Best Heat Press Machine for Your Needs – Avoid Costly Mistakes
When the traditional iron doesn’t make the cut…
Once you get seriously started, you will need a heat press machine for the job.
The home iron is a thing of the past. You don’t even need to land a bulk job to know how inferior the iron is. This is where heat press machines come into play.
The truth is that these machines aren’t simple. As a matter of fact, there are many hidden settings and features you need to check before buying.
I know how hard it is to find the best heat press machine. This is why I have tried and tested these, so you don’t waste your money and your time on inferior products.
No matter if you’re just starting, or you are doing it as a hobby or even if you’re a small business, I have something for you.
Here’s my promise to you: by reading this article to the end you will find the perfect heat press machine for your needs. They are not equal and cater to specific needs.
If by chance you pick the wrong heat press machine, you might lose out on a job and can hurt your hard built reputation. Nobody wants that. This is why I have only left the best heat press machines on my list. I’ve worked tirelessly only to leave those that are valuable and real workhorses.
I also understand that you don’t have time to waste, so here’s a quick preview of the very best of them.
Let’s get this best heat press machines article started.
#1 Fancierstudio Power Heat Press – Best Heat Press Machine
Is it the “hottest” heat press on the market?
The Fancierstudio Power Heat Press is one of the most popular heat presses on the market.
I couldn’t resist I just had to peek under the hood to see if it’s as good as it’s advertised. I will skip the boring technical details because only a handful of people are interested in it.
What you need to know is this: it comes with a 15 x 15 inches heating plate. This is ideal for t-shirts and bags as well. This machine over-delivers.
After testing it rigorously and asking the opinion of my friends who have the Fancierstudio machine, I had no choice to give it the top spot.
First impressions count a lot. To get this heat press operational, it only takes 10 minutes. This includes unboxing and removing protective materials.
This heat press machine was built to last. One of my friends has used it to press over 20,000 t-shirts, and it still works flawlessly if you’re looking for a heavy-duty machine you just found the perfect fit.
The Fancierstudio heat press isn’t the perfect machine; it has some flaws. As you have probably guessed it heats the room, so make sure you put it in a well-ventilated area. When you’re having your first runs, you will smell some kind of factory smell. Luckily this goes away after a few uses.
They have missed out on the manual if you get stuck hit up YouTube.
Other than these issues here’s what you need to know. It’s clamshell-type, so you will need some effort to lift up after the job is finished. I’ve measured the temperature, and it’s even so your materials and shirts won’t be damaged. It’s an ideal heat press machine for hobbyists and small businesses as well.
For all these reasons and more the Fancierstudio power heat press won the best heat press award. Now if you feel that this is the right fit then get it fast. The last time I’ve checked the stock was running out. It’s important to get it right now, so you don’t get delayed.
#2 PowerPress Industrial Heat Press – Best Heat Press for Vinyl
Customer service makes or breaks a company.
The PowerPress Industrial Heat Press won the Best Heat Press for Vinyl award.
When it comes to customers support, they are unbeatable. A friend of mine was using the PowerPress to finish up a bulk order. All of a sudden, she hit a snag. To make things worse, it was a holiday. Out of sheer desperation, she called up their customer support line.
Not only they picked up the phone, but they managed to solve the problem. My friend managed to finish the job and deliver on time. Did I mention that this was during the holidays? Powerpress has an excellent support system.
This heat press is a speedy one. In 5-7 minutes reaches operational temperature. This means that minimal heat is lost to heat the room.
The Powerpress heat press machine has a few flaws. Let’s see if they are a deal-breaker for you. It seems to be a tendency because this too is smelly at the initial uses. A few people complained that it was tripping the circuit breaker.
I’ve done some heat measurement testing, and there was a 10-15 degree difference between spots. That’s not that much just enough for you to be more careful.
Other than these issues it’s a sturdy machine which is built like a tank. This heat press relies on the clamshell design as well. This translates to some serious elbow grease when lifting up after the job is done. I still can’t get over the amazing customer support.
