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When it comes to ensuring longevity and quality printing, investing in the best heat press machine always proves a good investment.
As an entrepreneur, you will love how effective a good heat press machine is for t-shirt printing. Its ease of use, ability to print high quality artwork and affordability are some of the benefits you will accrue.
But how do you get started?
The good news is that you are not to blame for not knowing everything. After all, we are just but humans.
With that in mind, we decided to do the hard work and compile a comprehensive guide on how to purchase a good heat press machine.
We also tackle other issues like how to use the heat press, set it up and start a business with it at home.
Keep reading to learn more…
What is a Heat Press Machine?
A heat press machine is designed to imprint a graphic or designs onto clothing by utilizing heat and pressure for a predetermined period of time. In addition to clothes, heat press machines can also be used to imprint designs onto mugs, caps, jigsaw puzzles and other products.
There is a wide variety of heat press machines on the market, ranging from manual and electronic models. Newer heat press machines with digital technology offer a better alternative to other design methods like sublimation and screen printing.
A heat press machine has a platen, an electronically heated surface. Once pressure is applied to this surface, all you have to do is administer the right time and temperature control. The machine will work its magic.
For small business owners, a heat press machine can prove a very profitable investment. Whether you collect a single order or 1000 orders, you won’t have to worry about operating at a loss. Purchasing a heat press machine is a sure way to design en-masse and produce custom products for your clients.
Heat press machines are very affordable but one may have to spend extra for higher quality. Compared to other technologies like screen printing, these machines offer a smooth graphic output and print at a faster speed.
Heat press machines are capable of reaching high temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, thus more effective imprinting of images and graphic designs. They can also print on different materials including satin, cotton, ceramic and spandex.
12 Best Heat Press Machine Reviews:
1. PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine:
PowerPress is one of the big names in the heat press industry. It’s not a surprise that one of their machines makes it to our top-rated heat press machine review list. This brand new model is an improvement over an earlier model from the manufacturer. And it comes with a wide range of enhancements to improve your printing quality and experience.
Among the key improvements made in this machine include the 15” x 15” exclusive thickened aluminum heating plate. This allows for stable, even temperature distribution across the big heating plate. In addition to that, the plate comes with Teflon coating.
This means you don’t have to use coated sheet anymore, or worry about your clothes getting damaged during the printing. Most importantly, the coating makes the machine easier to clean and more attractive.
The industrial-grade machine is also extremely easy to use. It comes with an LCD control board which translates to fully digital pressure and temperature control- allowing you to make even more accurate settings.
When the transfer process is over, a sound beep will alert you. The integrated electric control system makes it easy to adjust and maintain. And the dual electronic system protection ensures safety protection while working with your machine.
2. Fancierstudio Power Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press:
Next up, we have the Fancierstudio Power Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press. Similar to our first machine above, this model also comes as improvement of its previous version. It is compact, with upward opening design, which makes it a space-saving machine that you can use set up in your home office.
Ideal for transferring letters as well as transfers, this machine has all you need to achieve quality printing. It comes with electronic time and heat control system which makes it easy for you to set more precise the transfer time. This will result in an exceptional transfer performance.
The machine is also pressure adjustable, which means you can easily set the amount of pressure you wish to apply to various items you’re working on. This is important as it ensures you don’t burn your clothes and other things or produce undesired printing results.
At the base of this machine, you’ll get a silicone gel base board that boost the overall stability of the machine, giving you an easy time when operating it. The 15” x 15” offers you more than sufficient working space where you can easily transfer your design to items of various sizes and dimensions. The integrated stopwatch beeps to alert you when time is over, preventing overexposure of the items you’re working on.
3. Super Deal 12" X 10" Digital Swing Away Heat Press Clamshell Transfer Machine:
Our list gets better with the Super Deal 12" X 10" Digital Swing Away Heat Press Clamshell Transfer Machine. What makes this model highly popular is the fact that it presents you with a list of outstanding features (found in the high-end models) at a pocket-friendly price. This makes it one of the most affordable units for anyone planning to start a small business with limited budget.
Digging deeper into the machine, you’ll realize that it comes with a unique swing-away design. This allows you to do what other machines find hard to do- rotate the upper platen around 360 degrees! Unlike the traditional clamshell models, this machine applies direct-top-to-bottom pressure on the items you’re printing on, ensuring an even contact with the below surface.
