best heat press for sublimation

Best Heat Presses (For Sublimation Buyers Guide)

The heat press is essential for sublimation, as it transfers designs from paper to your substrate. However, there are so many types of heat presses in the market, and selecting one can be confusing. So, we scoured the market and discovered the 8 best heat presses for you to look at.

The best heat presses for sublimation are:

  • Surpcos Heat Press Machine
  • Cricut EasyPress 2
  • Seeutek Heat Press Machine
  • PowerPress Digital Heat Press
  • Cricut EasyPress Mini
  • F2C Pro Heat Press Machine
  • Fancierstudio Digital Power Heat Press
  • Sopbost Slide Out Hear Press
Heat Press:Best For:
Surpcos Heat Press MachineVersatility; Professionals in T-shirt printing
Cricut EasyPress 2DIY Crafters; Quick projects
Fancierstudio Digital PowerHeavy-Duty; Quick Setup; Industrial Use
Seeutek Heat Press MachineFlexibility; Various substrates
PowerPress Digital Heat PressStarters; General Purpose; Exceptional Service
Cricut EasyPress MiniSmall Projects; Portability; Personal Use
F2C Pro Heat Press MachineBeginners; Multi-Functionality
Sopbost Slide Out Heat PressSafety; General Use; Budget-Friendly Option

These heat presses are made to suit different needs and have their own strengths and weaknesses. We will review each of these heat presses in detail here and also discuss what you should look for when purchasing a heat press so that you can make the best purchasing decision.

Eight Best Heat Presses for Sublimation

NameTypePlate SizeNon-Flat Plates?
Surpcos Heat Press MachineSwing-away12 x 15 inches (30 X 38CM)YesCheck Prices
Cricut EasyPress 2Portable6 x 7 inches (15 X 18CM),
9 x 9 inches(23 X 23CM),
10 x 12 inches (25 X 30CM).
NoCheck Prices
FancierStudio Digital Heat Press MachineClamshell15 x 15 inches (38 X 38CM)NoCheck Prices
Seeutek Heat Press MachineSwing-away15 x 15 inches (38 X 38CM)YesCheck Prices
PowerPress Digital Heat PressClamshell15 x 15 inches (38 X 38CM)NoCheck Prices
Cricut EasyPress MiniPortable3.4 X 2.1 inches (8.7 X 5.3CM)NoCheck Prices
F2C Pro Heat Press MachineSwing-away12 x 15 inches (30 X 38CM)YesCheck Prices
Sopbost Slide Out Heat PressDrawer15 x 15 inches (38 X 38CM)NoCheck Prices
The Best Eight Heat Presses

1. Surpcos Heat Press Machine

Surpcos is well-known for its high-quality heat press machines. This heat press machine is a swing-away type, where the top plate can be swung away from the bottom plate. Both the top and bottom plates are built from industrial-grade steel.

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Swing-away type for easy accessShort warranty of only 180 days
Industrial-grade steel construction
12 x 15 inches working area suitable for T-shirt printing
5-in-1 uses configuration
Multi-functional and versatile

This heat press machine, specifically built for applications such as T-shirt printing, has a rectangular working area spanning 12 x 15 inches (30 X 38CM). As a result, you can quickly press a full-sized T-shirt nicely with Surpcos.

The Surpcos is also a multi-functional heat press machine, with a 5-in-1 uses configuration. You will receive a Teflon-coated plate, a cap press, a mug press, and two separate plate presses with diameters of 6 inches, respectively.

With so many things included at such a price, you might wonder if there is a catch. Unfortunately, the catch is a short warranty of only 180 days.

2. Cricut EasyPress 2

This is one of the Best Heat Presses for DIY Crafters
What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Available in three distinct sizesSize may not be sufficient for all users
Fastest heat press on the marketRequires very accurate pressing with little margin of error
The small size heats up in about a minuteLacks a bottom plate, demanding consistent pressure
Medium and large sizes heat quickly tooCan be tiring to use it repeatedly
Digital display for updates on the heating process

Cricut is a famous manufacturer of DIY crafting tools, such as cutters and printers. The Cricut Easy Press 2 is their version of a mini heat press. It comes in three distinct sizes: small at 6 x 7 inches (15 X 18CM), medium at 9 x 9 inches (23 X 23CM), and big, measuring 10 x 12 inches (25 X 30CM).

