15 Best Heat Press Machine: Reviews with Buyer’s Guide (2018)
Hello my friends,
Did you know that heat pressing is one of the newest and easiest methods of printing your designs onto your apparels, bags, mugs, and other items?
This amazing printing technique allows you to customize virtually anything.
But, before you jump right in and start heat printing, there’s something you should know. Only the best heat press machine will help you do the job effortlessly and to perfection.
In addition to obtaining a machine that’s affordable, you want to get one that is easy to use, and capable of printing high-grade designs while attracting as little running expenses as possible. You also want a heat press that will serve you for a long time.
With my vast knowledge and practical experience in heat press machines and heat pressing in general, I feel I am in the best position to guide you and help you pick a machine that works for you.
I will not only show you how to get a great heat press machine but also share valuable tips with you on using it.
Get ready to discover the best heat transfer machine for your needs and learn a very interesting side to heat pressing.
A most vital machine you will need to run your apparel printing business is the heat press. But you might be wondering what precisely the machine is and what it does.
In this section, I will help you understand that in the easiest way possible.
What’s a Heat Press?
A heat press is a device that uses a combination of heat and pressure to transfer graphic designs onto a substrate. It helps you customize garments, mugs, caps, and other items in a modern and easy way.
The heat press offers you an alternative to other printing methods like sublimation and screen printing.
Apart from printing garments, the heat press enables you to put your designs on utensils like plates and mugs, metal items, jigsaw puzzles, bags, and a full range of other items.
The heat press has a heating surface called a platen. The platen is normally heated electronically. Printing items correctly is all about applying the right pressure to the heating surface and setting proper values for time and temperature.
Heat printing is typically considered slower than other printing methods like screen printing. However, technology is improving at a fast rate, and so are heat press machines. With a good heat press, you’ll have a high turnover in the garments you print.
Heat pressing is much cheaper compared to other printing methods and with quality heat press, you can work on whatever quantity of garments and still make a good profit. With one of the top models, you no longer have to worry about order limits.
The best thing about the heat press is that it’s quite affordable. Also, if you go for a high-quality model, all you’ll spend is a bit extra. And, no matter the amount of cash you spend acquiring it, if you’re going into commercial printing, recouping it will be super-fast. With the increasing demand for custom apparels, the market is limitless.
How Heat Press Works
The machine uses heat and pressure to print designs on various materials. Some models have manual operation while others are automatic.
With a manual heat press, you will, needless to say, require some effort to get the work done. But, if you have an automatic model, you will need just a little effort.
Apart from the machine itself, you will need a transfer paper and some sublimation ink to transfer your designs.
The procedure involves printing your design on the transfer paper (like a heat transfer vinyl) with the sublimation ink. You, then, have to heat the press to ensure the transfer paper releases the sublimation ink.
The process enables the transfer of ink from the transfer paper to the material you’re printing on.
Contrary to most other graphic printing tools, the heat press machine works quite swiftly. This increases your production rate.
If you’re looking to print small orders, a heat press machine presents you with the best solution.
Even though the heat press is cheap and works quickly, it delivers great results. As a matter of fact, the quality of printings produced is better in several ways than that of other printing technologies.
For example, if you screen print a t-shirt, a rough texture might be left on it if you print with multiple colors. On the other hand, a heat press will ensure that the resulting graphic is soft and smooth.
Unlike the iron-on method, using a heat press machine helps you imprint images on your garment with the heat levels of up to 400 °F, and the printing still comes out great.
Does your printing business focus on many different materials? Another amazing fact about the heat press is that it works for a wide assortment of materials. You can print on cotton, ceramics, spandex, satin, polyester, and so on.
With this versatile printing machine, you’ll be able to accept all sorts of orders including:
- Mouse pads
Our Best Heat Press Machine Picks:
1. PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine
Got limited workspace?
Then, you need a good compact model like PowerPress.
As a clamshell-style heat press, the PowerPress 15x15 Industrial Quality has an upward opening model that saves space.
The new 15x15 model comes with great improvements such as the Teflon-covered heating platen. This awesome feature helps protect your items from getting scorched during the pressing process.
With this machine, you don’t have to worry about power, as it uses only 110 volts. That means that you can connect it to your regular wall outlet at home. Also, it has a relatively low power consumption around of 1800 watts.
That means you will only have to only spend around a dollar extra on power each day.
With the press’s wide temperature range (0 to 750 °F), you can press a wide range of surfaces, even those that require high heat for the transfer to adhere.
The PowerPress 15x15 Industrial Quality is perfect for applying letter transfers, numbers, images, and other designs onto a broad array of items, including bags, jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, ceramic tiles, t-shirts, and so on.
2. Fancierstudio Power Digital 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press
The Fancierstudio Power is yet another machine that’s designed to help you save space.
It is a compact, upward opening press. For that reason, it helps save lots of space.
The Power versionis Fancierstudio’s new heat press model with great improvements from the previous version.
On this new model, the heat platen comes with an innovative coating on the upper heating platen that helps protect your garments against direct heat.
Also, the silicon pad is glued down to help stabilize your items and prevent them from moving about during pressing.
The machine uses a voltage of 110 volts, and therefore, you can just plug it into your regular wall outlet at home.
With its electronic time and temperature controls, you can easily use precise settings. These controls are very important as they help you avoid overexposing your clothes to the heat.
