Printful Review 2021
Quality over quantity when it comes to dropshipping products
Dropshipping makes it simpler and cheaper to start a business than it would be if you tried to do everything yourself.
While you still need to have an online store or ecommerce marketplace set up, dropshipping takes the distribution (and sometimes assembling) of products out of your hands and lets a third party company look after them.
Products are the key to a great dropshipping service, and our Printful review highlights how this platform focuses on providing quality items, while also giving you the range of options you need to launch a varied business.
In this review, we explain why Printful is an ideal way for creatives to start a business that keeps overheads low but standards high.
Printful highlights six benefits you get from choosing it to be your dropshipping supplier:
- Responsible fulfilment: you only order what you need and do so when you need it
- No minimums: you don’t have to worry about hitting a minimum order target
- Custom branding: you upload your designs and they’re branded as your products
- Free to use: you don’t have to pay an upfront or monthly fee for using Printful
- Complete automation: you can integrate your store with Printiful quickly and simply
- Great shipping rates: you can pick from some of the best-priced shipping providers
These are all impressive benefits that appeal to a wide range of business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
But we think Printful sells itself short by failing to highlight the quality of its products. They’re of a much better standard than many of its competitors and allow you to operate a high-end dropshipping business.
In fact, we think this is the key reason to choose Printify, rather than any of the six great benefits the brand highlights.
Who is Printful for?
Are you creative? Are you interested in selling high-quality products online? Are you looking for a dropshipping provider that makes it simple for you to start a business with low overheads?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then Printiful is ideal for you.
It’s a dropshipping platform that allows you to upload your own designs and then use them on a good (though, not extensive) selection of products such as t-shirts and mugs.
You only have to pay for the items the platform personalises and you set the price they’re sold at, so you’re in control of your profit margins.
And Printful is really easy to use. While you do need an online sales outlet (such as a store on Shopify or a shop on Etsy) to be able to use the platform, it’s really simple to integrate your site with Printful.
All these things and the guidance you get from Printiful means it’s perfect for a creative entrepreneur, one who doesn’t want to pay upfront costs and already has an ecommerce site set up.
The key thing to know about Printful’s pricing is there are no upfront, monthly or annual fees. You only have to pay a price for using the platform when you use it to order a product for your business.
This means the price of using Printful depends on the products you sell and how many of them you order. To get an idea of how much this might cost you, these are the fees that come with the default t-shirt (Unisex Premium T-Shirt | Bella + Canvas 3001):
The price is shown as £10.09 - £13.58. However, if you select ‘Printing (DTG)’ you can get a breakdown of the individual costs, both for DTG (direct-to-garment) and embroidery.
You can also check the pricing you get from a bulk discount. In our example, you’d get the following discounts:
This all seems pretty reasonable and the level of information you get is super helpful.
One downside is that if you select fulfilment location you get the non-committal “our product prices can change depending on where an order is fulfilled and which currency you use to pay for it”. Which isn’t ideal but is — to an extent — understandable.
Overall, pricing is one of the good things about using Printful, as you don’t have to pay upfront and the fees you do pay make it possible for you to turn a profit.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use
Printful features summary
Throughout this review, we’ll go into great detail discussing the different features available with Printful. We highlight what you get from the dashboard, how billing works and the design elements on offer.
However, there are some of the features that really stand out for us:
There are plenty more features available with Printful that make it simple for you to build an online business. They’re all very simple to use and range from entry-level up to experienced ecommerce business owners.
You’ll learn more about the specific features below but we’ll say this for now — Printful gives you the tools you need to go from having a great idea to running an established online company.
Products are the key to any dropshipping platform. The reason for selecting this ecommerce model is to be able to sell products using an external provider, so it’s essential the one you choose has what you’re looking for.
Printful’s products fall into seven categories:
- Men's clothing
- Women's clothing
- Kids & youth clothing
- Home & living
- Wall art
This means the products you can choose are heavily weighted towards garments
However, there’s a decent selection of items that fall outside of this category — bags, phone cases and jewellery come under the ‘accessories’ banner, while pillowcases and canvas prints are in ‘home & living’ and ‘wall art’ respectively.
With the focus so geared towards garments, we scrutinised the clothing you could sell.
Many of the key items you can think of are there
- Tank tops
- Crop tops
- Sports bras
- Baby bibs
- Baby bodysuits
- Trucker hats
We could go on but you get the idea.
In short, if you want to start a high-quality clothing store using your own designs, then Printiful is a great option; but if garments aren’t in your business model then you might want to look elsewhere.
