Types of Heat Press Machines

by Karen Jones

A heat press machine is a grade iron that supplies heat to garment products. It is an essential tool in printing any garment, including t-shirts. You can also use it in decorations.

Like other types of machinery, heat press machines come in various models. They are similar in appearance but different in features. Each press machine has different features and performs a required task.

A similar appearance makes it hard for people to differentiate between different models.

Before you purchase any heat press machine, it is advisable to know their types. This will benefit you. You will know which heat press machine satisfies your need and comes under your budget.

There are many uses of heat press machines. Businesses use heat press machines for their operations. Families use these machines in their houses. Whether you are an entrepreneur or family, heat press machines are the best thing to invest your money in.

Unfortunately, the market is brimming with many heat press machines. Finding the right one requires effort. It is not easy to find the best heat press machines and also affordable. But you don't need to search anymore. This article covers the best pressing machines available in the market.

Types of Heat Press Machines

Types of Heat Press Machines
Types of Heat Press Machines

Ahead, you'll find five popular types of heat press machines available in today's market. You will learn the features that differentiate the best heat presses from others. These machines are in trend based on quality, durability.

Clamshell Heat Press Machine
Swing Away Heat Press Machine
Draw Heat Press Machine
Portable Heat Press Machine
Sublimation Heat Press Machine

Clamshell Heat Press Machines

Clamshell Heat Press Machines
Clamshell Heat Press Machines

The first in the list of heat press machines is the Clamshell heat press machine. Many people are familiar with this machine. It is simple, effective and suitable for most items.

What Is a Clamshell Heat Press Machine ?

It is a heat press machine that transfers heat on mass surfaces. In simple words, you can use this machine to heat a variety of items. You can transfer heat to mugs, sweatshirts, boxes etc. It is the most common heat press machine in the market.

The design of the Clamshell is a bit different as compared to other machines. The name is derived from a clam's shell. The opening of this machine is similar to the opening of clamshells. This machine has a hinge that connects the upper and lower platen. Therefore, the opening of the upper platen feels like an opening of a clamshell.

Due to the availability of pressure, this model is not good at printing thick garments.

The clamshell heat press machine has further two types- automatic and manual. If you're planning to use a manual version, you have to open it manually.

The manual heat transfer machine is smaller in size. It occupies only limited space. You can place it in any corner of your room.

One more thing, this machine is affordable.

Clamshell Machine Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • User-friendly
  • Easy-to-use
  • Requires little space
  • Suitable for printing tote bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts
  • Operate within few steps.
  • Not ideal for thick materials like tiles
  • Energy efficiency is low.

Swing Away Heat Press Machine

Swing Away Heat Press Machine
Swing Away Heat Press Machine

What Is a Swing Away Heat Press Machine ?

Swing Away is also known as a Swinger. As the name says, the rotation takes place in this machine. In simple words, the upper platen of this machine rotates away from the lower part. You can move the items on the lower platen without burning yourself.

Unlike Clamshell, Swing Away can work on a broader category of products. So, if you want to print on thick or substrate items, this heat press machine is the right choice for you.

The Swing Away machine is also famous for operator comfort. That is, the heat platen of this machine rotates away from your hands. In a clamshell, the upper platen directs towards your hands and arms.

Swing Away heat press machine requires more steps to operate as compare to Clamshell.

Swing Away Machine Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Ideal for substrates material
  • Full view of the area of garment layout
  • Uniform distribution of heat during pressing
  • Energy-efficient
  • Requires more space
  • Heaver. It is difficult to load and transport the machine.

Draw Heat Press Machine

What Is a Draw Heat Press Machine ?

The Draw heat press machine has unique features. The lower platen pulls out like a drawer towards you while the upper platen remains still. After you pull out the lower platen, put garments and load the platen back in. you don't need to reach under the upper platen. This feature allows you to lay your garments without burning yourself.

Another great feature of this model is the movable work surface. This feature stops the design from moving out of place before the transferring process.

This machine also allows you to rotate away from the upper platen. This feature resembles the Swing Away machine's feature.

