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Blog / Beginner's handbook / Top 8 Best Quality T-Shirts for Printing

Beginner's handbook

8 Best Quality T-Shirts for Printing

8 Best Quality T-Shirts for Printing
Katrina Resne

By Katrina Resne

11 min read

Selecting the right products is vital when launching a print-on-demand business. While original designs help you stand out from competitors, high-quality products are just as important.

In this guide, we’ll review 8 top-quality tees and what makes them stand out so you can pick the right one for your store. We’ll cover t-shirt fabric types, weight, and transparency and help you choose the best fulfillment method.

Whether you’re running a clothing brand, thinking of starting a clothing line, or simply looking for the best-quality t-shirts to print on, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started.

The best-quality t-shirts for printing

There are a few aspects to consider when weighing your t-shirt printing options. Begin with 3 basics: style, fabric, and fit. Then, think about what kind of designs you want to create. 

Most blank t-shirts on this list can be printed and embroidered. And some t-shirts can even be covered with your design seam-to-seam. See which ones align with your vision and customer needs.

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1. Unisex Staple T-Shirt | Bella + Canvas 3001

The Bella + Canvas 3001 is a high-quality t-shirt that suits just about everyone. The shirt is unisex and comes in sizes XS–5XL. Its medium-weight fabric is soft, super comfortable, and will give you a fitted look. The Bella + Canvas 3001 is a long-time bestseller with the widest color selection of all Printful tees. You can customize it with direct-to-garment (DTG) printing or embroidery and finish it with a branded inside label.

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $11.50

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $14.50

  • Sizes: XS–5XL

  • Colors: Black Heather, Black, Oxblood Black, Navy, Cardinal, Brown, Heather Midnight Navy, Heather Forest, Maroon, Red, Forest, True Royal, Heather Cardinal, Dark Grey Heather, Berry, Asphalt, Army, Olive, Heather Raspberry, Autumn, Heather Deep Teal, Heather True Royal, Aqua, Toast, Kelly, Heather Kelly, Mauve, Heather Mauve, Leaf, Steel Blue, Pebble, Orange, Heather Orange, Burnt Orange, Heather Orchid, Gold, Mustard, Heather Stone, Heather Prism Lilac, Tan, Heather Prism Dusty Blue, Lilac, Heather Prism Mint, Heather Prism Peach, Pink, Athletic Heather, Heather Peach, Light Blue, Ocean Blue, Soft Cream, Yellow, Heather Dusty Blue, Heather Dust, Heather Prism Ice Blue, Heather Mint, Silver, Ash, Citron, White

  • Fabric: 100% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton or poly-cotton blend, depending on the fabric color

  • Inside label: Yes

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: Yes

2. Unisex Basic Softstyle T-Shirt | Gildan 64000

Another wardrobe staple, the Unisex Basic Softstyle T-Shirt is soft and durable. Easy on the eyes and the wallet, this t-shirt is a bestseller. Available in neutral solid colors, it’s all you need for business casual attire. Customize with DTG printing or embroidery with the option to customize the inside and outside labels and sleeves.

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $6.95

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $11.75

  • Sizes: S–3XL

  • Colors: Black, Navy, Dark Heather, Sport Grey, White

  • Fabric: 100% ring-spun cotton or poly-cotton blend, depending on the fabric color

  • Inside label: Yes

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: Yes

3. Unisex Organic Cotton T-Shirt | Stanley/Stella STTU755

Looking for an eco-friendly tee? The Unisex Organic Cotton T-Shirt is it. This regular-fit t-shirt is extra comfy and has been our customer favorite for a long time. It’s made from 100% organic cotton that’s OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified and PETA-Approved Vegan. You can add custom inside or outside labels and choose from more than 15 t-shirt colors.

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $13.50

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $17.50

  • Sizes: S–5XL

  • Colors: Black, French Navy, Dark Heather Grey, Burgundy, Red, Anthracite, Stargazer, Khaki, Dark Heather Blue, Go Green, Sage, Desert Dust, Heather Grey, Fraiche Peche, Butter, Cotton Pink, Lavender, Serene Blue, White

  • Fabric: 100% organic ring-spun cotton

  • Inside label: Yes

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: Yes

4. Men’s Premium Heavyweight Tee | Cotton Heritage MC1086

Try our Men’s Premium Heavyweight Tee if you like a refined look. It’s made of high-quality, combed ring-spun cotton. This timeless t-shirt has a modern, relaxed fit for comfort and movement. Plus, you can design the inside and outside labels with your brand visuals.

