What is the best heat press machine?
Personally, we own the Power Press Heat Press, which we use in conjunction with our Cricut Explore Air 2 to make our own t-shirts and other heat press crafts. But we have also spent literally thousands of hours researching and writing about heat press machines, which leads us to today’s recommendations.
In this post we want to share with you a range of the best heat press machines for starting out. These are cheap heat press machines that are not going to cost you the earth. Of course, the more you spend the better the quality, but it’s better to start out with the best cheap heat press and work your way up from there as you need.
In our opinion, here are the 10 best cheap heat press machines for beginners, and we’ll get into more detail below:
- The Cricut Easy Press
- The Power Press Heat Press
- The Fancierstudio 15 x 15 Power Heat Press
- The Promo Heat Heat Press
- The Fancierstudio 9 x 12 Inch Heat Press
- The ShareProfit 5 in 1 Multifunction Heat Press
- The ePhoto New Digital Heat Press
- The F2C 15 x 15 Heat Press
- The USCutter Heat Press Bundle
- The Stahls’ Craft Press
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.
After the list of top 10 heat press machines, you will find A TON of information about buying a heat press. It is the ultimate heat press buying guide, gathering together all that we’ve learned after years of studying and working with heat press machines. We’ve put all this information at the bottom of this post because we’ve found that most people just want the recommendations!
1. The Cricut Easy Press
In position number one we’ve got the Cricut Easy Press. 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.
The Cricut EasyPress looks great as well. I know I’d rather have this on display in my house, over and above a traditional heat press!
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)
Easy Press 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
Easy Press 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
- It’s not as quick as a t-shirt press
If you want to know more about the Cricut Easy Press, make sure you take a look at our article ‘35 Pros & Cons Of The Cricut Easy Press.’ We also compare the EasyPress with a heat press in that post – as always, there are pros and cons of going either way.
EASY PRESS REVIEWS? Read Hundreds Of Reviews & See Today’s Price
2.. PowerPress Industrial-Quality T-Shirt Heat Transfer Press
We have this machine!
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.)
Power Press Cons
- Cheap machines don’t function as well as expensive US made machines
- Not as smooth to use as more expensive machines
- A very small percentage of machines 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.
WHAT’S IT COST? Check The Price & Read More Great Reviews
3. 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
- Clamshell style
- 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.
FIND OUT: What Does It Cost Today?
4. Fancierstudio 9 x 12 Inch Small Heat Press Machine
The Fancierstudio Small T Shirt Press Machine is one of the best small cheap presses. At 9 x 12 inches it obviously isn’t going to take up as much space as the larger machines and will be easier to store away when not in use.
While it’s more difficult to do large heat transfers with a small press, it’s not impossible. It just needs to be done in stages. A small press is great for those who:
- know they’ll be doing mostly small heat transfers
- are working with kids and baby clothes
- need a machine for pressing on brand or size transfers
- don’t have a lot of room
Fancierstudio 9 x 12 Features
- Swing-away design
- Small 9 x 12 inch pressing area
- Digital time and temp display
- Able to do all heat transfers
- Silicon gel base
- Swing away design is more prone to having issues on cheap machines
- More difficult to do large vinyl heat transfers
If you’re looking for a small t-shirt press, but don’t want the 9 x 9 inch Cricut Easy Press, this is your best choice. You can see a whole range of other small machines in this post, but they tend to be a bit more expensive or not as well reviewed.
TAKE A LOOK: How Cheap Is A Small Heat Press?
5. 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! Haha.
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.
FIND OUT MORE: See How Cheap This T-Shirt Heat Press Is Today!
6. ShareProfit 5 In 1 Digital Swing-away T Shirt Press Machine
The ShareProfit 5 In 1 T shirt making 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 ShareProfit 5 In 1 Shirt Printing Press
- 12 x 15 inch t-shirt press
- 5.5 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
ShareProfit 5 In 1 Cons
- Attachment presses can be quite fiddly to install (especially the hat press)
- The quality of the attachment presses is not great
Despite the evident issues that these machines can have, you can read in the reviews how happy the major majority of people are with their multifunction. I would definitely be hesistant to get this heat press for business. I think you’d be better off getting separate presses for each task. Who is even pressing plates these days! Read more about multifunction machines here.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING? Find Out If They’re Happy With Their Heat Press
7. ePhoto New Digital 15″ x 15″ T Shirt Press Machine
The ePhoto heating press is another popular option. This is another cheap heating press machine similar to the Fancierstudio & Power Press listed above. It is a basic starter press for beginners, and is easy to learn how to use.
I won’t go overboard in listing the heat press pros and cons because I’m only going to be repeating myself. I think that this ePhoto heat press makes for a good choice and recommend you compare prices with the other presses listed here. If it came in significantly cheaper than the Power Press, for example, I’d go for it. You can read more about this ePhoto machine in our article here.
OR: Check The Price & Read The Amazon Reviews
8. F2C 15″ x 15″ Black Digital Clamshell Vinyl Heat Press Machine
The F2C heat press is yet another very good t-shirt press. It’s a robust, sturdy machine that is easy to set up and easy to use.
- The usual digital LCD time & temperature display
- A thickened top platen for even pressure
- Adjustable pressure for different substrates
- Solid hard-wearing steel frame
- Teflon coated heat platen
- Heats up in about 15 minutes
- Press large transfers up to 14 x 14 inches
F2C Heat Press Cons
This machine definitely has its share of bad reviews, but again, I don’t think it is going to have any more faults than any other machine. You’ve just gotta hope you get a good heat press (and again, the great majority are totally fine)! You can read our F2C Heat Press Review if you would like more information. I have seen this heat press on Amazon far cheaper than any other, but the prices do fluctuate.
