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10 Best Heat Press Machines For T-shirt Printing in 2022 [Buyer’s Guide]

Nothing can inflame your passion for design like seeing it on a piece of apparel. It could be about how well a t-shirt helps a person express an idea. Or how a company can provide a subtle brand proposition to its target audience. I started out making t-shirts for fun. But, I soon realized I had a small business in my hands once the orders started rolling in from everywhere.

I designed things and outsourced the printing to a firm until then. But, that changed when I got my first bulk order. I suddenly realized that printing t-shirts could be challenging and expensive if you don’t have your own heat press. That’s why I had to find the best-rated heat press machines on the mark.

In my research, I realized that you could grow a small business with a heat press at the core of your service delivery. I was also surprised at the endless heat press for home use options in the market. So finding the right fit for my budding t-shirt printing business would be a labor of love. But It’s totally worth the hassle.   

Is finding the best heat press for your needs a seemingly impossible task? Well, you’re in the right place. I’ve run the miles and scoured even the most obscure heat press machines. And, since I’m a good guy (at least that’s what people tell me), I’ll clue you in on all you need to know when looking for the best heat press for t-shirt printing.

So sit tight, buckle up and grab a pen, as this will be a long read. But, it’ll be worth it – I promise!


What is a Heat Press Machine?

The dictionary definition of a heat press is:

A machine that allows you to apply a design motif printed a transfer to a substrate material to a garment or surface using heat and pressure.

Yes, I understand that this caused more confusion than answering the question. So, let’s break it down further to have a clear picture. A transfer process is a technical term for an underlying layer. This could be transfer paper, sublimation paper, Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), glitter, and rhinestone.

The substrate material could be anything you want to spice with a design. This could be a t-shirt, a mug, a mouse pad, a cap, etc. A heat press machine allows you to bring this all together with ease.

To simplify this definition even further, I venture that a heat press machine is a device that applies heat and pressure to a graphic design and allows you to have it imprinted on another surface. You can use a heat press machine to print a design on garments, glass, wood, or even metal surfaces in some cases.

The core element of a heat press is 2 heat plates or “heat platen”. The lower platen offers a smooth and flat surface to ensure your design prints without smudging or other physical defects. The Upper platen supplies the heat and pressure needed to make a perfect print.

You can make time, and heat settings to this plate. Most modern heat pressing machines feature digital controls that make this process that-much-easier.

There are many ways to print a t-shirt, just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You can do silk screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) transfer or play with vinyl cutting. However, I’ve discovered that using a heat press machine is faster and more convenient on most occasions.

Let’s look at the kinds of heat press machines that work best for printing t-shirts.

What Kind of Heat Press Machines Work for T-Shirts?

I decided to get a heat press that could sustain a small business after getting fed up with outsourcing my print jobs to rival firms. That way, I could stop losing customers, grow my client base and upgrade to an industrial scale machine as I scale.

The problem is that heat machines are not all made in the same image. A cursory google search produced loads of viable options. But then again, it’s hard to settle if you don’t know what you want.

The following are the best kinds of heat press machines for printing t-shirts at home or on a commercial scale:

Swing Away Heat Press

These machines are designed to allow the top to swing away from the bottom after you release a latch or press a button. They are commonly referred to as swingers by industry “old-heads” (like me).

I prefer swing away over clamshell heat presses because they offer better garment positioning. This makes it harder for you to singe your fingers while working your magic. You can also work on thinker garments and surfaces like denim, ceramic tiles and hats. You can even throw in a mug while you’re at it!

Clamshell Heat Press

These machines get their name from the fact that they open like clamshells. The upper plate of the machine opens and arches to a 450 angle. It conveniently snaps to a close when the top meets the bottom to supply the pressure you need to implement a print.

Clamshell heat press machines are easy to use. They come highly recommended for novices, seasoned professionals and everyone else in between. Another reason I like such machines is their space and energy economy, which help keep my operational cost down.

You can find a wide selection of such machines on Amazon and most online retailers. Spare parts are widely available, servicing and maintenance is also effortless. The only thing you should be wary of is acquiring a knock-off variant that offers few replaceable parts or after-sales service and support.

Pull-Out (Drawer) Heat Press

Are you noticing a pattern here? Yes, it seems like heat press machines are classed based on how they open and close. Likewise, these heat pressing machines get their name because the lower platen pulls out towards you as you do with dresser drawers. 

Working like this not only prevents you from burning your fingers. It also provides a movable work surface that reduces errors like your transfers shift out of place when you move the machine.

Portable Heat Press

This list would be incomplete without something for the hobbyist or weekend t-shirt printer. Portable heat presses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But, most are more reminiscent of a household iron.

