.
Free vs. paid
Some sites are free to use, wherein you only pay for your item’s production and shipping once an order is placed.
Others offer paid subscriptions, which give you access to premium features and services.
Here are some examples of each type:
Free: You design a shirt with a $30 price tag. Once someone makes a purchase, they send you $30, but the production cost is $12, and shipping is $5. Your final profit will be $13.
Paid: You pay $20/month to upload items to your store and receive premium customer support from the POD site. Someone buys that $30 shirt, but you gain access to discounted product costs, so you only have to pay $10 for the materials and printer. You still pay $5 for shipping. Your profit for the shirt is $15, and you need to sell a certain amount to offset the monthly POD site expense.
Physical vs. digital
Some POD companies print on physical items, while others let you upload and sell digital goods, such as permission to print copyrighted digital artwork onto a poster or shirt.
Services that handle physical items are best for selling apparel and accessories on platforms like Shopify and Amazon.
Services that let you upload art (your digital product) and collect royalties are better for artists who have no interest in selling physical products themselves.
The main difference is what you want to sell.
Physical print on demand sites: When someone purchases, they get a physical product. You sell the finished product, so you must own the relationship from order to in-person delivery.
Digital print on demand sites: When someone purchases, they’re buying a digital product from you and a physical product from the POD service. So, your direct relationship with the customer ends online instead of at their door. You sell rights to digital artwork, which buyers can then use as they choose, and the POD service owns the relationship through to delivery.
Physical print on demand sites are best for ecommerce brands that want to control all aspects of their customer relationship, from marketing to materials and delivery.
On the other hand, digital print on demand sites are best for artists who want to share their work and make a commission on it but don’t necessarily care what their art is printed on.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus mainly on physical print on demand services.
The ability to work with various sales channels is a crucial attribute of the best print on demand companies.
Your POD service must fit into your existing direct-to-consumer workflow—for example, with BigCommerce or Shopify. This will help ensure hassle-free production with the best margins and most control over your buyer experience.
Search for services that function with all your sales channels and the platforms you may want to expand to.
A good rule of thumb is to look for integrations with your website (for example, on Shopify), Amazon, and eBay.
Each print on demand site supports different printing mediums.
To determine if a given POD service fits your needs, ask these questions:
Do they print on glass, textile (clothing), metal, paper (stationery or stickers), jewelry, or accessories?
Can they engrave or embroider products?
Besides simple logos, can they handle complex designs?
Do they offer custom packaging?
Minimum order volume
Some POD sites require minimum order volumes. This can be an issue if you want to sell custom items made to order.
High minimum order volumes are not necessarily a deal-breaker if you have enough demand to support it, and their pricing per item is usually cheaper.
However, if you need to order small batches, this option can be expensive and restrictive.
You need more than a beautiful design to carry your business—your products also need to last.
Always purchase a few test samples from a POD service to see how they hold up with regular use.
For example, throw your custom shirt into the washer and dryer a few times. Rub your notebook or sticker on another piece of paper to see if the ink smudges. Put your custom mug in the dishwasher to see if the print remains.
It’s important to sell products that will stand the test of time and look their best until the end, especially since they’re a reflection of your brand.
Tip: Consider ordering multiple different samples (e.g., a shirt, mug, and poster) to gauge the quality between various mediums. Some printers excel at different mediums.
Handling order fulfillment and setting up a system to facilitate shipping takes time, money, and effort.
However, many POD services serve as dropshipping platforms and can handle your fulfillment, storage, and shipping.
Choose a print on demand service that offers the fulfillment functionality you need.
Depending on the fulfillment option, you can order in bulk to your own warehouse or a 3PL and handle fulfillment the same way you do other products. Or, you could have a separate fulfillment setup for your custom printed goods that relies on your POD service.
Shipping speed and prices
If you use a POD service that ships your items on demand, you need to know shipping costs and speeds.
Your efforts to build brand recognition and attract repeat customers can take a hit if deliveries take too long or if you have to charge higher prices to offset expensive shipping.
