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Guides

Best Heat Press Machine for Both Commercial and Home Use

 June 29, 2022

By  Jane Melcher

Heat press machines have gained popularity since people realized it doesn't have to be a desk job so long as you are great at creating catchy images and fonts for your colleagues, and therefore, you can turn it into a small business. The best heat press machine will combine heat and pressure to apply designs or transfers to various printed media. You can print trending images, memes, and even the footballer jersey numbers using a simple shirt heat press machine and bag some profits from your home. However, there are many heat transfer machines in the market, and we have researched and simplified the job for you.

What is a Heat Press Machine?

The best heat press machine is a lot like an iron box. It allows you to imprint vinyl designs, lettering and rhinestones onto a T-shirt, hat, tote bag, and other items through heat transfer. There are three categories of heat press machines:

1. Clamshell

Clamshell heat press machines open and close like a shell, and they are hinged on one side. They make the best heat press for small business because they are easy to use and great for beginners. What's more, they take up less space and quite portable. On the downside, you could burn yourself if you aren't careful since you are working underneath the heating element as you layout the garment. The pressure against the garment could also be uneven.

2. Swing-away

The swing-away heat press machine gets its name from the fact that it can swing to and from the lower plate. You lay down the fabric on the lower plate, and then the heated top rotates back into place and makes the imprint. It's an excellent machine for experienced users, and it puts even pressure on the garment. However, swing-away machines are enormous, so you need more counter space, and they are not portable.

3. Draw

If you want the best heat press for small business, draw heat press machines are unrivaled. The lower platen of the machine pulls out so you can lay out the garment and then pulls back in. This machine gives the highest precision level, and there is no risk of injury. The downside is that they are more complicated to use and more expensive.

Below we have listed some of the best heat press machines in the industry, and we have included a detailed buying guide to help you make an informed decision.

Best Heat Press Machine

1. FancierStudio Heat Press

Fancierstudio Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press Rhinestone Heat Press...
7,843 Reviews
Fancierstudio Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press Rhinestone Heat Press...
  • Voltage: 110 volt Power: 1400 watts, Heat...
  • Temperature Range: 0-500
  • Electronic time and heat control
  • Silicon pad lightly glued down for easy...
  • Pressure adjustable

Fancierstudio press is among the best sellers for people looking for a 15 x 15 easy-to-use shirt press machine. This digital t-shirt heat press operates like a clamshell-type machine, and it is lightweight and very compact. The T-shirt printing machine packs 1800 watt heating elements that can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and even distribute heat.

This sublimation heat press also has a silicone gel baseboard that makes it the heat press best for generating desired pressures for transfers while tweaking the pressure needed for different materials thanks to the adjustable pressure system. This is an excellent heat press for small businesses as well as beginners to make vinyl and t-shirts. It is a high-quality t-shirt printing model and also quite versatile as it can transfer an image on ceramic tiles, garments, puzzles, and bags.

Pros

  • It has a non-stick heat platen and surface.
  • Clamshell press of size 15 x 15Easy to use
  • Adjustable temperature and pressure feature
  • Affordable while offering top-notch quality
  • Even distribution of heat
  • Comes with a timer of up to 999 sec and an electronic temperature of up to 500
  • FIt is warp and heat resistant.
  • The steel frame is heavy-duty but still a light machine.

Cons

  • The sublimation process might cause the fabric to get stained.
  • The product is not always available and can't be shipped in some countries.
  • Customer service could improve.

2. PowerPress Industrial Quality HPM

PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15x15 Inch, Black
3,432 Reviews
PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15x15 Inch, Black
  • Teflon coated Heating Plate: 15x15 inch....
  • Removable Silicon Mat: The silicon mat is not...
  • Bottom handle: When the heating plate is...
  • Patented Design Control Chip: Makes the...
  • Replaceable Fuse: Protect machine from...

Powerpress heat press machine is a digital press that is a clamshell-type of a machine and features an LCD screen where you digitally set your timing and temperature. The heat plates use a Teflon coating, and this coating works well for vinyl materials. The 15 x 15-inch press can help individuals who want to work with t-shirts, canvas bags, puzzles, and sweatshirts.