Something else that makes this unit unique is its built-in Teflon coated heat platen (12” x 10”) which boasts multiple heating coils that facilitate uniform heat distribution throughout the surface for the ultimate printing results.
The fact that the handle features a manual open/close handle design makes it easy to operate. Plus you can adjust its pressure with the help of the knob situated at the rear section of the machine.
The digital timer controls ensure precise time settings. Above all, this machine is CE certified- meaning it has the real industrial strength and durability to enable it to stand the test of time.
4. Promo Heat 15 in. x 15 in. Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine:
If you’re looking for the best heat press machine with high versatility, you cannot go wrong with the Promo Heat 15 in. x 15 in. Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine. The reasonably priced heat press comes with a large heat platen- 15” by 15”- which allows you to print on a wide range of items- with various sizes- like metal, wood, fabric, glass, ceramic, and so much more.
The top reason why many beginners go for this machine is its ease of use. It arrives at your doorstep fully assembled and ready for use. This means you don’t have to undergo the hassle of setting it up. With a clamshell design, the machine saves as much space as possible.
Once up and running, this machine presents you with a digital LCD timer which lets you easily set your desired transfer time. An audible alarm beeps to alert you when the transfer time is over, preventing overexposure of your items to heat.
Not only that, but the machine also has digital temperate control that that lets you set your desired transfer temperature in F; your element stops heating the moment the preset temperature is reached.
Unlike most models that fall in its price range, this machine features Teflon coating. This makes the heating surface non-sticky and convenient to use. The full-range pressure control knob lets you apply the correct pressure based on the thickness of the items you’re printing on. Don’t forget it also comes with a parallel arm handle w/ ergonomic foam grip to make it comfortable for use for long hours.
5. Z ZTDM Digital Heat Press 8 in 1 Transfer Sublimation Multifunction Machine:
For an attractive cost, you can invest in this Z ZTDM Digital Heat Press 8 in 1 Transfer Sublimation Multifunction Machine today and start enjoying quality printing that makes your customers come back for more.
The machine is perfect for business people who plan to plan to print a wide range of items as it can handle more than just a typical machine (remember it’s an 8-in-1 model with 1 x Hat Press, 1 x Mug Press, and 2 x Plate Presses included).
The first thing you’ll note about this machine is its thickened heating platen. This comes with built-in structural support to maintain the much-needed flatness. Besides, it warms up pretty quickly to ensure even heating and excellent transfer results.
Unlike most of its competition, this machine comes with a Teflon-coated, nonstick surface. This prevents cases of scorched transfers and fabric damages.
As a swing away model, this machine assures you of your safety when operating it by allowing you to safely move the heating element aside without actually coming into contact with it.
Additional factors that make this machine easy and convenient to operate include the longer 24/5” arm handle with comfortable rubber grip and digital LED controller to let you set your designed time and temperature.
6. ShareProfit 12’’ X 15’’ 5 In 1 Digital Heat Press Digital Heat Press Review:
Though ShareProfit is a newly introduced brand, they’ve quickly risen to the top due to the quality and authenticity that comes with their products. Nearly all their machines are enjoying massive usage across the US.
And one of these machines is the ShareProfit 12’’ X 15’’ 5 In 1 Digital Heat Press Digital Heat Press. As the name suggests, the machine allows you to transfer your designs to nearly all items you can imagine.
Another thing that makes this heat press quite popular is its 12” x 15” machine which is large enough to meet your home or small business printing needs. Just like any other machine, this model also comes with a teflon-coated platen.
As you know, this surface is non-stick, easy to clean, and protect your transfers from getting scorched. Most importantly, it saves you the hassle of having to buy a separate teflon/silicone sheet.
The longer arm handle design-2 4/5” to be precise- with a comfortable handle grip- makes them machine incredibly comfortable for you to operate for longer hours. The fact that its base is fully removable makes it even easier to run. The dual digital LCD display makes it easier to view your temperature and time settings for the different items you’re transferring to.
