While modern technology is advancing fast, the method of applying print to shirts remains unchanged for the most part. Many people still use heat pressing and screen printing to transfer ink. However, we can’t deny that the best heat press machines are becoming more sophisticated and accessible for home users. However, with that abundance of accessibility comes an overwhelming amount of options.
We dug through the options to put together a list of our favorites that will work well for homes and small businesses. Out of the 10 models that made our list, we chose the Fancierstudio Power Heat Press for our top spot due to its sturdy, industrial design and its extremely high ratings. This model is a dedicated platen press that will work perfectly for all your t-shirt projects. It has precise time and heat control, a silicon-gel baseboard, a 15-square-inch heat platen, adjustable pressure, and a Teflon coating on the heat platen. However, if you’re looking for a machine in a different size or one with a bit more versatility, we have plenty of other options.
Our Top Picks: The Best Heat Press Machines in 2021
Here’s a quick overview of the best heat press machines available.
|Best Overall: Fancierstudio Power Heat Press.|
This dedicated platen press has Teflon coating, gives consistent results, and can work well for homes or small businesses.
|Best Runner-Up: TUSY Heat Press Machine.|
This dedicated platen press has a sturdy build and a two-handle design that makes it easy to use.
|Best Budget: ePhotoInc Swing Away Heat Press Machine.|
If you’re looking for an affordable platen press for your t-shirt projects, this low-cost machine has a lot to offer for the home crafter.
|Best Multifunction: VEVOR 8 in 1 Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine.|
If you want a machine that can do a little bit of everything, this all-in-one unit comes with a platen press, a hat press, two plate presses, and four cup presses.
|Best for Beginners: Cricut EasyPress 2.|
This unit works similarly to irons, and it’s easy to use, easy to store, and extremely portable.
|Best for a Small Business: PowerPress Sublimation T-Shirt Machine.|
This unit’s industrial design makes it a good option for anyone looking for a dedicated platen press that can handle a lot of wear and tear.
|Best for Vinyl: Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press and Vinyl Cutting Plotter. |
Not only does this 15-square-inch platen press come with accessories for hats, cups, and plates, but it also comes with a vinyl cutting plotter and SIGNMASTER software to help you create professional-quality designs.
|Best Swing Away Design: F2C Pro 5 in 1 Sublimation Heat Press Machine. |
This is another excellent multifunction machine with lots of accessories and a 12-by-15-inch platen press.
|Best Large: ePhotoInc Large Heat Press Machine. |
This machine is a dedicated platen press with a 16-by-24-inch work for larger projects.
|Best for Caps: VEVOR Curved Element Hat Press.|
Although machines with hat press accessories are fun, if you plan on doing many hats, you’ll want a dedicated machine for it — and this is one of the best ones.
1. Fancierstudio Power Heat Press
The best heat press machine overall
Brand: Fancierstudio | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 15″ x 15″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰💰
The Fancierstudio Power Heat Press has a clamshell design that enables you to save space. It features a glued-down silicone gel baseboard, adjustable pressure, and precise temperature control. This Fancierstudio model has a lower price tag, but it delivers consistent results. It’s also an excellent option for anyone looking to add a little bling to their projects, as it’s one of the best heat press machines for rhinestone transfers.
- It’s easy to use
- The machine heats up fast and holds the set temperature
- The timer starts automatically once the heated platen is lowered so that you won’t forget
- Some reviewers had issues with the pressure not staying consistent
- It only works well for pressing thinner things like shirts — super thick items will prevent it from closing properly
2. TUSY Heat Press Machine
The best runner-up heat press machine
Brand: TUSY | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 15″ x 15″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰
This is one of the best heat press machines for small business ventures when money is an issue. In addition to saving you money, this unit’s design will also save space. This is a dedicated platen press unit with an industrial design, adjustable pressure, precise LCD controls, and anti-overheating safety features.
- It’s easy to program
- It has even heating across the heating surface
- The rubber grommets on the feet are adjustable and removable
- Some users had issues with the pressure not staying consistent
- You’ll probably need to use two hands to open and close it unless you bolt it to your table
3. ePhotoInc Swing Away Heat Press Machine
The best budget heat press machine
Brand: ePhotoInc | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 9″ x 12″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰
This 9″ x 12″ heat press machine is great for small projects. It offers both the convenience of a smaller device and the performance of an industrial-grade machine. It also has a time signal alarm, precise controls, and adjustable pressure.