There are three printing facilities you care about when dropshipping:
All-over sublimation printing
The first two of these are a key part of Printful’s offering, with both being available for a large range of products (especially garments). That gives Printful a positive score in two of the key printing areas.
We’ll let Printful explain its offering regarding all-over sublimation printing:
“We sublimate ready-made socks, towels, blankets, and laptop sleeves, but create the rest of our sublimation products using the cut & sew technique. Most of our cut & sew items are clothes, but we also have accessories and home decor”.
One of the printing plus points of using Printful is the Mockup Generator. This is a really handy tool that lets you create product mockups and print files without needing to purchase your own.
All of this means we’re giving Printful the thumbs up when it comes to printing.
Branding is key when using a dropshipping business model. This is because you’re not creating your own products from scratch and you probably don’t want your customers to know this.
These are the branding options available to you with Printful:
Short sleeve print
Long sleeve print
This means you can add your brand logo to the products you sell and your address to the packaging they’re shipped in, so your customers will never know you’ve used a third party dropshipping company.
Design is an interesting aspect of dropshipping. Some people want to sell their own designs, while others are happy just to have their logo placed on generic products and use their branding/marketing to support their business.
Printful is great for designers. Not only does it allow you to upload your designs but it also makes it simple for you to tweak the products you add them to, so you can make them work with the items in the way you want them to. This is ideal for experienced designers.
But Printiful isn’t only for seasoned graphic designers. Its Mockup Generator is a brilliant tool that lets you design your own products without needing to invest in external software. It has:
- More than 80M visuals from Getty Images
- Over 800 product mockups
- Built-in clipart, fonts and templates
You can order a sample of your products to see how they look, giving you a chance to see if they meet your standards before you make them available to your customers. You don’t have to make a minimum order to get a sample. However, it’s worth noting you can only receive one sample per month and that you’re limited to two items for each order you make.
You need an external sales channel to be able to build an online business with Printful — it’s a third party product builder and deliverer, not an ecommerce platform or online marketplace.
This means you need to build your platform or marketplace and then integrate it with Printiful, making it vital that it lets you do so with your preferred sales channel.
Fortunately, you can pick from a wide range of ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces. These are your options:
One of the best things about Printful’s integration offering is that it has a platform comparison feature, so you can review the different options and pick the right one for you.
This is great for people who are yet to decide which one to use. It also gives valuable information to people who want to know how Printful’s dropshipping works with the platform they’ve built their website on.
While this all gives you plenty of options, there are some notable platforms you can’t integrate with Printful:
If you’ve built your ecommerce website on any of the above platforms then you won’t be able to use Printful as your dropshipping supplier.
One question we’ve not covered is how simple it is to integrate with your chosen ecommerce platform or online marketplace. The answer is that it’s really simple.
Printful has clear instructions for how to integrate each platform, making it easy for you to link up your site and your dropshipping provider. All you need to do is select your platform or marketplace from Printful’s integrations page and then follow the steps outlined.
Overall, Printful is very strong on ecommerce integrations. Not only does it give you a great selection of platforms and marketplaces but it also makes it simple for you to integrate them.
It could be simple to overlook the dashboard of a dropshipping provider when deciding which one is the best option for you and your business. We’ll be honest, it’s lower on most people’s priorities than things like products, design, branding, ecommerce integrations and pricing.
But the dashboard does make a difference because you need to be able to use it to run your business in the most efficient way possible. If it’s not user-friendly it’ll take you longer to create products, set prices, process orders and lots more things that cost you time and money.
Printful’s dashboard certainly looks the part:
The design is clean and clear. It’s easy to find what you want, runs quickly and the colour scheme is gentle on your eyes — something that does matter if you’re going to be using this dashboard to produce a lot of business for your company.
Most importantly, the dashboard has all the features you’d expect to see:
- My cart: your shopping cart
- My Printful: your homepage profile
- Orders: orders placed by your business
- Product templates: create and save product templates
- File library: any files you’ve uploaded
- Billing: how and when your account has been billed
- Affiliate: become a Printful partner and earn commissions
- Pro toolkit: create ads, posts and more to promote your business
- Settings: where key details are recorded and you connect to your social accounts
- Help: links to the Help Centre and has a live chat feature to tackle your questions
- Start selling: where you connect your online store to Printful
- Product catalogue: the products you can sell using Printful
There’s a Printful app and it’s available to Android and iOS users. It allows you to do the following things:
- Create orders
- Confirm incoming orders
- Speak to support
- Put orders on hold
- Track your orders
- Report problems
You can learn more about what it offers by visiting the Printful app page.
