Last Updated: May 23, 2023 @ 10:45 am.

What's the best heat press for t-shirts? We asked the pros—readers of ours who are custom t-shirt enthusiasts! We asked for their favorites and then did another 7 hours of research. We compared overall quality, ease of use and durability. Here are the ones we 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 Portable Heat Press

Compact and easy to use.
We liked this heat press for 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 Portable Heat Press: Cricut 2005432 Easy Press 2

How do you shop for the best heat press for custom t-shirts? 

We asked heat press enthusiasts among our readers for their advice. We learned there are two basic groups of folks who love these machines: first, those crafty people who love customizing gifts for friends. And then there are folks who view a heat press machine as a great side hustle . . . starting a small business making custom t-shirts.

In its simplest form, a heat press is basically a large iron—with a key difference. Heat press machines let you dial exact pressure . . . and that makes the difference in how the final product turns out. 

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

If you want to do small projects and prefer a more compact, portable heat press, we 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!

• Simple to use.

• Heats up to 400 degrees.

• Small footprint.

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

• Quickly heats up in under 2 minutes.

What Needs Work

• Teflon sheets are an additional cost. This is included with some 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 use.

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Best Heat Press For Beginners

Simple controls = easy to use
We love this heat press for folks just starting out. It heats up quickly and works great with t-shirts. Excellent for small businesses that need to do multiple projects.

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Best Heat Press For Beginners: Fancierstudio Power Heat Press

Are you interested in make a lot of t-shirts? You may want a more substantial heat press that can handle a larger run. Of course, some heat press machines can get rather complicated with all sorts of settings. If you are custom t-shirt curious and want something that is easy for beginners, we suggest Fancierstudio’s Power Heat Press. 

We found this simple model to be less intimidating than others we researched (and it was recommended by our readers)

Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Adjustable pressure is easy to dial in.

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

• Simple controls with digital time and temperature.

• Large 15 x 15 press sheet is included.

What Needs Work

• Instructions could be somewhat clearer. We found the instructions for this heat press to be a bit vague—it may take some trial and error to get things just right. 

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Best Heat Press For Side Hustle

Plug and play—quick to heat
Excellent overall quality here—we loved the consistent heat and pressure of this machine. Also nice: good customer service. Clam-style machine has auto shut-off to prevent overheating.

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Best Heat Press For Side Hustle: TUSY Digital Heat Transfer Sublimation 15″ x 15

As we pointed out in the intro to this article, some folks want to start a small business making custom t-shirts. For this use, we recommend a more robust heat press machine with helpful features: TUSY’s Digital Heat Transfer Sublimation machine. 

Yes, that is a mouthful, but we found the overall quality and durability of this model to be superior to machines aimed at hobbyists.

What We Liked

 Sturdy, solid construction.

• Heats up quickly.

• Easy to use—we liked the LCD controls which let you dial temperature and time.

• Anti-overheating and auto shut-off.

• Good, clear instructions.

• Customer service is excellent.

What Needs Work

• Clam style machine lacks an arm that swings away. Some folks we interviewed who use heat press machines in small businesses prefer the swing-away design for larger batches.

• Might be overkill if you just want to do a few t-shirts as gifts.

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Best Heavy Duty Heat Press

Excellent for small businesses
The overall build and durability of this heat press impressed us—easy to use and quick to heat up. Yes, it is heavier than others . . . but that is a feature, not a bug.

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Best Heavy Duty Heat Press: PowerPress Industrial Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt 15×15

At 50 lbs., this heat press machine is heavier and bulkier than others we researched—but that is a good thing if you need a more robust solution . . . making t-shirts for a small business, for example.

Yes, it is more pricey but includes some extras that are handy: for example, the heating plate is Teflon-coated. That means you don’t have to use a separate Teflon sheet to keep the t-shirt fabric from burning.

What We Liked

• Anti-slip handle.

• Easy to use.

• Quickly warms up.

• Even heat distribution.

• Works up to 455 degrees.

• Teflon-coated heating plate = no need for separate Teflon sheet.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Could be easier to open and close.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, interviewing heat press enthusiasts for their picks. Then we do additional research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

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.