Creating a beautiful imprint has never been so easy thanks to modern heat press machines! What once was a chore has now become one of the fastest growing markets in the world! Thousands of businesses every year are started based around the use of them! What’s even better is that tens of thousands of families every month are purchasing them to use with their children!
Remember when you were a kid and making tie-dye t-shirts with your parents? How fun was that!? Now you can go back to those beautiful summer afternoons in your backyard, where the sun was shining and the wind was gently blowing, and you were designing t-shirts with your family.
Whether you’re a business who is looking to increase their imprint production or a family looking to create memories, you can’t go wrong with getting a heat press machine.
Now, there are a lot of options out there and it can be really hard to figure out which one is the best for you. We know, we were once there. This is why we have created this site. We painstakingly reviewed all of the ones that are for sale.
The 6 Best Heat Press Machine Reviews:
|PowerPress Industrial-Quality 15-by-15 Inch Heat Press|
|F2C 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press|
|Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press|
|JRFROTO Swing Away Heat Press 9" x 12"|
|ShareProfit Heat Press 5 in 1 Machine|
|BestEquip Heat Press Machine|
Now That You’re Ready To Buy
Great! Now that you’ve given some thought to what your heat transfer needs are, it’s time for you to pick out which is best for you! This page will give you a nice overview, and when you choose which machine is best for you, go ahead and click the ‘Buy Now’ button over on the right of the one that you choose!
#1 – Best Vinyl Heat Press Machine – Power Press Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Sublimation Review
Our #1 choice is one of the world’s best selling heat press machines – the PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press! Why do so many customers buy the Power Press? Well, it’s simple!
This machine is incredibly easy to use and will always produce a great result!
The sizing of the machine makes it perfect for heat transferring vinyl onto t-shirts and other surfaces. It’s lightweight enough so you can easily haul it around with you to various events.
With a surface area of 15 x 15, you’re going to have plenty of room to heat press! This is especially great if you’re looking to do larger projects! Sometimes larger ones have a hard time evenly heating their whole surface.
Reliability is another big factor – PowerPress is known for their longevity. This is a buy-it-for-life product!
#2 – Best 12×15 Heat Press Machine – F2C 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Review
Our #2 choice is made by one of the longest running manufacturers, F2C. They’ve really impressed us with their 6 in 1 Combo heat transfer press machine. What we were most impressed by was that the machine was incredibly easy to use. Like really, really easy to use. This is such a plus, especially if you’re going to be using this with many employees or with young children.
Another thing that’s great is that the machine was able to continuously heat throughout the 12×15 non-stick surface, with minimal effort. While the temperature range is fantastic and in-line with what you’ll find on models that cost several hundred dollars more. The F2C 6 in 1 Combo creates a fantastic product each and every time.
So whether you’re a veteran or an amateur, you really cannot go wrong with the F2C 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press.
In fact, we think this is one of the best choices for a t shirt press machine on the market. We’re extremely confident that this machine can handle any t-shirt, hat, mousepad, or whatever that you throw at it. Grab yours today and you won’t be disappointed!
#3 – Best T-Shirt Press Machine – Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press Review
Our #3 choice is this incredibly flexible, easy to use t shirt press machine! You’ll easily be able to create your own customer t-shirts, mouse pads, tote-bags, license plates, and many more fun things!
What’s also great is that this heat transfer machine arrives fully assembled and ready to use!
Safety is a primary concern for Mophorn. They’ve added a built-in LCD screen and timer to ensure that you’re never going to be applying heat for more time than you need to.
Everything about this machine is easy to use!
It will be a great addition to any business or home looking to make fun, unique designs.
What’s even better is that this machine is very, very affordable! Get yours today!
#4 – Best Swing Away Heat Press Machine – JRFOTO Swing Away 9″x12″ Coated with Sheet Sublimation Review
Our #4 choice is this compact, swing away heat press model! This is our top choice for small heat press machines. If you’re only looking to use when you’re at home or with family, then this is a great choice for you!
The JRFOTO Heat Press Swing Away Heat Press 9″x12″ is very versatile in the items that it can heat transfer onto. Some of the more popular uses for this model include t-shirt printing, ceramic printing, puzzle printing, and garment printing.