This heat press is best used for applying letters, images, and numbers on:
3. F2C Pro 6 in 1 Combo T-shirt, Hat, Cap, Mug, Plate, Digital Transfer Sublimation Machine Review:
Looking for a machine that lets you print on a wide range of materials?
That would be the swing away-model F2C Pro.
As a swing away press, it as lots of advantages over the normal clamshell press. For instance, it gives you more access to the lower platen, and thus you can place your items there for pressing in your preferred style.
Also, the swing away design helps you push the heating platen aside so you don’t contact it unexpectedly and get burned.
The press is designed to help you bring out your personality by placing your unique designs on your:
And of course, you can use it to print on many other materials.
This machine has a substitutable system of platens and other important elements, and that might be the main reason for its popular success. With regard to its substitutable elements, you can replace damaged parts easily.
With the machine, you can transfer colorful characters and images with either dissolved or sublimating ink onto textiles, ceramics, and even glasses.
4. Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 12" x 15" Swing-away Design Heat Press Machine
Looking to invest in a great swing away-style heat press?
A good consideration would be the Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press.
The machine’s got a huge 12-inch by 15-inch heating element, which offers you enough surface to create large designs.
It also has a 6- by 3-inch hat/cap press attachment.
The press is a heavy-duty machine with a firm steel frame. This makes it super stable and fit for commercial purposes. It also makes the press last long.
Apart from that, the machine has a modifiable multi-spring balancer that promotes the distribution of pressure evenly during the pressing process.
The Mophorn 5 in 1 is also quite effective on a wide range of materials including ceramics, fabrics, jigsaw puzzles, mouse pads, and coasters.
It also comes with special press attachments to enable you print on plates, mugs, and hats.
5. Promo Heat 15 in. x 15 in. Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine
Looking for the best t-shirt printer machine that saves you space?
Try out the Promo PRO-3804X.
This comes with a big 15 inch by 15 inch heating element that lets you transfer designs onto numerous flat-surface items like wood, fabric, glass, and ceramic.
The best thing about this heat press is that it’s extremely easy to use, and hence if you’re just getting started with heat pressing, I’d advise you to go for this one.
The Promo PRO-3804X comes fully assembled and ready for use. The only items that are not included are the transfer paper and its printer. Apart from that, everything else is included.
It has a Clamshell design, which makes using the machine even easier and saves on space.
The machine has an LCD digital timer, and therefore, you can easily preset your preferred time and when this time is done, an alarm will alert you. This helps prevent overexposure of the garment to the heat.
Another great advantage of having the Promo PRO-3804X is that it comes with a full-range pressure knob that’s easy to access. You can easily adjust the pressure to suit the thickness of what you’re printing.
The press also has a parallel arm with handy foam-grip to minimize handle flex when you open or close it.
6. ShareProfit 12’’ X 15’’ 5 In 1 Adjustable Multi-spring Balancer Digital Heat Transfer Machine
If you’re going into commercial heat printing, then you will need a heat press that enables you to serve a wide range of clients. There are those clients who will need you to print t-shirts for them; there are others who will need you to print mugs, plates, hats, and a full range of other items for them.
That is why when looking for a heat press, you ought to go for one that can handle all those items – like the ShareProfit 5 In 1 Digital Heat Press.
There’s a reason as to why this press is known as a 5-in-1. It comes with special attachments to help you print caps, mugs, hats, and plates on top of printing on general garments like t-shirts.
The machine has a Teflon-coated heating platen to minimize damage to fabrics by the heat.
Apart from that, the pressing surface is non-stick, meaning the transfers have minimal chances of getting scorched.
7. ePhotoInc Swing Away 9 x 12 T Shirt Transfer Sublimation Press Machine
In case you’re looking for an easy-to-use swing-away heat printing machine, the ePhotoInc Swing Away Heat Press might turn out very helpful. It comes already assembled and ready for use.
Then again, its swing away design means the pressure gets directed straight down, and thus it gets applied even more evenly than in a clamshell-style machine. That way, the quality of the transfer becomes excellent.
The ePhotoInc Swing Away Heat Press supports a full 360° rotation of the swing arm. That means you can move the heating element aside with ease. It also minimizes the chances of accidentally contacting the heating element and getting burned.
With this machine, you get to enjoy great flexibility.
With regard to that, you can press a wide range of items, including license plates, certificates, ceramic plates, t-shirts, bags, mouse pads, and more.
8. F2C 15" x 15" Black Digital Clamshell T-shirt Sublimation Machine
Want a heat press that makes it possible to use the same heat and temperature settings over and over without having to adjust the values every time? That would be the F2C 15" x 15" Digital.
This heat press’s digital time and temperature control panel has a memory function to make that possible.
Besides that, the press has an automatic countdown along with an alarm to notify you when the pressing time is done.
With the F2C 15" x 15" Digital Heat Press, you can apply transfers in form of numbers, letters, and images to a wide range of materials, including cotton, metal, glass, ceramic, and more. That means that you can place your designs on your t-shirts, bags, ceramic tiles, mouse mats, plates, and so on.
Looking to give someone a gift or create advertising materials? The F2C 15" x 15" Digital Heat Press will come in handy. With an opening angle of 70° for the heating platen, you can operate it conveniently to produce unique designs that people will love.
