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The 12 Best Heat Press Machines And Ultimate T Shirt Press Guide

What is the best heat press machine?

 

We own four different heat press machines, and now have many years experience working with, researching, and writing about them. We want to share what we’ve learned as you look for your best heat press!

 

There is no single best t shirt press for everybody. It’s going to depend on the stage you’re at, what you need it for, the features you require, and, of course, the budget!

 

Best Heat Press Machine Review

 

what is the best heat press

 

For those of you wanting to cut to the chase, here is our list of the top 12 heat press machines for pressing heat transfers.

 

Keep scrolling for an explanation on why we chose these machines, and to find some more advice on what you should look for in a new heat press!

 

1. The Cricut EasyPress 2

  • The Cricut heat press is best for home crafts
  • High quality product - super easy to use, transport, & store
  • Reaches max temp of 400°F - good for all heat transfers
View on AmazonView on CricutView On Michaels

2. Amazon Heat Press Machines

  • Amazon heat press machines are best for beginners and crafters
  • The cheap 15x15 Amazon heat press machines are all very similar
  • Fine for all types of heat transfers, though heat platen can be inconsistant
PowerPress Heat PressFancierStudio Heat PressTUSY Heat Press

3. MPress Heat Press Transfer Machine

  • An entry level machine of higher quality than Amazon presses
  • Available in 5 sizes & styles
  • Sold by Heat Press Nation - includes quality control & tech support
View Mpress RangeMpress ReviewsView Comparable Alternative

4. HPN Black Series Heat Press Machine

  • Good for small home & craft business
  • Many sizes & styles of heat press in this range
  • A step up from the beginners heat press machines
View Black Series RangeBlack Series ReviewsView Comparable Alternative

5. Multifunction Heat Press Machines

  • Cheap machines good for home use; better machines for small business
  • Usually 5 in 1, 6 in 1, or 8 in 1 heat press machines
  • A range of shirt, mug, cap, & plate press platens
View Amazon MultifunctionsView HPN MultifunctionsView Walmart Multifunctions

6. HPN Signature Series Heat Press

  • The best heat press machines that are non-US-made
  • High quality components & ease of use
  • Over 20 machines in the series from t shirt presses to mug & cap press machines
View Signature Series RangeSignature Series ReviewView Comparable Alternative

7. US Made Heat Press Machines

  • The best heat press machines you can buy
  • Brands such as Stahls, Hix, Geo Knight, & Insta
  • Long lasting, durable machines for the best heat transfers
View Stahls Heat Press RangeView Insta Heat Press RangeView Geo Knight Heat Press Range

8. Mug Press Machines

  • A range of mug presses for craft use to advanced business use
  • Cheaper imported options or higher quality American made machines
  • Press 1 size of mug (usually 11oz) up to many sizes
View Amazon Mug PressesView HPN Mug PressesView Best Mug Heat Press

9. Cap Press Machines

  • Many different price points for buying a mug press
  • Options for home craft use and advanced commerical business
  • Use mostly for mug sublimation
View Amazon Hat Heat PressView HPN Hat Heat PressView Best Hat Heat Press

10. Small Heat Press Machines

  • 9 x 12 inch heat press machines are the standard small dimensions
  • From very cheap to quality US made models
  • Swing away & clamshell options available
View On AmazonView On Heat Press NationView On Happy Crafters

11. Large Heat Press Machines

  • Large machines for large garments and transfers
  • Large format heat press machines for busy outfits
  • From very affordable to major investment
View On AmazonView On Heat Press NationView On Swing Design

12. Heat Press Bundles

  • Best for those starting a heat press business
  • Includes heat transfer printers and accessories
  • Select inkjet printer, sublimation, laser, or multiple
HPN Heat Press BundlesHPN Sublimation BundlesView On Swing Design

Now let’s delve a little deeper into these machines. After these 10 heat press reviews we’ll share some more on what to look for in a press.

 

We also recommend you check Amazon’s Best Selling & Top Rated Heat Press List – it’s updated each hour based on real buyer reviews and ratings.


 

1. The Cricut Easy Press 2

 

cricut heat press

 

To start with we’ve got the Cricut Easy Press 2, though this will not suit everyone!