This machine is extremely safe, easy to use, lightweight, and durable!
JRFOTO made this machine to last!
No matter what you’re looking transfer, whether it’s vinyl, t shirts, jigsaw puzzles, or more, you really can’t go wrong with the JRFOTO!!
#5 – Best Sublimation Heat Press Machine – ShareProfit Digital Swing Away 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation Review
Our #5 choice is the newest member of our rankings. This was recently released and has quickly become one of our favorites! This 5-in-1 machine can easily transfer colorful pictures and characters onto nearly any material of your choosing. What’s really great is that it not only comes fully assembled, but also with an additional hat press, mug press, 2 plate presses, a removable silicone and cotton pad, and an operating manual. You’re going to have a tough time finding a heat press that comes with all of that!
The heating board on this machine has a size of 12×15, which puts it right in the middle of the other machines that have made our list.
This makes it great for both personal and commercial use.
While the temperature on this machine doesn’t have quite the range of the other t shirt press machines, we don’t think it’s going to have much problem meeting your needs.
By combining the latest heat transfer technology with a very, very affordable price, the ShareProfit 5-in-1 heat press has quickly become one of the best heat presses for sale. Buy today and save!
#6 – Best Small Heat Press Machine – BestEquip Heat Press Machine Review
Our #6 choice is this extremely versatile and affordable machine. What makes it so special? To start, it’s absolutely perfect for both commercial and personal use.
For business owners, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that no deadline is too close with this t shirt press machine. The BestEquip Heat Press Machine can crank out t-shirts like no other, without compromising quality!
For personal users, you’re going to be able to create amazing memories with this machine. It’s incredibly easy, and more importantly, safe, to use. This machine handles all of the most common heat transfer sizes.
This heat transfer machine is our #1 choice given it’s versatility and affordable price point. You won’t be disappointed buying the BestEquip!
Complete Buying Guide (Updated 2017)
What is a Heat Press?
A heat press – also known as a heat transfer machine, t-shirt printing machine or t-shirt press – uses a combination of heat and pressure to apply a transfer or design to a variety of media.
You can use it to apply your own unique designs – or pre-made designs – to a wide range of items including t-shirts, caps, tote bags, caps, mouse pads and more.
The designs can be created on a computer and printed onto a range of materials for transfer – including vinyl, ink transfer paper, sublimation paper or plastisol – for different effects.
They are used by professional printers as well as small businesses involved in the promotional and creative industries and even families looking to create their own memorable keepsakes.
Heat press transfer materials are readily available and they’re easy to use – making it a perfect small business or hobby.Go to Top
Importance of Heat Presses
Modern presses mean that you no longer have to take your ideas to a professional printer. You can print your kids’ artwork, names or family images onto clothes quickly, cheaply and easily.
Heat transfer presses have also given rise to tens of thousands of small, creative individual and family run businesses.
So whether you’re a business looking to increase print production or a family looking to create memories, you can’t go wrong with getting a heat press machine.
Just bear in mind the particular functions you would like your machine to perform before buying.
Our product buying guide below will give you some handy tips on what to look for.Go to Top
How to Use a Heat Press:
Your new heat press has just been delivered to your door, or you have just got it home from the store and you can’t wait to start on your new project.
But wait! Yes, it is all very exciting but, like any new product, it pays to ensure you set it up correctly and read the instructions before use.
Manufacturer’s instructions vary in terms of the detail they provide but generally there are a few key steps to using your new machine!
Remove your machine from the box and remove all packaging
This may seem like a silly suggestion but it is important to ensure that your heat press is clear of the box and all packaging has been removed. This will save you from accidentally stinking your house out with the smell of molten plastic.
Place it in a stable position and plug it into a power source. You should position your press at a height that is easy to work at – such as on top of a table or desk. Do not place your heat press where there is a risk that it might tip or become unstable as they are both heavy and hot when in use.
Turn on the press
Turn the press on to ensure it is working as it should. Most presses will have an indicator light to let you know it is in operation.
