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Two of the most popular choices for heat presses in the sublimation industry include the clam shell and the swing away variants. That being said, both the versions of the heat press have their own set of features and properties that distinguish one from another. To make things easier for you to understand, here is a discussion on the two types of heat presses and their respective characteristics.

The Clam Shell Press

Touted as the least expensive heat press available in the market nowadays, the clam shell is surprisingly functional and value for money when compared to its more advanced counterparts. With some of the clam shell heat presses staying in good shape and working perfectly well even after 20 years, it is a no brainer that these are also some of the most durable and long lasting press options in the industry. 

As the name suggests, these presses feature plates both on top as well as at the bottom that can be opened and closed – exactly like clam shells. Extremely easy to operate, the clam shell presses also feature an impressive thread ability that allows you to load and unload the fabric within the blink of an eye. Since the machine is practically built inside out, the clam shell press utilizes very less space. You can also get your press installed with an auto release mechanism to further its functionality. However, there is a downside as well. Since the top heat plate is directly in front of you, there are chances of the heat getting into the way of your work.

The Swing Away Press

Renowned for its robust framework and years of uninterrupted functionality, the Swing Away Press can be a little hard on your pocket, especially if you are just starting out in the printing industry. However, if your major focus is thick, solid objects, then the Swing Away press is the perfect option for you. You can easily obtain a flawless print, regardless of whether you are working with plaques and trophies or the trickier category of garments including button down jerseys and polo shirts.

One of the most attractive features of the Swing Away press that is more like an advantage over the Clam Shell is that the top heat plate can be swung 360 degrees and completely moved out of the way, providing abundant clear space to work without getting burnt. The Swing Away Press is ideal for working with rhinestone transfers, multi layer vinyl projects, heat transfer paper and other mixed media projects. The only drawback here is the large amount of clearance space that is required for the top plate to be swung out of the way.

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