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Choose the Right Heat Press For You

When making an investment into the equipment that you are going to use for your business you’ll want to make the right decision. Equipment can get expensive. Suitability, price, quality,  and style are all factors to be considered. You may be a beginner or an expert looking to replace or expand your equipment. This post will help you make the right decision when purchasing a heat press. 

Heat press Style

This is the first thing to consider when choosing a new heat press. The differences between each business can affect productivity in your business. 

There are two styles of heat presses. They are clamshell and swing away. They both work by taking an upper platen (plate) and pressing it to a lower platen Which should you get? Both come with pros and cons. 

Clamshell Heat Presses

A clamshell heat press is the style that most people use. It is called a clamshell because it mimics the opening and closing of a clam. Clam shells are easy to use. They take up little space and are portable. You could take one to a craft fair or a trade show easily. It doesn’t take much to use a clamshell heat press. However, there are drawbacks to a clamshell heat press. You can’t easily see the area that you are printing on. Temperature is a factor. If you don’t want to be near the heat then this is an issue. 

Picture of a Clamshell Heat Press

Swing Away Heat Presses 

Swing away heat press machines are designed to make the press easier for you. They move the upper platen away from the lower platen by swinging it out of the way. This reduces the heat of the work area because the heat comes out of the upper platen and swings away when it is not in use. If you are sensitive to heat then this is a great feature. It is easier to adjust the layout before applying anything to a garment. Your precision will be enhanced. The adjustments are easier because you can get your hands into areas easier than with a clamshell printer. Swing away presses are heavier than clamshells and therefore harder to transport. They are sturdier. With the added functionality comes added cost. Swing away presses cost more money. They also take up more space than a clamshell. 

You can purchase a stand for swing away heat presses. The stand will be on wheels and makes it easier to maneuver. 

Picture of a Swing Away Heat Press

Heat Press Displays

Some pieces of equipment come with additional features such as displays or they can work automatically. Many heat presses include temperature and timer. These can be digital or analog. Some come with a feature called “auto-pop” which will raise the lid off of a press when the timer has indicated that it is finished. This is perfect for the person that may get busy and have to step away from the heat press for a moment. 

Heat Press Durability

When a heat press is made in the USA it typically comes with a warranty. They may also include support when problems arise. A heat press that is built in a foreign country will be cheaper but will lack the warranty, support, and may not have replacement parts available. Oftentimes cheaper heat presses are meant to be thrown away when they are no longer working. 

Comparing the Clamshells to Swing Away

It comes down to your needs. So if you are printing out a lot of transfers then you will want a clamshell. It is faster and more portable. You can work practically anywhere. If you are printing something more intricate such as uniform numbering then you want something that allows you to make close adjustments. It helps with accuracy. You’ll want to get up close to your work, and a swing away allows for this. 

Making a Heat Press Decision

It doesn’t matter which  style you choose, a heat press will add to your new opportunities to your business. Look for a reputable dealer and a good warranty. You may be able to find heat presses that are used, but they won’t come with a warranty. Used heat presses may not be technically sound. 

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