The Cricut Easy Press 2 is fantastic because it is probably the market’s fastest heat press, bar none. The smallest heat press takes about a minute to heat up, and the largest needs around 3 minutes.

Compare that to other typical heat presses that may take up to 10 minutes to properly heat up. You also have a digital display that will update you on the healing process and show you when the machine is ready to go.

However, they do have two drawbacks.

The first is size. Even if you choose the largest size option, it might not be sufficient for all users. You also have to be very accurate when you are pressing since you have little margin of error.

The second is that it does not have a bottom plate. Without a bottom plate, you must push this device down and keep the pressure consistent, much like you would if you used an iron or a large, heated stamp. This can be tiring, especially if you have to do this repeatedly.

3. Fancierstudio Digital Power Heat Press

Best Heat Presses -Heavy-Duty and Turnkey
What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Heavy-duty, sturdy buildInitial smell (though it dissipates after a few uses)
Quick setup – comes mostly assembledCan be heavy
Clamshell design for simple operationMust be cautious when handling hot plate
15 X 15 inches plates heat up fast and evenly
Sturdy steel handle
Affordable price

We consider the FancierStudio Power to be the ‘heavy-duty, turnkey’ heat press on this list. The sturdy build gives you confidence the press will run reliably and superbly.

One reason we think of this machine as a turnkey solution is a quick setup. It comes pretty much assembled. Take it out of the box, hook it up to power, and start pressing.

It operates on a clamshell design, which also makes operation simple and direct. Simply push down to press and pull up to release. Similar to all clamshell presses, be careful when the plate is hot since you will need to place your hands underneath the plate when handling your substrates.

The 15 X 15 inches (38 X 38CM) plates heat up fast and evenly. This should help to give you a consistent, even press throughout. It also comes with a sturdy steel handle, which gives you the confidence to be less gentle with it.

Although one thing to note is the smell (which goes away after a few times use) and weight. But this is a good buy when you consider the sturdiness, ease of use, and affordable price.

4. Seeutek Heat Press Machine

One of the Best Heat Presses for Flexibility
What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Sturdy and robust, made of industrial-grade steelLack of proper instructions, there is a learning curve
Swing-away top plate for easy use
5-in-1 configuration (mugs, hats, plates, etc.)
Quick heating to 320°F (160°C)
Consistent temperatures across 15 X 15 inches plates
Known for decent quality and helpful customer service

The Seeutek heat press looks sturdy and robust, as it is made of industrial-grade steel. It has a swing-away top plate, making it easier to use. It also comes in a 5-in-1 configuration, allowing you to use it to press mugs, hats, plates, etc.

It also heats up remarkably quickly when you compare it against heat presses of a similar price range. More specifically, this machine can achieve 320°F (160°C) in a few minutes, which we think is excellent.

On top of that, when heated, the 15 X 15 inches (38 X 38CM) heat plates show similar temperatures throughout the plate, meaning you do not get ‘cold spots’ on heat press plates. This will help you to get consistent heat during presses and great sublimation results.

Overall, the brand is known for providing quality and helpful customer service as well. The only thing to remember that the machine doesn’t come with proper instructions. So there could be a bit learning curve to use all its features.

Pro-Tip: Sublimation printing is a popular technique in the heat pressing industry. If you’re new to this field or want to deepen your knowledge, this ultimate guide to sublimation printing can be helpful for you.

5. PowerPress Digital Heat Press

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Easy setup, straight-to-the-point operationMinor temperature discrepancies on heat plates
Clamshell configuration for simple printingInitial smell (though it dissipates with time)
Heats up in just 5-7 minutesRisk of burns when removing substrate
Teflon-coated 15 X 15 inches plate
Suitable for various substrates (tote bags, etc.)
Known for great customer and tech support

PowerPress Industrial Heat Press might be the market’s most no-fluff, straight-to-the-point printing machine. You pretty much just unpack, hook up the power cord, and press away.

