If this is your first time purchasing a heat press machine, there are a few things you need to know. Therefore, take a look at our buyers guide so you become familiar with the different types of machines available to you and all the other factors you need to consider.
In a hurry?
- 1 Heat Press Machine Comparison Table
- 2 Heat Press Machine Reviews
- 3 Heat Press Machine Buyers Guide
If you want to get right to it, check out our the best heat press machines below. All of these machines are high quality so are guaranteed to last, serve different purposes, and are also affordable enough for beginners and even more experienced users with a good quality to price ratio.
Heat Press Machine Comparison Table
Heat Press Machine Reviews
BestEquip 12” x 10” Swing Away
Arguably the best value for money machine on this list, the BestEquip 12 x 10 is a Swing Away model has received unanimously great reviews since its release.
It is a little smaller than some other models, but should be more than sufficient for anyone who wants to transfer onto garments, mouse mats, ceramic tiles, T-shirts, bags, and any other flat surfaced items.
The machine has a temperature range of up to 480 Fahrenheit and a time control that is adjustable up to 999 seconds. These can easily be viewed on the LCD screen. There is also an audible alarm that alerts you when time is up to avoid over exposure.
As the BestEquip 12 x 10 is a Swing Away model it has the benefit of giving you more precision, as you can see the whole work surface, and also ensures that you do not have to work directly under the heat source either. Heat is distributed evenly throughout the work area.
PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital 15” x 15”
This Heat Press Machine is available at a very good price, offering a good compromise between quality and value for money.
It comes packed with features that you would expect from a good press machine, and can be used for more than just garments – ceramic tiles, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, ID badges, and more – thanks to its heat-resistant silica-gel sponge found on the motherboard.
It is made from solid steel which makes it very durable and also scratch resistant. There is a fully digital temperature and time control with a memory function to ensure prints come out perfectly every time. The temperature range stands at 0-750 Fahrenheit and time range at 0-999 seconds.
It’s good to see that the working surface is covered by Teflon, as it makes the area much easier to clean and extends it longevity.
Other features include an aluminum, extra thick heat platen that distributes heat evenly across the working surface, a silicon pad that avoids distortion up to 400 degrees, and easy to use controls so things like pressure can be adjusted easily.
Gecko T GK100 15” x 15”
The Gecko T GK100 is one of the best heat press machines that measures 15” x 15”, and features a maximum temperature of 435 Fahrenheit and timer of 999 seconds that can be controlled digitally.
It has a metal frame construction for high performance, longevity, and durability purposes, with the machine weighing a hefty 62 pounds. Despite this, the machine is very easy to use thanks to a lifting mechanism that requires very little effort to open and close to ensure better transitioning and more precise alignment.
The machine’s non-stick, coated heat platen features a full range of heating coils, as this ensures a very consistent distribution of heat throughout the work surface.
One last thing to mention is that the GK100 can be used with standard, laser, inkjet, color copier, sublimation or plastisol – in other words, all traditional transfer materials.
JRFOTO 9” x 10” Swing Away
The JRFOTO 9” x 10” Swing Away is one of the most inexpensive machines on this list, but this doesn’t mean that its quality suffers. On the contrary, it does everything you would expect from a well-made heat press and does it well. It can also be used for printing on a wide variety of products.
The machine is designed to be industrial strength, which becomes apparent as soon as you see how heavy duty it is.
Due to its Swing Away design you can see the entire work area, improving precision, and ensure that you do not have to work under the heat source, improving safety.
The temperature can reach a maximum of 750 Fahrenheit, which really is quite impressive given its price, and there is also an adjustable pressure setting, and digital timer.
Teflon coating can be found on the heat platen, making the work surface a breeze to clean and extends its longevity.
Mophorn 12” x 10” Digital Swing Away
The last Swing Away machine that makes the list comes from Mophorn. It features a transfer element that measures 12” x 10”, has a temperature range that goes up to 446 Fahrenheit, and a timer control that is adjustable all the way up to 999 seconds.
We’ve already mentioned why swing away machines are so beneficial, but a couple of other features worth mentioning include the pressure adjustment knob and the heat platen.
The pressure adjustment knob gives you the ability to change the pressure according to the thickness of the material you’re transferring to, resulting in higher quality transfers.
The heat platen, on the other hand, is Teflon coated for its easy to clean properties and has a full range of heating coils to guarantee an even heat distribution for perfect results every time.
Hotronix Fusion 16″ x 20″
The last of the best heat press machines on this list certainly doesn’t come cheap, but its quality and performance is unrivaled.
For one, it is made in the good ol’ USA and weighs a hefty 150 pounds. It is also backed by great warranties – lifetime heating element warranty, 5 years on major components, 2 years on the circuitry board, and 1 year on parts and labor.