9. F2C® Pro 5 in 1 Digital Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine Hat/Mug/Plate/Cap/T-shirt Multi-function
Seeking a machine that has all the must-have attachments?
The F2C Pro 5 in 1 Heat Press will serve you well.
It comes with special attachments for mugs and plates alongside the normal flat platen for garments.
This press allows you to transfer colorful images with dissolved and sublimating ink onto a wide array of materials including ceramics, textiles, glasses, cotton, nylon, and more.
The F2C Pro 5 in 1 is an all-in-one heat press that you can use to print on t-shirts, ceramic plates and tiles, mugs, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, and many other items.
Apart from that, the press has an LED controller for the time and temperature settings, and thus you can easily set your preferred values.
It also comes with a full-range knob for adjusting pressure, making the operation pretty easy and precise.
The machine’s 12x15 inch heating element and transfer surface enable you to create your custom t-shirts no matter your preferences with regard to the size of the printing.
10. VEVOR Heat Presses 12 X 15 Inch 8 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation T Shirt Heat Press Machine
Looking for the ultimate all in one heat press machine?
I recommend going for the VEVOR 8 In 1, which happens to be top quality heat press for vinyl.
The fact that it is an 8 in 1 means that it gives you the power to transfer your designs to a broad array of materials.
Besides the normal flat platen that you normally use for t-shirts, the press comes with special attachments for mugs and plates.
As a matter of fact, with the machine, you can print on t-shirts, mugs, ceramic plates and tiles, mouse pads, coasters, jigsaw puzzles, and numerous other items.
With the press, it’s possible to place unique and colorful images on glasses, ceramics, textiles, and other materials.
The VEVOR 8 In 1 Heat Press’s heating platen is Teflon-coated, and it includes numerous different heating coils to provide consistency in heat production throughout its surface.
Also, the machine’s digital temperature gauge ranges from 0 to around 430 °F, allowing you to imprint designs on almost any material effectively.
11. Super Deal Digital Swing Away 12" X 10" Heat Press Clamshell Transfer Machine for T-Shirt Sublimation with Digital LCD timer and Temperature Control
You know why a press that comes with an alarm is superior? When the ideal temperature is reached, the machine signals you to place your garments on the pressing surface and start printing.
Also, once the pressing is done, you can switch off the machine and remove your garments, thereby protecting them from scorching due to excessive heat.
The Super Deal Digital Swing Away Heat Press’s design is such that the machine beeps to signal you to get to work, and to alert you when the work is finished.
The machine also comes with a Teflon-covered heating platen to protect your items from damage by heat.
The heating platen has many heating coils to ensure there’s even heat emission and distribution.
The press features a unique swing away design that lets you rotate the upper heating platen by 360°. That allows you to move the platen aside and protect yourself from burns.
12. Happybuy 8 in 1 15" X 15" 360 Degree Swing-away Heat Press Machine
How about a heat press that comes with excellent support from the manufacturer?
Yep, that’s what you get with the Happybuy 5 in 1 Heat Press.
The machine comes with great directions on use, but if you feel that something is still not clear, you can contact the manufacturer for further explanations. And, they’re very responsive.
The reason as to why this machine is termed as a 5 in 1 is that it enables you to print 5 different types of items – t-shirts, cups, hats, mugs, and plates.
This model allows you to print your designs on different materials, including cotton, metal, glass, and ceramic through heat transfer.
One of the best things about the press is that it’s both economical and safe, and that’s why it’s popular in the printing of letters, personal images, and other designs onto garments, bags, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, ceramic tiles and other items.
Something else that’s noteworthy about this heat press is that it consumes relatively little power – 1250 watts.
It also requires a low power input – 110 volts, which is readily available in your home.
13. Fancierstudio Swing Away Heat Press 9"x12" Coated with Sheet Sublimation heat press
Looking for a quality clamshell-style heat press?
Then I recommend going for the Fancierstudio Heat Press. This machine is arguably heat press for home use.
This is another one of Fancierstudio’s improvements on old models and it has excellent performance.
Like the Fancierstudio Power, this model comes with a new Teflon coating on the heating platen to improve efficiency.
The Fancierstudio Heat Press’s silicone pad is glued down. For that reason, the pressing area is stable. You can work on your projects without the problem of your items shifting positions spontaneously.
As a clamshell-style model, the Fancierstudio Heat Press’s top platen opens upward, thus saving you space.
This machine is ideal for pressing numbers, letters, and graphics on a broad assortment of items, including:
Of course, you can use it to print on other items, including ID badges.
14. ZENY Pro 5 in 1 12" x 15" Swing Away Multifunctional Digital Transfer Sublimation Hat Plate Cap Heat Press Machine for T-shirt
Swing away heat presses are an improvement on the clamshell design. The pressure they deliver is directed straight downward, and therefore, it’s usually distributed evenly onto your garment.
That’s why you get better results with swing away models than clamshell heat presses.
ZENY Digital happens to be one of the best swing away-style heat presses out there. It allows you to transfer onto a wide range of flat-surfaced stuff including metal, wood, ceramic, and glass.
The machine enables you to bring out the real you with your custom shirts, bags, mouse mats, license plates, and other items.
The ZENY Digital heat printing machine features a full 360° rotating swing arm that lets you move the heating element aside safely, thereby lowering the risk of accidental contact.
