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Perhaps the most common use for the heat press is to imprint designs on specific fabrics. You also find it being used on plates, mugs, and other substrates. As such, if you want to get your designs onto various materials, this might be the tool for the job.
In our search for the best heat press machines, we reviewed more than 45 excellent offerings. Of these, we narrowed the list down to 15 high-quality options to choose from. Of course, you will find the Fancierstudio 15×15 B/BLK, which is the editor’s choice a cut above the rest. With it, you can get precise results with time and heat control. Also, the temperature range, design, and size are a cut above the other options in the same price range. However, you may as well find better options listed depending on your current needs.
As well, the research on these products was no easy feat. It required multiple hands on deck and a lot of time on our end. In addition to that, we had to check on the various manufacturer websites for in-depth information on the products. After that, we refined the features that helped us grade products individually. Factors like temperature and time range, style, size, power, and weight all show how you can use the device. They as well give you an idea of the projects that the tool is more suited to. As such, you will no doubt appreciate the table below ranking products as well as the in-depth reviews that follow. Also, a buying guide on the best heat press should also prove invaluable to you and is provided as the bonus section.
There are not many bigger devices than this one when it comes to the heating surface. As such, the Fancierstudio 15×15 B/BLK heat press for home use is one of the more versatile tools you can own. This is because it can take on larger projects as well as larger fabrics.
The time control should also not be lost on you since you can set it anywhere from a few seconds to 16 minutes. This is, of course, going to be dependent on the task at hand. Add that to the temperature control that ranges from 0-699F. What this means is that if you know what you are doing, you are guaranteed the best results.
As you will note later on in this write-up, most heat press machines have the same basic anatomy. You can expect a soft rubber or, in this case, a silicone base where you place your t-shirts and whatnot. The silicone base on this machine is glued down for extra stability when you are working.
Right above the silicone gel baseboard is the hot plate. Once you set the temperature, this is the part of the device that will heat up. You also have the pressure adjuster.
Different projects will, of course, need different amounts of time. As such, it helps to know the time requirements beforehand for optimum results.
What are its best features?
Large pressing surface
Easy to use and control
High power output
Wide temperature range
What could be improved?
Pricey as compared to other items on the list
Would be better if it could be permanently mounted on a table for added stability
Our next offering takes on the role of premium pick and will cost you more out of pocket than the editor’s choice. Nevertheless, if you read through the specs and descriptions, you can see why this is the case. However, on the features side, we need to mention that it has a smaller surface than its predecessor.
The work-style for the device also presents itself as slightly different. This is because most other heat press options come with an upward and downward motion for the heating plate. With this option, the heating plate swings away from the base plate.
The benefit of this design tweak is that you can leave your project on the device for as long as you want even as you preview the print. With regards to weight, this tool is a few pounds heavier than its predecessor on the list. Nevertheless, weight may not be one of the main reasons you end up buying the device or not.
Temperatures can be adjusted anywhere from 0°F to 400°F depending on the project at hand. This is enough to get you through most projects you set your mind to. The time limit also maxes out at 999 seconds from when you start the timer for your project.
Another notable feature is the inclusion of Teflon coating in the heating pad. The manufacturer even goes as far as claiming that you don’t need a coated sheet to protect your fabric.
It is also hard to look at the device and not notice the controller. It provides an LED screen and buttons which should help you easily set parameters for the device functions. This is inclusive of the time and temperature mentioned above.
What are its best features?
Easy to set parameters
Teflon coated heat pad
What could be improved?
You may need a learning curve to get used to the workings of the device
Even before we tested the Tusy 5-1 heat press, we knew that it is highly popular with beginners and small business startups. A few rounds of vinyl printing later, we knew exactly why it is so popular. This heat press machine has everything you need to get a vinyl printing business on the way.
Most importantly, this heat press has 5 attachments to print everything from t-shirts to mugs and hats. These are a plate press, mug press, hat press, and two plate preses. The console with an inbuilt timer makes it easy to control and time your presses, and it even beeps to let you know when it is ready.
Being a swing-away heat press, this little wonder has 360 swing motion to let you make adjustments freely. We did learn early on that you shouldn’t let the top platen swing fully backward if you intend to remove the bottom platen. That’s because the two help to counterbalance each other, and letting it swing away can easily cause it to tip over.
