The best shirts for printing

Posted by needtshirtsnow 09/12/2017 8 Comment(s)

The Best shirts for printing


The Best shirts for printing. When it comes to dtg printing or screen printing you want high quality t-shirts. 100% ringspun cotton


Learn which shirts are the best to print on


T shirts are like a canvas, you want a good quality canvas to paint on. If you are trying to print on a loose weave shirt that is inconsistent then the ink may not absorb correctly or could go through the shirt. We recommend 100% cotton ring spun t-shirts. We understand that all printing methods will not allow you to use a cotton shirt. If you would like to understand the different printing methods take a look at our other post, the best shirt printing method


Quality shirts for DTG or Screen printing


  • American Apparel 2001
  • Bella Canvas 3001
  • Gildan G64000
  • Anvil 980
  • Anvil 780
  • Hanes Nano Tee
  • Keya MC150 and MC180
  • Cotton Heritage MC1040
  • Hanes Beefy T
  • Next Level 3600


I'm, sure there are others that we have missed. Notice that all the brands above are 100% Ringspun Cotton. It gives you the best prints possible. I would always recommend printing on this material. Like our link above about the best shirt printing methods will tell you. You will not be able to use cotton for printing methods like sublimation. You will need a 100% polyester shirt.


American Apparel 2001


Earlier this year American apparel went bankrupt and was sold to Gildan. They shut down their downtown l.a factories and moved their printing facility to Honduras. It is said that they still print some of their items in the USA but I am not familiar where. American Apparel has one of the best quality ringspun t-shirts. Well, at least they did. We have not tried them since earlier this year when they were made in downtown L.A. They have always cost a little more but worth it. Check out our post about American Apparels bankruptcy


Bella Canvas 3001


This is a great quality lightweight t-shirt. I highly recommend to anyone that wants a semi-fitted t-shirt. They are good quality and make the perfect t shirt for printing. These t-shirts are also 100% Ringspun Cotton. We consider them to be a premium shirt.


Gildan G64000


This is our go-to shirt this year. Not only do they print good they are also priced well. We switched to this model shirt because our other favorite t shirt manufacturing company stopped selling t shirts in the USA. If it wasn't for that we would have probably never known how great this shirt is. We do not recommend other models of Gildan shirts for dtg. This model is also 100% ringspun cotton.


Anvil 980 & 780


These are great quality and like others ringspun cotton. They are very comparable to the g64000 and we use these for colors that are not available or out of stock. This is really a great t shirt also. The difference between the two is the weight. One is 5.5 ounce and the other 4.4 ounces.


Hanes Nano Tee 


Another t shirt just as good as the rest. The only downfall of this model is that there is no tear away label. That is the deal breaker for us. They are great for printing and are lightweight t shirts with a lot of different colors to choose from. I still highly recommend and if we do not have specific colors or sizes then we still will use them.


Keya USA


This use to be our favorite goto shirt. Not only are they soft and make excellent printing material to print on they were located less than 1 hour from us. They were also priced well below all the rest of the shirts on our list. It was sad to see them go but at the end of their years here, we noticed that the quality inspection started going downhill. Still, I'm sure it was nothing that couldn't have been fixed. We miss you KEYA. 


Cotton Heritage


These shirts are also great for printing on. They only lack on different colors available and they seem to always be out of stock. Unfortunately, we have not seen then to be sold by any distributors at this time so we have to order and get them shipped from California. They did have a Kentucky warehouse but it never showed stock on the website. It looks like they now have a warehouse in Virginia so we might need to revisit them.Besides that, they are ringspun cotton and hold up great in the wash.


Hanes Beefy T


If you are looking for a heavyweight t shirt these also have good print quality. Because they are thicker we need to use more pretreatment on them but they are still worth it. They are a little more on the upside price wise also. These are not fitted tees.


Next Level 3600


Just like the others, they are ringspun and also similar to a fitted tee. They hold up ok in the wash and we would definitely consider using them if our go-to t-shirt is out of stock.


Test out printing on each brand before buying a large quantity


You will want to do your own test because there sometimes can be bad batches and you do not want to be stuck with a bunch of shirts that are not printable. Sometimes these companies try new chemicals on their shirts that may not go well with inks. They may also not go well with dtg pretreatment. Now that we gave you a decent list of shirts to choose from I would definitely check them out and see what works best for you. If you are using a dtg printer some will require more pretreatment then others and some will shrink more then others. To avoid shrinkage make sure you check out our post on how to wash dtg printed t shirts.


Make sure you let us know your experience with these shirts below. We would like to hear some feed back. Also let us know about other qualtiy shirts that we may have missed.


8 Comment(s)

21/12/2017, 07:18:01 PM

I had printed shirts made for two different occasions. The first time the shirts were so thin and disappointing. The second time I went with a different company and they used Hanes. The difference was amazing. I kept a few of the shirts and the Hanes ones have lasted through years of washing.

Gladys parker:
21/12/2017, 09:54:35 PM

This was a subject I knew nothing about, I like to learn new information. My granddaughter and one of my sons like T shirts with specific things printed on them. Some turn out and some, well, definitely do not. Now I can make sure the right shirts are being used.

Carol Cassara:
21/12/2017, 11:18:52 PM,

I haven't really printed shirts on my own before so it's really good to know what quality and brand works well for printing! This list is definitely worth taking note of.

22/12/2017, 01:33:31 AM,

I have done iron-on before, but haven't done screen printing - I would love to learn how to do this someday. The quality definitely makes a difference.

Annemarie LeBlanc:
22/12/2017, 08:00:30 AM

These are great tips for people who are engaged in the t-shirt printing business. Good guide too for hobbyists. I have some ideas for t-shirt prints but I am scared to ruin such high quality shirts. Maybe if I get enough confidence I will try doing one first.

22/12/2017, 09:38:16 AM,

I haven't printed shirts ever, but I've always wanted to do fun family shirts, like for a vacation or an inside joke. Thanks for the information. I would have been clueless.

22/12/2017, 05:53:33 PM

I agree. You definitely do not want to buy shirts that are not printable!

22/12/2017, 07:02:56 PM,

Thank you for sharing this info! I like making custom shirts for my family and never thought about the different types.

Leave a Comment