The Best 6 Best Heat Presses in 2017 - Your Ultimate Guide

Creating a beautiful imprint is now 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 based around the use of them!

What’s even better is that tens of thousands of families every month are purchasing heat press machines to use with their children! Whether you’re a business that is looking to increase their imprint production or a family looking to create memories, you can’t go wrong with getting a heat press.

A heat press machine 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. They are even used by families looking to create their own memorable keepsakes.

Heat transfer vinyl and other materials are readily available and they’re easy to use – making it a perfect small business or hobby. By having one, 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 Press Machines 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.

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Now that you’ve seen our picks for the top 6 best heat press machines, we’re going to go into more detail on each of them. Once you decide which is best for you, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon.

#1 – Mophorn 5 in 1 

Mophorn 5 in 1 Product Image

Our #1 choice is this incredibly flexible, easy to use machine by Mophorn! You will easily be able to create your own customer t-shirts, mouse pads, tote bags, license plates, and many more fun things! This is a 5-in-1 machine, which means that it’s not quite as versatile as the F2C press listed below. However, the sacrifice is a small one. You will still be able to do 99% of the same items, and the price of this one is much lower.

What’s also great is that the Mophorn 5 in 1 arrives fully assembled and ready to use! Just set it up on something and plug it in. Then you can set up any of the attachments you need for items for which a flat press will not work. Safety is a primary concern for Mophorn.

They have added a built-in LCD screen and timer to ensure that you are never going to be applying heat for more time than you need to. Plus, you get a great deal of customization that ensures that you can set the temperature and the timer for exactly what you need for a particular product.

Different fabrics and transfer locations can require separate settings from a straight t-shirt press, especially for the included attachments, so you want to be able to customize the job. This press gives you a 0-400 degrees (F) temperature control and a 0-999 second timer control.

Mophorn 5 in 1 will be a great addition to any business or home looking to make fun, unique designs. Plus, it is extremely sturdy and well made. Due to this, it is going to last you for a long time. Furthermore, Mophon performs well enough to be used in a promotion printing business if you want to start one.

This is simply a terrific machine, and what’s amazing is how low the price is. Get yours right now before they are gone because at this price everyone will be getting one for his or her home or business.

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#2 – PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch

Power Press Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Product Image

Our #2 choice is one of the world’s bestselling heat press machines – the PowerPress Industrial-Quality! Why do so many customers buy the PowerPress? There are quite a few reasons actually, and all of them are great ones.

There are lots of adjustments that make this machine much more versatile. For example, the silicon-gel baseboard is adjustable, the temperature range can be set anywhere from 0 ° to 500 ° F, and you can set the time anywhere from 0 to 999 seconds.

The sizing of the machine makes it perfect for heat transferring vinyl onto t-shirts and other surfaces. Some heat presses have small surface areas and restrict large designs or multiple designs on the same t-shirt. It is lightweight enough so you can easily haul it around with you to various events.

With a surface area of 15 x 15, you are going to have plenty of room to heat press! The PowerPress is especially great if you are looking to do larger projects! Sometimes larger ones have a hard time evenly heating their whole surface.

Reliability is another big factor – PowerPress is well-known for their longevity, and their latest offering is a buy-it-for-life product! This press is a great product if you are looking to do t-shirts and bags in large quantities.

Even though there are no attachments included for cups, caps, and various other odd-shaped heat transfer items, this unit does flat surface items like t-shirts exceptionally well. In fact, it could be easily used in a commercial setting or to bulk-produce t-shirts for an online store or a t-shirt booth at the mall.

The best part is: you get to choose what you put on the t-shirts and bags, which makes this one of the most creativity rewarding tools out there, as well as a very lucrative t-shirt making-and-selling machine. Even if you are going to use it at home, it is the perfect press for t-shirts and much more, so you definitely should get one, especially since the price is so incredibly low.

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#3 – F2C 6 in 1 Combo 

F2C 6 in 1 Combo Product Image

Our #3 choice is made by one of the longest running manufacturers, F2C. They have impressed us with their 6-in-1 Combo machine. This is one of the top heat presses on the market. There are lots and lots of happy customers that will tell you how great it works and how many cool things they have been able to make with it.

