Getting into the heat press game is exciting, but when it comes to weighing out options, things can quickly get overwhelming.
What size do I need?
Automatic or manual?
Is 1000 max temp enough?
Aside from the basics of size and heat press styles, cheap and advanced technology has given us more things to think about. Now at first glance, this article might seem like it’s piling on more information, but I honestly believe in order to make the right choice, you need to educate yourself.
And while I can’t cover every specification of every model out there (trust me there are some useless stuff people will try to sell you), I’ve picked out 8 common heat press features that may benefit your heat pressing adventures.
So let’s see what the fuss is all about.
This feature provides additional space under the heat press which allows you to load the garment to easily decorate the front, back or side without having to remove it from the platen. Nifty innovation that will save time and increase productivity.
Find this feature in: Vesta VP3804U Threadable Heat Press
Heat presses these days come equipped with both Fahrenheit and Celcius. This may seem trivial but keep in mind, if you’re getting heat transfers from another country, instructions may come in standards different from what you’re used to.
Find this feature in: PowerPress Industrial Press
Great to have if you’re expecting a ton of work down the line. This feature automates the heat transfer process by opening the lid once the timer goes off, effectively reducing fatigue (on shoulders and wrists) and the risk of over application while increasing production. The auto open feature comes loaded with gas or springs.
Find this feature in: Greenstar Magnetic Auto-open Heat Press
4. Drawer or “pull-out” style
Made popular by Chinese manufacturers, these presses come with a handle at the platen of the machine to pull out like a drawer. This is just another heat press style but I’m listing it here because I feel it’s a feature that’s super convenient and provides plenty of space to keep your hands/arm safe from the heat. Also it’s a refreshing take on the traditional swing away and clamshell.
Find this feature in: Gecko GK102-DR Pull-Out Drawer Heat Press
5. Over-the-Center Pressure
I’ve noticed this on some of the cheaper presses these days too and it’s a must have in my opinion. The heat press game is all about getting heat distributed evenly, so most of you (even those doing sublimation) will no doubt benefit from this.
Find this feature in: Hotronix MAXX Clam Heat Press Machine
6. Digital Pressure Reading
So we know evenly spread out heat is important, now another crucial factor is pressure. For manual operators, getting it right will only come with experience by feeling or muscle, whereas a digital readout will give you exact measurements thus saving you some material, especially in the beginning. If you’re planning to take your business to the next level then this is something you’re going to love.
Find this feature in: Hotronix Digital Control Heat Press Machine
7. Save Settings
I would chalk this up in the ‘nice to have’ category, although this really depends on how diligent you are at keeping track of things. I know printers (those doing upwards of 1000pcs/day) who swear by this feature especially when working with a variety of transfers from different suppliers. If not, you always have the pen and paper to fall back on.
Find this feature in: Hotronix Fusion Swingaway Heat Press
If you expect to be pressing other substrates other than t-shirts you may want to consider a press with an interchangeable platen feature. From hats to bags to even shoes, you can quickly expand your decorating options and provide a variety to your customers.
Find this feature in: Hotronix – MAXX Interchangeable Platens Heat Press
So there you have it folks.
I hope some of these features I’ve laid out will point you in the right direction and better understand the available options. Granted, a lot of these will be overkill for the average hobbyists but I do know some people who were able to take it to the next level because of the available features they had.
The most important thing to consider before purchasing a press is to understand the nature of your business and where you plan to take it.
And if the wheels start turning and you just have to have a press that gave you everything and more, then here’s your next secret affair.
Find all the features in: The Hotronix Air Fusion Swing-Away Table Top Heat Press.
In case you have questions, put them in the comments below.