If you are looking for the best heat press machines of 2023, you are far from alone – most apparel businesses use heat presses. From screen printing to heat transfer vinyl to DTG printing, heat presses have many uses in creating and printing t-shirts and apparel.
What are the Best Heat Press Machines?
I have tested and used heat press machines since 2013 to print heat transfer vinyl t-shirts, DTG t-shirts, and more. There are so many heat press brands on the market, which can get confusing.
But there are a few things you need to consider when selecting the right heat press machine for your application:
1) What size and type of heat press machine do you need?
2) What is your heat press machine budget?
3) Which heat presses are proven and most trusted by apparel businesses?
I have listed the 2023 top 10 best heat press machines below based on a number of factors. I base these top heat presses on
- My own personal experience with these heat press machines
- Quality and longevity of heat presses on the market
- Customer reviews and satisfaction with heat press machines on the market
These are all quality machines, with a wide variety of prices for entry-level to experienced user budgets as well as printing needs of apparel businesses.
Table of Contents:
- Best 15×15 Heat Press: Mpress 15×15
- Best 16×20 Heat Press: Hotronix Fusion IQ
- Best 9×12 Heat Press: HPN 9”x12”
- Best Label Press: HPN 5”x5”
- Best Auto-Open Heat Press: Hotronix Auto Open 16”x20”
- Best Budget Heat Press (Less Than $200): RoyalPress 15”x15”
- Best Cap Press: VEVOR Heat Press 6”x3.75”
- Best Cricut Heat Press: Cricut EasyPress 2
- Best Combo Heat Press: VEVOR 12”x15” Multifunctional
- Best Commercial Large Format Heat Press: Maxi Press
Heat press machines are used to cure screen-printed t-shirts and other products. They are also used to cure DTG prints, apply plastisol transfers, and press heat transfer vinyl to t-shirts and clothing.
Small businesses that benefit most from a heat press include those that make clothing, mugs, caps, and many other products. Special heat presses can handle the curve of baseball caps as well. Basically, anyone who wants to transfer designs and cool art onto clothing or fabric products can benefit from a heat press.
Whether you’re wanting to sell t-shirts at home to sell on Etsy, or you are building a large apparel business, there’s a right heat press for you. I’ve used a several of these best heat press machines since 2013. While technology has improved and the number of entry-level machines has increased, I wanted to share my best list of heat presses for entry-level to commercial use…
1. Best 15×15 Heat Press – Overall Winner
If you are looking for the perfect all-around heat press, the Mpress 15×15 is my best heat press machine option for any business that wants to heat transfer vinyl or plastisol transfers. It is an entry-level machine that comes at an affordable price. Whether you are a veteran in the business of printing t-shirts and apparel, or new to the business, this is the most versatile heat press under $500.
You can use vinyl heat transfers, rhinestone transfers, and heat transfer paper on a wide range of materials, including coasters, t-shirts, sweatshirts, tiles, and more! This heat press is perfect for home use or in a commercial space, and it can provide industrial pressure on the product to ensure the transfer will last.
The Mpress is easy to operate, featuring a “strong handle” with spring assistance to open and close it. This makes it super simple to use for any individual, so you can quickly train employees to assist with your designs.
The Mpress has a coated heat plate with multiple coils to prevent burning and guarantee a consistent temperature, which will ensure the transfer is evenly applied. It will also maximize adherence and ensure that you get the best results.
The heat press platen size is 14.96 inches x 14.96 inches, offering a flexible space for your transfers. It features a silicon pad that will hold up to the applied temperature.
In my first t-shirt business, back in 2013, I used a 15×15 heat press as my go-to. I was able to cut and press several dozen shirts a day during the holiday rush that year. This heat press is great because you can scale up as needed by adding 1-2 more of these to keep up with production.
I use the 15×15 to print on kids’ small up to 4XL t-shirts. Since the platen is 15×15, you can cut designs around 12″ wide on your Large shirts but scale up to 14.5″ wide on your oversized tees.
Ease of use is one of the reasons I rank the Mpress 15×15 where I do. Because it has a digital time and temperature controller, it’s easy to produce apparel with a high degree of accuracy. You can easily adjust the settings to ensure that the heat is always being applied at the correct level, for the correct amount of time. This ensures that the designs will last a long time, giving your business a reputation for high quality.
