Best Heat Press T-shirt Printing Machine: Reviews in 2018 (Expert’s Guide)

For many of us, creating awesome pieces of beautiful artworks results in ultimate satisfaction. Others take pride in working with letters. Then, there are some who create mesmerizing digital photographs.

There is a separate kind of people too! Ones that come up with these artworks, calligraphy, digital photographs and print them on T-shirts, mugs, bags, dresses, hats, caps, and others.

People might think that designing and printing these designs are tough. Well, not so much.

Believe it or not, once you come up with the design, getting it printed on a T-shirt or a dress is a moment’s job. You just need the best heat press machine to ensure your designs shine brightly.

These tools are affordable and easy to use. For a smart small business owner, heat press devices are “One Time” investments that speed up the production rate while minimizing additional costs.

For a hobbyist, it is a great way learn how he can print his own design onto various T-shirts, mugs, glass, or tiles without spending a single penny as outsourcing cost.

However, the trick is to find ideal t-shirt printing machine for your hobby, business, and home use. Keeping that in mind, I’ve designed this guide to let you know about the different types of heat presses you’ll come across. Also, I’ve discussed the factors that help you choose the suitable one from a number of options.

If you are feeling lazy this morning and don’t want to do the research yourselves, feel free to consider a model from my own shortlist of top products. I’ve based these on performance, price, availability, functionality, and ease of use. There are handy tips on using these machines and on their maintenance as well.

Top 10 Best Heat Press T-shirt Printing Machine Recommendations:

Now, if you are feeling a bit stiff to do the research and find the ideal models for yourselves, I did that for yourselves. Below you’ll find brief heat press machine reviews of top models from renowned brands in terms of price and performance.

1. PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine

If you are looking for a competent tool to print your designs on various surfaces, rejoice! Kicking my “Best Heat Press'” list off is PowerPress Digital T-Shirt Heat Press. It has the features and the size to beat the competition.

I am not kidding! This thing is compact. I could set it up on my small-ish table without striving for extra room. Despite the small footprint, this thing is incredibly efficient. One can use PowerPress to successfully print on a 15-by-15 surface.

The reason for me to rank this tool high on the list is the Aluminum heat plate. Aluminum makes sure of even heat distribution.

On top of that, you have Teflon coating on the heating plate. What does it do? It protects the clothes and other objects you use. They won’t burn or stick to the plate due to excessive heat. The coating makes it easier to clean the device. Dirt doesn’t stick to the surface.

One can adjust the pressure to create various imprints easily. Also, feel free to work your magic with the silicon pads. These pads are capable of enduring a maximum temperature of 350 degrees Celsius.

Even a newbie can operate this thing. Setting up all the parameters is as easy as pie. I got to use the digital LCD control panel it came with. It makes monitoring and tinkering with the controls easier than before. So, no complaints here.

The entire mechanism is electricity-based. So, maintenance is easier than manual heat presses. Don’t worry about overheating this device. It comes with a fuse that saves this thing from voltage overload. Anyone can replace this fuse. Once done, the machine will be as good as new!

Highlighted Features:

  • Firstly, the compact size. You can set it up anywhere you like.
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    It delivers quality imprint on a 15-by-15 surface.
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    The Teflon coating and aluminum heat plate work like charm. Your accessories don’t get damaged. You get a nice imprinting too!
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    The LCD control panel makes operating with this machine a breeze.
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    Electric system allows you to stay safe.
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    3-year manufacturer’s warranty for damage protection is a huge help for small businesses.

2. Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press

Want to leave your mark on various products? Get Mophorn heat press. As the product tagline says, it is truly “Multifunctional” as it takes care of so many things for the user.

This is the perfect tool if you want to set an imprint on products beyond tees. Feel free to print the designs on tiles, casters, plates, hats, mugs, and mouse pads.

The device itself is durable thanks to a steel framework. It is a secured investment for small businesses. This tool won’t let you down anytime soon!