Why did it make our list?
Great for working with materials such as nylon, cotton, flax, and chemical fiber
Outstanding customer service
What is not ideal about it?
The brand should invest more in the documentation that comes with it
There have also been reports of fuses blowing and issues with the plates
This F2C Pro 5 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine is one that you can easily use with different types of projects. That fact is aided by the accessories included with your purchase.
The tool looks like it would require you to break the bank. However, it turns out that for a tool of this caliber, the machine is relatively affordable, coming in at less than $150.
Plate dimensions are 12” x 15”. There is also the significantly smaller hat press. This is in addition to the single mug press and dual plate press components. As the names insinuate, these components are suited to different projects.
The look of the device can be somewhat intimidating. Nevertheless, once you get the hang of it, you should find it easy to use and manipulate the tool.
If you are familiar with a heat press, you know there are a couple of things you need to set beforehand. With most devices of this caliber, time, temperature, and pressure are what you need to tweak to get optimum results. The tool allows you to change these with relative ease.
Perhaps more impressive is the fact that the manufacturer caters to different buyers by including both Fahrenheit and Celsius scales in the machine. You should also look into the anatomy of the device as it allows a 360° rotation of some of the top components.
Another bonus is the non-stick surface. This is in addition to the upgraded aluminum alloy construction.
What do we love it for?
Comes with multiple accessories
Digital LED screen on the controller
What were we disappointed with?
The device is bulky and hence will be a chore to move around
For those thinking that a machine that goes above 500°F is ideal, this tool would be perfect for purchasing. The temperature range is not the only thing you should be in awe of with regards to the machine.
There is as well the inclusion of solid-state relays. As such, you are ensured that the circuits in the machine are protected. This translates into a safer work environment since fires are less likely to happen from overcurrent.
As to the size of the platform, you could term it as impressive given its 15” by 15” measurements. Consequently, due to its size and capabilities, it should be considered as more of a commercial device than a residential one.
The heat platen component of the tool features an up and down motion when it comes to opening and closing. This is probably why this machine is classified as a clamshell machine.
You can also expect prints that last a little longer due to the sublimation technique used to bind ink to the fabric. As well the tool is comparable to most others, especially with the inclusion of controls for temperature, pressure, and time.
It is also hard not to note the LCD for showing the above parameters. As such, this component should also be useful when making necessary time and temperature adjustments. Add that to the easy to clean Teflon surface, and you have a dependable machine to work with.
For a price of 175 dollars, you can have this tool delivered at your doorstep from Amazon. This price point will likely change over time. However, you probably want to know what features the money gets you.
The first impressive aspect is, of course, the dimensions of the device. 15” x 15” machines provide a large enough surface that can handle all projects that you throw at it.
If you are familiar with heat pressing, you will also know that time is an essential factor in the pressing process. As such, the 0-999 second time frame will allow you to get the best results for each job.
While 50 lbs is rather hefty for a machine of this caliber, you will find that most users don’t mind it. This is because as soon as they set it up, they are unlikely to move it again.
Also, this machine arrives fully assembled. Users as well benefit from Teflon coating in addition to the inclusion of a Teflon sheet.
The first thing we thought when we stumbled upon the Nurxiovo 8-in-1 heat press machine is that it is something special. It turned out to be a highly versatile, intuitive, and easy to use heat press machine.
In terms of functionality, this Nurxiovo 8-in-1 heat press machine is highly capable. As advertised, we were able to print on all kinds of stuff including t-shirts, tiles, bags, hats, and a mouse pad. The control panel made things considerably easier with its automatic timing, and the swing-away design made it safe and comfortable to operate.
It did take some figuring out to get started on this heat press machine, though. The instruction manual is anything but helpful, luckily, our experts have a bit of experience with using heat press machines and there are plenty of Youtube videos and blogs to help anyone who gets stuck.
What are our favorite features?
The best thing we liked about this heat press machine is that it just works as it needs to. As advertised, it has quick-change attachments for mug press, hat press, plate press, t-shirt press, and other functions. The plates heat up fast and retain heat consistently, which is actually very important for quality prints. All this versatility and quality production makes it a #1 choice for home and commercial application.
What could be better?
