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Choosing a Heat Press for Your Creative Business

by Takeebie Jefferson on October 30, 2018

Sometimes one of the hardest decisions to make in your creative business is what equipment to purchase. This is especially the case if you are on a budget and/or just starting out. In the creative businesses that use cutting machines, vinyl, and other heat transfer materials, your dream purchase may be a heat press. When deciding what heat press to purchase you should consider the following 3 questions:

  1. What is my budget?
  2. What size should I get?
  3. What kind of press should I get?

First, why get a heat press at all? Well, if you are looking to start a business or are already running a business using heat press materials then a heat press is going to make your job easier and it's going to allow you to create higher quality products.

Second, your budget is going to affect the type of heat press you can get? Heat presses such as the Cricut Easy Press can start out as little as $99 and then you have the higher price spectrum for the larger presses such as the Hotronix Fusion Air starting at $4100.

Third, you are going to want to determine what size press you should get. Looking at the size of the items you produce on a regular basis using heat transfer materials is going to help you decide what size press you should get. (My recommendations are below)

Finally, you have to decide what type of press to get. There are several brands on the market, so definitely do your research. The prices I share below are just in general, but some business owners have found less expensive presses on Amazon and Ebay just take precautions and ensure you are purchasing from a reputable seller. Another thing you will have to decide between is the clam press heat press and the swing-away heat press. When using the clam press you have to put your hands directly under the heating element which may cause burns (which I have plenty of). The swing-away press allows you to push the top element to the side which means you are less likely to get burned. In addition, you will start looking at the types of features you would like your press to have like:

  • A digital timer
  • Manual or digital pressure adjustment
  • Automatic opener
  • Interchangeable platens
  • Pull out platens
  • Manual close vs push-button closing
  • Tabletop vs comes with own stand

Check out my chart below for a better overview of the different kinds of heat presses and their costs.


  • When starting out, I would definitely go with an actual heat press vs an easy press even though they may be easier to travel with to craft fairs and vendor shows. I would also choose a heat press because I can be more certain that I am applying the correct pressure to vinyl products to avoid peeling after wash.
  • I would not start out with any size smaller than a 15” x 15”. This size will cover projects from infant babies to large 4x-5x shirts.
  • I currently have the Hotronix Fusion 16” x 20” Automatic open clamshell press with interchangeable platens. This allows me to adjust the size of my platen based on what size garment I will be pressing; baby onesie, polo shirt with buttons, umbrellas, 5x shirts, etc.

There are also additional heat presses that are used for specific items such as the hat press which is used for applying heat transfer materials to hats and usually starts at around $200. Then you have your large format heat press which usually is 33” x 43” for larger projects such as all over shirt sublimation (will discuss next week).

Have more questions before your big purchase, join our facebook group here or drop a comment below.


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