Best Heat Press Machines For Home & Business

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A heat press machine allows you to print images onto shirts, hats, mugs or whatever else you can customize. They can be great for someone planning a party, promoting their business, or selling their art. The best heat press machine is a long-lasting tool that can always come in handy.

If you are in the market for a heat press machine, there are a few things you should consider. These machines come in a range of designs and capabilities – some are only capable of printing on tee shirts, some are safer than others, and some are easier to use.

If you need a heat press for commercial use, you’ll want to look for quality of prints as well as the longevity of the machine. For more casual, at home printing, something smaller and more versatile would be better. The best heat press machine for you will match your unique needs.

Here are a few top selling heat press machines, along with what makes each of them great.

Heat Press Machine

Summary

An industrial-quality heat press, easy to use and guaranteed to last for a long time.

​Fancierstudio Heat Press

Fancierstudio Heat Press

A lightweight and simple heat press with a smaller working platform. Good for home and semi-professional printers.

​F2C Pro Swing-Away Digital Transfer Heat Press

F2C Pro Swing-Away Digital Transfer Heat Press

A versatile press machine that can print on multiple surfaces.

​Transfer Crafts Heat Press

Transfer Crafts Heat Press

A simple, easy-to-use heat press for smaller or larger prints. Comes with a digital controller and LCD display.

Editor's Choice

VEVOR Heat Press 

VEVOR Heat Press Machine

Extremely versatile heat press for all kinds of different objects. Comes with multiple adjustable parts.

Our Top Picks For The ​Best Heat Press Machines

Pros:

  • Runs up to 500 degrees F for professional or semi-professional printing
  • ​Comes with a stopwatch to avoid ruining prints
  • ​Reliable and long-lasting

Cons:

  • Only prints on flat surfaces

More About The ​PowerPress HPM-1515-BK

This is a high-quality, industrial-style heat press for professional prints, without the professional cost. The highlights of this product are its longevity and its ease of use. You are guaranteed great prints for life. It is safe and easy to work with.

It comes with a 15 x 15-inch heat plate for prints in a range of sizes. This machine also has a built-in stopwatch to avoid overexposing your prints – the timer will beep when the print time is up.

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Pros:

  • Swing-away design to keep you safe
  •  High-temperature range for high-quality prints
  • ​Simple design, easy to use

Cons:

  • A smaller heat plate can only make prints up to 9 x 12 inches

More About The ​Fancierstudio Heat Press

This is a swing-away style heat press, which means it produces great prints and is extra-safe for the user. The swing away heat plate means fewer chances of accidental contact. It has a heat range of 0 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and a 9 x 12-inch heat plate.

It comes with a digital controller that allows you to regulate the heat and pressure. This can be important depending on the type of material you are printing on. At a lower price, this heat press machine is a great option for casual or semi-professional printing.

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Pros:

  • Versatile and can print on more than just shirts
  • ​Swing-away design with full 360 degrees of motion
  • ​Professional quality prints

Cons:

  • Additional attachments come separately

More About The​ F2C Pro Swing-Away Digital Transfer Heat Press

This is a highly versatile machine, capable of printing not only on tee shirts but also hats, mugs, plates and other surfaces. It has a swing away design and comes with multiple heat plate additions for printing on objects of different shapes and materials. The heat plate surface is 12 x 15 inches, so you can make bigger prints and have more room to work with. A digital display tracks the time and temperature of the press.

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • ​High quality for a slightly lower budget
  • ​ Digital controller, electronic control over heat and temperature

Cons:

  • Lasting quality not necessarily guaranteed, some customers have complained of malfunctions after long term use.

More About The ​Transfer Crafts Heat Press

The Transfer Crafts is a high-pressure heat press, good for home or semi-professional use. It comes with a digital LCD display to easily adjust temperature and pressure. This heat-press is super easy to use. It is fully assembled and ready to go upon delivery. It can be purchased with a 9 x 12 inch or a 15 x 15-inch heat plate, depending on your printing needs.

