Looking for the best heat press machine?
We’ve got you covered…
Ever fancied wearing your artwork? With a heat press machine your can transfer your designs onto fabric which means you can display your talent on T-shirts, sweatshirts, ceramics and much more.
And even better you can produce your designs in bulk at low cost to sell or give to your friends and family.
Take a look at this guide to the best heat press machines on the market right now.
Here’s a quick sneak peek at our favorites:
|Max Print Size||12" x 15"||15" x 15"||9" x 9"|
|Non-Stick Surface||Yes||No - but Silicon Rubber base||No|
|Stand-Out Feature||Full 360° rotation||Adjustable pressure||Heats evenly in 60 seconds or less|
- 1 What is a Heat Press Machine?
- 2 What Can I Use a Heat Press For?
- 3 What Makes a Good Heat Press Machine?
- 4 Signs of a Bad Heat Press
- 5 Tips for Using Your Heat Press Machine
- 6 The Best Heat Press Machines of 2018
- 6.1 F2C 5 in 1 Professional Heat Press Machine
- 6.2 Fancierstudio Power Heat Press
- 6.3 Fancierstudio Swing Away Heat Press
- 6.4 Super Deal PRO Digital Swing Away Heat Press Machine
- 6.5 Cricut Easy Press
- 6.6 Promo Heat Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine
- 6.7 PowerPress 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine
What is a Heat Press Machine?
In a nutshell a heat press machine is a designing device which transfers a graphic image onto a surface such as fabric using the application of heat at high temperatures and pressure.
Manual, automatic, and semi automatic heat press machines are available, but they all work using the same basic principle.
A substrate is positioned between two metal plates, one of which holds the design ready to be transferred, and the second of which heats up to high temperatures.
To transfer the design, the two metal plates clamp firmly together, sandwiching the substrate between them for the amount of time required to successfully transfer the image.
There are a few different types of heat press machines, with the most popular being the swing-away press and clamshell press.
The swing-away press lifts and rotates the top heat plate to the right to give access to the bottom plate of the machine, whilst the clamshell (as the name suggests) simply lifts up the top heat plate allowing the bottom heat plate to be pulled towards the user.
Images can be transferred using inks or vinyls.
Vinyl is a popular choice for printing onto t-shirts and other garments, but if you want to use your own unique designs you’ll need to invest in a special cutting machine to create your design templates, or order custom transfers online.
What Can I Use a Heat Press For?
The perfect tool for small business owners who need a cost effective way to print designs in large quantities — a heat press machine enables you to transfer your individual artwork or designs onto paper, fabrics, garments like T-shirts and sweatshirts, ceramics including mugs and plates, wood and metals (great for creating signs), tote bags, mouse pads, plus lots of other materials — the possibilities are as infinite as your imagination!
What Makes a Good Heat Press Machine?
Choosing the right heat press machine can be a tricky business.
The best heat press will fit the following criteria…
The bigger the heat press, the bigger you can print your designs, so it’s important that you choose a heat press that is large enough to suit your needs.
The down side of having a large heat press however, is the space it takes up, so don’t invest in a heat press that is going to take up too much room and make your work space cramped and awkward.
How much are you going to be using your heat press?
Are you only going to be printing a few designs a week, or do you need a machine that is capable of churning out high volumes of designs every day?
The best heat press for a small business is one that can handle hard use and still be reliable in the long term.
What type of things are are going to be printing and onto what materials?
Do you want to print designs in ink or vinyl?
Choose a heat press that is most suited to the type of projects that you have in mind.
Check out this video on the different things you can make with a heat press machine:
Are you an experienced printer or are you just starting out?
No one wants the hassle of machinery that is difficult or fiddly to operate, so a heat press that is user friendly and easy to use is ideal.
A heat press can be a big investment, so naturally cost is going to be a concern.
Stick within your budget but choose a heat press that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
Signs of a Bad Heat Press
- Poor quality parts that aren’t durable
- Limited functionality
- Difficult to use
- Physically tiring to operate
- Not capable of handling the volume of production
- Manual operation
Tips for Using Your Heat Press Machine
Here are our 5 top tips to help you get started with printing using your heat press…
- When transferring onto clothes, bags, and other fabric items — iron them first! This removes moisture from the fabric and ensures that the surface is perfectly primed for a clean, even print
- Take the time to line up your substrate to make sure your design prints out straight!
- Place a sheet of parchment paper between the substrate with transfer and the heated top plate — this protects everything from being damaged by too much heat
- Keep your heat press happy and in fine working order by treating it to a good greasing once a year with a high heat, high pressure lubricant
- Don’t throw away any scraps of vinyl — you never know when they’re going to come in handy!
The Best Heat Press Machines of 2018
This swing-away heat press machine is seriously versatile, and comes with all the necessary accessories to enable printing designs onto mugs and cups, clothing, hats, plates, mouse pads, glass and more.