When you apply heat on an object to print your designs, this machine ensures the heat is distributed evenly. That’s why you’ll find a balancing surface laced with springs. This allows prints to stay good all throughout the surface.

The surface itself is versatile. I got to work on the 15-inch-by-12-inch surface. This allowed me to print my vivid designs on many objects and clothes (mainly the ones with cotton fabric).

The thing features a “Swing Away” design. It keeps your body safe from burns and other accidents.

I loved the fact that manufacturers added a feature to control the time from 0 to 999 seconds. Also, you can control the temperature variations from 0 to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

Don’t worry about assembling this little beast. It comes fully assembled. You don’t have to move an inch. Just take it out of the box and start using. You also get removable lower half, cotton, and silicon pads. These things make the job of printing fun and games for everybody involved.

Highlighted Features:

  • I could print on tees, mugs, mouse pads, hats, plates, tiles etc. with this wonder machine.
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    The device’s heating section is balanced on springs to adapt to various surfaces.
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    You have the “Swing Away” design that ensures maximum safety for you.
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    The cotton and silicon pads can be removed.
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    This thing comes entirely assembled; you don’t have to move a single muscle.
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    One can control the temperature from 0 – 400 degree Fahrenheit. 

3. ShareProfit 12’’ X 15’’ 5 In 1 Digital Heat Press

If Mophorn wasn’t enough for you, let me give you ShareProfit’s Digital Heat Press. It takes heat pressing to a new level. This is a machine which presses your designs on as many as five surfaces. Minus the stickiness of course.

One can press designs on caps, hats, mugs, plates, and clothing. This heat press features a removable base as well. This 12”X15” heat press is ideal for you to work with.

This peach of a model comes with a Teflon coating on the heating area. Your T-shirts won’t get scorched. Plastic and Ceramics won’t stick to the surface and stink in the process.

I like the long handle. Thanks to the “Bold” design, it is easy to hold. It has a rubber coating. This allows you to be comfortable. Thus, you can do huge production batches for hours without getting tired. Pushing this handle requires less effort and physical strain.

This is digital like the previous candidate on my list. It can easily be the best heat press machine for T-Shirts.

Why? Well, you have the upgraded control panel and temperature controls. People can monitor them, control them with the push of few buttons, and get the best output this machine has to offer.

While we are on temperature, I must mention that you can achieve 0 to 250-degree centigrade with this machine. This is awesome for a mid-range heat press.

The time setting is standard with 0 to 999 seconds' leash. A "Dual LCD" monitor to view all these settings is the icing on your cake!

Highlighted Features:

  • You get a heat press that can take care pressing designs on five types of surfaces.
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    Dual LCD displays for time and temperature is a nice aspect of ShareProfit.
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    The manufacturers made an effort to upgrade the temperature and time control systems.
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    It is surprisingly well-built.
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    The handle is super comfy and easy to operate with leverage.

4. F2C Pro 5 in 1 Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine

The Sublimation Heat Press can be an awesome addition to your business. It is “Pro” in every sense of the word. Like most of the models on my list, it takes care of five types of surfaces. These include heat pressing designs on Clothing, Mugs, Plates, Hats, and ceramic tiles.

F2C® is known for the swing away design. The design keeps you safe while you heat press. Plus, the model rotates to a full circle. You can take liberties while printing designs on different surfaces. Don’t worry about the necessary attachments. All of them are included in the package.

I came to know from reviews that you can actually place characters and designs using dissolved inks on these surfaces. I tried it out for the sake of testing. I even extended the surfaces to the likes of jigsaw puzzles. The results were satisfactory.

Well, you have your temperature controller. Feel free to control it with the pushing of a few buttons. One can set the temperature from 0 to 250 degrees centigrade. Same goes for the timer. With the push of a button, you can set it anywhere from 0 to 999 seconds.

It actually lets you know when heat pressing is done. You’ll hear an alarm going off loud and clear. This compact tool even has adjustable feet to work on uneven floors.