Powerpress heating press is powered by a 1400W and packs a unique feature: the individual safety control chip and has a temperature range of up to 450 F and timer settings of up to 999 secs. However, you should always ensure your electronic circuit is compatible with the machine. It also comes with an alternating fuse in the box that offers protection against any fire hazard. However, this machine is a manual machine that can be laborious, but the cost the product comes at makes it worthy of overlooking if it's not a major deal-breaker.

Pros

  • Comes with an individual safety control chip
  • It has an LCD control board with time control and digital temperature.
  • Offers even distribution of heat
  • The heat plate is Teflon coated
  • The press includes a Teflon sheet with each machine.
  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Replaceable fuse

Cons

  • It is a manual press and has only one press.
  • The manual instructions don't help, according to heat press reviews.
  • The customer service is wanting.

3. Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1

Mophorn Heat Press Machine 12x15 inch 5in1 T-Shirt Heat Press and Vinyl Cutter 28 inch Plotter...
560 Reviews
Mophorn Heat Press Machine 12x15 inch 5in1 T-Shirt Heat Press and Vinyl Cutter 28 inch Plotter...
  • [Works Cooperatively] - 28 inch vinyl cutter,...
  • [Flexible Cutting] - Plotter machine cutter...
  • [2 Rollers] - 2 fully adjustable...
  • [360-degree Rotation] - Swing-away design of...
  • [Teflon-coated Platen Press Element] - The...

Mophorn heat press is a budget-friendly popular in the heat transfer printing industry for various reasons. First, it is a desktop-sized heat transfer machine that easily fits in small spaces and uses a 12 x 15-inch heat platen, making it a perfect home-usage machine. It is a swing-away heat press and safe because it prevents potential burns from working directly over the hot heating platen. The machine heats up quickly in less than 10 minutes, and the temperature can be adjusted up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Mophorn heat transfer press machine comes with a 6 x 3-inch curved heat-press, making it the press best for imprinting on circular pieces. The 12 x 15-inch machine can be used on various items such as t-shirts, ceramic tiles, mousepads, tote bags, mugs, and puzzles. Additionally, the machine has bonus attachments such as two plate presses, a mug press, and a hat heat-press, and it comes fully assembled for heat transfers.

Pros

  • Teflon coating for even distribution of heat
  • Swing-away design
  • Adjustable pressure knobs
  • Removable silicon and cotton pads
  • Sturdy steel frame and commercial grade
  • The upper platen rotates 360degrees.

Cons

  • Requires a large working space because of the design

4. TUSY Heat Press 5 in 1 Machine

Pro 5 in 1 TUSY 12x15 Heat Press Machine Swing Away Heat Transfer Press Transfer Sublimation for T...
915 Reviews
Pro 5 in 1 TUSY 12x15 Heat Press Machine Swing Away Heat Transfer Press Transfer Sublimation for T...
  • 【PREMIUM QUALITY】 TUSY heat press platen...
  • 【SWING-AWAY DESIGN】 Full-range...
  • 【BETTER CONTROL BOARD】 LCD displays show...
  • 【12x15 HEATER PLATE】 Larger size t shirt...
  • 【5 IN 1 HEAT PRESS】 Heat press 12x15...

Tusy heat transfer press machine is among the best multifunction machines, perfect for commercial use with an adjustable temperature and digital timer. The machine packs a 15x15" t-shirt press, a 6x3" hat press, a 3x3.5" mug heat-press, and two other plate presses. Besides, it has a silicone pad and sponge pad to distribute heat evenly and quickly, and the 360-degree swing heat press allows you to have a full view of your layout and hence utmost precision.

Tusy is powered by 1100W and can imprint several items such as t-shirts, puzzle tiles, etc. With a temperature limit of up to 484F and a timer of up to 999 sec, the t-shirt press produces high-quality transfer items at an affordable price point.

Pros

  • Non-stick Teflon coating
  • It has a multifunction design.
  • It comes with a signal indicator.
  • It is a swing arm press and thus precise.
  • Has an LCD digital control box
  • Easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • Manual is not helpful.

5. Cricut Easy Press 2

Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (6' x 7'), Ideal for Baby Clothes, Hats, Accessories and More,...
3,569 Reviews
Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (6" x 7"), Ideal for Baby Clothes, Hats, Accessories and More,...
  • A NO-STRESS HEAT PRESS - Get professional...
  • PERFECT FOR SMALL-SIZED PROJECTS - At 6" x...
  • ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE FOR DIFFERENT PROJECTS...
  • QUICK, FOOLPROOF OUTCOMES - Featuring an...
  • PORTABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY TO STORE - The...

