If you’re in a hurry and just want our recommendation then check out our top pick, the Fancierstudio Power Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15. It’s large and powerful enough that you won’t outgrow it if you start doing large volume or want to press larger garments like sweatshirts or even totes. It’s digital, adjustable and comes completely pre-assembled. For our complete Fancierstudio Heat Press Reviews keep reading!
Why buy a Heat Press Machine
A heat press machines is a versatile way to start your own home based tee shirt business. Many people start with Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), but that’s just one option.
You can also use a heat press to make custom graphic tees with Plastisol transfers, inkjet or laser printer transfers, or even with custom designs made out of rhinestones.
A heat press has a lot of benefits over more traditional methods like fabric dyes or even screen printing. You never have to work with liquid inks or dyes so there’s no messy cleanup. You can also make a single product quickly and easily without a lot of set up time.
If you’re ready to get serious you’ll probably need a good vinyl cutter, check out our reviews of 3 great options under $300 here.
The Fancierstudio 15 x 15 Heat Press is an entry level machine with professional level features. It’s great for beginners because of the low barrier to entry and ease of use. This press is also a powerful machine that will grow with your heat transfer vinyl business or hobby. It’s also great for heat transfer rhinestones or for sublimation.
- Heats up very quickly, saving you time and not requiring you to leave it on if you might use it later.
- New updated model now has a silicone gel based bottom plate that is easy to clean and resists sticking.
- Electronic time and temperature controls.
- 1400 Watt Power
- Amazon provides an Excellent User Guide
- Large enough for most projects
- Pressure adjustment
- Clam Shell Heat presses require less space than a comparable swing away
- Some buys have reported shipping damage on arrival
- Commonly bent or broken arms on arrival
- Problems staying on after heating up
- Clam Shell model isn’t as easy to work with as a swing away model.
This machine comes completely ready to go. Just open the box and remove the protective plastic bag. Plug it in. From there just set your temperature and timer. Once it’s reached the desired temperature you’re ready to go.
The new version of the Fancierstudio Power Heat press Digital Heat Press 15 x 15 is great for beginners. Based on buyer feedback I would STRONGLY recommend you consider buying the Amazon warranty when you purchase this product.
These machines have a good reputation and I have a 15 x 15 heat press myself. However, if something goes wrong with this big, heavy machine, it can cost as much to ship it for repair as it would cost you for a whole new machine. Protect yourself. This is something I recommend on all machinery of this size, not just because it’s a Fancierstudio Heat press.
When my heat press finally gives up the ghost I’ll most likely replace it with this model.
The Fancierstudio 9 x 12 Swing Away is another great entry level option. It’s quite a bit smaller than the 15 x 15 model but you’ll find it takes up just about the same amount of space, as you have to account for the swing of the top heat plate. Works great and has been tested with heat transfer vinyl, Heat press rhinestones and sublimation.
However, it is much easier to work with a swing away. This machine is just as easy to use as it’s larger clamshell brother. If you don’t need the larger size then you’ll save a few dollars on this model as well.
- Swing away arm gets the hot parts away from the work area when not in use
- Adjustable Pressure
- Heat Range from 0 – 500 Degrees
- Time Control to 999 Seconds
- Standard 110V Power Consumption
- 1100 Watts (less power consumption)
- More moving parts means more potential points for failure.
- Smaller platten (which could be good depending on what you need it for)
- Smaller footprint on the table but you must account for the swing of the arm.
- Does not come with Teflon Sheets which you’ll need
This Fancierstudio Heat Press 9-by-12-Inch Heat Press Swing Away is a great option if you want the convenience of a swing away heat press. It’s easy to use and really affordable compared to some of the other options out there.
Again, please protect yourself and get the buyer protection from Amazon. I don’t normally recommend extended warranties and almost never buy one myself. However, these machines are an exception.
The black and yellow model of the Fancierstudio 15 x 15 heat press is not just a color option. This is the amped up professional version. It features 1800 Watts which is 400 more than the standard 15 x 15 model. It does have the same basic operation and same clam shell design.
The bottom plate is coated in silicone gel paste for a durable and easy to maintain surface. This upgraded model also comes with a teflon sheet for immediate use without the need to buy anything else, other than Vinyl or plastisol transfers.
You’ll rarely need to use temperatures over 400 degrees but this heat press has a maximum temperature of 500 degrees. For just a little bit more money you get a much more powerful machine.
It functions just like the base model. But it’s usually priced at almost the same price so make sure you check out both.
How to Heat Press with Heat Transfer Vinyl
- You’ll first need to prepare a graphic and use a vinyl cutter to cut your designs out of a sheet of Heat Transfer Vinyl. You need to make sure you mirror the graphic, so it appears backwards before you apply it to your garment.
- Trim the graphic off the sheet of vinyl with scissors so you have an easy size to work with.
- Remove all the excess material away from your design. This process is called “weeding” because just like weeding your garden, you’ll remove unwanted parts of the design leaving only the design behind.
- Check the heat press settings for the type of vinyl you’re using and input those settings into your heat press. Remember to check the required pressure settings in addition to the time and temperature. Some materials require more or less pressure.
- Once your heat press is heated up to the appropriate temperature place your garment onto the bottom platten. BE CAREFUL THE PLATTENS WILL BE VERY HOT.
- Pre-Press your garment for a couple seconds to flatten it out and preheat the material.
- Place your design onto the garment, make sure it’s right side up and not mirrored. This usually means you look through the clear backing on the vinyl to see the design.
- Place your teflon sheet over the design. This protects the garment from heat as well as keeping your heat press clean.
- Lower the platten and secure in place with the arm. The timer should begin. Wait until the alarm sounds and open the press.
- Remove and set aside the Teflon sheet.
- Peel the vinyl sheet liner. Some materials require a hot peel as soon as the heat press opens, other require a cold peel and you must wait until the garment cools to remove the liner. Check the manufacturer recommendations.
- The vinyl will continue to cure as it cools, generally for 24 hours.
Doug has been an entrepreneur for years, starting several businesses. Doug is a web developer, father of 2 great kids and husband to the best wife ever. I’ve been working on building my custom tee shirt business for 3 years.