Some manufacturers and users will advise you to “burn off” the plates prior to the first use. This process basically involves heating the t-shirt press to the highest temperature for a period of time to burn off any residue that may still be on the plates following production and shipping. Otherwise it’s a personal choice whether you follow this step or overlook it.
Set the temperature, timer and pressure
You will need to refer to the instructions on the transfer product you wish to use to create the print (for example vinyl, ink or plastisol) to determine the correct setting for temperature, pressure and time.
Adjust the controls accordingly.Go to Top
Set your t-shirt
Spread you t-shirt – or other item you wish to print on – onto the plate of your heat press machine and ensure the surface is smooth. Try to line the item up so that the edges are parallel. This will ensure your print is positioned accurately.
Press the t-shirt
Pressing your t-shirt prior to applying the artwork helps to remove any moisture as well as ensure you have a flat, smooth surface to which you can apply the transfer.
Position the transfer
Take your time with this step as there is nothing worse than a crooked print!
Close the machine
Close the press so that it clamps down on the item you are printing.
Leave it closed for the required time
If your machine features a timer you will here a warning sounding letting you know that the heat transfer is complete. Otherwise, use a stopwatch to time the process.
Open and remove the backing from the transfer
Remove the backing from the transfer by lifting the backing sheet carefully from one corner. You may need to hold the t-shirt in place while you do this. Be careful not to burn your hands as the material will still be hot.
Allow the shirt to cool
You will only need to leave the newly printed t-shirt for a few moments to cool before removing it from the press. This will save you some burnt fingertips!
Your print is finished
Your heat-pressed transfer print is now finished and ready to wear. This basic process applies for most types of transfers.
You can use a range of different transfer types including vinyl, inkjet and laser transfer paper, plastisol transfers and sublimation.
Most heat transfer machines for shirts will be able to be used with any of these types of transfers.Go to Top
Which is the Best?
While industrial heat transferring has been around for decades there are now many small t-shirt press machines for sale that can easily be used at home or by small business.
When you are looking for the best heat press for your needs, it is important to consider the different types available and select the one that best suits your needs.
There are a wide variety of heat presses in the market, ranging from smallmachines for use by hobbyists to professional shirt pressing machines.
Most commonly, hot press machines consist of a flat metal plate which is pressed onto your t-shirt or other medium. The combination of heat and pressure effects the transfer of the design onto the shirt.See Our Recommendation!
The most common types of hot press machines are clamshell, swing away, and draw. These can also be manual or automatic or somewhere in between.
Type 1 – Clamshell
Clamshell presses have a hinge between the two plates which allows it to open up much like a clam. To operate, you must lower the top plate onto the lower to apply pressure to your transfer.
These types of t-shirt printing machines are excellent for beginners. They are perfect for t-shirt making but may not be suitable for thicker items due to the restricted opening between the two plates.
You will also need to be careful to avoid touching the heated plates when placing items on the press.See Our Recommendation!
Type 2 – Swing Away
Swinger (or swing-away) presses consist of an upper plate which swings to one side – thereby revealing the lower plate.
One of the best things about this style is that it gives you direct access to the lower plate. This way you can lay out your t-shirt and transfer for pressing without danger of touching the top, heated plate.
You will need a little more room to operate these machines in order to give the top arm room to swing. But the more convenient access means you can work faster which in turn leads to lead to more efficient production.See Our Recommendation!
Type 3 – Draw
Draw heat press machines have a lower plate that can be pulled out much like a cupboard drawer.
Like the swing-away press, this gives you direct access to the working platform without having to reach under a heated plate and risk burns.
However, unlike the clamshell and swing away styles – where the lower work surface is fixed and the upper plate moves – the working surface is the moving part.
This means you need to be extra careful when positioning the design under the heat so as not to cause it to move.Go to Top
Manual Versus Automatic Heat Presses
Heat transfer press machines can also be manual or automatic or somewhere in between.
Manual machines generally feature knobs or buttons to set temperature and pressure and they may, or may not, be fitted with a timer depending on the brand you have selected.
Meanwhile automatic presses can be fully automated – where all the key aspects of the process are programmed – or semi automatic where only one or two aspects of the process are automated. We have outlined some of the key differences between these styles of heat processes below.
