Ever wondered how graphic designs move from the computer screen to objects? This is the work of a heat press machine. This amazing machine uses a heat and pressure process to imprint any graphic or design onto a substrate material over a preset period. Substrate materials include fabrics, ceramics, a paper of different textures and hardness. As well as other products. This process of imprinting can be done manually with iron. Or semi-automatically through the use of digital technology. That is where the heat press machine comes in. It ensures the necessary elements are properly utilized in the heat transfer process. These elements are heat/temperature, pressure, and accurate timing. With the manual process, the colors come out weak and in need of an extra coating. But, with the best heat press machine, the design comes out as near perfect as the actual graphic design. The image transfer is usually of a permanent nature and can be used to print singular items or in bulk.
This equipment is used to print on items for publicity purposes during marathon races, church events, and rallies. Also, for identification like printing of company or non-profit organizations’ logos and colors for their workers. Or even for artistic expressions like printing of creating abstract art, words, or cartoon characters on materials. Some use it to print on items for tourist and wedding souvenirs, or print on items for sale like jigsaw puzzles. It is something every graphic printing business needs.
It's easy to use even for beginners with no prior experience in the printing business. It only takes up a small space in your workshop/press, it is cost-effective in terms of price. And the labor (needing very few persons to operate and manage it). The quality of print output is guaranteed. It is a faster way to print rather than printing with manual devices. Besides, it is versatile in its functions, making it easy for owners to take print orders of a wide variety. For example, it can print on umbrellas, spandex, mousepads, tiles, and many more. Hence it even allows for a process called sublimation. This is the same as laminating a document after printing. Except, in this case, it is any material you print on that can be sublimated.
So how do you tell one device from the other? What makes the difference in the many brands of print press machines we have out there? Let’s find out:
- F2C Pro 5 in 1 Digital Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine
- 12000 W
- Read review
- Fancierstudio Powerpress Heat Press Swing-Away Heat Press
- 1800 W
- 0- 500oF
- Read review
- F2C 15″ x 15″ Black Digital Clamshell Heat Press Transfer T-shirt Sublimation Machine
- 1200 W
- Read review
- OrangeA Heat Press 5 in 1 Swing Away Heat Press Machine 1000W Hat Press
- 1400 W
- 32 – 430oF
- Read review
- Zeny Heat Press 12″ x 15″ Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunction Transfer Sublimation
- 900 W
- 32 - 430oF
- Read review
There are different types of heat press machines. Such as the Draw-style Press, The Swing-away Press, Vacuum Press, And Clamshell Press. The main heat press machine types based on the way the Platen holds the material on it. And the way it operates, plus the amount of workspace needed for it to function. These are the Swing-away Press and the Clamshell Press. The swing-away press lifts and rotates the top platen about 100degrees or thereabout to the right. While the clamshell lifts up the top platen allowing the bottom platen to be pulled towards the user.
This factor is very important when choosing a heat press machine. The bigger the machine, the bigger the size of the imprint it can make. Swing-away Press machines are usually around 9 x 12” to 16 x20” while Clam Press machines are 11x 15” to 16 x 20”. Also, bigger machines are known to print various small-sized items at the same time. The right size to buy depends on the users. There is no point in getting a huge machine when you intend to be mobile like a printing at a carnival or an event. Rather than being in an office/printing press waiting for clients to come to meet you there.
When choosing the right heat press machine for your needs, try to pick the ones with the attachments you need. For example, if you want to print on caps, look for different sizes of platens for caps. You can then use it to swap out lower platens. Make sure that you can pull the lower platen out to install other sizes of platen attachments.
These are either digital or analog. An analog timer uses a dial and may not be very accurate especially since it has an upper limit of one minute. Sometimes the gauge may be hard to read. The digital timer, however, may be more accurate. It controls the gauge and controls with computerized sequences. This gives the machine a precise measurement of pressure and heat. Thereby making it more effective than the analog.
