Gooten and Printful are two print-on-demand fulfillment giants making a big splash in the industry. These fulfillment-only services take care of the printing, shipping, and order fulfillment on your behalf, so that you can stay focused on the stuff that matters.
While marketplaces like Redbubble or Threadless are popular ways to sell customized products, many sellers prefer to retain control over their branding, marketing, and storefront (e.g. Shopify, Etsy, BigCommerce). These two platforms will let you achieve just that.
If you are just starting up your very own print on demand business, you might be exploring your options thoroughly before you take the plunge. Sellers with existing stores who wish to outsource production and list new products may be equally interested in this comparison.
Whatever the case, this Printful vs. Gooten comparison will help you make an informed decision by rating and comparing the two services across key aspects. Enjoy!
Native integrations determine how easy it is to link your online store and the print-on-demand service. More integration options mean that you can choose a storefront that works the best for your niche or where your target audience tends to shop.
Gooten doesn’t offer many options in terms of direct integration. Supported marketplaces and platforms include WooCommerce, Shopify, and Etsy.
You can still integrate Gooten with more stores, including popular ones like Amazon, eBay, and Bigcommerce. However, you will need coding experience to do this using the Gooten API. Additionally, you will need a custom API backend to allow you to forward your orders from your online store to Gooten.
You could always hire a coder with the relevant experience to open up more store integration options. Otherwise, Printful is the way to go.
Printful is far more forgiving in terms of integrations. This on-demand service integrates with 20+ platforms, including Amazon, Shopify, Wix, Storenvy, Squarespace, Big Cartel, and Gumroad, among others.
Printful also has an API to open up even more integration possibilities. This platform is better for sellers who have multiple storefronts or are looking for variety. Most of the big-name marketplaces and platforms already feature native integration. So, you most likely won't need any coding experience or assistance to get started with Printful.
Production & Manufacturing
It helps if you know how and where your t-shirts are manufactured. This information will help you align your sales expectations with the demands of your target market.
Gooten partners with third-party suppliers for its production and manufacturing. Most of the vendors are based in the United States. The on-demand company also partners with international vendors in Europe, South America, and Asia.
Currently, Gooten works with over 35 print providers with 40 manufacturing locations. Working with third-party vendors allows the company to focus on its core business, which is order fulfillment. This arrangement also means lower overhead costs for the company, which trickles down to the seller and the customer.
Outsourcing production and manufacturing has it's downsides, as we will see later on in this Gooten vs. Printful review.
Printful handles all of its production in-house. The company has invested over $37M in printing equipment. It has a team of more than 1000 personnel located across North America and Europe.
Printful has US fulfillment centers in Charlotte and Los Angeles. The company also has overseas fulfillment centers in Latvia, Mexico, and Spain, as well as partner facilities in Australia and Japan.
This model has high overhead costs, which translate to higher prices for sellers and customers. It does, however, ensure more consistent print quality.
Coming up with a killer design is one thing, but translating it accurately on the shirt may not always be so easy. You can check out my screen printing vs. direct to garment printing review to decide which method is better for your business. It pays if you have a good idea of which printing method will bring your designs to life most accurately.
Gooten specializes in direct to garment printing and does not offer the screen printing alternative.
While Gooten doesn’t handle the manufacturing directly, it sets strict standards for the vendors it partners with. Gooten insists that its vendors use Kornit printers and ink. The ink is water-based.
Gooten also offers dye-sublimation printing for all-over print shirts and custom neck labels on select products. The printing options are somewhat limited compared to the competitor, Printful.
Printful offers more variety of printing options than Gooten. Although this POD service deals mainly with direct to garment printing, there is also screen printing. Still, it is good to know that you have both options open.
This service uses Kornit series printers for its direct to garment printing.
Printful also offers sublimation and cut & sew printing using Mibmaki series printers. Additionally, the company provides embroidery using Happy and Tajima embroidery machines.
With the additional printing options like screen printing, cut & sew, and embroidery, you get more flexibility in your design options.
Print and Product Quality
Now is a great time to discuss print quality. Most of the areas we have covered so far contribute to the eventual print quality of your t-shirt.
First off, most Gooten customer reviews are positive. This print on demand service has a good reputation for delivering quality printed products across the board, be it t-shirts or phone cases.
One of the problem areas is Gooten's model of outsourcing production. While the company makes stringent demands on its vendors, quality control can be an issue. The vendors are still responsible for sourcing the apparel, and the results can vary between vendors. The pretreatment, curing, and best printing practices can also vary slightly between vendors.
