by | Oct 30, 2020 | Crafting, Reviews, Z

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2021 @ 2:07 pm.

What's a heat press? If you want to create custom t-shirts, tote bags or coffee mugs, a heat press machine can introduce you to a fun hobby . . . or a side hustle to generate some extra spending money. We interviewed four heat press enthusiasts among our parent readers to find their favorite machines. Then we did another 9 hours of research, comparing features and overall quality. Here are the heat press machines we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best Multi-Use Heat Press

Make custom mugs, caps, t-shirts
We loved this versatile machine—excellent quality with sturdy construction. Best of all, it comes with all sort of extras to make everything from custom jigsaw puzzles to ceramic tiles.

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Best Multi-Use Heat Press: Smartxchoices Pro 5 in 1 Heat Press Machine

The best heat press machines can do a variety of projects. Of course, sometimes you just need to do a small project—we’ll have a recommendation for a portable model that is best for this later in this article.

Once you start, you may find heat press craft projects are addictive . . . and then you find yourself eyeing machines that are more multi-use. After comparing a dozen options, we recommend Smartxchoises Pro 5-in-1 heat press machine. It combines the best features and versatility, at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Heavy, sturdy constitution.

• Easy to use and set-up. Unlike other machines, this one has a short learning curve.

• Can do hats, mugs, plates, coasters, mouse pads, jigsaw puzzles and (of course) t-shirts.

• LCD digital control.

• Top rotates 360 degrees.

• Pressure adjustment.

What Needs Work

• Overkill for beginners? We liked all this machines features, but it might overwhelm first-timers. For a simpler heat press machine, see our next recommendation.

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Best Heat Press For Beginners

Simple controls = easy to use
This heat press heats up quickly and works great for t-shirts. Excellent for small businesses that need to do multiple projects. Adjustable pressure is easy to set.

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Best Heat Press For Beginners: Fancierstudio Power Heat Press

Let’s be honest—some heat press machines have control panels that look like the cockpit of a 737. If you are just starting out, a simpler model might be less intimidating. 

After interviewing four heat press enthusiasts among our parent readers, we followed their advice and recommend Facierstudio’s Power Heat Press as a good bet for beginners. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Simple controls with digital time and temperature.

• Large 15 x 15 press sheet is included.

• Works up to 699 degrees—great for thicker fabric.

• Adjustable pressure.

What Needs Work

• Might be overkill if you just need to do small projects. For those folks, we’d recommend a smaller portable solution—see the next pick.

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Best Small Projects Heat Press

Portable and compact
We liked this heat press to do small batches of custom t-shirts. Super simple to use. This model has higher heat temps compared to earlier version. Love it!

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Best Small Projects Heat Press: Cricut 2005432 Easy Press 2

Many heat press machines are large and bulky—and obviously not very portable.

If you want do small projects and prefer a more compact, portable heat press, we’d recommend Cricut’s Easy Press 2.

Cricut is a tried and true brand when it comes to crafting . . . we liked their die cutting machines when we did an article on that subject. Their small heat press also impressed us. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Portable!

• Small footprint.

• Great for small batches of t-shirts. Also makes custom tote bags and pillows. 

• Quickly heats up in under 2 minutes.

• Simple to use.

• Works up to 400 degrees.

What Needs Work

• Teflon sheets are an additional cost. This is included with other machines we researched—but extra here. (FYI: Teflon sheets are used to keep t-shirt fabric from burning).

• A  bit pricey for somewhat limited uses.

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Best Budget-Friendly Heat Press

Swing away arm = great for t-shirts
We found this heat press easy to use, with LCD display and pressure control knob. Also nice: it comes fully assembled. Easy to set up and get rolling in minutes making custom t-shirts.

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Best Budget-Friendly Heat Press: Transfer Crafts T-Shirt Heat Press

Yes, heat press machines can get rather pricey. If you are on a tight budget, we’d recommend this model: Transfer Craft’s T-Shirt Heat Press. Good overall construction and quality, at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to use.

• Works great for t-shirts and tote bags.

• Comes fully assembled.

• Up to 500 degrees.

• LCD display.

What Needs Work

• Small plate (9″x 12″). This is smaller than other heat press machines we researched . . . but we still think it gets the job done.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. For this article, we interviewed four heat press enthusiasts among our parent readership to get their advice on which machines work best.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.