7. VEVOR Heat Presses 15 X 15 Inch 8 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation T Shirt Heat Press Machine:
Here’s another best heat press featuring an 8-in-1 design…the VEVOR Heat Presses 15 X 15 Inch 8 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation T Shirt Heat Press Machine comes with a slightly higher cost than the other 8-in-1 model we’ve previously discussed. Nevertheless, it’s a great model if you plan to transfer your artwork to wide range of items your new home-based or small business.
The most notable feature in this machine is its swing-away design, which allows you to safely move away from the heating element, minimizes your chances of accidentally touching it. Something else you’ll appreciate in this machine is its full-range pressure adjustment knob. This allows you to set the right temperature depending on the thickness of the item you’re printing on.
Being an 8-in-1 model, it comes with a detachable lower platform to make it easy for you to connect other attachments whenever you want to print different items. These attachments are included in the package and include the Heating cup, Mug Press, Mug Press, Mug Press, and the Heating hat size.
Because it also featured digital temperature and time controller, setting the most accurate temperatures for your items becomes much easier. Other notable factors include a 2 4/5 long handle for easy handling and 4/5” thick heating board for uniform heat distribution.
8. Fancierstudio DG HEAT PRESS Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Review:
Out 8th position goes to the Fancierstudio DG HEAT PRESS Digital Sublimation T-shirt Heat Press. The manufacturers behind this machine also made some improvements to make it even better for you.
Among the many improvements, they included no stick coating on the heating board to make it convenient for you to run. In addition to that, it comes with other impressive features- all at an affordable price.
Unlike most of the clamshell models on the market today, this Fancierstudio comes with electronic time and heat control system. Needless to mention, this allows you to precisely set the correct temperature and time for the item you’re printing.
In addition to this, the machine is pressure adjustable, such that you can decide the amount of pressure that you’ll need to apply for every item you’re printing on.
With a heat platen as big as 15” by 15”, you won’t have any issues working on larger items. The compact upward opening design of this machine makes it space-efficient. It also comes with supreme durability to ensure it lasts for longer than other machines out there. Best part, operating this machine is super-easy for all beginners venturing into the t-shirt printing business for the first time.
9. ZENY Digital 12"x10" Heat Press Swing Away Sublimation Machine:
If you’re operating on a tight budget, you’d also want to consider this ZENY Digital 12"x10" Heat Press Swing Away Sublimation Machine as a perfect option for you. Despite the reasonable cost, this machine delivers professional results for your small business.
This machine comes with the swing away design, which is basically an improvement of the earlier clamp shell models, allow you to apply pressure directly, thus making it even. This ensures that you end up with uniform, professional looking results.
The machine also features digital temperature and time control system which translates to more precise settings. Note that when the machine reaches the preset time and pressure, it stops transferring to prevent overexposure while guarding the print quality.
Note that this machine comes fully assembled so that you can you can use it right out of the box. It has a sufficiently large heat platen- measuring 12” by 10”- to allow you to print a wide range of items in your small business. And if you’ve never used a heat press before, the included user manual will make this model incredibly easy to use.
10. ePhoto New 15" x 15" T Shirt Heat Press Machine:
Hurray! We’re approaching the end of our list of the best heat press for vinyl reviews. This position goes to the ePhoto New 15" x 15" T Shirt Heat Press Machine- a model ideal for everyone to offer the best quality prints to their customers.
This heat press comes with a 15” by 15” heating platen that lets you conveniently print on different materials- like tees, mouse mats, tote bags, garments, ceramic tiles, jigsaw puzzles, etc.
The ePhoto machine comes integrated with the latest digital Time and Temperature Display controller which makes it easy for you to view the temperature and pressure at all times. Moreover, it features electronic time and heat control which lets you make more precise programming- resulting in exceptional results.
In addition to all this, it comes with a top mounted pressure knob that grants you easy access to adjust the unit pressure in accordance with the thickness of the item you’re printing on.
As with all the other top-rated machines, this model comes with a teflon-coated heating element. This provides a non-stick surface that prevents scorching of your transfers. Since the machine comes fully assembled, you won’t have to undergo the stress of setting it up; instead, you’ll start operating it the moment it arrives at your doorstep.
11. OrangeA Heat Press 8 in 1 Swing Away Heat Press Machine:
OrangeA Heat Press 8 in 1 Swing Away Heat Press Machine takes up our second last position. It is also the 3rd 8-in-1 heat press model on this list. And as an all-in-one machine, it comes with all the necessary attachments- including the flat platen, plates, and mugs- to allows you to transfer your colorful designs to just any printable item!