No wonder that The PowerPress Industrial Heat Press won the Best Heat Press for Vinyl award.
There were supply issues with the PowerPress heat press so if you find it stock and it’s a good fit invest in it. If you delay, you might have to wait weeks if not a month. Get it as soon as possible.
#3 Cricut Easy Press 2 – Best Heat Press for Cricut and Best Budget Heat Press
Cricut? Do they make heat presses?
Warning! Don’t buy this heat press machine.
This incident happened with a friend of mine. He thought it would be a good idea to buy it for his wife. Fast forward a few months, and she is diagnosed with IOV (iron-on vinyl). She managed to personalize every piece of clothing in the home.
It started as a harmless hobby and turned into a pursuit of perfection. So yes dear reader if you get this heat press you might turn into an obsessive vinyl adder. This was all written in fun. Her artwork is amazing.
What you need to know about the Cricut Easy Press 2 heat press is that it comes in three sizes. There’s the small one 6 X 7 inches, medium which is 9 X 9” and the big one which is 10 x 12” inches. I highly recommend getting the biggest one, so you reduce your work time.
Since its Cricut, you probably know that they are standing out in the industry. It’s the fastest heat press on the market. The medium heats up in less than 60 seconds, and the big one is operational in less than 3 minutes. Talk about speed. There’s a time on the display, so you don’t have to number in your head.
The main drawbacks of the Cricut Easy Press 2 are that even with the biggest option you only get 10 X 12 inches in surface area. For some, this won’t be enough. Also, there’s a serious lack of documentation. You are way better off watching YouTube videos to get started.
Finally, I have to mention that Cricut works best on flat surfaces. So forget about baseball caps and mugs you will have a hard time with those.
Other than this it’s amazing. It’s small in size so you can easily make it your own portable heat press. It’s heavy in a good way. I know of people who have arthritis who are using it without issues. If you want to see my full Cricut Easy Press 2 review, you can read it here.
For all these reasons Cricut Easy Press 2 won the Best Heat Press for Cricut and Best Budget Heat Press award.
It’s not an exception with Cricut either. There are supply issues. As soon as they come in, they fly out, so latecomers have to wait weeks. Now if you feel that the Cricut Easy Press is the right fit, take action now.
#4 Vevor Heat Press – Best Heat Press for Shirts
Swing away design and a bunch of accessories
The Vevor Heat Press won the Best Heat Press for Shirts award.
If you’re planning to personalize shirts, then a swing away design is a must-have. You see clamshell designs have a fatal flaw. This flaw comes from uneven pressing. By far, the best solution for t-shirt design is a swing away.
This is where Vevor comes into play. Besides being built to last from quality materials, it has an excellent support system. You probably had the luck to get canned responses, not with Vevor. Their support team is knowledgeable, and they will help you out no matter what. This heat press comes with a 15 x 15 inch plate. This will be more than enough to do t-shirts.
Another key positive is the fast assembly and no rocket science diploma needed. However, it’s not the perfect heat press machine because it has some flaws. Because it’s a swing away design, you will need a lot of room to operate.
Also, it takes its sweet time to heat up. Once it reaches operational temperature, you are good to go.
Best of all, Vevor is not just any other simple heat press machine. It comes with multiple accessories. By using them, you can access a bunch of new materials. You can personalize hats, mugs, plates and so on. The sky is the limit how far can you grow.
Vevor is a quite popular heat press so no wonder they run out of stock. Make sure you order as soon as you see it available if you feel that this is the right fit for you.
For all these reasons and more, the Vevor Heat Press won the Best Heat Press for Shirts award.
#5 Mophorn Heat Press – Best Sublimation Heat Press
When you want great quality sublimation jobs done
The Mophorn Heat Press won the Best Sublimation Heat Press award.
This 15 x 15 inch swing away heat press is the perfect machine for sublimation. It comes fully assembled. This is not an IKEA DIY project. You get it out of the box plug it in, and you’re in business.