It’s pretty straightforward to add new/multiple users to your Printful account. You just go to your account settings, select users and then assign them one of two roles — Admin or User. The former get access to everything on your profile. The latter can’t do the following:
- Use ‘Billings’
- Add/remove users
- Change user roles
- Remove stores
There are five available languages. You can see these underneath, along with the estimated amount of people who speak them:
- English (EN): 1.5 billion
- Español (ES): 580 million
- Français (FR): 275 million
- Deutsch (DE): 130 million
- 日本語 (JP): 130 million
This covers approximately 2.62 billion people. However, there are some glaring omissions. We’ve listed these below, along with the estimated number of people who speak them:
- Mandarin Chinese: 1.1 billion
- Hindi: 615 million
- Standard Arabic: 274 million
- Bengali: 265 million
- Russian: 258 million
- Portuguese: 234 million
- Indonesian: 199 million
That’s 2.96 billion people, meaning there are a lot of business owners who won’t be able to use Printful.
In summary, Printful’s dashboard is very user-friendly and has the key features you need to operate a dropshipping business — so long as you speak and read one of the five languages it offers.
As a third party dropshipping platform that you integrate with your online store or ecommerce marketplace site, Printful doesn’t come with theme functionality — you can’t change how the dashboard looks.
Any alterations you make to themes will need to be done through your own site, something that has no impact on how you use Printful to create and fulfil your dropshipping orders.
Printful doesn’t offer a content management system. This is because it’s a dropshipping platform, not a CMS. All of your content management will need to be carried out through the ecommerce platform or marketplace you’ve used to build your website.
Plugins & Extensions
Printful doesn’t allow you to add plugins or extensions to your dashboard. It’s a dropshipping plugin/extension you add to your own ecommerce website.
Billing is an important part of using Printful for dropshipping. As you don’t have to pay any upfront or monthly fees, you’re only issued a bill by Printful for the products you order through the platform.
Printful outlines three steps in its billing process:
- Your customer pays you: you set the price they pay for your products
- You pay Printful: you’re charged for fulfilment, shipping and any applicable taxes
- You make a profit: the difference between how much your customers pays you and how much you pay Printful
To accept payments from your customers, you’ll need to set up a payment gateway on your ecommerce site. The available options will depend on your chosen platform or marketplace.
To pay Printful, you’ll have to set up a payment method through your dashboard. These are the options available to you:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
You can also pre-deposit cash into your account by using the Printful Wallet, the platform’s internal payment system.
As far as profit goes, Printful offers an illustration of how you can make money by using its dropshipping service to sell products for your business:
One of the key things to note with Printful is the available currencies. You can choose from the following options:
- GBP: Pound Sterling
- EUR: Euro
- USD: US Dollar
- JPY: Japanese Yen
- AUD: Australian Dollar
- CHF: Swiss Franc
- DKK: Danish Krone
- NZD: New Zealand Dollar
- SEK: Swedish Krona
Printful has a clear policy on refunds — it only offers them for misprinted/damaged/defective products or goods lost in transit, not for buyer’s remorse.
If your customers experience buyer’s remorse then you’ll need to decide if you wish to refund them. If goods have been damaged or mislabeled then any claims you make will need to follow the below procedure:
- Misprinted/damaged/defective products: must be submitted within 4 weeks after the product has been received
- Lost in transit: claims must be submitted no later than 4 weeks after the estimated delivery date
All in all, billing is pretty straightforward with Printful. However, if we’re to make one criticism then it’s that there could be more payment methods — just having a credit card, debit card and PayPal feels too restrictive to us.
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Printful is a dropshipping platform. This means it handles many of the tasks that go into shipping, including:
However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do.
You’ll need to set up the shipping prices you charge your customers, along with all the other shipping requirements linked to your ecommerce platform or marketplace. What this involves will depend on your platform or marketplace provider.
Alongside dropshipping third party products with your branding and designs, Printful also allows you to store your products at its warehouse and use its resources to distribute them to your customers.
There are two key things to keep in mind if you do this:
Firstly, your products will need to meet Printful’s storing requirements. Secondly, you’ll have to pay a storage cost fee for your items to be held in Printful’s warehouse.
If you want to submit your products for warehousing then we recommend you read Printful’s guide to selling ecommerce products with order fulfilment.