The PowerPress heat press has a clamshell configuration, meaning you do not need to swing the top plates around. Simply push down the top plate using the handle to print. However, be careful not to get burned when removing your substrate, as you may need to put your hands under the heat plate.

Its 15 X 15 inches (38 X 38CM) plate works well, heating up in just 5-7 seven minutes. The Teflon-coated heat plate, similar to many non-stick frypans ensures smooth heat transfer. The larger plate size means you can work on many different substrates, such as tote bags, tablecloths, pillows, mousepads, t-shirts, etc.

The brand is specifically known for providing great customer support. For instance, some users highlight how the company quickly resolved various problems through tech support, sometimes even on holidays.

Just remember that there could be some minor temperature discrepancies on the heat plates. It is not a deal-breaker, as you can always press a little longer to ensure consistent transfers. Also, you might notice some smell, especially on the first few presses, but these usually go away with time, making it a non-issue.

6. Cricut EasyPress Mini

What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Ideal for small projects & limited spacePortable due to small size and lightweight
Portable due to small size and light weightRequires hard and sustained pressure
Heats up quickly to over 400°F (204°C)Can be tiring for repeated pressing
Easy to maintain with ceramic heat plates
Automatic shut-off feature

Suppose you only work on smaller projects, do not have much space, or think full-size heat presses are overkill. In that case, give the Cricut EasyPress Mini a try.

The small Cricut EasyPress Mini, with a plate size of 3.4 X 2.1 inches (8.7 X 5.3CM) will only work on small projects such as keychains, tags, earrings, and maybe phone casings.

However, the small size also comes with many strengths. Its small size and light weight, make it very portable. It heats up incredibly fast, usually taking only a few minutes to reach over 400°F (204°C). You can easily maintain and clean the press because of its ceramic heat plates.

The Cricut EasyPress also comes with an automatic shut-off that engages if the press remains heated but unused for too long. This reduces both workplace hazards and electricity waste. The heat press also comes with a nice handle, similar in feel to your home iron.

When considering this press, realize that with the Cricut EasyPress Mini, you essentially operate it like a stamp. You need to press hard and keep the pressure on for a minute or more while you press. This can be tiring, especially if you are repeatedly pressing.

For those committed to achieving the best results in sublimation, dye-sublimation printers are a fantastic option. They are specially designed to produce vibrant and sharp images, elevating the quality of your products. If you’re looking into upgrading your printing setup or starting with the best gear, here’s a list of the best dye-sublimation printers to consider.

7. F2C Pro Heat Press Machine

This Best of Heat Presses is Beginner-Friendly
What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Beginner-friendly with little assemblyOdd sizing of 12 X 15 inches may affect the positioning
360° swing-away top plate for safetyInitial smell (though it dissipates with use)
5-in-1 configuration (mugs, hats, plates, etc.)
Fast and even heating of plates

The F2C Pro Heat Press might carry the word ‘pro’ on its name, but you may consider it a more beginner-friendly heat press. One reason is that it does not require much assembly, unlike other heat presses. The 360° swing-away top plate means you can operate without the risk of burning your hands.

The 5-in-1 configuration on the F2C Pro Heat Press means you can adjust it to print on things such as mugs, hats, plates, etc. The plates heat up fast and evenly. This should help to give you a consistent, even press throughout.

However, the plates come in the odd sizing of 12 X 15 inches (30 X 38CM). At this size, you can still use it to press on things as large as a t-shirt but you may need to eyeball the positioning of your plate and your sublimation paper since the margin of error is smaller.

And just a heads-up! You might notice the smell of hot steel and the plastics it emits, but it usually goes away after several usage times, making it less of a problem.

8. Sopbost Slide Out Heat Press

The Sopbost Slide Out Heat Press is Safer than other Best Heat Presses
What We Like:What We Don’t Like:
Safer with the bottom plate sliding outThe clamshell design may risk burns without caution
Sturdy and robust construction
Quick setup, almost fully assembled
15 X 15 inches plates with the simple clamshell operation

We consider the Sopbost Slide Out Heat Press to be safer and, in some ways, fancier than other heat presses on this list. This sturdy, easy-to-use press puts less stress on your wallet, too.