However, they are not only suitable for home use. In my workshop, I’ve used these heat presses to do touch-ups or small sublimation printing projects on tote bags, shoes, t-shirts and other surfaces.

How To Choose a Heat Press for Printing T-Shirts?

There are many factors to consider when shopping for a brand new heat press for printing t-shirts. Here are my main concerns:


When it comes to heat pressing, t-shirt pressure control is essential as less often means more. This is because you risk damaging your transfers and substrate material if you apply too much Force. Fortunately, most of the models on my list feature digital pressure control. So, insist on getting something that allows you to control the pressure at the turn of a dial or knob.


Most machines feature an articulating hinge that lower/raises the platform to allow you to add a t-shirt and inspect your work. So always insist on a machine type that gives you the necessary flexibility. My personal preference is the pull-out or swing-away design. But, any other class of machine can also suffice!

Celsius or Fahrenheit Option

Most of the world uses the metric system that uses Celsius as the standard unit for temperature. However, this is not the case here in the U.S. You should consider whether they ship the machine with your preferred measuring system. Otherwise, you’ll have to learn how to convert these units to get the most out of your heat-pressing initiatives.

Material Compatibility

A friend of mine got a knock-off heat press. It worked great with cotton and other robust fabrics. But, it was a total disaster when he tried to brand plastic cups and rubber bracelets for a promising client.

So, it helps to look at heat press reviews on websites and t-shirt community platforms. This gives you a front-row seat in seeing a particular machine’s compatibility with various fabrics and surfaces.

10 Best Heat Press Machines for T-Shirt Printing in 2022

Now you know what to look for in a heat machine. So, let’s jump right into some of the best heat press machines for t-shirt printing that the market has to offer.

Need to make a quick decision? Check out my top picks:

  1. Best Overall Heat Press Machine: PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Heat Press
  2. Best-Selling Heat Press Machine: VEVOR 8 in 1 Multifunctional Heat Press
  3. Best Budget Heat Press Machine: VIVOHOME Upgraded 8 in 1 Combo Heat press
  4. Best Commercial-Grade Heat Press Machine: Fancierstudio Power Heat Press
  5. Best Clamshell Heat Press Machine: F2C Pro 5 in 1 Heat Press
  6. Best Small Heat Press Machine: Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press
  7. Best Combo Heat Press Machine: Slendor 5 in 1 Heat Press
  8. Best Swing Away Heat Press Machine: Mophorn 15×15 Swing Away Heat Press
  9. Best Portable Heat Press Machine: PowerPress Portable-Gold Home Heat Press
  10. Best Large Heat Press Machine: ePhotoInc Heat Press T shirt Transfer Machine

1. Best Overall Heat Press Machine: PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Heat Press

PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15x15 Inch, Black
  • Easy to use latching system
  • Digital pressure adjustment
  • Features a Teflon coated heating plate
  • Impressive temperature range of 2350 C
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Needs to be placed on a high work surface

First, on the list, we have the PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital. This machine is not only a workhorse that can serve you on massive projects. But, it’s also easy to operate. I love that all you have to do is pull down a lever to lift the top instead of applying elbow grease.

The 15″ x 15″ surface offers the perfect Launchpad for any project. You can also use dials to set the pressure, time, and temperature range up to 235o C. With the PowerPress industrial-quality heat press machine by your side, your imagination and personal drive is the only limit!

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

The PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital heat press machine ranks at number 1 of almost every review you’ll read on the web. It’s my first pick for the following reasons:

  • It’s readily available, and stocks run high on Amazon, Walmart and other notable online stores.
  • It has an inbuilt replaceable fuse to protect the machine from electric surges.
  • It has an inbuilt temperature monitoring chip instead of a typical thermostat.
  • The machine features a silicone gel base for enhanced stability.
  • Easy to use pressure knob and an LCD control board.
  • Handle features a rubber grip for protection.
  • A Low energy rating of 18000W or 110V.
  • A wide 15” x 15” heat pressing surface.

2. Best-selling Heat Press Machine: VEVOR 8 in 1 Multifunctional Heat Press

VEVOR Heat Press 12X15 Inch Heat Press Machine 8 in 1 Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Swing Away Heat Press 360 Degree Rotation Heat Press Machine for T Shirts Hat Mug Cap Plate
  • 360-degree rotation on the top
  • Teflon layered to prevent stickiness
  • Excellent precision control
  • Features a timer with alerts
  • Unsuitable for beginners
  • Features many detachable components that can get lost

The VEVOR Heat Press machine comes in a close second position on my list. But that doesn’t detract from its quality as it’s one of the highest rated heat press machine on the the list. For one, this 8 in 1heat press machine gives you all you need to run a thriving t-shirt printing business. You can print high quality images on t-shirts, mugs, plates, and it even features a curved attachment for hats.

