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Hanes vs. Fruit of The Loom

Tom Gloubovich

If you know custom apparel, you're probably familiar with two names that have long dominated the market: Hanes and Fruit of the Loom. Both brands have a rich history and a reputation for delivering quality, affordable clothing. The competition has recently heated up, with Fruit of the Loom expanding its offerings and challenging the market leaders.

It's the ideal time to compare these apparel giants side-by-side, evaluating their top products across several key factors: fabric quality, fit, construction, softness, and printability. We looked at factors like fabric quality, fit, construction, softness, print surface, and overall value. All to help you make the best choice for your needs. It's what we do.

For this showdown, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom goes head-to-head across five categories:

  1. Standard Tee
  2. Semi-Fitted Tee
  3. Budget Tee
  4. Pullover Hoodie
  5. Crewneck Sweatshirt
collage of models wearing the various items from each brand with prominent logo on each side

About the Brands: Hanes vs. Fruit of the Loom

Hanes and Fruit of the Loom are two of the most iconic names in the apparel industry. While both brands have established themselves as key players in the wholesale and promotional apparel market, they have unique stories and strengths that set them apart.

Hanes

Established in 1901 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Hanes first made its mark with men's underwear. Over the decades, it has evolved into a global apparel leader, diversifying into various products, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and activewear.

Hanes has pioneered comfort and innovation, introducing features such as tagless tees and comfort waistbands, which have set industry standards. Hanes is a reliable partner for businesses and organizations, offering high-quality blank apparel ideal for custom printing and their incredibly popular Beefy-T.

promotional style image from Hanes of a group of models, plus the company logo

Fruit of the Loom

Tracing its roots back to 1851 in Warwick, Rhode Island, Fruit of the Loom started as a cotton mill before transitioning to apparel. Known for comfort and durability, it has grown into a household name, providing value-driven products for families and businesses alike.

In the promotional apparel market, Fruit of the Loom has been making waves with innovations like its Softspun fabric, which is designed to combine softness with superior printability, making it a favored choice for custom designs. The brand's commitment to sustainability is evident in its initiatives to reduce water usage and carbon emissions, which resonate well with environmentally conscious consumers and companies.

promotional style image from FOTL of a group of models, plus the company logo

The T-Shirt Matchups: Hanes vs. Fruit of the Loom

Now we get to the heart of the matter- the direct comparisons. Each brand brings a lot to the table, but how do they stack up when their top t-shirts go head-to-head? We break down the pros and cons of their flagship models across standard, semi-fitted, and budget categories-plus two sweatshirts-to see which might best fit your next custom apparel project.

Standard Tee: Hanes "Authentic-T" vs. Fruit of the Loom "ICONIC T-Shirt"

In the standard tee category, both Hanes and Fruit of the Loom offer staples that promise comfort, durability, and versatility-key attributes for everyday wear and perfect canvases for custom designs. The Hanes "Authentic-T" and the Fruit of the Loom "ICONIC T-Shirt" represent the best of what each brand offers, serving as solid bases for everything from corporate logos to artistic prints.

side-by-side product images/model with product name and some details for Standard Tee

Similarities

Both the Hanes "Authentic-T" and the Fruit of the Loom "ICONIC T-Shirt" are made from sustainably sourced, USA-grown cotton, ensuring a reduction in environmental impact. Each features a classic crewneck design with set-in sleeves, ideal for a clean and traditional look. Additionally, both tees come with tear-away labels, enhancing comfort by allowing for easy removal, and are quarter-turned during manufacturing to eliminate center creases, ensuring a pristine presentation straight off the shelf.

Fruit of the Loom "ICONIC T-Shirt

In this all-important face-off, Fruit of the Loom "ICONIC T-Shirt" takes the top spot. It stands out with the use of 100% ringspun cotton. This fabric choice offers a smoother, more comfortable feel and an excellent print surface that handles detailed designs well. The competitive price point makes it an even more attractive option for bulk purchases.

That being said, the Hanes "Authentic-T" has its merits. A slightly heavier fabric at 6 oz. offers durability and a more substantial feel, which some might prefer for cooler climates or more rugged use. The broader color palette also makes it versatile for any diverse design needs. So, while the "ICONIC T-Shirt" wins for softness and printability, the "Authentic-T" could be the go-to for those seeking a heftier tee.