The swing-away design allows for 360 degree rotation, and heat plates benefit from a non-stick coating.
Designs can be printed using inks or vinyl to a size of up to 12 x 15 inches, rubber handles are provided for added comfort, and height is adjustable between 13.5 to 17 inches.
The desired heating temperature can be selected from a range from 32 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can set the timer to beep to let you know when your print is ready.
- Distributes heat and pressure evenly across the platen
- Useful timer function with audible alarm
- Ideal for beginners
- Easy to set up
- Good for personal or small business use
- Short power cable
- Poor operating instructions and video
Simple enough for even beginners to use thanks to the intuitive digital display, yet with many features of an advanced heat press, the industrial strength Fancierstudio Power Heat press is a seriously sturdy machine that can handle large volumes of prints.
It features a space saving clamshell style to access the printing substrate, and designs can be printed onto an area of up to 15 x 15 inches.
The heating temperature range of this sublimation heat press is between 0 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and platen pressure is adjustable.
- Very customizable
- Comes ready assembled
- Space saving design
- Great value for money
- Can print with inks and vinyl
- Aluminum heat plates take a while to heat up
Another great heat press from Fancierstudio, this heat press is capable of printing designs up to 9 x 12 inches in size, and benefits from a sturdy swing away design that can be pushed completely out of the way to ensure a safe workspace as it won’t accidentally fall and crush your hands.
Able to heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, this heat press machine for t-shirts and other items features a handy timer, and time, pressure and temperature are easily adjustable using just 4 buttons, and simple to monitor using the digital display.
A non-stick Teflon coating has been added to the heat platen to stop vinyl transfers sticking and fabric scorching.
- Compact footprint
- Easily adjustable
- Powerful and hard wearing
- Intuitive to use
- No assembly required
- Relatively small print area
- Provided instructions are poor — it takes some time to get used to!
Equipped with 12 x 9 inch Teflon coated heat plates and a safe swing away arm design, the Super Deal PRO heat press is a safe and effective machine which unlike a clamshell design applies even pressure directly to the entire printing surface.
The required temperature can be set digitally using the buttons next to the LCD control panel in a range from 0 to 399 degrees Fahrenheit, and a knob at the rear of the heat press adjusts the level of pressure.
There is also a digital timer with audio alarm to allow for precise timing suitable for each different printing project.
This is an industrial strength machine that is built to last, and is covered by a 1 year limited warranty.
- Applies heat and pressure evenly
- Can cope with substrates of different thicknesses and materials
- Very safe to use
- No risk of scorching thanks to automatic cut off when timer alarm sounds
- Super simple — even for beginners
- Can handle hard use
- Affordable price
- Small print area
The cute little Cricut Easy Press is small and compact, and perfect for home use.
This lightweight and portable little heat press is somewhere between an iron and a professional level heat press, and will happily print quality prints up to 9 x 9 inches in size.
The heat plate is ceramic, which means it heats up to high temperatures (up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) fast, adhering vinyl designs in less than 60 seconds.
Time and temperature is set using two buttons next to the clear LCD display, then it’s just a question of setting the Cricut Easy Press over the design and holding it down for the required length of time (as you would an iron) to transfer your design.
- Ideal for home use and crafting
- Extremely portable
- Heats up quickly
- Produces good quality prints
- Comes with heat resistant safety base
- Automatically shuts off after 10 minutes of inactivity
- Not the best heat press for printing in large quantities
- Pressure is not automatically controlled
Easy to use and versatile, the Promo Heat Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine features a clamshell design with a full range of pressure adjustment and a multi spring balancer which distributes pressure evenly across the print bed — this is particularly useful if seams or buttons are likely to be under the platen causing lumps and bumps.
At 15 x 15 inches the print size is fairly large (large enough to handle XL t-shirts for example), and the heat platen is surfaced with quality, non-stick Teflon that won’t tear your transfers — which is a good thing considering that this mean machine can achieve temperatures of up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit.
The digital LCD display is bright and easy to read for setting and monitoring the temperature and timer.
- Great for printing larger designs
- Maintains temperatures well during long print runs
- Good quality machine
- Comfortable to use thanks to ergonomic foam grip on handle
- Robust enough for regular printing in large quantities
- Quick and easy to set up
- Big and heavy
- No additional attachments for non-flat items such as mugs
The 15 x 12 inch non-stick platen heats within a range of 32 to 480 degrees Fahrenheit and the solid steel frame makes this heat press a real workhorse and requires minimal assembly.
Adjustable pressure means that the PowerPress 5 in 1 can easily be used with a wide variety of substrates of varying thicknesses, and the temperature and timer are simple to control with the touch of a button.
- Easy to understand instructions
- Simple to operate
- Precise timing and temperature control
- Capable of handling a wide range of different printing projects
- Swing away design frees up work space
- Big and heavy
Which do you think is the best heat press machine?