Also, the press comes with an LCD timer control panel to help you preset your preferred temperature and time. An alarm will notify you when the pressing time is finished to help prevent overexposing your items to heat.
Then again, the heating element stops automatically when the preset temperature is attained.
15. ePhotoInc 15 x 15" T-Shirt Heat Transfer Press Sublimation Machine
Here’s another model from the reputed ePhotoInc brand.
Want the most inexpensive heat press for home use? The ePhotoInc 15” x 15” Heat Press Machine is tailored for you. In fact, it is arguably the best affordable t-shirt printing machine.
This press is compact, and its upper platen opens upward, meaning that it helps you save space. This feature is very helpful if you’re looking to start a home t-shirt printing business and have limited space.
The ePhotoInc 15” x 15” Heat Press Machine comes with a full-range pressure knob that is adjustable, thus helping you press your items based on your preferences.
With the machine, you can transfer cool designs to your t-shirts, bags, jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, and many other items.
Another amazing this about this press is that it doesn’t need additional altering or construction. Once you get it, you can begin printing immediately.
Also, the machine has a digital timer for the temperature and heat. You can set the temperature to a maximum of 500 °F.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Heat Press Machine
I bet you want to invest in the best t shirt press machine. If you keep the following aspects in mind when looking for a heat press to buy, you will never go wrong.
How long will the machine last?
You can get the answer to this question by looking at other users’ testimonials. One platform that helps you in this is Amazon.
What are the machine’s old users saying?
Also, you can know the machine’s quality from the materials used to construct it. Steel is an example of a long-lasting material.
Are you a total beginner?
This factor might be very important. I recommend you spend based on your limits. If you have a low budget, go for an inexpensive model that meets your needs.
With such a platen, you will be able to transfer a design excellently and the results will be great. But, with a bad heating platen, the resulting printing will not be very appealing.
A good heating platen is one that distributes the heat evenly. When you encounter a model, turn it on and wave your hand over the platen. That way, you will feel the heat and gauge its distribution.
After buying the machine, you might need to contact the manufacturer to help you deal with a problem that may emerge abruptly as you operate it.
If the manufacturer has a reliable support team, the whole process will be seamless. The manufacturer should have a reputation of responding quickly to their customers’ issues.
Digital Time and Temperature Controls
Modern heat presses, even the cheap ones, have digital controls for the time and temperature. The feature helps you set precise values for temperature and time more easily.
This is very vital for you if you’re looking to go commercial. You don’t want to burn your customers’ garments, do you?
Still about the time and temperature aspect, you’ve got to find out the machine’s range.
A standard machine comes with limits of 350 °F and 10 seconds for the temperature and time respectively. Those values are enough to meet all your apparel-printing needs.
What space do you have? Can it accommodate a huge machine or is it limited and suited only to a small heat press?
The size of the apparels you’ll be printing on also matters as it determines the size of the machine you should buy. If you’re looking to print t-shirts for college sports teams, you might need to buy a huge machine that can handle those large sizes.
If, however, your main target is kids’ apparels, a small machine will do just fine.
Adjustable Pressure Knobs
Make sure that pressure knob can be adjusted effortlessly. That way, you will have total control over the amount of pressure you apply on the garments.
This is one of the most frequently overlooked aspects. Of course, heat pressing is a simple printing method, but for a perfect print, you want to ensure you’re doing everything right. And what helps you do that? A good, easy-to-understand user manual.
The machine should come with a step-by-step manual that tells you exactly how to use it for great results.
The review below should help you discover the best heat press machine for your specific needs, whether you want to set up a big garment printing firm or just a small-scale t-shirt printing business at home.
Don’t forget to go through the sections below these reviews; there’s vital info in there and if you’re a beginner, you don’t want to miss it. It will help you greatly in your heat pressing career.
How to Use Your Heat Press Machine Properly?
Looking to design your t-shirts beautifully using the heat press? Then you will need to know how to use the press correctly.
The following is a step-by-step guide to help you use your heat press machine in the right way.
1. Choose the image you’re looking to print on your garment
There are so many ways of coming up with ideas for your design. For instance, you can use a slogan, a personal photo, an abstract drawing, and more.
I suggest using a computer program like Photoshop or corel to edit the design and reverse it. You want to use it in its mirror-image form.
2. Print the image onto a transfer paper
Once you’re finished with the editing process, it’s now time to print the image on the transfer paper.
I recommend doing a test print first before printing on the transfer paper. In that regard, you print the image on a regular paper to have a picture of how the image will be printed on the transfer paper.
If the image satisfies you, you can go ahead and print it on the transfer paper.
Your transfer paper ought to have an opaque or clear film on one of the sides depending on the nature of the apparel you’re printing.
If you’re printing on clothes colored white or light-gray, a transfer paper with a clear film is better. But, if you’re printing any other color, one with an opaque film will do.
3. Weed the printed transfer paper
The weeding process entails cutting off sections of the paper that you don’t want to press onto the garment. These could be empty or blank spaces not covered by your design.
4. Prep your machine for the transfer
Is your image ready to be printed? Great!
Now, flip the on/off switch to turn on the press. Then, rotate the thermostat knob toward the right till you see the light appear.
