WARNING: This article should only be read by those looking for the best cheap heat press machine. If you are looking for less than the best, move on elsewhere.
You’re thinking about buying a t-shirt heat press machine? If you’ve only just discovered these machines, no doubt you are a little overwhelmed at all the choice? Or have you been looking around for a while but can’t make up your mind which one to go with?
There are so many choices when choosing a heat press, even if your budget is only around the $200 mark. There are better and worse machines, as well as better and worse heat press sellers.
The USCutter 15 x 15 Clamshell Heat Press is, in my opinion, one of the very best in its price range. I hope to show you why that is in the following review.
Why Should You Consider This Heat Press?
The cheaper heat press machines can be very similar. They are built alike, they look alike, and they essentially do the same thing. There can be very few differences between them. The resulting quality of the t-shirts and other items you press will also be alike, whichever heat press you choose.
So what is the main thing that sets one heat press apart from another?
It’s the seller – which is why we wrote an extensive article on how to choose an Amazon heat press seller. There are so many sellers that it warranted an article!
The conclusion of that post was that USCutter was one of the better (if not the best) cheap heat press machine sellers. This was because they offer great customer support, technical support, online resources, good Amazon star ratings, long experience in the industry and all at a very competitive price, among other things.
And that is why you should consider this heat press machine.
This is a 15 x 15 inch clamshell heat press. Clamshells are the preferred style of many because they do not take up much space, are easy to use, and perform well over time.
Aside from that, this machine has all the same basic features as most other cheap heat press machines:
- A digital LCD time and temperature display
- A heavy duty, commercial strength steel frame
- Non stick platens
- Soft grip foam handle
- Quick heat up time (10 – 15 minutes)
- Manual pressure adjustment knob
Again, the technical parameters of this machine are very similar, if not identical, to many other cheap heat press machines:
- Time range of 0 – 999 seconds (though why anyone would need to do a 16 minute press I don’t know!!)
- Temperature range of 0 – 480 degrees Fahrenheit
- 110 volts
- 1800 watts
Further technical details are in the product’s manual.
What Can You Press With This Machine?
This machine is suitable for pressing:
- Heat transfer vinyl (HTV)
- Sublimation transfers
- Inkjet and laser transfers
- Rhinestone transfers
- And more…
And can press onto the following substrates:
- Unusual surfaces like jigsaws & mousepads
Each transfer you use will require its own specific time and temperature setting, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Not all transfers are suitable for all substrates either, this is something else to check before doing anything too wild!
The heat press’s manual contains all the time and temperature requirements for pressing Siser vinyl and gives guidelines for other types of transfer paper. What a great help this is!
Cheaper On Amazon
USCutter sell this machine on their website and on Amazon. But believe it or not, if you follow those links you will see that it is quite a bit cheaper on Amazon than on their website. You can save well over $50 by buying it on Amazon, because you will also likely get free shipping. Compare the prices for yourself!
This shows you the value of the machine you are getting, I suppose that USCutter needs to price it lower on Amazon to be competitive with all of the other machines. Whatever the case, when you buy USCutter you are getting more for your money already (as we will get into below). The fact that this is one of the very cheapest 15 x 15 inch machines is mind-boggling to me.
This machine comes with a one year warranty – see evidence of this on the machine’s page on their website. One year is a much longer warranty period than many other cheap heat press machines on Amazon. Make sure you compare them before buying.
Another great fact of buying from USCutter – you get gourmet instructions! Well, gourmet when compared with many other heat press machine instructions. We’ve linked to it a couple of times already, but here it is again: Transforsa 15 x 15 Digital Clamshell Heat Press Manual.
This is full of helpful information on how to get started, how to calibrate your heat press, how to set time and temperature, heat press transfer time and temperature settings – and much more.
With other machines you’re lucky if you get a one page sheet of paper with any English on it! If you’ve read other heat press reviews you’ll know that’s often the user’s biggest annoyance – that the instructions are rubbish.
Bonuses Of Buying From USCutter
There are a bunch of benefits to buying from this company.
- They have a good website with further resources to help you learn how to heat press. It is also easy to contact them with any questions or if you have any problems with the heat press. They have a live chat set up during business hours, contact forms, phone numbers and more. There is no hiding from you if they sell you a defective machine!
- The star rating is very good. There are many very satisfied customers of this particular machine. You can read reviews of this machine either on Amazon or on their website.
- USCutter are focused on cutting machines, heat presses and accessories for these machines. This is the core of their business – they aren’t doing a half-baked job selling everything, they are doing a great job specializing in this one niche.
- USCutter have been in the industry for at least 10 years. They know it like the back of their hand and have built up a solid reputation. They will therefore be more concerned about their name and want to protect it if one of their machines were faulty. They would like to resolve issues not ignore them.
- This machine comes with a generous warranty period of a year – longer than a lot of other machines which are around the 90 day to 6 months mark.
- They have many other related products for sale that you know are going to be compatible with your machine – vinyl bundles, tools, etc. Don’t forget to buy some Teflon sheets to protect your heat platen as well.
- Finally, I have to say it again, the price on Amazon is Amazing! You are getting so much value for such a small price.
This isn’t even an exhaustive list of all the PROS to buying this machine over other machines, but I hope it has been enough to convince you!
There is another USCutter machine you might like to consider, which we have also reviewed. The USCutter Auto-Open Clamshell Heat Press is very similar to the machine we’re looking at here, but comes with the auto-open feature.
The cons of such a machine are to do with being realistic. This is a cheap heat press, made in China and shipped and then trucked many many thousands of miles to your door. You ought to expect it to work, and work well (or course!), to perform the task that it’s been designed to do, but you can’t expect it to perform like a $1000+ machine.
Possible problems with cheap machines:
- They don’t always get a totally even heat across the heat platen – ideally you want an equal heat for the best possible adhesion of your transfer
- They can experience mechanical or electrical malfunction more often than an expensive machine
- They may not have as long a useful life as an expensive machine
- They may not operate as smoothly or easily
If you want to spend up large on a heat press, see our article on US made heat press machines.
Compared To Other Popular Machines?
The most popular heat press machine on Amazon has been the Fancierstudio 15 x 15 Heat Press. This machine has been sold under various names (which for some weird reason keep changing), but has done very well in sales and reviews.
I think the PowerPress (or the Power Heat Press, or whatever the new name it has on any given day), whose sales momentum has pushed it forward, and which tends to have a very good rating, is a good machine. If you like it I think it’s a good choice. But I really don’t understand why it’s the best seller when you have machines like the one we’re reviewing here on offer.
The USCutter, when compared with the Fancierstudio machine, is a much better deal – as I’m sure you agree. The machine itself is comparable, but the added bonuses of going with the USCutter 15 x 15 Press blow the Fancierstudio model out of the water – at least in my opinion.
The Promo Heat 15 x 15 Clam is another heat press that I really like. It looks good, works well, has great reviews and overall has a lot going for it. But I still think I would choose the USCutter machine over this one as well. Again, they are a very similar machine functionally, and it even comes with a free Teflon sheet (at time of writing), but I think the benefits of buying USCutter outweigh all this machine has going for it as well.
The USCutter 15 x 15 Heat Press, which we’ve reviewed in this article, is the best cheap heat press – again, at least in my opinion! I don’t think there’s a better machine available right now and personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this machine if I was needing a new one.
I dare you to compare it to other machines under $200 and find a better one – if you find one, let me hear about it in the comment section below!
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