Semi-Fitted: Hanes "Perfect-T" vs. Fruit of the Loom "Sofspun Jersey Crew"

Semi-fitted tees offer a more contemporary look, bridging the gap between comfort and style. The Hanes "Perfect-T" and the Fruit of the Loom "Sofspun Jersey Crew" cater to those who prefer a slightly tailored fit that flatters the form without being too restrictive. Ideal for both casual wear and promotional events, these tees combine aesthetics with functionality, making them excellent choices for more fashion-conscious brands.

side-by-side product images/model with product name and some details for Semi-Fitted Tee

Similarities

Both the Hanes "Perfect-T" (also known as the "Nano-T") and the Fruit of the Loom "Sofspun Jersey Crew" are manufactured from sustainably sourced, USA-grown cotton, emphasizing their commitment to ethical production. Each shirt features a modern, slightly fitted silhouette with narrow set-in collars and double-needle hemmed sleeves and bottom for enhanced durability. The tear-away labels offer added comfort and a customizable feature for brands wishing to make the shirts truly their own.

Our Pick: Hanes "Perfect-T" (aka "Nano-T")

For those seeking the ideal semi-fitted tee, the Hanes "Perfect-T" (aka "Nano-T") emerges as our top choice. This tee is crafted from 4.5 oz. 100% ringspun cotton, providing comfort and a superior printing surface ideal for intricate designs. The Perfect-T also boasts a broader range of color options, giving designers more flexibility to match their vision. It's good enough to compete with premium shirt offerings from Bella+Canvas & Next Level.

Not to be completely outdone, the Fruit of the Loom "Sofspun Jersey Crew" also has a unique blend of cotton and polyester in heather colors that offer breathability and a slightly different texture that some might find appealing. Its price point and the option for a softer feel in certain blends make it a viable choice for those prioritizing cost or specific tactile preferences.

Budget Tee: Hanes "ComfortSoft" vs. Fruit of the Loom "HD Cotton" T-Shirt

Budget tees are essential for those looking to maximize value without compromising quality. The Hanes "ComfortSoft" and the Fruit of the Loom "HD Cotton" T-Shirt are designed to offer affordability and reliability, making them ideal for large-scale promotions, event giveaways, or any scenario where cost-effectiveness is key.

side-by-side product images/model with product name and some details for Budget Tee

Similarities

Both the Hanes "ComfortSoft" and the Fruit of the Loom "HD Cotton" T-Shirt are crafted from sustainably sourced, USA-grown cotton, ensuring ethical production standards. Each tee boasts robust construction features like double-needle stitching and shoulder-to-shoulder tape, enhancing their durability and lifespan. Both options offer a variety of colors, including standard and heather tones, which are perfect for a wide range of design needs.

Our Pick: Fruit of the Loom "HD Cotton" T-Shirt

In the battle of budget-friendly tees, the Fruit of the Loom "HD Cotton" T-Shirt edges out the competition. It stands out with its high-density fabric that provides a finer, smoother surface for printing, ensuring that even the most detailed designs look crisp and clear. This feature, combined with its superior ink retention, makes it an exceptional choice for those who don't want to sacrifice print quality for price.

However, the Hanes "ComfortSoft" tee is still a strong contender, especially for those prioritizing softness and comfort. Its lower price point also makes it an attractive option for bulk purchasing, appealing to budget-conscious buyers looking for a dependable product for their custom apparel needs.

Fleece Hoodie: Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Pullover" vs. FOTL "Supercotton Pullover"

When the temperatures drop, a cozy pullover hoodie becomes a staple. Both Hanes and Fruit of the Loom offer top-notch hoodies that blend warmth, comfort, and style, making them perfect for casual wear or custom-branded merchandise. The Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Pullover" and the Fruit of the Loom "Supercotton Pullover" are designed to meet the demands of comfort seekers and style enthusiasts.

side-by-side product images/model with product name and some details for Fleece hoodie

Similarities

The Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Pullover" and the Fruit of the Loom "Supercotton Pullover" are built with a focus on quality and durability. Each hoodie features sustainably sourced, USA-grown cotton and includes robust elements like double-needle stitching, ribbed cuffs, and a waistband with spandex to maintain shape and fit. Both have a spacious front pouch pocket and a comfortable hood, making them ideal for chilly days. They also come with tagless or tear-away labels for added comfort.