The ePhotoInc is one of the best products for a beginner as it comes ready-to-use out of the box — no assembly needed! Its no-nonsense design makes it easy to use as well. It’s one of the best heat press machines for t-shirts because of this convenience.
- It’s easy to use right out of the box
- Works well for smaller projects like kid’s t-shirts or baby clothes
- It’s a huge step up from using an iron — so much quicker and easier
- The power cable is on the shorter side
- You need extra table space to use this because of the way it swings open
4. VEVOR 8 in 1 Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine
The best multifunction heat press machine
Brand: VEVOR | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 12″ x 15″ | Accessories: 1 Hat Press, 4 Mug Presses, 2 Plate Presses | Price: 💰💰
This is a multifunctional heat press machine that’s easy to use. It has a good performance overall with an even heating surface. Its 360-degree rotation function also makes for greater convenience and a safer process.
As you can infer from its name, this model has eight elements. Aside from a platen press for t-shirts, it also has one for hats, four for mugs, and two for plates. The accessories allow you to do projects with hats, ceramic tiles, mousepads, and other types of materials. The Vevor 8-in-1’s settings are adjustable as well. You can adjust its pressure, balancer, and more. If you’re looking for a platen press that can also function as the best mug heat press machine, this is one of the few models out there that comes with multiple cup accessories for various heights and diameters.
- The machine swivels, which is very convenient
- It comes with lots of fun accessories to experiment with
- It’s an excellent value for people looking to do occasional crafting at home
- Many reviewers complained about the machine continually beeping
- Several reviewers had issues with the set temperature being off from the actual temperature
5. Cricut EasyPress 2
The best beginners heat press machine
Brand: Cricut | Main Function: Iron-Style Heat Press | Size: 9″ x 9″ (Multiple Sizes) | Accessories: None | Price: 💰
Cricut EasyPress 2 is a heat press that transfers the print to the fabric by ironing it on. It’s not much larger than an iron, which means it has a smaller pressing area than industrial devices. It has neat features, though, like a digital display, a heat-resistant safety base, and a 10-minute automatic shut-off.
Cricut EasyPress is compact and portable, making it perfect for homes and travel. It’s lightweight enough for you to take it in and out of your cabinet and for everyday use. Its nice looks are an advantage over similar products, and it’s relatively easy to use. Even people without experience can get the hang of it in no time, and kids can participate in the activity, too.
- It’s incredibly easy to use
- The size of this unit makes it a great portable option
- It’s a good option for anyone with limited space because it doesn’t take up much room
- You have to apply the pressure manually
- It doesn’t come with a pressing mat, so you’ll have to purchase one if you don’t have one
6. PowerPress Sublimation T-Shirt Machine
The best heat press machine for a small business
Brand: Power Press | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 15″ x 15″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰💰
This PowerPress product is a basic industrial machine with not-so-basic features. It’s one of the most trusted models to date for small businesses and home projects. It has a Teflon-coated heating plate that eliminates the need for a coated sheet and makes it easy to clean.
One of the best features of the PowerPress Sublimation machine is its patented temperature motor chip. It allows users to have complete control over the temperature and settings. What’s more important, however, is that it protects the machine from shocks. This machine comes with lots of safety and convenience features to keep your projects safe and easy. Also, its durable construction will last you years. This is critical for those who intend to use this for commercial use.
- It has a heavy and sturdy build
- The silicone on the bed has nice rounded corners that shirts do not get stuck on
- Many of the reviewers remarked on the high quality of customer service that they received
- It can be difficult to open
- Several reviewers had problems with the heating element not working properly
7. Mophorn 5 in 1 Heat Press and Vinyl Cutting Plotter
The best heat press machine for vinyl
Brand: Mophorn | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 15″ x 15″ | Accessories: 1 Vinyl Cutting Plotter, 1 Hat Press, 1 Mug Press, 2 Plate Presses | Price: 💰💰💰
What really sets this unit apart from other multifunction heat presses is the included vinyl plotting cutter. The cutter comes with SIGNMASTER software that gives you the ability to use specific fonts, import custom artwork, and draw your own designs.
Beyond the plotting cutter, this unit also comes with a platen press and accessories for hats, mugs, and plates. The platen press heat element has a non-stick, Teflon coating to prevent the scorching of transfers. The heat press also has a swing-away design to keep your fingers safe from the heat. If you decide to go with this model, keep in mind that it ships in two separate packages and might arrive at different times
- The software for the cutter is relatively easy to use and fun
- The cutting plotter works well, and the cuts look professional
- The swing-away design of the heating pad works as a great safety feature
- The plotter software won’t work with Mac computers.