There are two things to keep in mind when considering the customer management of Printful:
- You’re Printful’s customer
- Your customers aren’t Printful’s customers
The latter point means it’s on you to deal with any customer issues and provide them with the support they need to get them resolved. You need a robust and consistent process for doing this.
The former point is dealt with by Printful’s customer support and the best way to assess its standard is to review its Trustpilot rating, which you can get a snapshot of from the image underneath:
There are a few things you can observe from Trustpilot:
- It has an ‘Average’ rating
- 40% of people think it’s ‘Excellent’
- 42% of people think it’s ‘Bad’
- The sample size is 462 reviews
What this says is that you either get a really good or a really poor experience from Printful.
Product quality seems to be the bone of contention for most people. Some people think Printful’s products are great, while others think they’re awful.
This is subjective — what’s great for one person could be terrible for another. What we’ll say is we’ve highlighted the quality of Printful’s products already in this review as being one of its strengths, so you can guess our thoughts on the matter.
As for the sample size, it’s generally accepted that you need 1,000 respondents to a survey to get a true feel for the true state of what the general population thinks about something. 462 is nowhere near this amount.
Printful doesn’t offer any marketing features. That’s the remit of the online store builder or ecommerce marketplace you built your website on. With this in mind, it would be reasonable for Prinntful to devote no attention to marketing. This isn’t the case.
The Printful blog is full of articles that offer great marketing tips, from developing seasonal sales strategies to running a micro influencer campaign.
While you’ll need to use your CMS and social channels to put these suggestions into practice, it’s good to see Printful cares enough about your business to spend the time creating helpful content for you.
Using a dropshipping platform means you hand over the responsibility for creating and distributing your products to a third party company.
With the best will in the world, things do go wrong sometimes and when it happens you need to know you have the support from your dropshipping provider that you need to get them fixed.
This comes from the customer support team and this is how you can get in touch with Printful’s staff:
- Live chat
- Contact form
Printful also has a Help Center. This is packed full of helpful articles, videos and FAQs, so it may be that you can get the answers you need by using it.
Getting to grips with a new platform can be a tough journey. Printful helps you to navigate this with Printful Lessons, an online hub that features on-demand video courses with expert commentary, ecommerce short-courses and lots of resources to help you run your business.
Printful Lessons is split into three sections:
- Digital marketing techniques
- Design, style & trends
- Setting up shop with Printful
The videos range from five minutes to around 30 minutes and offer plenty of actionable tips that range from first time entrepreneurs to established ecommerce business owners.
You need an online store to use Printful. However, you don’t necessarily have to be the person who builds this, indeed, Printful can create an online store for you.
Printful’s experts offer three levels of assistance in getting your online store up and running as part of the platform’s Store Setup Service:
- Build your store from scratch
- Connect your existing store to Printful for product fulfilment
- Add the finishing touches to your store
This means you can get expert advice no matter what level of experience you have — inexperienced business owners can have their store built for them and experienced business owners can be given advice on how to make their store even better.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use
There’s no designated community for Printful. However, it does have a Facebook group where users share their experiences and seek support.
As a dropshipping platform, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect people to be unwilling to announce their business uses Printful.
After all, doing so could be seen to cheapen your business offering, as it says you don’t make your own products — this is despite the fact established brands use external companies to create their products.
However, there are plenty of Printful customers who share their story, of how they built their businesses and this dropshipping platform helped them to do so.
These are some of the companies that Printful has helped.
Credit: Ben Aqua Shop
Credit: Kettlebell Kings
Credit: Classic Dad
How to set up a Printful store
Setting up a Printful store starts by building your online store or setting up your ecommerce marketplace site. Once this is in place it’s then down to the simple matter of integrating your chosen sales channel with Printful.
To link your online store or marketplace site to Printful you just need to find your provider from those listed on its Integrations page and then follow the steps outlined.
You can get a clearer picture of how this looks by watching this video.
Sign-up to Printful
Printful is a dropshipping platform that’s perfect for people who want to sell their own designs or create an online business with minimal overheads.
It works best if your plan is to sell apparel but you’re not limited to clothing, with prints and many different accessories among the great products you can personalise.
With no upfront cost, no monthly payment needed and a transparent approach to the fees you pay when ordering your products through the platform, Printful is a dropshipping service that makes it easy for you to start your own business.
So, once you’ve got your online store or ecommerce marketplace up and running, sign up to Printful, create some products, order a couple of samples and see how easy it is to become an entrepreneur.