Canvas can be made from cotton through a special weaving process. Although canvas can be made from other materials, including cotton, the build tends to be sturdier than a plain cotton bag.
The advantages of a plain cotton tote bag include the positive environmental impact due to its reusability. They also tend to be cheaper but serve multiple purposes, from errands to shopping. Another benefit of cotton material is the fact that it retains heat transfer, iron-on, and screen-printing extremely well. Cotton itself is heat resistant up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is also easily penetrable by a needle, serving as an adequate canvas for threadwork and embroidery. Cotton bags also tend to be lightweight, between 4 oz and 6 oz. However, this also means that cotton tote bags aren't as durable and should be handled with care.
Canvas tote bags are heavier duty than cotton tote bags due to the intricate weaving process used during manufacturing. As a result, canvas tote bags can carry heavier items for long periods of time without worry of the bag ripping or giving out during an errand or day out. Even on canvas material, iron-on logos, screen printed designs and heat transfer applications work well with little effort. Due to their sturdy nature, canvas tote bags tend to be heavier, weighing between 8 oz and 24 oz. Most popular canvas weights are 10 oz and 12 oz.
Although both types of tote bags have their advantages and disadvantages, the perfect type of tote bag for you depends on what you plan on using the tote bag for. Cotton tote bags work well temporarily for light use. However, canvas tote bags are more durable and can withstand continuous wear and tear, accounting for why these bags tend to last longer.