Read also: What Is a Heavyweight T-Shirt: A Short Guide

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $15.95

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $15.95

  • Sizes: S–4XL

  • Colors: Black, Charcoal Heather, Brick Red, Agave, Carbon Grey, Vintage Gold, White 

  • Fabric: 100% combed ring-spun cotton

  • Inside label: Yes

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: No

5. All-Over Print Men’s Crew Neck T-Shirt

The All-Over Print Men’s Crew Neck T-Shirt is just right for those who want to stand out. Thanks to the sublimation technique, you can cover the entire all-over print shirt with your design. The shirt is made of a premium mid-weight polyester jersey that’s OEKO-TEX 100 standard certified. Its fabric composition prevents shrinkage and ensures a high-quality print that stays crisp for a long time.

  • Price: Starting from $28.95

  • Sizes: XS–2XL

  • Color: White

  • Fabric: 95% polyester, 5% elastane

  • Inside label: No

  • Outside label: No

  • Sleeve print: Yes

6. Unisex Garment-Dyed Heavyweight T-Shirt | Comfort Colors 1717

If you’re looking for durability and a relaxed, classic fit, this is it. The Unisex Garment-Dyed Heavyweight T-Shirt is made of thick, 100% cotton fabric, ensuring daily comfort and breathability. It’s received tons of stellar reviews for its soft feel and high quality. The t-shirt is available in low and high-saturation tones, making it suitable for creating a vintage look or a spring clothing line. Experiment with different design placements to create a t-shirt your customers want to wear daily.

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $14.95

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $16.95

  • Sizes: S–4XL

  • Colors: Black, Red, True Navy, Pepper, Brick, Blue Spruce, Berry, Crimson, Flo Blue, Moss, Paprika, Watermelon, Blue Jean, Ice Blue, Grey, Violet, Seafoam, Terracotta, Granite, Bay, Lagoon Blue, Butter, Ivory, Chambray, White

  • Fabric: 100% ring-spun cotton

  • Inside label: No

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: Yes

7. All-Over Print Women’s Crew Neck T-Shirt

Made of smooth polyester, the All-Over Print Women’s Crew Neck T-Shirt is stretchy, comfortable, and perfect for casual wear. Take custom t-shirt printing to the next level with the all-over print sublimation technique. The fabric is also OEKO-TEX 100 standard certified.

  • Price: Starting from $26.25

  • Sizes: XS–2XL

  • Color: White

  • Fabric: 95% polyester, 5% elastane

  • Inside label: No

  • Outside label: No

  • Sleeve print: Yes

8. Women’s Relaxed T-Shirt | Bella + Canvas 6400

As the name suggests, the Women’s Relaxed T-Shirt has a comfortable, relaxed fit, ideal for everyday wear. It’s soft and smooth, made of combed ring-spun cotton or poly-cotton, depending on the color. Add a DTG printing or embroidery design and customize the inside and outside labels.

  • Price (DTG printing): Starting from $16.25

  • Price (embroidery): Starting from $18.25

  • Sizes: S–3XL

  • Colors: Navy, Black, Dark Grey Heather, Poppy, Heather Red, Berry, Heather Mauve, Leaf, Heather Marmalade, Heather Blue Lagoon, Athletic Heather, Heather Stone, Heather Prism Lilac, Pink, Heather Prism Natural, White

  • Fabric: 100% combed ring-spun cotton

  • Inside label: Yes

  • Outside label: Yes

  • Sleeve print: Yes

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T-shirt properties

Many aspects affect a fabric’s durability, look, and feel. Understanding them will help you select a t-shirt that looks good, feels comfortable, and lasts long. Let’s take a look at what makes a high-quality t-shirt.

Fabric blends

When it comes to fabric blends, the key is in the name—blends are created by combining different types of fibers. Fabric blends are popular in clothing because they combine the best characteristics of two or more fibers.

Synthetic fibers are known for their strength, wrinkle resistance, and low shrinkage. In contrast, natural fibers have excellent absorbency and feel soft on the skin.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that poly-cotton is one of the most common fabric blends. Polyester fibers ensure durability and good color fastness (resistance to fading or running), while cotton fibers provide breathability and comfort.

Fabric composition

Most of our top 8 tees are 100% cotton, yet they’re not all the same. There’s the plain Jane, aka cotton, followed by its prettier cousin—ring-spun cotton, and, finally, we have the queen of the ball—combed cotton.

The processes for creating these types of cotton differ. So, let’s go over the specifics.

