9 Best Heat Press Machine For T-shirt Printing in 2021 – [Reviewed & Ultimate Guide]

Ever saw something really cool and wished you could have a t-shirt designed about that? A t-shirt expressing something that you really stand for. Heat press machines are among the best ways to get that …

Best Heat Press Machine

Ever saw something really cool and wished you could have a t-shirt designed about that? A t-shirt expressing something that you really stand for. Heat press machines are among the best ways to get that done! Not just t-shirts, you can actually make use of these machines to print your artwork onto multiple objects, such as mousepads, mugs, bags, and plates among other things. With time, these machines have evolved quite a bit, and thanks to digital improvements, you can now get a very precise print.

In the past, heat printing used to be something that was considered a complex process and was used only by large-scale manufacturers who wanted to sell a particular design of prints. Over the years, however, heat press machines have become so common that you can find them in homes as well as offices where people prefer using a custom print for various occasions.

These heat-printed t-shirts and mugs can become quite impressive memorabilia for office farewells, special events, anniversaries, as well as household events such as baby showers, wedding parties, birthdays, etc. These are things that people often cherish years after the event! It is the sheer nostalgic value that makes a heat press machine worth the investment. These machines are even more important if you are an artwork who is selling their art, but more on that as we proceed.

Over the course of this article, we shall take into consideration a large number of questions. Primarily, how to identify and purchase the best heat press machine for your needs, followed by which are some of the best options for you out there if you are planning on buying a heat press machine, as well as some other questions – such as who needs these machines, how to maintain them, how to ensure that you are getting an accurate print, etc.

Heat press machines are simple to use, but each machine has its own set of features that are different from another. Considering that there are hundreds of options available to you, it is important for you to understand which is the one that suits all your needs the best. We shall also take a look at some of the pros and cons of using a heat press machine, as well as answer some of the most common and frequently asked questions about these machines before we conclude.

Let us first understand some basic aspects of a heat press machine: what are these machines, what are the benefits of using them, and how do they function.

What are Heat Press Machines?

If you want to give it a very technical definition, a heat press machine is basically a machine that allows you to transfer a graphic design onto a substrate material by the application of heat. A substrate is basically a fancy word for an underlying layer.

This substrate, in most cases, is generally something like a t-shirt, a mug, a mouse pad, a cap, etc. Basically, a heat press machine allows you to transfer a graphic design onto a material on which you want it printed.

You might have seen those t-shirts and mugs that people often gift guests at a party or those memorabilia items that you get during a special sporting event. These are all made using heat press machines.

To sum it up in simpler words, a heat press machine is a device that applies heat and pressure on to a graphic design and allows you to have it imprinted on another surface. A heat press machine can be used to print a design on garments, glass, wood, or even metal surfaces in some cases.

These machines come with two plates inside them, called platens. The upper platen heats up and then you can set the time, temperature, and pressure that has to be applied to get your graphic printed. In many modern-day heat pressing machines, you can actually set these factors digitally.

There are a number of other ways in which you can print a graphic design onto a t-shirt. These include screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) methods, as well as vinyl cutting. However, heat press machines have proven to be much faster and actually quite easier to use and are very popular among those who wish to print custom designs on various objects.

9 Best Heat Press Machine For T-shirt Printing in 2021

Benefits of Heat Press Machines

People never simply buy products. They buy benefits that are associated with those products. There are a large number of benefits associated with heat press machines. Here’s a closer look at some of them:

1. Easy to Operate

One of the best things about heat press machines vs other similar means of printing on substrates is the fact that they are much simpler to operate. These machines can be operated by anyone with just some basic practice (provided they follow all the safety measures). The art of operating a heat press machine doesn’t take much and can be learned by anyone with a minimal amount of training.

In some of the better heat press machines that come these days, you can simply enter the temperature, pressure, and time variables and the rest would be done on its own. This is way easier when you compare it with some other older and traditional forms of substrate printing such as screen printing. This is one of the biggest benefits of using a heat press machine.