The Mpress 15×15 is the best option heat press (all-around) in my opinion. If you are mostly looking to print t-shirts, I believe this is the best t-shirt press machine for the money and the quality.
Note: I still have one of my 2013 shirts I pressed with my first 15X15 heat press. The black shirt consisted of silver vinyl on a 100% polyester dri fit shirt. Besides having faded some over the years, that shirt still looks great, 9 years later.
2. Best 16×20 Heat Press
The Hotronix Fusion IQ 16×20 heat press is ideal for small business owners who want to maximize your efficiency and swap between a variety of materials with the minimal amount of downtime. It makes it much easier for the owner to operate the heat press and reduces frustration. If you have employees, it may also make training them simpler.
It features heat-free layout space so that garments can be set aside to cool on a flat surface. This ensures that the design is kept completely flat while it cools, minimizing the risk of any creasing or wrinkling. The machine also has a digital touchscreen that allows you to store multiple presets relating to the temperature settings and the application time.
You can accurately program the amount of pressure for any given product, saving massive amounts of time if you constantly work with different materials. Selecting from the presets also reduces the risk of errors occurring when the information is input, particularly if multiple people use the heat press.
This screen also displays the current stats and the amount of time remaining on the project. You can improve the precision in this way, and due to the size, this is probably the most flexible, best heat press machine you could have. For large projects, it’s ideal.
The lower platen utilizes a quick-release system to maximize efficiency further, letting the operator switch the whole platen or alter the orientation. The company is an industry leader and produces its products in the United States, so you can be assured that you’ll get great support.
This machine comes with a lifetime warranty on the heating elements, a two year warranty on the circuit board, and a five year warranty on the framework and casting. An aluminum frame provides strength but a lightweight design for maximum portability.
If you are focused on efficiency and printing on large products, the Hotronix Fusion IQ 16×20 is the heat press for you. With a large LCD, a wide viewing angle, an easy-to-use touchscreen, and password protection on the machine settings, the Fusion IQ is one of the best heat presses for a printing business with several employees.
It also has an energy-saving mode that allows you to power down the machine when it isn’t being used, an auto on/off feature, and multiple time settings that you can employ to make your life simpler and your printing more efficient. It can be heated up to 430 degrees F, making it great for products that need higher temperatures.
3. Best 9×12 Heat Press
If you are looking for a compact heat press with a clamshell design, the HPN 9”x12” High Pressure Heat Press Machine could be the perfect option for you. It is well priced and offers excellent, high quality results to its users.
It is made of durable materials that should stand up to years of use, and given the price point of $299.95, this makes it an attractive option that any startup can afford.
The lower platen has a raw steel finish that will withstand high temperatures superbly well, and the craftsmanship is excellent. This machine also has good temperature control with a digital heat and timer gauge.
These presses operate in both Celsius and Fahrenheit for maximum convenience to the user, allowing you to follow instructions regardless of where they were written. In terms of its accuracy, it is correct to 4 degrees, utilizing an electronic constant temperature control system. It offers a temperature range of up to 400 degrees F.
There is also a knob to provide full range pressure, and the clamp is powerful, ensuring that even pressure is applied all over the item. These features combined will make superb transfers.
You can use the HPN 9″x12″ for all kinds of heat press applications, including plastisol transfers, vinyl transfers, curing smaller print-on-demand designs, and more. There is also an automatic timer alarm that lets you know when there are 3 seconds left.
This allows you to step in and turn the machine off to prevent any risk of overheating the material. It has a full range of heating coils so that it can reach the desired temperature quickly, and it will open to around 50 degrees, meaning that you can heat press much thicker items than with some machines.
If you are looking to transfer designs onto anything less than ½ inch thick, therefore, it’s an ideal option, and the padded “strong handle” will allow you to apply even pressure across the whole item, regardless of the size. This machine is our best choice for small projects, and is a great addition to your other equipment.
Whether you are running a business or you just want to print some designs at home, this is one of the best clamshell heat presses on the market. It is a great affordable machine for at-home use and for startups. Despite the low price point, the HPN 9×12 heat press machine has a lot to offer!
