The EasyPress is the best heat press style for many people:
those doing infrequent heat transfers for family and friends
if you do not have a lot of room
when you like storing everything away
if you want something that’s quick and easy to use
The EasyPress has a single heat plate that is applied onto the heat transfer. Pressure is then applied manually. It has a digital time and temperature display setting.
We have multiple EasyPress and heat press machines, and use different machines depending on what we’re doing. For example, if we’re only pressing a single t shirt, more often than not we’ll use the EasyPress. It heats up quickly and there’s no fuss.
EasyPress Pros & Cons:
different sizes & colors to choose from
compact & easy to store
reaches 400°F – suitable for sublimation
must manually assert pressure
largest size is still smallish at 12 x 10 inches
Clamshell Heat Press
Clamshell style heat press machines, such as the MPress from HPN, are probably the most common style of heat press – especially for beginners.
Not that the Clamshell style is less advanced than a Swing Away, but perhaps they are cheaper to manufacture and therefore make a better entry level machine.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Clamshell Pros & Cons:
Many affordable heat press machines
Don’t take up as much space as swing away style machine
There is less involved mechanically with a clamshell
More difficult to lay out t shirt & transfer if the machine doesn’t open wide
Some cheaper clamshells come down unevenly & pinch the transfer
This video gives a good demonstration of how to use a basic manual clamshell heat press:
Swing Away Heat Press
The Swing-Away style heat press opens and closes up and down. Once open it can be swung away to the side (usually to either side, but depends on the specific press).
Swing Away Pros & Cons:
there are many cheap swing-away style presses availablet
as the top heat platen swings away, allowing you to work more freely
there is more work room when laying out your garment and transfer
there is less chance of burning yourself
easy to learn how to use
this style requires a bit more space for the swinging platen
because of all the swinging, every now and again you might need to tighten the odd screw
This video gives you a look at how a swing-away heat press works:
Draw Heat Presses
This style is also known as the ‘pull out’ style because you can pull out the lower platen in order to arrange your garment. This allows many of the same advantages as the swing-away style, such as the ability to work more freely, though it is basically a clamshell press with a pull out bottom.
work area pulls out from under the top platen giving plenty of room to lay out your garment
hands are kept safe from the heat of the top platen
often these machines allow you to slip your t-shirt over the draw – means you’re only pressing the side receiving the transfer
Costs a bit more
As with the swing-away press, you may need a bit more space in order to pull out the bottom level
This video demonstrates how a draw heat press is used:
Auto Open Heat Press
Auto Open machines are generally clamshell style, and they open automatically once the time countdown has completed.
There are semi-auto machines, like the HPN Black Series machine pictured above, or there are fully-auto machines which will also close at the press of a button. Insta Heat Press Machines are an example. The latter require air-compressors and can be quite a bit more expensive.
Auto open machines are very good for business use, as it allows you to carry on working while the heat press does the work!
Auto Open Pros & Cons:
save time by not needing to open the press manually
peace of mind you won’t over heat your transfers
combined with quality clamshell style
will cost a little more
Check out this Auto Open Hotronix demonstration:
Heat Press Styles
So where does this leave you if you’re new to the game?
The clamshell style press is a great starter style. They are very easy to use and are best sellers on Amazon. The PowerPress heat press is a popular machine (which we also have), and is good for beginners.
However, the style of press is not all that important. It’s all about what works for you!
I recommend going with the:
machine you think you’ll be most comfortable using
style you like the look of the best
heat press which suits your price range
Thanks for checking out our article on heat press styles. We hope you found this helpful! Leave any comments or questions below.