A platen is a metal platform used to print on the substrate materials. It is also what is used to create an impression on paper in letterpress printing. Sometimes in purchasing a heat press machine, you have to check if the lower platen is elevated. This allows the operator to be able to print on both sides of a shirt. Thereby without having to remove and replace it or reposition the platen. All he/she has to do is rotate the shirt placed on the platen rather than over it and print at the other side of the shirt.
Our top 10 Heat Press Machines
This device is designed to enable users to print on mugs, t-shirts, caps/hats, plates, and more. With its 5 distinct elements, Teflon-coated Platen Press (12” x 15”), Curved 6” x 3” Curved Hat/Cap Press, 11oz Mug press #1( 3” -3.5” diameter), and 2 Plate Presses (#1 with 5” diameter and #2 with 6” diameter). It is a fully assembled machine with one platen press. The extra platen press is included in the packaging along with one hat press, one mug press, one silicone pad, and one cotton pad. The dimensions of the fully assembled machine with the platen press attached is 15.25” L x 15” W x 17” H.
It comes with a manual that can be a bit tough to understand for first time users. So, we recommend watching YouTube videos on how to use it "Do It Yourself" (DIY) Users. It has built-in structural support to enable it in maintaining flatness. Its cradle is lightweight and compact in size. As compared to other standard mug cradles. It also has an upgraded aluminum alloy cradle.
This made in the US machine, comes with a standard grounded plug of 110v power input and 12000 watts. It’s temperature range is from 32-430oF (0-250oC) with a timer control of 0 -999seconds. The temperature scale is selectable so you get to choose which you prefer to work with.
It has a comfortable rubber grip handle for everyday use and long production runs. Also, it has a Swing-away design with a full 360o rotation and a non-stick surface. It has a 4.5” thick heating board with a 2in1 digital controller and a 12” x 15” transfer element. The extension cord is quite short. So you might need to get a 3-prong extension if you want to locate it far from the wall socket.
It is great for transferring characters of sublimating and colorful pictures. As well as dissolving of ink into nylon, ceramics, glass, flax, cotton, chemical fiber, and many more.
On eBay, you can get a 60-day money-back guarantee if there is a manufacturer’s error with the device. You can also get 14-day exchange coverage for faulty parts. As well as online technical assistance for you to effect repairs as the case demands. But the warranty does not cover damages to the equipment caused by your mishandling.
It comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty and it comes with a CE certification.
|It has an adjustable height of 13.5” to 17”.||The cord is short (4.5” in length).|
|It offers even heating by ensuring that the pressure is evenly distributed across the platen when it's closed.||The user manual is 2pages with barely enough instruction on how to use and maintain the equipment.|
|It has a detachable cradle that allows it to be used for printing on mugs.||The top of the heat press opens very little so adjusting the heating part is tedious. Also, no light gets into that workspace because of how small it is. So ensuring the design being printed will come out straight. Thus using it without getting burned is kind of tricky.|
|It has an adjustable multi-spring balancer.|
It is a compact, lightweight machine that is good for small workspaces. It has industrial strength and durability. Thus making it a great choice for long-term production use. The swing-away design with an upper platen rotation of 360 degrees. It reduces the possibility of accidental contact with the heating element and its area of heat distribution. Also, it enables the operator to work freely with fabrics and transfers on the base plate.
It has a precise time set up for an electronic time and heat control. The timer beeps (like an alarm) once the set time has elapsed allowing you to know when to come back and check your work. Its temperature range is 0 - 500oF within a 0-999 seconds time range. Only the upper plate gets hot while the lower heat platen is coated. The silicon rubber base is glued down to prevent it from burning items. It has a power output of 110volts and 1800wattage. Moreover, it comes with a Teflon sheet. But you might need to get some small magnets to hold the Teflon sheets in place when it's wrapped around the pressing plate. It also has a heat transfer vinyl.
This machine is great for printing flat items. But not so great with bulky items like a certain stuffed animal or a well-stuffed pillow. It is a commercial-grade 12”x9.25” actual element sized. This means it is not for imprinting images larger than 9x12”. Its dimensions are 19.2”x 15.2”x 17.5”.