4. Best 5×5 Label Press
Similar to the previous machine, the HPN 5”x5” High Pressure Heat Press Machine has an enormous amount to offer to home users and small businesses. It is sized perfect for t-shirt labels, pocket logos, smaller rhinestone designs, and much more.
This is one of the best heat press machines for printing your own neck labels or adding an American flag to the sleeves of your t-shirts, which has become very popular.
This flexibility makes it the perfect tool for a small business looking to expand its product range. It also operates in both degrees Celsius and degrees Fahrenheit, making it particularly easy to use, no matter whether you are in the U.S. or Canada. The heating element can reach 400 degrees F, providing all the power needed to get an excellent, high-quality transfer in most cases.
It utilizes a digital timer and temperature gauge to ensure maximum accuracy, and the LCD temperature gauge is accurate to within 4 degrees. It also has a heat-indicating light to show when it is on and a full range of heating coils. This means it can reach high temperatures quickly.
The machine has a powerful clamp that allows you to exert even pressure across the whole product, ensuring that the design is applied smoothly and effectively, no matter what it is being added to. You can increase the leverage using this clamp without exerting much effort, and it’s comfortable and easy to hold.
Like the HPN 9”x12”, the 5”x5” features an automatic timer alarm that sounds 3 seconds before the machine reaches 0. This gives you a warning that you will need to lift the material out soon, minimizing the risk of you overheating the design and ruining it.
You will be able to reach the maximum temperature but avoid any issues with burning or scorch marks, and you’ll ensure that the design’s colors don’t get affected by too much heat. This feature is particularly nice if you tend to get distracted while operating the heat press.
The 5”x5” design also opens to around 50 degrees and can be used to make transfers on items up to ½ inch thick. It is simple to use and is compact enough to fit neatly on any surface, while still offering a full 5”x5” heat platen that will work well for small designs.
5. Best Auto Open Heat Press
With a patented automatic opening feature, the Hotronix Auto Open 16”x20” sets itself apart from the crowd of heat machines and offers some major advantages to the user. This type of machine will automatically lift when the timer goes off, meaning that you don’t need to do this yourself. The Hotronix is loaded with safety features, which makes it a great machine for high-production print shops.
The Auto Open 16×20 is one of the best heat press machines with an automatic opening feature. This reduces the risk of errors and misjudged lifting, and it is coupled with magnetic assist lock down technology that ensures the plate cannot be lifted too early, which would spoil the design.
This makes it far less tiring for the user of the press, who no longer needs to exert pressure to keep the press locked over the design, and it may reduce slippage and provide more even pressure throughout the process. With less fatigue associated with each press, you may find you can print more designs in a day.
It features a two stage time and temperature setting process, meaning that you can perfectly customize the heating and exposure of the item being pressed, so that you get the best possible results.
This heavy duty machine is also an excellent choice if you need something portable. As with any heat press, there needs to be some compromise between the machine’s portability and its ability to produce professional results. However, the width of the Hotronix Auto Open Clam Heat Press Machine ensures that it can provide both.
It is a particularly wide machine, which both adds to its stability and ensures that you can create larger projects on the plate. Despite this, it is still easy to store, so if you’re working from home or in a small retail outlet, it’s an excellent option.
In terms of its heating ability, the machine features cast in tubular heating elements every 2 inches to make sure there are no cold spots, and it has an RTD heat sensor. The temperature can be displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit for maximum convenience, and it has a baked-on, powder coated finish.
You also get a two-year warranty on the circuit board, a five-year warranty on the framework and casting, and a lifetime warranty on the heating elements. With a lifetime of technical support, this machine won’t let you down when you need it – and if heat pressing is a core part of your business model, that’s good news.
The framework is made of HPRO laser quality steel, meaning that it will stand up to years of use, even if you are using it every day. It is a lot more expensive than some of the other options, getting on for $2000, but these warranties help to make the price more justifiable. If reliability is what matters to you, these machines are certainly worth considering.
6. Best Budget Heat Press (Less Than $200)
You won’t always have a lot of money to spend, and if you are just setting up your business and you want to start without an enormous outlay of capital, the RoyalPress 15”x15” Color LED Industrial-quality Digital Machine could be the right option.