The quality of some of the parts on the Nurxiovo 8-in-1 heat press machine could be tetter quality. Although our testing period didn’t reveal major flaws, there are many users who have had issues with their unitis such as the control box burning out. At the least, the control box needs better protection. We did check out the instructions, and they need to be rewritten by someone with native knowledge of the English language.
At 1400W power output, this tool is rather impressive, and as such, you should consider using it for your heat press needs. However, you also need to see what other benefits it offers for your pressing needs.
The fact that it is lightweight features on the pros side of your pros/cons list. Nevertheless, this is the result of some cutbacks in terms of size. However, when you put the device to task, you will realize that this is no major limitation.
If you’ve read about Teflon coating in some of the machines mentioned above, you will know that this is good news for your fabrics. As such, you will not need to worry about the t-shirts sticking to the top part of the machine.
Also, you will eliminate the need to buy Teflon and silicon sheets as a way to prevent the scorching of transfers. This saves you some money in the long run that you can use for other pursuits.
As for the time, you can choose a time frame of 999 seconds or any time frame below that. Once you do so, select the temperature for the project. The next step is to place your t-shirt on the silicon pad and close the device.
What stands out?
High power output
What cons did we manage to find?
The surface may be a little small if you want to use it for adult shirts
Chances are that you won’t have to move the device once you’ve placed it on your worktop. However, this did not stop the manufacturer from incorporating a relatively lightweight design to the device. This is more of a pro than a con in case you ever need to transport the machine.
The performance of the device can also be described as top-notch. Specifically, the controls seem to be well-calibrated and accurate. Consequently, you can use the buttons to change the temperature and time settings. A pressure control knob should as well be easily accessible.
From the features listed above, you can note the temperature, as well as the time capacity of the device to be quite impressive. This means that the device can be used for relatively complex and demanding tasks. Consequently, it fits the bill for residential as well as minimal commercial use.
The silicone baseboard is also worth mentioning as this component will provide your t-shirts and bags with all the stability they need. You can as well not fail to mention that this is a swing away as well as sublimation style machine.
What makes it stand out?
Silicone gel baseboard
Easily to use controls
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Due to its small surface, you may have to move your substrate around to ensure you press the entire image
The Transfer Crafts 9 x 12 T-Shirt Heat Press is another quality product to make it onto our list. It is easy to see a couple of similarities between this machine and the RoyalPress 12 x 15 Heat Press, especially in outlook.
Nevertheless, this tool will likely suit a different group of people. The size of the surface is one of the areas we have to pay attention to. This is because it dictates the maximum size of the prints.
At 9” x 12” it should be usable for a lot of your designs and t-shirts. You can as well use it on a few unique accessories. Nevertheless, there are tools with bigger surfaces, and it thus depends on what you want your results to be.
The pressure knob is mounted on the top of the device and is easy to control. An LCD display is also a prominent feature on the device. You will thus be able to see the changes you make to the time and temperature settings as you make them.
You can use this tool with sublimation projects then swing the heating pad away right after. Another endearing quality of the machine is its weight. At just above 31 lbs, it should be easier to move around than some of its competitors when you feel the need to.
The 0-500°F temperature range is also quite impressive. Pricing-wise, this is also an excellent bargain.
What are its best features?
Easy to adjust parameters
What could be improved?
Vague instructions on use
The heating surface is a bit small for a swing-away machine
Once the tool arrives, you will see that it is designed to work like an iron. As such, it has a different design to other options on the list. You can also see that the size of the device is not much to write home about.
The ideal use scenarios for the device include printing on baby clothes as well as some accessories such as hats and bags. Nevertheless, a benefit that accrues from the small form factor is that the tool is very light.
Design-wise you have the ceramic coated surface, which should produce great results. As well you have precise temperature controls that can reach the 400°F mark. Consequently, it should be relatively easy to learn and use the device to great effect.
If you are efficient at using the tool, you will find that jobs take under a minute to finish. Also, you can get this tool for under 90 dollars on Amazon, which makes the device accessible to many people. Another benefit that you might want to look towards is that the machine is usable with both HTV and infusible ink designs.
What stands out?
Compact and lightweight
Easy to use
Comes with an insulated resting base
What cons did we manage to find?
