Best Heat Press for Beginners

Best Heat Press for Beginners 2023: Easy to use machines

Sublimation is a wonderful way to put intricate designs into shirts, mugs, tumblers, and many other wearable items. While relatively easy once you get the hang of it, beginners may want a stress-free sublimation process. There are many heat press machines to choose from, so we have narrowed it down to the five best heat press machines for beginners.

It is important to note what you would like to transfer your prints onto as you may need a specialized heat press for the job. Generally speaking, flat-top machines will transfer onto many different objects, however, mugs and tumblers require cylindrical machines or convection ovens.

Cricut EasyPress 2
  • A compact design requiring minimal space
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F2C Pro 5 in 1 Combo
  • Can heat transfer on t-shirts, hats, mugs, plates, and more
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RoyalPress 15" x 15"
  • Affordable and very easy to use
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What Type of Heat Presses are Best for Beginners?

When choosing the best heat press machine for sublimation, understanding the different types suited for beginners is crucial. Pairing the right machine with the best sublimation printer for beginners will give you an easy introduction to the craft.

Clamshell Heat Press Machines

Clamshell heat press machines are the market’s most common and widely used type. They are famous for several reasons.

They are space-efficient, which makes them suitable for small workspaces often used by beginners and small businesses. Moreover, they are generally robust and durable, so they don’t break easily. However, there are some downsides to consider. One significant drawback is safety. These machines involve lifting a super-heated plate to put your material beneath it. If not handled with extreme care, it can lead to burns and serious injuries. Another note is that while they’re not excessively heavy, repeatedly lifting the top can become tiring, especially when working on bulk projects. Moreover, many clamshell heat press machines have issues with providing consistent pressure, which can result in failed designs and increased costs due to trial and error.

Clamshell heat press machines are budget-friendly and space-saving options suitable for beginners. However, they come with safety concerns, may require physical effort, and can have uneven pressure.

Swing Away Heat Press Machines

Swing-away heat press machines are a safer alternative to clamshell designs, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

First and foremost, they offer enhanced safety. With swing-away presses, you won’t need to place your hands under a super-heated plate. Instead, you can swing or rotate the lid to the side, eliminating the risk of burns or crushed fingers. These machines also provide even pressure between the metal plates, reducing the chances of faulty designs. Moreover, they are efficient and ideal for bulk orders, as they don’t require much strength to separate the plates. Once they reach the desired temperature, you can imprint designs quickly. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Swing-away machines are more extensive than clamshell models, so you’ll need ample workspace to accommodate them. They are also generally more expensive than clamshell heat presses.

Best Heat Press for Beginners: Cricut Easy Press 2

Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (9 in x 9 in), Ideal for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, Pillows, Aprons & More, Precise Temperature Control, Features Insulated Safety Base & Auto-Off, Raspberry
  • A NO-STRESS HEAT PRESS — Get pro-level heat-transfer results with Cricut EasyPress 2, the speed of a heat press and the convenience of an iron
  • ADJUSTABLE TIME AND TEMPERATURE— Control temperature up to 400 ºF (205 ºC) and set the timer to take on just about any heat transfer project that comes your way
  • QUICK, EASY RESULTS — Featuring an advanced heat plate design with a ceramic-coated surface, the press heats up in under 2 minutes and can take on even the most intricate prints in no time
  • IGHTWEIGHT & EASY TO STORE — Cricut EasyPress 2 is equipped with an insulated safety base & auto-off feature to help make every heat transfer project a safe, worry-free experience
  • AFETY CERTIFICATIONS — Cricut products conform with applicable product standards like UL, CSA, FCC, or IEC standards. Cricut products are also listed or certified Nationally Recognized Testing Labs (NRTLs) such as TUV & Intertek
  • Affordable heat press option
  • Easy to use, suitable for beginners
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Ideal for sublimation or Infusible Ink transfers
  • The largest size available is 12 x 10 inches

The Cricut Easy Press 2 is a popular choice among home artists, often regarded as a bridge between a traditional iron and a heat press. It’s an excellent tool for individuals exploring more twisted heat transfers beyond what a household iron can achieve. This machine is particularly well-suited for crafters, beginners, and teenagers engaged in creative projects.

While the Cricut Easy Press 2 is affordable and easy to use, it isn’t ideal for large-scale or commercial production due to its smaller size and the need for manual pressure application. However, it does offer a wide temperature range of up to 400°F, making it suitable for sublimation heat press applications.

