Cricut has announced the Cricut Easy Press, to be launched on August 20th and later featured on HSN in October. ?Essentially the Cricut Easy Press is a 9″x9″ heat plate with a large handle on top, complete with a tray for the hot press to sit in when not being used. ?The main features of the Easy Press are touted as:
? Easy to learn, simple to use ? No press cloth needed for most base materials ? Adjustable heat up to 360? (180 C) ? Intricate transfers stick after repeated washes ? Great for large or layered iron-on projects ? Lightweight, portable, easy to store ? Compatible with major brands of heat-transfer material
The idea is that this is the heat press for the occasional crafter who wants to apply HTV to projects. ?Targetted at less frequent users and people who have no space to house a regular heat press, the Cricut Easy Press could well take off as a popular product.
The main concern with the Cricut Easy Press has been that it is well known that pressure is required to bond HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) to your item. ?People who use irons use tremendous pressure to apply HTV in the absence of a heat press. ?Cricut has shown videos for applying vinyl, complete with shirts that have done multiple wash cycles to test the longevity of the HTV. ?So far so good according to Cricut. ?The crafting and pressing community remain skeptical! ?The Cricut Easy Press has a unique heat plate that provides a uniform temperature across the 9″x9″ press. ?See the image below that compares the Easy Press to a regular iron for temperature distribution.
The definition, the best clamshell heat press has different meanings depending on your needs and price. Whether you are a hobbyist, home or small business you probably have different requirements and budget in mind.
We aim here to cover best entry-level clamshell heat press, some mid-range as well as high-end presses that are suitable for pressing t-shirts, pillows, onesies and other flat items. If you are looking to press hats, cups, mugs or plates then check out our other article on multifunction heat presses.
Best Entry Level Clamshell Heat Presses
For hobbyists and small business users, you are most likely looking for a cheap entry point to heat transfer and making t-shirts. We have a number of recommendations for you to suit your budget and startup needs.
US Cutter 15″x15″ Heat Press bundle
If you are starting out then the US Cutter is a wonderful deal to get you pressing right out of the box. The heat press comes with two sheets of heat transfer vinyl (HTV) as well as two t-shirts and a non-stick Teflon sheet to protect your shirts and design as you press. US Cutter provides US-based support and has a great following. They also sell vinyl and other higher end presses including auto open presses and multifunction presses. As their lower end starter press, this represents the best value deal and a thumbs up from us.
Includes: Digital Heat Press, 2 Tshirts, 5 Sheets Siser EasyWeed Vinyl, Non-stick Sheet Large Digital LCD Display - Preset desired time and temperature control for precise operation Heavy Duty - stable and supported by rigid steel frame which is built to last
This is probably the lowest price entry point for those looking for a clamshell heat press. For around $150 right now you cannot find a better deal on a 15″x15″ heat press. Cheaper presses from this price point and down are 12″x15″ heat platens which, while they work fine, they may present issues if you want to press larger garments or designs – you will have to double press. The FancierStudio press is a sturdy build, well reviewed and popular press in the crafting groups online. If you are on an absolute budget then this is THE press for you.
This quality-wise is a step up from the press above and from personal experience, it is a fantastic press. If you are in the craft groups on Facebook both for Cricut and Silhouette, this is the most recommended heat press by far. To add to its accolades it is Amazon’s best selling heat press with solid reviews and ratings. It is a close call between this press and the US Cutter press, the latter probably wins out based on the local US support and bundle options which are a huge plus if you are just starting out.
US Cutter 15×15 Volcano Clamshell Heat Press with optional Mug Press
This is a little more expensive than the above models but it differs in one important area. The US Cutter Volcano press is a regular clamshell BUT it has an additional hookup for an optional mug press attachment. This gives you more flexibility to make cups but retains the solid construction of a clamshell. The optional mug press attachment costs an additional $79.99. US Cutter offers US-based support. Seriously check this press out if you plan to make more than shirts. It is feasible that US Cutter could release an optional hat press too.