 

This machine is more like a cross between a heat press and an iron. It is a great way to start applying more complicated heat transfers after you have outgrown your home iron.

 

This machine is best for:

  • crafters
  • making t shirts at home
  • heat press beginners
  • teen crafts

This machine is not great for:

  • making items to sell
  • pressing a lot of shirts at a time
  • everyday use

 

Cricut is a highly respected brand, known for creating high-quality products that function well and last a long time. They have customer support and a lot of online resources – not to mention the huge Facebook communities.

 

Main things to know:

  • The EasyPress is very easy to learn how to use it, even with no experience
  • It’s a safe press with support tray & auto-off feature
  • For sale in 4 different sizes (mini, 6×7, 9×9, & 12×10)
  • Large range of colors to choose from
  • Digital time & temperature display
  • Quick set up and heat up time

 

Pros

  • It’s a cheap heat press
  • Very easy to use
  • So easy to hide away
  • Firmware updates through USB
  • Fine for sublimation or Infusible Ink transfers
  • Great online support, resources, & community

Cons

  • You must manually apply pressure
  • Largest size is 12 x 10 inches

 

Further resources:

  1. The EasyPress VS Heat Press Machine
  2. Cricut EasyPress Tips & Tricks
  3. The EasyPress Mini Review

 

2. Cheap Amazon Heat Press Machines

 

 heat press for sale

 

A cheap Amazon heat press will be the best machine for some of you, though again, not suitable for others. More than anything, it will depend on your budget.

 

We personally own the PowerPress model, which is one of the best selling heat press machines on Amazon. It has served us well for all sorts of projects, such as making gifts for friends and family, but we would not use it for making t shirts to sell.

 

Like the EasyPress, these are heat press machines for beginners. I lump them all in together like this because they are so similar. You will have noticed that many are even identical, apart from the brand name. They are generally mass produced in China and are not the most reliable machines.

 

These machines are best for:

  • home craft use
  • making gifts
  • early home business experimentation
  • learning how to use a heat press

These machines are not best for:

  • t shirt business purposes
  • a busy operation
  • using everyday

 

If your budget only allows for a cheap t shirt press, my advice is to consider the Amazon heat press Best Sellers List. Simply select the first most suitable machine from the top!

 

Whether you are looking for a 15×15 heat press, a multifunction press, a cap press, or whatever else, you will thereby get the best machine on the day.

 

If you’re after a 15 x 15 inch heat press, the best seller will likely be a Fancierstudio heat press or the PowerPress heat press.

 

Main things to know:

  • Digital time and temperature screen
  • Temperature range of  0 – 500 degrees F
  • Adjustable pressure knob
  • Silicon base plate
  • A thickened aluminum and coated heat platen
  • A heavy duty steel frame

 

Pros

  • The cheapest heat press machines
  • Choose swing away or clamshell heat press
  • Easy to use, no frills
  • Solid machines
  • Achieve more pressure than EasyPress
  • Free shipping for Prime Members

Cons

  • Inconsistent heat platen temperatures
  • Not very smooth to use
  • Prone to have faults
  • Shorter life expectancy

 

Further resources:

  1. PowerPress Heat Press Review
  2. FancierStudio Heat Press Review
  3. Amazon Heat Press Manual

 

3. The MPress T Shirt Heat Press

 

best t shirt press

 

The MPress Range is an affordable alternative to the Amazon heat press options. While being similar to the PowerPress or Fancierstudio machines, it has some distinct advantages over those models.

 

It’s Heat Press Nation’s entry level heat press, and is available in 5 different styles and sizes:

  • the 9 x 12 inch swing away heat press
  • a 15 x 15, 16 x 20, or 16 x 24 inch clamshell heat press
  • the MPress sublimation mug press

 

Heat Press Nation are heat press experts! Each machine goes through a quality control process before shipping, there is access to technical support throughout the working week, and a super helpful Facebook community of heat press creators.