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Pros:

  • Multi-function, prints on multiple surfaces and materials
  • ​Standard tee shirt press comes with adjustable pressure knob to account for different fabrics
  • ​Built-in fuse for safety while in use.

Cons:

  • Changing parts requires assembly and disassembly. More complicated to use than other models.

More About The ​VEVOR Heat Press Machine

This is a super versatile, multi-function heat press for hats, mugs and more. It’s a great machine for a small business trying to get some exposure for their brand – you can put your logo on almost anything you can get your hands on with the variable temperature range of this heat press.

This is one the of higher quality heat presses comes with multiple attachments for printing on a variety of materials and surfaces, and a digital control screen. Prints are high-quality and lasting. It has a swing away design for safe, reliable use.

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How Does a Heat Press Work

What are heat presses?

If you’re in the design business, you need a quick and easy way to heat transfer designs onto a variety of surfaces. A heat press machine gives you the ability to use the modern technique of heat transfer printing to print artwork or designs onto:

  • Clothing - like t-shirts or aprons
  • Hats - baseball caps
  • Tote bags or other bags
  • Mugs, cups or cookware
  • Mousepads
  • Paper items such as jigsaw puzzles or notepads

The variety of potential projects with heat transfer is nearly endless. With a heat transfer press machine, you can transfer your individual artwork or design onto almost any surface. It’s the modern alternative to using earlier technologies such as screen printing.

If your design or printing business needs to produce orders from one to one thousand, a heat press machine is a wise investment for heat transfer projects. It can save hours of time and effort while giving you a professional quality design with less effort than old-fashioned screen printing techniques.

How Does it Work?

You might be wondering: how exactly does a heat transfer press machine work. It’s very simple. Think of heat presses as a type of iron.  You are using it to “iron” a design onto any other receptive surface using a press at a certain temperature range.

The heat press machine uses heat - at extremely high temperatures- and pressure to print your designs onto t-shirts, mugs, glassware, almost any receptive surface.

Using the heat transfer press machine and the wonders of heat transfer technology, you can transfer:

  • A company logo
  • Brand name
  • Children’s artwork
  • New business design
  • Graphic Design
  • Baseball team name
  • Hundreds of other ideas

There are two ways a heat press machine can work - either manually or automatically. A manual heat press machine will require more manual labor on the part of the operator.  An automatically operated heat press machine will produce a high-quality product, but with less work. It will also be more efficient to use and give more precise results.

How the Design is Printed?

To press the design onto the surface of your t-shirt, for instance, the image is first printed onto a vinyl transfer paper. Special inks are used with the transfer paper serving as a medium for the ink.  The surface is then placed on the heat plate of the heat press.  

The press part of the heat press machine then presses down to transfer the design into whatever surface is being used. It transfers the image from the paper and embeds it into the shirt or whatever surface is used. It becomes a permanent part of the t-shirt, apron, ball cap or other surface.

Options to Consider

The best heat press machines use the right mix of high temperatures and pressure to affix the graphic design to your project. Heat press machines come in various types but are generally either a clamshell style machine or a swing away design.

What’s the bottom line?  For the clamshell style machine - think of a clamshell opening and closing.  These are the heat press machines where the pressure plate closes down on the design and heat plate. The item being printed is pressed between the two plates.

One consideration when buying the clamshell style machine is to ensure the pressure knob can be easily adjusted. The pressure knob helps control how much pressure you apply to your design. A badly situated knob can result in using too much force and can be bad on the operator’s back or posture. Or if too little force is used, the design won’t adhere to the surface properly.

Another type of heat press machine is the swing away design. This allows the pressure plate to rotate a full 360 degrees.  This allows the operator a full view of the design being transferred.

Advantages of a Heat Press Machine

You might be wondering:  what is the advantage of using a heat press. Why not just use an iron to transfer a design onto a t-shirt or apron, for instance.  There are many advantages to using a heat press machine.

Affordability

Many heat press machines are not as costly as might be imagined.  They are various models and styles to fit every business budget. After the initial cost of investing in a heat press machine, they are very cost effective. Many businesses find that they can quickly recoup the investment price and begin making a profit within a short period of time.