These heat presses offer more functionality like auto open and larger heat platens as well as local US support from companies like US Cutter and Hotronix.
US Cutter Auto Open 15″x15″ Clamshell Heat Press
This is a heavy duty commercial grade heat press. Unlike the manual heat presses, this clamshell will automatically open the press once the timer goes off. If you are busy working large orders this function is a huge plus as you can set and forget your press and it will release ready for the next shirt while you multitask and concentrate on getting the next shirt ready. This auto open heat press will streamline your pressing process. Like the entry-level model above the auto open press comes with 6 sheets of heat transfer vinyl (HTV).
If you are into making larger designs and want to press XXL and larger shirts, pillowcases, sheets, milestone blankets then this is the press for you. Offering a huge 16″x24″ heat platen you will be able to press designs that max out your Cricut or Cameo’s design limits!
This is a big step up in price but also performance. The Hotronix presses are heavy duty commercial grade presses. The Maxx features superior heating elements which ensure that you have consistent and accurate temperatures across your heat plate with no cold spots or variance. The price jump between these presses and the other midrange is high but this is due to a much superior product with fantastic local support. If you are getting into the business and wanting to invest in a heat press that will last through the years with consistent professional results this is the starter press for you!
These are the presses if money is not an issue and you want the best presses in the industry with commercial grade build quality and longevity. These presses are a business investment that will provide consistent professional results day in day out and have local US support should you have issues with your press.
Hotronix 16″x16″ Auto Open Clamshell Heat Press
This commercial-grade heat press offers a larger 16″x16″ heat platen with magnetic auto-opening. The timer resets when the press auto-opens ready for the next item to help streamline your pressing process. The Hotronix features digital time, temperature and pressure controls, Twin TimerTM for programming two independent time settings, Auto Sleep Mode as well as magnetic assist lock-down. This press also has a wider opening to help you lay down your design without getting caught on the heat element. The heat plate is also Teflon coated for protection.
Features 16’x16 Heat Platen Magnetic auto-opening Time resets when the press auto-opens Digital time, temperature and pressure controls Twin TimerTM for programming two independent time settings Auto Sleep Mode Magnetic assist lock-down Accepts items up to 1″ thick Leveraged handle for very easy closing Teflon coated upper heat platen Wide opening for easy layout Quick […]
Now we are into serious presses. These are actually swing away not clamshells but are the top of the line heat presses. They offer touch screen control of temperature, time and pressure. The Teflon coated heat platen swings away from the plate and additionally, the tray slides towards you so you can better place your design away from the heat source. You can program your heat, pressure and time preferences into memory on this press so you can switch between settings quickly and reliably press using the correct temperature and time every time! The Maxx also features auto-off functionality.
Features 16″x20″ Heat Platen opens w/Swing or Draw Motion Exclusive touch screen technology Live digital time, temperature & pressure readout Innovative EZ-On platen design eliminates the need for pillows or pads Special cast aluminum frame Multiple time settings make applications a breeze Program & store (unlimited) frequently used applications for time & temp. Records number […]
As with the press above you have the touch screen control, multiple programmable settings, swing away, slide out drawer functionality. The difference with the Fusion Air is that it comes in a tabletop format and features auto open.
Features 16″x20: Heat Platen Exclusive touch screen controller with new multi-swipe gestures Data interface port for software upgrades Fully digital time, temperature & pressure readouts Automatic on/off setting Multiple time and pressure settings for mixed media makes applications a breeze Electro Pneumatic regulator that auto adjusts pressure for all recipes Hands Free Auto Open, Auto […]
Lifetime Heating Element Warranty 5-year warranty on major components 2-year warranty on circuitry board 1-year warranty on parts and labor
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Here is a great video walkthrough on how to use and configure your Shareprofit heat press. ?This is a great alternative to the very poorly written on non-existent manuals that come with these cheaper presses. ?The Shareprofit press featured is the same basic press used by BestEquip, OrangeA, Zeny and Vevor. ?The PDF version of the manuals can be found here for reference but check out this great video for a complete guide on how to use the press.