Take into account the following factors:
Production time once orders are placed: Can they create items quickly upon order?
Ship-from locations: Are they close to your most frequent buyer bases?
Standard shipping times: Do they offer two-day or next-day delivery once an item is produced?
Shipping fee calculations: Can you afford to offer shoppers free shipping based on the POD’s shipping rates?
Since you’re dealing with customized goods, returns can be tricky. After all, how can you resell or reuse something made to order?
Some POD sites won’t process returns on your behalf, while others ship globally and offer a free return policy.
Taking on such quality control responsibilities can complicate your setup, so finding an option that provides these solutions is highly beneficial.
Ask any POD service you’re considering how they handle returns, their processes and requirements, and how much the service costs.
9 of the best print on demand sites for selling physical products
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, here are some options you can consider to print your custom goods.
Each POD service has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to do your research and calculate the exact costs for your business.
Technically, Printify isn’t a printer—when creating your product, you have to choose a service provider from Printify’s network.
Every order made is then sent to the corresponding printing facility.
Quality depends on your chosen print provider. However, Printify displays Print Provider Rankings to give you an idea for each.
You can filter rankings according to shipping times, shipping costs, and average production time.
They even have an order routing option that automatically routes orders to an alternate facility if something is out of stock, discontinued, or your chosen provider has reached its daily order capacity. The platform has no minimum order requirement.
Printify also offers subscriptions with extra features and discounts on product costs (up to 20%):
Premium: $29/month or $24.99/month if billed annually
Enterprise: Custom pricing
If you use the free plan, you’ll have to pay for the product cost and shipping.
Nevertheless, we recommend Printify to merchants of all sizes since costs are generally reasonable and large order quantities are available.
For instance, a medium Bella Canvas 3001 starts at $8.90, with shipping to the U.S. at $4.95. Gooten’s Very Important Merchant (VIM) program also allows you to access additional benefits based on your annual spend.
Gooten handles global fulfillment without minimum order volumes. However, they require a level of annual spend to qualify for their loyalty program.
They have a decent catalog and good-quality products, but their services don’t exceed those of Printful or Printify.
Choose this platform to fulfill orders in areas that other POD services don’t reach.
Gooten also offers embroidery and prints on:
Home and lifestyle items
Gooten’s production and shipping times vary, but generally, more than 90% of their parcels spend up to three business days in production and up to six business days in transit.
Ecommerce platform integrations
APIs to connect your store to Gooten’s partners
Receive direct payments through Etsy, Shopify, or Woo
Gooten then charges the order cost to your credit/debit card or your Paypal account
CustomCat completes their printing through MyLocker, a provider also accessible through Printify.
However, its main selling point is its dedication to maintaining the lowest possible prices. The company also has no minimum order requirement.
CustomCat’s prices vary according to product cost and shipping.
They also offer a free plan, CustomCat Lite, with great features, but each item will cost you $2 more. Merchants pay no subscription fees across the company’s integrations except for Shopify, where CustomCat’s app costs $30 a month.
They partner with OSM and UPS to offer economy, ground, two-day, overnight, and international shipping.
All its fulfillment and shipping is done from Detroit, making their turnaround times irregular for international shipping.
We only recommend CustomCat if most of your business will be done within the U.S. and if you’re trying to minimize costs.
Sellfy has built-in POD services and marketing features.
You can sell both digital and physical goods, but their capabilities are limited in terms of integrations with other platforms and fulfillment. They have no minimum order volume, though.
It’s a free service unless you want to sell more than 10 products at a time.
Pricing varies based on billing (monthly, yearly, or a two-year subscription). Your chosen plan can cost you from $19/month to $159/month; however, they let you use a custom domain and sell digital products/services.
For physical products, Sellfy typically provides checkout functionality, but shipping and fulfillment are your responsibility.
However, partner facilities handle fulfillment and shipping for their recent POD merchandise feature.
We only recommend it to those who have a website on Wix, the only platform it integrates with through Buy Now buttons.