It's ideal for applying for transfers, images, letters, and numbers on ID badges, mouse mats, garments, bags, 2x4” wood, ceramics, metal, glass, tiles, keychain, plaques, and other items. But these items have to be flat in nature. It is best for t-shirts and clothes.
|The pressure setting is adjustable.||The maximum space between the plates is 2 – 6”. Thereby making it unsuitable for imprinting larger objects.|
|It has a 360degree Fahrenheit swing-away design.||Teflon sheets not permanently attached to the platen.|
|Easy to use and portable.|
|Digital timer and temperature control.|
This machine prints over an area of 15” by 15”. Its platen is of the same size with a temperature range of 0-200oC (0-400oF) within a 0-999 seconds time range. The silicon pad can withstand high temperature but no more than 250oC without distortions. It uses 1200watts of power with 110volts. It has a dimension of 28.4 x 18.9 x 17.7“ and weighs 23.5kg. It should be connected to a three-core socket with ground protection before use on a leakage protection switch. It comes fully assembled with a manual and power supply wire.
It has a solid steel welded framework that is scratch resistant. The heating plate is coated with Teflon, a high temperature resistant anti-sticking layer. Thereby makes cleaning of the device easy. The aluminum heating plates make heating uniform across the surface. While the thickened heat plate ensures stable and even temperature distribution. The handle is firm and the device is sturdy which is good for a product that doesn’t have a brand name.
This device also has an intelligent digital timer for temperature and time control. It's referred to as intelligent. That's because it has a memory function, i.e. it stores previous imputed information. The LCD display shows the time and temperature of the device. When the transfer press is over, the signal indicator comes on. The integrated electric control system is for the adjusting and maintenance of the device. A dual electric system is a form of safety for the operations of the device. It also has an automatic countdown alarm. Once the job gets completed, music will play.
It is great for printing on flat surfaced items. Such as t-shirts, bags, mousepads, puzzles, lighters, and coasters. Hence many more items designed for heat transfer.
|It has a digital temperature and time control panel with memory functions.||Adjusting different settings can be a bit confusing.|
|It has an automatic countdown alarm along with a signal indicator.||Sometimes it doesn’t heat above 230oF.|
|Its clamshell design has an attractive appearance and it is convenient to use.||It makes an annoying clicking sound sometimes.|
|It has an adjustable pressure setting. This will help suit the thickness of the materials being printed on.||Some packs have no manual with directions on how to use it so you have to rely on YouTube videos.|
|The Teflon sheet is installed in the upper heat platen so no need to buy external sheets.|
|It has an antioxidant workbench with silicone which keeps its shape even at 400oC.|
|The temperature is preset in Degrees Centigrade. But you can alter it to Degrees Fahrenheit.|
|It has an elevated lower platen.|
This 5 in 1 swing away designed device comes with a 360o rotation to help avoid accidental contact. It comes fully assembled with five elements. 2 press plates(#1: 5” max diameter and #2: 6max diameter), a curved 6” x 3” hat/cap press, a Mug press (3”-3.5” diameter, 11oz), a 12” x 5” platen press. And other parts such as one cotton pad, silicone pad, and an operational manual. Its dimensions are 21” x 20.5”x 19” with and an adjustable height of 13.5”- 17”.
This machine has an upgraded aluminum alloy cradle with an arm that is 24/5 inches long. Its heating board is 4.5” thick and it's constructed with metal and plastic.
It uses 1400wattage with 110v of input power with an elevated lower platen with double supports that can be removed. It has a built in-fuse to make is safe for use and a cord length of 4.5”.
The heat transfer machine has an LCD display timer. And temperature control with an audible alarm that goes off when the preset time has elapsed. The timer control is for 0-999 seconds. While the temperature range is from 32 - 430oF (0-250oC) with a selectable temperature scale.