This Sopbost gets you printing fast. You do not need much time between unboxing and using, as the heat press comes pretty much all bolted and screwed together.

You just plug it in, warm it up and start pressing. It operates on a clamshell design, which also makes operation simple and direct. Simply push down the 15 X 15 inches (38 X 38CM) plates to press and pull up to release.

While you do that, you will appreciate the large handles and the sturdy and robust overall construction of the heat press.

With most clamshell designs you will need to place your hands underneath the plate when handling your substrates. Without caution, you could burn your hands.

With Sopbost the bottom plate slides out, much like a drawer. This keeps your hands away from the heat plate and eliminates the risk of burning your hands.

When transferring designs from paper to substrate, it’s crucial to use the right type of sublimation paper to ensure that the design is accurately transferred without any distortions or inconsistencies.

Numerous sublimation papers are available in the market, and choosing the best one for your needs can be overwhelming. You can visit this comprehensive guide on the best sublimation papers to make an informed choice.

What to Look For When Buying A Heat Press?

When selecting a heat press, note the type, size, weight, temperature, pressure range, and flexibility. Take your individual press needs into account before deciding on the kind you need.

For the Best of Heat Presses Consider a Heat Presses Type, Size, Weight, Temperature, Pressure Range, and Flexibility

Types Of Heat Presses

Your Choices Can Be Roughly Split into Four Types:


A clamshell press pretty much works like a clamshell. The top plate is usually attached to a handle. You push the handle down to engage the plate and pull up to disengage and release the plate.

The upsides of the clamshell design are its simplicity, and that clamshell heat presses often do not require much assembly. The downside is you will need to place your hands underneath the plate when handling your substrates. If not done carefully, you may burn your hands.


With a swing-away heat press, you still operate the print motion with a handle, similar to a clamshell style. The difference is that swing-aways have a top plate you can swing away once disengaged.

The top plate usually swings around 360°. The most significant upside of a swing-away type concerns safety.

You get to keep your hands further away from the heat plate compared to a clamshell heat press. You, therefore, reduce the risk of getting your hands burned. Most swing-aways also allow you to change the plates, so you can attach plates to print on things such as hats, mugs, tumblers, or plates.

The downside is that these heat presses often require assembly and may not be as easy to set up compared to clamshells.


With a drawer-style machine, instead of having more movement on the top plate, you get more movement on the bottom plate. In the drawer heat press style, you slide the bottom plate in and out much like a drawer.

Since you get to keep your hands away from the hot top plates, you reduce the risk of injury. The negative aspect to drawer-style heat presses is the lack of flexibility.

You can’t add different plates to print on different products like you can with a swing-away. This is since the top heat plate is pretty much flat.

One thing to note is that while the heat press plays a significant role in sublimation, the printer you use can make a big difference in the final output quality. If you’re considering using an inkjet printer for sublimation, it’s essential to pick one that’s suitable for the job. Here’s a guide to the best inkjet sublimation printers. You can check it out for further information.


Portable heat presses focus on portability, meaning they are usually small and light. Cricut EasyPress or Mini are examples of portables. The smaller size and lighter weight of the portable make them easier to use and afford.

Regarding temperature, there does not seem to be much difference between a portable unit and the conventional one.

With a portable setup, you apply the pressure yourself which means you get tired over time. Portable presses usually do not have bottom plates or locking mechanisms to secure the pressure, so when using a portable heat press, you must push on the plate with your weight and keep the pressure consistent for over a minute or two.

That may tire you out, especially if you have to do it repeatedly.

Size And Weight

Larger and heavier heat presses tend to do a better job, because of their sturdier build and larger plates. You can apply more substantial plate pressure when pressing on bigger machines.

However, you will have to trade off on mobility, and portability. You may not want to move these machines that weigh between 35 and 50 lbs (16-23KG) from place to place.

If you want mobility, or you only work on small projects. you may be better off with a portable/mini version. You may also consider a smaller, lighter machine like a Cricut EasyPress if you think a conventional heat press is more than you need.

