Best Heat Press for Beginners

Using a heat press machine to print images onto different fabrics is a modern technique that’s grown in popularity due to the fact that it let’s you customize almost anything and everything!

Mouse mats, t-shirts, hats, bags, plates – you name it, you can heat press it. A heat press is a perfect complement to your Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2, or Silhouette Cameo 4. It will let you apply your beautiful heat transfer vinyl designs on to anything you can think of.

When it comes to quality printing and longevity, the best heat press machines are always considered superior to other printing methods. They’re easy to use, affordable, and have the ability to print high-quality images without having to break the bank.

However, if you’re a beginner to using a heat press the process can seem quite daunting, not to mention the massive clamping machine in front of you.

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Heat presses come in all shapes and sizes and have a few different types for you to choose from, such as Clamshell, Swinger, Draw Heat and Sublimation (we’ll go through these later on in the buyers guide).

They can be used to create personalised items for your business, or maybe presents for your friends and family. The best heat press machines for beginners will allow you to use a number of different materials so you can experiment and find what you like best.

Keep reading for our top five beginner heat press choices!

In a hurry? This is our winner!

Cricut Easy Press
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Cricut Easy Press 2 - Heat Press Machine For T Shirts and HTV Vinyl Projects, Raspberry, 12" x 10"
  • 12 inches x 10 inches size (30 centimeter x 25 centimeter) ideal for larger t shirts, sweatshirts, banners, blankets, and more
  • Professional iron on results in 60 seconds or less
  • Advanced heat plate design with ceramic coated surface

A heat press is an excellent tool for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own business with heat-pressed items, which is why choosing the best model is an imperative but sometimes overwhelming task.

Here to help, our favorite heat press for beginners is the Cricut Easy Press 2 – and here’s why:

  • Perfect for beginners as it’s as easy to use as an iron with much more efficiency.
  • Comes in four sizes to tailor to your specific needs.
  • Great for home use as it doesn’t take up too much space to use and store.

Best Heat Press for Beginners – Comparison Table

Best Heat Press for Beginners – Reviews

Cricut Easy Press 2 - Heat Press Machine For T Shirts and HTV Vinyl Projects, Raspberry, 12' x 10'
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A Cricut heat press is a must have for arts and crafters to have in their homes. The Easy Press 2 comes in four different sizes – 6 x 7, 9 x 9, and 12 x 10 inches, as well as the Easy Press Mini.

The smallest size is ideal for smaller projects such as baby clothes and accessories and heats up in under a minute.

The medium sized machine is best suited for t-shirts, bags, pillows, aprons and more. It heats up in only two minutes.

The largest size is great for larger t-shirts, sweatshirts, banners and blankets, getting up to temperature in only three minutes.

The Easy Press Mini is ultra compact to accommodate for heat transfers such as stuffed animals and small garments such as hats and gloves.

Each of these models give you a professional iron-on result in under 60 seconds and can get to temperatures of 400 degrees fahrenheit. They all also have advanced heat plates with ceramic-coated surfaces to give you the perfect result every time.

Accurate temperature and timer controls allow you to customise your heat press for whichever garment you’re working on. The Cricut Easy Press 2 is made from two heating elements that wind their way through the ceramic plate, giving you a flawless result every time thanks to the evenly distributed heat.

The main difference between the Easy Press 2 and the other models on our list is that there’s no bottom plate! It’s got the convenience of an iron with all the added benefits of a heat press.

Gone are the days of folding your fabric to try and fit it in the sandwiching machine, only to get a wonky design as the result. Simply place the design on your fabric, then the Easy Press 2 on top and wait for your amazing new garment.

Read my full review of the Cricut Easy Press to get more information.

Pros
  • Next to no setup needed and heats up quickly
  • Safe support tray and auto off features
  • Four different sizes and a number of colors to cater to everyone
Cons
  • You have to manually apply pressure to get the best results
  • Not the biggest model so won’t work for massive designs
Fancierstudio Power Heat Press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 Sublimation Heat Press Rhinestone Heat...
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The Fancierstudio Power Heat Press offers an appealing 15 x 15 inch workspace which will be able to fit just about anything that you might want to customize.

With a temperature range of 0-500 degrees fahrenheit and a time range of 0-999 seconds, you can tailor your heat pressing session to your individual projects.

You can adjust the pressure and the silicon base board will both protect your surfaces and prevent dangerous accidental slips. Having said this, the silicon base isn’t glued down properly in case you need to replace it easily, ensuring maximum safety for the user.