Another adjustable part of this device is the pressure knob. It has a full range, detachable lower platen, and multi-spring balancer. As well as the feet of the device to enable it to rest on the uneven floor.
This 5 in 1 device can be used for heat transfer of colorful pictures and characters, and letters. Also, numbers of sublimating and dissolving ink into glasses, ceramics, and textiles of different feels.
|Its interchangeable system for heat platens and other elements of the device.||It comes with no extra accessories.|
|Adjustable parts – pressure setting, feet of the device, spring balancer, and temperature scale.||The heat platen can be problematic and might need some tweaking/tinkering to use.|
|It has a detachable lower platen.||Sometimes comes with no instruction manual.|
|Its built-in fuse for safe protection while in use.||The power cord is short.|
|The timer and LCD Display that lets you know when the pre-set time has elapsed.|
This press machine is made of metal and plastic. It has a detachable cradle for the mug press. Besides, it’s size is compact and it is lightweight when compared with standard mug presses. It offers even heating that warms up the device fast. Thus allowing the pressure to be evenly distributed across the platen when it's closed. It also comes with a 4.5” thick heating board, an adjustable temperature scale, and a multi-spring balancer. As well as built-in structural support to help maintain its flatness. And a nonstick surface to prevent scorching of heat transfers. Its dimensions are 15.25” L x 15” W x 17” H and it weighs less than 56.2 pounds.
It's 6 in 1 equipment that comes in a swing-away heat transfer design with 360o rotation for ease of operation. It comes fully assembled with the 12” x 15” Teflon coated platen press. Also, 2 mug presses(#1 3”-3.5” diameter and #2 12oz for latte mug), and 1 hat/cap press (6”x3” curved). As well as 1 cotton and 1 removable silicone pad, 2 plate presses((# 5” diameter, and #2 6” diameter). It has a dual LED temperature controller for monitoring and controlling time. When the countdown to the time set is up, it beeps because it has an intelligent alarm system. To stop the alarm and the countdown timer, press the arrow down button.
It has a full range adjustable pressure setting for working on the various thickness of materials. Also, adjustable feet for placement on an uneven floor. And long 2 4/5” arm made from rubber to give it a firm grip for long production runs and everyday use. You should always turn off and unplug the power plug when changing the heating accessories. You also should have to place the object to be worked on the device before you turn on the machine. Also, ensure the electrical control box gets connected to the stamp head plug.
You may need to watch YouTube videos on how to use this machine. The instruction manual is not very detailed. Read the instructions on the warning sign thoroughly before putting on the machine.
You can print on cups, cap, t-shirts, and plates with any color, portrait, and landscape designs.
|It has an adjustable height that makes it ideal for different thickness of materials.||The instruction manual does not contain how to use the accessories or temperature setting.|
|It has a LED dual temperature controller.||The heat platen can be problematic and might need some tweaking/tinkering to use.|
|It comes with extra accessories that can be attached.||It gives off a smell when in operation.|
|Fahrenheit and Centigrade adjustable scale.|
|Built-in fuse to ensure safety when in use.|
This swing-away design allows you to move the heated upper platen aside with its 360o rotation. The heat transfer element is 11” x 5”. It's equipped with an LCD timer with an audible alarm system that goes off when the pre-set desired time is up. This helps to prevent overexposure of the material to the heating device which can scorch it. The timer control is adjustable within the range of 0-999 seconds. It also has an LCD temperature control timer. This ensures the heat transfer element will stop heating when it reaches the desired preset temperature. The temperature range of the device is between 0 - 250oC (32 -480oF).
It comes with a pre-installed Teflon coating for the heating element. This applies pressure straight down on the material. Thereby ensuring even distribution of pressure via the adjustable pressure knob on the machine. The handle is manually operated to open and close the platen.