Short working span
High power consumption
Requires you to use a lot of pressure to get desired results
The PowerPress HPM-0000-PK is another device with a unique design. Its compact nature is especially noteworthy. This also translates into a lightweight frame, and as such, moving from place to place should be a breeze.
Where aesthetics are concerned, only the pink color scheme and golden ones are available. Nevertheless, most people will be looking at the functionality of the tool rather than the color.
For such a lightweight design, the size of the heating plate is impressive. As such, it should even be able to give more expensive machines a run for their money.
The controls featured are a touchpad panel with which you can adjust the temperature as well as time. With the former, the range is limited between 32° and 355°F.
As to the time constraints, you can set between 0 and 120 seconds. If you compare these statistics with other devices on the list, you may be underwhelmed. Nevertheless, the device should be able to get the job done if you know the basics of using a heat press.
You should also note the inclusion of pressure regulating components in the device. This is in the form of springs, and for a grownup, it shouldn’t be hard for you to press down the machine until the work is done.
For your safety, you can also count on the anti-overheating system. It incorporates enough heat resistant layers that you don’t have to worry about burning when using the machine.
You can use the device with sublimation paper if you so wish. As well, you can use transfer vinyl paper, which also happens to be included in the package. Other accessories include a safety base to place the device on.
What makes it special?
Dual function base
What cons did we find?
Limited working time
According to some users, the touchscreen may be a little problematic
Anybody looking for a portable heat press should consider this tool a viable option. The first thing to note about the machine is that it is a sublimation style machine. Consequently, your prints should last longer and be less prone to fading.
Potential users should know that this is a hands-free product. As such, you would not need to press down on the machine to ensure that it transfers the image to the fabric.
Also, despite being relatively small in stature, the design makes it possible to use on large projects. This means you can use it to imprint on banners, bags, sweatshirts, and even blankets.
Another positive you can attribute to the machine is how easy it is to use. Setting the time and temperature should be dependent on the fabric and project at hand.
The tool is intended for hand use and, as such, incorporates a few safety features. Most notable is the advanced heat plate. It comes with ceramic coating and ensures heat remains on the underside of the device.
The result of this is that users feel minimal heat on their hands as they operate the device. One should also look at the base plate with the hollow middle. The reason for this is so heat can easily dissipate when the tool is not in use.
If you have a preference for using iron-on machines over clamshell and swing away devices, this tool might be an ideal purchase. You would expect the machine to be lightweight so that it allows for easier lift and the manufacturer delivers.
With the maximum temperature and time ratings for the tool, it is hard to see this as a commercial tool. Nevertheless, you will get along just fine if your projects are small to medium-sized.
For effective pressing, the manufacturer included an evenly heated plate that produces consistent results. Of course, an easy-to-grip handle would also prove useful to the owner.
Rather than have you purchase a Teflon sheet and silicone mat to sandwich your sweatshirts, bags, and other projects, the manufacturer includes it in the package. This makes it easier to start with printing as soon as the machine is delivered at your doorstep.
Also, any heat press machine would be incomplete without temperature and time controls. It is as well possible to forget about your project, especially if you are multi-tasking. However, the audible alarm will come as a welcome reminder that your project is finished and that you need to check on the result.
The machine is also capable of ironing your clothes. Nevertheless, if you leave it on standby for more than 10 minutes, the auto-shutoff feature will kick into gear.
What do we love it for?
Easy to grip handle
What were we disappointed with?
Limited parameters with regards to time and temperature
Temperature fluctuation seems to be a bone of contention for a few customers
In comparison with other iron-on heat press machine options, the power generated by this device is not much. Nevertheless, one should find it sufficient to heat-up the platen and get the job done.
At only 8 lbs., it should prove relatively easy to handle and carry for the average adult. You may as well need to learn how to operate the time and temperature controls, which should be an easy task.
In addition to the above, a 10-minute standby time is enforced by the build of the tool. Consequently, you will find that it won’t stay on for long if you don’t use it. This is also useful in preventing accidents in the long run.
The Teflon sheets alongside the heat press mat are two classy additions to the purchase and provide more incentive for you to buy. Nevertheless, you might have to purchase additional sheets over time due to wear and tear.
What makes it stand out?
