Screenprinting, Embroidery, and Heat Press

When you’re looking for customized apparel and swag, it can be tricky to choose which printing method will work best for your needs. It can be especially difficult when you look at the price differences. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand, and figure out which method will work best for your needs.

Heat Press

A heat press is very much like a giant iron that melts fabric vinyl onto the apparel to create the pattern. This is great for small orders because it doesn’t require much setup. We can customize each item without too much extra setup. Heat press is the most popular choice for printing sports jerseys, since we can customize each uniform with the name and number of each teammate.

Additionally, there are some limitations for heat pressing that don’t apply for other methods. First of all, heat press works best on certain materials, like 100% cotton. It can also be difficult to get a good opacity for heat-printed materials, so it usually looks best if done on light-colored items.

Heat press is usually the cheapest option for small orders, but that doesn’t mean that the quality is low. There’s a vast difference between well-done heat press orders and sloppy jobs. Here at Elevate Promo, we use the very best materials, and we have the experience and planning prowess to make sure that your heat pressed apparel is of the highest quality.

Screen Printing

Screen printing has been the favorite printing method for custom apparel a long time running. This is because there are so many options and flexibility with screen printing. You can make subtle gradients in the color, and do fine details to get beautiful, complex prints. Screen printing also works on items besides t-shirts, like athletic balls, pens, or even posters.

Screen printing is a much more exhaustive process to start out with. Preparing the screens, the ink arrangement, and testing it out until you have it optimized can be a long and exhaustive process. However, once it’s set up, it’s just about as easy to do 500 shirts as it is to do 10. That’s why screen printing can be expensive per item on small orders, but it’s always the most cost-efficient way on large orders.


Embroidery has been used historically to mark a high-class brand, so when you use it for your own brand, you can echo the class and quality. For this reason, embroidery is often a favorite for professional shirts, hats, polos, and jackets.

Embroidery setup first requires a digital program that will tell our embroidery machine what to create. Once the logo is digitally entered, it’s easy to reproduce it on many materials, even with variations in thread color. However, embroidery also has some limitations in the detail and gradients in color that it’s able to produce.

So, which method is best for you? Contact us today to learn more about the best way to print your custom project.

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