What’s more intriguing is the pressure adjustment knob. It offers people the full range of privileges. You have 2-4/5-inch long handle that you can grip and operate comfortably. I was amazed by the varieties it allowed me to bring into my designs! Don’t forget the silicone and cotton pads that you can remove too!

Seeing all these, I am tempted to call it the best heat press machine for small business. However, it faces a stern competition from the last product on my list.

Highlighted Features:

  • You can do diverse designs on various surfaces.
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    The machine rotates 360 degrees.
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    This tool comes with adjustable feet for uneven surfaces.
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    You can view and control the temperature and time on the LCD and digital control panel respectively.
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    Do designs on T-shirts, mugs, tiles, hats, and plates.
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    The plastic and metal combination of the construction protects you and the device both.
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    You’ll know when the design is done printing through an audible alarm.

5. Fancierstudio Power Heat press

This is perhaps the ideal low-end machine for those of you who are just starting out in this realm. The first thing that caught my eye is the way it’s packaged. You see, it comes to you packed in a box that’s packed in another box. This is layered packaging. It’ll save this baby from any kind of external damage.

Fancierstudio comes completely assembled. One can put it to work immediately after unpacking.

Changing through different levels of temperature and pressure controls are easy. Even a novice with little training can operate the machine. The digital control panel allows you to monitor everything as you go about your business.

The base is made of silicon and rubber. The design allows you to be safe as rubber doesn’t heat up quickly like steel or iron.

With this tool, people can save space as it opens upwards. They won’t need extra space on the sides. Plus, you don’t even need to operate it by hand. Once the machine is done heating, it’ll open up for you to change the material on the heat plate.

Using this thing you can do designs on clothing, bags, mouse mats, ceramic tiles, ID badges, garments, and of course… T-shirts. Feel free to do letters, numbers, and/or images.

The heat platen is based on magnetic principles. Once you are ready, lay the material on the magnetic drawer. On the contrary to the Clamshell design, this doesn’t put your hands at risk of any kind.

Just put the product on the panel, automation will take care of the heating. Once done, it will let the product out. Your hands won’t have to go near the heating panel during the process.

Highlighted Features:

  • The machine comes with a sturdy construction.
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    15X15 surface is big enough for you to print designs on T-shirts and bags.
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    You can control the temperature and pressure through a control panel.
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    The rubber base doesn’t heat up and become uncomfortable.
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    Automated heat panel brings out the product once it is done heating.

6. Promo Heat 15 in. x 15 in. Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine

If you want to take T-Shirt printing to the next level, this model from Promo Heat should suffice. I liked the fact that the manufacturers took everything that was good in the previous models. They made them even better with this upgrade.

First thing I liked about this machine is it features a “Clamshell” design. The machine opens up for you to place the materials on the heating plate like a clamshell. Thus, it saves valuable space for the users. Also, it is portable. You can carry this thing anywhere you like.

It is amazing to see manufacturers packing features like digital display, pressure control knob, time, and temperature adjustment buttons in a simple layout.  

This little machine is user-friendly. People will have the entire control panel at their fingertips. This is what people call a “Top Mounted” system. This control system allows users to access the control panel without making too much of a fuss.

Printing designs are as easy as pie with the interactive buttons. All you need to do is to open the machine up and place the material inside. You can make some adjustments regarding time and temperature and adjust the pressure for it to work with.

The next thing you’ll hear is a loud alarm that tells you “Mission Accomplished.” Precise temperature adjustment and the non-stick surface prevent the material from burning or overheating.

In addition to that, you have Teflon Coating on this entire machine. Many of its contemporaries have bare metal parts that risk burning the users. But not the PRO – 380X. That’s what makes it the best heat press machine for beginners in my opinion.

Promo Heat PRO-3804X gives you the chance to show off your creativity on metal surfaces. Of course, you can print designs on T-shirts, Ceramics, Tiles, mouse pads, and tons of other stuff. Trust me, thickness of the material won’t be an issue.

