We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

CustomCat vs Printful vs RedBubble – Which Is Better?

So you’ve decided that you want to start dropshipping. Good choice, right? Most people would agree. After all, the ecommerce market is worth over $400 million. Dropshipping lets you in on the action without the overhead of a traditional business.

Dropshipping means no warehouse, shipping costs, transportation, etc. Instead, another entity handles everything from manufacturing to shipping. You’re free to sell products at your leisure.

Sounds great, right? While dropshipping is great, it’s also not that easy. You need a platform that can separate your dropshipping business from the rest of the pack. Think for a minute.

Do you have the print on demand suppliers to start dropshipping? Do you know the profitable markets? Chances are, you don’t. And that’s okay. There are plenty of businesses that can help you start dropshipping.

One of the best and easiest is by using a print on demand service. There are many print on demand sites available. Here, we’ll be looking at three very popular ones. At the end of this CustomCat vs RedBubble vs Printful review, you’ll know how they work and which to use.

Related: Customcat Reviews, Pricing & Free Trial

CustomCat

CustomCat aims to be the one-stop-shop for your dropshipping print service needs. They keep ordering simple, the products varied, and the shipping times consistent.

CustomCat 101

CustomCat, first and foremost, is a screen printing company. They focus on putting logos, designs, etc. on clothing, jewelry, wallets, home decor, shoes, bags, jackets, and more.

What’s more, CustomCat also prints on premium brands. They carry Adidas, Augusta, Boxercraft, among other high-end manufacturers with good print quality.

Depending on your business, the high-end branding might work against your business. The better the brand, the higher the prices.

CustomCat for Dropshipping

CustomCat offers basic Shopify integration, along with WooCommerce integration. You’ll find the CustomCat app on these platforms. They also offer custom API integration (for your website) and a basic CSV ordering platform. Each integration (besides the CSV) also allows for deep integration.

Shopify, WooCommerce, and custom API integration also offer access to buyer data, mail server integration, conversion tracking, and sub-user IDs.

Buyer data, mail server integration, and conversion tracking allow your business to store user data that gives insight into both your demographics and campaign success.

Sub-user IDs allow for backend task delegation. You’re able to assign team members roles within your specific campaigns.

CustomCat Pricing

CustomCat offers pricing that varies based on which subscription plan you’re using. CustomCat Lite offers no monthly fee, but print on demand products cost more. T-shirts start at $8.00, mugs start at $5.50, and hoodies start at $18.50.

The CustomCat Pro plan costs $30 per month. However, t-shirts cost $6.00, mugs cost $3.50, hoodies cost $16.50, and other products also cost less.

As far as dropshipping goes, CustomCat offers relatively low prices.

Related: CustomCat vs Teelaunch – Which Is Better?

Shipping

CustomCat, on average, ships products 2-3 business days after the purchase. Shipping options vary for this print on demand fulfillment company. Nevertheless, most orders take 1-7 days.

International shipping times rise to 4-15 days. Shipping cost varies depending on the shipping method and location.

Packaging and Branding

You can’t custom brand your products with CustomCat. The products are shipped using the branding of the manufacturers.

For example, a Gildan shirt will come with a Gildan label and branding. Nevertheless, custom branding options might be possible soon as the platform is researching options.

CustomCat takes protection very seriously when packaging products. The majority of products are shipped in carton boxes and items like mugs come with extra-protective packaging such that they don’t get damaged even if they fall. T-shirts and other clothing apparel are packaged in poly bags.

Customer Support

To reach the CustomCat customer support, you can submit a contact form. You don’t necessarily need to sign in, simply provide your email, phone number, and message so you can get a reply. Support is also available by phone from 8 AM Monday to 6:30 PM Friday.

As a CustomCat user, there are many accessories available for you. There’s the Knowledge Base, Selling Guides, Design Guides, and FAQs page. On these pages, you will find a lot of questions, answers, and instructions about getting the best out of CustomCat.

Related: CustomCat vs Teespring – Which Is Better?

Conclusion

CustomCat offers easy dropshipping integration. You’re able to integrate CustomCat into popular platforms as well as your own platform. And CSV integration is also available for those kickin’ it old school.