The Hotronix Fusion has a 16” x 20” heat platen and can function either as a Swing Away or Draw model, which comes very much in handy if you’re looking to output high volume.
Technological features also can’t be beat on this model. There is a live digital time, temperature, and pressure readout, which is standard with heat press machines.
However, there are also multiple time settings; the ability to program and store an unlimited number of frequently used applications to time and temperature; an energy saving 4 hour sleep mode; production cycle counter; and all of these can be controlled via a touch screen.
Other features include a special cast aluminum frame for exceptional durability; an innovative platen design to avoid the need for pads or pillows; a threadable lower platen, and a design that makes it easy to change platens.
Heat Press Machine Buyers Guide
What is a Heat Press Machine?
A heat press machine is a tool that is able to imprint a design or graphic onto various fabrics. This is achieved via the use of pressure and heat. They are very popular with t-shirt manufacturers and clothing companies in general, but specially designed models can imprint graphics and designs onto other materials like ceramics, vinyl, bags, and more too.
Why Buy a Heat Press Machine?
In our opinion and many others who have bought and used these machines before, there are four main reasons why you should purchase one.
Firstly, they are very affordable. A machine won’t set you back a few thousand dollars or even $500, you can purchase a high quality and dependable one for just a couple of hundred dollars. Furthermore, when you are able to print in higher volume it is faster to recoup the cost of the press machine too.
Easy to Use
Even if you’re never used a press machine before you can get started pretty much right away. A clamshell machine is definitely the easiest to use, requiring just a few steps to operate, but both swing and draw machines don’t require that much knowledge to operate perfectly either.
Top machines are able to imprint designs in as high quality and little time as possible. They can handle complex designs that are full of color no problem at all.
Compared to screen press machines, heat press machines are a godsend. There’s no chance of your fabrics getting damaged by solvents and dyes, and no need to wash and store screens.
Different Types of Heat Press Machines
There are three different types of machines. Each type has its own specific pros and cons, so be sure to factor this into your decision making process so you choose the best option for your purposes.
This type of machine is called clamshell because it functions like a clam does. In other words, it is hinged on the upper and lower platens and opens and closes just like a clam. If you’re just looking at making t-shirts they are ideal.
Very easy to use, making them great for beginners
Most portable option of the three
Only a few steps are needed
Not the best choice for thick fabrics
Can’t always see all of the work area
May be dangerous if not careful due to having to work under the heat source
Swing away machines, also called swinger, have a swinging design whereby the upper platen swings away from the lower platen when in operation. When the design has been completed everything swings back into place. This makes them popular with those who require precision and complete safety. They are also more suitable for printing a wide variety of items.
More precision due to being able to see your whole garment
No need to work under the heat source
Great for more experienced users
More space needed than clamshell machines
Not as beginner-friendly
Draw presses have a slide-out mechanism that slides out towards the user. If you require complete access to the work area and require high volume output then draw presses are for you.
Great for high volume
Fairly compact design
Whole work area is viewable
No need to work under heat source
Not quite as precise as swinger presses
Limited space between platens means thick garments aren’t best used
Additional space needed due to slide-out design of lower platen
Factors to Consider
Besides the different type of machines available to you that will usually play a large role in determining which model you go for, there are several other aspects to consider too.
The price is often one of the biggest factors that complete beginners struggle with. A good rule to follow is to spend within your means. It’s also wise to calculate when you think you will be able to recoup the cost of the machine by forecasting all the other various expenses, how many products you are able to sell, and how long this will likely take.
Size matters, so it is always a good idea to purchase a machine that is large as your budget allows. A larger machine gives you more space to work with and allows you to press larger designs, names, and numbers on shirts too. These types of designs may not immediately be in your business plan, but you should be able to change to suit ever changing demand at the drop of a hat.
It’s smart to purchase from a company that is known for its customer support. Beginners aren’t the only ones who can benefit from good support though; everyone needs to be able to get in touch with a company that is quick at resolving issues and is sure to honor their warranty.
Other than reading user reviews and assuming that the higher the price the better the quality, one of the best ways of finding out whether a heat press machine is of high quality is to check the weight. If you see two machines that are of the same size, simply compare the weight of the two. The heavier machine indicates that better materials have been used in the construction process that are likely to be more durable.
It’s important to ensure that any machine you are thinking about buying is able to distribute heat equally. This can be challenging to find out unless you are at a demo, but by reading user reviews you can get a good idea as to whether this is an issue or not.
Time & Temperature
A machine that comes with a digital timer is a must. After all, the last thing you want to happen is to burn your fabrics, and there is also the safety aspect to consider. The best heat press machines are able to run to 350 Fahrenheit and print a garment within 10 seconds.