Best Heat Press Machine
The Best Heat Press Reviews of 2018
With such a large variety of top rated heat press machines on the market these days, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which one is the right machine for your home or heat press business needs. We’ve narrowed our selection down from the top 10 heat press machines to just a few of the very best for you to choose from. If you’ve been wondering where to buy a heat press machine, well look no further, just scroll down for the best heat press machine reviews for 2018!
Create high quality professional looking designs and lettering on your garments, mugs or tiles by using a hot press machine. Some of you are hobbyists and some are running a small business; either way, we are happy to tell you it is EASY to use a heat press machine. You don’t have to be tech savvy at all. Whether you are looking for the best heat press machine for home use or the best heat press machine for small business, you’ve come to the right spot because we will help you find the best heat press machine 2018 has on the market.
What is a Heat Press and Why do I Need one?
A heat press is used to transfer vinyl designs or lettering onto fabrics using heat and pressure. It’s similar to an iron, but is larger and will have a steady heat and pressure applied to the vinyl as it meets the fabric. This steady pressure and heat application will ensure a polished and professional looking final product. You can imagine if you were to try to heat transfer a large design or lettering onto a shirt with a small iron, that it may not all transfer very evenly, essentially ruining the fabric and the vinyl design. So for less waste and errors, a heat press is a MUST HAVE in the heat transfer vinyl world!
What are the Different Types of Heat Press Machines? | Draw vs Swing Away vs Clam Heat Presses
There are three main types of heat presses. We will have a look at the difference between draw vs clamshell vs swing away heat presses. The main difference is how the hot plates on each machine come together and then separate. We will compare the two most common presses, which are the swing away and the clamshell.
Here is a helpful video describing the difference between the clamshell and swing away heat presses.
Swing-Away Heat Press
The Swing Away Heat Press does just what it says. The top platen of the machine actually swings away from the platen on the bottom before and after pressing.
One advantage of this type of heat press is that visually you can see the entire area of what you are pressing with the top plate out of the way. Coming from directly above, the top plate applies an even pressure at all times during the process. Another plus for the swing away is it allows for pressing on thicker materials, since the top and bottom plates completely separate.
The swing away does however have a larger footprint, due to it’s top plate’s swinging feature. So typically this type of press is used in a business location, where there is more space for the machine to operate. This machine requires a few more steps and additional transfer application time in comparison to the Clamshell press.
We also cannot forget the price difference between these two. The swing-aways are more of an investment, but well worth the money if this is your daily business and you are in need of a more industrial heat press machine such as the swing away.
Clamshell Heat Press
The Clamshell heat press acts just as it’s name describes with a hinge type opening and closing method – imagine an open clamshell with a pearl inside. 🙂
This is a great press for beginners and is very simple to learn and operate. It’s also perfect for using with thinner materials like T shirts. It takes up less space and is lighter and therefore a more portable heat machine. It does have a bit of a blind spot when pressing due to the hinge setup, but this is definitely the best heat press machine for small businesses.
The Clamshell press price range is definitely in the budget for a home or small business, and this type is the best heat press under $200. What an amazingly cheap heat press to get started with!
What is the difference between Heat Press Paper and Sublimation?
Heat Transfer is basically a process in which a design or lettering is printed onto transfer paper. Then this paper is heated with either an iron or heat press machine and pressed onto your product (shirt, bag, hat etc). Sublimation is different because it turns into a gas when heated and then infuses itself into products as long as they are polyester coated (tiles, mugs, plates etc).
So, think about what you would be using your heat press on, and if you won’t be using it for products with a hard surface like plates, mugs, and tiles, then you won’t need to spend any extra money on a combination machine that also does sublimation printing. Save your cash and just get the heat transfer machine for garments.