Manual heat presses can be found in either the clamshell or swing away styles. As the operator, you must manually open and close the press.
You may also be required to manually set the time and pressure on the machine.See Our Recommendation!
The auto-release heat presses are like a semi-automatic version. They come only in the clamshell style.
You must close the press to begin the heat transfer process but it is automatically released, or opened, according to a pre-programmed timer, once the heat transfer is complete.
The fully automatic heat presses are also known as vacuum or hydraulic presses. These are available in both the clam and swing away styles.
Digital presses can precisely control heat and timing to ensure you get a perfect t-shirt print every time.
They use air pressure to determine the amount of pressure necessary and a pre-programmed timer then release them. This style can achieve much higher rates of pressure than manually-operated machines.Go to Top
Embarking on your own small business or seeing your creative inspiration come to life is exciting but it is also important to make sure you get the right tool for the job.
Below are some important considerations when buying a heat press.
What Size Machine Do You Need?
This really depends on two things – the products that you will be printing on as well as the space you have available.
As mentioned above, both the swing away and draw presses will require more room to operate than a clamshell. And obviously a 16×20 will need more space than a 15×15.
However the larger presses will also allow you to press on larger items such as towels and bedding. If you are only look to print on small items, or have limited space, a small machine may be a better choice for your needs.See Our Recommendation!
What will you be using the machine for?
Will you be using it for personal or business purposes?
If it’s for business then it is probably likely that you will have a dedicated space for it and want the most efficient heat transfer press you can afford.
If it’s a hobby – you may want it to be more portable so you can stow it away in the cupboard when it is not in use. Or perhaps you would like to take it with you to the local markets to offer customised t-shirts on demand?
If so, then you’re going to need to keep in mind the size, weight and durability of the machine.
What type of transfers and materials will you be using?
You will need to use different temperatures and pressures for the different types of transfers and printing media you plan on using. So do your research up front and have a good idea of what it is that you are looking to achieve.
This will help you choose the type of transfer medium you would like to work with.
Speak to suppliers and have a look around online to understand the different types of transfers. It is also important that you understand the types for sale and the difference between machines..
What kind do you need?
Well, largely it’s all in the name. While most will claim to handle different types of materials, some are simply designed to handle specific products better than others on the market.
The best t-shirt presses will be those designed to specifically handle vinyl, ink and plastisol while you will most likely need a sublimation printer for items such as plates and mugs.
If you are looking to do it all, there are products such as a 5 in 1 heat press machine which comes replete with all you need to create sublimation prints on mugs, hats, plates as well as vinyl and ink transfers onto shirts or other items made from a variety of materials.
How much work will it be required to do?
Are you looking for a t-shirt pressing machine that can produce a hundred t-shirts in an hour? Or are you looking for something that is only needed to do a few every now and then?
The larger the volume of work you are looking to do then the higher quality and more durable the hot press machine should be. This is a basic rule of thumb for any piece of equipment.
Similarly, you should be aware that quality usually comes at a cost. If you are looking for an industrial machine you can expect to pay more but you will also benefit from a more robust machine, with greater heating efficiency as well as some of the “bells and whistles” (such as automated timer and temperature control) that you would expect in a higher-end heat press.
With that said, hobbyists and people looking for a t-shirt making machine for small batch items, more affordable ones are likely to do the job without any problems.
How much can you spend?
Yes, the age old question and answer. But you DO get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that you should rush out and buy the most expensive model you can find. How much you spend on your heat press will also depend on the volume of work you require it to output, the temperature range you require and whether you are happy to manually operate the machine or need it to be automatic.
They can vary in cost from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
You should read reviews.
Take the time to read through online reviews, such as ours.
These reviews provide valuable insight into the pros and cons of each machine as well as giving suggestions for the best application of each.
They will guide you in making the best purchasing decision.Go to Top
You may have your heart set on sublimation prints but are you sure that is the only thing you will ever want to do?
If so, then great, look for a press that is specially geared towards this type of work. But if you remain undecided, it is worth considering the number of different machines that are more adaptable to different heat transfer materials and media.
If you are looking to heat transfer only a small number of items – such as Christmas t-shirts for family and friends or a personalized gift – then a lighter, hobby heat press will likely be perfect for your needs.