 

An MPress Heat Press is best for:

  • those with a smaller budget
  • for home use
  • craft projects & t shirts
  • entry into small business

The MPress is not for:

  • a thriving t shirt business
  • those wanting a smooth use machine
  • those requiring the best results

 

Consider this video to see the features of the Clamshell MPress heat press.

 

 

Main things you need to know:

  • Strong heavy duty machine
  • Non stick platen with cast in heating element
  • Digital time & temperature settings
  • 1 year parts & service warranty
  • Good for all the usual heat transfer applications

 

Pros:

  • Higher quality machines
  • Range of sizes to choose from
  • Quality control procedures
  • Access to heat press support

Cons:

  • Still a heat press for beginners
  • Not ideal for selling products
  • Not as durable as following options

 

Further resources:

  1. MPress Heat Press Review
  2. Heat Press Nation Review
  3. The Craft Pro T Shirt Press (a comparable alternative)

 

4. Black Series Heat Press Machine

 

heat press 15x15

 

 

We continue to see a rise in quality with the Black Series Heat Press range – better quality components and a smoother ease of use.

 

There are 14 different heat press machines in this series, which may feel a little overwhelming! However, they are different sizes, different styles, and have different functions.

 

There are, for example:

  • clamshell heat press machines (9×12 – 16×24 inches)
  • swing away heat press machines (9×12 – 16×20 inches)
  • 8 in 1 multifunction heat press machines
  • cap, mug, & label press machines

 

And, as with the MPress, you know you are getting a machine that has been tested, gone through a quality control process, and comes with access to heat press tech support.

 

The Black Series is best for:

  • home & craft use
  • small business use
  • selling products on Etsy, etc
  • those needing a more durable machine
  • those with a higher budget

The Black Series is not ideal for:

  • super busy t shirt businesses
  • those doing high volume orders
  • those wanting the smoothest action and ease of use

 

One of the great things about some Black Series machines is the extra lever on the top of the platen. You are able to hold this down while opening the machine, which supports the press and stops it from jolting upwards!

 

 

Main things you need to know:

  • Clamshell press can take substrates 1/2 inch thick
  • Machines come with a 1 year warranty
  • In depth user manuals & online resources
  • Often used on HPN YouTube Channel
  • Large range of Black Series buying options

 

Pros:

  • Higher quality machines
  • Range of sizes to choose from
  • Quality control procedures
  • Access to heat press support

Cons:

  • Still a heat press for beginners
  • Not ideal for selling products
  • Not as durable as following options

 

Further resources:


 

5.  Multifunction Heat Press Machines

 

best multifunction t shirt press machine

Multifunction heat press machines are exactly what many or you are looking for – an easier and cheaper way to press on multiple substrates.

 

These units are usually 5 in 1 or 8 in 1 heat press machines, and come with different sizes of the following types of attachments:

  • a t shirt press
  • hat/cap attachment press
  • mug/cup heat press
  • attachments for pressing plates

 

There are a ton of multifunction presses for sale on Amazon, which tend to be of lower quality, and are best for home craft use. The more expensive (and higher quality) machines from Heat Press Nation are suitable for small to medium business.

 

Multifunction machines are good for:

  • home & craft use
  • those wanting to do a variety of projects
  • those without the budget to purchase each machine separately

Multifunctions are not so good for:

  • busy, thriving businesses
  • those wanting to be doing multiple types of projects at once
  • those with limited space

 

Take a closer look at how to use a multifunction heat press:

 

 

Keep in mind:

  • you can only have one press going at a time
  • with the cheaper machines it’s often tricky & fiddly to change platens around
  • the cheap multifunctions are more prone to error than regular t shirt heat presses

 

Pros:

  • Opportunity to press on a variety of substrates
  • Transfer onto mugs, caps, tees, plates, & more
  • Many affordable options

Cons:

  • Cheap versions are error prone
  • Not as good results as with dedicated machines
  • Can be fiddly to use

 

Further resources:


 

6. HPN Signature Series Heat Press

 

swing away heat press

 

 

HPN Signature Series Heat Press Machines are perhaps the best heat press machines… before going into the US made models.

