Why Use Online Business Card Printing?
The top performers in our review are Elite Flyers, the Gold Award winner; Jukebox Print, the Silver Award winner; and 4Over4, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 services.
While everything is going digital these days, a good business card is still a viable way to get your business noticed. The more flashy, innovative and creative your card, the less likely it is to be tossed into the proverbial pile of business cards and forgotten. While there are many business card printing services to choose from, the companies we reviewed stand out with their large selection of design tools, superior quality, and various printing and finishing options that help you create a custom business card that stands out from the rest.
In addition to business card printing services, be sure to check out our reviews on business card scanners that you can use to scan cards to a desktop program for easy access later on. While all of the business card printing services on our lineup offer other promotional business items and office supplies, our review of online printing services delves into more detail about the quality and vast selection of promotional items you can purchase from these companies. For more information about these companies, read our articles on business card printing services and other business-oriented services.
While both offset printing and digital printing create quality products, a good rule of thumb to remember is that offset printing is preferable for specialty colors and for applying certain finishes, such as gloss and ultraviolet (UV) varnishes. Digital printing is a good option for small projects.
Using an online design tool, you can either create your own business card designs, use a pre-designed business card template or choose from a variety of themed business cards to use as your own. After you have created a card that represents your business, you can view a proof of what the finalized cards will look like and then order them from the printer. Each service offers a variety of paper types, finishes and printing options.
Business Card Printing: What We Evaluated, What We Found
When choosing an online business card printing service, consider the service's printing process, design tools and selection. These features greatly influence the quality of both the service and the product you will receive.
For our evaluation, we compared sample business cards from each of the services on our lineup, noting the quality of the ink, paper strength, finish and selection available from each company.
All of the companies sent a variety of business cards, ranging in paper type, weight and finish. Some even sent samples of other print materials. We evaluated a standard cardstock business card with a high-gloss finish. We assessed the ink quality of those cards, awarding business cards with deep and vivid colors a higher score.
The best business cards have finishes that make them stand out, such as gloss, UV spot finishing and foil stamping. We looked at a standard business card printed on 14-point cardstock with gloss coating and awarded the services that offered the most durable, shiny and high-quality images a higher print-quality score.
While our top-rated business card services offered the best quality, the difference in the quality of the ink, paper or finish from one company to the next was minimal.
Quality of Service
To determine our overall quality of service score, we evaluated how easy it was to navigate the company's website, the online design tools it offers as well as customer service before, during and after our cards were shipped.
Most of the websites are easy to navigate and offer several business card designs you can browse through. However, we found that some services do not display any designs on their website. Instead, you have to open the design tool and browse through stock images or designs to see what types of business cards you can create. These services also typically charge an additional fee to use those designs and stock images.
Each service has an online design tool you can use to either design your own business card or personalize a pre-existing one. However, our top-rated business card services, such as GotPrint, offer superior design tools with advanced features that help you make high-quality business cards.
If you prefer using your own design program, each of the business card services on our lineup give you the option of uploading your finished project for printing. Each service has its own file formats it accepts. These requirements can be found on our matrix, on the service's website or by contacting its support personnel.
When reviewing online business card companies, we considered the turnaround time, or how long it takes for your cards to arrive after you place your order. Most companies offer a 24-hour turnaround time for rush orders. However, orders generally take a few days to ensure every detail of your card is perfect before it goes to press.
We awarded companies that sent confirmation emails about our order and shipping details a higher score, since this was not standard. There were several companies we had to contact for updates about our order since they did not send out confirmation or shipping emails. Some orders took several weeks to arrive.
Our hands-on testing is designed to simulate typical, real-world experiences with business card printing services. For our tests, we evaluated the sample business cards each company offers and used the design tool to customize others. The companies had no input on our testing methodology, and our rankings are not shared with them prior to publication.
What Else Is Important in Selecting a Business Card Printing Service?
In addition to the quality of the service, the final product and the turnaround time, you should consider the selection of cards each service offers. While some companies offer cards with vivid colors, it's not enough to compensate if they do not offer a variety of paper types, shapes, finishes or card features.
We looked at the selection each service offers, including paper type, finishes, shapes, paper weight and whether the service offers specialty cards. With most services, you can choose from a variety of materials – linen, cardstock, magnet and plastic. Some online business card companies, specifically MOO, have custom services to print on specialty materials, such as metal and even food items.
While the type of material you print your business card onto makes a big difference in distinguishing your card from the mundane, each service also offers finishes you can apply to your card to help it stand out. We found that spot UV coating helped emphasize logos and made the business cards pop. Our award-winning services, as well as MOO and Vistaprint, offer several finishing options to bring your designs to life.
Business cards need to hold up to everyday wear and tear. Lighter-weight cardstocks can be flimsy and fall apart easily. Using a heavier cardstock not only makes your business cards more durable, it sets them apart from the standard card. The best business card services give you several weights you can choose from. In addition, they offer specialty shapes so you can create round, square and oval business cards.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
We found minimal differences between the quality of the business cards we reviewed. However, there was a significant disparity in the usability of the design tools, card selection and customer service between the best business card printing services and average services.
Elite Flyers exceeds other printing services both in the quality of business cards it offers and its customer service. It offers a wide selection of paper types and finishes to make your business card stand out. It has an easy-to-use design tool so you can either create your own design or customize a pre-designed template. We found the service not only processed and shipped our order quickly, but they were helpful with any questions we had.
Jukebox Print and 4Over4 offer a large selection of high-quality business cards. You can select from a variety of paper types, finishes and even specialty shapes to help you create a unique business card. Both services' design tools are easy to use and allow for advanced customization.
GotPrint serves as an affordable option. Not only is this service more affordable than all of the other printing services, it offers a good selection of paper types, finishes and shapes. We found the service offers high-quality prints and helpful customer service.
Contributing Reviewer: Jessica Stone