TAKE A LOOK: Read The Heat Press Reviews & Find Out The Price
9. The USCutter T-Shirt Heat Press Machine Bundle
We once thought this USCutter heat press bundle was the best heat press machine for beginners – that was until THE PRICE SKYROCKETED in early 2018! It used to be priced the same as all the other cheap 15 x 15 inch heat press machines, but then the cost increased suddenly and dramatically.
Because of this, I think it’s best to spend a little less when starting out – grab one of the cheaper t-shirt presses above. Or, if it’s within your budget, it’s still a better choice than the machines listed above because you are getting added benefits when you purchase from USCutter (listed below).
Consider also the USCutter Volcano Press, which is slightly cheaper, and perhaps the better option.
Why Consider These Heat Transfer Machines?
- They have a website with live chat. This means you can easily get in contact with them if you have any problems. You can also call or email them for real technical support.
- Their machines have great reviews and high star ratings.
- They are specialists in the field of heat presses and cutting machines.
- They have been in the industry for more than ten years. This means they’ve got the experience and expertise.
- The warranty is at least 90 days (don’t just take my word for it though, make sure to double check each machine). Many of their machines even have up to a one year limited warranty.
- Many of their machines come with free vinyl and/or teflon sheets – the bundles are great value!
- Their machines come with far better and more in depth user manuals than most other heat presses. These can be found on their website.
The heat press bundle also comes with 5 sheets of Siser EasyWeed, 2 blank tees, and a non-stick sheet to protect your press. See our full USCutter 15 x 15 heat press review for more info.
SEE THE RANGE: And Read the Reviews Of USCutter Heat Press Machines
10. The Stahls’ Craft T-Shirt Press Machine
The Stahls’ Craft Press is the cheapest Stahls’ heat press. As you can see, it is very pink, and so will mostly appeal to the ladies.
The Stahls’ CraftPress is a small heat press with a 9 x 12 inch hot plate. You can be sure, however, that this machine is of a high quality. Stahls’ only make amazing heat press machines, and I’ve no doubt this will be every bit as good as their other popular (but more expensive) machines.
Craft Heat Press Features
- Over the centre pressure adjustment
- Non-stick coated platen
- A lighter weight at 35 pounds
- Scratch resistant powder coated
- Digital time and temperature display
Why Consider This US Made Heat Press?
- Stahls’ are one of the best heat press brands that you can buy
- Likely to last longer than a Chinese made press
- Will produce a superior finish
- Great support from Stahls.com
- Great online resources
You can read our Complete Stahls’ Craft Press Review for more information.
WHAT’S IT COST? Click Here To See Today’s Price
Heat Press Buying Guide
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?
I think it is important to check if the seller has their own website, outside of Amazon. They will likely have contact details on it, which means you have the seller/business’s info if anything goes wrong with your machine. It means you have another way to get in contact without going through Amazon.
If you can find no information outside of Amazon about a seller it means you will have to go through Amazon if something goes wrong. Amazon do have amazing return policies and so you shouldn’t worry too much if you want to buy a press from a seller without a site.
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 some good and some bad reviews. Some of my favorite negative heat press reviews include:
“I’m being generous giving this heat press one star…”
“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.
Cheap heat presses are mass produced in China and then shipped halfway around the world to Amazon fulfillment centers (unless the seller is shipping them themselves), before being sent to your door. The quality of the machines is not the very best to start off with, and things can come loose in the transporting process.
It means that maybe 1 in 10 presses is going to have problems, simply a risk you will have to take when buying a cheap one. Most machines will come with a limited warranty of a certain length which you will need to determine beforehand. You can also purchase warranty extension plans (usually within 30 days of buying a product) through Amazon.
Overall, if someone has a 4+ star rating, you’re onto a winner.
3. How Long Is The 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. Stahls’, for example, have lifetime warranties on the heating platens, 2 year warranties on the circuit boards, and 1 year warranties on labor.
Amazon has information here on how to contact Third-Party Sellers who ship their own products. They also have their A – Z Guarantee for all purchases made through Amazon.com.
CHECK OUT: 17 Great Heat Press Tips & Tricks
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 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.
Heat Press Seller Recommendations
Finally, I want to recommend three cheap heat press sellers and heat press machines that I think do score highly on these criteria.
The Power Press Heat Press
The PowerPress Heat Press is my first choice for a cheap beginners heat press.
The Power Press 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
THE POWER PRESS: The Most Popular Heat Press Machine
Heat press seller Promo Heat are another company that I would be happy to buy from.
- Have a website
- Have good reviews and star ratings
- Only sell heat press machines
- Have been selling since at least 2012
- Their machines come with a one year limited warranty
- Some models may come with a free teflon sheet
- And the price is right! – they are also cheap machines
PROMO HEAT: See Their 3 Best Machines
USCutter Heat Press Machines
USCutter are now quite expensive, but they:
- Have a website
- Have good reviews and star ratings
- Are dedicated to the garment design industry
- Have been in the industry for 10 years
- Their presses usually have a warranty of 90 days (make sure to double check each individual machine)
- Have many presses that come with free vinyl and/or teflon sheets
USCUTTER: View Their 3 Best Machines
Best T-Shirt Heat Press?
Ok, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve done well. We hope this has helped you to make a decision on what heat press to buy. Again, the heat press recommendation we make is simply for the tried and tested Power Press 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!
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