What Type of Heat Press Should I Buy? | NiftyTransfers

Nifty Narwhal

Posted on March 14 2021

What Type of Heat Press Should I Buy? | NiftyTransfers

What Type of Heat Press Should I Buy?

(some of the links below are affiliate links)


First let’s start with what NOT to use for screenprint transfers: home irons, and Cricut Easy Presses. You will not get the amount of pressure you need to keep the ink adhered to the fabric, no matter what you do. You can stand on an Easy Press with all of your weight (and assuming you don’t break it by doing so) it will still not be enough to keep the ink adhered after several washes. The designs will eventually start lifting, and/or cracking. If you’re doing shirts for your own personal use, you could risk it? Since you can go back and re-press your designs as needed. But if you’re selling screenprinted shirts and want your name and your business to be associated with quality products, I would NOT use an iron or Easy Press for Screenprint Transfers.

So, what SHOULD you look for? Definitely a real heat press, that can provide consistent, even pressure. Cheap heat presses on Amazon that are made in China, for example, are notorious for having “cold” spots and not being able to provide enough pressure. Some even catch on fire and have no warranties if (or WHEN) something goes wrong. Others have to be forced closed so hard (to get enough pressure) that the handles break off. Not a good situation when you’re running a business. 

If you’re set on buying from Amazon, I’ve heard good things about the Fancierstudio brand. They have a 15” x 15” press and a 16” x 20” press, and are only $200-ish for the 15x15 and around $360 for the 16x20.

Sidenote: You may wonder which SIZE of heat press should you buy? As big as your budget allows! The transfers we sell go up to 12” x 12” so you want something with room to spare.

The best brands to look for with heat presses are not the cheapest, obviously, but are great investments: Hix, Stalls Hottronix, and GeoKnight are at the top of my list. They are all made in the USA and have great warranties. 

I started out with a swing away 15” x 15” Hix a few years ago and it’s still going strong. I got tired of opening and closing it manually (my shoulder was killing me!), so I upgraded to a 16” x 16” Stahls Hottronix Clam Auto Open, and love it. It has digital time and temp controls, a wide opening, and an excellent warranty. 

If I was a millionaire (lol!) I would go for the gold with this heat press: the Stahls Hotronix Fusion IQ 16" x 20" pictured here:

Miscellaneous stuffI used to keep my heat press on an old kitchen table, but it was so low I burnt my hands a lot, even with the swing away. I now keep my press on an AV Cart (I turned it sideways so the keyboard tray sticks out to the right side and I can slide it out for a shelf) on the highest level it can go. Knock on wood, I’ve only burnt myself once after I raised the press up higher, and that’s with the clamshell style.

You’ll want to make sure your heat press has a consistent temperature, no cold spots, and is actually at the temperature it says it’s at. Check your heat press with an infrared temperature gun

Check out more small business favorites linked here. And NiftyTransfers.com for all your screenprint transfer needs

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