However, if you need to punch out larger volumes of transfers you will need a more durable machine which can handle the rigours of regular, high volume work.
Are you looking to stand out form the crowd with a slick vinyl transfer? Or do you love the ease of ink? Temperature range is a key consideration when looking to buy your heat press, as it will determine which heat transfer products you can use. Don’t be caught out by being uninformed.
Do you need to be able to move it around easily? Or will it have a permanent position in your home or business? Larger models can be heavy and cumbersome to move around so it is important you consider this when buying. Bigger is not always better in this case.
On the other hand, if you don’t expect to ever have to move it, and you want the flexibility to be able to print on a wide range of items (from t-shirts to duvet covers) then a larger press is a great option.Go to Top
Are They Safe?
Heat presses are completely safe to use but like all electrical items or things that heat up, there are naturally some precautions to be had.
Obviously, you should keep small children and pets away from the hot plates and avoid sticking any part of your own body near or on the heated plates as you may get burned.
If you buy a second hand machine – be aware that some can draw a lot of power as they heat up. This can sometimes impact other electrical items in your home. For this reason it is advisable to buy new, modern equipment which is more efficient.
Alternatively, you may wish to look into putting your machine on a separate circuit to avoid issues such as lights flickering!Go to Top
Are they just for professionals?
No! There is a wide range of machines now available which cater to everyone from the casual hobbyist to professional printing businesses. They are relatively simple to use and transfer materials are readily available.
Can I achieve the same result by using a hand iron?
No – at least not consistently. It is nearly impossible to create the right level of pressure and heat with a hand iron. A heat press produces an infinitely more professional finish with less stress and mess.
What types are there?
Heat press machines can basically be divided into three main categories – clamshell, swing and draw. The primary difference between each is the way they open / close. There are also manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic versions of these.
What is the best for printing t-shirts?
In short – the one that best suits your requirements. There is no one-size-fits all response to this query. I suggest you read through our above buying guide.
Which brand should I buy?
Like all goods, there are wide variety of makes and models on the market and they range from poor quality to excellent. Rather than looking for any one brand, it may be best to research the type of product that best fits your need, and then narrow down the brand based on price, quality and versatility.
What size should I buy?
In short, buy the biggest one you can afford – provided of course that you have the space for it and don’t need to move it around often. The larger presses are more versatile in the size and range of things that they can print. The downside is they will take up more room in your home or workplace.
What is the difference between a clamshell and swing away?
The primary difference is the way in which they open up to reveal the lower plate. A clamshell opens from the back (much like a clamshell) while a swing away opens up and then slides to one side to reveal the lower plate.
What is a sublimation heat press?
A sublimation heat press is one that can achieve a temperature of 400F or higher. Some products will be marketed as a sublimation heat press specifically but any machine that can be heated to this temperature can be used.
Should I get a manual or automatic model?
Whether you get a manual or automatic heat press will be determined by your budget as well as the other features you are looking for in your new machine. Of course automated machines do allow you more control over timing and pressure which means you are likely to get more consistent results but if you are only doing small print runs this may be a feature you can forsake.
What type of materials can I use?
The type or materials you can use will be determined by the type of press you purchase. Most presses are fairly versatile and can transfer vinyl, ink, plastisol and sublimation prints onto a variety of media. if you have purchased a more specialized machine, ensure you read the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you’re looking to use vinyl, we recommend these heat transfer vinyl sheets.
Why is temperature important?
Temperature ranges are important as these will determine what transfer products you can work with. Each transfer medium requires a certain combination of heat, pressure and time to ensure it sticks to the surface to which it is being applied. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions (on your transfer product) for these requirements.
Where can I find one for sale?
Heat presses are a relatively specialized product. You probably won’t have one at a store near you. Online, stores like Amazon sell a wide range of models at different price points. This is also a great place to compare the features of each product to ensure that it fits your requirements as well as budget.
How much do they cost?
They vary in many ways including size, durability, usage, portability and of course quality. All of these features will have an impact on price. A quick search on Amazon will reveal that you can buy them anywhere between a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars.Go to Top