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Are Embroidered Uniforms More Expensive Than Printed Workwear?

Posted by Xamax on 28/02/17 07:28

Or Is Printed Workwear Cheaper Than Embroidered? You're at the stage where you are looking into using branded clothing, but the age-old question crops up: printed or embroidered, which is cheaper? The argument swings both ways and is influenced by your budget, your uses for the workwear and even the type of workwear you're ordering.

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In Terms Of Initial Outlay Per Item, Embroidered Is More Expensive Per Unit In Larger Order... But It's More Cost Effective In The Long Run

At least, usually. Depending on the print technique you're comparing it to. It's all quite complicated and depends on other factors, like how many garments you're ordering at one time and what kind of use they'll be put to.

The rest of this blog post will look at the following factors and explain them fully:

  • Why Is Embroidered Workwear More Cost Effective Than Printed Workwear?
  • When To Use Embroidered Workwear
  • When To Use Printed Workwear Over Embroidered Workwear
  • So, Is Printed Workwear Inferior To Embroidered Workwear?
  • Still Struggling To Decide?

Carry on reading to see the explanation and discussion in full or press this red button to get a visualisation of your own printed or embroidered workwear items:

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Why Is Embroidered Workwear More Cost Effective Than Printed Workwear?

It's often found that applying printed logos or slogans onto workwear is cheaper by the unit, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's more cost effective. 

The difference between the two application techniques is that embroidered decals become part of the workwear as it's woven into the fabric, whereas printed logos and slogans are just applied across the surface of workwear.

As a result, embroidered workwear usually has a longer lifespan as the details will last as long as workwear item does - how long that is, is dictated by the workplace environment and intended use for it.

Providing that you won't wear out your workwear items excessively quickly through abrasive use - heavy manual roles being most common -embroidery starts to become very cost effective. Despite it having a higher application cost than some print options, on the face of it.

The longer you wear an item, the more cost effective embroidered branding becomes.

embroidery machine in action at xamax


When To Use Embroidered Workwear

So, when should you invest more by using embroidered workwear?

Well, if you plan on ensuring longevity of your workwear through repeated use or work in certain challenging environments, embroidered may be the way to go. 

If you find yourself in a particularly manual industry, such as construction, you may find that printed workwear doesn't have a particularly long lifespan before needing to be replaced. Due to the frequent washing needed after every wear this can sometimes detract from print quality. Also, printed techniques tend to peel away quicker when working in wet weather or when the workwear is being put to the test. In short, as the printing begins to deteroriate, so does the item it's printed on.

However, it's important to note; if you work in a role where your workwear will go through an intensely abrasive use - scaffolders, hod-carriers, labourer - and you will quickly wear out items such as t-shirts; print will work out more cost effective. To work out the tipping point of which is more cost effective, speak to your supplier.

Another factor to consider is what type of workwear you're ordering. Fleeces or Jumpers, or anything where where wool is a primary component, are subject to being ruined by print.

Embroidered application preserves the quality and strength of the stitching and allows for a much more detailed finish. By choosing a more expensive yet sensitive embroidered finish, it allows you to retain value in the workwear and brings the cost-per-wear lower than what the initial outlay cost of printed workwear would've "saved" you. 


When To Use Printed Workwear Over Embroidered Workwear

Having said that, embroidered workwear isn't ideal for everyone - even those who are not looking to source workwear cheaply.

There's various cases where Printed Workwear can be superior to it's embroidered counterpart, such as those companies that: undergo regular rebrands; work in accident-prone industries; or the need for workwear is only short-lived.

If you find your company having to rebrand or are in the early stages of your formation, printed workwear may be the best option for you.

With printed options yielding cheaper unit costs than embroided, it's easier to produce your company's branding without eating too much into your startup budget. Therefore getting your company's image right will come cheaper with printed logos/slogans in the early stages. 

Those businesses that operate within the food or hospitality industries may want to consider printed workwear given the liklihood of stains or spillages occuring. Those that opt to go for embroidered uniforms in these industries will find the workwear won't remain presentable for long enough to justify the additional cost per unit for embroidery, at least for certain job roles.

As these industries prioritise a professional appearance, it's important to opt for printed options and use the money saved to finance the regular re-ordering of workwear for that employee. Of course, this is as long as it suits your brand style; a fine dining restaurant isn't likely to use screen printed t-shirts, for example. 

If you wish to run a promotion with lasting branding impact (such as a fundraiser), you'll find printed being the better option again.

With promotions being relatively short-lived, there'll be no excessive wearing of the workwear (between 1-10 times) and the branding will need to be concise and clear to be memorable and noticeable. So, the need for intricate embroidered designs is unwarranted. Printing is the best viable option, as it can be done cheaply and allows for more items to be printed onto, maximising your business' exposure on the day.

screen print machine in action at xamax


So, Is Printed Workwear Inferior To Embroidered Workwear? 

The truth is, it's not a fair comparison to be made unless your needs can be transpired equally as well through either application technique.

Both methods have their own advantages, one's suited for cheap, short-lived use; whereas the other is tailored for longevity and a much finer finish.

The answer behind "Which is better: Printed or Embroidered?" comes down to your own business' circumstances and is determined by the following factors:

  • Budget - what can you afford?
  • Brand - what best gets across my branding?
  • Style - how presentable does my workwear need to be?
  • Location and use - will the technique fare in the workplace? 
  • Expected/needed lifespan - will the technique last as long as you need?
  • Garment Type - will the garment quality suffer from the chosen technique?


Still Struggling To Decide?

If you're still struggling to decide which technique is best for your next workwear order, then you can check out this free guide which we have put together to help you make a decision and justify a case for either option. 

CTA for print v embroidery guide 

Topics: Buying Workwear, Printing