Cricut Easy Press is a respected brand model and is a perfect machine for enthusiasts, whether kids or adults. The Easy Press is ideal for crafters that love to make HTV crafts but are not looking to spend a lot of money. It features a digital temperature display and a digital timer that shuts itself off after 10 minutes off and can prevent any losses.

The Cricut Easy heat transfer press has a safety base and can be easily set up, and use is relatively easy for both adults and kids. However, it is not the best for commercial use and home usage, and crafting events. Additionally, it is a manual machine, so you have to apply pressure manually, and it can be hectic for a business.

Pros

  • Portable and can easily be stored.
  • It heats up quickly
  • The system remembers the last time and temperature settings.
  • Available in three handy sizes
  • Safe to use and has a compact design
  • Affordable price tag

Cons

  • Not ideal for commercial use
  • Suitable for beginners and kids
  • Manual pressure application

6. VEVOR Heat Press Machine 8 In 1 Digital Heat Press Machine

VEVOR Heat Press 12X15 Inch Heat Press Machine 5 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Swing Away...
956 Reviews
VEVOR Heat Press 12X15 Inch Heat Press Machine 5 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Swing Away...
  • [EXCELLENT QUALITY] - With a 12" x 15"...
  • [SWING AWAY FEATURE] - The swing arm is fully...
  • [ACCURATE DIGITAL CONTROL] - Equipped with...
  • [OVERLOAD PROTECTOR REPLACEMENT] - A small...
  • [MULTIPLE APPLICATION] - Our economic and...

Many will argue that this VEVOR 8 in 1 digital is the best heat press for small business thanks to its multi-functional sublimation, and they would be right. The only reason why its number 3 here is because it comes with zero instructions on using and assembling the attachments. The machine’s lower platform is detachable, making it easy to attach the different attachments depending on what item you are printing. Its key features include;

  • 15 x 15-inches heating board
  • Digital LED time and heat control
  • Removable silicone pad and cotton pad
  • Full-range pressure adjustment
  • Swing-away design
  • 1050 watts power
  • Temperature range between 32 and 480-degrees Fahrenheit
  • 360-degree rotation swing arm

The attachments include a hat size, 4 for mug press, 2 for plates, and 1 heat press for t-shirts. Since it's a swing-away design, it's almost impossible to accidentally touch yourself with the heating element. Other notable features include the 1/5 inch thick heating board that provides even heat distribution, and the Teflon coated heat platen to protect your garments.

One other feature that makes this VEVOR multifunction heat press machine the best heat press for small business is the overload protector replacement. The red button on the control box will pop up if the voltage is unstable or too high, protecting the heat platen and the control box.

7. Hotronix Auto Open

Hotronix 11'x15' Heat Press Auto Open MADE IN USA - Heat Transfer Press Machine Built To Last!
7 Reviews
Hotronix 11"x15" Heat Press Auto Open MADE IN USA - Heat Transfer Press Machine Built To Last!
  • 11" x 15" Heat Platen with a Space-Saving...
  • Warranty: Heating Block: Lifetime | Casting...
  • UL/ULC/CE/ROHS Approved
  • Made in USA

One of the features you should look for when buying a clamshell heat press is automatic opening, especially if you want to print in large volumes. Hotronix heat press is one such machine that automatically opens when the time is up to avoid burning the garment and also enables you to focus on more than one task. Since it's a clamshell design, this quality heat press occupies very little space, and it’s quite portable.

Included features:

  • 11” x 15” Heat Plates
  • It opens wide for easy garment layout
  • Easy to read LCD
  • Clamshell design to saves space
  • Fully digital temperature control
  • Locks down with magnetic assist

Hotronix Auto Open is an 11 by 15-inch heat press that supports items up to 1 inch thick, which is quite good for a small business. It also comes with easy to read LCD digital temperature, time and pressure display, all at a very affordable cost. With the over-the-center pressure adjustment, you are assured of even distribution of pressure and heat on the garment. What’s more, the twin timer allows you to preset two different time settings for two purposes.

If you want an easy-to-use and compact heat press machine, this Hotronix Auto Open provides everything you need at a very pocket-friendly cost. It's made in the USA and comes with a great warranty.

