Are you trying to find the best heat press machine 2017 has to offer?
With countless options of heat press machines on the market in 2017, it can be overwhelming to find a top rated heat press that will fulfill all your heat transfer design needs. Which is why we compiled this top 10 best heat press machine review guide!
A hot press machine is a necessary investment if you wish to produce professional quality graphic designed products. Whether you wish to have a machine for hobby use or whether you are after the best heat press machine for small business; you need a machine that will allow you complete your projects in minimal time.
The beauty of a heat transfer press machine is that they are so easy to use, that even those who are not technically inclined will manage to figure them out in a few minutes. They produce transfer designs that will last beyond a few years (unlike those you try to iron on). They don't take up much space and they can produce unique one-of-a-kind designs in mere seconds. But I guess you knew all of this, because why else are you on the hunt for the best heat press machine 2017 has to offer?
Know the Difference
Whilst it might be easy to know that you need a heat press machine, it might be more challenging to try and figure which type of machine would suit you best! So before we hop into the heat press machine reviews, it really is important to understand the difference between the different types of machines on the market.
Draw vs Clamshell vs Swing Away Heat Press
There are 3 types of heat presses. The difference between draw vs swing away vs clam heat press is mainly dependent on how the two heat plates move in relation to each other. The two most popular of these types are the clamshell and the swing away, which we will discuss below.
The video below is great to get a quick overview of the differences between the two presses. Note that you only need to watch the video up until the 2 min mark.
Clamshell Heat Press
The Clamshell press basically opens and closes via a hinge and operates like a mouth. This type of press is perfect for beginners as it is super easy to use. It is also a great choice if you wish to only work with thinner garments such as T shirts.
This machine is perfect for those who have limited space available as well as those who wish to have a more portable heat machine machine.
It is super easy to use, applies transfer quicker than the swing-away; but offers less precision than the swing away machines.
Swing-Away Heat Press
The Swing Away Heat Press allows the upper platen to be swung away either clockwise or counter clockwise from the lower platen.
A big advantage of this type of heat press is that it has the ability to work with thicker materials; so if you wish to work with more than just garments, this type of machine is most likely the right one for you!
This machine also allows you to apply even pressure, as well as greater precision due to the fact that you can get a complete overview of the whole layout area with the top platen out of the way.
Due to the fact that the machine has a swing function, it takes up more space. More advanced heat press users prefer the swing away despite the fact that it requires more steps to heat press as well as requires more time to apply the transfer.
Sublimation vs Heat Press Paper
So what is the difference and do you need a machine that can handle sublimation? Heat Transfer is essentially the process of printing onto heat transfer paper. You will then need to heat press this transfer onto your product. Sublimation on the other hand is ink based and when heated it turns into a gas that will actually embed itself into special products that have a polyester coating.
If you only wish to work with garment transfers, then you can save some money by purchasing a straight forward heat press machine. If however you wish to work with hard surface items such as mugs, tiles or license plates, the you will need to invest in a heat press machine that offers sublimation.
Heat Press Machine Comparison Guide: Our Heat Press Reviews
Below is a comparison chart of the top heat press machine, which are mentioned in this article. You can then read my heat press reviews below featuring the best heat press 2017 has to offer.
A Concise Buying Guide to the Best Heat Press Machines 2017
Type of Machine
Different types of heat press machines serve different purposes. If you are a beginner and you wish to work with flat transfers such as T Shirt Transfers, then we recommend the clamshell models. It is time efficient and the garment layout does not require as much attention to detail. These machines are also typically cheaper than the swing-away or multipurpose models.
If you wish to step up the game and work with t-shirts with rhinestones, numbers and letters or sublimation printing; then I highly recommend you investigate the Swing-Away models more closely. These types of jobs require precision and you need a complete view of the layout area.
Size, Shape and Purpose of the Machine
It is important to have a think about what your purpose is with the machine! What size do you require?
The flat surface of a heat press is perfect for flat presses such as T shirt transfers, whilst you will require a curved press if you wish to work with mugs or caps. You can also find smaller heat presses for cheaper if you don't require a larger size. If you can work out your purpose and the size you require, it will be much easier when it comes to selecting the right heat press for your needs.