Highlighted Features:

  • An upgrade from previous models with a clamshell design.
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    It comes with a hatch that opens upwards and saves space on the sides.
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    Top mounted controls that are easy to access.
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    One can set time, regulate the temperature, and adjust pressure with interactive system.
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    You can print T-shirts, License plates, mugs, bags etc. in large batches if you want to.
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    Perfect for everyday home use also.

7. VEVOR Heat Presses 15 X 15 Inch 6 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Heat Press Machine

At this point of the list, let’s up to the stakes a little bit. I present to you, VEVOR. It is Vevor 6-in-1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Machine. Yup, This one gives you the convenience of printing designs on six types of materials.

With a “Swing Away” design, precise temperature adjustments, time control feature, and an impressive layout; this machine walks the walk and talks the talk. I am very much tempted to say that it is the best multifunctional heat press machine within budget.

I like the “Swing Away” design for its efficiency with clothes. Thanks to this feature, you can view the entire garment while printing on it. The handle rotates 360 degrees to allow you full control over the printing process.

Moreover, it takes the heat plate away from you when the job is done. As such, you won’t face any risks of injuring yourselves. 

I like the pressure adjustment system for this machine. Manufacturers gave the users full reign over it. Thanks to this, the thickness of the fabric, license plate, ceramic, tiles etc. won’t be a problem. Vevor comes with a multi-spring balancer. You can perfectly balance materials with uneven surfaces.

This little feature also ensures that the heat is distributed evenly all over the surface you are printing the design on. As a result, this sublimation heat press brings out the true colors of your product. I was relieved. The last thing I want is to come up with a faulty T-shirt or a defective mug. 

I don’t want to leave the “Temperature Settings” out of the discussion. Well, you can tinker with the values from 0-degree centigrade to a maximum of 250-degree centigrade. Don’t worry, this little beast shows readings in Fahrenheit scale too!

Highlighted Features:

  • The small footprint allows me to set it up at a convenient place.
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    Check out the “Swing Away” design. It ensures swift heat transfer and safety of the user.
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    The handle is big enough for you to hold comfortably and work.
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    There’s a removable bottom panel in place. You can switch it with other things if you want.
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    I love the heat panel with multi spring balancer that makes sure pressure is equally applied on all parts of the material. Thanks to this, you can print designs on thick materials too!
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    The Digital LED display makes your life easy as you can interpret the numbers without troubles.

8. ZENY Heat Press 12" x 15" Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press

If you want something that can withstand all the hassles of printing large batches of clothes (among other things) and don’t mind shedding extra bucks for it; try Zeny Pro 6-in-1 Combo Heat Press. The machine has a solid base with support. This allows you to place it on uneven surfaces.

Not just the base but the whole machine uses a steel frame. It gives "Zeny Pro" some much-needed stability and durability. Also, the working surface of 15”X12” gives you ample room to print designs on a wide range of materials.

The best part is, you can print on different fabrics, metal surfaces, ceramics, and more at the same time. How? This is due to additional accessories that can be used in tandem with the main machine.

I have to mention the aluminum-made cradle here. Thanks to this, one can be sure that the heat is being distributed evenly throughout the materials. What we have here is a 4/5-inch thick heating board. This helps immensely when you are printing designs on a thick material.

Of course, you get a separate cradle only for mugs. It fits with the machine nicely. Aluminum went into the making of this thing. Understandably, it is lightweight and easy to operate as well.

Just to put the cherry on top, the platen is Teflon coated. This means T-shirts, Mugs, hats, caps, ceramic utensils, tiles etc. won’t overheat and feel sticky. The coating reduces the chances of these things getting burnt as well.

Another useful feature of this little wonder is the Digital LED screen to count time and get a reading on the temperature. I could easily control these two factors using the buttons on the panel.

Moreover, the machine controls the processing time electronically. As a result, the users get precise heating. An alarm system warns us about the completion of the task. Everything happens in due time.