The Mophorn heat press is ideal for beginners. The learning curve is minimal, and you can get your sublimation works done fast.
Since the perfect heat press hasn’t been invented yet let’s see the drawbacks and if they are a deal-breaker.
As stated above the Mophorn relies on swing away design. This means that you will need a lot of room to work in. I don’t understand these companies, why don’t they have decent support materials. Since it’s lacking, you will have to rely on other sources like Youtube.
Sublimation jobs require flawless work. This is where Mophorn shines. Every time you will have a perfect design. Plus with Mophorn you’re getting additional accessories. By getting this model, you will get a 5 in 1 heat press machine. You will be able to personalize caps, mugs and plates. Just take a look at the price it’s super affordable.
No wonder that the Mophorn Heat Press won the Best Sublimation Heat Press award.
For some reason, Mohporn is frequently out of stock. If you feel that this is the right fit get it without hesitation, or it could be gone. This will mean that you will have to wait for weeks. Get it now.
#6 F2C Pro Heat Press Machine – Best Heat Press for Beginners
Heat presses can be a real hassle…
If you go with F2C, then you get the most beginner-friendly machine on the market. It’s so simple you can’t believe it. The machine comes partially assembled in the box.
After unboxing, you can get to work. The press size is 12” by 15”. It’s a great machine for t-shirts, bags and so on.
The number one question on people’s minds is if it heats evenly. The answer is a solid yes. As you know, if there are big temperature differences, then it might either burn the shirt, or the vinyl won’t stick. It’s not the case with the F2C heat press.
There are some drawbacks to this machine. First of all, you can expect some smells during the burn-off period. Luckily this doesn’t transfer to the material. Secondly, the instruction manual is either missing, or it’s unusable. You are better off with YouTube videos.
As we all know, customer service can make or break a company. I’m pleased to say that they have one of the best teams around. For them, every client matters, and they will do their best to manage any hiccups.
The F2C Pro Heat Press won the best heat press for beginners award. It has a few flaws, and the user-friendliness outweighs these. If you feel that this is the right fit, then take action. The stocks were low the last time I’ve checked. So if you want to be in business as soon as possible, get the heat press.
#7 Zeny Heat Press Machine – Best Starter Heat Press
If you are new to making T-shirts or tote bags, then the Zeny heat press machine will bring you up to speed.
Some machines are over-complicated and deter newcomers. It’s not the case with this Zeny. It’s easy to assemble, and it’s easy to use. Hopefully, you won’t be discouraged from the start. You see, the instruction manual is useless.
No worries, there are plenty of YouTube videos to get started. The heating plate is not big, and you can’t ask anything more at this price range. The dimensions are 12 X 15 inches. When you get the hang of it, you can easily upgrade to a bigger one and leave this Zeny as a backup.
The Zeny heat press is ideal for HTV shirts and tote bags. I’ve tried sublimation, and there were two issues. First of all, this size is too small. Secondly, I’ve encountered uneven pressure, which left the shirt with faded spots.
These would be the drawbacks of the Zeny. If you’re still with me, that means you’re still interested in it. This machine would be ideal for even small businesses. It’s at a fair price, and it’s a huge time saver. Thanks to the swing away design, you don’t need a lot of power to lift it. It beats hunching over the ironing board for hours on end.
The Zeny heat press machine won the Best Starter Heat Press award. It’s at an affordable price; it’s easy to use. The customer support will help you with replacement parts even if it’s out of the return period. That’s what I call top-notch support.
If you feel that the Zeny is the right fit time to act. I’ve noticed that it was out of stock in the past. So if it’s available, get it, so you don’t have to wait.
#8 Seeutek Heat Press Machine – Best Home Heat Press
The Seeutek machine is one of a kind.
It’s an inexpensive one without any compromises on quality. As a matter of fact, it’s sturdy and well built. It was designed to last for a long time.