If you are after a T shirt heat press machine our recommendation is to choose between either the 14 x 16" or the 16" x 20" models.
Large format presses range from 20 x 25" upwards.
Manual vs Automatic
For most of us, a manual operated heat press is all that is needed for our pressing needs. These machines are perfect for those who create sporadically or on a small batch basis. They are cheaper than automatic heat press machines and therefore a smarter investment if you are not planning on operating a large scale heat press business (and pressing for more than 4 hours a day).
Single or Multi-Purpose Ability
If you are sticking to only one heat press product, then we highly recommend you invest in a single application model. However if you know that you will be working a wide variety of products and materials you will need to purchase a model that has many interchangeable heat platens and bottom tables.
Other Things to Take into Consideration
- Get the best quality heat press that you can afford.
- Look into what type of support is available with the machine
- Investigate the feedback about the heat platen. Does it distribute heat evenly?
- Ensure that the model has a digital timer.
- If you are purchasing a clamshell press, ensure that there is an adjustable force and pressure knobs so you can apply the correct amount of pressure to your garment.
Top 10 Heat Press Machines
Below you will find the best heat press machines. We will have a close look at the top 10 heat presses. I will outline the top features, the pros and cons of each, as well as give you an indication of the average heat press machine price in detailed heat press machine reviews.
16x20 Heat Press | Swing-Away & Draw
The Hotronix Heat Press is a complete and total game-changer! Sure it comes at a premium price, but it is also the world’s most advanced and brilliant heat press. It has industry leading touchscreen technology and is the only heat press with a patented dual function of being able to operate as either a heat press swing away type or as a draw.
This 16x20 heat press is the best commercial heat press machine on the market in 2017. It is a high quality vinyl heat press machine that comes with a massive 5 year warranty!
This Hotronics heat press has brilliant features, such as threadability and an option to preset unlimited programs. This all means that you can complete your heat transfers faster, which equates to more money.
The Hotronix Fusion 16x20 Heat Press is not only one of the fastest heat presses in the world, but it also one of the easiest to use. The innovative digital touchscreen display has the:
- ability to store unlimited amounts of presets
- it contains both time and temperature settings
- it displays the current temperature, time left as well as the pressure applied to the garment.
- Premium Price
If you can afford the premium price, the Hotronix Fusion Press is a brilliant buy! It is the best heat press for vinyl and it offers outstanding features and top notch quality! This is the only machine you will need for your business. A machine that will allow you to create your heat transfers products quicker, easier and with more exact precise placing! We absolutely love this machine, we honestly feel like it stands out way above the rest of the heat press machines on out list!
15x15 Heat Press | Clamshell | Sublimation
The Power Press Heat Press is one of the most in-demand heat presses for those who are specifically after an easy-to-use shirt press machine. This top selling 15x15 heat press is a digital heat press machine that operates as a clamshell types machine. It is compact and relatively lightweight. We love that the Power Press Industrial Heat Press has a handy Electronic time and Heat control which allows for precise time set-up.
The 1800-watt element, of the Power Heat Press 15x 15" Machine, can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and distribute the heat quickly and evenly. We have found that the silicone gel baseboard is perfect to generate the desired pressure for transfers, whilst the pressure adjustable system allows you to tweak the pressure needed for materials of various thicknesses.
The Power Press machine is the best starter heat press, but it is also brilliant for those operating a small heat press business. It is versatile in its ability to transfer images on t-shirts, ceramic tiles, jigsaw puzzles, garments and bags.
It is a standalone machine so if you wish to work with items such as mugs, caps and thicker materials, we do suggest you have a look at our multipurpose machines instead.
- Clamshell Heat Press 15x15" in Size
- Budget friendly and Easy to Use
- Spacious platform
- Heavy duty steel frame
- Heats fast and evenly
- Heat and warp resistant
- Compact and space-saving
- Non-stick surface and heat platen
- Electronic temperature (0-500F) and timer (0-999sec)
- Product availability is pretty sporadic
- Not available for shipping in some countries
- Customer service could be better
The PowerPress Industrial Quality Digital 15 by 15 Inch machine is the best heat press machine for vinyl and T shirts designs. It is a best selling heat press transfer machine on Amazon due to the fact that it offers top notch quality for incredible value. This particular model is highly reliable and will offer you the industrial build that you can trust will last you for many years to come.
