Print & Sell

Is the quality of a print-on-demand product good?4 min read

November 22, 2020

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Is the quality of a print-on-demand product good?4 min read

The quality of print-on-demand products tends to be of excellent retail value quality. However, you must know what to look out for to get the best. Some things to consider would be how the product is printed and the material being printed on. Those are some of the factors that will determine whether a print-on-demand product is of good quality.

Generally, if the material doesn’t match the method of printing, you will end up with an inferior product. So when choosing a print-on-demand supplier, be sure to know the printing method they choose to do on each product. You can always order a sample to be sure.

Testing the quality of a print-on-demand product

As I mentioned, print-on-demand products generally tend to be of good quality. However, much of it is based on the print-on-demand supplier.

In printing onto clear transparent phone cases, UV printing would be the most suitable printing method. UV printing produces rich colors accurately and has a long-lasting finish that can last up to or over two years. Whereas UV printing onto a t-shirt wouldn’t work at all, as a matter of fact, it would be a terrible idea.

Another typical example of print-on-demand products is apparel, whether it is t-shirts, undergarments, or hoodies. Clothing comes in different types of material depending on the manufacturer. Since most major print-on-demand suppliers use direct garment printing, you would see a difference in each print quality.

Print on demand product quality

Quality of printing directly to the garment for apparel

Direct to garment printing is best suited for apparel, that is 100% cotton. However, it doesn’t mean that if the attire is anything but cotton, it won’t come out well. Sometimes, if the cotton is too thick, DTG printing can give it a faded look, making it appear vintage, which can be advantageous in some cases.

Apparel with poly or tri-blend also tend to have a more faded vintage look, and that’s due to the blend of materials and looser weaves.

Other POD products like books

Print-on-demand books can also be of excellent quality. I have ordered many books without noticing that they were printed on-demand. You may have also done the same if you ever ordered a book from marketplaces like Amazon or independent sites. A good quality print-on-demand book is determined by the end goal and purpose of that book. If the book is supposed to be a photo album, print-on-demand companies that offer thick hardback covers and glossy pages would be great. Simultaneously, a book containing many chapters, a paperback gloss cover with thinner beige paper would be a better choice. Again, print on demand products are of good quality, but it depends on the manufacturer.

A good print on demand supplier cares about their machine.

Does the print-on-demand supplier mention what machines they use to print? When a print-on-demand product cares enough about what device they use to print on products, it gives you confidence. If they care enough to brag about the technology they’re harnessing, they also care enough about the results it produces. A terrible machine, quite frankly, will give terrible prints. I use Printful, it’s one of the best POD suppliers when it comes to quality.

The quality of the printing file

The resolution of the print file you provide is another factor to take into consideration that will determine whether the POD product quality is good or not. This is more up to you. If you provide a low-resolution low file, you will end up with blurry results that will look very cheap. The right POD supplier will warn you about this before going into printing.

Overall, the print method should be determined by the product material for the best possible outcome. Also, keep in mind, if the product is not of good quality, to begin with, no matter what design you print onto it, it wouldn’t make it any better.

Sampling print on demand products

If you are ever unsure of a product, the best thing to do is order a sample from the print on demand supplier. When ordering a sample, try different companies at once. Provide high-quality print files that have plenty of colors so you can get an idea of how other products and materials react to your print.

When ordering samples, ensure that your print files are high resolution and at least 300dpi. Choose at least three print-on-demand companies you want to compare. Choose a product to sample based on what you want to sell in your store. For instance, if you’re going to sell blanket hoodies, ensure all the print-on-demand suppliers you compare offers. Create a design appropriate for the blanket hoodies. Also, ensure that it has plenty of colors. When the blanket hoodies arrive, you can compare how well each one came out in terms of material, touch, feel, and print quality. You can then narrow down your decision whether it feels of good quality to you.

You can do this with other items too. Such as phone cases. Find print on demand suppliers that offer both clear and opaque phone cases. Create transparent and opaque designs for both. Order samples, ensure you used plenty of colors, put it onto a phone, and test it out. Try scratching it, try rubbing it. See how it reacts.

Another test you can see whether print on demand products is of quality is to sample different types of material of the same product type. What I mean is to order the design printed on many t-shirts of varying material. See for yourself how it feels and how the print appears. Is it of satisfactory quality?

Starting a business with print on demand

Print on demand is an excellent choice when it comes to starting a business. First of all, given you have chosen the right print on demand supplier, the products are of high quality like it came off a high street retailer’s shelf. I know this because I run three print on demand stores, of which customers reviews are always complimentary.

There are, however, some advantages and disadvantages you may want to consider. However, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Disadvantage of print-on-demand

The disadvantage of print-on-demand is the low-profit margin. You will need to create designs that resonate with your audience that can be priced at a premium to make better profit margins. However, you can expect a lower return for generic designs and a lower price, especially if you are putting marketing money behind it.

Advantages of print-on-demand

The advantage of print on demand is not having to hold any stock or inventory. That means you do not need to buy stocks of products in bulk, saving you a ton of money and storage space. Besides, you save additional money because you are stuck with many finished products if your inventory does not sell. Another advantage is that you can work on your business from anywhere in the world. Many print-on-demand services supply integration with platforms like Etsy and Shopify. That means when a customer makes an order, you do not have to lift a finger because the integration automates the whole process. The most significant advantage of running a print-on-demand store is taking care of the printing, packaging, and shipping. Saving you a ton of time, which you can put towards marketing your store and creating new designs. The advantages of saving time are priceless. For print-on-demand, you need little to no capital to get started.

Check this article if you want to learn how to launch your own profitable print-on-demand store.

Hey! I am Captain POD, and I want to tell you about all that I know about building a successful business using Print-on-Demand! Whether it's a side hustle, full-time job or a hobby.