What I loved about this heat press what that it heats super-fast. In 60 seconds, it was at 320 degrees. Now that’s speed. To sweeten the deal, they have managed to make it so that the temperature is consistent across the plate.
It’s not the perfect machine because it has a few flaws. Let’s see if they are a deal-breaker for you. First of all, it’s a heavy machine you won’t carrying it anywhere. Also, the hat press attachment isn’t that good. If you want to make hats, you will have to get another one.
The bottom of the machine is perfect. You don’t need to bolt it down since it won’t tilt over. It comes with the 12 X 15 inches size, and it’s a swing away design.
Their customer support is unmatched. They stand by the product. Friends of mine who got his machine got free parts shipped even after the return period. Plus, the support people are dedicated to helping you in any way possible. If you value simplicity, Seeutek is perfect since programming is a breeze.
This machine is ideal for shirts and towels. Other fabrics can be personalized, as well.
The Seeutek heat press machine won the best home heat press award. It’s affordable and built to last. Not to mention the great support.
Now, if you feel that Seeutek is the right fit, then you have to move fast. The last time I’ve checked, there were only a few in stock.
#9 ePhoto Heat Press Machine – Best Heat Press for Small Business
The ePhoto is the real deal if you want it for a small business.
We’re breaking away from the swing away designs. The ePhoto has a clamshell design. Since it’s meant for business use, it’s a lot bigger than the rest. The size is 15 x 15 inches.
To my surprise, it wasn’t that hard to lift the top plate. Typically you need to put quite some effort into it. The ePhoto is much friendlier towards those who don’t have a lot of strength.
What I particularly loved about this press is the ability to save the settings into the memory. This is a huge time saver since you don’t have to redo the same thing repeatedly. Kudos for this.
There are a few drawbacks to this machine. Let’s see if they will turn you off. Brace yourself because it smells during the first couple of tries. The good news is that this smell doesn’t affect the material. Also, they have made the power cord extremely short. You will need an extender. Their biggest mistake is the missing manual.
Besides these drawbacks, ePhoto comes with the new Teflon sheets to protect your creations. It’s simple to use and a speedy one. The heating process is fast.
The ePhoto Heat Press Machine won the Best Heat Press for Small Business award. It’s easy to use, and you don’t need a lot of strength to open it.
You might feel that the ePhoto press might be the right fit for you. Here’s a heads up last time I’ve checked, there were having supply issues. So if they are in stock, get them, or you risk waiting for weeks on end.
#10 Tusy Heat Press Machine – Best Budget Heat Press
Are you just starting?
The Tusy machine is the perfect one to do it. You see, it’s one of the most inexpensive machines on the market. At this very low price, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
The Tusy is a swing away machine, and the heating plate is 15 x 15 inches big. It’s super easy to set it up. As a matter of fact, you can get started in 10 minutes out of the box. It’s a speedy machine since it heats up in a matter of minutes.
The Tusy isn’t without its problems. Let’s see if they are a deterrent for you or not. It comes with a short cord, so make sure you have an extender at hand. The accessories are barely useful. You are better off with other ones. For the best use, you will have to bolt this machine down.
The Tusy Heat Press Machine won the Best Budget Heat Press award. Even if it’s affordable, they have used quality materials to build it. It’s an excellent machine as a backup once you have expanded your business. It goes far with ownership.
You might think that the Tusy machine is the right fit. If it’s so, get it now. The stocks were low the last time I’ve checked.
Best Heat Press Machine Buying guide:
Do you still have questions about heat presses? Good I know you would. This is why I thought it would be a great idea to include a buyer’s guide at the end.
Not only I will show you how you can choose the perfect heat press, but I will answer the most common questions along the way.
Buckle up we are going to investigate heat presses deep and wide.
What type of heat press machines can you choose from?
There are three types of heat presses to choose from. Each of these models has its own pros and cons. In this section, I will share with you everything is to know about heat press types.
