Planning to start a custom printed t-shirt business? For the business to be a success, your designs must be creative and the printing must be top-quality, well-defined, vibrant and fade-proof. Investing in a good heat press can help you achieve all this.
However, choosing the right heat press from the plethora of options available in the market can be quite a daunting task. Our buying guide can help you decide on the best machine to buy.
Best Heat Press Machine
Best Heat Press For Beginners
Best Heat Press For Small Businesses
Best Heat Press Machine
Let's take a look on our top recommendations for the best heat press machine:
Winner: PowerPress Industrial Quality T-Shirt Heat Press Machine
If you’re looking for a compact heat press machine to transfer images onto different types of materials, then the PowerPress T-Shirt Heat Press Machine is the best heat press machine for small businesses.
The PowerPress heat press machine not only lets you create some fantastic t-shirt designs, you can also flaunt your creativity on various other materials like ceramic, glass, canvas and metal. The PowerPress t-shirt heat press is a new model and has many improved features compared to the earlier models and offers excellent performance.
The heat press is equipped with a digital heat control and timer, which offers greater control of the process and ensures that you can set the time and heat precisely that enables you to control the transfer of the designs more effectively without the risk of burning the t-shirt.
The safety control chip also ensures that the temperature remains stable throughout the transfer process. The heat press offers a temperature range of 0oF-750oF and a timer range between 0-999 seconds that lets you get precise and accurate settings.
The PowerPress heat press is equipped with a replaceable safety fuse, which ensures that the machine will not get overheated or will not get short-circuited in case of an overload.
The PowerPress heat press is equipped with a special aluminum heating plate, which ensures that the temperature is uniform and stable over the entire surface of the heating plate. The platen of the heat press is Teflon-coated, which protects it from scratches or any other damage to the surface.
The Teflon coating also ensures that the material you are printing is safe from burning and the coating makes it very easy for you to clean the heat press. The heat press sounds a beep, which alerts you that the transfer is complete.
The upward-opening design of the PowerPress t-shirt heat press makes the machine very compact, which offers greater convenience in storing the heat press without it occupying too much of space. The heat press features a silicone gel base that offers greater stability while you’re working.
The PowerPress heat press is durable and the versatility of the machines makes it the best t-shirt heat press, although it is suitable for image transfers on several other items such as jigsaw puzzles, mousepads, ceramic tiles, bags and ID badges, among many others.
Runner-Up: Fancierstudio T-Shirt Heat Press
If you’re into DIY printing jobs, then Fancierstudio T-Shirt Heat Press is a great machine for printing promotional t-shirts, tote bags, etc. It is extremely easy to set up and operate.
The heat press offers excellent, high-quality results. The heat press is extremely versatile and allows you to print on any material like glass, canvas, fabrics and ceramic tiles, as long as it has a flat surface.
The Fancierstudio t-shirt heat press is a clamshell, upward opening type machine and provides a 15-inch x 15-inch printing surface that is comfortable for use for most home craft, hobby and small business jobs. The heat press is especially an excellent choice if you’re printing on thinner materials such as t-shirts.
The heat press from Fancierstudio offers a wide temperature range between 0oF to 500oF and you can set the timer between 0 and 999 seconds. And, the electronic heat control and time setting feature of the heat press allows you to control the heat and time settings accurately.
The Fancierstudio heat press makes use of high temperatures and pressure to ensure that the design is embedded firmly into the material and you get professional results every time. The heat press machine has a non-stick coating on the platen that ensures that the heating is uniform and the items that you are printing do not burn.
The heat press has a silicone gel base board, a pressure adjustable Teflon sheet and a replaceable silicone sheet. The heat press is extremely compact and has a space-saving design that allows you to store the machine conveniently.
The heat press is extremely durable and provides even temperature and pressure that produces top-quality results.
The Fancierstudio heat press is ideal for both domestic, as well as professional jobs and can perform any size of job efficiently. So, if you’re planning to do some printing for your family and friends or your customers, then the Fancierstudio heat press is a great buy.
Alternative: Promo Heat Transfer Press Machine
The Promo Heat press machine is a clamshell design heat press that is the best heat press machine for t-shirts. This sublimation heat press has a stylish design that provides superior-quality printing. This upgraded digital version is extremely versatile, not to mention very affordable too.
The 15-inch x 15-inch area of the heat press is large enough to handle most materials such as glass, canvas, wood, metal, ceramic and fabrics. The heat press is extremely simple to operate and you can start using it as soon as you receive it. And, the compact space-saving design of the machine allows you to operate it easily, even if you have limited space.