Highlighted Features:

  • This thing has a small footprint that allows you to set up shop anywhere you like.
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    360-degree swivel design makes it easy for you to print your designs on various surfaces with control and ease.
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    You could use this thing to print designs on mugs, tiles, caps, hats, ceramic utensils, and license plates.
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    The LED display clearly shows the time and temperature you are working with.
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    This little heat press comes with accessories that facilitate printing design on various surfaces. One can use them simultaneously while working with the main heat plate.

9. BestEquip Heat Press Machines Swing Away for T-Shirts

When the best t-shirt printing machine says it out loud, you know that it is built specifically for designing that item. This is the case for BestEquip Heat Press Machine. The manufacturers worked wonders in dedicating this thing solely for tinkering with clothing.

With this, you don’t need to worry about assembling the machine. Everything comes in top shape and pre-assembled. Just unpack the product and get to work.

With its 11.5" x 9" heating platen, you can do designs on T-shirts, bags, metal, glass, and other surfaces. It is best suited for “Flat” surfaces. Personally, I’d advise you to use it for T-Shirts.

The reason I am a big fan of this thing is its convenience. You have an LCD display that shows time and temperature counts. Thanks to the controls, you can make precise temperature adjustments. Feel free to play with the temperature settings between 0 to 399-Degree Celsius.

As far as adjusting time is concerned, One can do so with the simple buttons on the panel. Feel free to set the time anywhere between 0 to 999 seconds. Once the machine is done with heating, you’ll hear an alarm loud and clear.

Rest assured, this thing won’t “Overheat” and spoil the materials you are printing on. You can thank the pressure adjustment feature for that. One can adjust the pressure level with a knob. You’ll find it at the rear end of the machine.

The top half opens and closes like a hatch. This allows the heat to travel downwards. This thing can heat up even the thickest of the materials.

At this point, you know what a “Swing Away” design does. BestEquip ensures your safety and gives you an improved product design at work. The swing arm swivels to a full 360 degrees. As a result, users remain safe while printing designs.

Highlighted Features:

  • The “Swing Away” design that protects you from getting burnt.
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    Pressure adjustment knob is located at a convenient place.
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    I liked the fact that manufacturers offered broader temperature range to play with.
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    You can set up timer very easily and monitor it on digital LCD display.
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    It is particularly friendly to clothing fabrics.
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    The machine presses clothing downwards facilitating even heat distribution.

10. ePhotoInc Swing Away 9 x 12 T Shirt Heat Press Machine

If you need a “Heat Transfer Machine” for domestic purposes, I’ve got just the product for you. We all have that little creative spark within us which we love bringing to life. ePhotoInc Swing Away Heat Press gives you a golden shot at doing so!

This machine is beginner-friendly with a convenient price tag. With a Heat Platen surface measuring 10”X12” one can deem it too small. But this is perhaps the best heat press machine for home use.

This little thing gives you ample support when printing designs on T-shirts, bags, fabric, glass, and metal surface. ePhotoInc is the perfect tool to get you started on this path. It serves as the perfect device one can use to learn the basics of this trade.

While checking this thing for performance, I found out that it gives you 500-Degree Fahrenheit of maximum temperature while printing. At such a cheap price, it is an awesome feat to achieve.

One can even control the timer as he/she pleases. This feature is the same as other models on my list. You can set the timer up to 999 seconds for this machine.

The fact that this little gem provides Teflon coating on the elements takes the cherry for me. It doesn’t eat up power as well. You can make do with 110V power only according to the USA standards.

Rest assured, the “Swing Away” design will work its magic. The pressure comes straight down as one puts the material inside. It allows for quick and even heat distribution. Plus, the arm moves 360 degrees. As a result, you can move the heating element aside when done with it.

Highlighted Features:

  • The price is just right for a beginner-friendly product.
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    You have 500-Degree Fahrenheit as the maximum Temperature count.
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    One can adjust the time for up to 999 seconds.
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    At this price, this tool offers “Swing Away” design that keeps you safe.
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    The elements are Teflon coated to further safeguard the users.