What’s more is you’ll also get a Teflon sheet to avoid your fabric sticking to your machine.

The Fancierstudio Power Heat Press works well for commercial settings as well as domestic ones, although it may take up a lot of space. When pressed down the machine offers industrial strength, pressure and temperature, guaranteeing a long lasting transfer no matter the thickness of the fabric or how many times you put it in the wash.

The professional results that come with this easy to use machine is perfect for beginners looking to get into the heat pressing world.

Pros
  • Lots of adjustable settings to tailor the machine for different fabrics
  • Impressive maximum temperature of 500 degrees F
  • Teflon coated plate and silicon gel base
Cons
  • Some reviewers received their item faulty
  • A few users stated their machine broke within a year
TUSY Heat Press Machine 15x15 inch Digital Industrial Sublimation Printer Press Heat Transfer...
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TUSY’s straight forward design makes this machine incredibly easy to use, making it the perfect option for beginners. It’s so easy to use, in fact, that kids could use it (with parental permission, of course).

The machine comes with a working platform that measures 15 x 15 inches and is non-stick so your transfers won’t get pulled away from the fabric and ruined. What’s more is the heating element is made up of highly effective heated coils to ensure you get evenly distributed heat every use.

The digital time and temperature controls give you accurate readings for all your projects. The temperature can get to a high of 435 degrees fahrenheit which is suitable for most fabrics.

What’s different about TUSY’s heat press is that the pressure is adjusted over the heat plate instead of at the back of the press, which makes it easier to set correctly and change if necessary.

It also has a handle on the lower plate as well as the top one so you can open the machine with two hands, increasing the stability of the heat press and reducing the chance of accidents.

This heat press is both impressive in size and affordability, as well as having a super easy instruction manual to follow, making this an excellent model for beginners who are looking for a bigger surface area for bigger projects.

Pros
  • Large 15 x 15 inch Teflon-coated aluminum plate
  • Full-range adjustable pressure knob
  • Lower handle to ensure stability
Cons
  • Can only be used for flat-surfaced items
  • Not the best customer service
PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15x15 Inch, Black
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The PowerPress heat press has been Amazon’s best seller for many years, and for good reason.

This machine is incredibly easy to use, and you can always rely on it to deliver amazing results. This model can hit a maximum temperature of 500 degrees fahrenheit, qualifying it to be used in professional projects as well as more hobby projects.

This heat press comes with adjustable pressure which means you’re able to apply the correct pressure value for the different materials you’ll be printing on. This ensures you won’t ruin your project by burning or breaking it.

The working surface is 15 x 15 which is a respectable area to print larger images on larger fabrics.

To avoid overexposure of the items being printed, you’ll even receive a stopwatch with this model which will alert you when the time is up so you can take it out and admire your perfectly printed results.

You’ll find this machine has a silicone gel board which boosts the machine’s durability and ensures your table won’t get damaged with all the heat. This model is reliable and is built to stand the test of time, so you won’t be having to buy a replacement any time soon.

This model is great for beginners as it’s easy to use, has safety features set in place and comes with adjustable temperatures and timers to make sure you don’t ruin your project.

Pros
  • Temperature ranges from 0 to 500 degrees fahrenheit
  • The adjustable pressure knobs help you to set the pressure for different items
  • Clamshell heat press which is great for beginners
Cons
  • Some users received defective products
  • Teflon cover came off of the machine quickly for one reviewer
F2C 5 in 1 Professional Digital Transfer Sublimation Swing-Away 360-degree Rotation Heat Press...
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The F2C Pro 5-in-1 heat press machine works with a huge range of materials and a variety of objects, making it incredibly versatile and perfect for beginners who want to experiment and try printing their artwork on lots of different things.

There is a 360 degree swing feature which is great for larger projects which other heat presses wouldn’t be able to manage. The F2C Pro has an oversized transfer pad which gives you the chance to create transfers for a number of different, big things.

Big ideas need a big workspace, which is exactly what this model provides. The pad is non-stick so you won’t scorch your item and the design won’t be pulled off due to it being stuck to the press.

The LCD display on the front of the heat press is a nice touch that offers you a good amount of visibility for temperature readings, letting you know what’s going on between the press and giving you a fair warning if it’s getting too hot.

The heat press also has a wide range of attachments, giving it a lot to offer you by letting you expand how it operates. These five elements are: a teflon-coated plate designed for printing t-shirts, a hat/cap curved press, a mug press, and two plate presses which are 5 and 6 inches in diameter. What more could you possibly need to print on?

