2007 May 8

There are five items you need to consider when shopping for a heat transfer press:

• Ease of use
• Pressure Control
• Versatility
• Durability
• Price

Ease of use

When testing a heat transfer press, take note of the ease in which you can lay the garment between the plates, the amount of pressure needed to create a clean press, and how easily the machine works overall. If you choose to buy a swing-head manual press, make sure that the handle creates a tight seal on the clothing so the heat transfer is clean. The machine must be suited to the operator that is going to use it. Manual presses need a degree of physical strength and stamina particularly if they are to be used on a constant basis. If the operator can’t handle a particular press you have a problem.

Pressure Control

Nylon, cotton, and blended fabrics require different amounts of pressure in order to complete heat transfers. The more control you have, the more items you will be able to transfer print. A manual press relies on the strength of the operator to force the two plates of the heat press together. In contrast a Pneumatic press, relies on air pressure, supplied by an external compressor. This allows the heat press to close at the push of a button rather requiring the operator to close the press manually. This allows greater consistentcy of pressing from garment to garment. However the major benefit of the pneumatic press is greater productivity per operator. If productivity is critical to your business then chose a pneumatic press.


In order to choose the right press you need to know what you are going to print. Even if most of your customers are looking for printed t-shirts, you may need to be able to use your press in other ways. Will your customers want logos and names on bags, hats, umbrellas as well as other items.
If you want this versatility, buy a press with an interchangeable bottom plate so that you can print a variety of products.

Think about your business in terms of what you want to accomplish and buy a press that meets these needs.


There is a wide difference in heat press prices.

Unfortunately, there are presses that although low in cost, do not live up to expectations. A heat press is a piece of machinery that will eventually wear out. The manufacturer, Adkins guarantees the heat platens (plates) for life. Although they expect their machines to last 5 years they don’t offer any long term guarantee or extended warrantee for their press. If you need a press in order to stay in business, choose one that will last

In deciding which press to buy, it is important to consider what will happen if the press goes wrong.

Is there a warranty?
Are spares easily available?
Who will repair the machine and how quickly?
How will your business manage while the press is being repaired?

You may want to consider

• Demo Press – J&A offer the option to try out a press before you buy it. Effectively you are renting the machine on a 3 month contract but it gives the option of trying out the press.

• Loan Presses – The Magic Touch offer a loan press in the event of a press requiring repair. However, conditions may apply to this offer.

More than Just Price

Better quality manual presses offer a number of benefits of cheaper rivals. They are able to achieve a far greater pressure with less force required. Cheaper presses require more force from the operator and may deliver uneven pressure.

There are some good cheap heat presses around. If you are just dipping your toe in the water, a cheap press might be fine but if you are building a business it might be well worth considering a more expensive item with the backing and support of an established company behind it.

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