How to Choose a Heat Press

A heat press is central to success when decorating garments with heat transfer materials. Your choice of heat press can be based on a variety of factors, including heat press style, features, and performance.

Heat Press Features

  • Temperature consistency is the most indispensable feature of any heat press. Cold spots in the upper platen can lead to ruined garments.
  • Interchangeable platens make application on different garments easier.
  • Digital display ensures accurate pressure and temperature.

Download Fusion Heat Press Comparison Chart

Download Hotronix Heat Press Comparison Chart

Download MAXX Heat Press Comparison Chart

Heat Press Performance Considerations

  • Manufacturer's reputation
  • Service options
  • Available warranties
  • Light verses heavy use

Heat Press Styles


Clamshell presses have a hinge between the upper and lower platens and open similar to a clamshell. The heated upper platen closes on the lower platen to apply pressure to the garment being decorated.

  • Easy to use - great for beginners
  • May not be well suited for thicker garments
  • Most portable option
  • Layout work done under heat source

Swinger (swing-away) presses swing the upper platen away from the lower platen. This gives the user convenient access to the lower platen without having to reach under the heated upper platen.

  • Ideal for experienced operators
  • Easy garment layout
  • Requires more space than clamshell
  • Produce higher volume of work

Draw presses have a lower platen that pulls out toward the operator so that the layout can be done without having to reach underneath the heated upper platen. The moveable work surface requires additional care to avoid shifting designs out of place before heat application.

  • Heat-free work surface
  • More workspace needed than clamshell
  • Ideal for high volume
Choose a heat press starter package