2. Variety of Mediums

A heat press machine can print on a large number of surfaces. This is another huge advantage that you get when you use them. While the most common application of using these machines is to print over fabric, they can also be used to print over mugs, tote bags, and even wood and metal.

You can print products such as jigsaw puzzles using these heat press machines too. Caps, mugs, and other gifting and memorabilia items can also be created using this machine. The sheer variety of mediums that you get to print on is what really impresses us the users and makes it very versatile equipment to work with.

3. Fast Printing

Another thing that must be known about heat press machines is that they are much faster to operate when you compare them against some of their older alternatives. Other methods of printing on substrates can take many more hours than using a heat press machine, which gets the job done in a matter of minutes. While you still want to give your printed objects a while to dry and cool down, the actual printing process hardly takes any time! This is a major advantage of using a heat press machine that often gets very underlooked.

4. Good Quality Prints

Talking of the benefits of a heat press machine that gets underlooked, one of the things that one must be grateful for is the good quality prints that they get when they use a heat press machine. Not all substrate printing equipment can guarantee something which is as precise and as clear as a heat press machine.

Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Heat Press Machines

Here’s a quick look at all the factors that you need to consider while choosing the best heat press machines for your needs –

1. Type of Heat Press Machine

You need to know what kind of a heat press machine you are going to buy. There are four major options – a clamshell heat press machine, a swing-away heat press, a draw heat press machine, and a sublimation heat press machine. You can go through our detailed section on what each of them has to offer (located right after the buyer’s guide) and get a better idea about which is the one that will suit your needs the best.

To get a quick idea, clamshells are easy to use and occupy little space, but not that precise. A swing-away heat press machine would occupy significantly more space than a clamshell machine while operating, but gets you a much better print and is safer to use. A draw-press is also safe to use and precise, but a little more expensive than the other two. Sublime printing is perhaps your best option to get high-quality fabric prints.

VIVOHOME 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 and Black

If you’re too confused with which combinations to go for, head over to VIVOHOME's 8 in 1 Combo Multifunctional Heat Press, which is a swing-away clamshell printing sublimation heat press transfer machine and is considered among the best in the business.

2. Manual or Automatic Machine

Once you’ve decided on a type of heat press, you also need to select if you’re going to go for a manual, automatic or semi-automatic heat press. Manual ones require you to manually shut and open them, while semi-automatic ones open up automatically once the timer rings. Lastly, a fully automatic heat press machine would open on its own and would close at the press of a button, making the whole process a lot simpler and easier to operate. Generally, automatic machines make the best heat press machines, but they also cost the most.

3. Quality of Print

ePhotoInc New Digital 15' x 15' T-Shirt Heat Transfer Press Sublimation Heat Press Machine 1515GB

When getting a machine that prints things – be it on paper or fabric, the most important thing for one has to be the quality of the print. The final product that comes out of the printer needs to be of the best quality possible – this is why people often go for sublime heat press machines, which function on automatic technologies. This combo will offer you the best heat press experience. Something such as the ePhoto New Digital Heat Transfer Machine offers some of the best prints that you can get on a heat press machine! This one is totally among the top 10 heat press machines of all time.

4. Heat Range

While a large majority of heat press machines operate in temperatures between 0 to 500F, you need to consider your specific needs while purchasing them. If you are printing t-shirts you require a minimum of 350F. Different materials require different temperatures so keep an eye out for the heat range that the machine offers.

Heat Press Machines For T Shirts

5. Size of the Platens

The size of the platens plays a big role in choosing the right heat press machine for your needs. If you know that all your prints are going to be located in a small area of the t-shirt, then you can opt for a smaller heat press machine. However, if your design is to cover the entire t-shirt, you should get a machine with larger platens that allow you to print all of it at once.

TUSY Heat Press Machine 15x15 inch Digital Industrial Sublimation Printer Press Heat Transfer Machine for T Shirts

Make sure you are checking out the size of the platens before purchasing your heat press machine – as you don’t want to end up with something smaller than what your actual requirements are. 15×15 inches is generally considered the ‘standard’ size of heat print machines, and TUSY Heat Press Machine is one of the best options in this size. This one is considered the best multifunction heat press machine that you can buy online.