I want to end my “Best Heat Press List” on a high note. That’s why I wanted to include this model from Diamond Heat Press Machines. Although it is made for T-shirts, one can use this little beast for printing designs and photos on fabric, bags, glass, and ceramics too.

This little beast is durable! With commercial-grade strength, you can depend on it to stay good for years to come.

This model from Diamond features “Full” Teflon coating. This guards users against burning their hands and the material during the heat transfer process. Not to forget, “Swing Away” design allows for safe operation and swift handling of different materials.

You get a thick Aluminum heat plate. The thickness serves as a guarantee that the materials will heat up nicely. People will have even heat distribution too. The machine supports up to 265-degree Celsius with silicon pads. It allows your designs, photos, and letter blocks to shine to their full potential.

One can control the time for which you need the material to heat up. One can switch timer between 0 to 9999 seconds. If you are a bit experienced with heat press equipment, you can adjust the pressure too!

All the controls are electrically wired and button dependent. This makes sure there are no problems. The makers have also put in dual electric fail-safe in case of accidents. You won’t be electrocuted while handling the equipment. You can see all the stats in three-part LED display.

If you ask me, it will give F2C® Pro 5 in 1 Digital Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine a run for its money as the best heat press machine for small business.

Highlighted Features:

  • Commercial-grade strength and durability stole my heart.
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    You get Teflon coating and an Aluminum heat plate with silicone gel base.
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    Full Electrically wired control panel and failsafe system.
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    Timer can go up to 9999 seconds.
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    You can control the heat easily; temperature goes up to 265-degree Celsius.
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    Three-part LED display.-Swing Away design is at the helm.

Different Types of Heat Presses We’re Dabbling In:

Buying the best t-shirt printing machine seems easier than it actually is. It becomes even difficult if you don’t know the different types of this device you’ll find on the market.

Well, there are three variants of this little beast of a machine. The “Clamshell” type that opens from the top, the swivel design that moves up to 360 degrees, and the “Magnetic Draw” that brings out a drawer. Let me explore them in greater detail.

The Clamshell Heat Press

The name gives it away in this case. What you have here are two heat plates and a hinge joining them together. This is the perfect type if you are a newbie and finding your feet in design imprinting.

This is perhaps the easiest type to get your head around. Just open it up like a clamshell. The next thing to do is to place the material on the bottom plate. Close the upper lid and wait for the tool to heat up.

This thing is portable and it saves you vital space as it opens from the top. When it comes to the “Automatic” clamshell heat presses, you don’t need to open the hatch. It opens up automatically.

However, be wary of the top heat platen, if you are not handling it correctly, you might get burnt. Also, this layout doesn’t handle thick materials all too well.

The “Swing Away” Design

You’ll see a lot of heat press machine reviews backing the “Swing Away” Models. One big plus of owning the “Swing Away” design is the safety. What this does is it moves the upper half of the heat platen away from the lower half. You’ll find the heat platen moving either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

If you’ve been heating pressing designs long enough, you’d know that “Swing Away” design allows you to imprint design on thick materials too. Let’s say, you want to get photos and designs on mugs, glass, and ceramic plates; “Swing Away Heat Press Devices” are your best bets.

These tools allow you to apply pressure evenly on the material in question. Also, when the top heat platen moves away, people will get a better view of the surface they are printing on. This makes way for precision.

There are some drawbacks of this type as well. You’ll have to go through complicated steps for printing designs. This is not what I’d call a “Beginner-Friendly” device.

A “Swing Away” device takes longer to get a design printed. You get better designs in exchange for saving time.

“Draw” Heat Press

This is perhaps the safest variety around. According to me, of course. People call these “Draw” heat press because the lower heat platen of these machines can be pulled out when the process is done.