Heating Plates

When purchasing a heat press, you also want to take note of the heating plates. Look at two things, temperatures, and coatings. Study the working temperatures for the press to see if the plates come with coatings.

Good models may apply some protective material like ceramic or Teflon on the heat press surfaces. The coating helps make the heating plate non-stick, just in case you overheat your plate and end up melting your substrate.

If you are sublimating, you might also have excess ink gases flying around that end up on the heating plate. Without a non-stick surface like Teflon on the heating plate, you have a mess on your hands. Coatings make it easier to clean up this excess ink.

By the way, when working with heat press and sublimation, the choice of printer matters. You might wonder about the differences between a sublimation printer and a traditional inkjet printer. Understanding these differences is crucial for making an informed decision. To learn more about this, check out our guide on Sublimation Printer vs. Inkjet.

Temperature and Pressure

Some heat presses can operate at higher temperatures and pressure levels than others, which may be helpful for your needs. This means when you shop, you should note the higher temperature the plate can reach. Most conventional heat presses can operate up to 400°F (204°C), which should be enough for transfer jobs.

Also, consider heating speed and evenness. Some printers take more time to warm up, usually due to having smaller wattage. These heat presses save more power over time but waiting might frustrate you, especially if you run a large number of printed pieces.

Some models also may not heat the plate up evenly. In many cases, the outer edges of the heat plate may have lower temperatures simply because they are further away from the heating element. Good plates will have several heating element points inside the heat press to ensure even distribution.

When it comes to pressure, ensure that the heat press comes with adjustable pressure settings. Most of the time, you can see a knob that you can turn to adjust pressure above the top plate. More expensive models have electronically adjustable pressure settings. You may not need that feature.


Another point to consider when purchasing a heat press is whether it is flexible enough for your needs. Not flexible as to whether the heat press can bend or not, but in how many different ways you can use it.

Can you change the plates to press on multiple surface types? Almost all models can work on a flat surface since the plates are flat.

Some models allow you to swap out the heat plates and fit in heating plates that are in different shapes. As a result, these heat plates can be used on objects such as mugs, tumblers, hats, etc. Suppose you intend to work on multiple substrate shapes. In that case, you might want to consider flexibility when shopping for a heat press.

You’ve got the rundown on what makes a heat press tick, but how do you pick the one that’s just right for you?

How To Choose The Right Heat Press?

When you start heat pressing, the journey can be as complex as the designs you wish to create. So, whether you’re starting a new business or looking to expand your current operations, the heat press you choose is crucial.

It’s essential to consider your vision, quality standards, and budget while making the right choice.

Understanding Your Needs

Before we jump into the different types of presses, let’s begin with understanding your needs.

Are you planning on producing customized T-shirts for a small local group or supplying large quantities of intricately designed garments?

Your volume, quality needs, and the type of products you’ll be creating will play a significant role in your decision-making process.

Manual vs. Automated Presses

Starting out, a good manual press, ranging between $500-$600, can be your trustworthy companion. It’s perfect for smaller volumes and allows you to get hands-on experience.

However, if you’re dreaming big and want to steer clear of press fatigue (which can slow down your production), then an automated or air-operated press might be the way to go.

These presses, priced between $2000-$9000, keep things consistent and efficient, especially in high-volume scenarios.

Quality Over Quantity

In the heat press business, quality and consistency are everything. While lower-end presses might be tempting, they may not maintain heat consistently.

Opting for high-quality equipment, even though it may be a little more expensive, can save you from unexpected low revenue at the end of the year.

Special Considerations

Are you looking to branch out and print on unusual items like therapeutic hot/cold comfort packs? Or maybe specialize in hat or emblem pressing?

Customization and special modifications may be needed to accommodate these unique tasks.

Maintenance and Upgrades

Remember, once you invest in a heat press, the journey doesn’t end there. Regular maintenance and timely upgrades will ensure that your machine stays in top condition.

Investing in a high-quality machine can also save you on ongoing costs like lease payments.

Techniques and Tips

Lastly, don’t overlook the techniques and tips that accompany heat pressing. From eliminating heat marks to using laser technology for precise design placement, your skills will be as vital as the machine you choose.

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