Embroidery vs. Screen Printing: Which Is Better?

Embroidery is a craft involving the decoration of fabrics via the use of a needle and the application of some form of thread in a pattern. Screen printing is a technique in which ink or dye is transferred onto a fabric via a mesh. Both have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, durability, and quality. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Embroidery 

Embroidery is a classic technique that involves sewing a pattern into a fabric in a customized manner. There are many advantages of embroidery, including these:

  • Longevity: Embroidery is more durable than screen printing, and the pattern will generally last longer when using this technique. 

  • Aesthetic: For most people, embroidery will likely provide a more elegant and professional appearance than screen printing, although there are certainly exceptions. 

  • Feel: Embroidery involves a deeper integration of the thread with the fabric than the mesh process involved in screen printing, so the feel will be smoother and more natural in the former. 

  • Usability: Embroidery can be performed on a much wider variety of materials than screen printing, making it more versatile and applicable for a larger range of businesses. 

While embroidery has many benefits, it also has some drawbacks, including these:

  • Price: Embroidery is generally more costly than screen printing, particularly if the design is more complex or requires a greater level of customization. 

  • Options: Embroidery designs are limited to the skill and imagination of the embroiderer, while screen printing can encompass an infinite number of digital images, so the former is more restricted with respect to the patterns that can be applied to fabrics. 

  • Size: As the size of the embroidered pattern increases, the rigidity of the cloth will also increase, which can defeat the purpose of fine and smooth fabrics like silk or linen tablecloths

Based on these disadvantages, screen printing may be a more viable option for many businesses. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Screen Printing

Screen printing involves the meshing of a digital image onto a fabric. As with embroidery, screen printing has both benefits and shortcomings. These are some of the most notable advantages:

  • Cost: Screen printing is generally more cost-effective than embroidery. The difference in price between the two increases as the size of the design increases. 

  • Customizability: The extent to which designs can be customized and the range of design-related options is much larger in the case of screen printing than embroidery. 

  • Applications: Screen printing can be used on a much wider variety of materials and objects than embroidery, which can generally only be applied to fabrics. Screen printed images can be applied directly to harder surfaces in addition to cloth materials. 

  • Aesthetic: Some people prefer the smoother and glossier appearance of a screen printed image as compared to an embroidered one. Which aesthetic is ideal for your business will depend on your preferences, the intended style, and the inclinations of your clients. 

Screen printing has some disadvantages as well, including these:

  • Longevity: Screen prints are susceptible to damage and can become separated from the material to which they are attached, whereas this does not typically occur with embroidered designs. 

  • Appearance: Whereas in some cases the smooth and glossy appearance of a screen printed image can be desirable, it may be perceived by some as being lower quality and less elegant than embroidery. In general, embroidery is associated with a more sophisticated look than screen printing. 

  • Design-related costs and time: Though screen printing is generally more cost-effective and time-efficient than embroidery, it can still be costly depending on the complexity and size of the design. 

Tips & Recommendations for Logo Wear

When choosing between embroidery and screen printing, one is not necessarily better than the other. It comes down to the overall look and quality you want, as well as how much you’re willing to spend. 

Embroidery may be a more appropriate option in most cases if the following conditions are present:

  • Your facility is intended to impart an image of a higher level of elegance or style.

  • You wish for the item to last a long time, such as lasting through repeated washings.

  • You do not mind spending a bit more to have a custom embroidered design created. 

Conversely, you may wish to select screen printing if the following conditions apply:

  • Your design is highly customized or complex and cannot be replicated via embroidery. 

  • Your facility is intended to impart an image of fun and lightheartedness. 

  • You want your design to be produced on a more massive scale than what can be achieved via embroidery. 

The best way to determine which is best for your business is to see some samples. At Alsco, we can help you personalize your business gear, ensuring it looks polished. Reach out to us today to learn more about our logo wear and emblem services. 


Embroidery. (2023). The Britannica Dictionary. 

Screenprint. (2023). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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