Sellfy also offers embroidery and prints on:
Fulfillment can range from five to 27 days depending on production and shipping, plus order destinations.
Spreadshirt boasts a wide range of products and stands out because of their commitment to sustainability.
They source eco-friendly products, emphasize transparency in manufacturing, and ensure good working conditions.
Spreadshirt is free to use, but you pay for the product’s cost, shipping, and fulfillment requirements.
The total price depends on the product type and where you ship it. For example, the cost of a shirt might seem affordable, but don’t forget to account for any additional costs for added designs or international shipping.
Spreadshirt has a no minimum order policy and follows a commission model where you receive a 20%–40% commission on your sales. If you find that low, we recommend you try other POD services.
However, Spreadshirt is still an easy way to build your online brand and make a decent profit by leveraging the company’s established audience.
Spreadshirt also offers embroidery and prints on:
Home and living items
Production starts the business day following your order.
It takes one to two business days to produce and ship out items. Delivery typically takes one to three business days.
Ecommerce platform integrations
Spreadshirt works as a standalone marketplace but also integrates with your own storefront.
It doesn’t integrate with other online marketplaces, but Spreadshirt does own SPOD, which integrates with:
Payouts are made monthly via direct deposit to a U.S. bank account (U.S. dollars) or a PayPal transfer (any currency).
For order payments, Spreadshirt accepts major credit/debit cards and Paypal, but availability is based on the country where it was received.
Spring has expanded its repertoire to include other physical products and digital goods (like NFTs). Its beginner-friendly design feature makes it stand out, and it also has no minimum order requirement.
Spring is free to use. You simply set your selling price and keep the profit.
Say you sell a t-shirt with a $15 product cost for $30—the $15 profit is yours to keep. Spring handles production, shipping, and customer support.
Redbubble owns TeePublic, which is also made for independent artists.
You can use TeePublic for free, and they pay artists through fixed royalties, which can be low at times. However, with TeePublic’s sales scheduling and promotions, your earned monthly royalties can remain high.
The service has no minimum order volume, and TeePublic uses various carriers for domestic and international fulfillment and shipping.
They might not be for everyone, given their payment structure for artists. However, if you feature pop culture or funny designs, they’re worth a try.
Offers embroidery and engraving. Prints on the following:
Depends on ship-from locations and order destinations.
Fine Art America deals with wall art and home decor.
Since the company is more focused on certain items, it’s easier to navigate and makes targeting designs simpler for artists.
Creators earn money from the markups they set for their products.
Most features are free on Fine Art America, but you need to pay a $30 annual subscription to access premium features.
You can upload up to 25 designs with the free plan, while a premium account is unlimited.
Fine Art America maintains a fulfillment network across North America, Europe, and Australia. They also have no minimum order requirement.
We recommend this platform to artists whose designs can translate well into Fine Art America’s focus: wall art and home decor.
Canvas prints, metal prints, and more. Focused on wall art and home decor, but also prints on apparel and lifestyle items.
Products need two to eight business days to print and manufacture before shipping. Shipment time depends on your location and chosen shipping method.
Ecommerce platform integrations
Find the perfect print-on-demand site for your business
Print on-demand sites are valuable tools for unlocking expanded catalogs, strengthening brand opportunities, and providing iconic merchandise for your fans.
However, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right POD service. Remember to ask these key questions:
Does paying unlock vital features?
Does the company have quality products?
Is there a required minimum order volume?
Are their shipping prices and turnaround times reasonable?
Is the product quality consistent?
Do I want to sell on multiple platforms?
Answering these questions will help you find the best print-on-demand site to sell custom products.
This expansion will, in turn, help your brand reach new audiences and communities, earning more loyal customers and boosting your bottom line.
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Rachel is a remote marketing manager with a background in building scalable content engines. She creates content that wins customers for B2B eCommerce companies like MyFBAPrep, Flxpoint, Shogun, and more. In the past, she has scaled organic acquisition efforts for companies like Deliverr, Skubana, and Pipe17.