Entrepreneurs and smaller online businesses wanting to diversify their ecommerce offers may be interested in discovering more about print-on-demand platforms. Alternatively, you might just be starting out and looking for creative ways to boost your income without the anxiety of warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping. This is where the POD dropshipping arena is especially popular.
With that in mind, we're putting two popular print-on-demand companies under the microscope: Printful vs SPOD. Hopefully, you should have a better idea of what they’re all about by the end of this comparison.
That’s a lot of reading, so take a seat and let's make a start!
Founded in 2013, Printful is almost a decade old. It adopts the dropshipping business model, so all you need to do is sign up (for free), choose the merch you want to customize, and start designing and selling. Printful handles order fulfillment and shipping for you, so you're entirely free to focus on marketing your online store.
As we've just hinted at, first things first, you'll need to set up a Printful account. Once you've done that, you can then integrate it with your existing eCommerce store. Then, you can customize any of Printful’s 286 print on demand products and add them to your store to sell. We’re talking clothing for men, women, and kids, accessories, and simple home decor items such as pillowcases – to name a few!
Printful uses the following brands for its products: Alternative, American Apparel, Anvil, Bella + Canvas, Gildan, Hanes, and Next Level.
Or, if you already have lots of your own stock, Printful can warehouse and distribute your products for you. They have warehouse outlets located throughout the US, Canada, and Europe – although VAT may be added to the latter.
Suppose you’re unsure whether you want to sell Printful's products or you're keen on undertaking quality control. In that case, you can order sample products first. Then, once you’re happy with the base product, you can use Printful’s mockup generator to bring your designs to life. Here you'll also find an inbuilt design maker where you can either upload your own design or create one using Printful. It’s easy to use, with tons of mockups available for you to choose from and have fun with. Also included are clipart, graphics, fonts, and shapes.
👉 Read our full Printful review.
Fear not, you can preview your design before printing, so there’s always time to make adjustments.
To see our full Printful review, click here.
Like Printful, SPOD is also a print-on-demand drop shipping service. It's powered by Spreadshirt and is also one of Shopify’s integrated apps. As such, for the purposes of this SPOD review, we're focussing on the viewpoint of a Shopify user.
SPOD has been around for more than 20 years. At the time of writing, its website told us that over 50,000 items are produced daily, with 95% of these shipped out in 48 hours, and that in 2020, it shipped more than 9.8m items.
Shopify store owners can use SPOD to create a print-on-demand store and quickly sell customized products. However, it's worth noting that SPOD markets itself to beginners ranging up to medium volume merchants.
To get started, install the SPOD app to your Shopify store. After that, you can choose from 130+ products, 70+themes, and 50,000 free designs to use. SPOD prints and dispatches your custom products directly to your customers. You just have to correctly set your shipping and billing preferences, and you're good to go!
One advantage is that SPOD ships within 48 hours from the US, which is pretty fast work! With an estimated order arrival time between three to eight days.
SPOD's product range is compiled using the following brands: American Apparel, Anvil, Bella + Canvas, Gildan, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and Rabbit Skins.
Printful vs SPOD: Their Pros and Cons
Before delving further into the nitty-gritty of this review, let's take a look at the pros and cons of using both Printful and SPOD:
- Printful ships to Europe, the US, Mexico, Australia, and other countries worldwide
- Printful’s products are fully white-labeled, so you have more control over your brand
- Printful offers a decent array of products – more than SPOD does
- There are plenty of integrations available
- It's easy to set up – you don't need any tech experience
- Printful's mockup generator is easy to use
- There's a generous maximum file upload size of 200MB
- Printful supports customized branding
- Printful works with reputable brands to ensure customers enjoy high-quality products
- There aren't any built-in analytics, so you can’t track where customers come from
- Printful supports JPG and PNG, whereas SPOD supports those as well as GIF, and BMP
- SPOD's products are white label
- You benefit from fast order turnaround times (48 hours)
- SPOD boasts a high rating on Shopify – 4.5 out of 5
- It's easy to install for Shopify users
- SPOD's products come with lower base prices than Printful, which means there are higher profit margins to be had
- SPOD uses good quality brands for its products
- You can’t use it without a Shopify account
- There are fewer products to choose from than Printful
- SPOD only ships to the US and Europe
- There's a maximum file upload of 10MB – which is significantly less than Printiful
Printful vs SPOD: Integrations
Entrepreneurs very rarely use just one piece of software to run their ecommerce business. So, whether you're using Shopify, an alternative eCommerce builder, or a marketplace platform like Amazon, you'll want to ensure your chosen POD company integrates with your existing tech stack.