The 15” x 15” heat press has almost the same features as the other 8-in-1 models we’ve previously discussed. For instance, it has a swing-away design that enables it to safely move it to the side for safe operation.
It also comes with a digital LCD temperature and timer control function that facilitates more accurate settings. An audible alarm integrated into the machine sounds when the preset time is over to prevent overexposure of your transfers.
The full range pressure adjustment knob comes handy when you want to set the correct pressure for the item you’re printing on. You’ll also appreciate the 4/5" thick heating board that allows even heat distribution on your items. The machine comes fully assembled, making it easy to use, right outside the box.
12. Mophorn Heat Press 8 in 1 15 X 15 Inch Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine:
The Mophorn Heat Press 8 in 1 15 X 15 Inch Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine signs an end to our list of top-rated heat press reviews. This is another all-in-one heat press comes with an extra-large heating platen (measuring 15” x 15”) to provide you with a huge surface area for all your printing needs.
When it comes to performance, this Morphon does NOT disappoint. The fact it is an 8-in-1 machine means that it comes with a string of additional attachments that allows you to print on any surface/item that might be impossible with the standard heat press.
These accessories include the 1 X Hat press, 4 X Mug presses, and 2 X Plate presses. So, if you’re thinking of printing on items as well, apart from t-shirts, this is the perfect machine to order today!
The intelligent time and temperature control system is a defining factor in its overall excellent performance. It enables it you to set the right temperature or time for any given material- resulting in a high-quality transfer.
Like all the other Morphons, this machine comes fully assembled so that you can start operating it right out of the box. With its robust, scratch resistant, and fully welded steel framework, you can rest assured that this machine will last and last.
How To Buy The Top Rated But Affordable T Shirt Press Machine:
A heat press machine is a huge investment and as such, it’s important to weigh your options before making a payment.
With the market offering so many choices, identifying what is right for you can prove a challenge.
To ease the task, below are a few factors to consider during your search.
The most important factor when choosing the best T Shirt press machine is quality. The last thing you want is to spend a ton of money only for the machine to require repairs after a few weeks.
A good way to determine the durability of a machine as compared to other models is to look at the weight. High quality and durable heat press machines are heavier due to the materials used for construction.
The model you choose should be able to withstand consistent movements and clamping for years to come.
The size of heat press machine you decide upon will depend largely on the amount of space available. However, it is important to note that larger is always better. Put simply, you can put a small cloth on a large machine but you can’t print a large fabric using a small machine.
Larger models offer increased surface area to do your work and print all kinds of merchandise. We would only advice purchasing a smaller heat press if you are on a cheap budget or have limited space.
Keep in mind that purchasing a large heat will make mobility and transportation difficult.
The heat platen is the electronically heated surface. It is important that you ensure it works properly since it is one of the most crucial parts of the machine.
The platen should distribute heat evenly, something you’ll be able to test for if you are doing a demo of the new t shirt heat press. Simply turn it on and move your hands over the heat platen.
Temperature and time range
Another important factor to consider is the range of temperature and time offered by different models. If you need a heat press for standard T Shirt printing, 10 seconds and about 350 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature should suffice.
The range will vary greatly if you are working on thicker clothing like sweatshirts or ceramic mugs and other kinds of products.
Temperature and time control
The integrated temperature and time control will you set the correct temperature and time values, depending on the type of materials being printed. It is a nice way to ensure that your products don’t get burned due to overexposure and as such, an important feature to consider.
Adjustable pressure and force knobs
Some of the best t shirt heat press machines, particularly clamshell style machines, comes with an adjustable pressure knob. This helps you control the amount of pressure to apply on the fabrics.
You should make sure that the pressure is easily adjustable and well situated. Poorly situated knobs that are difficult to adjust might give you a backache due to increased strain.
Who will be using the heat press machine? Is he/she a professional or a layman? Whatever the case, it is important to purchase a model that comes with an instruction manual for ease of use.
You should also consider purchasing from a company that offers product training or great after sales support.