The Clamshell design heat press machine
The clamshell design is one of the most popular models out there. It has many things going for it. For example, it required the least amount of space to operate.
If you’re a small business or working out from your garage, the Clamshell design should be your best choice. When you have a small space to operate in this heat press type is the ideal choice.
With the small footprint comes a drawback. It’s the most dangerous type of heat press to get. You have to place the customizable material under a super-heated metal plate. There’s no room for error because the consequences could be dire.
Getting burned by a hot plate is not only painful, but it can leave lasting scars. Make sure you are not impaired or tired when working with a clamshell type of heat press.
Another drawback of these machines is that you might need a lot of force to pop it up. I consider myself in good shape, and I still had difficulties with these heat press machines. Now imagine if you have a bulk work of 50, 100 or even more designs to do what you will do then?
Also, this heat press has another flaw which is uneven pressure. This could lead to failed designs and increased time and cost.
The clamshell design heat press is great for beginners because it’s the cheapest and requires the least space.
The swing away design heat press machine
The swing away design heat press is ideal for t-shirt and fabrics pressing. It’s one of the safest ones to use as well. You don’t have to fear that you accidentally touch a super-heated metal plate above your head.
With the swing away design, the upper plate rotates to the side. The main reason it’s ideal for T-shirts is that this design allows even pressure between the metal plates.
The main drawback of the swing away design is the extra space needed. To move the plate left or right, you will need enough room. So before purchasing this type of machine, make sure you have the necessary room to operate it.
The swing away design is perfect for bulk orders. Once the heat press is at operating temperature, you can do the designs very fast.
Draw style heat press machine
The drawer-style heat press machine is loved by many. Even though it requires more space than the clamshell design, it comes with many benefits.
First of all, you pull the lower plate out like a drawer hence the name. This means that you won’t have to fear the heat above. This design is not dangerous, like the clamshell one.
Many people go for this design because it’s so simple to use. You pull the lower plate output on the fabric then you slide it back in.
Currently, I don’t have drawer style heat press machine on my selection. If I can find a decent one, I will update this list.
A side note here. There are actually hybrids heat press machines. For example, the Stahl Fusion can be operated in hybrid mode. Depending on which bolt you loosen you can operate it in swing design or drawer mode. It all comes down to your level of comfort.
The most important factors to check out when buying heat press machines
With all machines, heat presses come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what field you are working in, you should choose the right size.
If you want to do T-shirts, then 15 x 15 inches is an absolute minimum. The only exception from this rule would be with the Cricut Easy Press 2. That heat press is 10 x 12 inches.
If you are working with baby clothing, then Cricut is the way to go. They have the mini iron plus smaller heat presses, allowing you to customise onesies in one go.
What’s the beauty of Cricut is that these heat presses are portable. They weigh enough to do the job and to be carried.
Also, make sure you double-check the machine size, so it fits into your crafting place.
Typically heat presses can handle multiple materials. If you want to specialize in a certain one, then you need to seek out that specific machine.
Heat presses work best with:
- Vinyl (HTV)
- Ink Transfer
Vinyl is the most common material used in the heat press business so that most machines can handle it fairly easily.
If you want to do sublimation, then you have to work with a special heat press that can do it. From my list, Mophorn and Vevor are the best options for it.
Ink transfer can be done with a printer and a heat press. Lately, Cricut came out with new material. It’s called infusible ink. This is a special material that works with only a handful of fabrics. The ones that work well are white or light colored fabrics.
Heat press machine operations:
- Full Auto
These are the three ways how the heat press can operate. As you go down the list, the more expensive, they are getting.
The manual heat press is the most common one. You will need quite a lot of elbow grease to operate it. The biggest issue with these heat presses is that you need to use many forces to lift the top plate. It’s not for those who are not in peak physical condition.
Semi-Auto heat presses combine manual work with partial automation. As you have probably guessed it, the price is higher than the straight manual one.