6. Portability

In continuation with the previous point, while the size of the platens needs to be big enough, one also needs to consider the size of the entire machine. When closed and kept aside, the heat press machine won’t occupy too much space.

However, when you put it in use, the machine can open up and almost double itself in size, especially when you are using a swinger. Swing-away heat press machines can occupy a much larger space to operate so keep your workspace and the area available to you in mind before you buy a heat press machine.

7. Safety Measures

When using a heat press, you are working on a machine that has the potential to operate at 500F and can exert a great deal of pressure. In these conditions, you need to make sure that your personal safety is not compromised. When choosing the best heat press machine for your needs, make sure that you are getting one where all the proper safety locks and systems are in place.

Getting a swinger or a draw heat press machine is considered safer than using a clamshell because in the case of the latter you are much closer to the heated platens than you are when you use the first two. We have a detailed section on keeping yourself safe while using a t-shirt press machine coming up later in the article, do make sure to keep an eye out for that.

8. Ease of Use

Another thing that matters is your experience level and the ease of use of the machine. If you are someone who is just starting out, getting a basic heat press that functions in a one-step printing process is a really good option. Clamshells are the most basic heat press equipment and are well suited to the needs of beginners..

However, if you are an experienced user, you might want to go for more advanced machines such as automatic machines that allow you to configure the heat and the pressure beforehand. You can also opt for draw-press machines or swingers, which are considerably more complex than the basic clamshell.

9. Materials Supported

Before you buy a heat press machine, make sure to check with the manufacturer which surfaces it can print on. Not all heat presses can print on every surface. For instance, if the surface is thick or uneven, a clamshell will be of no use! Depending on what kind of a heat press you are buying, you can print on fabric, glass, wood, metal, and a large number of substances. This is something that really needs to be kept in mind and a machine that allows you to print on a large variety of substances is the best option for you.

ePhotoInc New 15' x 15' T Shirt Heat Press Machine T Shirt Transfer Machine 1515BLK

For those who want to print on a wide variety of surfaces, ranging from ceramic tiles to plates to clothes, bags, hats and more, check out this ePhotoInc Heat Press Machine.

10. Durability

A good heat press not only needs to print well and print the right kind of quality, but it also needs to last you for a long time. What good is a heat press that produces the best prints in the world but won’t even last two full years? Clamshells generally tend to have the longest lifespan of them all because they are built like a tank. Make sure you are getting a sturdy press machine with all its joints firmly in place.

11. Cost and Warranty

Last but not least, the cost and warranty aspects have a major role to play when it comes to purchasing anything and a t-shirt press machine is no exception. When one talks oi the best heat press machine, they are talking about the best such machine in one’s own budget. Hence, the definition of the very best heat press machine is unique to different people.

Also, the longer the warranty period, the better it is for the user. Lastly, we suggest getting these machines from Amazon as you can find some of the best discounts over there!

Types of Heat Press Machines

After going through our buyer’s guide we are sure one of the biggest questions looming in your mind right now would be – what are the different types of heat press machines and what is so special about them. Let us take a closer look at clamshell heat presses, swing-away heat presses, draw heat presses, and sublimation heat press machines. Post that, we shall take a closer look at the difference between the three as well.

1. Clamshell Heat Press Machines

The name clamshell obviously comes from how the shell of a clam is designed. While we know that there are two plates (or platens, as they are commonly known as) involved in every heat press machine, in this kind of a heat press machine, you can open up the top platen. Post that, you place the substrate on the bottom platen and keep the design that is to be pressed over that and then you close the clamshell.

Post that, set your temperature, pressure, and time variables for the desired amount and your design will get imprinted upon the T-shirt. These are among the simplest and the easiest heat press machines to operate as they do not require any specific technical know-how and are a single-step process.