Best Heat Press Comparison Table
The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for The Best Heat Press Machines 2018
Decide which type of machine suits your heat press needs. If you are working with flat t-shirt design transfers, then a clamshell heat press machine is likely the best type for you. The clamshell model is easy to use for beginners, is efficient with your time, and doesn’t require much specialized precision on your part. The clamshell models are usually less expensive than the other higher end machine types.
On the other hand, if you want to get fancy and do lettering, numbering, or rhinestone presses on your t-shirts or even sublimation prints, then we recommend a swing-away heat press machine with 360 degree rotation. These types of heat transfers and presses require a bit more attention to detail, so you will want to have the full view of the press area in your sightline at all times.
Automatic vs Manual Machine
As long as you don’t own a heat press business where you will be pressing hundreds of jobs in an 8-hour day, you will probably be good with a manual heat press machine. Small batches are easily pressed with manual operation. A manual press will also be a less expensive investment.
Purpose, Size and Shape of Machine
When deciding which heat press machine is best of you, it’s always important to consider what purpose your machine will serve. What size heat press will you need for your transfer jobs?
Will you only need to flat press such as on t shirt transfers? Or will you also be needing to press onto ball caps or onto a curved mug or glass? The smaller your required surface area for pressing, the less you need to spend, since typically a smaller heat press will be cheaper price-wise.
If you need a standard T shirt heat press machine, we recommend either going with the 15″ x 15″ or 16″ x 20″ heat press models.
Large design heat presses start at 20″ x 25″ and up.
Single or Multi-Purpose Machine
How many different shaped products will you need to heat press? If you only specialize in one particular product, such as t-shirts, then you are fine to choose the single purpose machine. If however, you will be pressing on a variety of shapes and sizes you will want to invest in a multi-purpose machine that includes a pressing table, easily interchangeable heat platens, and specialized attachments.
What is your budget for a heat press machine? Some of the home hot press machines and clam shell type machines are fairly inexpensive, coming in around $100-300 in price range. However, many of the higher end multi-purpose machines and larger swing-away models can be in the thousands of dollars. These higher end machines give you more for your money though, so definitely something to consider.
Top Heat Press Machine Reviews 2018
The Cricut EasyPress has some great safety features for home use, including it’s auto shutoff feature, large handle, and safety base. It has a 9″x9″ heated platen that delivers consistent and even adjustable heating to all of your heat transfers and iron on projects.
This differs from an iron in that it delivers precise and even heating over a larger surface area. The Easy Press is weighted more heavily than an iron to have more of a heavy press naturally rather than you having to press down on it.
This home friendly heat press machine is great for smaller projects. While this is a small heat press machine, it’s more than enough to give your homemade heat transfers that perfect professional looking touch. However, if you need a larger press such as a 15″ x 15″ press to handle a full t-shirt transfer in one step, you may want to consider one of the larger heat presses used for small businesses.
One thing to note is there is no bottom mat to use for your fabric to be set on to press. We recommend using an ironing mat, teflon sheets, or hard surface with a towel on it. Cricut says they have a product in the works coming to the market soon to solve this issue. The Cricut Easy Press can be used with any vinyl cutter machine and is rated our top heat press machine for beginners and for home use.
Fancierstudio Powerpress Heat Press 15×15 is best for t shirt transfers. This digital heat press machine comes at a really super price for an industrial level machine! The pressure is adjustable and it has a nifty electronic heat control and timer. It’s clamshell machine type makes it compact and it therefore takes up less space than some of it’s competition. It’s the best heat press for t shirt design jobs!
The Powerpress is a 3-prong plug-in with 110 volts and 1800 watts, that can be used with any regular US outlet. It comes with a teflon sheet included, and we recommend having a sturdy table for it to set on before pressing. It can heat up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and distributes an even heating across the platen.
We recommend the Fancierstudio Powerpress as the best heat press for beginners and top value heat press for the money! It receives excellent reviews as the best heat press for small businesses!
