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.
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|
#1 – Power Press Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Sublimation – Best Vinyl Heat Press Machine Review
Our #1 choice is one of the world’s bestselling 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? There are quite a few reasons actually, and all of them are great ones.
- There are lots of adjustments which 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 machines 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. Although 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 easily be 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 just going to use it at home, it is the perfect press for shirts and much more so you definitely should get one, especially since the price is so incredibly low.
#2 – F2C 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press – Best 12×15 Heat Press Machine Review
Our #2 choice is made by one of the longest running manufacturers, F2C. They have impressed us with their 6-in-1 Combo heat transfer press machine. This is probably one of the top heat transfer press machines on the market and 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.
Basically, no matter what you want to make with your heat press 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, and there are dozens if not hundreds of products within those types that this machine can heat press.
So, if you want to make t-shirts, bags or any product where you would normally use a flat surface “clamshell” type heat transfer press, this is the perfect machine. However, it is also the perfect machine for making baseball caps, mugs, cups, plates or anything else you can heat press 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.
In fact, we think this is one of the best choices for a t-shirt press machine on the market. 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 models, but the versatility that it gives you and the number of items that it opens up makes it worth every single penny.
#3 – Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press – Best T-Shirt Press Machine Review
Our #3 choice is this incredibly flexible, easy to use t-shirt press machine! 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 above, but 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 this heat transfer machine 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.
It will be a great addition to any business or home looking to make fun, unique designs. Plus, it is extremely sturdy and well made, which means that it is going to last you for a long time and even perform well enough to use in a promotion printing business if you wanted to start one.
This is simply a terrific heat transfer press, 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 a heat transfer press for his or her home or business.
#4 – JRFOTO Swing Away 9″x12″ Coated with Sheet Sublimation – Best Swing Away Heat Press Machine Review
Our #4 choice is this compact, swing away heat press model! This is our top choice for small heat press machines. If you are only looking to use when you are 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. 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 JRFOTO.
One of the most useful things about this model is the swing away design, which allows you to remove the top platen and get it completely out of the way before you work with the machine. Not only does this virtually eliminate the chance of an injury, but it also allows you to get your children involved safely and let them help out with the machine.
Plus, since it’s a little smaller than most of the heat machines on this list, you will be able to easily take it to events and booths where you can make t-shirts and other items in real time. It is also one of the most durable models, built for use in a commercial setting and with a higher temperature cap than many heat transfer machines with a top temperature setting of 750 ° F.
They did a great job on the design of the control panel as well. Rather than having to bend down to program the current project, the control sits at the perfect height for using while standing and it could not be easier to set the temperature and time, as well as program other options like switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius.
Plus, the bright red on/off button is right on the front of the panel and easy to access. This is truly a great heat press if you like the swing design so get yours as soon as possible because they may not last.
#5 – ShareProfit Digital Swing Away 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation – Best Sublimation Heat Press Machine 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 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 machines 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.
While the temperature on this machine does not have quite the range of the other t-shirt press machines, we do not think it is going to have much problem 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 heat press.
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. 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.
#6- BestEquip Heat Press Machine – Best Small Heat Press Machine Review
Our #6 choice is this extremely versatile and affordable machine. What makes it so special? To start, it is perfect for both commercial and personal use. We chose this as the perfect small heat press, but don’t let that fool you. It is powerful enough for even the most ambitious of heat press enthusiasts.
For business owners, you will 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! Item after item, this heat press 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 so that you can work with the press without having to worry about getting burned and that makes it a great tool for those who want to design with their kids.
The control panel on this heat press 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 heat transfer 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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