With a simple design and an even simpler way of using, this is a great heat press for beginners and experts alike.

Pros
  • Five different ways of printing means you’re not confined to flat materials High-quality
  • Sturdy steel frames that elongate its lifespan
  • A 360 degrees swing-away design for your safety
Cons
  • One user found that the lever snapped off mid-use
  • Another user received the heat press with faulty parts

Best Heat Press for Beginners – Buyers Guide

Types of heat press

There are 4 main types of heat press machines. Each has its own best use and can vary widely in price.

Clamshell/top opening

This is the most common and popular type of heat press as they are often smaller so they can be used at home. The fabric is placed in between the two heat plates and the top plate is lifted up and down thanks to the hinge. Clamshell heat presses are best for thinner materials such as t-shirts, bags, and towels, as the hinge can sometimes constrict how far the plates close.

Swinger

This model requires more room as the top plate swings away from the bottom. This type of heat press allows you to layout your fabric fully instead of having to fold it awkwardly. A swinger heat press can also be used on thicker materials such as mouse pads and even mugs.

Sublimation

Used mainly for t-shirts, this machine is designed to ensure the dye from the transfer paper will not bleed into the material. They have a larger surface area, making it easier to layout your fabric. As most people start small with t-shirt printing, this could be a great machine for beginners.

Draw heat press

Similar to the swinger design, this design’s lower plate is the one that swings away, meaning you can place your fabric away from the heated upper plate which causes less accidents.

Intended use

Whatever your intended use, whether it be t-shirts or 3D objects, you’ll need a heat press that can fulfil your needs. It’s no good getting a model that can only support flat surfaces for a load of mugs you want to create. Beginners often want a heat press that can be used for multiple different fabrics, so make sure your new heat press supports what you want to print on.

Another thing to consider is the size of the plates. Make sure you choose the size that will suit your printing needs. 15 x 15 inches will suit most beginners needs, but you can get bigger models if needed. You should also consider how much space it’ll take to store the machine, either at home or in an office.

Additional Features

Although not vital, it helps to have a heat press that you can regulate and control using a digital timer. This will prevent you from burning your materials and ruining your projects. Be sure to purchase the best heat press which has an effective temperature and time range.

The higher the ranges, the thicker fabrics you’ll be able to use. Educate yourself on the temperature your desired fabric needs so you can achieve long lasting effects without ruining your project.

Another thing to look out for is the quality of the pressure knobs. You should choose a machine that is designed with adjustable pressure knobs to get an efficient end result. This will save you from having to put your back out from having to apply continuous pressure to your garments.

Don’t forget to choose a model that includes a warranty as this shows that the company trusts their own product, is willing to vouch for it and will take responsibility in case it breaks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are heat presses hard to use?

Even heat presses that are designed for professionals are generally easy to use, and the beginner models we’ve listed above are especially super easy. It’s always good to keep safety in mind when using a heat press since they use very high heat.

How much does a heat press cost?

Heat presses come in all shapes and sizes which will affect the price point of each one. Heat presses start out around $50 for very small ones like the Cricut Easy Press Mini. Most beginner models are in the $100-$200 range while high end professional ones can be $1000s.

The model you decide to go for will be dependent on your budget and what you’re going to be using the machine for. Beginners should choose a smaller, cheaper heat press so you can practice the craft and get confident with using one before you move onto a more expensive model.

If you’re starting a business with your heat press then we suggest looking for mid-range presses that are user-friendly and large enough to deal with lots of different materials.

Do heat presses use a lot of electricity?

Unfortunately, heat presses are known to use a decent amount of electricity. They use electricity to heat up a large metal surface which uses a high amount of power. You’ll want to check the power consumption of your heat press, it’ll be labeled in “W” or watts.

Picking a model that uses lower wattage will prevent your electric bill from spiking too much and also only using it at the correct temperature and the right amount of time will keep power consumption down.

Typically larger, hotter heat presses with use more power while smaller, cooler ones will use less. For example, the Cricut Easy Press Mini only uses 150W while the PowerPress uses 1400W. It’s important to know how much power your heat press needs so you don’t blow a circuit breaker while using it.

Heat transfer vinyl or HTV is a popular material for Cricut and Silhouette but properly applying it to your t-shirt, mug, or hat with an iron can be difficult. Buying a heat press will help you create professional and long lasting designs especially if you are starting a t-shirt business. Learn what the best heat press is for a beginner and what affordable options are available besides the Cricut Easy Press.