You get a 15”x15” printing area with an aluminum heating plate that has a Teflon coating to prevent any sticking issues. This ensures your designs will lift off the plate smoothly every time, and reduces the risk of any residue getting stuck on and burning. The 15-inch heat plate is the best all-around size for any of your printing needs.
You also don’t need coated sheets to protect your designs from the plate, because it is smooth and won’t damage the fabric.
The temperature range is good, and it actually offers higher temperatures than some of the other options, going from 0 – 480 degrees F (up to 250 degrees C). If you need to heat transfer at a higher temperature, this could be the perfect machine for you.
The heating plate provides stable and even temperatures across the whole area, allowing you to get superb results, with no uneven patches or pockets. Whatever you are printing on, this should work well for you.
It has a color LED display with the ability to control time and temperature, plus a function that allows you to calculate production. It will beep when the transfer is complete so you know to remove the item from the machine.
You should note that it takes a while for this machine to reach temperature, but if you can be patient, it’s still a great option. It will give you the pressure needed to create a lasting design, and because of the lower price point, it’s not surprising that it has some drawbacks.
It is still an excellent machine that will provide a great foot in the door for anyone looking to start a heat press business. If you can wait around 20 minutes or so for the machine to heat up, this could be a good option for you. However, as some people complain of a strong smell while using it, make sure you have a ventilated space to work in.
If you are looking for the ideal choice for a low-cost starter machine, this is one of the best heat press machines for $200 or less.
7. Best Cap Press (Less Than $200)
Are you looking for a great cap press on a low budget? If so, the VEVOR Heat Press 6”x3.75” could be the option for you. It is specifically designed for printing onto caps, and this could be a great starting point for a small business that wants to focus on one product. At under $200, it’s also an affordable outlay to test the waters.
The machine is compact and will easily fit on a surface, and it’s also highly stable, in spite of its height. You don’t need to worry about it tipping over when you’re trying to use it. It’s a heavy-duty option that will work well for transferring designs to any kind of cap.
The plate is a die-cast aluminum surface, and offers a full 12,000 hours of service – much longer than that provided by machines that utilize silicon heating pads. This means you are getting much better value for money, with a machine that will last your business for years.
The machine also offers excellent temperature control using a digital controller. It has an automatic timer that switches off the heat once the set time and temperature have been reached, ensuring that even if you get distracted, your product will only be heated to the preset parameters. This reduces the margin for error and may help to cut back on damaged products.
The handle is simple and ergonomic, and sits neatly above the rest of the machine, minimizing the amount of space that the machine needs. The item measures around 28x20x17 inches, making it reasonably compact and easy to store and operate, even in a somewhat limited space.
Whether you are applying iron-on patches, heat transfer vinyl, or lettering to the caps, this machine is up to the task. The curved plate supports the whole band of the hat, ensuring that the design is applied evenly, and that pressure can be exerted. The machine can heat up to 399 degrees F, and the heating element measures 5.5”x3.5”.
This is one of the best heat press machines for caps. We love this one to press patches on caps. It’s quick and easy to use.
8. Best Cricut Heat Press
If you are looking for the best Cricut Heat Press, the Cricut EasyPress 2 should be high on your list. It measures 9”x9” and it can be used for a wide range of medium sized items, including cushions, tote bags, t-shirts, aprons, and more.
It is a highly portable machine that is perfect if you are working in a very limited space. Essentially, it brings together the advantages of a traditional iron and the benefits of a heat press machine, combining them into one product.
It only weighs around 9 pounds, so you can easily store it and lift it out when you want it. For at home businesses or businesses with minimal room, it makes an excellent option.
It isn’t suitable if you want to heat press onto large items or create big designs, but it is big enough to print on the front of t-shirts, and you can add text or images to a whole range of products using it.
It features an advanced heat plate and it can reach temperature in just 2 minutes, meaning it is ideal for quickly outputting designs. You can have a print pressed into place in about 60 seconds, meaning that you can massively increase the number of products you create in a day.
The machine also offers an insulated safety base and has auto shut-off features to maximize the safety it provides. It reaches a full 400 degrees F, and you’ll get professional, durable products in spite of the device’s small size and portability.
You can set the temperature as desired, and it has a convenient timer that will let you know when the transfer is complete. Apply gentle pressure to the machine to ensure that the design adheres well to the material, and lift it off when you hear the beep.