Cricut is a respected brand known for producing high-quality, durable products. The Easy Press 2 is available in four sizes, including a mini version. It comes in various colors to suit your artistic style. Its digital time and temperature control display make adjusting settings very easy and accessible, and it heats up quickly for efficient crafting sessions. Moreover, Cricut provides excellent customer support and offers a wealth of online resources and a supportive community.

Best beginner heat press for T-shirts: TUSY Heat Press Machine

TUSY Heat Press Machine, 15×15 inch Heat Press for t Shirts, Fast Heating for Heat Sublimation and Heat Vinyl Transfer
  • 【15 x 15 IN HEAT PRESS MACHINE】 The platen is covered with thickened teflon, heat resistance and easy to clean. You can get perfect colors for almost all flat items, such as T-shirts, sports uniform, jersey, tote bags, mouse pad and puzzles.
  • 【DIGITAL LCD CONTROL BOX】Separate digital readout for time & temperature make operation clearer. Improved digital box keeps accurate control of time and temperature, thus brings perfect color to your printing! Temperature Range: 32 – 482 ℉, Time Control: 0 – 999 seconds, Power: 1400W, Voltage: 110V.
  • 【UPGRADED OVERHEAT PROTECTION】: When the temperature of the heat press is too high, it can be automatically turned off to avoid accidents like burning and fire, super safe for you to use.
  • 【COMBINATION OF QUALITY AND SAFETY】With improved commercial grade steel frame, TUSY heat press can withstand high volume of work with a longer product life. The clamshell design offers a full view of the garment layout, takes less space for storage, thus easy and friendly for beginners. And it’s also portable for you business!
  • 【TIMELY & SKILLFUL AFTER-SALES SERVICE】 TUSY puts customers’ using experience in the first place. If you have any problems about heat press machine, feel free to contact us, and we will give skillful and responsible reply in 24 hours with great patience!
  • Handheld design enhances accuracy during operation
  • It is user-friendly and easy to use, making it suitable for beginners
  • It is highly adjustable, allowing you to print on various fabrics.
  • The timer has a maximum limit of just 999 seconds

The TUSY Heat Press Machine is a user-friendly option designed for beginners looking to start their heat transfer projects. This heat press machine includes essential accessories, making it easy to begin printing on various materials and items.

The TUSY Heat Press Machine boasts several noteworthy features that make it a reliable choice for beginners. Its heating plate, measuring 15×15 inches, provides ample printing space, easily accommodating even oversized T-shirts. The machine’s handheld design enhances precision and control during operation, ensuring accurate transfers.

Safety is a priority with this heat press, thanks to its overheat protection feature. If the temperature exceeds safe limits, the machine automatically shuts off, preventing accidents.

This versatile heat press is suitable for a wide range of flat items, including bags, T-shirts, puzzles, tiles, and blankets. It excels at transferring images and characters onto fabrics like cotton and flax. An LCD control panel enhances usability, displaying temperature and time settings while allowing for precise adjustments.

Best budget heat press machine for beginners: RoyalPress Industrial Heat Press

RoyalPress 15″ x 15″ Color LED Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Transfer Machine T-Shirt Heat Press Machine, 15″ x 15″, Blue
  • Brand New Industrial-Quality Press-casting aluminum heating plate with teflon coating,don’t need coated sheet anymore;Printing Area:15″ x 15″ (38 x 38cm);
  • Temperature range:0-480F Fahrenheit degree(0-250 Centigrade),Time Range:0-999 second, Counter Range:0-999pcs; Voltage:110v, Power:1400W; With US-standard grounded plug;
  • Color LED Intelligent Memory Digital temperature,time and counter triple function controller, Provides extra function of calculating production;
  • Special Thickened Aluminum Heating Plate make the even and stable temperature over the heating plate; Professional in heat transfer printing on t-shirt, bags, puzzles, mouse pads etc;
  • Warm note:T-shirts are NOT included in the package.Thanks.
  • Resistant and durable
  • Simple temperature and time setting for ease of use
  • Equipped with an electrical control system for easy maintenance
  • Aluminum plates may take slightly more time to heat up compared to other materials

The RoyalPress Industrial Machine stands out as an excellent choice for beginners and experienced users searching for a safe and efficient heat press. One of its standout features is the pull-away design, where the larger-sized lower plate can be pulled out of the heat press. This design ensures you can work on your projects without getting too close to the hot plates, enhancing safety. Moreover, the draw-style press takes up minimal space, making it a practical choice for those with limited workspaces.