- The hat press that comes with this unit doesn’t work very well
8. F2C Pro 5 in 1 Sublimation Heat Press Machine
The best swing-away design heat press machine
Brand: F2C | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 12″x 15″ | Accessories: 1 Hat Press, 1 Mug Press, 2 Plate Presses | Price: 💰
The F2C Pro is a 12″ x 15″ heat press machine with industrial strength and durability. It’s a multifunction device that comes with attachments for mugs, plates, and hats. This allows you to sublimate and print ink onto textiles and glasses. It has a neat 360-degree rotation function, as well. With this, the machine can provide more even heating.
The F2C Pro’s advantage over most of the items in this list is that it can heat press more than shirts. Buying a dedicated heat press for each of its functions would set you back hundreds of dollars or more. The downside to this is that the end product’s quality might not be as good as that of a dedicated machine. Still, the benefit of having options without breaking the bank is a nice incentive. It saves space, too.
- It works well for pressing vinyl on shirts
- The t-shirt press is great for smaller projects
- This machine lets you slide out the plates instead of unscrewing them
- Some of the attachments are heavy and cumbersome to change out
- Some users had issues with the machine not heating correctly or breaking after a small amount of use
9. ePhotoInc Large Heat Press Machine
The best large heat press machine
Brand: ePhotoInc | Main Function: T-Shirt Platen Press | Size: 16″ x 24″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰💰💰
If you want an affordable machine that can handle more significant designs, this unit is an excellent choice. And, even though this machine can handle larger projects, the upward opening design will help conserve table space while you’re working. This is a dedicated platen press model that will work on t-shirts, bags, mouse mats, ceramic tiles, jigsaw puzzles, and more. Its temperature range goes up to 500 degrees, and it comes with a Teflon sheet.
- This machine has even pressure
- The machine beeps to let you know when it’s done
- The upper platen is easy to release when the press timer is finished
- The unit is hefty and large, so it takes up a lot of room and requires effort to lift
- The lift doesn’t open very wide, so you have to be careful not to burn your fingers
10. VEVOR Curved Element Hat Press
The best cap heat press machine
Brand: VEVOR | Main Function: Hat Press | Size: 6″ x 3.75″ | Accessories: None | Price: 💰
If you’re planning on doing much work with hats, you really should consider going with a dedicated model as opposed to the attachment-style hat press. This space-saving, clamshell design model has a high-quality steel frame that should be able to keep up with all your hat pressing needs. Unlike the typical silicone heating pad that lasts for 500 hours, it uses an aluminum heating plate built to last for 12,000 hours. It has a digital controller and an automatic timer that will beep and cut off the heat when it reaches your set time.
- It works wonderfully for smaller designs
- It’s ready right out of the box, and it’s easy to use
- It’s much better for hats than the attachment style hat presses
- Some people had issues with inconsistent heating
- The heat plate is a little smaller than the plate where the hat sits
What to Look for in the Best Heat Press Machines
Buying a heat press machine is similar to buying a 3D printer — you have to consider price, build, and efficiency all at once. You need to base these things on your particular needs. Do you want the best heat press machine for home use, or do you need one for your business? When you know your needs, it will make it easier to pick the best heat press machine for you.
The price may seem like an obvious factor, but your budget will determine the other two factors. A higher budget can get you a more efficient machine with a sturdier build. A lower budget means you should expect a downgrade in some areas.
You may not be able to work on many shirts at once if you buy a cheaper heat press machine. If you’re shopping for your business, cutting costs initially might result in lowering your output and decreasing your potential profits until you can upgrade to a better machine.
The build of your heat press machine determines whether you can use it for personal or industrial use. A sturdy, big build guarantees you can use the press machine for hundreds upon thousands of shirts in a short period.
How many items do you need to work on? What kind of ink do you need and want to use to achieve better image pressing? How quickly do you need the machine to work?
These things will determine the level of efficiency you need. It all depends on the amount of work and the quality of output you need. If you’re a small start-up, still building a consumer-base, then a less efficient but also less expensive machine could be the better choice.
For this guide on the best heat press machines, our team spent 9 hours researching the most popular options from over 15 brands and manufacturers, big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each unit. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 10 heat press machines on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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