If you’ve been reading this blog long then you already know Printful is my production partner in my tee shirt business. When I got started I used the same blank I was using on Merch by Amazon, the Bella + Canvas 3001U. I recently decided to compare the Bella + Canvas 3001U Vs. the Gildan 64000.
I pretty much stick to tee shirts and until recently I’d never considered changing to another blank. What got me looking at other tee shirts was a request from a customer for a v-neck version of one of my designs.
Not already using Printful? Check them out here!
I don’t offer V-neck as a standard option (and don’t plan to start) but it did get me looking at the product catalog for the first time in years. I’ve also been looking at ways to maintain a good profit but at the same time be able to increase my advertising spending. Read more about how to evaluate your advertising spend in your tee shirt business here.
Can a cheaper blank compete?
What all this is leading up to is that I noticed the Gildan 64000 is about $4 cheaper than the Bella + Canvas 3001U on Printful and I wanted to know what the differences were. I ordered one of each from Amazon (links below).
I ordered a heather grey in both colors but they didn’t end up being all that similar in color.
At first glance the two blanks are very similar. To really evaluate if I could move over to the 64000 and save myself a lot of money i wanted to evaluate the blanks on a few criteria:
I generally wear a men’s medium and ordered medium size for both shirts, I wasn’t sure if I should size up because it was unisex but the fit is exactly what I expected. The fit of both is surprisingly similar. I prefer a slim fit tee shirt so if your brand needs a more boxy or loose fit then neither will be a good fit.
I did notice that the sleeves felt a bit shorter on the Bella + Canvas, something which didn’t really bother me but that my wife commented on. Also around the neck the fit was tighter. It wasn’t uncomfortable but if it were any tighter it might be a problem.
The 3001U also had a more snug feeling fit look at the picture of me wearing the shirt from the back and you’ll notice how stretched it looks compared to the 64000. I’d probably size up on the 3001U in the future but I liked the way the Gildan 64000 fit.
The Feel of the Bella 3001U Vs. Gildan 64000
There’s just no comparison between the feel of these two shirts. When I feel the bella canvas 3001U vs Gildan 64000 the Bella is noticeably softer to the touch. In fact, the Bella + Canvas is one of the softest tee shirts that I own. The material itself does feel thin compared to the Gildan 64000. Holding the shirts up to a bright light there is a lot more bleed through on the Bella as well.
However, when it’s on it’s definitely not transparent. It’s comfortable and the Bella definitely has more stretch leading to at least the feel of a snug athletic fit. Look at the pictures and judge for yourself.
The wife test
In a very scientific wife test, when I had her compare the two shirts she thought the Bella felt cheap and less durable. I pointed out the softness and she agreed and then checked the label.
When she realized it was a Bella + Canvas she immediately recognized the label and told me she has several shirts she wears all the time made by Bella.
How did the Gildan feel on?
The Gildan 64000 is also very comfortable to wear and I find myself wondering if I’d notice anything negative about the shirt at all if I wasn’t doing a direct comparison and judging the two together. The Gildan wasn’t rough or uncomfortable against my skin and I liked the feel of the heavier weight fabric.
Overall Quality Gildan Vs. Bella Canvas
How to judge the quality of a tee shirt blank? Durability, stitch quality, fabric weight and any obvious manufacturing mistakes certainly come into play.
Reading reviews preparing for this article I did read that there were complaints about loose threads on the Gildan 64000.
I went over all the seams very carefully and I can’t see anything wrong with the stitching and I found no loose threads.
Grain of salt here, I only tested a single Gildan Shirt
This is only one shirt and it’s possible that poor quality control in manufacturing lets through more imperfect product at the Gildan production facility but I can’t really comment on that from just a single example.
The stitching on the Bella + Canvas 3001U does seem to be looser at the bottom seam. I think that may be by design as the shirt has more stretch and a tight stitch at the bottom seam where the shirt is most likely to need to flex would cause discomfort or even broken threads when wearing.
The stitching of the Gildan 64000 does appear to be of a thicker thread. It only makes sense that to construct a shirt from a heavier material you use a heavier duty thread.
Judging durability of two new shirts is going to take some time, if they wear differently or I start to notice changes in the fit over several washes I’ll make sure to update this article.
Comparing Price (On Printful)
I don’t typically buy blanks in bulk but to do a quick comparison at Jiffyshirt.com (not an affiliate placement). A Bella + Canvas 3001U comes in just over $6 and the Gildan is just over $3 for a colored shirt. On printful a 3001U costs $12.95 and the Gildan is $8.95. Does the price difference justify the difference in quality?
I personally felt like both shirts were just fine. So how would the switch to the GIildan affect my print on demand business? Let’s do our standard analysis using a $20 shirt. My customers pay their own shipping, so let’s assume free shipping on the order if we’re just charging $20 to simplify the math.
Gildan 64000 Profit Margin
20.00- 08.95= 11.05
Profit Margin = 11.05/20=55.3%
Bella + Canvas 3001U Profit Margin
20.00- 12.95= 7.05
Profit Margin = 7.05 / 20 = 35.3%
Obviously this doesn’t take into account payment processing or advertising costs but we can increase our profit margin by 63% just by making the switch to the Gildan 64000.
For a small business selling custom tee shirts online using print on demand you’re unlikely to be able to increase your margins any other way.
Doing your own production with screen printing or plastisol transfers can get you even better margins but requires a lot more effort on your part.
Choosing a Printful Blank
Should you switch to the Gildan 64000 to increase your margins? It depends. You should definitely consider the switch and I strongly recommend that you buy one of each blank to compare side by side.
Available colors on Printful
For the integration with Printful, there is one giant difference that you should also consider. The 64000 only comes in 4 colors on Printful. Black, White, Navy and Heather Grey.
The 3001U comes in 40 different colors.
I will say that over the course of my business a very high percentage of my sales (like 90%+) have been in the 4 colors that Gildan offers on Printful. Black, White, Navy and Heather Grey.
Don’t use Printful or looking for more options? Check out our article on 8 great alternatives to Printful.
Don’t forget the customer in all this!
But at the end of the day someone is actually wearing these shirts. Checking out blanks and making sure the product is something you’re proud of is pretty important to your long term success. I think you owe it to your business to at least consider a less expensive option and compare the Bella Canvas 3001U vs Gildan 64000 for yourself.
- 4.5 oz., 100% Ring Spun Cotton. Seamless double needle 3/4" collar. Double needle sleeve and bottom hems. Tear away label. Preshrunk. Semi-fitted
- Quarter-turned to eliminate center crease. Graphite Heather: 50% Cotton/ 50% Polyester
- Rolled forward shoulder. Taped neck and shoulders. High stitch density for smoother printing surface
- Antique colors & Sport Grey: 90% Cotton/ 10% Polyester. Heather colors & Blackberry: 35% Cotton/ 65% Polyester
Last update on 2019-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 4.2 oz., 100% Airlume pre-shrunk combed and ringspun cotton, 32 singles
- Athletic Heather is 90/10 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/polyester
- Alternate Heather colors are 52/48 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/poly
- Tear-away label. Retail fit, side seams. Made in USA. Unisex sizing. Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
Last update on 2019-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
I’ll be testing the Gildan on new shirts for a while. If I don’t get any negative feedback I’ll go back and switch some of my older listings as well. Bookmark this page and check back here for an update.
Doug has been an entrepreneur for years, starting several businesses. Doug is a web developer, father of 2 great kids and husband to the best wife ever. I’ve been working on building my custom tee shirt business for 3 years.