Heat Press Types: Clamshell vs. Draw vs. Swing Away
Heat press machines are largely categorized into three types i.e. clamshell, draw and swing away press machines.
Clamshell machines are so named because they open and close just like a clam, and are hinged on one end. They can be used to transfer artwork onto a wide variety of products including mugs, sweatshirts, boxes and almost anything else you can think of.
Due to the mechanism used to apply pressure, clamshell heat transfer machines don’t do a great job when it comes to printing thicker materials and mouse pads. However, they are a good option for someone with a limited amount of space.
There are a few downsides to using a clamshell heat pressure. For starters, it is easy to get burned if one isn’t careful. There are also higher chances of uneven pressure distribution compared to other machine types and one doesn’t always see the full work area. The frequent and opening and closing of the clamshell can prove exhausting if you are working on a bulk order.
Otherwise known as a swinger, a swing away machine features an upper heat platen machine that swings away from the lower heat platen. It swings back into place once the fabric and design are laid out.
The swinging of the upper platen makes it easier for you to lay down the designs and fabrics without fear of getting burned. This heat press machine works on a wider variety of items as compared to a clamshell.
Swing away heat press machines for their five in one functionality. This means that most models come with additional accessories, eliminating the need to purchase a hat press, mug press and other accessories separately.
Swinger machines also offer a higher comfort level for the operator compared to a clamshell. This is because the upper platen is designed to swing out of your way. The only downside is that swingers occupy a lot of space.
The draw heat press comes with a moveable lower platen that pulls out, thus giving you full access to the work area. Like the swing away machine, this one offers a complete view of the layout area. This reduces the risk of accidental burns.
The main advantage of draw heat press machines over the swing away and clamshell is that they have a compact design and take up very little space. They are a good option for high volume use. The ease of portability makes them suitable for on-site use at vendor shows.
Like the other two heat press types, there are downsides to using a draw heat press. It requires extra space in front for sliding out the lower platen. In addition, the limited amount of space between the upper and lower platens makes it difficult to work on thicker garments.
It is easy to jostle your work accidentally when pushing the lower platen back in. As such, the draw press is not the best option for high precision and delicate projects.
At Home Small Business With This: A Beginners Guide
Starting a t shirt printing venture from home is easy once you invest in the best heat press machine for small business. You can create custom shirts and merchandise for other businesses, special events and even schools.
The first decision you will be faced with is whether you want to order direct-printed garments from a manufacturer or make your own inventory with a heat press machine designed for home use. Of course, there are many advantages and disadvantages to either route.
Advantages of purchasing your own heat press table and equipment include:
Where to get customers
Another concern when it comes to a heat press business is where to get paying customers. Many startups and sellers make a mistake of worrying about this long after they have spend big bucks on equipment.
In addition to friends and family, who else are you connected to? Be sure to write down a list of networks or groups that you are a part of. They could include church leagues, soccer and baseball teams, charities, cheerleading squads, neighborhoods and missions just to name a few.
The next step is to figure out how to tap into those groups. If any of them holds flea markets and fairs, then that’s perfect. Renting a table at one of those events will give you a better clue as to what people like, and what they are interested in. Market yourself by wearing your designs to the event.
Most cities have a chamber of commerce and leads groups that hold networking events. They are often attended by small business owners who may be in need of custom apparel. Be in attendance and tell them about your products.
How to sell your products
How are you going to sell your products to the potential customers? Will people have to sign some kind of paper or will you accept email orders? Will you build an ecommerce website? What about the payments? Will you process them via PayPal or take credit cards?
All of these are questions you need to answer before the first order comes in.
Other options for selling your products include a Facebook Business Page and an informational site that is all about you and your venture. It is also important that you decide whether to use your personal cell phone or set up a different one for the business.
Make it legal
There are a few legal issues to take care of depending on where your business is located. General legal requirements include a business license and tax ID.
Choose the fabrics
Not all types of fabrics can be heat pressed. Thin fabrics and synthetic materials should not be considered. The best fabric recommendations for your business include polyester, cotton, Lycra, nylon and spandex. We always advice consulting a clothing expert if you have any doubts about the fabrics to use.
It is important to make sure that the transfer paper you use matches the design and printer. Because there are so many types of transfer papers, a good amount of research is always a good idea.
