Embroidery vs Screen Printing – Which is Best for Company T Shirts?

Embroidery vs Screen Printing - Which is Best for Company T Shirts?

When it comes to printing custom t shirts with logos, two of the most popular methods used are screen printing and embroidery. Both offer a very different finish, and each come with their pros and cons depending on the design, the colours, the size, and quantity required. Take a quick look at the guide below to understand which option is best for you.

Embroidery

When using embroidery, the custom logo is added to the t shirt by stitching directly onto it, usually via an automated process with an embroidery machine. Embroidery machines are capable of producing 10 – 15 embroidered t shirts at any one time.

So how does it work? The embroidery machine will need to understand the logo, this is added to the machine in what is referred to as ‘digitising’. Now that the machine knows what to stitch, the t shirts can be added ready to be embroidered.

Screen printing

The process for screen printing is a little more simple. Your chosen custom logo will be applied to the t shirt through screens which add ink to the garment.

It’s worth remembering that each different colour on the t shirt design will require its own screen, so a t shirt design with 5 colours will require 5 different screens. This can lead to increased costs and many t shirt printers will charge for additional screens. Check out this video this video to see how screens are produced.

What’s the difference in price?

Generally speaking, screen printing will be the cheaper option of the two for large orders with limited numbers of colours in the design. However, for designs with 5+ colours, and for smaller quantities, you may find embroidery the cheaper option.

In terms of the set up cost, you’ll find embroidery is generally cheaper, but not in all cases. An exception would be a logo design which covers a wider area than the usual small logo on a pocket, because larger logos can require thousands of stitches.

Which method is right for me?

If you need a custom polo t shirt for your small business, you’ll probably want to look at embroidery. It’s the preferred choice for uniforms as it looks a that little more professional. The only exception here is if the logo is particularly large, as this would require much more stitching.

Embroidery is also the preferred choice when printing custom logos on hats and caps too. The ‘3D feel’ offers a nicer finish.

If you need a regular t shirt or long sleeved shirt, screen printing will offer the better option. In most cases a plain t shirt will look better with a flat printed design, and screen printing remove any limitations in terms of the size of the logo. Embroidery on a plain t shirt can look a little heavy which can also lead to the threading around the logo wearing over time.