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Choosing A Right Size Heat Press Machine

All heat press machines do one thing: deliver heat under pressure for a definite amount of time. For professional and high-quality results, standard laminating devices and consumer hand irons simply cannot get close to the temperatures required for a dependable transfer.

Why use a heat press?

To make money, of course!

There is no limit to what can be heat pressed: T-shirts, caps, ceramic plates and tiles, mugs, mouse pads, canvas tote bags, lettering, numbers, wood, metal and other fabrics and materials.

The right equipment is essential to the success of your business. The heat press machine is no different. In fact, you could see it as one of the hardest working things you will ever own.

What to look for in a heat press

The selection of designs may make choosing the right heat press a little intimidating, but they all have the same purpose: the commercial use of heat for a transfer onto a printable surface.

The most important features when deciding on the perfect heat press for your shop:


Consider the type of work you will be doing and your space limitations. This will determine the size of heat press (as well as how many) you will need. General sizes of heat presses are:

Very small, or “Label Presses.” Often used for small items like baby clothes and small items with seams, like tote bags, where the object is opened and pulled onto the press. The smallest sizes are 4”X 6” to 6”X 8”.

Small presses range in size from 9” X 12” to 12” X 14” and are relatively inexpensive and portable. Many designs will range around 8 ½ X 12”, such as printed transfers and other smaller items. A small press is good for small production runs and one-offs.

Medium presses, sized 16” X 16”, 15” X 15” and 14” X 16”, are the most popular with decorators. They often have higher wattage for repeated use and cost considerably less than a 16” X 16”.

Large presses are 16” X 20” and over. Few garment decorators need anything larger since an 11” X 17” is the largest preprinted transfer measurements from an inkjet printer.

Of course, there are presses up to 20”X 25” and even giant “monster” 40” X 64” presses. 

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