Most transfer papers available on the market are specially designed for inkjet printers. If you are using a laser jet printer, finding the right transfer paper may prove more complicated than anticipated.
Keep in mind that there are other factors that affect your choice of the right transfer paper. For instance, transfer papers for black t shirts are very different from transfer papers for white shirts.
Standard preparation of artwork for heat pressing involves printing a design and printing it with an inkjet or laser jet print. But first, you will need to design the artwork. This raises the need for a good computer program like Corel or Adobe Illustrator.
You will need to factor in the fact that inkjet printers cannot print white. If you try to print something with white, the result will be the color of the fabric instead of white.
You should also make sure that you flip the design horizontally using the software. This will ensure you don’t end up with a t shirt that has flipped artwork.
Heat Press Vinyl Temperature Chart: A Basic Guide and Instructions
Whether you are in the graphics business and are looking to expand to garment decoration or starting a custom T-Shirt shop using heat press vinyl, having a good plan and knowing the basics about this world will improve chances of success.
A major concern in this business is setting the right temperature for vinyl printing. There are so many types of materials and knowing the right temperature setting for each can be challenging.
For simplicity’s sake, this section reviews the basics of heat press vinyl temperature.
“How do I know if I’m printing at the correct temperature?” is a common question in heat press blogs and forums. To answer this question, think of the heat press as a microwave and the fabric as frozen beans. In such a case, the wise thing to do would be reading the manual.
Most heat press machines offer a wide temperature range. This makes it easier for you to adjust the temperature settings to suit different fabrics. The settings often run hand in hand with time settings.
A temperature of 320 degree Fahrenheit for about 20 seconds will suffice if you are printing dark colored garments. For light colored garments, set the temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit for 20 seconds.
The above values will vary greatly depending on several factors including the fabric type and thickness.
Here’s a rundown of these factors:
Consider a temperature of 305 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes when printing a shiny vest or reflective materials.
A temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes should be enough for transferring images onto white or light colored apparel.
It is best to stick to low heat settings when printing polyester fabrics. The perfect value in this case is 270 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds.
If the goal is to print a picture that looks old or faded, you can set the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds.
For garments with many stretches like swimsuits, 330 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds will do.
Glows in the dark
Cool designs that will glow in the dark when exposed to light will require 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 seconds to perfect.
Metal like finish
Try 320 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 seconds to print images that appear metallic.
Set the temperature to 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes when printing images on dark colored garments.
Unlike polyester, cotton garments require higher temperature settings for successful image transfer. Consider a temperature setting of 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
To achieve a textured design, use a temperature setting of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
If you want the final printed image to be of extremely high quality color, setting the temperature to 305 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 seconds will get the job done.
That concludes our heat press vinyl temperature guide. If you are experiencing difficulties with the configurations, consider buying a heat press kit to help you set the appropriate values for different materials.
It is important to note that many heat press machine for t shirts come with an instruction manual that includes a time temperature chart. This provides finer details about the right settings for different fabrics.
How to Use It: Step by Step Instructions
A heat press machine works like an iron, with the main difference being it offers more consistent pressure and heat. This section teaches you how to use a heat press machine for high quality results.
Step 1: Choose your transfer
There are different types of transfers that can be pressed onto a shirt. Ink-jet transfers are translucent and are best suited for light colored garments. Print your designs using special transfer paper and an inkjet printer.
Laser copier transfers are also translucent and created using special transfer paper and laser printer. You can opt for store bought transfers that come pre-printed. They are opaque and good for dark colored t shirts.
Die cut vinyl lettering also works and can be layered to create unique designs. This is a common option for printing sports apparel. Embroidered appliqués and patches are another type of transfer that works with heat press. However, it must have heat activated adhesive on the back for effective results.
Step 2: Print the transfer
In some cases, printing the transfer is needed. Identify an image you love, or design it yourself, and reverse it using an image editing computer program. Print the design on a special transfer paper with an inkjet printer and be sure to print it on the film side of the paper. If using a laser printer, make sure you use transfer paper designed for laser printers.
Step 3: Trim down the transfer
This is a necessity if you use printed, store-bought or supplier transfers. With such transfers, the film coating, including the parts that aren’t colored, is printed onto the shirt. You should trim down the blank parts of the film to ensure they aren’t transferred to the garment.
