The Ultimate Guide for Choosing Your Heat Transfer Press

Stahls' Heat Trasfer Press

How To Choose the Right Heat Transfer Press for Your Business

Whether you are starting a t-shirt business or looking for diversification opportunities or just starting a new hobby, you have to think ahead. Identifying your needs and establishing requirements are key elements to determine which heat transfer press is right for you.

If you skip these steps you may end up with a heat press that does not meet your business needs or a press that can be quickly obsolete!

Here are the key elements to consider before choosing your heat press:

  • Type of work: what type of labor is under consideration? Do you want to specialize in t-shirts, mugs, sport balls or versatile production?
  • Business growth: consider purchasing a heat press that is future proof and that is suitable for future production volumes. You don’t need to choose for an oversized heat press but consider your potential business growth so you don’t quickly end up with an obsolete equipment.
  • Frequency of use: ask yourself how many times per day, per week, per year, the press will operate. Depending of the frequency of use you may either need an entry-level heat press or require advanced automation features.
  • Production volume: we consider the production of a small series as being the printing of 10 to 50 pieces, an average series of 50 to 300 pieces and a large series over 300 pieces. In the latter case, we advise you to opt for screen printing solutions or “direct to garment” direct-to-textile printing systems.
  • Budget: buying a new heat press is a real investment. The price can range between 500€ to 1.500€ for occasional production or small series. For daily use and mass production you must consider a budget of at least 4.000 €.

Once your business needs have been clearly identified, you can finally start the heat press benchmark. Here’s what to look out for before purchasing.

 

What are the Key Features to Consider?

 

1/ HEAT PRESS Platen size

Depending on the type of work, there are different sizes of heat presses available. It goes from 15 x 15 cm for the smallest size – which is ideal dimension to printing on baby clothes – to 28 x 38 cm for printing on a lot of different medium, and up to 40 x 50 cm if you want to print on fabric bags for example.

But buying a new heat transfer press with an interchangeable platen can also be a great option that you may consider.

 

2/ Heat Press Opening

Automatic or manual, heat transfer presses can open in 3 different ways:

  • The basic open clam shell is the most classic system. It has been designed to work on a wide variety of items such as mugs, boxes, sweatshirts, and almost any other item you can throw at it. It requires less space and it is cheaper. However, be careful that the transfer does not move when opening the heat press as it may blurs the impression.
  • The “swing away” opening, a rarer and more cumbersome system. The heating plate swivels horizontally. The benefit is having a well-cleared plate, avoiding getting burned on the hot plate, and making it easier to put down the support.
  • The “draw” opening, allows a heat-free workspace with a space-saving design. Keep in mind that this may not be the best option if you are applying intricate materials that require a stationary workspace. Although the benefits are similar to those of the “swing away”, this technology is more expensive and does not allow printing on thick materials.

 

3/ Time, Temperature, and Pressure

The key elements for good heat application are time, temperature, and pressure. It is critical that your heat press is precise and consistent. Bad temperature or uneven pressure throughout the platen will immediately end up with application issues.

 

4/ Accessories are not useless

Accessories can definitely help to make your work easier. Always consider the array of accessories that are available. It will improve your productivity, bring additional working comfort and make your heat press future proof and more versatile.

 

ADVICE FROM OUR EXPERTS

 

STARTER – BEST BUDGET
INTERMEDIARY – THE VERSATILE
PROFESSIONAL – PRECISE AND RELIABLE
MAXX ® Clam Heat Press 28 cm x 38 cm Sprint Mag Hover ™ Digital Sublimation Heat Press Hotronix ™ Dual Air Fusion IQ Heat Transfer Press
Entry level or backup Stahls heat transfer press with a plate 28cm by 38cm open view Stahls’ ® Sprint Mag Hover ™ Digital Sublimation Heat Press Stahls Hotronix Dual Air Fusion Heat Transfer Press Main
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • Heat Platen 28 x 38 cm.
  • Manual opening.
  • Manual pressure adjustment.
  • Interchangeable platen.
  • Warranty: Up to 30 years
  • Heat Platen 40 x 50 cm.
  • Automatic opening.
  • Magnetic assist closure.
  • Timer.
  • Interchangeable platen.
  • Pressure distribution system.
  • Warranty: Up to 30 years
  • Double heating plate 40 x 50 cm.
  • Automatic opening.
  • Automatic pressure adjustment.
  • Laser alignment.
  • Remote control by wifi.
  • 8 bar – 220 ° C max.
  • Smart diagnostics.
  • Warranty: Up to 30 years
PRICE Star reviewStar reviewStar review PRICE Star reviewStar review PRICE Star review
PERFORMANCE Star reviewStar review PERFORMANCE Star reviewStar reviewStar review PERFORMANCE Star reviewStar reviewStar reviewStar review
VERSATILITY Star reviewStar reviewStar review VERSATILITY Star reviewStar reviewStar review VERSATILITY Star reviewStar reviewStar reviewStar review
PROS CONS PROS CONS PROS CONS
  • Best value / performance.
  • Space-savy
  • Full manual
  • Best price /confort ratio.
  • Semi-automatic.
  • Increased versatily
  • Precision.
  • Slightly better production than the starter version
  • Higher performance.
  • High precision.
  • Ease of use.
  • Fully automatic.
  • Heavy machine.
  • Price.

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