You can easily find this machine for well under $300, however it is best to check the actual Power Press machine price on Amazon by clicking here. If you can find this machine in stock, we suggest you snap it up ASAP.
3. Promo Heat Press Review
15x15 Heat Press Machine | Clam Shell | Sublimation
The 15 x 15" Clam shell Promo Heat Sublimation Heat Press Machine is another top seller due to its versatility in combination with a budget-friendly price tag. We love this machine for personal home use, as it offers all the advanced features you require, but with an easy-to-use interface.
The Promo Heat Press Machine has a full-range pressure adjustment knob which is perfect for those that wish to work with a range of thickness in material.
Clam shells can have a tendency of being poor pressure distributors, but we found that the adjustable multi-spring balancer on this brilliant presser allowed for even heat pressure to be applied across your garment!
One feature that makes this heat pressure is a stand out is the incredible heat range it offers. In comparison to the Power Press machine that offers temperature of up to 500ºF, this Promo Heat press can heat up to a whopping 750ºF. Which means it is the perfect machine for those wishing to work on thicker materials such as hoodies.
- Compact and Portable
- Preset desired temperature on the timer
- Fully-adjustable pressure adjustment knob
- Digital LCD temperature control
- Highly-adjustable multi-spring balancer
- Heat range of up to 750ºF
- Large 50 x 15" working space
- Teflon-coated element
- Budget-Friendly Price
- Product availability is pretty sporadic
- Not available for shipping in some countries
The Promo vinyl heat press machine is a top notch machine if you are after a machine for personal use! We love all the advanced features and with the affordable price tag, this machine can be hard to resist. The trick is to find this machine in stock, as it tends to sell like hot-cakes. If you see it available, grab it.
4. STAHLS Hotronix Auto-Open Clam Heat Press
Auto-Clam | Large Heat Press Machine 16x20"
The Stahls Hotronix Heat Press is the top-of-the-line machine when it comes to durability and quality. It is a large 16x20 heat press machine which is perfect for those wishing to working on larger projects. The feature that makes this heat press so unique and that we personally love, is the nifty magnetic auto-open feature that prevents over-application - so clever!
The Stahls Heat Press Machine takes the guess-work out of heat printing as it completely operates on a complete digitable level! It has digital time, temperature and pressure setting!
We love how the Stahls machine operates with dedicated precision. The over-the-center pressure adjustment means that you will always get even pressure, whilst the innovative coils in the upper platen produce edge-to-edge heat.
- Magnetic auto-open feature prevents over-application
- Digital temperature which you can set to the degree accuracy
- Brilliant large size 16 x 20" working surface
- Over-the-center pressure adjustment & edge-to-edge heat
- Dual time setting, which allows you to complete a pre-press and application step
- Generous 5 year warranty
- Premium Heat Press Price Tag
The automatic heat press Stahls Hotronix is one of the world's most innovative machines. It is a best selling heat press machine for t shirts and a hot favorite machine for those who operate a business. Despite the premium price of the machine; the machine is a small investment as it is guaranteed to last you for many years to come! With a lifetime warranty on the heating element and a massive 5 year warranty on the framework, you know that this machine is high quality and built to last!
15 x 15 Clamshell Heat Press | Sublimation
The DG 15x15" Clam Shell heat press is very similar to the Power Press and Gecko machines! It is a very popular heat press for vinyl designs; especially when it comes to shirts.
In our opinion, this machine is a great machine for those who wish to use it on a hobby or sporadic basis. However if you are operating a small business, we suggest you invest in one of the Hotronix machines.
We love the bargain price tag of this great T shirt heat press machine; you can easily pick it up for under $200. We are also glad to see that there is a digital time and temperature display for accurate and precise timing, a teflon coated heat platen, as well as a great silicon rubber base (which you can adjust and move around).
Clam Shell machines are great if you are limited in space and need a machine that is portable. This specific model is great for applying transfers, letters, numbers, and images on t-shirts, garments, bags, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, ID bags, ceramic tiles, as well as a range of other items.