VEVOR Heat press machines are built for flexibility and sturdiness. As you can see, you can do a lot with this machine even though it weighs only 20 pounds. This machine is so portable that I can move it around my shop without anyone’s help. 

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

Typical swing-away heat press machines are easy to use. But, the VEVOR’s 360-degree rotation adds ease to all operations. I particularly like this feature as it makes it easy to service and maintain the machine.

Here are a couple more reasons to settle on this VEVOR heat press:

  •  A wide 12” x 15” work surface.
  • LCD control menu for temperature, pressure and time settings.
  • Adjustable temperature ranges of 0 to 4500 C.
  •  Teflon-coated non-stick surface.
  • 8 in 1 heat pressing functionality.
  • Excellent fulfillment of warranty terms by the manufacturer. 

3. Best Budget Heat Press Machine: VIVOHOME Upgraded 8 in 1 Combo Heat press

VIVOHOME Upgraded 8 in 1 Combo Multifunctional Swing Away Clamshell Printing Sublimation Heat Press Transfer Machine for T-Shirt Hat Cap Mug Plate 15 x 12 Inch Blue
  • Ideal for any material or surface
  • Easy to operate
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Multifunctional use
  • Need loads of space
  • The manual doesn’t offer clear instructions

What’s not to love about the VIVOHOME Upgraded 8 in 1 Combo heat press? It’s affordable and compact. It’s like buying 8 types of heat press machines and getting them in one neat yet sturdy package!

This swing-away model also comes with a 3600 tilt factor. Such a feature ensures you can work safely as you can keep your hands off the heated platen. The aluminum-steel construction gives it such sturdiness that you may never need to buy another heat press.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

I find it difficult to imagine that you can’t print on any surface with the VIVOHOME upgrade in your workshop. It’s one of the few heat press machines on my list that can efficiently work on glass, wood, and metals.

Here are a few more reasons to splurge on the VIVOHOME Upgraded 8 in 1 Combo heat press:

  • Suitable for heat transfers on any surface and material
  • Commercial grade design and construction
  • Swing-away design for enhanced operator safety
  • Impressive 3980 C temperature range
  • Digital control panel
  • Easy to use and maintain

4. Best Commercial-Grade Heat Press Machine: Fancierstudio Power Heat Press

Fancierstudio Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press Rhinestone Heat Press T-Shirt Heat Press 15x15 B/BLK
  • Intuitive controls
  • A generous 15’ x 15’ work surface
  • Assembly takes 10 minutes
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Disperses lots of heat, especially in poorly ventilated rooms
  • It takes a while to lose that factory default scent

Your search for the ultimate heat press machine for t-shirt printing ends here. The Fancierstudio Heat press machine is a beast! By this, I mean it’s designed to help you press as many garments as you can within a short time. Its swing-away design and well-articulated top ensure consistent quality. 

Unlike other machines, the top is weighted to ensure uniform pressure even with thousands of t-shirts to print. The cost is also attractive to small businesses that want to get off the grown and scale when their profit justifies such a move.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

The lower platen is made of aluminum and a hi-temp silicone pad. Aside from adding stability, it also makes it easier to place or remove garments into the machine. It comes with a high-temperature range of 4000 C, so I love using it on sublimation printing tasks. 

Here are more reasons to opt for the Fancierstudio Power Heat press machine:

  • A fully commercial-grade heat press machine.
  • Robust design and construction ensure it will last longer.
  • Digital temperature control and inbuilt timer.
  • Versatile use even beyond printing t-shirts.
  • Platens are Teflon coated to prevent material damage and injury.

5. Best Clamshell Heat Press Machine: F2C Pro 5 in 1 Heat Press

F2C Pro Heat Press 12x15 inch Combo 5 in 1 Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Heat Transfer Machine Swing Away 360 Degree Rotation for T Shirts Mug Hat Plate Cap Pattern Printing
  • Offers a smooth learning curve to beginners
  • Minimal assembly required
  • Manufacturer offers excellent customer service
  • Generous work surface
  • The manual is lackluster
  • Radiates an unpleasant smell on the first few heat presses

Machines like the F2C Pro Heat Press have made it harder for me to settle on an outright favorite. This clamshell design machine has a heavy-duty design that makes it hardy. I’ve lost count of how many times my associate has dropped his, and it still functioned perfectly (if you pardon a few dings and bumps).