Easy to grip handle
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Instructions are a bit vague
Some users have mentioned that you can get the same results with an iron
Things to Consider
Of course, once you’ve decided that you want the benefits that heat press machines have to offer, the next step is to pick a model. Here the most important thing is to find a tool that works for you.
Consequently, you may want a guide that enables you to choose from the many options available in the market. The section below is exactly that, and you should read and understand it before going shopping.
What is a heat press machine?
You often see graphics on various fabrics, t-shirts, bags, and more. What you should realize is that these are often the results of using a heat press machine. The machines themselves imprint by applying heat and pressure.
There are, however, some time and temperature constraints associated with the pressing exercise. Educating yourself on them beforehand will prevent costly mistakes.
Benefits of heat press machines
Heat press machines and irons are a bit similar in their functions. They both provide heat and can be used with heat transfer vinyl to embed images onto your t-shirts and other substrates. However, the most common use for a household iron is to straighten out your clothes.
On the other hand, heat press machines are more tuned for sublimation techniques, laser toner, heat transfer, and image transfer into substrates. The most common substrates include t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, hoodies, bags, and many more.
You can rely on the machine to get done with the printing process quickly and efficiently. They are also guaranteed to give a high-quality result if used correctly.
When using the iron for transferring images, you may have to apply pressure with your hands, which can be tiring and ineffective. On the other hand, most heat press machines come with a pressure knob inbuilt. As such, if you choose the pressure settings according to the material being pressed, you will be good to go.
While you may get acceptable results with an iron, it is advisable to use a heat press instead. Irons can also not be used in a commercial setting, as printing would take too long.
Another benefit of the machines is that they should be easy to use for most people. All you are required to do is adjust pressure, temperature, and time and the rest is a breeze.
How to use a heat press machine
The first step is, of course, to plug the machine into a power source. There should as well be a set of controls available for setting the time and temperature. Just press the appropriate buttons since they are often well labeled.
Next, you need to open up the device, whether it has a clamshell or a swing-away design. This does not apply to iron-on machines. After that, you can place whatever substrate you want on the base.
You need to be careful that you don’t touch the heat platen while this is happening since it is likely to be hot. However, some of these machines incorporate insulated handles for you to grab onto.
Another parameter you need to tweak is the pressure. With machines like the Transfer Crafts 9 x 12 T-Shirt Heat Press, you can easily locate the pressure knob. Also, most other tools with the same design feature a similar pressure knob to cater for different size materials.
Pressing the substrate in question for a few seconds should be another step in the process. You eliminate wrinkles and ensure the print goes on a flat surface by doing this.
We are assuming that at this time, you already have your design printed on transfer paper. If so, lift the platen and place the transfer paper on top of your substrate. After that, press down the platen and start the timer.
The clock will run down, and some machines like TUSY 5 in 1 Pro Heat Press Machine will produce audible noises to notify you that time is up. You can then lift the platen and remove the substrate in question.
Of course, you will want to remove the transfer paper and preview the final result on the fabric. In some scenarios, you find machines with Teflon coating, which will not stick to your fabric and cause scorching. An example is the Transfer Crafts 9 x 12 T-Shirt Heat Press.
Also, you have iron-on devices that may be a little different. This is because you might need to press them down a bit until the time is up for optimum results. You can also make use of Teflon sheets just to be safe.
How to make a heat press machine last longer
Heat press machine maintenance is rather easy to do and only requires a few minutes of your time. However, if you do it regularly, the tool is bound to last a long time to come.
There are many mechanical components to the device. As such, friction may be a regular occurrence, and that may lead to wear and tear. Also, if the joints and levers aren’t in pristine condition, it may be a little challenging to operate the machine.
For the above reasons, you should try and lubricate the machine as often as possible. Another area to look into is the cleanliness of the device.
Options with Teflon coating on the heat platen are easier to clean since they have a non-stick surface. However, you can prevent any materials from getting onto the platen by incorporating a Teflon sheet in between the transfer paper and the heated plate. Nevertheless, make it a point to clean the device’s surfaces regularly.
Also, always ensure you turn off the machine after use. Some of the products also offer auto-shutoff.
Features and elements to consider when choosing a heat press
If you intend to pick a heat press based on merit, you should have a firm grasp of the features to expect. This is arguably the best way for you to gauge the functionality of the machine without actually owning it. As such, most of the features to expect are listed and explained below. With such information at your fingertips, it shouldn’t be too hard to make your selection.
