The Best Heat Presses for Beginners
In this blog and accompanying video we're going to talk about our Top 3 Heat Press Recommendations for beginners. So whether you're just starting out on your t-shirt making journey, or ready to start a business, this one's for you!
There are three main factors to consider when looking for a quality heat press: Budget, Size, and Support. All three of these have been taken into consideration when selecting our recommendations. Our recommended heat presses are priced under $500 (at the time of publishing), are at least 15”x15”, and come with a standard 1-Year Warranty and free Lifetime MyExpert™ Support.
Without any further ado, here are our Top 3 Heat Press Recommendations for Beginners:
“The Entry Level Workhorse” - MPress 15”x15” Heat Press
This nick-name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the most affordable heat press of the bunch, but don’t be fooled by the price tag. This heat press is built to last. If you’re ready to produce professional quality garments with HTV, heat transfer paper, sublimation, or plastisol transfers, this is the press for you. After your business has grown and you can afford to splurge on a big, bad heat press, the MPress will continue to serve as a secondary or backup heat press.
For all of these reasons, we cannot recommend the MPress 15x15 enough!
“The Knuckle-Saver” - HPN CraftPro 15”x15” Heat Press
Let’s get this out of the way now - these presses are cute as heck! But there’s another thing that’s pretty “cute” about the HPN CraftPro heat presses: a slide-out lower platen. This single feature makes your heat pressing experience so much easier and more efficient. But being able to slide the lower platen out from under the heating element also makes heat pressing a whole lot SAFER.
Most people won’t have a problem using a regular clamshell-style heat press like the MPress 15”x15”. To place your garments and transfers, you have to reach inside the press. This means your hands are often just a few inches away from the heating element (which runs at 300º-400ºF on average). Some folks might be a little less coordinated and/or careful, which means lots of burnt and singed knuckles (you know who you are). For those beloved users, we cannot recommend the HPN CraftPro 15”x15” enough. So go ahead… tell your friends you chose this heat press because it was cute. We’ll keep your clumsy secret.
“The Multi-Tasker’s Delight” - HPN Black Series 15”x15” Auto-Open Heat Press
Our lawyers require that we preface this next recommendation with a disclaimer: Never leave your heat press unattended while powered on/in use.
We are also fully aware that you have to maximize your time when heat pressing - every second counts! Depending on what you’re pressing, you probably have anywhere from 10 to 30, maybe even 60 or more seconds where you’re just waiting for your heat press. Lots of folks use that time to prepare their next transfer, fold & package orders, or perform a number of other tasks while they wait. With an auto-open heat press, the press will open on its own as soon as the timer hits zero. So you no longer have to worry about accidentally over-pressing or burning your project if your hands are full when the timer hits zero. Auto-open is invaluable for an operator running 2 heat press stations at the same time.
This feature is also especially useful if you’re pressing high-quantity production runs. There is a physical effort required every time you open or close your heat press. You may not notice after a few presses. But operator fatigue becomes a very real thing after 40 or 50 presses. Auto-open eliminates the opening process, saving you half the physical effort on each press.
The Black Series 15”x15” Auto-Open Heat Press is our most affordable heat press with the Auto-Open feature. If you’d like to combine that with our slide-out feature, like on the CraftPro, check out the Signature Series 15”x15” Auto-Open Heat Press.
Honorable Mention - MPress 9”x12” Swing Away
This heat press didn’t make the official cut, because of its size. 9”x12” is just a little too small to recommend for a start-up t-shirt business. However, it is perfect if you plan on heat pressing small items exclusively. There are some businesses that only sell smaller clothing like baby clothes or pet bandanas. For sublimation, this could be coasters or keychains. If that’s you, this heat press is a gift from heaven.
It’s also a great heat press for hobbyists. Even though we recommend a larger heat press for adult tees, you can still use a smaller press like this as well. Your process will very likely be longer for setting up larger tees, since so much of the garment is hanging off the side of the lower platen. However, this isn’t really an issue if you’re only occasionally pressing shirts for fun or as gifts for friends and family.
These three (technically four) are our top heat press picks for beginners! They’re general recommendations provided with the hopes of giving you insight into what to look for in a heat press. If you think you might need a bigger press, a smaller press, or a press with a different feature set, please feel free to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable MyExpert™ representatives at (800)215-0894. They’ll be happy to listen to your heat press needs and make a more specific recommendation.