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Deciding on what t-shirts to get? Bella+Canvas and Gildan are two of our top-selling brands. They both make high-quality apparel that’s great for customizing. But they are not the same.
We put some of their top shirts in direct, side-to-side comparisons. This article breaks down the differences, giving you the expert advice you need to make an informed decision based on your purposes.
We compared their most popular T-shirts against each other in 5 categories:
- 100% Cotton: Bella+Canvas 3001C vs. Gildan Softstyle G640
- Cotton/Poly 50/50 Blend: Bella+Canvas 3650 vs. Gildan G800
- Ladies’ Tri-Blend: Bella+Canvas B8413 vs. Gildan 6750L
- V-Neck: Bella+Canvas 3005 vs. Gildan Softstyle G64V
- CVC Blend: Bella+Canvas 3001CVC vs. Gildan Softsyle G670
Bella+Canvas vs. Gildan: Overall product comparison
Gildan is all about simple and budget-friendly tees, and is competitive with its Softsyle line, but if you're looking for something a bit more stylish and comfortable, Bella+Canvas is the way to go– they have a better fit, super-soft feel, and smoother printing surface.
When deciding between the two, think about how you're planning to use the shirts. If it's just for a one-time thing, go for Gildan. But if you want something for retail, workwear or just for casual everyday wear, Bella+Canvas has got you covered. Keep in mind, Bella+Canvas is pricier - about 25% more than Gildan.
Here’s a graphic showing our picks for the produced match-ups, and the reasons why. Keep reading for a detailed summary of each comparison.
Bella+Canvas vs. Gildan: The brands
Gildan and Bella+Canvas are two big names in the t-shirt game. Gildan makes affordable and straightforward tees, while Bella+Canvas is all about quality and is a favorite among retailers, employers, and folks who want a bit more style. Let's dive into each brand a bit more.
Bella+Canvas are the leaders in high-quality, fashion-forward blank apparel, and their exclusive use of airlume cotton (cleaner, less stray fibers, eco-friendly) marks a commitment to quality and innovation. The brand is known for striving to perfect shirt materials, and the instance on side-seamed garments make for a superior fit. Every year, they release fresh products and distinctive fabrics.
Started by two guys printing T-shirts in their garage in 1992, they soon recognized the need for more women's garments and the market. Bella was established first, and soon after, they added men's styles, becoming Bella+Canvas in 2002. Ever since, they have become one of the most successful and pioneering companies in the blank apparel space, with a strong presence in the wholesale market.
Bella+Canvas is especially popular among fashion-conscious consumers and those looking for the softest t-shirt material. They are a favorite of our customers and staff, and we always recommend them.
Gildan is the leading blank apparel company specializing in producing t-shirts, sport shirts, and other basic clothing. The company was founded in 1984, is headquartered in Canada, and is probably the largest t-shirt manufacturer in the world, dominating the wholesale market
Known for producing high-quality, lower-cost t-shirts and other standard apparel, its products are often used for promotional purposes, uniforms, and team sports. The company's products are sold in various channels with a solid customer base, including mass merchants, retailers, and e-commerce.
Gildan is a popular choice for bulk orders and those for whom budget is a bigger factor than quality and fit. That being said, the company makes some soft, high-quality, fashion-forward styles that compete with Bella+Canvas. Let's look at those particular styles and see how they measure up.
Bella+Canvas vs. Gildan: T-shirt comparisons
We looked at five of the top competing products from each company for our side-by-side comparisons to tell you exactly how they match up in terms of quality of construction, sizing and fit, softness of the material, colors available, and affordability. Here are the results.
1. Bella+Canvas 3001C vs. Gildan G640
Classic 100% cotton is our first category. Everyone's favorite fabric is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic. This natural material is excellent for any kind of printing. The 100% cotton tee is always a great choice.
Shared features: These shirts are lightweight and feature combed ring-spun cotton for exceptional softness and a smooth surface. Both are pre-shrunk and have shoulder-to-shoulder taping and tear-away tags.
Which is better?
✅ G640 - The Gildan Softstyle T-Shirt is also soft, with a great fit, and available in 63 colors, all while coming in at a significantly lower price point. We're giving this one to Gildan for its affordability and competitive quality.
3001C - The Bella+Canvas Unisex Jersey T-shirt has a great fit because of the side seams, is slightly lighter weight (4.2 oz vs. 4.5 oz), and it’s airlume cotton surface is super soft. It’s one of the very best cotton t-shirts on the market–but the price is higher than Gildan. Available in 86 colors.
2. Bella+Canvas 3650 vs. Gildan G800
Our next comparison category is the cotton/poly blends. This fabric combination adds greater breathability and moisture-wicking properties, making it a great shirt for warm outdoor activities.