Notable features of the RoyalPress include a magnetic lock to secure the plate and prevent slippage during printing. This heat press emits a beep and automatically unlocks and opens the plates once the timer reaches completion. The aluminum heating plates have a Teflon coating, which protects your workpiece from burns and simplifies cleaning. The LED digital temperature display and intelligent memory function controller make it user-friendly, especially for beginners. The silicone pads can withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, enhancing its versatility.

If you’re a beginner seeking a top-notch heat press, the RoyalPress is a compelling choice. Its pull-away design ensures safety during use, and the durable aluminum plates with a Teflon coating offer reliability. The magnetic lock prevents plate slippage, and the user-friendly features, including the temperature display and function controller, make it an excellent option for various projects, such as printing on T-shirts, bags, mousepads, and more.

Best multi-use heat press for beginners: F2C Pro 5 in 1 Combo

F2C Pro 5 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine T-Shirt Hat Cap Mug Plate Digital Transfer Sublimation Machine New Black (5 in 1 Swing Away)
  • Full 360-degree rotation and professional swing-away design.Note: If the heating plate is not flat, pls check first if the machine is placed on a flat workstation and make sure to add enough pressure by adjusting the pressure knob to secure the plate from shaking
  • Digital LED controller, Non-stick surface W/ Detached upgraded aluminium alloy cradle for use of the mugs, hats & pads elements
  • Large 12″ x 15″ Heat Press, provides a big surface to create your own custom T-shirt etc
  • This 5 in 1 multifunction heat press machine comes with hat, mug, plate attachments for make your custom mugs, pads or hats besides just T-shirts
  • This 5-in-1 Set can widely be used to transfer colorful pictures and characters of sublimating and dissolved printing ink onto ceramics, glasses and textiles such as cotton, flax, chemical fiber, nylon, etc.
  • Resistant Provides accurate and even imprinting of designs on various surfaces
  • The 12 x 15 inches heating surface accommodates many design projects
  • Not restricted to one type of sublimation
  • No specific cons

Not everyone possesses a natural talent for sublimation, especially when handling hot plates that can reach a few hundred degrees. That’s why it’s essential to have beginner-friendly equipment that’s both safe and powerful, catering to beginners and professionals alike. The F2C Pro Heat Press Machine perfectly fits this description, making it a standout choice for those new to heat pressing.

What sets the F2C Pro apart is its user-friendliness, offering beginners an easy-to-operate heat press without compromising print quality. The machine arrives partially assembled in the box, making setup hassle-free. You won’t need to spend hours deciphering schematics; you can start working on your projects moments after unboxing.

While the machine’s heating surface measures 12 x 15 inches, slightly smaller than some competitors, it ensures even heating for consistent results. Customer support for this heat press is exceptional, offering assistance for any issues you might encounter.

While there might be a slight odor during the initial uses, it dissipates with time and does not transfer to your materials.

Honorable mention: PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press

PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation Heat Press Machine for T Shirt, 15×15 Inch, Black
  • Teflon coated Heating Plate: 15×15 inch. Voltage: 110V. Power: 1400 W. Digital Control Board (Temperature Range: 32-455 F & Time Range: 0-999 s)
  • Removable Silicon Mat: The silicon mat is not glued on the bottom board. Advantages: Washable (Easy to clean after work) & Replaceable (Easy to replace with new mat). Please feel free to move or attach as you like.
  • Bottom handle: When the heating plate is closed with high temperature, the shape of the machine might change slightly. A bottom handle can then help you open the plate easily and safely.
  • Patented Design Control Chip: Makes the machine more powerful, more accurate and safer to control the temperature.
  • Replaceable Fuse: Protect machine from overheating and electric short.
  • Easy to use
  • Solid construction, durable build
  • It is not as smooth to operate as higher-end machines

The Power Press Heat Press is another fantastic choice for beginners. This digital heat press offers affordability and essential features, making it a reliable option for various projects. It has a digital LCD for precise time and temperature control, offering a wide temperature range from 0 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can easily adjust the pressure using the knob, and the silicon base plate ensures even heating. With a robust aluminum heat platen, a heavy-duty steel frame, and a replaceable fuse for maintenance, it combines durability with functionality. While its clamshell design saves space, it may not provide the same smooth operation as higher-end models. Despite some minor drawbacks, it’s a solid choice for home uses and small-scale t-shirt businesses.