However, CustomCat does have a major drawback. Namely, they don’t offer discounts for bulk orders. This is fine for normal dropshipping applications, but can create problems if you’re looking to create large, promotional merchandising campaigns.

Printful

Is Printful Worth It In 2021? (Legit Printful Review)

Printful is what we call the “full package.” It is a print on demand company that offers a wide range of products, numerous integrations, integration workarounds, simple payments, low pricing, a large product selection, and more. Without giving away our review, Printful is impressive.

Related: How To Sell Custom Printed Products With Printful

Printful - #1 Print-on-demand platform

Printful helps you design and sell products online with ease. From picking products to designing, printing, delivery & everything else, Printful takes care of all. Try it today!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Printful 101

Printful offers an extensive product catalog, offering: clothing, jackets, hats, iPhone cases, socks, mugs, beanies, posters, towels, and more. Like CustomCat, you have different products and with the mock-up generator you can easily test your designs on these.

However, Printful does cost more than CustomCat, although you can set flexible profit margins. There are modern printing facilities to give you the best print quality.

Printful for Dropshipping

If we look down on Printful for being slightly overpriced, we love Printful because of how well it caters to the dropshipping crowd. And after all, dropshipping is the focus of this article.

Printful lets you work with various print providers and the POD service integrates into an impressive amount of eCommerce platforms. There’s Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy integration amongst others.

Here’s a rundown of platforms that supports the Printful print on demand app;

  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • WooCommerce
  • Squarespace
  • Storenvy
  • BigCommerce
  • Gumroad
  • Tictail
  • Big Cartel
  • Ecwid
  • Amazon
  • Weebly

There’s also a custom API for those interested in creating their own order platform, as well as an option for manually submitting orders.

Plus, Printful supports something called ShipStation. ShipStation acts as a bridge to unsupported platforms, like Walmart and Ebay.

Printful also offers what they call the Printful Wallet. You’re automatically billed when someone orders through your platform (read: you order), but the money goes into your Printful Wallet. The wallet lets Printful process your payments quickly and also improves refund times.

Printful Pricing

Printful doesn’t come with a subscription fee, which is nice. However, that means you’re not eligible for any merchandise discounts. What you see is what you pay, and then a little bit more for Printful’s fee.

Price-wise, Printful can get expensive. Their rates vary by platform. Shopify costs one price, while WooCommerce costs another.

Instead of breaking down each platform’s pricing scheme (which would be an article itself), we’ll leave you with a link to Printful’s website.

If there’s any downside to Printful, it’s that pricing seems arbitrary. Using the wrong platform? Too bad, you’re stuck paying higher rates.

Related: Zazzle vs Printful – Which Is Better?

Printful - #1 Print-on-demand platform

Printful helps you design and sell products online with ease. From picking products to designing, printing, delivery & everything else, Printful takes care of all. Try it today!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Shipping

Printful is a reliable print on demand fulfillment company. As a global print on demand service, they ship to almost anywhere and you can count on their order fulfillment.

The shipping times are standard, though their manufacturing time is slightly longer than CustomCat.

Apparel takes 2-7 business days to create and non-apparel takes 2-5 business days. Shipping itself takes the standard 3-5 days, with expedited options available. There are varying shipping costs.

Packaging and Branding

Printful is a white-label print on demand service. Therefore, the platform’s branding does not appear on any of your packages or on the products themselves.

Instead, you can feature your business branding on products. This is achievable by uploading your logo image or adding a custom text/message. Printful does include a packing slip but it only contains details about the order.

The packaging your product is shipped in depends on the dimension and product type. Nevertheless, all products are put in corrugated boxes at the final packaging stage where they are safe. Most importantly, there is special protection for frames and other delicate items.

Related: Printful vs Printify [Updated Review] : Best Print on Demand

Customer Support

With Printful, you have multiple channels to get support. You can easily reach a support staff using the Live Chat feature on the website. Otherwise, you can reach the support team via phone call or by sending an email or submitting a form.

There’s the FAQ section for self-support where you’ll find easy answers to questions you might have. Similarly, there’s the help center with even more detailed answers to your questions.

You can also reach Printful on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Printful offers several resources to its users. This includes marketing resources, guides, and a blog.