Shared features: These are very different shirts, but both are made with roughly half cotton and half polyester. Both are pre-shrunk, have shoulder-to-shoulder taping, and come in over 40 colors.
Which is better?
✅ 3650 - The Bella + Canvas Unisex Poly-Cotton T-Shirt is much lighter (3.6 oz vs. 5.5 oz), has side-seams for better fit, and ringspun airlume cotton for softness. They also feature some cool heathered, and speckled color options. However, the price point is higher. Recommended for retail, company shirts, and those who prefer quality.
G800 - The Gildan DryBlend 50/50 T-Shirt is heavier, has a coarser surface, and is not as comfortable a fit. However, it features DryBlend moisture-wicking, and the much lower price point makes this a popular choice in this category for promotional use, one-time events, or team sports.
3. Bella+Canvas B8413 vs. Gildan 6750L
Our third category is ladies' tri-blend shirts. This fabric is made up of 50% cotton, 25% polyester, and 25% rayon. It’s popular for being soft, comfortable, and lightweight, with a nice drape (flowy-ness).
Shared features: They mostly just share the material type but also shoulder-to-shoulder taping and double-needle sleeves.
Which is better?
✅ 6413 - The Bella+Canvas Ladies' Relaxed Triblend T-Shirt is lighter weight (3.8 oz vs. 4.7 oz), has side seams for a better fit and flattering silhouette, and airlume cotton for extra softness. Available in 22 modern heathered colors. The higher price point is worth it.
6750L - The Gildan Ladies' Triblend T-Shirt is also soft, with a more relaxed fit, scoop neck, and curved bottom seam. This shirt could be attractive for its lower price point, but it comes in less than 12 standard colors, and the quality is a step down.
4. Bella+Canvas 3005 vs. Gildan G64V
For this category, we cover the 100% cotton V-neck. It combines the soft, natural feel of cotton with the V-neck style, which has become increasingly popular to wear out to bars, clubs, and social functions.
Shared features: These shirts are lightweight and feature combed ring-spun cotton for exceptional softness and a smooth surface. Both are pre-shrunk and have shoulder-to-shoulder taping.
Which is better?
✅ 3005 - The Bella+Canvas Unisex V-Neck T-Shirt is slightly lighter (4.2 vs. 4.5), has side seams for better fit, higher singles (32 vs. 30) for a superior printing surface, and airlume cotton for super softness. Available in 26 modern colors. Although it has a higher price point, this is the shirt for those with discerning taste.
G64V - The Gildan Adult Softstyle V-Neck T-Shirt is also soft and has a decent fit and smooth print surface. Although it has a lower price point, it comes in only 12 basic colors, and the overall quality and fit doesn’t quite measure up to Bella+Canvas.
5. Bella+Canvas 3001CVC vs. Gildan G670
Our final category is CVC, which stands for "chief value cotton”. It's a popular alternative to tri-blend; it just lacks the rayon. But they are still super soft and breathable with a comfortable fit.
Shared features: Both shirts are lightweight and made with at least 50% cotton. They are also both pre-shrunk, with shoulder-to-shoulder taping and tear-away tags.
Which is better?
✅ G670 - The Gildan Men's Softstyle CVC T-Shirt is soft, and has ring-spun cotton and high-stitch density for a smooth print surface while coming in at a significantly lower price point. Although the fit and comfort aren’t quite as good, and it comes in only 17 colors, the price point is almost half the other, making this the smart budget choice.
3001CVC - Bella + Canvas Unisex CVC Jersey V-Neck T-Shirt has side seams for a more flattering fit, is very weight (3.6 oz vs. 4.6 oz), and the airlume cotton makes it softer. Available in 22 modern heathered colors, including a few neons. This is the choice if you’re looking for high quality and don’t mind the higher price point.
Summary of t-shirt comparisons
A direct comparison of Bella+Canvas and Gildan t-shirts is difficult because each brand is the best choice for a different application. It comes down to what you’re using the t-shirts for.
Bella+Canvas tees are of higher quality, with softer, smoother material, a more flattering fit, and a better selection of modern colors–but at a higher price point. Gildan tees, although competitive, have overall lesser quality, softness, and fit, with a coarser print surface and a basic selection of colors–but their price point is significantly lower across all their products.
Check out our other comparisons of Bella+Canvas vs. Next Level, Hanes vs. Gildan, or our look at the top Gildan shirts. Once you've made your choice, jump into our easy-to-use Design Studio and get started.
About the Author
A graduate of the Multimedia program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Imri Merritt is an industry veteran with over 20 years of graphic design and color separations experience in the screen printing industry.