The Promo Heat delivers 1400 watts of power and it features a segmented LCD which digitally controls the time and pressure settings which results in top-quality printing. The digital control comes with a preset time and once the time is complete, the machine sounds an alarm to alert you and this prevents the design from getting overexposed.
You can also adjust the parameters of the heat press as per the requirements of the printing job and once the required temperature is reached, the element will stop heating. The heat press is also equipped with a top-mounted, easy-to-access knob that allows you to adjust the pressure according to the thickness of the material being printed.
The heat press is equipped with an adjustable silicone rubber base and the heating platen of the machine is Teflon-coated which prevents it from sticking to the design and the garment and prevents it from getting burned. The machine has a parallel arm handle with an ergonomic foam grip, which helps to minimize the handle flex while you open and close the heat press.
The handle of the machine is closed by applying pressure via a spring and pressure plate system that allows the pressure to be distributed uniformly across the platen for better image transfer results. The Promo Heat press offers long production runs and is a great machine for everyday use.
This attractive and good-looking heat press machine is the best heat press for home use and now you can create your own creative t-shirts, bags, mousepads and several other unique items from the comfort of your home with the Promo Heat transfer press.
Best Heat Press For Beginners
This is our top pick for this category:
Cricut Easy Press
If you’re looking for a heat press that allows you to get super-quick image transfers that are also professional in quality, then you should definitely consider the Cricut Easy Press, which is probably the best heat press machine for beginners. In just 60 seconds or even less, you can have excellent professional quality iron-on results.
The Cricut Easy Press offers the super combination of the convenience of a hot iron along with speed and provides excellent results that remain as good as new, even after frequent washes.
The handy chart that comes along with the heat press allows you to adjust the temperature and time settings according to the material and with a bit of gentle pressure, you are all set to show off your creative designs.
The Cricut Easy Press offers an adjustable heat of up to 350oF or 180oC and the press can be used to fix various materials like glitter, foil, metallic stickers and also layered and large applications.
The ceramic-coated plate and the special heating element of the heat press allow the uniform and controlled distribution of heat. The device has a large-sized plastic handle on the top of the heat press which allows you to apply pressure that is sufficient to fix the vinyl on the material, making the Cricut Easy Press the best heat press for vinyl transfer.
The heat press gets heated very quickly and you can control the temperature by using the digital controls located on the top of the machine.
The Cricut Easy Press is equipped with safety features such as an auto shutoff and a resting base, which is insulated. The stand is heat protected which allows you to store the heat press without causing any damage to the work surface.
The 9-inch x 9-inch square heat press is compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around and also store conveniently when not in use. The Cricut Easy Press is the best heat press for shirts and comes along with a safety base, a handy reference chart, a welcome booklet and materials for practice.
Best Heat Press Machine For Small Business
Here is our top recommendation for the best heat press machine for small business:
F2C 6-In-1 Heat Press Machine
Planning to set up your t-shirt printing business and looking for a versatile heat press machine? Look no further, the F2C 6-in-1 Heat Press is the best starter heat press that lets you transfer various designs and graphics onto a wide variety of materials such as canvas, fabrics, ceramic, metal or any other materials.
This sublimation 6-in-1 heat press from F2C comes with several attachments that allows you to transfer images into varied items apart from just t-shirts like hats, mugs, plates, tiles, mousepads and jigsaw puzzles.
The F2C heat press features a swing-away 360o rotation design. The heating plate surface is around 15 x 12 inches that allows you to make transfers and prints of different sizes and you can adjust the height between 13.5 inches to 17 inches.
The heat press machine has an LED digital control that allows you to set the temperature (in Fahrenheit or Celsius) and timer precisely and the heat press has an intelligent alarm that beeps once the transfer is complete. The F2C heat press offers a timer range of 0-999 seconds and works at temperatures between 32oF to 430oF, which allow you to get top-quality transfers.
The F2C heat press is extremely easy to set up and operate. The heat press features a 4/5-inch heating board and the inbuilt structural support maintains the flatness.
The heat press has a full-range knob that allows you to adjust the pressure to ensure the pressure to be distributed evenly across the platen when the heat press is closed and it also helps to prevent the transfer and the garment from getting burned.
The F2C heat press comes along with 6 elements – a Teflon coated t-shirt plate, a cap/hat press, 2 mug presses of different sizes and 2 plate presses of different sizes, a cotton pad, silicon pad and a manual.
So, if you’re looking for a heat press machine for professional use or use at home, then the F2C 6-in-1 Heat Press is the best choice that offers superior quality of production at a very affordable price.
There are many types and models of heat presses available in the market; nevertheless, it is a good idea to buy a model after evaluating the features.