The Hotronix Fusion Heat Press is the Cadillac of heat presses. If it fits in your budget, this is the one you want!! This hot press machine has a manual open with the draw or swing-away motion, and therefore allows you full sight of your pressing from beginning to end. It’s the only heat press with this patented dual ability. The Hotronix Fusion has a convenient touchscreen so you can always see your temperature, pressure, and timer settings at a glance and modify them with just a touch.
The Hotronix has evenly distributed heat retention due to it’s 3/4″ thick platens. It comes with a threadable lower platen and alternate sized plates are readily available separate by order. The manufacturer will even create custom platen sizes made to order which are easy to switch out and install. For no extra cost they also offer specific voltage plug-ins different from the US 110 volt standard. The 110 voltage plug in is able to be used in a regular home outlet with no issue.
This fantastic heat press is very easy to open and close, even with heavy pressure set. It allows you to preset and store an unlimited number of applications that you frequently use. This machine is fast and efficient and will save your business time, which equals more $$$ for you!
This brilliant 16×20 heat press is currently rated as the best commercial heat press machine! It has a solidly built aluminum frame, and even comes with a 5 year warranty for it’s major parts and a lifetime heating element warranty! NICE!!
This Hotronix Fusion machine is TOP quality, and it’s efficiency and precision will save you time and money! It truly stands apart from the competition by a mile! We highly recommend this fantastic heat press, and we know it will not disappoint!
The Stahls Hotronix Auto Open Clamshell Heat Press is another high quality, technology driven machine. The feature that sets this machine apart from the rest is it’s patented magnetic auto open technology that gives your transfer just the right amount of heat and pressure before it automatically opens. Brilliant right? This will save you money and time as far as less waste and do-overs from accidental over-application, which as we all know can happen from time to time.
This heat press has all digital controls, so you always know the time, pressure and temperature on your transfer, which takes away the guesswork you have on some of the lower end machines. It’s over center pressure adjustment patented technology allows the top platen to exert an even pressure while it’s internal tubular heating technology heats the entire surface area in an even manor – leaving no cold spots!
This machine comes with a lifetime heating element warranty as well as Hotronix call in support for when you are having an issue and need help fast.
This is an excellent vinyl heat press machine for those wanting the compactness of a clamshell with the convenience of auto opening! It’s 16×20 size is great for those needing a larger flat coverage area. We highly recommend the Hotronix Auto Open Heat Press as the top clamshell heat press on the market in 2018!
The Mophorn 8 In 1 Heat Press is an excellent machine that includes several attachments for when you have a variety of different items to press such as caps, mugs, ceramic tiles, t shirts and more. It’s versatility definitely sets it apart from the other single function models. This heavy-duty industrial grade unit has a solid build meant to stand the test of time for any business. This heat press is also very well priced for a commercial machine with such a variety of functions!
This Morphorn multifunction heat press is a top seller due to its ability to distribute heat evenly across the top platen with its adjustable multi-spring balancer technology. This durable platen is teflon coated for an easy non-stick press every time!
It’s 360-degree swing-away style allows you a full view of your pressing area for better precision throughout the heat transfer process.
With these high quality features, and at this affordable price, we think this machine is an excellent investment for your business that will last you a long time!
The US Stock 20×39″ Heat Press is a sturdy large format commercial heat press. This heat press is excellent for an efficient one time press on large tiles, t-shirts, cloth cushions, jigsaw puzzles, backpacks, blankets, material, rock photos and more. This industrial machine is a best seller in the heat press world with a thicker heating plate that prevents scorching of transfer with its non-stick teflon coating. Due to it’s solid bottom press area, a silicone or teflon sheet is unnecessary.
It spreads heat evenly across the closed platen when with its over-the-center presser adjustment, and has convenient digital temperature and time controls.
One thing to note is this heat press needs 220 voltage three-phase power, so be sure to confirm your plug-in space is suitable for this level of power.
We highly recommend this US Stock Large Format Design Heat Press for any business requiring larger sized press areas for their customer projects!