Ease of Use

Learning to use a heat press machine is easy.  There is a minimal learning curve and almost anyone can be printing quality items with ease.

Compared to other techniques such as screen printing, there is very little effort involved. Heat press printing is done in one step - not multiple. Heat transfer printing can take as little as seconds per printed piece. Imagine an order of dozens of baseball caps that takes less than an hour.

Quality

Before the heat press machine, the common way to transfer images to items such as t-shirts was screen printing. This process required messy dyes and solvents. It was time consuming and involved time to clean up. While some images were a good quality, especially designs of just one or two colors, it doesn’t compare to the quality of heat press transferred images.

Heat press machines are capable of printing items quickly, more economically and offering superior quality. They can print vivid, full color images of the most complex designs. The heat press machine also embeds the design into the surface of whatever material is being used.

What’s the bottom line?  There are multiple advantages to using a heat press machine.  An iron can’t reach the high temperatures that are required to transfer an image.  An iron also can’t apply the amount of pressure needed to gain a good quality image. For quality, affordability and ease of use, a heat press machine is the best choice.

Heat Press Machine FAQs

What should I know about the Platen Type Transfer Presses?

This type of heat press machine is great for printing on small, individual items. T-Shirts, jerseys, bags, and mugs are just a few examples of items you can print on. Platen presses are sometimes preferred over rotary drum presses simply because they can print on materials like wood, ceramic, and even metals. This type of heat press is typically used when adhering reflective tape to items.

What are the different types of Platen Transfer Presses?

The clamshell heat press has a simple, two-step process - it opens and closes like a clamshell, hence the name. The design is an energy efficient process, which means you can make more without tiring as quickly. Due to its clamshell design, it can sometimes create a pinch effect on thicker items. Newer models by some companies have corrected this issue. The heating element is above your work area, so broad layouts may be difficult.

Another type of press is the swinger style. This requires a four-step process: Swing, lock, open when printing is complete, and swing away. However, it benefits you by giving you a heat free work area while also being great for larger layouts and thicker items. This style takes up the most room out of the three listed above.

The final press type is the drawer style. It is a four-step process: open like a drawer, lock, open when printing is complete, and close drawer. Like the swinger style, this type allows you to work in a heat free area and is perfect for larger layouts and thicker items.

What should I know about the Rotary Drum Transfer Presses?

Rotary drum transfer presses are perfect for continuous, all-day printing for large items like banners, posters, any item that requires continuous printing on fabrics. These presses are preferred for high production volume.

What to Consider When You’re Buying the Best Heat Press Machine

You might be wondering what qualities, materials, and features that you need to consider when buying a heat press machine. We completely understand. This is a serious purchase and all potential concerns need to be considered beforehand.

Personal or Business Use

One of the main deciding factors is how you will be using your heat press machine. Is it for personal use? Are you starting a business where you will be printing many items in a day? What type of items are you printing – t-shirts, sweaters, or maybe large banners and posters? These questions will help you determine if you need a platen or rotary drum type.  

Also consider, who will be using this heat press? If the user is new to using a heat press, consider buying from a seller who provides training sessions for their product. User strength and ability are important if you are using a manual press that requires several steps for each product.

Placement in Your Workshop

Take a look around your workspace and picture where you will want to keep your new press. Manufacturers suggest that heat press machines should not be placed up against a wall to avoid overheating. Conversely, find a location free of drafts as this can affect press efficiency.

Heat Press Size and Weight      ​      

These machines can also be quite heavy and large. You will need to take weight/size into consideration if you plan on moving your press around frequently or if you have a small work area. Ensure that a lighter press is well-made enough that it will not lift as you close it or remove completed items. Size should also be factored into what you are making – for example, children’s shirts work well on compact 9 x 12-inch models.              

Conclusion

Your new heat press machine will be a great addition to your workspace. Special considerations need to be made in order to guarantee that the product you choose will be the perfect fit for you. Follow the advice and guidelines we have provided, and you will surely have a new heat press machine that can satisfy all of your printing needs.

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