- Great size, space-saver and portable
- Digital time and temperature display
- Set it up in around 5-10 min
- Cheap price tag
- Detailed instructions included on how to set up and use
- Uneven pressure applied due to clam shell design
The DG 15x15" Heat Press Vinyl Machine is a top seller when it comes to machines that are affordable and durable. This machine makes applying vinyl to shirts a breeze. Those who are starting out with heat pressing with truly love and enjoy this easy-to-setup and easy-to-use machine. For those who are running a small business, we recommend you invest in a swing-away machine in order to get the even pressure that you would be after. This is a truly top notch beginner machine with a cheap price tag!
12" x 15" | 8 in 1 Heat Press Machine | Swing-Away
The ShareProfit 8 in 1 Multifunction Heat Press Machine is brilliant for those who wish to enjoy transfer production on a larger variety of items. This heat press package includes:
- a mug press machine for various sized mugs (6OZ, 11OZ, 12OZ & 17OZ)
- a vinyl shirt press machine (12 x 15")
- a Hat/Cap Press (6 × 3")
- as well as two Plate Presses
The ShareProfit 8 in 1 Multifunctional Heat Press is a fabulous purchase if you are after an all-in-one package deal machine. For under $450 (and often on special) you can get a machine that includes a range of heat press attachments. This allows for transfers to create many products from jigsaw puzzles, mousepads, mugs, caps, T-shirts and more!
We love the large size of the heating element together with the audible alarm that will let you know when your The heating elements are large in order to cover a big surface for even large shirts. The audible alarm that will let you know when the transfer is done. The machine has all the features that you will be after in a machine, such as the ability to adjust the platen to match the thickness of the material, and adjustable multi-spring balancer as well as a pressure adjustment knob. The machine offers even pressure with precise transfer placement.
- Swing-away design for more even pressure and precise application
- Eight elements to enable transfer of different items such as mugs, caps, T shirts and more
- An adjustable multi-spring balancer
- Audible notice alarm
- Adjustable heat platen to accommodate material thickness
- Heating element coated with Teflon
- Requires more space
- May be more complicated for beginners
The ShareProfit 8 in 1 machine is a top seller if you are after a combo machine. There are plenty of happy customer reviews on Amazon and you can also check on the current 8 in 1 heat press machine price there (the machine is often available for incredible special deals). We love that the platens are made of aluminium and are coated with teflon. A feature that means that this machine will handle high volume production lines. Such a great purchase for those who wish to conduct transfers on many items!
7. Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation
5 in 1 Heat Press Machine Review
Swing-Away | 12 x 15" Heat Press | 6 x 3" Curved Press
The Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press Machine is our top choice if you wish to create a wide variety of projects with your heat press. The machine comes with a 12 X 15" tee shirt press, a 6 x 3" hat heat press, a 3 x 3.5" mug heat press, as well as 2 plate presses. This favorite 1400-watt combo heat press machine can be used for projects such as T-shirts, caps, ceramic plates & tiles, mugs, coasters, mouse pads, jigsaw puzzles, lettering, vinyl and thicker fabrics and materials. We especially love its very affordable price-tag, which means that this machine is a small investment for any business.
The top features that makes this machine a top seller is the adjustable multi-spring balancer which allows for even pressure across your platen; the 4/5" thick heating board which allows for heat to distributed quickly and evenly as well as the durability of the non-stick Teflon coated platen press element.
The 360-degree swing heat press allows you to have a complete view of your layout, which means that you can work with projects that require precision placement. Whilst the intelligent temperature and time control system allows you to produce quality transfer items.
The heavy-duty, commercial-grade build of the machine guarantees that your investment will pay off for many many years to come.
- Swing arm heat press for precision work
- Durable steel frame - commercial-grade
- 5-in-1 Multifunctional design that includes a heat press for shirts, a cap heat press, a sublimation mug press as well as 2 plates
- Adjustable multi-spring balancer
- 4/5-inch thick heating board
- Non-stick Teflon coating
- Temperature range 0 - 400ºF (0 - 220ºC)
- Manual isn't very helpful
- A tiny bit on the noisy side
Perfect for personal or commercial use, the Mophorn 5 in 1 Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press outmatches its competition in terms of quality, performance and longevity. This machine is excellent value at a truly affordable price tag. It is the number one combo heat press on the market in 2017 and will keep on performing as the hot seller for a few years to come.