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The Best Budget Heat Presses on the Market | Print T-Shirts At Home

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Looking for a budget-friendly heat press? There are a lot of heat presses out there on the market. Which one is best for you?

In this video, Dave helps sort out some heat press features and things to look for in a heat press.

He compares two very viable heat press options for when you are looking for a budget heat press.


Hey everybody, it's Dave here from Transfer Express, and today we are talking about heat


Now the long time subscribers of our channel watching probably know by now that we absolutely love the 16 x 20 Hotronix Auto Clam a lot. We've had this press for three years now and we use it in just about every single video because it's all about the convenient and awesome features it has.

However, with a retail price of 1800 bucks, we understand that not everyone can afford a premium press like this when you're first starting your t-shirt business. So for all of you penny pinchers out there, today we are going to be comparing two of our most affordable presses – our 9 x 12 Craft Press and our 15 x 15 A2Z Swing Away press.

While these may not have as many bells and whistles as the more expensive presses both the A2Z and the Craft Press are more than capable of delivering you professional looking t-shirts by providing the consistent temperature and pressure that you need.

But which one of these is right for you? Let's find out!

While both of these presses are considered budget friendly, one is significantly more budget than the other. This Craft Press comes in at just $350 and is, by far, your cheapest option to get a quality heat press.

Start going lower than this, and you're likely not to get that consistent professional results that you expect from an investment of this caliber.

Now the A2Z is double the cost of the Craft Press retailing at $699, but it is a really good bang for your buck when you look at all of the features you get for that price.

The question is, is it twice as good as the Craft Press?

Well, let's start by going over what you get with both of these presses.

Let's talk about, with both of these presses, the warranty. Both presses come with a one year warranty on the entire machine.

The next feature are adjustable pressure settings and this is really why you want a heat press over just a large iron, because you do have an adjustable and repeatable pressure that's going to give you the same pressure, press after press.

On the Craft Press, the knob is over the center, exactly like our 16 x 20 Auto Clam, and over here on the A2Z, you have a pressure knob on the hinge at the back.

The next feature both of these have are adjustable temperature and time readouts. So not only can you program the time and temperature, but as soon as you close the press, it starts activating the time and will tell you when that time is up.

The next feature that we could go over for both of these presses is semi threadability. That means sliding the garment onto the heat press. Both of these presses are semi-threadable meaning that you could go to about the halfway point of the platen before you start getting caught onto the press. For both of these presses, laying the garment directly over the platen is probably going to be the easiest way for you to print. Just make sure you're not leaving any collars or seams on the print platen area that are going to play with the pressure on your press.

One thing that both of these heat presses have over other budget presses you might find on, say Amazon, is the quality construction and heavy duty metal parts. The plastic is at a minimum and you won't have a handle snapping off on you in the middle of a t-shirt run.

The foam is nice and comfortable to hold.

On both presses, the operation is nice and smooth. They feel like quality machines and you're getting your money's worth.

Another huge aspect of them is that heating element, because not only do they both have a nice elongated e-shaped coil, you're also going to have these calibrated from the manufacturer. You're not going to see those discrepancies you see in the $150 or $200 heat presses where your display says it's at a set temperature, but the actual temperature of the heating element is up to 100 degrees less.

Not what you want to be doing and you're going to deal with a whole bunch of frustration.

We always say, if you're going to buy one of those Amazon heat presses, make sure you are buying an infrared thermometer just to make sure that the display tells you what it's doing.

Both of these presses have dedicated on/off switches here at the back as well. That just make it super easy to turn off and turn back on.

Another thing about them is that they do have model memory, so whatever you set it at, when you turn it back on, it will be set to the same exact settings.

Now that we covered some similarities, let's go over the differences between these two presses, starting with the more affordable 9 x 12 Craft Press.

The Craft Press not only looks great, but it's lightweight and super portable.

Coming in at only 35 pounds, it's ideal for craft and home businesses. The 9 x 12 platen is great for bags and other nice printing goodies that you could do on it, not just t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Over here on the A2Z press, it is a little bit larger with a 15 x 15 work area and it does require a little bit more room in your home because of the swing away feature.

It's much more comfortable to place your t-shirt, or whatever you're printing here, on the lower platen or thread it on and stay away from the heating element. It is heavier, as well, so once you get it all set up, it's pretty much going to stay where you put it. It does have one interchangeable platen that you could swap out by just removing some bolts here at the bottom and putting it back on.

It is also made in the USA, which is really, really cool. And you're not going to be able to find a heat press at this price point that is American-made.

I hope this video helped give you some insight on our budget-friendly heat presses and will help you with your purchase decision.

At Transfer Express, we are dedicated to helping you and your t-shirt business with tips, tricks, education, and of course, business opportunity inspiration.

As always, make sure you are subscribed to stay up to date with all of our weekly content.

We're dropping videos, just like this one, every single week. But until next time, I'm Dave – happy pressing!

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