Operating these tools is easy. You don’t need to do too much work to reach the platen when designing is done. Simply pull the drawer out. Unlike the earlier two types, it is the lower heat platen that moves in this case.

Benefits of a “Draw” heat press is the fact that you can print in large volumes. Also, these things are safe. You don’t need to place your hands near the platen.

The drawer has a “Pull” mechanism that works in your favor. You need to grab the handle and apply minute force. The magnet-based system will travel outward on its own.

Although these babies give you precision printing, you need more space than the “Clamshell” or the “Swing Away” models. Also, printing designs on thick garments might be a problem.

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Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Machine:

All of us want to show off our creative side to the world. When it comes to printing our own designs onto objects, that desire goes up several notches.

To ensure we print the designs at the highest quality possible, we need to buy a quality tool for the job. Here are a few factors that determine if your purchase is good enough or not.

Is It a Personal Hobby Thing or for Business?

This is the first thing you’d want to decide. There are hobbyists who like to print their creative designs on material every now and then. Then, there are small business owners. 

Now, if you belong to the casual designers, you’d want a portable option. It’s not likely that you’d have a space designated for the tool. So; a lightweight, space-saving, and easy-to-use device will do.

If you have business in mind, you probably have a space designed to hold the machine. Also, you need better quality prints on T-shirts or mugs. In that case, you need a “Swing Away” or a “Draw” model.

These allow you complete view of your printing area and provide superlative performance when it comes to printing letters and high-resolution pictures.

What Type of Material will you Heat Print on?

Be sure to select a machine that best suits your material. Depending on thin or thick materials, you will need different levels of pressure and heat adjustment options. The thin materials such as T-shirts or clothing need little pressure compared to mugs, sturdy hats, caps, ceramics, and tiles.

In these cases, you can get by with a normal heat press.

For thicker objects, you will need a tool that distributes pressure evenly. Draw-Type heat press models or their swing away counterparts that give you greater pressure control features should be ideal.

Should You Go for Manual or an Automatic Heat Press?

If you want to print designs as a hobby and do printings on simple T-shirts, I suggest you go for manual heat press. These are great ways to learn all the nooks and crannies if you are a beginner.

Beware, you need to specify the temperature, time, and the pressure settings manually. These score low in the safety department.

You can also go for “Auto-Release” varieties. You are getting the Clamshell design, only upgraded. One needs to set the timer, temperature, and pressure. Then, close the hatch. Once the heat transfer is complete and the time is up, the hatch will open up for you to collect your reward. It is a significant step up in safety. You’ll have to spend less time near the heat platen.

If you want the safest option, go for the fully automatic presses. We know them to be digital or hydraulic presses. The digital control panel helps you control temperature, pressure, and time to deliver precise heat all over the material.

All the while, the machine opens and closes automatically keeping you out of direct involvement with heat.

The Heat Platen Quality

This is mighty important when you are printing designs on T-shirts, clothing, bags, and hats. If you want to work with letters or pictures, the heat should set in and transfer the design nicely. The heat distribution should be even. Otherwise, parts of the design may come off.

You need to check on your own whether it is even or not. For that, turn it on for the first time. Then, run your hands gently over the heat platen before it gets too hot to handle. If you see every corner of the platen evenly heating up, you’ve got yourselves a good deal!

How To Use These Tools Efficiently?

Buying the best heat press machine for t-shirt printing won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it. With that in mind, the next segment of my guide will deal in teaching you guys how to handle this device.

  • First, you need to select the design, artwork or letter blocks you want to put your work on the material. Edit it if necessary. Once you have edited it, make sure that you flip it horizontally to mirror it.

  • The next thing to do is to print the design on a normal paper. Just see if the output matches your satisfaction level or not.

  • The third step is to print the same design on a Transfer paper. Use an opaque sheet if you are printing on a colored item.

    Use transfer sheets that have clear films for gray or white items. Please be sure to position the sheet correctly into the printer.

  • At this point, you should cut off any corner of the paper that you don’t need. If you there’s a part of the design you don’t want on the product, it is your chance to filter it out by cutting it off.