Step 4: Set up the heat press
Open the press and move the platen away from the silicone pad. You will want to keep it open while the platen heats up. To set the right temperature, read instructions on the transfer paper to find out what heat setting you should use.
Turn the adjustment knob clockwise and a light will flash on once the platen heats up. Turn the knob counterclockwise when the right temperature is reached and only stop when the light turns off.
You will also need to adjust the pressure. To do that, twist the pressure knob clockwise or counterclockwise to increase or decrease pressure. The right amount of pressure depends on the thickness of the garment, and thicker fabrics will require less pressure than thinner ones.
Another important aspect of setting up the heat press is setting the timer. Hold down the minute and second buttons to increase or decrease the time. The set times will vary depending on the type of fabric being printed and type of transfer paper.
Step 5: Press the shirt
Once you are done setting up the heat press machine, you can get started pressing the T Shirt. Place the shirt on the T-shirt onto the lower platen, ensuring that the side to be printed faces upwards.
Place the transfer paper on the shirt, with the face down. Ensure that the transfer paper along with the heat pad and silicone pad are inside the pressing area. If using an embroidered appliqué, set it with the adhesive side down and embroidered side up.
As evident from the above heat press machine reviews, most models come with a protective silicone pad. If yours doesn’t, consider laying down a thin cloth on top of the shirt and transfer. This provides added heat protection for your shirt. Close the press and press the start button on the timer.
When the timer runs out, open the press and remove the shirt. Be sure to peel the paper off the shirt while it is still hot. Otherwise, the image should be printed onto the shirt. Follow the same procedure to press more shirts.
Best Heat Press Brands Available on the Market
In addition to the brands mentions in the above power press heat press reviews, other reliable heat press manufacturers include Stahl Hotronix, Stahls Mighty Press, Hix, Geo Knight, Power Pro, AIT, Maxx and Panther.
Their products are all manufactured in the US and designed with functionality and durability in mind.
Let’s take a closer look at what sets these brands apart from others.
With more than 70 years of experience and technical knowledge, it is easy to understand why Stahls Hotronix is a leading brand in the heat press industry. The company is known for its cutting edge innovations and products centered around ease of use, accuracy and operator ergonomics.
Stahls Hotronix offers excellent customer support long after you purchase their equipment. In addition, all of their heat press machines are manufactured in the United States and shipped worldwide.
The product line by Stahls Hotronix caters to all kinds of needs. Whether you prefer a clamshell or swing away machine, there is a well balanced selection across a wide budget range.
To top it all up, Stahls Hotronix equipment comes with CE, UL and ULC certifications. This gives your product the stamp of approval from the above agencies and serves as an assurance that your heat press is in compliance with worldwide safety standards.
Hix Corporation is a global leader in design, innovation and manufacture of high-performance graphics production equipment.
The company caters to all kinds of customer needs by offering clamshell, swing-away and specialty heat press machines across a wide price range. Hix also offers a whole range of heat press accessories to make your job easier.
Hix boasts a 110,000 square foot manufacturing facility and their goods are sold in more than 60 countries. Combined with the 50+ year experience, it’s easy to understand why their heat press machines are so popular among businesses and hobbyists alike.
Another company associated with manufacture of high quality heat press machinery is Geo Knight. Whether you want to eat press t shirts, caps, tiles, mugs or any other product, this company has got you covered.
Geo Knight was established in 1885 and specialized in manufacture of die cutting and industrial press equipment. Over the past 40+ years, the company has specialized in heat press machinery for industrial, commercial and private use.
Geo Knight offers everything from commercial-grade automatic and manual heat presses to hobby presses. The equipment is available in a wide range of price ranges to cater to different customer needs.
AIT is more than just a heat press manufacturer. The company also designs and manufactures high-performance fabric fusing, rolling Z garment racks and fabric inspection machinery.
The company has been a leading supplier of technologically advanced equipment for more than three decades. In recent years, it has become a major supplier of heat press equipment including rotary drum and heat platen press machines.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are some of the things I can make with a heat press?
Heat press machines can be used to make rhinestones, t shirts, tote bags, mouse pads, jigsaw puzzles, lettering, paper memo cubes, caps, ceramic plates and mugs, ceramic tiles and other fabrics and materials. This list is far from exhaustive.