First, let’s look at Printful.
Other than Shopify, Printful also integrates with the following eCommerce platforms:
- Launch Cart
It also integrates with the following online marketplaces:
Lastly, Printful users also have access to a free, open-source API, meaning you can create your own custom integration.
It stands to reason that since SPOD is a platform for Shopify users, it integrates with Shopify. But, on top of that, SPOD directly integrates with:
- Order Desk
SPOD also has a 100% free REST API, so you can create your own custom integrations.
Printful vs SPOD: Pricing
No business decision can be made without having a good idea of what your costs will be, right? If you want to make a profit, and who doesn’t, you need to consider your costs before going ahead. Let’s check out how Printful and SPOD compare.
Printful offers white label products you can customize to meet your brand's needs, including inside labels. Rest assured, you can customize these without losing all the info buyers need – like sizing and washing instructions.
Each branded label costs $2.49. You can customize your labels using one of Printful’s templates and alter it to suit your brand.
Printful's branding options don't stop there; you can also opt to insert branded packing slips from $0.75 per order, $2.95 per embroidered logo, to name a few.
Of course, you'll also need to consider the base price of Printful's products. To provide a sense of what these are, we've listed a few examples below:
- Premium unisex tank top – from $14.95
- Men’s fleece shorts – from $26.95
- Flip flops – from $12.95
- Drawstring bag – from $15.95
- Engraved Pet ID tag – from $7.95
- Tote bags – from $14.95
- Stickers – from $2.20
- Phone cases – from $10.95
Printful suggests adding a 30% markup to your retail price if you want to make a profit. There’s a profit calculator you can use to work out what you might expect in net profit for every product you sell. For example, if you buy a t-shirt at $8.01 and sell 10 t-shirts at $10.41 each, your profit will be $24.
Now let’s have a look at how SPOD compares.
SPOD takes pride in offering low prices that compete well against their many rivals, so let’s see:
First off, like Printful, there are no registration or subscription fees to use SPOD. But, again, similar to Printful, SPOD users will have to pay the base price of their products and shipping costs. Shipping costs depend on where you’re shipping to (US, Europe) and whether you opt for Standard, Premium, or Express shipping.
Here are a few examples of SPOD's base product costs:
- Men’s Fruit of the Loom t-shirt from $6.71, including one print
- Men’s Premium Hoodie $20.99 including one print
- Baby bodysuit from $9.26, including one print
- Wall art posters from $11.47, including one print
- Adjustable apron from $9.91 including one print
Printful vs SPOD: Shipping and Fulfillment
Once a customer places an order with you, you want to offer a transparent service that provides a good idea of how soon their order will reach their doorstep. That’s why it’s so essential you factor in shipping and fulfillment times into your business model. So how do Printful and SPOD fare in this area?
With Printful, fulfillment and shipping times depend on the product you’re providing and where it’s going. For example, order fulfillment for non-clothing items can take up to five business days. In contrast, clothing takes between two and seven business days.
Shipping in the US takes three to four days, and in the UK, two to five. If it’s Asia, South America, or Europe, it’s longer at around six to 14 days.
When it comes to shipping prices, there’s a handy guide on the Printful website to help you calculate these figures before launching your business and website. Shipping prices fluctuate depending on the destination, weight, and which shipping method you use. Printful uses the following reputable carriers: FedEx, DPD, DHL, and the USPS.
