Are you looking to heat press some neat patterns and designs onto shirts, socks, shoes, or anything in between? If so, choosing a heat press is the first thing which you should be concerned about.
Ok, so your budget is usually not the first thing that most people would talk about when it comes to buying something like a heat press, but it is important to keep in mind, nonetheless. The point here is that heat presses can come in a variety of shapes, types, sizes, and more, and each is going to cost a different amount of money. What you do need to keep in mind here is that you usually do get what you pay for.
Sure, you can spend $250 or $300 on a cheaper and basic model, which will probably do fine for some basic T-shirt pressing, but it won’t be too large or come with many beneficial features. On the other hand, you can spend upwards of $1,000 and get something huge with a ton of awesome features. Before you get to choosing a specific heat press, you need to consider your own budget. For instance, if you plan on starting a T-shirt business, you could probably afford to go with something a bit pricier, because after all, you will be making money through sales.
- The Size
Something else to consider before you buy any heat press is how large of a heat press you will need. Yes, there are larger and smaller heat presses out there. They tend to start with a pressing surface of around 8.5 x 11 inches and can go all the way up to 16 x 20 inches or even larger, especially if you are looking at something industrial.
So, you need to consider what type of projects you plan on doing with the heat press in order to determine the size you will need for it. For instance, a T-shirt can handle a 16 x 20 inch transfer, so if you plan on doing a lot of shirts, this is ideal. However, if you want something slightly smaller, lighter, and more portable, something smaller will have to do.
- Quality & Weight
Now, the quality and weight of the heat press in question does relate to the size and the cost of it, both of the other purchasing factors which we just looked at. What you need to be aware of here, is that once again, you get what you pay for. A large and heavy–duty heat press with thick plates that can retain heat for a long time, which has a high–quality steel frame, is going to cost a fair amount of money; as well, it will be fairly large, heavy, and less portable.
Now, you can go for a smaller, cheaper, more portable, and lower quality option, especially if you are on a limited budget, but just be aware that quality might suffer a bit. You want to look for a good middle ground here. Something you definitely want to do is to read ample reviews and comments for any specific model of heat press you have your eye on.
Yet another thing that you need to look out for when buying a heat press has to do with time. The time it takes to transfer a print onto a shirt or other piece of clothing is a big deal in terms of the quality of the final product.
Some materials require super specific amounts of time to be done right, and if you get the time wrong, the whole project could go to waste. Therefore, you want to look for a heat press that comes with a digital timer, preferably anyway, as these are very accurate, and moreover, some high–quality heat presses will actually open up on their own when the time is up, which is a very useful feature.
- Temperature Settings and Thermometer
The other really important purchasing factor to keep in mind when it comes to heat presses is the temperatures which they can achieve, the accuracy of the temperature and the included thermometer.
For one, keep in mind that the platens, or in other words the heat plates, are going to make a big difference. The thicker the platens are, the more heat they can hold for a longer period of time. So, if you are making multiple prints, the more heat the platens can retain and the longer they stay hot for, the less time it will take to get back up to heat in between prints.
Remember that a good RTD probe is the best way to go in terms of the thermometer, as they are very accurate, plus heating elements should never be spaced further than 2 inches apart.
There we have it, the 5 most important things to think about when choosing a heat press. Choose wisely because the quality and result of your final projects will depend on it.