Finally, there’s the full-auto heat press. This heat press is the priciest one from them all. The good news is that you don’t need any muscles for it what so ever. If you are facing bulk works, then auto heat presses is the best way to go. They save you a lot of time. And we all know that time is money.
How to use a heat press machine
This is a very frequent question from people. The thing is that many brands have no documentation or flimsy ones in the package.
Even on my list above, there are few heat press machines that fit the bill. Luckily there are trailblazers in front of us. On Youtube, you can find a bunch of guides and tutorials. This is the case with heat presses as well.
You will probably find a better tutorial online than what’s included with the package.
Here are the steps for creating a successful heat press job.
First of all, you will need the design. Typically you can print it out on a heat transfer paper. Or if you’re working with vinyl, you can use a vinyl cutter to do the job. Here’s a heads up if you want to use multiple colors in vinyl to layer your design.
Once that’s done you have to get your shirt and wait until your heat press heats up to it’s operating procedure. Make sure that your shirt is straight and wrinkle-free.
Cricut owners typically iron out the shirt a bit before applying the design. With other heat presses, all you have to do is to stretch it out. Also, be careful that you don’t overstretch it because that could ruin the design.
Once that’s done you pull or put the top plate on it and wait for the timer to count down. Most heat presses are equipped with timers, so you don’t have to count in your head. By using a timer, you will avoid burning your shirts.
Typically there’s a sound queue as well when the job is done. That’s about it. It’s quite simple after you have done a few. Also, keep in mind that safety first. Burnings are quite common if people are not paying attention.
If you are not a designer, many sites offer projects to create. Some have free options, while others are paid only. Sometimes it’s a good idea to go with a premade template because it speeds up the process.
Check out my hot tips section so you will be able to keep your shirt for a very long time without having the washing machine ruining it.
After you have done a few test projects, you get the hang of it. Once that done, you can take on orders.
Heat press machines vs Screen Printing which is the best?
There’s no straight answer to this question. It comes down on what you’re needs are. For some heat, presses will be the perfect fit, while for others, screen printing is the best choice.
This is what you need to know about screen printing. You need a significant amount of orders to justify creating the mash. When only one or a handful of items are needed, heat presses are the most affordable solution.
Screen printing has a lot of benefits and drawbacks as well. For example, the more colors are needed for a design, the slower it can be done. Each color is added layer by layer. Plus there’s the time for the paint to dry.
With screen printing, you need a lot of room, plus there’s a steep learning curve. You need to be careful not to use too much paint and not to kick into the bins.
Indeed, screen printing lasts a lot longer than vinyl. Stick to the end of this article, and I will share with you some great tips on how to keep your favorite shirts from getting ruined by the washing machine.
The big advantage of heat presses are a huge color variety. Plus you can get photorealism which is impossible with screen printing. With heat presses, you can print it on paper and press it on the shirt, and you get any model that you like.
There’s a big speed difference between the two processes as well. With screen printing, you need to create the mashes if there are multiple colors and then wait for the ink to dry so you can apply the next coat.
While with heat presses you print the design wait for the machine to heat up. You put the fabric in and the design and press it down for a few seconds and you’re done. Heat press technology is a huge time saver.
The heat press is fairly simple to use. You don’t need any special skills or anything. You flip it open place the fabric in and press it down. With screen printing, you will have to create the mash, which is a skill by itself. Plus you have to know the paint properties. Temperature fluctuations might change your results.
All these are eliminated with the heat press. With the right temperature, you can get perfect jobs no matter the weather.
Picking the right tool for the job
Hot Tip: No matter which heat press you’re going with here’s my final piece of advice. You need to do a lock-in period with any shirt design. This is typically 24 hours of waiting before the first wash.
Also, another tip if you want to keep your t-shirt for a long time, always turn it inside out before washing. This protects the design from the harsh forces in the washing machine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is the best heat press for beginners?
What is the best 15×15 heat press?
What is the best 5 in 1 Heat press?
What is the best heat press on Amazon?
Last Updated on February 1, 2021 by Emily