No matter what you want to make with your designs, this machine gives you the freedom to do it. The 6-in-1 refers to the fact that it can make six different types of products. Also, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of products within those types that this machine can work with.

So, if you want to make t-shirts, bags, or any product where you would normally use a flat surface “clamshell” type, this is the perfect machine. However, it is also the perfect machine for making baseball caps, mugs, cups, plates, or anything else that fits within one of the six templates.

What we were also impressed by was that the machine was incredibly easy to use. Like really, really easy to use. This feature is such a plus, especially if you are 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 will find on models that cost several hundred dollars more. The F2C 6-in-1 Combo creates a fantastic product each and every time.

The simplicity of the design eliminates many user mistakes and makes sure that you do not waste expensive blank t-shirts, mugs, plates, or other items. We are extremely confident that this machine can handle any t-shirt, hat, mousepad, or whatever that you throw at it. This machine is a few dollars more than the straight clamshell heat press models, but the versatility that it gives you and the number of items that it opens up makes it worth every single penny.

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#4 – ePhotoInc New Digital 15″ x 15

Our #4 choice is this compact heat press by ePhotoInc New Digital! If you are only looking to use it when you are at home or with family, then this is a great choice for you! The ePhotoInc New Digital 15″x 15″ is very versatile in the items that it can heat press onto.

Some of the more popular uses for this model includes t-shirt printing, ceramic printing, puzzle printing and garment printing. No matter what you are looking to transfer, whether it is vinyl, t-shirts, jigsaw puzzles, or more, you really can’t go wrong with the ePhotoInc New Digital.

One of the best things about this model is the clamshell design. The hinged upper and lower surfaces make ePhotoInc New Digital easy to operate. In essence, the press opens up and closes somewhat like an actual clam. As a result, you just need to do a few simple motions to use it. The model is simple, highly efficient, and effective.

Another good thing about this press is that it is highly portable, due to that you can take it almost anywhere you need it. A good feature of this heat press is that it has a digital control panel that allows you to adjust time and temperature settings. However, the pressure is also adjustable, all you need to do is to use the top-mounted knob.

This heat press is ideally suited for small to medium scale t-shirts. However, ePhotoInc New Digital can also be used for various other small, thin, flat items such as puzzles, mousepads, and ceramic tiles. If you don’t need to produce 50 shirts per hour, this heat press might suit your needs best. We believe that ePhotoInc New Digital is one of the best heat press machines for hobbyists, beginners and intermediate level users.

It is recommended to use ePhotoInc New Digital in a room where you can open the windows. People reported a bad smell coming from the machine, even after a few uses. However, the unpleasant smell doesn’t transfer to the products. In addition, you should check the manual or the internet to modify the pressure to fit your needs.

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#5 – ShareProfit 5 in 1 Swing Away 

ShareProfit Digital Swing Away Product Image

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 great is that it not only comes fully assembled, but also with an additional hat press, mug press, two plate presses, a removable silicone and cotton pad, and an operating manual. You are 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 heat presses that have made our list. With this much space, you can make almost anything, from t-shirts to bags, puzzles, and more. However, it is also really versatile and can make thousands of other items as well with the included templates.

The temperature on this machine does not have quite the range of the other heat presses. Yet, we do not think that this heat press is going to have any problems meeting your needs. Whether you just need it for personal projects like making shirts for kid’s sports teams or designing your own clothing, or you want to create a business with a heat press and sell your creations online, this is the perfect mid-sized machine.

By combining the latest heat transfer technology with a very, very affordable price, the ShareProfit 5-in-1 has quickly become one of the best available today. Check out the price right now on Amazon and get one while they are still on sale. You cannot beat the price for everything you get with this machine.

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#6 – BestEquip Swing-Away 

BestEquip Heat Press Machine Product Image

Our #6 choice is this extremely versatile and affordable heat press machine. What makes it so special? To start, it is perfect for both commercial and personal use. We chose this as the perfect small machine, but don’t let that fool you. It is powerful enough for even the most ambitious of enthusiasts.