Besides that, another major benefit of using clamshell heat press machines to imprint graphic designs on substrates is that these machines are also far more portable in comparison and can be carried around as well as stored with ease. If you are a beginner who is just starting off with the process of heat printing, we recommend you to use clamshell heat presses because they are simpler to operate as well as less expensive compared to some other variants.


  • The single-step process makes it easy for everyone
  • Beginner-friendly heat press machine
  • Easy to move around and store, portable
  • Pressure can be increased manually by applying force


  • Suitable only for thin printing materials and not for thick fabrics
  • One needs to be careful while using them to avoid burn injuries
  • Sometimes the pressure can be uneven leading to a lack of precision

2. Swing-Away Heat Press Machines

The difference between a swing-away design and a clamshell design can be clearly seen by the trained eye. Clamshell machines get the job done, but the kind of precision that you get from swing-away heat press machines is quite different in comparison to the basic clamshell.

The name swing-away tells you upfront that there’s some swinging action in the machine that is going to happen. The biggest difference here is that once you have applied some heat and you lift the platens, the upper platen will swing away from the lower platen, allowing you to make adjustments in the substrate with ease without any risk or fear of getting burnt.

Furthermore, while clamshells are good only for thin fabrics such as t-shirts, a swing-away design can be of varying thicknesses and thicker objects such as mats and bags can also be printed on them. This is also quite comfortable to use because of the better safety that it offers compared to the clamshell machines.

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

However, one drawback of the swing-away design is that it occupies a little more space than the clamshell machine because while a clamshell lifts directly upwards, a swing-away heat press machine swings aside and therefore needs a larger working area. Sometimes, heat press machines of a swing-away design are also referred to as ‘swingers’. If you are looking forward to buying the absolute best multifunction heat press machine, the F2C Pro Heat Press Machine is one of the best examples of a swing-away heat press.


  • Much safer to operate compared to clamshells
  • Offers a more precise print because you can move the surface around more easily
  • Can print on thicker substances than a clamshell


  • Occupies more space than a clamshell
  • More expensive than a clamshell

3. Draw Heat Press Machines

These kinds of heat press machines can be seen as a hybrid between the clamshell design and the swing-away design and are considered the best heat press machines keeping safety in mind. A draw heat press machine opens up straight-up like a clamshell press, but the lower platen comes forward so that you are away from the heat. This ensures a space-saver design, as well as a heat press machine that is very easy to use!

Much like a clamshell, it ensures that the machine does not take too much space and can be used in the smallest of places. Similar to a swing-away design, you don’t come in direct contact or near a heated platen as the lower platen comes forward towards you, away from all the hot areas.

It also gives you sufficient space to make adjustments during the heating process so that your designs are very precise. A draw heat press machine offers some of the best and the most precise prints you can get using a heat press machine. This is why it is considered the best heat press machine and is trusted by millions of users all over the world.


  • Offers a very safe heat transfer by moving the bottom platen forward
  • Very precise printing as the designs can be moved around
  • Occupies very little space as it opens up like a clamshell
  • Simple and easy to use


  • Expensive
  • Not suitable for very thick or very thin material

4. Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine

Perhaps the best heat press machine out there for those looking forward to printing high-quality T-shirts, the sublimation heat press machine is among the best ways to heat transfer an image onto the underlying material. Imagine this to be like a tattoo for your t-shirt.

Here, the design is first printed onto a special transfer paper, and then heat is applied to that paper in such a way that it basically turns into a gas and gets infused onto the surface below it. Among some of the biggest benefits of using a sublimation heat press process over other forms of heat transfer is that these designs are more permanent and less prone to fading.

Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine

Sometimes, if you print using clamshells or swing-away heat press machines, with time the design will not only start to fade out, but it will also start getting a little flaky upon frequent washing and you will notice it falling apart. These ones, however, are more permanent and stay with you for much longer.

