If you have ever heat pressed bags, Onesies or other items that have a raised,?stitched seam or recessed area you have probably found that your vinyl may not have bonded properly and lifted or not peeled properly after pressing.
The issue is that the heat press platen is not fully coming into contact with the vinyl and onesie.? To get a proper press you will need to raise the lower portion of the garment or bag to ensure you have proper heat and pressure against the press.
The solution to this problem is a teflon pillow.? Putting this under or in the item to be pressed helps raise the target surface so that your heat press comes into contact with the vinyl as needed.
(Using a towel or wash cloth under the surface also works as a temporary fix but use teflon pillows that will last you in the long term and provide the best heat transfer to ensure the best bonding of your HTV.
What is the best budget heat press? One of the most Googled questions in the crafting and vinyl communities.
The best budget heat press depends on your wallet and heat pressing needs! We breakdown a number of options to give you a heat press to meet both your needs and your budget!
General buying advice
There are a ton of cheap heat presses and they come with many challenges and faults. Starting out as a small business or a hobby crafter you can look to spend around $200 on your first press unless you are going to invest early towards making a business.
Avoid the cheap deals and the too good to be true options that you will find on eBay.
Look for returns conditions and ensure that the company will offer returns including shipping. Heat presses are extremely heavy and large and that makes them a very awkward and expensive shipping ordeal if you have an issue. Ensure you have a warranty, if possible extend your warranty to keep your investment covered.
Check reviews and if you are a member of the crafting community on Facebook ask around and get recommendations and feedback!
The Powerpress offers the best bang for buck! It is a 15″x15″ clamshell press that comes in at just over $200. It is available on Amazon and is their Best Seller press with incredible reviews. It is one of the most purchased presses within the Facebook crafting communities and you can get plenty of feedback within the Cricut and Silhouette Cameo groups. You can purchase a 2 year extended warranty from SquareTrade via Amazon for under $20. This press is excellent value for money and the best in the budget/starter press range if you are looking for a clamshell press.
Best Budget Heat Press – Swing Away
Swing away presses offer the same functionality as the clamshell but offer the advantage of having the heat source on a swivel so that you can swing it away from the base allowing you to work on your design before and after pressing.
The disadvantage of the swing away vs. the clamshell press is that the swing arm requires more space to function.
Check out the Powerpress and Zeny options, they offer both 15″x15″ and 16″x20″ options.
Best budget Heat Press – 5 in 1 Multi Function
If you are looking for a swing away / multi-function press there are a couple of options available to you.
You will notice with the swing away presses that the platten tends to be a smaller 12″x15″ surface vs. the clamshell presses which mainly come in 15″x15″ form factor.
The swing away presses come with the various attachments for hats, plates and mugs. These attachments simply unscrew and screw in place. The top heat plate is also held in with screws which simply loosen and allow you to swap out once cooled off. The base also slides out so you can switch out for the hat/plate bases.
Visit our Store and check out all of the heat press deals on offer to suit all budget types. We also have Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) as well as recommended accessories to help you with your pressing needs.
Siser Easyweed is the standard when it comes to using Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV).
Siser Easyweed has special guidelines for applying the various types of vinyl – save this guide for future reference for when you are pressing your T-shirts and other custom designs.
The guide offers information on how to cut the HTV as well as instructions on the types of materials that are suited for adhering the different types of vinyl. Care instructions are included reminding you that you should not wash any garment for 24 hours and that you should use a mild detergent and hang dry or dry on a normal setting. Most people also advise that you wash and tumble dry shirts inside-out.
The application guide covers:
Easyweed Sub Block
Siser North America has an app for iPhone, iPad and Android that covers Siser colors, application notes, care instructions and more!
There are many presses to choose from, not only in different price brackets but different form factors. ?Within the different types of heat press there are extra features to be aware of that may swing your decision to choose one press over another. ?Heat presses can be used for both heat transfer vinyl or for sublimation.
Here we breakdown the types of presses and features available to you to guide you to the best press possible for your needs.
The most common and basic heat press option. ?The press is simply a hinged hotplate that can press flat items like T-Shirts, shorts, pillows, onesies, bags and most other apparel. ?This it the most common type of press you will see in shops offering custom designs.
Clamshells take up less space, great for if you have a limited workspace.
Normally cheaper than swing away presses.
Some people find the heat source being directly above them an issue when placing their design – fear of being burned due to working directly under the hotplate.
Cannot press other items like hats, plates or mugs
Get a 15″ x 15″ or larger hot plate to ensure you have the maximum pressing area to handle XL++ T-Shirts and larger customized apparel.
To avoid getting burned, remove the red rubber mat from under the press, lay down your design on the mat and then place under the heat source when you are ready to press!
Check out the professional and more expensive models as they have pull out drawers for laying down your design away from the heat source.
Higher price models also offer automatic open functions that release the press from the item when the timer is done – a great time saver when you are working on a batch of designs or interacting with clients.
Like the clam shell heat press above the swing away press is a single function press i.e. you can only press flat items such as shirts. ?The difference is that instead of being a simple open and shut, the hot place can swing away from the bottom plate before and after you press.
Less burn risk as the heat source is not directly above where you lay your design.
Usually swing away presses have smaller hotplates – like 9″ x 12″.
Swing away presses require more space due to the swiveling hot plate.
Swing away presses have more moving parts and the pull down handles have been known to break on cheaper models.
Swing away presses are effectively the same as multi function heat presses BUT without the extra parts – consider what you want to offer in terms of products and don’t limit yourself to flat items if you may expand your offerings later on!
Multi-function presses are the most versatile heat press option. ?Sold as 5 in 1, 6 in 1, even 8 in 1 options you have the ability to change out the heat source to press everything from plates, to hats and mugs.
Each part is removable to give you the flexibility to apply HTV or do sublimation on plates and cups.
The most flexible heat press option!
The ability to press non-flat items using the attachments.
You have to let the press cool down completely before exchanging attachments.
Cheaper presses seem to have issues with the reliability of interchanging attachments.
Heat plates, like swing away heat presses are usually smaller 9″ x 12″ or “12” x “15” – look for the larger heat plate to allow for pressing larger items like XL+ shirts, pillows and sheets.
Requires more room in your craft space due to the swiveling heat source.
Plan your production runs to save time waiting for the press to cool so you can change attachments!