Because it can be applied to a wide range of mid-sized products, this is the perfect option for someone who wants to offer a variety of merchandise. It is easy to use and highly affordable, at less than $100.
For anyone who lacks the room for a heat press, or who just wants a portable, lightweight, and simple machine, the Cricut Easy Press is the perfect option.
9. Best Combo Heat Press
If you want a heat press that can do everything, the VEVOR 12”x15” Multifunctional Heat Press might be the right option for you. It will transfer images to a huge range of materials, including glass, ceramic, fabric, and more. If you want to run a business that offers products in every shape imaginable, this is definitely a machine you should consider.
It features a dual-tube fast heating system that ensures the heat is applied evenly across the whole surface, including at the edges. The temperature consistency is excellent; the machine has two layers of insulation pads and provides uniform heating that will maximize the adherence of the design. This ensures the highest possible quality at all times.
You will get highly accurate temperature sensors that keep the heat regulated to avoid burning or under-heating, and there is a large screen that displays everything you need to know about your settings. This makes the machine easy to operate.
The insulation on the machine is also good, reducing the risk of burns even when it is in operation. The plate is Teflon-coated to prevent the products from sticking, and the machine comes with a variety of fittings that will let you work on a whole range of products.
The machine also features 360 degree swing away style. It has a rotating shaft made of aluminum alloy, and this allows for smooth operation that lets you remove the upper plate from the printed item when you have finished applying heat. You can therefore immediately stop the heat application, and view your full design without having to move it to check it has worked.
This machine is a little more complicated than some, but this is partly due to the fact that it has so much more functionality. Most of the heat presses we have looked at will only print on flat surfaces, while this combo machine can do so much more.
It can also reach a slightly higher temperature of 410 degrees F (210 degrees C), which may help you get better adherence on some products.
It comes with 2 plate presses, one with 8” maximum diameter and the other with 10” maximum diameter, giving you more flexibility. There is also a mug press, which is 3”-3.5” in diameter, and a cap press, which is 6”x3” (curved). The t-shirt press is 12”x15”.
As you can see, you can print on almost anything with this combo press, setting your business apart from the competition.
10. Best Commercial Large Format Heat Press
Some businesses need a much larger heat press, and if that’s the case for you, you might wish to look at the Maxi Press. This offers you a huge area for pressing any single layer fabrics, so if you want to make big, showy designs on eye-catching banners, you may want to consider this press.
It offers solid steel pressure bars and a heavy steel frame that will stand up well to repeated use. You can adjust the platen height to ensure that it stands at a comfortable level for you, and it’s easy to change how much pressure is applied when the machine is in operation.
The press is only intended for light use, but it is durable and highly convenient – although you will need significantly more space for it than for most of the other presses we’ve looked at. It may not be suitable for at-home businesses unless you have a lot of space to play with.
That said, it has a front-loading table and locking casters so that it can easily be moved, without making it unstable when it is in use. That means you can wheel it out of the way if necessary without having to lift it.
There’s an automatic timer that controls the stop and start functionality, providing hands-free operation, and the loading bed features ultra thick Nomex padding. The heating coils are SuperCoil-Microwinding ones that apply heat evenly across the whole product.
You get a full year of warranty on the controls, the heating element, and the press overall. However, the price is much higher than the cost of the other presses we have looked at, and could be as much as $16,750 for the largest press, which is 44”x64”.
That said, if you want to print huge products, you are going to pay a lot more for your press, and this gives you far more room for creating big, showy designs that could set your business apart from the others.
The best heat press machine will depend a bit on what your business needs are, but as you can see from the extensive list above, there are a lot of great options – and all have great benefits that will make your business run smoothly. No matter what you’re looking for, you should be able to find it in one of the heat presses listed above.
Bryan E. Robinson is the owner of TshirtGrowth. He has sold t-shirts since 2006 through dropshipping, screen printing, vinyl printing, DTG, Print on Demand, and more. Bryan has created his own t-shirt designs through Photoshop, Canva, and other platforms, as well as worked with freelancers to create many of his designs. Besides t-shirts, Bryan has 18 years of experience in online marketing with eCommerce, B2B SaaS, B2C products, and more.