Regular cotton

Regular cotton is made of fibers found in the seeds of the cotton plant. They’re twisted together to make yarn and then woven to create the material. The regular cotton t-shirt is the industry standard. It’s less expensive to make, therefore, cheaper and easier to sell.

Ring-spun cotton

The yarn for ring-spun cotton is made by twisting and thinning the cotton strands to make a very fine, strong, and soft cotton fiber rope. They’ve been through a spinning process that softens and straightens each fiber.

Ring-spun cotton t-shirts are more durable than their regular cotton counterparts but are slightly more expensive.

Combed cotton

As the name suggests, combed cotton is combed to rid the batch of shorter fibers and impurities and produce softer, more robust yarns. Combed cotton is considered higher quality and softer than regular, uncombed cotton.

Ring-spun combed cotton

Ring-spun combed cotton is even more refined. After the cotton fibers are spun, they’re combed to remove any impurities or imperfect strands. This way, the knit is soft and highly durable. Plus, it creates a smooth fabric surface.

Fabric weight

Fabric weight depends on fiber type, weaving method, and finishing techniques. Understanding fabric weight helps you choose the right tee for the occasion, whether it’s layering for winter or hiking on a hot summer day.

Fabric weight is measured in ounces per square yard (and grams per square meter in the metric system). It shows the weight of one square yard of fabric. The higher the oz./yd.² (g/m²) number, the denser and heavier the fabric.

There used to be a close connection between weight and quality—heavier fabrics were better, and lighter fabrics were worse. These days, that’s not always the case. A lightweight shirt can be just as good quality as a heavier one.

So what’s the difference? Well, just like furry boots are made for winter and flip-flops for summer, a heavier t-shirt is warmer than a lightweight one. Your task is to understand your audience’s needs and communicate the benefits in your product descriptions.

Fabric transparency

Fabric weight and color affect fabric transparency. The lighter the fabric, the more transparent it will be. 

These aren’t the only factors, though. The fabric weave and yarn type also affect the fabric thickness and transparency.

Check the product description for specifics to better understand the transparency level you can expect.

Fulfillment methods

To ensure your t-shirt design ideas turn out the way you want, you’ll have to find the right fulfillment method for your custom t-shirt. Each technique is different, so let’s go over your options.

Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) 

DTG printing is excellent for complex, multicolor designs, such as photos. The print soaks into the clothing fibers instead of sitting atop the fabric. This provides a smooth surface and makes the garment comfortable to wear. The DTG printing method works best on cotton. The higher the cotton percentage, the more vivid the print.

Embroidery

Embroidery is a decoration technique where your design is stitched onto the fabric using a needle and thread. It’s textured, durable, and gives your tees a premium look. Embroidery works well with text, logos, and simple designs. As it can be thick, it looks best on heavyweight tees.

All-over print sublimation

If you want to create patterns or designs covering the entire shirt, the all-over print technique is the right choice.

All-over print sublimation is available for polyester t-shirts. It’s crucial for the ink to bond with the polymers in the fabric, resulting in rich, long-lasting, and high-quality prints.

First, your artwork is printed on a special sublimation printing paper. Then, it’s transferred to fabric by using a heat press machine. Finally, our in-house sewists cut and sew the fabric into a t-shirt.

Branding options

Once you’ve chosen the perfect tee and fulfillment method, it’s time for custom branding. 

Give your t-shirt a professional look by adding inside and outside labels. Some t-shirts also have the option to customize sleeves. Custom branding is a way to strengthen customer loyalty and remind them of your clothing brand every time they wear the tee.

If you’re unsure where to place your logo on the t-shirt, check out our t-shirt logo placement guide.

Learn more about different branding options to create an exceptional customer unboxing experience.

What’s the best t-shirt for printing? 

So, which t-shirt wins the “best t-shirt” title? Well, one size doesn’t fit all. Think about the shirt’s purpose, the type of design you want to create, and, most importantly, your customers.

The goal is to create premium t-shirts your customers will not only love but will also be willing to pay for, therefore bringing in profit for you.

Consider the fabric material, weight, transparency, fulfillment method, and price when picking out the right t-shirt for you.

If you’re still unsure, order samples to test your designs and the t-shirt quality.

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By Katrina Resne on Feb 12, 2024

Katrina Resne

Content Writer Intern

Katrīna is a content writer with a background in Material Technology and Design. She loves the digital world and creating content in visual and written form.

Katrīna is a content writer with a background in Material Technology and Design. She loves the digital world and creating content in visual and written form.