A heat press is a machine that operates pretty much like an iron. A typical heat press machine can heat up to as much as 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s purpose is to apply heat and pressure onto a special type of release paper that has artwork on it.
With the combination of heat and pressure, the design is transferred from the release paper and onto various types of printable items like t-shirts, canvas tote backs, hoodies, sweatshirts, etc…
There are all types of heat press machines available and each one serves a different function. In the descriptions and links below, you’ll see how these machines can benefit you when trying to decide which heat press is best suited for your needs.
Clamshell Heat Press Machines — They call these ‘clam-shells’ because they open up in a manner that a clam shell does. There is a manual clam heat press and there is an automatic open clam press as well. The manual press operates like the one shown in the video below where you have to manually open and close the press.
Automatic Open Heat Press — It opens up automatically based on the timer you set. These machines have a hinge between the upper platen (the heating element) and the lower platen (the part where the garment lays). See it in action by playing the video below:
Swinger and Draw Heat Press — On these type of heat press machines the upper platen (the heating element) swings away from the lower platen (the part where the garment lays). Since the heating element swings away, you’re free to move and manipulate your garments on the lower platen without fear of getting burned.
Concerning a ‘draw heat press’, you have a lower platen that pulls out towards you. Laying out your garments can be done without the user reaching under the upper heated platen. This type of heat press machine involves a moveable work surface, requiring greater care to be taken to avoid designs shifting out of place before application.
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Should I buy a new t-shirt press??? Or should I purchase a used heat press? And that’s what we’re going to discuss on this page. If you’re just getting started in the business and you’re strapped for cash, then obviously, I’d suggest you buy used.
I’m glad you asked…
If you have a decent sized budget, I’d recommend you starting off with a 16×20 heat press machine — although many people start with a 15×15 size press. It’s a preference I suppose. I like the larger machine for larger prints, but most prints will work with 15×15.
I’m currently using the Hotronix Fusion machine and this machine is awesome. I grew into the Fusion — I didn’t start here. I had the typical manual clam presses for over a decade. Hotronix makes the best machine on the market with a very STRONG guarantee. It’s an American made product and the quality is absolutely amazing. No other machine compares to this brand.
My Hotronix Heat Press Machine Recommendations
*Disclosure: I am an authorized distributor for Hotronix. I believe they have the best machines on the planet. Their machines are made in America and the quality and craftsmanship is absolutely amazing. By far, their machines are the best and after you see them, I’m sure you’ll agree!