That said, here's a rough idea of what you could expect to pay in shipping costs if you’re shipping to the US for a customer’s first product:
- T-shirts, tank tops, polo shirts, etc.: $3.99 and $1.25 per additional product
- Hoodies, pants, sweatshirts: $6.50 and $2.00 per additional product
- Face coverings: $3.99 and $1.25 per additional product
SPOD's shipping prices vary depending on which US state you're shipping to or which country in Europe. To calculate your approximate costs, head to their shipping calculator. There's a choice of Standard, Premium, or Express shipping options. Standard is via USPS, Premium is via USPS Priority, and Express is via FedEx. Costs are calculated on the value of the goods you’re sending.
Like Printful, with SPOD, you benefit from white label packaging and inserts. However, at the time of writing, SPOD doesn't offer any branded packaging options. That said, it's “under consideration,” so watch this space!
Printful vs SPOD: Customer Support
Suppose you run into trouble or a question arises. In that case, you'll want to rely on a high-quality customer support team – so how do Printful and SPOD's customer care services stack up?
It’s free to onboard, and after that, the Printful website has tons of self-help information, including an online Help Center and resources on particularly important topics such as shipping and returns. You'll also find handy video tips and separate sections on a range of issues, including design, getting started, warehousing, and so on. You can also reach Printful by email, live web chat, or phone. On top of that, Printful also has a decent social media presence where you can keep up with all the latest updates.
SPOD also has an online Help Center. Here you'll find a helpful blog and sections on getting started, invoicing, design, etc. You can also contact them via email or phone – there are separate customer support numbers for US and European customers.
Printful vs SPOD: Public Opinion
According to several online user reviews, the results are varied when it comes to product designs and quality.
On the Shopify App Store, Printful enjoys a 4.3-star rating (out of a possible five) at the time of writing. Whereas over on TrustPilot, 60% rated Printful as ‘excellent,' but 33% rated it as either ‘poor' or ‘bad.'
Reasons for these lousy reviews vary from shipping issues to more complex areas like VAT and incorrect sizes received by customers. However, users love how easy Printful is to use and that products are of good quality.
Moving onto SPOD, its reviews on the Shopify App Store are incredibly impressive, with an almost unreservedly good five-star rating. Most notably, reviewers comment on how user-friendly and easy to use the platform is. However, unhappy customers complain about shoddy customer service, inadequate quality control, and poor print quality.
Interestingly, SPOD has a proven record of listening and implementing customer feedback. For instance, SPOD's customizer tool enables you to either create your own designs or upload ones you’ve already made elsewhere. In addition, there are 70+ themes to choose from and have fun with. This particular tool was upgraded by SPOD in 2019 after SPOD listened to customer feedback. Pretty neat, right?
Printful vs SPOD: Which Is The Best Print on Demand Company?
This was a tricky one to decide. We liked them both, and both stack up against the other pretty well. Both offer:
- Transparent pricing
- Helpful resources on their respective websites such as profit and shipping calculators
- Easy to use platforms
- Lots of integrations
- Good quality brands for their products
- Both have easy to use design tools
So, which print-on-demand service do you think you will go with?
Printful offers live chat support, while SPOD doesn't, so if you value that, we suggest heading in Printful’s direction.
However, SPOD offers a broader choice of products than Printful. For example, they have more accessories to choose from and variants in each category, such as different mug sizes. But overall, Printful offers more product types than SPOD does, so it’s kind of swings and roundabouts. Also, SPOD supports more types of files, whereas Printful accepts JPEGs and PNG designs only.
Ultimately it’s your choice, and we recommend you do your own research and dig deep enough until you're sure which platform to launch your business with. We hope, however, that this Printful vs SPOD review has helped you with that.
Let us know in the comments box which you will go for, Printful or SPOD. Maybe you’re thinking about one of their competitors, such as Gooten, Printify, Print Aura, Redbubble, Teelaunch, Teespring, or Customcat. Either way, tell us all about it, and good luck with making your choice!