Printful vs Redbubble (Jan 2021): Which Is Better?

The Battle of The POD Platforms

Whether you want to launch an online business and you're exploring your options, or you want to dabble in print on demand products, and you're unsure which platform to use- you're in the right place. In this review, we're exploring two of the most notable print on demand sites on the market: Printful and Redbubble.

We're breaking down everything you need to know, so by the end of this review; you should have an answer to the question: Printful vs Redbubble – which is better?

As you can imagine, there's lots to cover, so let's dive straight in!

How Printful Works

printful homepage

Founded back in 2013, Printful is an easy-to-use online platform that allows sellers to adopt the print on demand (POD) dropshipping method. This is a fabulous option for creatives, entrepreneurs, enterprises, and influencers alike; in fact, anyone looking to craft custom products to sell online.

There's no setup cost required. You just integrate your eCommerce business with Printful. From there, you can begin adding new products to your product catalog for customers to purchase from your online shop.

Then, when a customer purchases something, Printful automatically pings the order off for fulfillment. This will go to one of Printful's in-house factories or partner facilities. Lastly, the product(s) are shipped directly to your customer's doorstep.

Simple, right?

When it comes to design creation, you can do this offline and then upload your finished work to your Printful account. Alternatively, you can use Printful's mockup generator to create simple designs. Rest assured, you can double-check how your design looks on Printful's products before listing them for sale.

Alternatively, if you don't boast the ‘design gene' but want to get in on the POD action, opt for Printful's graphic design service. Just submit a request describing your vision, and a designer will bring it to life for you.

On top of that, Printful also offers separate warehousing and order fulfillment services, where you can order products, store them, and ship them off after they've been printed. This may come in handy once your business starts to grow, as you'll be able to turn around orders quicker.

For a full Printful review, click here.

How Redbubble Works

redbubble homepage

Founded in 2006, Redbubble is also a print on demand solution. It works much the same way as Printful.  However, Redbubble doesn't enable you to integrate with your own website. Instead, Redbubble is a marketplace where buyers can come and purchase customized products you've created and listed directly on Redbubble.

As such, Redbubble is more geared towards designers. They aim to provide creatives with a convenient way of monetizing their artwork. In fact, at the time of writing, more than 700,000 artists use this platform- they can't all be wrong, right?

This is how Redbubble works (for online sellers):

  • First off, you create a Redbubble account.
  • Next, you upload your artwork.
  • When you're happy with your design, write a title and description for your product, and assign as many relevant tags (keywords) as possible.
  • Lastly, you publish your product.
  • At this point, it's available for sale on Redbubble.

Before you start designing, you'll need to familiarize yourself with each product's unique design model – especially its dimensions. Then, similar to Printful, you can create designs offline and upload your finished work to your Redbubble account. You'll be pleased to hear that Redbubble accepts various media and art types, so feel free to get those creative juices flowing!

That said, you'll have to use high-resolution image files to ensure high-quality print quality. Also, if you're designing something with a transparent background, this image should be uploaded in a PNG file format.

Once you've uploaded your designs, you can simultaneously edit your design across multiple products. Needless to say, this saves you a ton of time. From your Redbubble storefront, you can list up to 60 different products for sale!

From the customer's point of view, they head to Redbubble and browse for whatever they're looking for. If they come across your artwork and like it,  Redbubble then prints it onto the appropriate item and ships it to the customer.

Redbubble then credits your account with a percentage of the sale price (AKA a royalty). Then, once a month, Redbubble releases these funds into either your Paypal or bank account, so long as you've accumulated $20 (or more).

If you don't meet this threshold, you'll have to wait a year for the funds to be released (providing it equates to $2 or more).

Printful's Pros and Cons

Last but not least, let's take a look at the pros and cons of both platforms.

First up, Printful:

The Pros 👍

  • Printful's user interface is incredibly intuitive.
  • Getting started with Printful is near-on effortless.
  • There aren't any monthly or setup fees; you just pay Printful's base price for their products only when a customer makes an order – so there's next-to-no financial risk.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to brand yourself – custom product labels, packaging, packaging slips, etc.
  • Separate design, warehouse, and fulfillment services are available.
  • Printful's API is easy to setup.
  • There's a Printful app available for both IOS (iPhone and iPad users) and Android devices.
  • You can process refunds for lost and damaged packages.
  • Printful offers 20% off when you order a product sample.
  • In comparison to its competitors, Printful's order processing is relatively quick.
  • Printful's list of native integrations is nothing short of impressive.
  • Printful offers decent quality products and a wide selection of items to choose from
  • Users love Printful's mock-up generator.
  • Printful's customer support is outstanding both in terms of speed and quality of response.

The Cons 👎

  • You can't edit multiple products in one go.
  • In comparison to some of its competitors, Printful's starting prices are pricey.
  • You can't process refunds for customers that don't order the right size/colors.
  • Framed posters and canvases aren't shipped everywhere.
  • Printful doesn't come with any built-in analytics.

