We’ve got heat press recommendations for people at all different levels, from beginner to advanced. We’ve been using these machines ourselves for many years now, and enjoy sharing what we’ve learned in posts like this!
Here are the two machines which we use regularly
In this post we want to share with you a range of the best heat press machines for beginners and those looking to upgrade. For the most part, these are cheap heat press machines, though we do include some higher quality (and therefore more expensive) heat presses.
As always, the more you spend the better the quality, but if you’re just starting out, it’s better to get the best cheap heat press and work your way up from there as you need. It all depends on your budget!
In our opinion, here are the 10 best cheap heat press machines for beginners – we’ll get into much more detail below.
The Cricut Easy Press 2
The Power Press Heat Press
The MPress 15 x 15 from Heat Press Nation
The Fancierstudio 15 x 15 Power Heat Press
The Promo Heat Heat Press
The Heat Press Nation Craft Pro T-Shirt Press
Siser Heat Press Machines
The F2C 5 in 1 Multifunction Heat Press
The Pink Craft Press
Heat Press Nation Black Series Heat Press Machines
While we only own the first two heat presses on the list, we have literally spent thousands of hours researching and writing about heat press machines. That’s what leads us to these recommendations.
The Best Heat Press Machines For Beginners
Here is our list of the top 10 heat press machines for making your own t-shirts, sweatshirts, baby onesies, and more. These machines are awesome for all sorts of heat transfer vinyl projects.
In position number one we’ve got the Cricut Easy Press 2. While this machine is more like a cross between a heat press machine and an iron, it is a great way to get started making your own HTV projects.
Cricut is a very highly respected brand, known for creating high-quality products that work well and last a long time. They have awesome customer support and helpful resources – not to mention huge Facebook communities.
What makes it so special?
It’s a cheap heat press
It’s a very small heat press – compact, easy to store, and portable
It’s very easy to learn how to use it, even if you have had no experience
It’s a safe press that even kids can use (with supervision)
For sale in 3 different sizes (6×7, 9×9, 12×10 inches)
Easy Press 2 Features
A 9 x 9 inch hot plate with consistent, even heat
A digital time and temperature display
Automatic shut off after 10 minutes
A heat resistant safety base
Quick set up and heat up time
Easy Press 2 Cons:
A smaller pressing area than most industrial heat press machines
It can’t apply as much pressure as a traditional t-shirt press – you must place it on the garment and apply pressure
2.. PowerPress Industrial-Quality T-Shirt Heat Transfer Press
The Power Press heat press is one of the most famous 15×15 heat press machines. It is by far the best selling heat press on Amazon, and therefore probably all of the US.
This is a basic machine, like all cheap heat presses, but it works well and we’ve been really happy with the results we get. It’s not the heat press you would choose for a large thriving t-shirt business, but it’s great for making t-shirts for friends and family, doing craft projects, and for smaller home business purposes.
Power Press Features
Digital time and temperature screen
Temperature range of 0 – 500 degrees F
Adjustable pressure knob on top
Silicon base plate
A thickened aluminum and coated heat platen
A heavy duty steel frame
Replaceable fuse and safe electrical system
Able to press flat items up to 3/4 inch thick (approx.)
A very small percentage of machines will arrive with faults & need to be returned or exchanged
However, this is definitely one of the best heat press machines for t-shirts and other home craft projects. It’s the one we chose for our first heat press. You can find out more info in our full PowerPress article, or click below to read more buyer reviews.
4. Fancierstudio Power Heat Press 15 x 15 T-Shirt Press Machine
Fancierstudio offer a range of heat presses, with this 15×15 press being their most popular. Very similar to the Power Press above, Fancierstudio t-shirt presses really only differ in the branding. They are basically the same machine (you can read more about this in the buying guide after these reviews).
Here are the features of the machine pictured above.
Fancierstudio Heat Press Features
15 x 15 inch press suitable for pressing large transfers
Automatic time & temperature display
Affixed silicon rubber base
Non-stick coating on heat platen
Free Teflon sheet included
As with the Power Press, this machine isn’t going to act like a $1000 heat press (because it’s not one)
Customer support can also be a bit lacking from these retailers, though you can visit Fancierstudio’s website to start chatting
Also, some machines will arrive with faults
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one of these vinyl heat press machines if the price was right (which it very often is!). For my starter heat press, I was tossing up between a Fancierstudio and a Power Press. I only chose Power Press because it shipped cheaper at the time! Read our Fancierstudio article for more info, or click below for buyer reviews. The ePhoto Heat Press is another very similar machine with good reviews.
This high quality heat press from Heat Press Nation comes in 2 sizes. Choose either 13 x 9 inches, or standard 15 x 15 inches. Design with heat press crafts in mind, this is probably the cheapest draw style heat press, allowing you to work away from the heat.
consistent heat and pressure from a quality heat platen coil
floatational upper platen
a more slimline design
digital time and temperature display
draw style clamshell press
Draw style machines make things easier when preparing to press. In particular, if you do vinyl layering projects, draw machines make it A LOT easier. You are able to pull the project right out on the platen, and precisely apply the next layer without having your view impaired or hands burned.
6. Promo Heat 15 in. x 15 in. Sublimation Heat Transfer Press Machine Clamshell
The Promo Heat t-shirt press is, in my opinion, another great heat press for home use. It is slightly different from those listed above, having an adjustable multi-spring balancer. This is a mechanism which allows the heat press to achieve a more even pressure while pressing. This is good if seams or buttons are likely to be under the heat platen.