The overall quality of the machine is always something you want to pay close attention to. Here you can check on built quality, ease of control, available parameters, and more. A rule of thumb is that higher-quality products will require that you part with more money.
The size of the platen also matters a lot. With some of the options, you will only need to press once. However, with smaller models, you may need to press multiple times to get the desired print on the substrate.
Nevertheless, the number of times you need to press may also be determined by the size of the print required. A point to note is that iron-on machines tend to be smaller and lighter than their clamshell and swing away counterparts.
Power and voltage
You want to know the power requirements of your purchase so you can figure out if your sockets can handle it. Most devices on the list require between 90 and 120 volts to work.
They also convert this into the power that they use to produce heat on the platen’s surface. Of course, some options are more efficient in the way they generate power. This should translate into better efficiency when heating up to required temperatures.
As you have no doubt seen from the list above, there are different types of heat press machines available with regards to style. Examples include sublimation, draw heat-press, clamshell, and swing away devices.
With sublimation, you get high-quality images onto the materials by using sublimation ink. The process involves turning ink into gaseous state, and the gases are then embedded into the fabric.
Swing-away machines can rotate the top part of the device, which is usually the platen away from the base. As to the clamshell option, they work mostly in an upward-downward motion rather than upward and sideways motion like their swing away counterparts.
Another unique style of heat press is one that allows the user to draw the lower part of the device forward and backward. It, therefore, makes sense that this style of device is known as the draw heat press.
A lot of the options listed above, like the ePhoto 1515GB, come with Teflon coating. This provides a non-stick surface that is most useful for embedding images and designs onto the required materials.
You have other options like the AONESY 12 ×10 Heat Press Machine, which are ceramic coated, and that comes with its benefits as well. The main thing to ensure is that the platen features solid construction and is capable of producing even heat.
Temperature and time range
If you have experience in using such devices, then you will know that different materials will require different settings for the best results. This is concerning both temperature and time. For the above reason, a higher temperature limit and a wider time range are ideal for your purchase.
Adjustable force and pressure knobs
For most clamshell and swing-away options, you will find that adjustable pressure knobs are an essential component. However, with iron-on machines such as the Tangkula 9×9 Heat Press Machine, you don’t get the same capabilities.
Also, for commercial applications, the knobs are a necessity. Nevertheless, if you are only going to press one t-shirt in your free time, you may not need them. After all, you can get the same results by pressing down the machine with your hands.
Products with extensive warranties always seem like more sensible purchases in comparison to those without. This is because of the incorporated value that keeps you from spending more money on the gadget.
Warranties are especially useful if a product breaks down within the first few months of purchase or even suffers some manufacturing defects. If you didn’t check for a warranty beforehand, you might have to cater to repairs out of pocket.
Pricing always makes a significant case of whether or not to buy a product. As it stands, most options come in at a price point of between $80 and $200. If you look at the cost and feel you can afford it, then, by all means, buy the tool.
However, you also need to check the value you get from it even if you have the money. As such, it doesn’t make sense to buy a commercial-grade product while you intend to use it at home for small projects.
You may come across other benefits such as a silicone gel base with Fancierstudio Heat Press 9×12 GB . As such, it is essential to note that they may be beneficial and thus should provide extra incentive to make the purchase. Nevertheless, they may not be all that necessary for the basic operations of the heat press.
Most heat press machines are capable of this feat, and you can thus try out a few different designs on wood in terms of printing.
Identifying a few potential purchases is part of the process and one that we have gone through as well. The Fancierstudio 15×15 B/BLK is an excellent pick in terms of size, power, and ability to work on commercial projects.
It is followed closely by the RoyalPress 12 x 15 Heat Press. While smaller in stature the benefits of the machine are also rather apparent. Swing away controller, easy to use controls, and LED screen are but a few positives. There are bound to be more if you look into the product.
TUSY 5 in 1 Pro Heat Press Machine is also an ideal pick for multiple projects. It acessories are especially useful and will save you both money and a few more trips to the store.
Of course, with your favorite heat press machines picked out all you need to do is spend the required amount of money. After that, the product should find its way to your doorstep especially if you got it from Amazon.