Redbubble's Pros and Cons

Now, over to Redbubble…

The Pros 👍

  • Redbubble's platform is straightforward to get to grips with
  • Just like Printful, there aren't any monthly or setup fees.
  • There's a vast range of high-quality products to choose from
  • Redbubble’s customer support is excellent.
  • Redbubble comes with built-in analytics.
  • Redbubble is a fully-featured online marketplace, which makes it easier to make sales.  The platform boasts high volumes of traffic each month, and they run retargeting ads.
  • There's plenty of user support guides.
  • You can edit multiple products in one go.

The Cons 👎

  • The price of Redbubble products fluctuates – so you'll have to keep an eye on this and modify your retail prices accordingly.
  • You can't brand your products or packaging.
  • You have to wait a month to receive your earnings.
  • There aren't any eCommerce platform integrations.
  • Prices vary between products – for instance, dark and light fabrics are priced differently.
  • It can be hard to get customers to notice you.

Printful vs Redbubble: Pricing

Now that we've covered the basics let's look at how much it will cost you to get up and running on either platform…

Printful

Printful vs Redbubble

To get a feel for Printful‘s base prices, have a look at their product catalog. These prices include the cost of the product itself and printing. However, they don't include shipping and taxes, so you'll have to account for this separately.

It's worth noting that the product type and brand determine the cost of the item. For instance, men's, women's, and kid's t-shirts, leggings, dresses, and hoodies range between $7 and $55. But, of course, the hoodie costs more than the t-shirt. Make, sense?

Here are a few other (average) base costs for Printful items:

  • Wall art: Between $7 and $30
  • Hats: Roughly $15.50
  • Mugs: Around $8
  • Tote bags (and other types of bags): Between $10 and $25
  • Pillows: Around $14 on average
  • Towels: Roughly $25
  • Phone cases: About $10

Interestingly, the base price of the product hinges on the fulfillment location you use. As such, the cost of Printful's merch fluctuates a bit depending on whether you're shipping from Europe, the USA, Japan, or Australia.

As we've already said, there aren't any startup costs. You only pay Printful the base price of the item after you've made a sale. However, if you want to white label your own products, be prepared to pay a little extra:

  • A custom inside label: $2.49 per label
  • A custom outside label: $2.49 per label
  • A custom short sleeve print: $2.49 per sleeve
  • A custom long sleeve print: $5.95 per sleeve
  • An embroidered logo: $2.95 per additional placement

Redbubble

Apparently, Redbubble‘s product prices change every now and then, so be sure to check the current rates for the products you want to sell before setting your margins. That said, if you're looking to sell clothes, expect to pay a base cost of anywhere between $15 and $45. Interestingly, Redbubble's home decor is their most expensive product category, with duvet covers costing over $100.

If you want to sell wall art, the cost varies between $14 and $30 depending on the print and card type. In contrast, metal prints are much more expensive, ranging between $50 and $300.

Printful vs Redbubble: Integrations

If you're running an online business already, you'll want a POD platform that integrates with the website builder/digital shopping cart/eCommerce platform/online marketplace you're already using.

In light of that, we've listed the native integrations that both Printful and Redbubble come with:

Printful

Printful vs Redbubble

  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • WooCommerce/ WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Webflow
  • Ecwid
  • BigCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • Weebly
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Big Cartel
  • Wish
  • Magento
  • Storenvy
  • Bonanza
  • 3dcart
  • Launch Cart

Redbubble

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Redbubble doesn't come with any native integrations that enable you to connect your Shopify store (or any eCommerce shop for that matter) with your Redbubble account. This is because Redbubble is explicitly designed to be a fully-featured online marketplace, that's what it knows, and consequently, that's what they stick to. That said, Redbubble supports third-party tools like Google Analytics and Google Maps.

Printful vs Redbubble: Fulfillment and Shipping

The timing and reliability of any print on demand service's fulfillment and shipping are imperative to the success of your online business, so let's see how Printful and Redbubble compare:

Printful

Regarding fulfillment, Printful takes an average of two to seven days to manufacture and fulfill apparel orders. In contrast, non-apparel products are turned around a little quicker, with an average time of two to five business days. It takes roughly four business days to ship the package (depending on the delivery address). See below for more accurate delivery times.

Reportedly you can expect the following turnaround times for these destinations:

  • The United Kingdom: Two to five days
  • The United States: Three to four days
  • France: Three to five days
  • South America, Asia, and other European countries: Six to 14 days

Please note: As a seller, you'll have to pay for shipping, so be sure to factor that into your product pricing strategy, as you don't want this to eat into your profit margin. The shipping cost varies depending on the weight of the products, shipping destination, and shipping method. Alternatively, you can set a flat shipping rate if that's easier.

How you handle shipping costs are up to you. You'll need to figure out the math to see whether it's more cost-effective to charge a fixed or fluctuating shipping fee.

Redbubble

Like Printful, Redbubble also ships globally. That said, they don't deliver to Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, or Crimea.