It is a bit small in size (12”x 10”). But can transfer photographs, words/letters, numbers, and graphic designs on flat surfaces. Such as t-shirts, glass, ceramic tiles, garments like baby bibs & onesies, umbrellas, plates, bags, fiber, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, license plates, wood, and more. It is best known for its versatility.
|It has a direct top-to-bottom pressure application for even contact with the surface of the material.||It is for objects with flat surfaces only.|
|LCD Temperature control timer to switch off the heat once it reaches the set temperature.|
|It has a manual open and close handle that is easy to operate.|
This heavy-duty 15” x 15” Clamshell designed device comes fully assembled. Hence ready to use right out of the box. It is sturdy because it has a rigid steel framework that's built to stand the test of time. It also has a large LCD display that shows the preset time and temperature control. The control panel can be set using p1 for temperature settings and p2 for the time setting.
Clamshell designs are known to save space compared to the swing-away design. So it is ideal for small workspaces. The power requirement for this device is 110v with 140 watts. Make sure you use this device with a 3-prong electrical cord and wall socket. It comes with an 8-page manual which you can also find at the manufacturer (USCutters)’s shop on eBay.
It comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturers. And some extra goodies (starter bundle) to help you get started off with the machine right away. This bundle has 2 large cotton t-shirts, a 15” replacement nonstick sheet, and 5 Sister EasyWeed Vinyl. As well as a polyurethane ready-to-cut custom film/sheet with colors. It's best for creating a covering on printing/heat transfer of graphics. Especially small letterings. In other words, it is a Thermo transfer film for textiles). Vinyl comes in black, silver, blue, white, and red while the 100% cotton t-shirts are black and white in color. You can also use HTV with this press machine as well as rhinestone t-shirts.
|It's easy to use.||It is mainly for flats items.|
|It has a timer for temperature control and time.||It comes with a starter bundle.|
|It comes fully assembled and ready to use.|
This swing-away designed Mophorn press has a rigid frame with a heavy-duty build. It is also of a commercial grade and super stable. It has a full 360o rotation of the swing-away design. It has a 2 in 1 digital controller for both the temperature and the time. The timer range is 0-999 seconds while the temperature range is 0 - 400oF (0-220oC).
It has an adjustable multi-spring balancer. This will enable the pressure to be more evenly distributed throughout the entire platen when it's closed. Also, it has 1 removable silicone pad and a cotton pad.
Moreover, it has 5 elements. 2 press plates (#1: 5” max diameter and #2: 6max diameter), a curved 6” x 3” hat/cap press, a Mug press (3”- 3.5” diameter, 11oz), a 12” x 5” platen press. The dimension of the machine with the platen press is 15.25” L x 15” W x 17” H and an adjustable height of 13.5” to 17”.
The power requirement is 110v and 1400watts. It comes with a 4.5” thick heating board and a detachable lower platen. As well as a 24/5 long handle that is easy to hold and saves effort.
This machine boasts of an array of attachments that are a must-have such as 1 hat press, 1 mug press, and 2 plate presses. It seems to be made in China and the manual translation from Chinese can be poor. Thus making the manual hard to understand. Plus, it rarely carries instruction for the use of attachments/accessories.
It is good for printing on baseball hats, mugs, t-shirts, ceramic tiles, coasters, ceramic plates, jigsaw puzzles, and other items.
|It comes with accessories.||It has a short power cord.|
|Teflon coated heat platen.||It has a continuous beeping sound problem.|
|It has an LED temperature controller.||The manual is unreliable. Hence the need to watch YouTube videos for instructions on how to set up and use the device.|
|Has detachable lower platen.|
This industrial quality digital press machine comes with a free Teflon sheet. And Teflon coated upper heat platen with a silicone rubber baseboard. It is not glued down to the platen to enable you to adjust it in any way you prefer. To ensure precise time and heat control, it has a timer. It is a compact upward-opening model.
It operates with a power rating of 1800watts and 110v. It heats up within the first 5-10 minutes depending on the temperature you select. Although the temperature range is not specified in the manual, using it within 300-350oF should do the job.
