3 Best T-shirt Material Choices for Printing

Selecting the best t-shirt material for your needs can be a daunting task, but with this guide, you'll be able to make an informed decision before jumping in. T-shirt material seems like a simple choice at first, but there are actually a lot of considerations to be made. We'll help you get started by walking you through some of the basics.

Which different t-shirt materials are best for printing 

There are many different types of t-shirt material available, each with its similarities and differences.

However, our experience tells us the most popular materials for t-shirts include polyester, cotton, and a polyester-cotton blend. These materials are all used in a variety of the best t-shirts by well-known clothing brands and local businesses because they offer great performance characteristics at an affordable price point.

By choosing any one of these three best t-shirt material choices, you can rest assured that the custom shirts you purchase will be worth the value.

t-shirt material

Are 100% Cotton Shirts good?

Cotton shirts can be a good printing choice because it's soft, comfortable, and holds your body shape well. They also have a natural ability to breathe, which helps with moisture management. But there's more to consider when deciding on your shirt fabric than just comfort and moisture management.

Some other things you may want to consider when choosing 100% cotton shirts are:


You'll want to consider how long you think people will be wearing their shirts after they buy them from you. If you think people will only wear them for a few months before throwing them away, then you might not need such high-quality material. However, if your customers plan on wearing their custom shirts for years to come, then durability is the most important factor.

Cotton is great for durability because it is one of the strongest fibres known to man. Cotton is more durable than other natural fabrics like linen, but it's still not as strong as synthetic fibres like nylon or polyester.


You'll also want to consider how soft the fabric feels on your skin and how it feels against other fabrics like denim or silk (if those are options). The softness of the fabric will affect how comfortable your custom shirts feel while wearing them. If they are too stiff or scratchy, then you might not want to wear them. You may also find that some fabrics get softer with each wash, while others stay the same throughout their life span.


Cotton shirts tend to shrink slightly when washed in warm water with bleach. This is because cotton naturally shrinks when exposed to heat and sunlight. The amount of shrinkage depends on the quality of the cotton and how much it has been washed previously.

Damage & wrinkles

Unfortunately, cotton shirts get damaged and wrinkled quickly if not properly cared for, which can be a problem for busy professionals who don't have time to iron their clothing. 

Are 100% Polyester Shirts good?

100% polyester shirts have proven themselves to be reliable and effective because they are comfortable, wash well and can also compliment other t-shirt materials like cotton.

Although 100% polyester shirts may not be the most breathable, they are durable and quick drying. This can be an important factor when you're working under extreme conditions such as in the construction industry, food & beverage industry, or someone who is physically active.

Some other things you may want to consider when choosing 100% polyester shits are:


100% Polyester is a synthetic fabric/ material that is extremely durable, comfortable and moisture-wicking. These shirts are great for people who like to wear their shirts loose or tight-fitting. The fibres in this fabric absorb moisture away from the skin faster than other fabrics do, which helps keep your body dryer during physical activity. 

The fibres in this fabric are extremely strong, so they can withstand repeated washing without losing their shape or color.


100% polyester shirts are soft and comfortable. They have a luxurious feel to them that is hard to find in other types of fabrics.

Polyester fabric is soft and comfortable, but it is less breathable than cotton. It is also more resistant to wrinkling than cotton, which makes it a good choice for people who don't like ironing.


Polyester material is a smart choice for the longevity of custom t-shirts as it is a durable fabric that shrinks less than cotton. The 100% polyester material for custom shirts is one of the most popular choices for business wear, casual wear and athletic wear.

Unlike cotton, which shrinks when it gets wet, polyester does not shrink. This makes it a great choice for custom shirts that will be washed frequently.

Damage & wrinkles

If you're looking for a material that's easy to care for, it's hard to beat 100% polyester. The fabric doesn't wrinkle easily. It also holds its shape well and is machine washable.

However, if you dry your shirt in the dryer too often or at high temperatures, it might shrink or develop holes in its seams.

Are Cotton Poly Blend Shirts good?

The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for from the shirt. Cotton-poly blend shirts are not necessarily better or worse than 100% cotton shirts or polyester shirts, but they do offer unique benefits that complement both fabrics.

The addition of polyester with cotton in a shirt has an athletic or slim fit, making it comfortable but very tailored. It is also possible to customize these shirts with quality printing options.

Some other things you may want to consider when choosing cotton poly blend shirts are:


Cotton poly blend shirts have a unique blend of cotton and polyester that makes them stronger than 100% cotton material. This means the shirt will last longer, especially if it's worn frequently.

The strength of this material also allows for more intricate designs and patterns on the fabric. The combination of cotton and polyester allows for more intricate designs without sacrificing comfort or durability.


Cotton poly blend material is a great choice for custom shirts because it combines the best of both worlds. The cotton provides a soft, comfortable feel, and the polyester helps to wick moisture away from the skin and make it evaporate faster. This combination keeps you cool and dry all day long, even in warm weather.


One of the main reasons why people choose cotton poly blend material for t-shirt printing is because it shrinks less than 100% cotton. This means that your shirt will hold its shape better over time, making it more comfortable to wear.

With this material you don't have to worry about buying extra large sizes or having them altered so much that they don't fit anymore!

Damage & wrinkles

Cotton Poly Blend shirts are great for a variety of uses. They are good for casual wear or even business casual. The blend is sturdy enough to last through many washings without damage, but also soft enough to feel comfortable on the skin.

The cotton gives the shirt a luxurious feel while the polyester provides strength and durability.

This material is wrinkle resistant, so you can throw it in the dryer without having to worry about keeping it on hangers or ironing it later on.

This combination of materials also means that your custom shirts will be able to withstand damage from everyday wear and tear.

What’s the difference between polyester and cotton

The main difference between cotton and polyester is the way they are made. Cotton is made from plant fibres whereas polyester is made from synthetic fibres.

When you think about what makes a nice t-shirt, it is often the material and its quality. In the apparel industry, polyester and cotton are two of the most common fabrics used to make custom shirts. Both t-shirt materials have their advantages and disadvantages, but they are each used in different ways.

Which is better: Cotton or polyester?

We're not going to lie: we love polyester. It's the t-shirt material of the fabric world. It can feel just as soft as cotton, and it's much easier to work with than cotton. It doesn't shrink, it doesn't wrinkle, and it doesn't fade like cotton can. The only real downside of polyester over cotton is that it isn't quite as breathable.

In our opinion, these two fabrics aren't comparable so much as they are complementary. They each have their strengths and weaknesses that make them better for certain applications than others. While we can't recommend one over the other for everything, we do have a few guidelines you can follow to help inform your decision when choosing between the two materials:

  1. Choose 100% polyester if you want something easy to work with but will last forever without fading or shrinking (unless exposed to UV rays).
  2. Choose cotton if you want something natural and comfortable or if you want something that will breathe well in warm weather conditions.
  3. Choose a blend of both materials if you want something that feels natural but won't fade or shrink (and retains breathability) or if you want an option that's more affordable than 100% polyester.


There are several other factors in t-shirt material that you should think about before making your final decision, too. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, and there's no right or wrong choice out there. Just make sure you're familiar with the implications of your choice, and remember: if you're happy with your purchase and it holds up well over time, you're probably in good shape!

Tag-it Express is a reliable t-shirt printing company located in Oshawa, Ontario that is capable of shipping all across Canada. Contact us to get started with your express printing needs.

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