The sublimation heat press machine is quick as well as efficient and is among some of the most popular ways in which t-shirts are being printed today. All of this put together makes it the best t-shirt press machine for printing t-shirts. Sometimes sublimation machines can also come as a mix of sublimation + swing-away techniques, such as in (Digital Multifunctional Sublimation Swing Away Heat Press). This is a really good heat press machine for vinyl shirts.


  • Gives you the best possible outcome which doesn’t fade or peel
  • High-quality and precise heat transfer of the image
  • Safe to use
  • Can print on a variety of surfaces


  • Expensive

Clamshell Heat Press vs Draw Heat Press vs Swing-Away Heat Press: A Direct Comparison

Let us start with perhaps the most important ‘make-or-break’ factor when it comes to making any purchase – the price. A clamshell heat press is the cheapest of the lot, while a swinger tends to be a little more expensive, and a draw press is even more expensive. If you are tight on the monetary front, we strongly recommend you to check out clamshells.

F2C 15' x 15' Black Heat Press Machine Digital Clamshell Transfer Sublimation Print Press Machine for T-Shirt 110V

However, while they are cheaper in comparison to the other two, don’t mistake them to be inferior. They offer a strong build and can last you for a very long time. In terms of durability, clamshells are perhaps the strongest type of heat press out there. F2C 15 x 15 Black Heat Press Machine Digital Clamshell is a really good example of just that.

However, when it comes to many other factors, clamshells aren’t really preferred because people who are seeking precision in their prints would rather opt for something like a draw heat press or a swinger press because clamshells can’t really print that accurately since you can’t move around the t-shirt much. Another thing where clamshell loses out is when it comes to printing on a thicker surface. Clamshells can’t provide an even print on a thick surface and draw heat presses and swingers are generally considered better options.

Swingaway presses can also help you print on a variety of different surfaces including wood, glass, and ceramic while clamshells are mostly about thin fabrics. One major aspect where clamshells score better than swingers is that of the space that is needed to operate them. While in terms of storage, all three machines occupy pretty much the same space, when you are operating them, swingers need a much larger space to operate on. Clamshells need the most and draw presses are somewhere between the two.

Lastly, another major benefit comes to you in the form of safety. Clamshells are the least safe to use because you are very near to the heated platens. When compared to clamshells, the swing-away heat presses and the draw presses are much safer because the upper and heated portion of the platen is further away from you.

Manual Heat Press vs Air Press vs Automatic Heat Press Machines

By this point in the article, we hope that you are quite familiar with all the different aspects of a heat press machine – including how they function and how many different types of machines there are. While you know about the differences between a swing-away heat press machine, a clamshell press, a sublimation heat press, and a draw heat press machine, you also need to know that there’s another way in which heat presses can be differentiated.

These differences come not in the mechanism in which the machines operate, but in how you operate the machines. There are some machines that need to be manually used, while others function automatically – and then, there’s a third type too: air press machines.

Let us take a closer look at each one of them and try and understand the differences between these three machines:

5. Manual Heat Press

A manual heat press machine, as the name suggests, is a manually operated device where you have to manually apply the pressure, set the temperature yourself, and release it when you think an appropriate time has been passed. These machines usually come with a timer that tells you that the desired time has passed and you can now open the clams of the machine.

This kind of press is simple enough for beginners to understand and use and gives them a good idea about how heat printing works. Moreover, it is a great lesson in setting the right heat, pressure, and time in order to get the best possible prints. People who are just starting out can try their hands at these machines to learn the ropes.

However, a manual heat press machine does not have a pressure gauge built into it that can let you know the exact amount of pressure that is being applied. This is one drawback as you have to depend on the manual exertion of pressure. Also, this isn’t suitable for people with arthritis or other similar bone or muscle-related issues. There’s also the risk of heat exposure and burning yourself if used incorrectly.

6. Automatic Heat Press

When it comes to automatic heat press machines, the biggest difference between them and manual heat presses is that you don’t have to manually open up the clam in these machines. Once the timer goes off, the machine opens up on its own instead of you having to stand next to it and applying manual pressure, and opening it when the task is done.

