Heat press machines come in three main styles namely:
1. Clamshell: features a hinge between the lower and the upper platens and opens like a clamshell. The heated upper platen closes on the lower platen, hence the application of pressure to the garment being printed on.
This style is incredibly easy to use, portable, and suitable for beginners. However, it’s not good for thicker garments.
2. Swinger: as the name suggest, this press swings its upper platen away from the lower one. This gives you convenient access to lower platen without necessarily reaching for the heated upper platen.
The style is perfect for experienced operators. It produces higher work volumes, occupies more space and supports easy garment layout.
3. Draw: here, the lower platen pulls out towards the user such that you can do the layout without necessarily reaching underneath the heated upper platen. Because the work surface is movable, it requires additional care to avoid moving your designs out of place before application of heat.
These machines are best suited or professional operators. They support high volume production and occupy more space than the clamshell.
If you’re planning to start a t-shirt printing business, a heat press can make your dream come true. The devices come with different features, styles, sizes, etc. which means that their prices also vary.
The secret to picking the right machine for your needs is coming up with a budget for the machine you want to buy.
A simple heat press will cost you around $200-$500. An intermediate heat press costs about $500-$1,000. And a professional machine costs around $1000-$3000.