Cotton or Polyester? Which One is Best For Me?

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When choosing a t-shirt for your event or brand it can be hard to know which shirt to use. There are so many options with subtle differences. How do you decide which one suites your needs?

Here is a quick run down to help you decide:


Everyone is familiar with cotton t-shirts

  • Advantages: Made with natural fibers, organic and bio-degradable  -It prints extremely well. In fact, it prints better than any other fibre. – It is the best option when working with discharge inks.
  • Disadvantage:  It shrinks – It can be heavy  – It retains moisture


Usually found in running shirts or other athletic wear

  • Advantages: It wicks moisture and is great for an exercise shirt. Some poly shirts have great stretch to them.
  • Disadvantages: They are difficult to print. – Often the dye in the fabric migrates into the ink causes discoloration of your print.- Printing multiple colours can be challenging. -It is usually best to stick with one colour images. -They can get stinky pretty fast when you sweat in them. – They damage easily, they can snag or run. – They feel slippery and uncomfortable. – Does not work with discharge inks at all.

50/50 Poly/Cotton

Like the gym shirt you had in elementary school.

  • Advantages: Give you the best of both poly and cotton. -Is extremely comfortable usually light-weight and breathable
  • Disadvantage: Still has some issues with shirt dye bleeding into the print. – Can shrink during the print process causing blurry print. – Does not work reliably with discharge ink.

Tri Blend

A blend of cotton, poly and rayon.

  • Advantages: Fits really well. – Lightweight and drapes against the body nicely. – Has a nice stretch to it.
  • Disadvantages: Triblend melts really easily in the printing process, this means we cannot dry between colours. So opaque prints and underbasing with white is not an option. – Due to the light weight of the fabric, transparent “retro” prints are your only option. – Does not discharge at all.

I hope this blog post helps you understand the difference in t-shirt fabrics. If you are still unsure, I would recommend  sticking with cotton, or come on by and visit our show room and try them on for yourselves.


Owner of GetBold