You can rely on reputable couriers to ship your customer orders, as Redbubble partners with services like DHL, UPS, and FedEx. That said, shipping times vary depending on the customer's location, shipping method (standard or express), and product type. However, local orders are sometimes shipped within less than two days. In contrast, orders traveling further afield can take up to three working days (or more).

Like Printful, Redbubble only ships on business days.

Redbubble also provides customers with an order tracker so that shoppers can keep an eye on their order's delivery status in real-time.

Interestingly, Redbubble's shipping costs fluctuate. But, as an online seller, you don't need to concern yourself with this as shipping is handled directly between Redbubble and your customer. Shipping costs are calculated on the buyer's checkout page, which depends on their chosen shipping method, the origin and destination of the shipment, and the order's contents.

Printful vs Redbubble: Customer Support

No matter how easy-to-use a platform is, there's a good chance you'll have a question or two at some stage – especially when you're first starting out. This is where knowing you can rely on high-quality customer service is worth its weight in gold. So, how do Printful and Redbubble measure up in this department?

Printful

Printful vs Redbubble

Printful offers a variety of customer support channels. You can contact Printful's customer service team via email at [email protected] On average, you'll receive a response within a day. Alternatively, you can send a support ticket via their ‘Contacts' page.

Pre-COVID, Printful also offered 24/7 live chat. At the time of writing, they're working to increase their chat availability to resume their 24/7 live support service. You can access their live chat widget and launch a conversation with a Printful rep from the bottom-right corner of any Printful web page.

Or, if you prefer to go down the self-help route, Printful has an online help center brimming with helpful resources. Here you'll find plenty of articles, video tutorials, and answers to FAQs.

On top of that, Printful also has an active social media presence, most notably on Instagram, YouTube, and there's a Facebook group you can join. This is a great place to connect with other Printful users, ask questions, and network with like-minded people.

Redbubble

Printful vs Redbubble

Redbubble offers 24/7 customer support, but not via email or live chat. Instead, you'll have to send Redbubble a direct message via Twitter. Reportedly, this gets a near-on instant response! Alternatively, you can ping over a customer support ticket. Typically speaking, you should receive a reply within 24 hours.

Alternatively, if you're looking to fix the issue yourself, Redbubble has a thorough help section for sellers and buyers alike. Here's you'll find resources covering virtually every Redbubble procedure, so you should find what you're looking for here.

On top of that, you can also follow their social media handles across Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. This is worth doing if you want to stay up to date with all the latest Redbubble updates and news.

Printful vs Redbubble: Product Designs and Quality

The product and print quality of any POD platform are essential. They could shine in every other department, but if the end result is subpar, you won't get repeat customers! So, let's see how Printful and Redbubble fair where quality is concerned…

Printful

Printful boasts state of the art printing equipment worth a whopping $27 million (roughly). This machinery helps to ensure they produce high-quality products. That said, when you upload your design to Printful, always double-check to ensure you're happy with it and that you've uploaded the highest resolution file. Again, this helps guarantee a high-quality print.

Then, after your products are printed with your design, Printful checks your items for quality. On top of that, Printful is well-renown for sourcing their base products from first-rate brands, including Bayside, Gildan, Next Level Apparel, Hanes, and others.

Redbubble

Redbubble partners with various printing companies and fulfillment centers across the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. All Redbubble products are ethically-sourced and have been carefully selected to ensure quality. Also, a quick Google search tells us that generally, speaking, most customers are happy with the overall quality of Redbubble's prints and products.

Printful vs Redbubble: Packaging and Branding

If you're looking to establish an online brand, then listen up – this section is essential.

Printful

Printful prides itself on being a white-label platform, providing the foundations you need to build your own brand and strengthen it. As such, Printful doesn't plaster its branding over your product packaging. Instead, there are a few customization options available to you. For instance, you can upload your logo and any custom messaging for Printful to print on your packaging.

On top of that, you can insert a packing slip into each box containing product info and your branding.

While we're on the subject of packaging, it's worth noting, fragile items like frames are well-wrapped to protect from damage, and all products are finally packed into corrugated boxes.

Redbubble

Different from Printful, Redbubble's packaging varies depending on the item. For instance, the majority of apparel and stickers and shipped in poly bags. In comparison, framed art is put into boxes and posters and smaller prints in tubes.

Also, unlike Printful, Redbubble's product packaging is slapped with Redbubble's branding, which we suppose makes sense considering your customers are purchasing directly from Redbubble‘s platform rather than from your own online store.

Printful vs Redbubble – Which is The Best Print on Demand Solution?

So, there you have it, our Printful vs Redbubble review. So, which is better?

Of course, both Printful and Redbubble enable you to create and sell custom products. But, all in all, we think, Printful takes the crown. Its sheer array of integrations, its mockup generator, branding options, and the control you have over your customer's shipping fees gives the platform a slight edge over Redbubble.

Having read this review, we hope you have a better idea of which of these print on demand platforms best suits your needs. Which will you opt for, Printful or Redbubble? Or, are you considering one of their competitors like Printify, Teepublic, Spreadshirt, Zazzle, or Teespring? Whichever you decide, let us know how you get on in the comments box below!

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, G2, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.