This is quite an improvement over the manual press because here, you can easily multi-task and do other things such as preparing the next batch of t-shirts for printing while the current one is getting printed. You don’t even have to worry about any burn damages being caused on the t-shirt that you are printing.

There are two types of automatic heat presses: semi-automatic and fully automatic. A semi-automatic machine has to be closed by you manually but opens up on its own. A fully automatic machine can close at the press of a button, which makes your job even easier. Ease of use is the biggest benefit of this heat press machine and while it costs a little extra compared to a manual press, but it gives you the peace of mind that at least you don’t risk your t-shirts getting scorched!

7. Air Press

These can technically be considered a sub-type of a fully automatic heat press machine. These machines come with an air compressor pump which ensures the maximum amount of pressure possible. You don’t have to exert any manual pressure here and everything is done automatically, which is a huge benefit.

Besides, the higher the pressure, the more even the printing would be and the more high-quality a print are you likely to get. This, in fact, is perhaps the best heat press machine for anyone who is looking forward to getting one for bulk orders. If you have a lot of printing work to do, this should be an ideal option. This is also a great heat press for those who wish to print on thicker surfaces.

However, considering that it offers a much precise level of printing, and an automatic operation along with an air compression pump, you will also need to pay an extra amount for it, which is something that a lot of people consider a drawback. However, for better services, you need to pay a better amount.

How to Use a Heat Press Machine?

The working of a t-shirt press machine can be simply summed up in this statement: A heat press machine applies heat and pressure to a graphic design in order to get it imprinted onto a substrate. There are a large number of surfaces that are receptive to a heat-pressed imprint, such as fabric, ceramic, etc. There are automatic as well as manual heat press machines, which we have discussed above.

How to Use a Heat Press Machine

Let us now take a closer look and observe how exactly does a heat press machine functions:

For the purpose of this section, we are assuming that you are printing something on a t-shirt. Depending on the size of the design and the size of the t-shirt, you need to ensure that your press can cover all of it. Your press shouldn’t be smaller compared to the size of the shirt that you are printing. Also, make sure that the fabric you choose isn’t one that can melt away easily upon heat. Cotton, nylon, and polyester are the three best options that you have.

You will then need to choose your design and have it printed on transfer paper. A transfer paper is basically made out of a pigment-rich waxy substance, which is then placed over the garment that you are printing and when heat is applied to it, the design gets printed on the cloth. One thing to keep in mind while printing is that you will need to print a mirror image of what you see on your PC screen as that is going to be reversed once again when you print it on a t-shirt.

Next, we come to the actual heat press. Turn it on, and then set the temperature by adjusting the knobs of the thermostat. Some fancier ones might have buttons via which you can adjust the temperature. Once you have reached the temperature that you want, the heating light will turn on. Wait till that light is turned off. Once that light is off, your heat press has reached the temperature that you want to operate it at.

Make sure you do not touch the platens and are operating it using safety gloves. Some heat presses will also have a pressure setting available to them. If you are using such a press, set the pressure that you wish to work at, else you’ll need to apply that manually. You should then set a timer for the amount of time you want the heat and the pressure to be applied. Once the timer rings, open up the press if it is a manual press. If it is an automatic one, it will open up on its own and your print is ready!

Once you have printed your design upon your t-shirt, your work is still not finished. You need to ensure that the design is given at least 24 hours to get firmly attached to the fabric by letting it be undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not wash it in this period or you risk smudging the print.

When you are washing these printed clothes, make sure that you are turning the clothes inside-out so that there’s no actual friction on the design. Also, make sure to use soft detergents and try air drying the clothes instead of tumble-drying them to ensure the longevity of the print.

Three Most Important Elements of Using a Heat Press

Now that you know the whole process, it is important for you to understand the three most important elements of heat printing – time, pressure, and temperature! Getting a combination of these three right is the secret to obtaining the perfect print.