Setting up and running the machine is easy. I find the controls and display screen so intuitive that even a person can walk off the streets and make something beautiful. You should get this machine, especially if you’re the type of person that gets easily distracted. It features an automatic counter with friendly alarms and reminders that let you know when your print is ready.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

The F2C Pro Heat Press has thick platens that I find suitable, especially for HTVs and glitter transfers that need loads of heat. I’ve also tested out various sublimation papers, and the results were impressive at each turn. Top that off with Teflon coating, and the sky is the limit!

If that doesn’t sell this machine to you, then here are a few more reasons why you should consider getting one: 

  • Applies even pressure during the heat pressing process.
  • Excellent results on vinyl pressed t shirts.
  • Effective dispersion of the high heat produced

6. Best Small Heat Press Machine: Cricut EasyPress 2 – Heat Press

Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (9' x 9'), Ideal for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, Pillows, Aprons, and More, Precise Temperature Control, Features Insulated Safety Base & Auto-Shut Off, Raspberry
  • Ideal for home use or small business owners
  • As easy to use as a household iron
  • Most compact and portable machine on the list
  • Features a clear and intuitive digital interface
  • Unsuitable for large prints
  • Features too many irreplaceable parts   

Cricut has carved a niche in creating the most easy-to-use machine for crafts and hobbies. And the Cricut Easypress 2 is a clear example of such devotion. It comes in 3 sizes (small, medium and large). But, I’ll focus on the medium variant. Its heated platform measures 11″ x 11″, which is ideal for all types of t-shirts.

At 3.6 lbs. it is the most portable heat press machine on my list thus far. I’m also quite impressed with this machine because it did the job in less than a minute the few times I got to try it out.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

For starters, it takes up very limited space on a workbench. At the same time, the 1800 C temperature range is on the lower side. It’s worth considering that this automatic machine features an automatic timer that even cools it down if you forget to switch it off.

  •  It comes in a variety of colors.
  • The base of the machine is insulated for minimal heat distribution.
  • Features an inbuilt safety shutoff function.
  • Easy to use
  • No assembly required

7. Best Combo Heat Press Machine: Slendor 5 in 1 Heat Press

Slendor 5 in 1 Heat Press Machine 12x15 inch 360-Degree Swing Away Digital T Shirt Pressing Machine Multifunction Heat Transfer Sublimation Combo for T Shirts Mugs Hat Plate Cap
  • 5 in 1 functionality
  • Swing-away style for enhances safety
  • Teflon coated heating plate prevents material damage
  • Relatively easy to assemble
  • 12″x 15″ platform is small for a commercial-grade machine
  • Requires flat surfaces for stability

Are you a beginner that would like to print more than just t-shirts and apparel? The Slendor 5 in 1 Heat Press Machine is your best bet. I’ve witnessed it work wonders on cotton, denim, canvas woven fabric, leather and even tricky synthetic fibers like neoprene. No material is beyond the scope of the Slendor 5 in 1!

Its aluminium platens feature Teflon coating. This enhances its durability while ensuring you get away with a clean and clear print every time. I also like the alloy guides built into the side of the machine. Such a feature makes it easy to line up various garments or substrate materials without a ruler.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

I like the tension release built into the Pressure adjustment knob because it ensures that each setting is deliberate to reduce error. It is also worth noting that you get very high pressure and temperature settings on this machine. A factor that allows you to work with materials of any thickness.

  •  It is shipped with all the accessories you need right in the box
  •  A spacious 12” x 15” heated platform
  • Features heat, temperature and adjustable pressure pre-set
  • Has a timer and alarm reminders
  • 5 heat press machines rolled into one package
  •  Ideal for gift shop owners

8. Best Swing Away Heat Press Machine: Mophorn 15×15 Swing Away Heat Press

VEVOR Heat Press 15x15 Inch Heat Press Machine 5 in 1 Multifunctional Sublimation Dual LED Display Heat Press Machine for t Shirts Swing Away Design
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Features bundled attachments and accessories
  • Quality build from top-grade materials
  • A generous 15” x 15” heated platform
  • Requires loads of room to operate comfortably
  • Ships with shallow how-to-guides

Trust me when I say few things in life can justify their price tags as the Mophorn Heat Press machine does. You don’t even need to break the back on this machine as it’s pretty affordable. The Mophorn also scores top marks for durability, as exemplified by its robust aluminum-steel construction. 