Printful - #1 Print-on-demand platform

Printful helps you design and sell products online with ease. From picking products to designing, printing, delivery & everything else, Printful takes care of all. Try it today!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Conclusion

Out of our three companies, Printful offers the best dropshipping-centric option. You can choose from endless print on demand products and integrate the platform with endless ecommerce storefronts. However, you’re paying the price for that integration.

RedBubble

RedBubble is nothing like Printful or CustomCat. Okay, that’s a little over the top. All three companies do sell custom t-shirts. However, RedBubble isn’t a print-on-demand platform. Likewise, they’re not focused on the dropshipping market.

Related: Redbubble Review: Is It Worth It?

RedBubble 101

RedBubble offers artists, companies, and everyday people the opportunity to create their own custom clothing designs.

This POD company offers no plugins, no storefront integrations, and nothing that really facilitates dropshipping. You build your print on demand store directly on the platform.

However, that doesn’t mean RedBubble doesn’t have a drop shipping application. You can still place orders on behalf of your customers through the platform, just like any other dropshipping platform.

RedBubble for Dropshipping

RedBubble operates as an online storefront. You can either place orders through RedBubble on behalf of your customers, or you can direct customers to RedBubble’s website.

Yes, it’s a drawback that you can’t customize the product display. Though that’s looking at the glass half empty. RedBubble employs a team of experts that have already decided on the product display for you.

Is the lack of customization disappointing? Yes. But you could argue the lack of options creates an environment that maximizes sales.

RedBubble Pricing

RedBubble is free to use. The website pays for its own hosting fees, design team, etc. However, they do take a cut from your purchases. Both RedBubble’s cut and your company’s profit margin fall under the same pricing scheme.

You set the “base price” for every item, and that base price covers RedBubble’s service fee and item manufacturing costs. Your profit comes from a percentage (usually around 20 percent, though brands can set their own margins) of the base price.

A brand’s actual profit varies depending on the base price, while the base price varies on the delivery address. Base prices fluctuate because of differing local products, taxes, material costs, etc.

Related: Zazzle vs Redbubble Review

Shipping

Shipping times vary based on buyer location, the product order, and more. Typically, manufacturing takes 1-3 days. Once the order ships, users can track their products through RedBubble’s “Where’s my order?” page. Users can also choose between various expedited shipping options.

Packaging and Branding

If you use RedBubble, you’ll have to deal with the platform’s branding appearing on your products. In simple terms, RedBubble’s packaging are branded. Since you’re selling directly from the platform, your customers already know you’re using RedBubble so this might not be a big deal.

You don’t have any personal branding options. You can only add your branding to products unless as normal designs which would attract extra printing cost.

The packaging method depends on the item in question. For example, RedBubble packages framed arts in boxes while clothing items and stickers are put in poly bags.

These packages are sent with simple receipts for local shipments and more detailed invoices for international deliveries.

Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, you can rely on RedBubble as the platform’s support is available 24/7. The downside, however, is that the support cannot be reached through phone calls or direct email. You can only file a support request.

The best way of reaching RedBubble support is by sending a direct message on Twitter. On Twitter, you can get instant replies which is faster than sending a support request with a 24-hour reply span.

Nevertheless, you can get support from the RedBubble help center both as a seller and as a buyer. Thus, the help center is divided into Seller and Buyer sections.

Other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can be useful as well.

Related: Zazzle vs Society6 vs Redbubble – Which Is Better?

Conclusion

RedBubble isn’t your standard dropshipping option. The platform is best for those only looking to try out dropshipping without investing time and money into advanced platforms like CustomCat or Printful.

Summing It Up – CustomCat vs Printful vs RedBubble

Choosing the right dropshipping platform or POD company comes down to your specific needs. CustomCat and RedBubble are good Printful alternatives and vice versa. If we had to break it down, we’d classify the three platforms into different categories.

CustomCat is a “local business.” They’re perfect for smaller dropshippers who want a personal print on demand business.

Printful is for established print on demand businesses. They offer the most options and thus command the highest prices. Printful also has the slowest delivery times, thanks to their higher workload.

RedBubble works best for those curious about dropshipping, though the platform isn’t suited for large order POD business.

While we hope our list helps make your decision easier, only you can choose the correct platform for your needs.