1. Time

Fancierstudio Power Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press Rhinestone Heat Press T-Shirt Heat Press 15x15 B/BLK

Most heat press machines operate at a range of 0 seconds to 999 seconds. For reference, 999 seconds would mean somewhere around 16 minutes – and it is a number that no one would usually require. Most t-shirt prints are done in somewhere between 10 to 20 seconds. However, that number also depends on the kind of cloth that you are using and the kind of transfer paper you are using. Fancierstudio Power Digital Heat Press comes with a really good digital timer and is a really good heat press machine for vinyl shirts. This heat press is considered by many as a top-ranking name among the top 10 heat press machines ever created.

Make sure to read all the instructions that come with your transfer paper carefully before you begin printing. Almost every heat press comes with a built-in timer, but in some older clamshell variants and in manual machines, you might have to keep a track of time yourself, so keep an eye out for that as well.

2. Pressure

After a time, the next most important variable is that of the pressure that you are going to apply. This could be adjusted digitally or with the help of a knob if you’re using traditional heat press machines. There are some in which neither is present and you’ll need to exert pressure manually which could be quite a pain in the neck.

The pressure that you are applying depends on the material that you are printing on. For instance, fabric would generally require lesser pressure to print on than compared to wood. Make sure you know what you are pressing on and how much pressure can they withstand. Ceramic, for instance, would require the least amount of pressure as you risk breaking it otherwise.

3. Temperature

PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15x15 Inch, Black

Last but not least, temperature also needs to be kept in mind. A large majority of heat press machines operate at a range between 0F to 500F. If you are printing a light-colored fabric, you will need to apply about 350 °F of temperature for about 20 seconds, and in case of darker colors, you will need to apply a slightly lesser temperature, about 320 °F for 20 seconds to get the perfect print. Some machines such as the PowerPress Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine can also go as high as 750F.

Who Needs a Heat Press Machine?

Now that you know what a heat press machine is, it is important to understand who needs it.

1. Artists

If you are an artist who is into the business of commissioning their prints and selling their artwork in the form of mugs, t-shirts, caps, and other similar products, then a t-shirt press machine is just the right investment for you.

By getting a heat press machine, you won’t have to rely on a third-party vendor to print your products. You can directly take orders from customers, print them yourself, and ship them to the buyers directly. This would save you the commission that you are paying the third-party printers, as well as save you and the customer the time that it takes for the printer to get the orders rolling.

2. Offices

A heat press machine is a good investment when it comes to offices, particularly large offices with hundreds of employees working with them on the floor. If there are special occasions, such as the 20th anniversary of your firm, or a special deal brokered between your firm and another – or any other commemorative moment that you want to remember for a long time, you might want to print some t-shirts and mugs and hand them out to your employees so that they feel they are all in this together.

Besides that, regular office accessories such as coffee mugs, caps, masks, etc. can also be printed and supplied to the employees en masse. Besides that, there are many other items of official use and communication that also require heat printing. Hence, it is important for large offices to own a heat press machine of their own instead of getting a contractor to print their products.

3. People Who Throw Large Parties

If you are a wicked party animal, you might want to own your own heat press machine rather than rely on a vendor for that. People who love to throw parties and socialize often get their own t-shirts printed. We are sure you might have attended those parties where they hand out t-shirts such as “I was Present at Alex’s 1st Birthday Party” or “Joanne’s Baby Shower 2011”.

This is a very select group of people, particularly people with large families or social circles, and who love to socialize and throw a large party every few weeks. This adds prestige to any party and makes you an instant favorite with your guests, while also saving you the cost that you pay to a third-party printer every few weeks.

4. Event Management Firms

Event management firms that help organize weddings, bachelor parties, baby showers, birthday parties, and other large-scale events such as conferences and seminars might also want to purchase a heat press machine of their own instead of relying on a vendor. This is very useful to event management firms because there are times when you would need to get things printed rather quickly as vendors can often make you wait for quite a while. You can also get things like a multifunctional 5 in 1 heat press machine that would print more than just t-shirts.