Once the temperature reading reaches the ideal pressing heat level for the fabric you’re printing on, rotate the thermostat left until the light is out.
Note: The heating light helps you regulate the temperature. Instead of the light, some modern machines come with a digital timer. If your machine is as such, you’re supposed to hear an alarm once the ideal temperature and pressing time is reached, after which you should hit the stop button.
Once the pressing time is finished, lift the handle to open the machine.
5. Put the transfer paper on the garment
First, lay the apparel on the lower platen, which happens to be the working table of the machine. Be sure to spread out the apparel for a nice transfer. Next, place the transfer paper on the apparel.
When doing this, you ought to ensure that the film side faces down over the apparel.
6. Close the machine
Close the heat press by bringing down the heating platen.
Note: the upper platen is the heating platen. It contains the heating element. Bring it down so it locks the transfer paper along with your garment in place.
Check your transfer paper. There should be some directions regarding the pressing time. Set the machine to the right time based on those instructions.
As soon as the time is over, you will hear a ring. That signals you to lift the upper platen to avoid scorching the garment.
Lastly, peel the transfer paper off your garment.
Do you love your garment’s new look? I loved mine’s!
Additional tips on proper heat pressing
How to Take Care of Your Heat Press Machine?
The last thing you want is an inefficient machine, particularly when you have so many orders trickling in. On the other hand, if you take good care of your heat press, it will make your business prosper and put you on top of the competition.
Below are a few care and maintenance tips to help you keep your machine as good as new.
1. Ensure the heating platen remains clean always
Remember, the heating platen is the upper platen. If you keep it clean and smooth, then you’re sure to achieve success.
By cleaning the platen regularly, you prevent the buildup of elements that can affect the even distribution of pressure and heat on your garments.
Now, to clean it, first turn off the machine and let it cool down. Next, put a little mineral spirit on a piece of cloth. The piece of cloth should be soft and made of cotton preferably. Use it to wipe the platen gently.
2. Safeguard the silicon pad
You can find the pad at the press’slower platen; it plays a vital role in making sure there’s even distribution of pressure. Protecting it, therefore, helps keep the whole machine in good shape.
The pad’s edges tend to get worn out with time. That’s because of the process of loading and taking out the garments every now and then.
Moreover, hard objects such as zippers and buttons might puncture the pad, thereby ruining the distribution of pressure.
To avoid those unfortunate scenarios, apply a Teflon cover over the lower platen. This cover will protect the pad. Your apparels will henceforth slide over the cover and won’t be able to reach the pad and damage it.
3. Lubricate frequently
The press has pivot points that might get stressed with frequent pressing. Now, to prevent that, all you have to do is lubricate the machine on a regular basis.
Here’s your task: locate the press’s pivot points and make sure that you grease them once per month, at least.
In case you normally use your machine often to work on large orders, consider greasing it three times per month, at least.
Try this out and you’ll see your experience using the machine improving.
4. Clean the air system
Are you using an automatic heat press? As you might already know, such a press operates with the help of air compressors.
The compressors normally pump air from the atmosphere into the machine’s air system.
In the process, dirt and other unwanted particles may find their way into the air system, clog it, and greatly diminish its performance. Even worse, these foreign substances might cause the machine’s air stem to leak.
To avoid such a situation, examine the machine’s air system regularly and if you discover it’s very dirty, replace it.
Moisture can build up in the air system, clogging it and causing it to leak. That’s why it’s important to operate the machine in an area that’s not very humid. You can also use a desiccant air dryer to keep your machine free from moisture.
By observing these precautionary tips, your machine will always be at its best and even better, it will last a long time.
Types of Heat Press Machines
Heat press machines are normally classified according to the opening style. In the section below, I will help you understand the 3 main types of heat press machines available in the market today.
1. The clamshell model
This machine has a design the shell of a clam. You normally open up the top platen, and then place the application design along with the substrate on the lower platen.
Following that, you close the top platen and set the appropriate values for the heat and pressure.
With the clamshell design, you get to enjoy better application time and a single-step operation.
Another good thing about the clamshell model is that it is portable, needs less operational workspace and needs less manning; it is highly reliable.
Are you a beginner? Go for the clamshell design first. You can advance to other designs later.
2. The swing model
Also known as the swinger design. With the swinger, the top platen swings away sideways from the bottom one once lifted.
The sideways swinging action offers you total access to the bottom platen. That way, you can arrange your substrate and design easily.
Although the swinger model needs more working space, unlike the clamshell model, it provides you with safety against burns from the heating platen.
Also, the design offers you great printing precision.
3. The draw model
Looking to combine the best features of the swing model and the clamshell model into one superior design? Go for the draw model.
You can open and close the upper platen like that of a clamshell model. On top of that, you can pull out the lower platen like a drawer in your direction. That way, you can set the design and substrate easily on the platen. You also get to have a great view of the printing area.
The draw model keeps the heating platen away from you, thus offering you a safe working environment.
Looking to print in bulk? Get the draw design heat press.
Why Should You Use Heat Press Machine for T-shirt Printing?
Heat press machines are, without doubt, transforming the t-shirt industry in amazing ways. With a heat press machine, you can print a high-quality design on your t-shirt quickly and without having to spend much money.
Printing using the heat press is easy and with today’s technology, the print doesn’t fade easily.