Keep adjusting the temperature setting until it actually responds how you want it to. It has an adjustable Fahrenheit and Centigrade scale. It makes a clicking sound when it is regulating the temperature. To set the temperature, press the set button until the p1 button flashes. Then set the temperature with the arrow buttons. Do the same thing for the p2 button to set the timer.
It also has an easy to read instruction manual though not very detailed.
If you have trouble opening the device after it has clamped down, loosen the tension by turning the pressure knob. Then, press down before pulling up the handle. Its dimensions are 22” L x 15” W x 18” H with the top handle when it is open. It does not have attachments and is only for imprinting on flat surface objects.
This machine is perfect for applying heat transfers, letters, images, and numbers. As well as images on jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, t-shirts, bags, ceramic tiles, ID badges, and other items.
|Works well with HTV Vinyl for heat transfers.||There are challenges with heat and pressure consistency. It affects the output of the design causing the edges to peel.|
|Easy to use.||Temperature range not specified.|
|You can adjust the temperature and pressure setting.|
|It has a memory function that helps keep your settings once they imputed.|
This steel frame constructed clamshell designed industrial-quality digital heat press machine is compact in size. It helps save space. It is also an upward opening heat press that uses a power requirement of 110v to 120v for a regular 3 prong outlet. The power cord is about 3-5 feet long. It has a power on and off indicator switch.
Its temperature range extends to as high as 0-500oF (+ or -5o). With a full range of pressure setting adjustments. It comes with a silicone base not glued down. Even though there are signs that the manufacturer intended it to be glued at some point. It has a thick heat board to help for even distribution of the pressure and heat. And has a digital LCD timer and temperature control.
The heat platen is Teflon coated and when packaged, it weighs 55lbs with 26” x 18” x 19” dimensions. It does not automatically open once it’s locked in by the pressure, you’ll have to pull the handle to open it. It comes fully assembled and ready to use.
It's great for printing on flat surfaces. Also, it comes in different colors like turquoise, teal, red, brown, black, blue, or yellow. It's great for printing images, letters, and numbers on ceramic plates, t-shirts, tiles, tote bags, id badges, garments, mouse mats, etc.
|It comes with an adjustable pressure setting.||Silicone base not glued down.|
|Has a digital timer for temperature and time regulation.||Instruction Manual is not helpful at all.|
|Easy to use and does not take up space.|
|It's cheap in comparison to other systems.|
The difference between all the devices is very little. You might be a starting up in the printing business or want to be able to make personalized items for occasions as souvenirs. Then you should be looking at getting any of the multi-purpose machines. Like the 5 in 1 or 6 in 1 device with a large platen that can allow you to print various small items at the same time. These machines are built to cater to a lot of needs. Even with attachments of various sizes and could fetch you a pretty profit. The good news is all these devices have a flat platen press. So printing on flat objects is guaranteed whether it is a clamshell design or swing away.
And based on your workspace, you can choose to buy either a big device or a small mobile one. But remember, that the size of what you get might restrict your options of design sizes you can print. This is also not a bad thing. That's because if you are not using it for a commercial purpose, there will be no need to get a machine with 16x20” platen. A regular 9x12” or 12x15” will do fine and can even print on shirts that are size Large. And any platen that is Teflon coated is also a great choice. Because you spend less on maintenance or constant buying of Teflon sheets.
Personally, I would go with a swing-away design with 5 elements. It will cater you to various press attachments with Teflon coated platen. (Zeny Heat Press 12" x 15" Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunction Transfer Sublimation T-Shirt /Mug /Hat /Plate (#01). Or Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 15 X 15 Inch Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine Desktop Iron Baseball Hat Press 1000W Digital Swing Away Transfer T-Shirt Hat Mug (5IN1 15x15Inch)). While my second best would be the F2C 15" x 15" Black Digital Clamshell Heat Press Transfer T-shirt Sublimation Machine (15"x 15" black). Because of its memory function.
What really comes into focus when deciding to buy this equipment is the cost. Hence the purpose for which you need the design.
To see more of our featured items you can go to our website amazingmachines.info.