5. Businesses Selling Custom Artwork

Businesses that purchase, create, and sell custom artwork, such as t-shirt stores or online stores for custom designs should totally get a heat press machine of their own. This is because the sheer volume of orders that they get is too large to rely on a third-party vendor. The volume of orders often helps you break even for the cost of the heat press machine in just a month or two.

Hence, if you are a business that sells custom t-shirts, hoodies, caps, and other similar wearables, you might just want to invest in a heat press machine of your own.

6. Third-Party Vendors

Lastly, if you are a third-party vendor who takes orders from the aforementioned businesses, you might want to invest in a high-quality heat press machine so that you can get the prints done with better precision and faster. Besides, the more the volume of orders, the more will the number of heat press machines that you need be. Hence, it is good for vendors to invest in the best heat press machines out there.

How to Stay Safe While Using a Heat Press Machine

Last but not least before we head to the FAQs, while you have now understood everything about how to buy a heat press machine for printing stuff on substrates, you also need to know how to use these machines safely. Here are some tips that you MUST keep in mind:

First of all, make sure that there are no kids or pets nearby when you are using these machines. Keep in mind that these heat transfer machines are really hot and can cause quite a burn to anyone who touches them in the wrong place. The platens tend to reach temperatures as high as 500F, and even at regular 350F temperatures, they can give you a very severe burn even if you touch them. Getting your hand trapped there is extremely dangerous and you must ensure children and pets are nowhere in the room while you are using them.

heat press print

Up next comes your own safety. Always wear baking gloves while operating heat press machines so that even if you accidentally touch the platen, your hands remain protected at all times.

Lastly, avoid keeping any flammable objects near the heat press as there’s a risk that they may topple over or there’s an electrical surge and they may catch fire. For prolonged usage of heat press machines, we also suggest shutting off all other equipment in that room so that they are not damaged by a power surge.

Frequently Asked Questions About Heat Press Machines

Here are the answers to some of the most common and frequently asked questions about heat press machines. We have collated these questions under one section so that it is easier for you to get a three-sixty degree perspective about heat press machines.

What is the Best Heat Press Machine to Buy?

The best heat press machine actually varies depending upon your use. For some people, the definition of the best heat press machine might be one that can print the highest-quality print, while for others the best heat press comes at a pocket-friendly price point. Others might find one which offers them the highest levels of safety to be the absolute best heat press machine. We strongly recommend you to go through the buyer’s guide above to decide for yourself as to which is the best heat press for all your needs.

How Much is a Heat Press Machine?

The price of a good t-shirt press machine generally varies between $150 on the lower end and can go up to $250-$300 on the upper end for a standard 15×15 inch model. However, prices tend to fluctuate from time to time based on the demand and the discounts. Machines that offer multiple functions such as a 5 in 1 heat press can often be a little more expensive.

Where to Buy a Heat Press Machine

While heat press machines can be purchased from some specialized stores and special printing shops in your local region, you can also get them from Amazon, which offers the largest collection of heat press machines in the world. You get a lot of options, as well as quite a discount. You can find a wide range of heat presses over there, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive of these machines.

Which Heat Press Should I Buy

There are three factors that should have the biggest influence on your choice of a heat press machine:

  • First off, the price of the machine has to be one which fits your budget
  • Next, you need to check if the heat press that you are buying has the right kind of a temperature that your fabric needs (and if the machine can print on the material that you wish to print stuff on)
  • Lastly, how safe it is to use has to be considered too. Get the safest option possible

It is based on these three factors that you choose the right heat press for your needs.


To conclude, we hope that this explainer on heat presses helped you learn quite a bit about the best heat press machines out there and helped you choose the perfect heat press for all your needs. Heat pressing is the best way to get your graphic imprinted onto a t-shirt or other similar surfaces. If you are running a business, or if you want to print event-specific memorabilia, getting these machines is a good option for you. These are not complex machines but there’s quite a bit that you need to know about them before you choose the right machine for your needs.

If there are any more questions or queries that you may have about the heat press technique of printing, feel free to let us know over the comments or write us a mail and we shall get back to you as soon as we can.

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Disclamer