4 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Heat Press

Alright, so you want to start your own clothing business. Yes, this means that you will probably need a heat press, so you can attach cool patterns and designs to pants, shirts, sweaters, hats, and more. Heat presses really are ingenious machines when it comes to the clothing-making business. Just look down at your own attire.

Are there any plastic-like letters on your shirt, sweater, or pants? If so, a heat press was used to get those letters and pictures onto your clothing. However, you cannot just go out and buy any old heat press, which is why we are here today, you can check thebestvinylcutters.com for detailed information about heat presses.

Furthermore, this heat press selection guide below is going to tell you everything you need to know about buying one of these things.

  1. Type of Heat Press

The first and most important thing to keep in mind when buying a heat press is the type of heat press you want to get. When it comes down to it, there are two main types of heat presses which are most often used for clothing, and these include the clamshell heat press and the swing-away heat press.

Now, clamshell heat presses are very easy to use, perfect for beginners. They tend to be quite small, space efficient, lightweight, and portable. However, they are not quite as accurate or precise as swing away heat presses. Yes, swing away heat presses do take up more room, and tend to be a bit pricier than the clamshell variety, but they tend to have better plates, heating elements, and overall functionality too.

  1. Size

Something to keep in mind when buying a heat press is how large it is, which is important because this will determine how large of projects you can work on. Most transfer sizes are going to be 8.5 x 11 inches, or sometimes 8.5 x 18 inches for full size transfers. Some presses come in at 9 x 12 inches, some at 15 x 15 inches, and some as large as 16 x 20 inches.

So, you first need to decide the size of projects you will be working on in order to choose the right size of heat press. You will probably be fine with something smaller and more basic, and less expensive, if you are just doing basic T-shirt pressing. However, if you plan on working on larger projects, you will want to invest some extra cash to get something larger and more versatile.

  1. Price and Heating Elements

Another very important thing to keep in mind when buying a heat press has to do with the temperature and the heating elements. One thing to keep in mind here is the difference between a bimetallic thermometer and an RTD probe. Now, the RTD probes are much more accurate when it comes to setting and maintaining a specific temperature, but are more expensive than the bimetallic options.

Moreover, you also want to look for a heat press that has the heating elements spaced no further than 2 inches apart at the very most. Those that are spaced closer together will provide more heat and a more even application of said heat. Also keep in mind that you want to look for one with a fairly thick plate, as they retain heat much better and longer than heat presses with thin plates. Of course, the more expensive the heat press in question, the thicker and better this plate is, and the better the heating elements are.

  1. Pressure Application

Yet another important thing to keep in mind when buying a heat press is how evenly the model in question can apply pressure. How evenly the heat press can apply pressure is going to make a big difference in terms of the end result. An even application of pressure will result in the even application of the design onto the shirt or other article of clothing, whereas uneven pressure application can lead to uneven design application, which of course is not going to look very nice at all.

Sure, manual options do work just fine if you have a steady hand, but you may also want to go for one that has a digital display and automatically applies the pressure without the need for you to press manually. Simply put, machines are much more precise and have less room for error than the human hand.


There you have it folks, the 4 main features and factors that you need to look out for before you go out and buy your own heat press. Considerations such as the type of heat press, the size, price, the heating elements, pressure application, and a few others all need to be kept in mind. If you remember to consider all of these factors, you should have no problems choosing the right heat press for your needs.

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