For business owners, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that no deadline is too close with this machine. The BestEquip can crank out t-shirts like no other, without compromising quality! Item after item, this heat press machine will keep on working thanks to a sturdy build and a winning design that is made to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

For personal users, you are going to be able to create amazing memories with this machine. It is incredibly easy, and more importantly, safe to use. This machine handles all of the most common heat transfer sizes. The arm swings away when you do not need it. Due to this, you can work with the press without having to worry about getting burned. That makes it a great tool for those who want to design with their kids.

The control panel is well designed and accessible, with an on/off button on the side as well as adjustments for the time and temperature. You can adjust the time up to 999 seconds and the temp up to 750 degrees F. Also, there is a pressure knob on the back so that you can adjust that if you need to.

This machine is our #6 choice given its versatility and affordable price point. You will not be disappointed buying the BestEquip! If you have always wanted to make heat transfer vinyl and other items, this is the machine to start on. It features simple operation and amazing results every single time. Get yours now, and you could be cranking out the t-shirts and custom puzzles in no time.

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Different Types of Heat Press Machines

The most common types of heat press machines are clamshell, swing away, and draw. These can also be manual or automatic or somewhere in between.

Type 1 – Clamshell

Clamshell heat 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 heat presses 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.

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 it for pressing without danger of touching the top, heated plate.

You will need a little more room to operate these heat presses 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.

Type 3 – Draw

Draw style heat presses 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.

Manual Versus Automatic

Heat 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 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.

Auto Release

Auto-release 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 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 heat presses.

What You Should Know Before You Buy Heat Press

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 machine.

What Size 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 looking to print on small items, or have limited space, a small machine may be a better choice for your needs.

What Will You Be Using it 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 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 customized 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 Types of 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 upfront 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 heat presses.

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 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 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.

What Kind of  Volume Are You Producing?

Are you looking for a 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 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.

What’s Your Budget?

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.

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.

What Features Do You Need?


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 heat presses that are more adaptable to different heat press materials and media.


If you are looking to heat transfer vinyl or 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 rigors of regular, high volume work.


Are you looking to stand out from the crowd with a slick heat 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 vinyl 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.

Are They Safe?

They 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!

How to properly maintain your Heat Press

A heat press machine should be a long time investment. Heat presses can last a decade or more if they are well maintained. And the best part is that you can do the maintenance from the comfort of your own home by following a few simple steps.

  1. Dust off your heat press on a regular basis. Do not wait for the dust to accumulate on the surface, with time it will make your heat press overheat. Also, keep in mind that dusting the interior components of your heat press is just as important as dusting the ones from the exterior. 
  2. Clean up the platens. It goes without saying that you need to cool your platens first, if you want to clean them after you used them. To clean the top part of your platen you should use mineral spirits, alcohol or a good iron cleaner. Also, consider using a lint free cloth because it doesn’t build up charge and it is less likely to leave any fluff behind. Consider cleaning the platens besed on how often you use the heat press.
  3. Change your platens when you feel that there is a problem with them. If your heat press platens are deformed, they might end up distributing pressure unevenly. Due to this, they might not work efficiently, ending up damaging your product. You should also consider changing them if you see any chips, cracks, dentures, or other forms of surface damage.
  4. Use heat press accessories. Consider using heat press sheets and pillows they will improve the overall efficiency of your heat press machine. Heat press sheets will prevent your products from sticking on the platens. You can use the heat press sheets multiple times but, from time to time, consider changing them.
  5. Other things you should consider: Always check the screws, Use a high heat and pressure lubricant on the components, Be sure to check the pressure manually from time to time to avoid possible errors.

Final Thoughts

In your search for the best heat press, note that your goal is to find one which perfectly fits your needs and the space you have.
If our guide was usefull to you, consider checking more of our heat press machine reviews! Also, if you run out of ideas for your heat press products, check our our articles!

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