 

These machines come with high quality components, upgraded features, and will achieve a better heat transfer. There are at least 20 different machines in the Signature Series Range, including:

  • Draw Style Heat Press (15×15, 16×20, & 16×24 inches)
  • Auto Open Draw Press in (15×15, 16×20, & 16×24 inches)
  • Swing Away Heat Press in (12×15, 15×15, & 16×20 inches)
  • Multifunction Heat Press (8 in 1 & 12 in 1)
  • Label, Cap, Tag Heat Press Machines
  • Mug Heat Press Machines (variety of sizes)

 

These heat transfer machines are at a mid-range price, and are more than suitable for advanced small business.

 

The Signature Series Press is best for:

  • serious t shirt business
  • those with regular consistent customers
  • those who want the press to do the work for them

This heat press is not for:

  • limited who craft use (though of course if you want to..)
  • those just starting out with a small budget
  • those who want the very best (US made)

 

What you need to know about the Signature Series Press:

  • A range of auto open heat press options (magnetic release)
  • Some with draw style opening
  • Upgraded time & temperature gauges
  • Gas shock opening for smooth action

 

 

Pros:

  • High quality components
  • Durable long lasting heat press
  • Stylish look & feel
  • Upgraded & with special features

Cons:

  • Much more costly
  • Still not as high quality as US made

 

Further resources:


 

7. US Made Heat Press Machines

 

hotronix heat press

 

Truly, the best heat press machines are US Made.

 

These brands have the most innovative features, the highest quality components, and are the best to use for high quality apparel decoration.

 

The US made heat press brands are:

  • Stahls heat press machines
  • Insta heat press machines
  • The Geo Knight Heat Press Range
  • Hix Heat Presses

 

While my personal preference is for Stahls or Insta, all four American made heat press brands are of extremely high quality. Nothing can beat them for the best quality heat transfers.

 

These machines generally have features such as digital pressure adjustment, automatic opening, quality cast in heating elements, and long warranties.

 

US made machines are for:

  • everyday use
  • serious heat transfer businesses
  • those requiring the best heat press machine
  • those who cannot afford downtime due to machine fault

These machines are not for:

  • the hobbyists
  • crafters
  • those with little space
  • those with little budget

 

US made heat press machine

For those wanting to buy their first US made heat press, I recommend taking a look at the Stahls Hotronix Maxx range. These machines are very affordable and will give you peace of mind that your transfers will be permanently applied.

 

Pros:

  • High quality machines
  • Best quality control procedures
  • Excellent support & warranties
  • Top features & ease of use

Cons:

  • High price

 

Further resources:


 

8. Mug Press Machines

 

mug heat press

 

Mug Press Machines are used mostly for applying sublimation transfers to mugs and cups.

 

While you can get a mug press as part of a multifunction set-up, the standalone machines tend to be better (and there’s less work involved to use them).

 

The cheapest mug presses tend to only press a single size mug – usually 11oz mugs. The better machines are able to take multiple sizes, or change shape to accept most sizes of mug, cup, tumbler, or glass.

 

Get a mug press if:

  • you want to make custom mugs & cups
  • have a sublimation printer
  • are willing to test for perfect results

Avoid a mug press if:

  • you aren’t willing to go through some trial & error
  • you don’t want to be printing heat transfers

 

Using a mug press and a good sublimation printer, you can create the most vibrant and beautiful custom mugs. These make great gifts for friends or family, as well as a desirable product for your customers.

 

In my opinion, there is more to sublimating mugs than doing iron on t shirt transfers – it can take a bit more patience. It will also depend on whether you have a good mug press, or a cheaper model.

 

best mug press machine

The HPN Sig Series Fully Auto Mug Press is a quality mug press that I can recommend for the serious buyer.

 

Further resources:


 

9. Hat Heat Press Machines

 

mophorn hat heat press machine

 

Cap & hat heat press machines are a must for every garment printer, and thankfully it’s not too costly to get started.

 

As with everything, the cheaper machines are not going to do the same quality job as those which cost more. The costlier models are also so much easier to use. It’s really difficult to keep the cap and transfer in place on the machine with some of the cheapest options.