A generous 15” × 15” inches working surface makes it the ideal fit, whether at home or in your small business. You won’t need to splurge extra on heating coils,mug press, a hat press and other accessories as manufacturers will ship most of them right in the box.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

And lest I forget, it comes Teflon coating that prevents you from damaging your paper transfers and substrate surfaces. Here are some more reasons to settle on the Mophorn heat press machine:

  • Swing-way design and 3600 rotating top to prevent injury.
  • Non-stop drop-down top for optimal pressure.
  • Digital input screen reduces operator error when doing settings.
  • Maximum heat setting of 2300C.
  • An adjustable timer that goes from 0 to 999 seconds.
  • Curved press attachments.

9. Best Portable Heat Press Machine: PowerPress Portable-Gold Home Heat Press

PowerPress Heat Press Machine Portable-Gold,12'x10'
  • Weighs 8 lbs
  • Shutoff functionality to prevent overheating 
  • Excellent temperature regulations
  • Ideal for small touch up jobs
  • Handles can get hot after some time
  • Unsuitable for high volume heat printing projects

I have a small confession about the PowerPress Portable-Gold Home Heat Press. The first time I saw it was on a shelf at Walmart. And with a price tag that only set me back a few beers, I just had to take it home and try it out. Best impulse buy of my life! No buyer’s remorse here!

 Well, except that it doesn’t go past 1800 C like the Cricut EasyPress 2. Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed the intuitive controls safety features when I had to get another one for my little print shop. Let’s just dive into the reason behind my fanaticism before I spill the entire love story between this heat press machine and me.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

The PowerPress Portable-Gold Home Heat Press features an overheating function. This provision ensures you don’t burn garments while printing. However, moderation is critical as the handle starts heating up after a while.

  • So widely available that you can pick it off a Walmart shelf.
  • Features a reference chart to guide you on temperature settings and exposure timing.
  • Ideal for a wide variety of fabrics.
  • Lightweight, thus highly portable.

10. Best Large Heat Press Machine: ePhotoInc Heat Press T shirt Transfer Machine

ePhotoInc New 15' x 15' T Shirt Heat Press Machine T Shirt Transfer Machine 1515BLK
  • Ships fully assembled
  • Easy to use controls
  • Heat setting ideal for most materials
  • Designed for speed and precision
  • Some parts come with tacky plastic wraps
  • It Takes a while for the factory smell to disappear

Last on the list, but not least, we have the ePhotoInc Heat Press machine. Personally, it would be my go-to alternative if a Fancierstudio Power Heat presses were not in stock when shopping for one.

The only reason it ranks lower is the compact form factor. It has a 12″ x 9″ worksurface ideal for various garments. The heat settings also go 2500C, so you’re free to print on mouse pads, bags, hats, ceramic plates and everything else.

Why did we choose this heat press machine?

I’ll pick a swing-way machine over anything else any day. The ePhotoInc’s bottom platen is so unobscured by the top that you can see the result as you lift it. With that, you can quickly and conveniently correct any mistakes in alignment.

Here are more credible reasons to splurge on the ePhotoInc Heat Press machine:

  • Detailed instruction guide.
  • No assembly is required.
  • Ideal for t-shirt printing business and gift shops.
  • LCD screen shows all the temperature and pressure settings.
  • Teflon coating comes pre-installed.

Best Heat Press Machine: FAQs

1. How long does a heat press machine last?

Heat presses are made of tough metallic materials and feature various replaceable and repairable parts. So a heat press can last you even more than 2 decades you’re dedicated to your duty of care and maintenance.

2. Is it hard to use a heat press?

Using a heat press isn’t hard, but it presents a slight learning curve. So it may be wise to dive in, experiment, and not be afraid of wasting some material at the start. With a bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of it sooner than you expect!

3. Where can you buy a heat press machine?

Heat press machines are widely available on online retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, eBay and even Etsy. All you need is to know what you’re looking for and hope it is currently in stock when you shop.

4. Can you use a cricut to make shirts?

Yes, a Cricut heat press is ideal for making t-shirt prints at home or performing small touch jobs.

5. What can I use instead of a heat press machine?

You can always rely on your trusty household iron to get those imprints right in a pinch. I usually set it to the highest setting (linen) to get the temperature right. The rest is just some elbow grease and an acute sense of timing.

6. What is the best t-shirt material for heat press transfers?

Cotton, polyester, viscose t-shirts come highly recommended for working with HTV, sublimation paper and other transfer materials. You can refer to this article, where I go over this topic in more detail.


Sigh! If you made it this far without skipping or skimming the article, you’re on the course to get the best heat press machine for t-shirt printing. More importantly, you deserve a pat on the back – Well done! 

Unfortunately, that’s all the time I had today. I can’t keep my clients waiting. But, as always, I welcome any questions, corrections, or other impressions you got from this article. Feel free to leave in the comment section below. I’ll respond to all of them.

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Last update on 2022-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Disclaimer