Ringspun vs Regular CottonBy ShirtSpace | Aug 23, 2019 | Updated Aug 15, 2023
When it comes to t-shirt shopping there are a variety of fabrics to choose from. One unwaveringly-popular option is cotton. But, even cotton has a handful of variations to be aware of.
With that in mind, we're going to cover the difference between ringspun cotton and regular cotton. The short of it is that ringspun cotton is softer, higher-quality, and more durable, but we're here to tell you why.
What is Regular Cotton?
The process of making regular cotton consists of twisting together soft vegetable fibers into yarn. The yarn is then woven together to create regular cotton material. This type of cotton is the most widely used, though ringspun is becoming increasingly popular. Manufacturing regular cotton is less expensive than ringspun, and while it offers breathability, the softness pales in comparison to ringspun cotton. Even still, regular cotton continues to be an industry staple and is widely sold in both the wholesale and retail markets.
Image Credit: Envato - chuyu2014
What is Ringspun Cotton?
The term ringspun was coined because of the process used to manufacture this type of cotton. The yarn that is created for ringspun cotton is spun in a way that produces stronger, longer strands that are soft, extremely durable and free from the rough texture of standard raw cotton. The process of continuously spinning, twisting, and thinning the cotton strands is what yields long, soft strands. Additionally, during this process, the threads are compacted in a way that produces a very strong and durable material.
Image Credit: Envato - TaniaJoy
Which is Best- Ringspun vs Regular Cotton?
When the time comes to determine which type of cotton is the “best”, it depends entirely on what you'll be using it for. Both types of cotton are wildly popular for very good reasons. If you’re looking for a new favorite tee that’s fashionable and soft, or an option for your new clothing line, ringspun cotton tees are your best bet. But, if you’re looking for a quality t-shirt for a fundraiser, donation, or simply want a standard t-shirt to withstand the wear-and-tear of lots of use, you can’t go wrong with regular cotton.
Image Credit: Envato - OxanaDenezhkina
As with any purchase, you must determine what’s most important to you, what you’ll be using your shirts for, and how much you want to spend. Though ringspun cotton is generally a bit more expensive, the added cost is minimal and will not break the bank. As the old adage goes, buy nice or buy twice.
Most widely used
Less soft than rinsgpun
Less expensive to manufacture
Manufacturing process produces stronger, longer strands
Typically lighterweight than regular cotton
Mike11/20/2023 08:54 pm
Is "ring spun cotton" always 100% cotton? Or can ring spun cotton be a blend? Thanks!
ShirtSpace11/21/2023 04:23 pm
Hi, Mike! Ringspun cotton is always made from 100% cotton. However, ringspun cotton can be used within a blend (for example, the Bella+Canvas 3001CVC is made from a blend of combed & ringspun cotton as well as polyester). We hope this cleared up your question about ringspun cotton. Thanks for reading our blog!
Keasha Bellamy 09/01/2023 10:10 pm
I normally get cotton tshirts, and I stretch them out a little before I put on to make them a little bigger. I’ve been hesitant to purchase ringspun cotton because I’m scared I won’t be able to stretch it. I know the cotton poly blend I can’t stretch so I stay away from those.
ShirtSpace09/05/2023 05:32 pm
Hi, Keasha! First off, thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog! Ringspun cotton typically has more stretch to it than your average cotton that is not ringspun. Standard cotton tends to be more stiff. So, we think that a ringspun cotton tee will be a great choice for you if you like to stretch your shirts yourself. Also, you are correct about shirts with polyester in them not permanently stretching as much. Since polyester is a synthetic fabric, it does stretch, but usually it bounces back.
KHALIDA06/09/2023 05:17 pm
Hi. Thanks for your information. Learnt something new today. I am wearing my son's ring spun tee with embroidery on saying "ringspun". I am his mother.
ShirtSpace06/09/2023 05:53 pm
Hello, Khalida. Thank you so much for ready our blog. We are glad you found value in our content. Take care!
Fallon05/16/2023 03:33 am
Is there any information you can share regarding shrinking behavior? I'm used to ordering a size up in 100% regular cotton t-shirts because they shrink so much. I don't know what to expect with ringspun, though.
ShirtSpace06/02/2023 10:25 pm
Hi, Fallon! We have another blog that we think you might find useful to help you care for your ringspun cotton shirts: https://www.shirtspace.com/blog/cotton-clothes-shrinkage You can also try shopping "pre-shrunk" t-shirts, which you can read more about here: https://www.shirtspace.com/blog/what-is-pre-shrunk Or shop here: https://www.shirtspace.com/t-shirts/pre-shrunk We hope this helps! Thank you for reading our blog.
Pamela Markowitz03/26/2023 08:36 pm
Infinitely helpful information! Thank you for the short & sweet version of ring spun vs regular cotton, and to the reader who asked about how combed cotton fits into this. It’s helpful to know for not just t shirts, but for washcloths and towels too!
ShirtSpace03/27/2023 03:23 pm
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, Pamela. And great point about washcloths & towels!
Celso Martell01/16/2023 10:22 pm
Nice explanations, thanks a lot!
Nic11/05/2022 08:42 pm
A lot of hoodies don’t have any or enough stretch in them to accommodate my broad shoulders. Would a ring spun hoodie have more stretch to it than a regular cotton one?
ShirtSpace11/07/2022 06:02 pm
Hi, Nic. Although ringspun cotton does tend to have a little more stretch than standard cotton (which is typically is a bit stiffer), we still do not think you will notice substantial stretch. We recommend opting for a cotton/poly blend, or a triblend, for a stetchy sweatshirt experience! A quick one that comes to mind that we like is the Bella+Canvas 3729: https://rb.gy/kxs8ka Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to [email protected] if you need more help finding the perfect hoodie!
Gregg10/15/2021 02:08 pm
Are ring-spun always combed as well? Or is “combed” independent?
ShirtSpace08/18/2022 05:18 pm
Hi, Gregg! To answer your question about whether ringspun cotton is always “combed”, or if the “combed” portion is independent of “ringpsun”, you can definitely have a ringspun cotton shirt that is not “combed and ringpsun”. “Ringspun” refers to the process of continuously spinning, twisting, and thinning the cotton strands is what yields long, soft threads. This process also yields stronger, longer strands that are soft, extremely durable, and free from the rough texture of standard raw cotton. When it comes to the term “combed”, according to the top-selling blank apparel brand Bella + Canvas, “Combed and ring-spun cotton, the kind that BELLA+CANVAS uses on all our tees means that cotton fibers are spun then combed through to remove impurities while ensuring it stays soft to the touch. Fewer impurities mean a smoother surface to print on.” Short and medium-sized strands are pulled out through the combing process, leaving just long and strong strands. So in conclusion, although ringspun cotton isn’t always combed, combed cotton is usually ringspun. Here is a fantastic video that we love, explaining these types of cotton tees and a few more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPUMT4N8IEo We hope this cleared up the terms “ringspun” and “combed” for you a bit better when it comes to cotton tees. Please feel free to reach out to our Customer Service Team if you have any further questions and I would be happy to assist.
Mark10/10/2021 01:58 pm
Thanks for the information. There is a better understanding now since ordering shirts online is often a “shot in the dark” process.
ShirtSpace10/13/2022 08:29 pm
Hi Mark! We are so happy to hear our blog gave you a better understanding! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!