Our Pick: Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Pullover"

In this cozy matchup, the Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Pullover" edges out its competitor for a few key reasons. It boasts a higher cotton content (90% cotton, 10% polyester), enhancing the hoodie's softness and improving its printability with a low-pill, high-stitch density PrintPro XP fabric. The 100% cotton face is particularly appealing for those applying detailed custom graphics, providing a smooth and consistent surface.

The Fruit of the Loom "Supercotton Pullover," while slightly heavier at 12 oz., offers a different appeal with its 70% cotton, 30% polyester blend, making it a bit more rugged and suitable for those who prefer a thicker, more insulating garment. Its slightly higher price point reflects its robust construction, catering to those needing a more substantial hoodie for colder climates.

Fleece Crew: Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Crew" vs. FOTL "SofSpun Crewneck"

Crewneck sweatshirts are timeless essentials that offer comfort and style, making them perfect for layering or as stand-alone pieces in cooler weather. The Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Fleece Crew" and the Fruit of the Loom "SofSpun Crewneck" provide warmth and a prime surface for custom printing, suitable for both personal wear and promotional use.

side-by-side product images/model with product name and some details for Fleece Crew

Similarities

Both the Hanes F260 "Ultimate Cotton Fleece Crew" and the Fruit of the Loom SF72R "SofSpun Crewneck" are made with sustainably sourced, USA-grown cotton and feature double-needle coverstitching on the collar, armholes, and waistband. They also have ribbed cuffs and waistbands with spandex for a comfortable fit and either tagless or tear-away labels.

Our Pick: Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Fleece Crew"

The Hanes "Ultimate Cotton Fleece Crew" wins our vote in this category, largely due to its higher cotton content (90% cotton, 10% polyester), which feels softer against the skin and supports superior print quality. The PrintPro XP fabric integrates high-stitch density with a 100% cotton face, ideal for achieving crisp, clear custom designs. Its a heavier fabric weight at 9.7 oz, which adds to the garment's durability and warmth, making it a standout choice for everyday and promotional wear.

It should be noted that the Fruit of the Loom "SofSpun Crewneck" is a fantastic choice for those on a budget. Priced much more economically, it offers great value with a 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend, which provides a different kind of comfort and may appeal to those looking for cost-effective options. The lighter weight at 7.2 oz suits milder climates or those who prefer a less bulky feel.

summary comparison chart displaying the winners in each category and their key features.

Conclusion

Throughout this in-depth comparison, we've pitted Hanes and Fruit of the Loom against each other across five key categories of t-shirts and sweatshirts. While both brands have a long-standing reputation for quality and value in the custom apparel industry, our analysis has revealed some notable differences.

Fruit of the Loom emerged victorious in the Standard Tee and Budget Tee categories thanks to their softness, printability, and competitive pricing combination. They have significantly contributed to quality standards with their "HD Cotton" fabric, which offers exceptional print clarity and retention of detail. On the other hand, Hanes took the crown in the Semi-Fitted Tee, Pullover Hoodie, and Crewneck Sweatshirt categories, showcasing their commitment to superior materials, comfort, and print-friendly surfaces.

Deciding between Hanes and Fruit of the Loom will depend on your unique requirements and priorities for each custom apparel project. Regardless of which brand you select, you can count on Ninja Blanks to provide you with top-notch blank apparel at unbeatable prices. When it's time to bring your designs to life, trust Ninja Transfers to deliver the highest quality DTF transfers and supplies in the business, ensuring that your custom creations look incredible and withstand the test of time.

If you prefer to leave the printing process to the experts, look no further than Ninja Printhouse. Our talented team will handle every aspect of your project from start to finish, providing exceptional custom apparel with unparalleled service and turnaround times. So go ahead-choose your perfect tees, and let's collaborate to create something truly extraordinary.

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