What Features To Look Out For
Before you buy yourself a brand new heat press there are few things you should take a look on:
What Type Of Press Is It?
You must decide on the kind of heat press you want to buy, whether a clamshell type, a swing-away type or a draw type.
Clamshell Heat Press
A clamshell heat press is one where the top and the bottom platens open and close like a clam’s shell. Typically, the platen at the bottom remains fixed and the top platen rises at an angle.
Swing-Away Heat Press
In the swinger heat press, the platen at the bottom is fixed, while the one on the top opens and swings either to the right or left of the working area.
Draw Heat Press
The platen at the bottom pulls out like a draw in a draw heat press. This design offers a space-saving design and an open workspace without any obstruction.
Can The Pressure Be Adjusted?
Look for heat presses which have a pressure knob that can be adjusted. This helps to control the amount of pressure applied on the material you are printing. You need to apply more force if there is no adjustable pressure knob feature, which can cause you back pain. And, if you do not apply proper pressure, then the design will not transfer and stick to the material properly.
Temperature And How Consistent It Is?
Typically, for a standard heat transfer to print a design on a t-shirt, a temperature of around 350oF for 10 seconds is sufficient. However, if you’re printing on thicker materials such as sweatshirts or hoodies, the temperature and time will differ.
The platen of a heat machine comprises heating elements and the number of heating elements present determines the amount of heat produced. Cold spots are caused due to the insufficient number of heating elements or if the heating elements are not spaced out properly.
The occurrence of these cold spots in the platen can damage the transfer and also the materials you are printing on. The best heat machines have several heating elements that are located close together and provide uniform heat from end to end of the platen.
Safety is a very important factor to consider when buying a heat press. The machine must have safety features that allow you to use it safely to produce large volumes. Also, since the surfaces used for printing are usually quite hot, the heat press should be safe to use and reduce the risk of any injury.
Buying a heat press that is cheap may seem like a great buy; however, spending a little more to ensure that your heat press is safe is a better idea.
Type Of Heat Transfer Material
There are different types of heat transfers that you can choose from such as HTV or heat transfer vinyl, screen-print transfers, rhinestone transfers and sublimation transfers and you can decide on the kind of transfer depending on the quantity, artwork, fabric and number of colors.
Degree Of Automation
There are 3 options of heat presses that are available – manual, semi-automatic and automatic.
Automatic Heat Press
These machines allow you to pre-program the machine for various materials depending on the parameters required for the specific material. Automatic heat presses use compressed air in order to generate pressure. They have more features and are much easier to operate.
All you have to do is load the material, press the button and wait for the final piece. However, compared to manual and semi-automatic machines, automatic heat press machines are more expensive. They also require greater maintenance.
Manual Heat Press
In manual heat press machines, all the parameters must be set manually such as time, temperature and pressure, depending on the material. Once you start the machine, you must pay attention to the alarm that indicates that the transfer is complete to avoid any damage to the material and the design.
Manual machines are cheaper than automatic ones and are comparatively harder to use. However, these machines are suitable for beginners.
Size is a very important consideration when deciding on the heat press. However, it is a good idea to identify your printing requirements, portability and availability of space before deciding on the size of the heat press. The size of the heat press will depend on the area you will be printing on.
Having a large-sized heat press allows you to print large sized garments and also makes the alignment easier.
They allow you to load and unload large and bulky materials like sweatshirts and hoodies very easily and these machines allow you to print many smaller-sized items at once. However, larger size machines may occupy a lot of space and they may not be easily portable.
Small Heat Presses
Also known as label presses, these are suitable for printing smaller items like tote bags, baby clothes and labels, and are available in sizes 4x6 inches, 6x6 inches and 4x8 inches. These heat presses are very small and compact, they are highly portable and are quite inexpensive.
Medium Heat Presses
Medium-sized presses are available in sizes 9x12 inches and 12x14 inches. They are used to print on t-shirts and other materials. These presses are portable and inexpensive compared to large-sized presses.
Large Heat Presses
These presses are suitable for printing on large-sized fabrics and garments in large quantities. These presses are usually of size 15x15 inches and 16x20 inches and as they are considerably heavier, they cannot be moved around easily and remain fixed.
Extra Large Presses
They are usually 40x65 inches in size and are used for commercial printing purposes for mass production of materials and items.
Heat presses are an excellent and inexpensive way to create custom t-shirts. So, whether you are planning to start your t-shirt printing business at home or planning to set up a printing workshop, these heat presses are sure to help you make your business a great success.
All you need to do is evaluate the various options and models available that will help you achieve your objective and get your job done.