But, maybe you’re yet to figure if the heat press is the right machine for printing your t-shirts.
Now, if you’re looking to go into commercial printing, you’ll be pleased to learn that many of the people doing apparel printing out there with the heat press are making fortunes. That’s because their customers keep coming back due to the excellent quality of the job.
With the heat press, your clients can just select the size and color of the graphics they wish to print on their garments, and you can do the job on demand. With a great heat press, you can do the job swiftly; this makes clients very happy and satisfied.
Below, I have expanded on the benefits of the heat press to help you realize why this is the right tool for your t-shirt printing business.
1. It’s arguably the easiest-to-use t-shirt printing machine
One of the things that makes the heat press unique is that it presents one of the easiest t-shirt printing methods.
Can you believe that even as an absolute beginner, you learn the basics in minutes and start printing immediately? What other printing machine allows you to do that?
Don’t let the machine’s technology intimidate you. As a matter of fact, you can master using the machine in a week or less.
2. Involves less costs
This is another unique advantage of the heat press. You can get a starter heat press for 200 dollars or less. And, if you prefer a professional press, the cost will hardly go beyond 3000 dollars.
Unlike screen printing, you will not have to buy any inks or dyes for a successful design transfer. That means less running costs, as the cost of inks and the cost of repairs due to damage done by the ink spills are eliminated.
3. Delivers great results
A heat press helps you print your clients’ orders quickly without compromising the quality. The image resolution of the graphics produced by this printing method is normally higher than average especially if you use the computer to edit and optimize the image before printing.
Also, a heat press lets you apply a broad assortment of special effects to the t-shirts.
Heat presses operate with heat levels of up to 750 °F. This makes it possible to print images that won’t fade easily.
4. Quick production
Keep in mind that the faster the production process, the more the orders you can accept. What does that mean?
That’s right, it means that you get to earn more profits. If you invest in a good professional heat press machine, you will get one with a handy control panel that supports fast implementation and quick delivery.
As a matter of fact, the heat pressing using the heat press machine remains the best, most efficient method for working on small orders.
5. High flexibility
Heat presses are capable of printing on different materials, including fabrics like cotton and satin, hard surfaces such as ceramics, and synthetics like spandex.
That means that with this machine, you can accept all sorts of orders from clients.
Moreover, a good heat press machine allows you to print on all parts of the garment, including over the shoulders and beneath the collar.
6. Can be integrated with other printing techniques
Looking to make your printing look great and professional? You can use the heat press along other printing techniques like ink injection to make this happen.
With heat transfer using the heat press machine alongside the ink injection technique, you can apply different colors to your design. You inject them directly into your garment and fix there permanently with the heat press machine.
You can also integrate the heat press with the sublimation method.
7. Doesn’t require much space
The heat press machine is space efficient; it needs only a small space. There are compact models in the market that you can purchase and start using immediately in your home, even if you have very limited space.
Heat Press Time and Temperature Guide
Maybe you’ve got a heat press and a bunch of first customers but you’re not sure how to control the machine’s time and temperature for great results.
What makes the transfer process a bit more complex than it appears on the surface is the decision of what temperature, time, and pressure to apply. You might also wonder whether to peel the transfer while hot or cold.
But, you don’t need to worry about that anymore, as I have composed a small guide to help you out.
Time and Temperature Guide for Different Materials:
When working with fabrics made of polyester, it’s crucial that you apply lower temperatures. Use the following instructions:
Heat: 270 °F
Time: 10 minutes
2. Full Color
Looking to attain a full-color printing with vivid colors? Use these settings:
Heat: 350 °F
Time: 10 to 12 minutes
3. Vintage Look
Maybe you want a design that looks old and faded. Use these settings:
Heat: 350 °F
Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Is your design textured with an actual glitter that you’d like to transfer to your garment? Here are the settings to use:
Heat: 350 °F
Time: 15 minutes
In case you’re looking to place your designs on your swimwear or any other stretchy attire, these are the settings you should apply:
Heat: 335 °F
Time: 12 to 14 minutes
6. Basic t-shirts and sweat shirts
To have effective prints on such clothes, use these settings:
Heat: 365 to 375 °F
Time: 10 to 12 minutes
7. Glow in the Dark
There are numerous designs that glow in the dark when exposed to light. You can press such designs onto your garments and still bring out the effects using these settings:
Heat: 350 °F
Time: 10 to 12 minutes
8. Difficult Fabrics
Need to print on a stubborn fabric? Try these settings:
Heat: 330 °F
Time: 15 minutes
9. Metal-like finish
If you want to transfer a design that will have a metallic finish, use these instructions to make the transfer:
Heat: 320 °F
Time: 20 minutes
In case you are printing on reflective materials, like safety gear, here are the settings to use for an effective transfer:
Heat: 305 °F
Time: 10 to 12 minutes
11. Photo Transfer, White
If you’re printing a photo on a white garment, use these settings:
Heat: 385 °F
Time: 25 to 30 minutes
12. Photo Transfer, Dark
What if the garment you’re printing on is dark? These are the settings to use:
Heat: 365 °F
Time: 25 minutes
13. High Quality
Maybe your client needs a HD, full color image printed on their t-shirt. In that case, you ought to use the following settings.
Heat: 305 °F
Time: 10 minutes
These instructions should help you deal with virtually any transfer task you will encounter in your printing career.