To purchase the Shareprofit press or check out alternatives like the 15×15 heat platen versions from BestEquip or OrangeA
This 5 in 1 heat press machine with 2in1 digital controller is out now. This swing-away heat press boasts all of the must-have attachments. This includes flat platen, mugs and plates. It can transfer colorful pictures and characters of sublimating and dissolved printing ink onto ceramics, glasses and textiles such as cotton, flax, chemical fiber, nylon, etc. Brand new 5 in 1 heat press machine, Fahrenheit and Celsius scale are selectable Large 12" x 15" transfer element, Adjustable multi-spring balancer
If you are looking to reduce the cost per foot for Siser Easyweed consider buying in bulk – purchase rolls vs sheets. ?For the small crafter this may seem daunting but, considering how you may save over time, rolls are definitely a more cost effective option! ?Rolls also allow you to be more flexible in cutting for specific jobs and they store much better than sheets!
World Weidner – Machine Embroidery Supplies?offer some great deals on Siser Easyweed bulk HTV rolls – you can get free delivery if you use Amazon Prime or as with any Amazon order, spend over $35 and get free two-day delivery (easily done no matter how much you save on HTV!)
World Weidner offers a selection of colors for you to purchase in 3ft, 5ft and 10ft rolls. ?Pricing starts from around $29.99 for 10ft rolls!
The BestEquip heat presses are fantastic value starter presses which offer interchangeable options for making T-shirts, hats, plates and mugs. Unlike most multi function heat presses the BestEquip presses offer a 15″ x 15″ full size heat plate – most multi presses max out at 15″ x 12″ which leave you short when pressing larger items.
The 5 in 1 press comes in at $279 (List price $329)
The 6 in 1 press comes in at $299.99 (List price $359)
Additionally, they offer a 8 in 1 at $325.99 (List price 389.99)
Order now and save anywhere between 17-24% off list, order fast as stocks are limited!
So Cricut announced this week the soft launch of their new Design Space 3.
Cricut users have long suffered a multitude of issues with their online based design software. The main issues stem from the platform the design software was written on – Adobe Flash. The software has been notorious within the crafting groups for untold headaches and reliability issues with many people complaining and also defecting to the Silhouette Cameo platform which has offline computer-based software rather than an online solution.
Cricut has recognized these performance and stability issues and has addressed them with a complete rewrite of Design Space using the latest web development platforms giving their users a fresh new look and the performance and stability everyone wants and needs to run their crafting businesses. The new platform does not boast a whole load of new features, I believe these will come in time.
Cricut when announcing their new version put out the system requirements. They state that Windows 8 and higher will be able to run the new Design Space 3. This has put many people into panic mode as there are many that have not transitioned from Windows 7, some are still on older versions of Windows. Many fear to upgrade due to bad press or bad experiences with some Windows 10 upgrades, others simply don’t want to change. Microsoft now also charges for Windows 10 upgrades after the initial free upgrade period BUT you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free via a special link on Microsoft’s accessibility site – see here. This will help you if you are running Windows 7 or higher. XP or Vista users, sorry you are out of luck and most likely your hardware is probably below today’s standards anyways!
As far as Design Space 3 goes you can still use Windows 7 to run your Cricut.
Issues that may occur are probably due to old versions of Internet Explorer that you may have installed.
It is recommended that you:
a) Run and install all of your Windows updates and ensure you have the latest Internet Explorer.
b) Download Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Apple’s Safari and use a more up to date and secure browser for all of your surfing needs.
There is also a Feedback link in the new Design Space 3 – use this to send your thoughts and experiences to Cricut and help push for new features you would like to see as well as any problems you experience on the new platform.
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.