In short, despite mostly good feedback, it is tough to guarantee consistency between products produced in 40 different facilities. These facilities aren’t run or supervised by Gooten directly, so you may wish to make a sample order prior to listing the item in your online shop.
Printful is famed for delivering consistent print quality. The company produces its merch in-house and implements a 3-step quality check. Automated software confirms that the graphics are print-ready. Then, a fulfillment specialist confirms that everything is in order while the t-shirt prints. Lastly, Printful personnel does a final quality check after the printing and curing process.
Once you find the designs and printing methods that sell, it is far easier to replicate the results each time you get an order. All the Printful fulfillment facilities work the same way so you can guarantee consistency regardless of where you ship to.
Printful also offers screen printing, which is incredibly high-quality and durable for simple designs with vibrant colors.
Lead Times & Shipping
Getting your t-shirts printed is only one part of running a successful on-demand business. You want your customers to get their order within a reasonable timeframe. Keep in mind that this section is a general guide. Lead times and shipping can vary depending on the printing method, the number of orders, and the product's availability, among others.
Most Gooten products are produced in 3-4 business days (with the exception of acrylic prints, acrylic blocks, travel bags, crib sheets, flat cards, folded cards, and special order apparel). After production is complete, they'll be shipped using one of Gooten's partnered carriers. Shipping costs vary by print house and destination.
Within the US, The company offers several shipping options, including standard shipping (5 business days), overnight shipping (1 business day), and expedited deliveries (2-4 business days).
However, international shipping takes between 1-3 weeks. Gooten products ship worldwide through USPS priority and DHL.
One thing to note about Gooten's shipping is that multiple items in an order may not be consolidated. This happens when items are sourced from different suppliers. If your customers frequently mix and match products in your online store, Printful provides a superior customer experience.
Fulfillment at Printful takes 2-7 business days. The average shipping time for apparel is four business days.
The products are grouped in categories of the same weight, dimensions, and packaging. Each class has a fixed shipping rate, which makes it easier to price your products.
Printful also has a neat feature that allows you to display live shipping rates to your customers at checkout on the storefront that you integrate. Gooten does not support this feature.
On average, Gooten appears to ship faster than Printful. Also, Printful offers more international shipping options, including PASTS, FedEx, UPS, DPD, and DHL.
Pricing & Profit Margins
Most POD companies recommend a profit margin of at least 30%. Make sure you take into account all the costs involved before setting your prices.
First of all, neither service has any upfront costs or monthly fees. You only pay whenever they fulfill an order for your business, either by a charge to your credit card or PayPal account, or a deduction from your online Printful/Gooten wallet.
So the comparison boils down to the prices of their products and shipping costs.
Both Gooten and Printful have transparent pricing structures, so you shouldn’t have a problem when pricing your products. To compare the prices of the two platforms, we calculated the final price of printing and shipping a medium-size Bella+Canvas 3001 Unisex T-shirt to an address in New York.
The base price for the Bella Canvas 3001 t-shirt at Gooten came to $8.90. When you factor in the shipping and printing costs, the final price was $12.89, which leaves a nice margin when you're selling t-shirts.
Printful was the more expensive print on demand service, at least in the case of ordering a Bella Canvas 3001 Tee. The fulfillment cost amounted to $12.95 and the shipping cost to the same New York address was $3.99.
So which is Better – Printful or Gooten?
As you might have already noted, Gooten shines in some areas while Printify succeeds in others. The only thing left to consider is what you are looking for in a fulfillment-only service.
If you are a newbie in the industry, Printful is almost certainly the better option. The company has been around for longer and has a bigger customer base and broader reach than Gooten. You will need all the help you can get to bring your products in front of customers, and this is an area where Printful does a great job.
Additionally, Printful offers a more extensive product catalog, faster shipping outside the US, and integrates with more eCommerce platforms. The user interface is also a lot slicker and there are more support resources available.
Gooten, on the other hand, appears to be targeting sellers with more experience in the industry. They are less mature and have themselves stated in their blog that Gooten is not about helping newbies, at least not for now. They want to focus on building close relationships with existing online merch businesses and help them to grow.
If you're drawn towards the lower pricing offered by Gooten but want a more mature and newbie-friendly print on demand service, Printify is a service worth considering. Read our full review of Printify.