The History Of The Graphic T-Shirt
The graphic t-shirt’s history dates back to the 1940’s. The first graphic t-shirt was spotted on the Life Magazine’s cover. At that time, the use of printed t-shirts was still very limited.
About a decade later, plastisol ink was invented. It made the printing of graphic t-shirts easy, and hence printed t-shirts gained increasing popularity over the late 1950’s and 1960’s.
Some people used the printed t-shirts to deliver self-expression messages while others used them to run protests, souvenirs, and even ads.
Big companies capitalized on the potential of graphic t-shirts in marketing.
In the 60’s, it was common to see screen-printed graphics on youths’ t-shirts. The trendiest images included rocket ships, sports and movie stars, and even Disney cartoons. It was also common to see controversial and political messages on printed t-shirts.
Over time, screen printing evolved; even plastisol ink improved. The number of colors that people could use in those graphics increased and specialty inks like shimmer and puff gave the graphics a revolutionary look.
Through the 1980’s and 90’s, screen printing grew more accessible and t-shirts grew into the standard promotional attire. That’s when companies started placing their logos on printed t-shirts. The designers who saw the new business opportunity capitalized on it and they made fortunes.
The graphic t-shirt has turned out to be one of the best marketing tool available. whether you’re looking to promote a brand, philosophy, business or even an alliance, the graphic t-shirt will definitely be helpful. It’s the best canvas o bring out the real you.
Best Heat Press machine Brands in the Market
Got a limited budget but still look to buy a top-quality heat press? If so, consider purchasing a Fancierstudio heat press.
The California-based brand sells you high-quality presses like the Fancierstudio Power and the Fancierstudio DG at prices that are even lower than the wholesale price of other models.
How do they do that? Fancierstudio are direct importers. That is why they can afford to pass incredibly low prices to you.
Apart from that, the brand offers you super-fast shipping and exceptional customer support.
The best thing about the brand’s models is that they have got great features like the Teflon-covered heating platen to ensure your items are safe from excessive heat.
VEVOR is perhaps the leading heat press brand in the market at the moment.
They specialize in all printing equipment and supplies, including heat presses, cutting plotters, and more.
The company was founded in 2007, and happens to have headquarters in the US, Hong Kong, and Sydney among other places.
A most unique thing with this brand is that it provides you with heat presses that feature higher performance than most other brands. In that regard, with VEVOR, you can get a comprehensive machine that takes care of all your pressing needs.
Maybe you need a heat press that lets you print on caps, mugs, t-shirts, plates, and other items.
There’s no need of going for a standard press and buying attachments separately to help you print different items. With the VEVOR 8 in 1 or the VEVOR 6 in 1, you have a machine that takes care of all your needs.
Although ePhotoInc is largely known for photography and video items, it’s one of the top heat press brands out there. But, come to think about it; photography and heat-pressed designs are related, right?
So, this brand caters for those of you who have a keen eye for elegance. It caters for professional videographers and photographers with its amazing heat presses.
If you want a cheap heat press machine with great features like LCD display, then consider buying from ePhotoInc
The company’s policy is to offer you the highest quality for some of the lowest prices in the market.
Are you in the US? With this brand, you get to enjoy UPS ground shipping. And, should you feel that the product is lacking in certain aspects, you have a whole month to return it and get a refund.
Looking for the best swing away-style heat presses? Then, you’ve got to try ZENY’s products. Their swing away models are believed to be the best in the market, with excellent features like LCD displays and digital control for time and temperature.
The company was founded in 2009, and first dealt in outdoor canopies. It has since expanded tremendously and stocked a wide range of other products, including heat presses.
ZENY also grew into one of the market’s top sellers particularly on online platforms like eBay and Amazon. The reason for this fast growth is that the brand has the top heat presses and it offers them to you at very competitive rates.
The reason why the brand is able to offer you great products at such low prices is that it deals with manufacturers directly.
Being located in California, the company is able to do super-fast shipping all over the US, and thus if you’re within the country, you’ll get your package almost instantly.
What are the Different Uses of Heat Press Machine?
There are various different uses of a heat press machine. While you might feel like that’s obvious (I mean who doesn’t know that a heat press is used for printing designs onto garments?), I bet some of these uses will surprise you.
1. Re-curing plastisol
Maybe you printed your shirts using the screen printing method, and after a while, you noticed the designs were cracking. Facing such a problem?
All you have to do is put them in the heat press with the temperature and time settings being 330 °F and 45 seconds respectively. Let the pressure be medium.This technique is very effective for solving cracking and preventing further cracking.
2. Making baby clothes
Think of your baby or your’ friend’s or relative’s baby wearing an outfit that says “Spent 9 months inside”. Wouldn’t that be adorable. And, by the way, for those who feel lost on that, the slogan refers to spending time behind bars.With the heat press, you can customize your baby’s clothes and put their name or age there. In case your baby is having a birthday party, you can write “Turned 3 years today” on their t-shirt.
3. Customizing aprons
Whether you’re the one who makes dishes in your home or it’s someone else, you can purchase a plain apron and place the slogan “I’m chief chef here” or some other cool slogan. If you’re making it for someone else, I am sure they’ll feel pretty appreciated.