How To Choose The Right Heat Press Machine As a Beginner

Choosing the best heat press machine as a beginner involves considering several important factors, such as the materials you’ll be working with, your budget, portability needs, and efficiency requirements. Whether planning to start a custom T-shirt or mug business or simply exploring a new crafting hobby, finding a suitable heat press machine is essential.

In this guide are many top-rated heat press machines known for their excellent workflow with versatile material compatibility and user-friendly controls. Here are some key factors to take into account:


Suppose you’re using textiles that you’ve printed with your Cricut machine. In that case, choosing a heat press machine designed to work seamlessly with the same materials for a smoother workflow is a good idea.

Size and Usage

Consider the size of the heat press machine you need based on the products you intend to create. While larger machines can handle bigger projects, they may require more storage space and a dedicated working area.

Ease of Use

Look for user-friendly features, especially if you’re new to heat press machines. Some newer Cricut models can even connect to the Cricut Heat App for enhanced automation.

When it comes to the transfer process, you’ll encounter two main types:

Two-Step Transfers

This method involves printing your design on heat transfer paper or vinyl first. Then, the heat press machine transfers the design onto your chosen material.

Sublimation Transfers

Sublimation involves either printing the design with sublimation ink or onto sublimation paper. When heated with a heat press, the ink transforms into a gas, embedding itself into the substrate.

Consider the application and materials you plan to work with:

Specialty Machines

These are designed for specific purposes and provide more consistent results. Clamshell, swing-away, and draw machines are ideal heat press machines for shirts and tote bags. Multipurpose machines come with attachments for non-flat items, making them versatile choices.

Material Type

Different materials require specific heat press machines. For intricate designs on items, a sublimation machine is a good investment. Thicker materials with textured surfaces benefit from swing-away or draw machines because they can apply even pressure.


Precise temperature control is crucial for durable heat transfer applications. Consider the type of temperature gauge and the maximum temperature the machine can reach. Some applications require temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Quality heat presses have evenly spaced heating elements no more than 2 inches apart, ensuring uniform heating. Thicker platens retain heat better.

Manual vs. Automatic

Heat press machines come in manual and automatic models. Manual presses require physical force to open and close, while automatic models use timers for operation. Semi-automatic models, a hybrid of the two, are also available. Automatic and semi-automatic models are suitable for high-production environments but more expensive than manual ones.

How to Use Heat Press Machine

Using a heat press machine, especially for beginners, can be challenging, especially if you lack proper documentation. Many of the heat press machines on our list may not come with comprehensive instructions, making the process seem confusing. However, don’t worry; we’ll guide you through the basics.

Prepare Your Design

Before starting, you need a design. Depending on your material, there are different ways to obtain one. If you plan to work with transfer paper, you’ll need a printer that can print on it. For vinyl designs, you can either cut them freehand or use a vinyl cutter for more precision.

Prepare Your Garment

Ensure your garment, whether a T-shirt or another item, is wrinkle-free. Suppose you’re using a Cricut Easy Press 2. In that case, ironing out the shirt beforehand is essential to ensure an even design imprint.

Preheat the Heat Press

Start your heat press machine and wait until it reaches the optimal heat transfer temperature. This is crucial to ensure your design adheres correctly to the fabric.

Position the Design

Carefully place your design on the garment where you want it imprinted. Be precise with the placement.

Make Contact and Set a Timer

Close the heated heat press plate onto your garment, ensuring the design area is sandwiched between the plate and the fabric. If your machine has a built-in timer, set it according to the instructions for your material. If your device lacks a timer, you’ll need to manually time the process based on the instructions that came with your machine.

Wait for Countdown

Allow the machine to work through its cycle. During this time, the design is transferred onto the fabric. Timing is crucial; overdoing and underdoing it can lead to problems.

Familiarize Yourself with the Machine

Before working on projects, you must experiment with your heat press to understand its settings and features. Familiarize yourself with the timer, temperature control, and any safety features.

Safety First

Operating a heat press requires attention and focus. Accidents can happen, such as trapping your fingers beneath the heated plate or burning yourself. Never use a heat press machine when you’re tired or unable to concentrate fully.


We’ve explored the best heat press machines for beginners, and it’s essential to consider factors like machine type, safety features, and ease of use. Prioritize preparation, precision, and safety when using your chosen heat press machine. This includes preparing your design and garment, preheating the machine, and following the timer instructions diligently. Familiarize yourself with your machine’s settings and adhere to safety guidelines for a prosperous and secure heat-pressing experience.

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