Draw Heat Press Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Fixation or reposition of a garment is easy
  • The draw-out feature provides more room for a safe garment layout
  • Occupies small space
  • Full view of garment layout
  • The price of this model is a bit high
  • Hard to print bulky or heavy garments

Portable Heat Press Machine

What Is a Portable Heat Press Machine ?

A portable heat press machine is a smaller, handheld device that can be used to apply heat and pressure to fabric or other materials. This type of machine can be very useful for small businesses or individual crafters who need to create customized items on a limited basis.

There are a variety of different portable heat press machines available on the market, so it is important to do your research before making a purchase. Be sure to consider the size of the machine, the types of materials it can work with, and how easy it is to use.

If you're looking for a convenient way to create customized items, a portable heat press machine may be just what you need.

Portable Heat Press Machine Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Affordable heat press machine
  • Perfect for small business owners and hobbyists
  • It has no pressure
  • Memory settings are not available

Sublimation Heat Press Machine

Sublimation Heat Press Machine
Sublimation Heat Press Machine

What is a Sublimation Heat Press Machine ?

These days, Sublimation heat press machine is popular in the industry. This machine allows you to transfer top-quality digital designs to garments.

The process starts with printing your garments with a sublimation printer. It ends with transferring heat to garments. You can create complicated designs. After printing, your t-shirt will show the perfect reflection of your design.

The sublimation ink lasts longer than vinyl, and it never fades. The best part is when you press the surface of heat press down, the dye never stains garments.

Another benefit of a sublimation heat press machine is the large surface. This surface makes the transferring process more convenient. You can transfer any artwork on rigid items like sweatshirts, sweat chap pants or any other.

Overall, the uses of sublimation heat press machines are many.

Sublimation Heat Press Machine Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Easy and fast to use
  • Print large items
  • Offers unlimited colors
  • Produce orders on same-day
  • Colors may fade away from items
  • The print area must be light-colored.

How Do You Choose a Heat Press Machine?

Now you know the different types of heat press machines. It's time to decide which you should purchase. This question depends on lots of factors. You need to know quality, temperature, warranty and other factors. These factors will help you in the decision making process.

Below you will find the factors that you should consider in any heat press machine.


This factor is the most important when it comes to purchasing a heat press machine. High-quality machines are durable. Heat press machines, with high quality, tolerate the constant opening and closing of platens. You must select a heat press machine with durable steel, few welds and has five-year warranty. Also, check the testimonial if available.


An accurate cure time is necessary for any heat press machine. A timer on heat press machines saves your time.

However, there are certain features of a timer. When it comes to a timer, look for an accurate digital panel, automatic reset and turn off the feature.


Inadequate temperature destroys the print. If you want a durable print, your heat application must be over the area of the print.

You have to measure temperature. For that, you need a heat press machine that measures the accurate temperature. In any heat-press, look for the firmness of platens, highest temperature, and heating time.

Platen Size

The standard size of a platen is above the "15 x 5". For large or extra-large t-shirts, you will require large size platens.

Customer platen is available in various sizes. For different items, you need different platens. Hat, bags, shoes need different platens. Check platens in the heat press machine you are planning to purchase. Improper handling of platens will harm your heat press machine.

Conclusion for Heat Press Machine Types

Clamshell, Swing away, Draw, Portable and Sublimation are the main types of heat press machines. You might have noticed that the names of these machines describe their functions.

These machines are popular in the market. Every machine has different features and executes different tasks.

The best part of these machines is they include everything to print. You don't need to purchase additional accessories. That said, their functionality has made them famous in homes and businesses.

Before buying any heat press machine, understand the types, specifications and its purpose. You must select the one that suits your requirements and budget.

Finally, never compromise on quality. Poor quality ink will ruin your print. When purchasing a heat press machine, you must look for the above factors.

About Karen Jones

Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!

Thoughts on "Types of Heat Press Machines"

Get some FREE Gifts. Or latest free printing books here.

Disable Ad block to reveal all the secret. Once done, hit a button below