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Heat Press Machines

1. Heat Distribution

Your heat press machine should have the ability to provide even and consistent temperatures across the platen. The shape of the heating element inside the upper platen of the press is the solution to distribute heat evenly. Therefore make sure the heating element's coil is close and with an over-the-center pressure adjustment and a go edge to edge of the platen because if there's no heating element, there can be no heat.

Also, a sound machine has the heating element close together, unlike the cheap heat presses with wide gaps in the element to cut their costs. The wide shape has adverse effects because it creates a cold spot, and the custom transfer doesn't apply in the right way with cold spots. Check the heat distribution by turning the heat press on and moving your hand across the heat plate.

2. Pressure

The pressure is an essential consideration because, for the best results, you need to apply the right amount of pressure. If you choose a manual heat-press, ensure the pressure and force knobs can be easily adjusted because good pressure knobs make your job easier and make the real difference daily.

The right amount of pressure is essential because if you apply too much pressure daily, it gets hard and may negatively affect your body. On the other hand, applying little pressure on your heat-press may result in the image not getting transferred to your cloth the way you want.

3. Quality

Quality is often misconstrued to mean heavy, and that is not entirely true even though most high-quality heat presses are over 100 lbs as the heat presses use heavy, high-quality platens. There is more to heat press quality than weight but check reviews online before you make a purchase. Also, to guarantee durability, try to purchase heat press machines that are under warranty.

4. Size and Shape

The size of the heat press machine and how many you might need are determined by the type of work you do, precisely, the garments you intend to print on, and the space at your disposal. All the different sizes cater to different users, so make sure you choose the appropriate size according to your needs. It is better to use a clamshell design with limited space because it does not require a lot of space.

The shape of your heat press machine is also vital as different shapes work for different objects. For Example, for tee shirt press, you should use a flat surface, but it's better to use a 5 in 1 or an 8 in 1 press for other objects.

5. Timer

A timer helps you set the exact heating time depending on the type of material you are using. The timer is especially essential for a business because you wouldn't like to accidentally burn the customers' shirts. If you are unsure of how much time to allocate every garment, purchase an automatic heat press machine that can estimate the time for you.

6. Temperature Range

The temperature range is among the first things to check in a heat press machine and majorly because the temperature of the heat press affects the type of material you can use. For t-shirts, they require a maximum of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but for thick materials such as sweatshirts and hoodies, they may need a higher range.

7. Type

There are three types of heat press machines, and they include Clamshell, draw and Swing Away

8. Ease of Use

How easy the heat press machines are to use mainly depends on who will be using them. For amateurs, you need to buy a heat press machine for beginners that are easy to use, but most machines won't be challenging to use or figure out for professional small business owners. It is easier to use an automatic heat press because they need less know-how about the different materials, heat transfer types, and printing times.

However, always make sure you read the user manual of your heat press machine, and you can also add some knowledge by watching all the available tutorials online.

9. Budget

The price point of any machine is sometimes the compass to what product to get, which is not different. If you are purchasing a press for home use, you can get one that has the most critical features to your needs and doesn't necessarily have to expensive. However, for business heat press machines, find a high-end press with advanced features at your budget level.

Notably, the higher the price, the better and advanced the press machines are, but you can start with one within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best heat press machine for a beginner?

According to our review, the best press for a beginner is the FancierStudio Heat Press for its easy use and other reasons stated above.

2. Which best-seller is suitable for an advanced business?

HPN Signature Series is the best for a business that needs to use a heat press often for consistent customers.

3. What's the difference between heat transfer and sublimation?

In the context of heat pressing, the heat transfer process is when you print a design onto a heat transfer paper and then use a hot press to heat it onto a garment as an extra layer on top. This means the imprint can come off if you wanted.

On the other hand, sublimation is when you print a design on a special sublimation paper and heat press it onto the garment. The difference is that your design becomes part of the fabric and it can't come out no matter what.

4. What is the best size for Heat Press Machine?

Heat press size depends on the buying intent. If you are a starter doing mugs, t-shirts, caps, and other small items, a 9 by 12 inches machine will suffice. For commercial heat printing where you are branding bigger items, you can go bigger with a 16 by 20 inches if you have space for it.

Jane Melcher


Jane is a stay-at-home small business mom. She makes more than her husband selling her creations on Etsy.