4. Doing interior design
Love decorating your living room? Forget the same old ways of finishing rooms. Buy a bunch of cushion covers and print on them sayings that bring out your personality or your home’s philosophy as a whole.
You can use the heat press to place sayings like “No one gets left behind” to signify family unity.
Another amazing use of heat press machines is making customized gifts for the people you care about, maybe your friends, family or even colleagues. Someone just had a baby? Why not place a cool design or text on a baby vest and give it to them?
Someone just got married? You can place a slogan that values marriage and give it to them as a gift.
What to Do and What Not to Do with a Heat Printing Machine?
Heat pressing is a very lucrative business. For that reason, it’s also quite competitive.
That’s why when you get into commercial heat pressing, you ought to deliver the very best results.
If you keep the print quality at its best, you can be sure that your clients will keep coming back but if you do produce mediocre or bad results, well, that will be an advantage to your competitors.
To help you produce the best results with the heat pressing press machine, I have composed a quick guide on what to do and what not to do with your heat printing machine.
1. Don’t use the image as it is
Remember to place your design on that transfer paper in its mirror-image form. That way, when you finally put the design on the garment, it will be aligned correctly.
Then, check the machine’s heat setting before proceeding with the printing process. Consider doing a trial print to ensure the design will be great on that garment.
2. Use a standard paper for tests
The transfer paper is relatively costly, and therefore you don’t want to waste it on test runs. Use a regular paper instead.
3. Inspect the machine before printing on the garment
After printing on the transfer paper, check the heat press to ensure it’s ready and fit for the transfer job. Wipe off any dust, as it can curb good transfer.
Also, you’ve got to check the paper and ensure it’s positioned on the printing zone.
4. Don’t press before the machine heats up
Ensure the heat press reaches the maximum pressing temperature required for the fabric you’re printing on before you start pressing process.
If you don’t let the press to heat up thoroughly before transferring that design, there’s a chance the design won’t be very appealing.
5. Load the materials properly
Ever gotten an ugly design after printing a garment? This is normally due to improper loading of the garment into the machine.
To avoid the mistake, ensure that when you’re loading materials into the press, they’re properly lined up. You should load them straight with the side that has the tag facing the machine’s backbone.
6. Use the right temperature range
A common mistake that usually results from using excess temperature is getting melted or burned materials. You don’t want to burn your clients’ items, do you?
If you’re heat pressing a non woven bag or a material manufactured from polypropylene, it’s important to use low temperatures.
To be totally safe, use a machine that comes with adjustable temperature. That way, you can find out the maximum temperature range for the material you’re printing on and adjust your machine accordingly.
7. Don’t use the machine to press incomplete clothes
If you use the heat press to transfer designs onto incomplete apparels, you might find that once the apparels are completed, the design has disappeared or that it appears upside down.
That’s why it’s important to print on complete garments.
8. Apply the correct pressure
Using inadequate pressure often leads to the peeling off of newly printed designs.
If your machine doesn’t have a silicon pad under the print area, you can place one. Don’t forget to check the recommended values for timing and temperature to make a properly adhered design.
One last tip – don’t use the heat press to grill sandwiches (for heaven’s sake).
Frequently Asked Questions About Heat Printing Machine
1. What is a heat press?
A machine that applies heat and pressure to imprint designs on items like clothes and, plates, billboards, and mugs.
2. Can I use the heat press to print both the front and back of my t-shirt?
Yes. Print on one side first. Then, place a Teflon sheet on top of the side you’re looking to print and between the front and back sides, then go ahead with the printing process.
3. Should I wash my new t-shirt before heat pressing it?
No, there’s no need to do that, no matter the transfer paper you’re using. The problem with washing a new t-shirt is that it can eliminate the t-shirt’s ‘new feel’ and that wouldn’t be very good especially if you’re looking to sell the t-shirt after printing it.
You will hear some people suggesting that washing garments before pressing them improves the transfer. But, as long as you pre-heat the garments and utilize enough pressure you will attain a perfect print.
4. Where can I buy a great used or second-hand heat press?
Amazon is the go-to place for such heat presses. Here, you can find a wide range of quality second-hand machines from all over the world.
5. Where should I put the transfer on my t-shirt?
For S-XL sizes, the standard distance between the neckline and the transfer is 3”.
Working on a size that’s larger than that? Place it lower down than that.
6. Does a heat press consume lots of power?
Not really. For instance, an 1800-watt press running for 6 hours per day might consume just a dollar per day extra.
7. Can I use my regular flat press to print on a cap?
No, you can’t do that. A flat press will only ruin the cap. You need a dedicated cap/hat press or you could use an attachment press.
Guess what will happen when you invest in one of the best heat transfer machines for 2018? You’ll not have to take your garments to the professionals for printing any longer. You will be able to print your designs onto your clothes with ease, in a cheap and efficient manner.
Something else that could happen is that you could start a business and with the limitless demand for custom apparels these days, you could earn lots of profits.
The good thing about starting a printing business with the heat press machine is that you can print on many different materials, including fabrics, ceramics, and synthetic items.
Also, you can choose to print in small or large scale.
Tell you what? Go through the best heat press machine reviews above once more and choose a model that fits your needs; I’m sure you’ll find one there that works for you.
And, with my buying guide, you’ll never go wrong when figuring out what machine works for you, and what features to look for to ensure that it works for you indeed.