Find Your Best Heat Press Machines For Your Crafting Business in 2023

Find Your Best Heat Press Machines For Your Crafting Business in 2023

We Heat Transfer Vinyl 4U are here to help you figure out which heat press machine will suit you the best for your needs. Over the past years, we have connected with hundreds of small business owners, crafters, entrepreneurs, shop managers, and hobbyists. We have heard what they need from these machines and been helping them find their best heat press for more than a decade. With all this on-field knowledge, we have put together an extensive list of what we think are the best heat presses for different needs.

As you could tell, there are a huge variety of heat presses and options available in the market today. Your situation may require a different heat press than what we suggest below. If this is the case, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at We promise you that we will try our best to find the best suitable heat press for you.

Best Budget Heat Press for Beginners

Geo Knight JetPress 14 Swing Away is probably the best value heat press on the market. This no-frills machine has everything you need for professional results with HTV, heat transfer paper, plastisol transfers, and DTF!

If you’re looking for an affordable heat press with upgraded features from Geo Knight, check out the Geo Knight DK14S Swing Away Heat Press. These presses come with upgraded features than the JetPress 14 so please make sure to check it out.

Best Heat Press for Crafting at Home

The Stahls’ Hotronix CP912 Craft Heat Press (9" x 12") was specifically designed with home crafting in mind. The Craft Heat Press has a small footprint and fits in most crafting areas. It is lightweight and can be moved with ease, which makes it very portable as well. If you are just starting out, this is a very economical and reliable heat press. Digital time and temperature readout means you don’t have to play anymore guessing games with your home iron.

If larger sizing is needed, we highly recommend the HIX SwingMan 15 Swing Away Heat Press 15" x 15" or Stahls’ Hotronix MAXX11 Digital Clam Heat Press for this application!

Best Heat Press for Small Businesses - Low Daily Volume/Occasional Large Runs, Moderate Daily Volume

For low daily volume projects, we would recommend Stahls’ Hotronix MAXX15 or MAXX20 Clam heat press series or Geo Knight DK16/DK20 Clamshell heat presses.

FYI, there is a physical effort required to open and close a manual clamshell heat press. This is not really something you notice when pressing a few shirts. However, when you start pressing 20, 30, even 50 shirts at a time, operator fatigue becomes very real. For these, we recommend going with Stahls’ Hotronix STX Auto Open Clam Series or HIX S-450 Auto-Open Clamshell. Auto-open is a feature that opens up your heat press automatically when the timer counts down to zero - cutting operator fatigue in half! If your small business is pressing 25+ t-shirts daily, you need a heat press that can help increase your efficiency. The Auto-Open feature means that you can start setting up your next item while the current one is pressing, without fear of burning or over-pressing your items (and of course, also reduces operator fatigue).

Best Heat Press for High Volume Production

Your small business has grown and you’re now running a full-blown production shop. You need a heat press that can handle the long hours you and your crew put in. We usually consider “high volume production” any instance where your heat press needs to be running 8 to 12+ hour shifts, 5-7 days a week. The Geo Knight DK20A, Hotronix Auto Open Clam STX20, and HIX EVO PRO S-650 Auto-Open Clamshell are three heavy-duty, American-made heat presses that are built like tanks and will handle any project you throw at them. They all come with lifetime warranties on their heating elements, which just gives you an idea of how confident the manufacturers are in their respective products. These are the kind of heat presses you invest in that will pay for themselves many times over for years and years to come.

Best Heat Press for White Toner Laser Transfers

The Stahls’ Hotronix Fusion IQ 16”x20” Heat Press has been called “The Cadillac of Heat Presses”. It’s totally unique in that it’s a swing away heat press WITH a slide-out lower platen. But the premium heating element is what really makes this heat press ideal for White Toner Laser Transfers - like Forever Laser Dark No-Cut. Stahls’ Heating Element has excellent heat distribution, which is essential for these types of transfers. The Fusion IQ also has the ability to store presets, which makes switching between materials easier than ever.

The Insta Model 256 is another 16”x20” heat press with a top-quality heating element that can handle even the most finicky of white toner laser transfers. There’s a reason you’ll see both this heat press and the Fusion IQ in a large majority of online white toner tutorials - they’re extremely good at what they do.

Best Heat Press for Pressing Hats/Caps

Geo Knight DK7 or Stahls’ Hotronix Auto Open STXC is a great hat press. With its included interchangeable lower platens, large non-stick heating element, and auto-open feature, it has quickly become a favorite here at HTV4U. Dad hats, snapbacks, foam trucker caps - these heat presses do it all. The Auto-Open action on the STXC is smooth and makes pressing caps a joy rather than a task.

If you’re looking for a cap press with more of advanced features with slightly a higher price point, try the Stahls’ Hotronix 360 IQ Hat Press. This innovative heat press’ 360° print area lets you print the front, back, and sides of a cap without removing it from the press with one single heated lower platen. Control the upper and lower platens independently to avoid any scorching. It’s heavy-duty dual-frame construction means it’s built to last. Which is why it can be found in thousands of shops across the USA.

Best Heat Press for Sublimation Mugs (and other drinkware)

One of the best-selling items on our site is the Geo Knight DK3 Digital Mug Heat Press. Sublimation is a big field where many of our customers invest their time in and custom coffee mugs are by far the most popular product. This mug press is fully adjustable, accommodating all different sized mugs available on the market. This unit could handle 11 oz, 15 oz, 16 oz mugs, steins and stainless-steel travel mugs.

The ability of the press to open extra wide allows for easy and fast loading and unloading of mugs from the press. The thick solid steel framework and die-cast clamp assembly provides a heavy duty framework for non-stop use. The clamp assembly can be adjusted for very heavy pressure, allowing for full bleed transfers on even the most demanding mugs. With digital temperature, time and programmable presets, cycle counter and many other features, the consistency and productivity of mug printing is maximized. This will open up your capabilities of what types of sublimation drinkware you could customize and help you grow your business!


In conclusion, with all machines, heat presses come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what field you are working in, you should carefully choose the right size and the machine that functions with different purpose: Vinyl (HTV), Sublimation, Ink Transfer, Plastisol, or DTG/DTF. If you ever have any questions in purchasing the right heat press machine, please contact us at We Heat Transfer Vinyl 4U will try our best to provide you with recommendations and suggestions for your needs!

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