  • The next step is getting the heat press ready for action. Flip the on/off switch first. Then, move the thermostat knob. You’ll see a red light pop up.

    Then, you will know that the temperature is just right for you to work on products. If you are using a device with a digital timer, set a value and check if the alarm is working perfectly or not.

  • Next, open up the hatch of your heat press. For swing-away models, just swing the top half aside. For “Magnetic Draw Press,” pull the drawer out.

    Place the material on the bottom platen. Remember the transfer paper? Place it on the material. The side with the “Film” should face down.

  • The ultimate step is to close the hatch, swing it into place or close the drawer depending on what type of machine you are using. Set the time and temperature settings.

    An alarm will go off as soon as the process is complete. Bring the material out immediately. Don’t forget to peel off the transfer paper from your design.

How Do You Take Care of this Precious Object?

When you are running a small business with a heat press at the center, you’d want to take good care of the machine. Keep it happy and it will keep you happy as well!

The only way to keep it happy (Read: up and running) is by taking good care of the device. Or else, you might end up with a bunch of orders and a tool that can’t fulfill them.

So, how to go about caring for this tool? It’s easy! Just follow the steps bellow.

Make Sure to Clean up the Upper Heat Platen

The first thing you need to do is to ensure that the upper heating element “Always” remains clean for you to work with.  With heat platens, ink buildups are fairly common. They obstruct the heat from reaching the surface of your objects. As a result, designs you print will not shine in their full glory.

The solution is simple. Keep the upper heat platen clean. The job is simple too! When you are done with your heat press, let it cool down. Then, apply some mineral spirits on a soft piece of cloth. Wipe the surface of the heat platen with it. That’s it! The built-up ink will disappear.

Taking Care of Silicon and Rubber Pads is Part of the Job

The rubber pad at the bottom of the heat press device performs a crucial job. It oversees the fact that your tool distributes the pressure evenly to the entire material. With time, it is susceptible to wear and tear. Especially with continuous loading, printing, and unloading of materials.

Also, sharp objects like glass shards can puncture it. The same can be said for thick objects like buttons and zippers. To protect the small but significant part of your heat press, apply Teflon coating over it. Or buy one which already has a Teflon coating in place.

Grease the Joints and Pivot Points

When you are using the heat press continuously, it places a huge strain on every part of this machine. The pivot points and the joints take most of the stress.
Over time, they wear out and can make squeaky noises besides creating other problems. This might lead to difficulties in heat transfer and in simple movements.

My solution is to grease or lubricate these parts at least once in a month. Depending on how frequently you use your machine, it can be 2 – 3 times per month. Case and point: lubricate the joints and pivot points of your machine to make sure it operates without glitches.

Automatic Heat Press Machines Need the System to be Clean

Automatic or Hydraulic heat presses are growing in popularity these days. This is due to their easy operation and precision printing. These things utilize air compressors to function properly.

Dirt particles inhibit these air compressors frequently. Without proper maintenance, these particles can block the vents, obstruct the heating process, and can even obstruct the air coming in from outside.

The easiest way to counter it is to clean and replace the air circulating system frequently.

Along with the air clogging, another threat to the performance of your heat press is the moisture it absorbs. A desiccant air drier would do just fine to counter it. The air drier takes away moisture from the air before the air infiltrates the system.

Let’s Wrap It Up:

Being a businessman, taking your design ideas elsewhere for printing on various materials can hurt you. It can raise up your overhead costs for production. Also, you won’t have any say in quality control.

Doing this once or twice is fine. But when you are thinking of a long-term solution for the problem, buy the best heat press machine out there.

It will cut down on your costs, increase the quality of your designs, and skyrocket your profit margin in the process. All you have to do is to keep your budget in mind, aim for the quality you hope to achieve, and cross match the factors I mentioned in this piece with your models.

Better yet, you can buy one for yourselves from my shortlist too!

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