 

Cap press machines are for:

  • crafters to advanced businesses
  • those wanting to offer their customers more
  • those with a plan in mind for selling

Avoid a hat press if:

  • you aren’t sure if you have a market for custom hats & caps

 

best hat press machine

The Black Series Hat Press is an excellent starter machine for those wanting to print and sell custom caps. It is a swing away style press, reaches 400°F, and comes with that great HPN support.

 

Further resources:


 

10. Small Heat Press Machines

 

geo knight small heat press

 

Small heat press machines are excellent for home craft and small business. There are many occasions where it’s better to have a small machine handy, rather than having to get a big machine up to heat.

 

As with any category of heat press, there are the lower quality imports, the mid priced range imports, and the high priced US made machines. The best press for you will depend on your budget!

 

Small heat press machines are best if you:

  • are pressing baby’s & children’s garments
  • have limited storage space
  • are pressing small transfers on larger garments
  • want to press labels & tags
  • require a light weight heat press

Don’t get a small press if:

  • you want to press large transfers
  • you require a sturdier machine

 

The Pink Craft Press is a popular small craft press that is solid and is of sound quality. small craft heat pressIt weighs only 35 pounds, has a 9 x 12 inch heat platen, and over the plate pressure adjustment.

 

Further resources:


 

11. Large Heat Press Machines

 

large heat press machines

 

There are large heat press machines, and then there are large format heat press machines. Large presses are those which are over 15 x 15 inches, and large format machines are those over 20 x 32 inches.

 

A large heat press is good for:

  • a t shirt business
  • those with plenty of space
  • those pressing large transfers

Don’t get a large press if:

  • it’s unlikely you’ll be doing large t shirt transfers
  • you really don’t have the operating space
  • you will need to move it

 

Further resources:


 

12. Heat Press Bundles

 

best heat press bundle

 

For many who are going into t shirt business, a heat press bundle or business package may be the best option. You are able to pick up a heat transfer printer, print and cut machine, and heat press accessories, along with a new tshirt press machine.

 

While the financial outlay for these types of set-ups are significant, it’s the price of business and will likely cost you less in the long run.

 

Consider a heat press bundle if:

  • you have nothing & need everything
  • it’s going to work out cheaper than buying everything separately
  • the available options will cover what you need
  • it’s in your business plan & budget

Don’t get a heat press package if:

  • you are not sure what you’re doing
  • you don’t have a strong plan
  • it’s outside of the budget for now

 

The heat press bundles from HPN are very attractive for small to medium sized business start-ups. However, none of them contain American made heat press machines as an option.

 

Further resources:

 

clamshell heat press

Use inkjet transfer paper to make easy designs

 

Heat Press Buying Guide

 

If you would like to know more about 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. We recommend asking the following 5 questions:

  1. Do they have a website?
  2. What are their buyer reviews like?
  3. How long is the warranty?
  4. Does the heat press come with bonuses?
  5. Is the heat press worth the price?

 

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 Are The Reviews Like?

 

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 some good and some bad reviews

 

A couple of my favorite negative heat press reviews include: “I’m being generous giving this 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.

 


 

3. Heat Press Warranty

 

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:

  • Teflon sheets
  • Sheets of vinyl
  • Blank t-shirts
  • Free shipping

 

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 transfer 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.

 

good t shirt press machine

Layer HTV with a heat press machine

 

Shirt Press Seller Recommendations

 

Finally, I want to recommend two cheap heat press sellers that I think do score highly on these criteria. 


 

The Power Press Heat Press

 

best heat press machine

The PowerPress Heat Press is our first choice for a cheap beginner t shirt press.

 

The PowerPress seller:

  • Has good reviews and ratings
  • 6 month warranty
  • Has been selling these presses since 2012
  • Can be picked up at a very reasonable price

 

Heat Press Nation

 

HPN™ Black Series™ 15" x 15" High Pressure Heat Press Machine

 

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 get you where you’re going quicker.


 

Heat Transfer Machines

 

Ok, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve done well! We hope this has helped to choose a heat press.

 

We’d love to hear from you – what are your thoughts and questions? Leave comments below and we’ll get back to you asap.

 

Thanks for reading! Please pin for later 🙂

 

 

(Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.)

 

Comments 16

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