2. Can I press on the front and back of a t shirt with a heat press?
Absolutely! Simply do one side and place a Teflon sheet between the two sides and on the new side you are transferring images onto.
3. Should I buy the cheapest heat press online? Is it a scam?
There is always that one heat press on major online retail stores whose price is lower than that of the rest. You will probably find a listing advertising what’s usually a $350 machine for $80. That is more than likely a scam. We recommend avoiding sellers who don’t have customer reviews.
4. Should I wash t shirts before heat pressing them?
There is no need for washing your shirts before heat pressing them. In fact, doing so will take away the ‘new feeling’ of the garment, which isn’t so great if you plan on selling the t shirt. As long as you pre-press the shirt and apply the right amount of pressure and heat, the results will be perfect.
5. Does a heat press machine use a lot of power?
In most cases, heat presses don’t use a lot of power. An 1800W heat press that is plugged in for about six hours each day will cost an extra $1. It’s important to ensure that your machine is plugged into its own outlet so that it doesn’t compete for power with other devices.
6. How do I remove unwanted vinyl from a heat pressed shirt?
Accidentally leaving unweeded vinyl is common, particularly when dealing with intricate vinyl designs. The most effective solution to your problem is heat the area from the back using an iron. The vinyl will soften and you can pull it off with tweezers.
7. Can I press caps with a flat heat press?
No, because using a flat heat press will ruin the cap. You will need to invest in a special cap heat press or an attachment press.
8. How do I make sure that my heat press has even heat distribution?
An easy way to test the pressure distribution is to four squares of paper in each corner and closing the press. Try to pull out the papers. If one of them comes out easier, there is a good chance that the platen doesn’t provide even pressure across the platform.
9. How much space do I need for a heat press machine?
The right answer really depends on the size of the machine you purchase. Be sure to examine the amount of workspace available before purchasing a heat press. You will need at least three feet of space if you want to buy a swing-away model and at least two feet for a clamshell or draw machine.
10. What kind of training do I need to operate a heat press machine?
Learning how to use a heat press machine only takes about 10 minutes and as such, anyone can get started after knowing the basics. Issues covered during your training include what to do about buttons and zippers, how to preheat the garment, how to apply different transfers and importance of cover sheets.
11. What kind of silicone pads should I choose to ensure excellent results?
Silicone pads come in varying quality levels, with top quality ones being ½ to 3/8 inches thick. High quality silicone pads are made from virgin silicone, die cut for clean edges, not mixed or recycled and have radius corners for longevity.
12. What kind of maintenance does a heat press require?
Like every other machinery, a heat press requires regular maintenance and care to continue working efficiently. Models that have non-stick coated upper platens are easy to clean if graphics are applied without a cover sheet or incorrectly.
All you need to do is dust and clean your heat press with a mild household cleaner. Be sure to clean the external parts of the machine including the heat platen and silicone pads.
13. Do I need another heat press if I’m printing hundreds of shirts in a day?
Probably. However, it is best to invest in a high-bulk machine that can maintain accurate temperatures and consistent heat. Some models are incapable of delivering the above due to poor insulation, thin platen or some other design flaw.
Consider a model with a thick platen, accurate digital readout and ability to retain heat. This will eliminate the need for purchasing an additional heat press machine. Additionally, an automatic or semi-automatic swing away is better as you won’t tire easily.
14. Do I need a digital readout?
Absolutely. After determining the temperature and time settings that works for the graphics and transfers you use often, it’s important to ensure that you can replicate them every time. This is a where a digital readout comes in.
With a manual, bell or dial thermostat, replicating the settings will be difficult. A digital readout makes it easy to control time and temperature with absolute precision.
That’s it for our A-to-Z heat press guide. If you have gone through the write up with a keen eye, you will note that the top heat press machines reviewed above are among the best the market has to offer.
They have been designed, tested and proven by professional experts. They will help you create and print all kinds of designs that will build reputation for your small business.
We took our time choosing the 10 best heat presses and putting together a whole lot of information that will help you get started with your venture.
If you are looking to make an important decision to purchase a heat press machine that will propel your business to the next level, just take your pick from the 10 reviewed products.
We wish you the best of luck as you venture into your new business!