It’s usually one of the cheapest heat press machines for sale, and not because it is any worse than the ones listed above (for example). I even think the Promo Heat looks a little bit nicer than some of the others!
Promo Heat Features
Promo Heat have a website with their contact details
Their machines are well reviewed (with none rating below 4 stars at the time of writing)
Their machines come with a one year limited product warranty
Very competitive on price – regularly one of the cheapest heat press machines
Promo Heat Cons
Read the negative reviews on Amazon. You will see, as with every other cheap machine, that a percentage are prone to having faults and flaws. I know the feeling of ordering a heat press and having to hope you’re not among the percentage that get a lemon! You’ve just got to be prepared to return your press if there’s an issue, or spend a ton of money on a US made machine.
For more info on Promo Heat t-shirt press machines you can read our full review here.
The Siser Heat Press comes from the creators of the world famous Siser EasyWeed HTV. Their machines are of much higher quality than the really cheap heat press machines – you can tell just by looking at them!
They sell this exact same press in 3 different sizes:
11 x 15 inches
15 x 15 inches
16 x 20 inches
Features Of The Siser Heat Press
Trusted & sold by very reputable and knowledgeable retailers
Upper floatational platen for even pressure
Strong, laser-cut steel frame
Fully circulating heating element for even press temperatures
This machine is for sale from a number of top retailers, so it’s best to compare heat press prices among them. Take a look at our post on Siser Heat Press Machines and you will find a list of where you can compare prices to buy it at the best price!
8. F2C 5 In 1 Digital Swing-away T Shirt Press Machine
The F2C 5 In 1 T shirt press machine is the only multifunction press on this list. Along with t-shirts, this press can also press hats and caps, mugs, and plates. If you want a machine to make shirts but also want to dabble in other heat press crafts, a multifunction might be your best bet.
The attachment presses plug into the main electrical box that you can see on the t-shirt press, except for the cap press. The t-shirt pressing platens are removed and the hat press is installed in its place.
Features Of The F2C 5 In 1 Shirt Printing Press
12 x 15 inch t-shirt press
6 x 3 inch cap press
11 oz mug press
Two sizes of plate press: 1 x 5″ max diameter & 1 x 6″ max diameter plate
F2C 5 In 1 Cons
Attachment presses can be quite fiddly to install (especially the hat press)
The quality of the attachment presses is not as good as if you were buying each press individually (however, that would be super expensive!)
You can read in the reviews how happy the major majority of people are with their multifunction heat press. While you will mostly use the t shirt press, it’s fun to have the option to use the other presses too. Sometimes I get a bit sick of pressing t shirt after t shirt, and it would be nice to do a cap or a plate!
They have a website with live support – easily get in touch if you have any problems
Technical support included with purchase of an HPN machine
Great reviews and high star ratings
They are specialists in the field of heat presses and cutting machines
HPN have the experience and expertise that comes from being in the industry a long time
1 year warranty
In depth user manuals
Besides all these reasons, the machines themselves are a better quality than the cheap heat press machines. There is a greater quality control process that a heat press goes through to be sold on Heat Press Nation’s website.
If you would like to know more about heat press styles and sizes, different heat press brands and places to buy them, see our beginners guide to heat press machines. In the next section of this article we’ve got 5 ways to find the best heat press seller.
To find the best t-shirt press seller, we recommend asking the following 5 questions:
Do they have a website?
What is their star rating?
How long is the warranty?
Does the heat press come with bonuses?
How much does it cost?
1. Do They Have A Website?
Buying from a seller that has a website can make it easier to make contact if anything goes wrong. If buying from Amazon, google the name of your seller to see what comes up.
For example, Heat Press Nation has a very good website. They are very easy to contact and offer buying and ongoing technical support.
2. What Is Their Star Rating?
The second guideline to follow in choosing a seller is to review their heat press reviews!
This is pretty straightforward – of course you’re not going to buy from a seller with a ton of negative reviews. But it becomes difficult because most sellers have somegood and somebad reviews.
A couple of my favorite negative heat press reviews include: “I’m being generous giving this heat press one star…”. Or, “They should have called this a de-press-ed heat machine because that’s how I feel after buying it…”.
Hilarious. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are always going to be faults and flaws which occur in products – and perhaps even more so in industrial electrical equipment like heat press machines.
Overall, if a heat press has a 4+ star rating, you’re onto a winner.
Compare warranty lengths between the heat presses before making your purchase.
Some are 6 months, some are 1 year, and the more expensive models do it a bit different.
4. Heat Press Bonuses
This is a relatively minor consideration in the big scheme of things. Does the heat press come with any bonus products?
These might include:
Sheets of vinyl
It can be tempting to choose a machine simply because it has a freebie with it, but I would use the other guidelines first before letting this one determine your choice.
5. How Much Does The Heat Press Cost?
This is often the only consideration people have in mind when it comes to purchasing a heat press. While it is important, you will hopefully see through reading this article that there are other factors as well.
If after comparing sellers you see they are all selling the same (or very similar) press, and there is little else differentiating them from one another but the name, then I would just go with the cheapest.
Finally, I want to recommend three cheap heat press sellers and heat press machines that I think do score highly on these criteria. Also take a look at Amazon’s best heat press list. It’s based on real sales data and updates hourly.
The Power Press Heat Press
The PowerPress Heat Press is our first choice for a cheap beginners heat press.
Heat Press Nation is where you want to buy if you’re looking to level up. These are not the cheapest machines, but they’re not the most expensive either. If you are starting out in business, HPN presses will likely be perfectly suited to you.