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Heat Press Review: Stahls Hotronix

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The Stahls Hotronix brand of head presses has been an industry leader for decades. Its equipment provides the consistent heating necessary for quality printing. Their technology innovations make it easy for a business to train operators.

Heat press technology is the way that digital graphics are applied to garments and other materials. The evolution of digital graphics has made it possible for almost any design to be created and transferred to garments and other objects. The huge worldwide demand for imprinted fabrics has led to the invention of heat presses for every size operation from hobbyists and small shops to large-run commercial operations.

Stahls Hotronix Fusion Heat Transfer Press Machine

The Stahls Hotronix Fusion Heat Transfer Press Machine is part of the Hotronix line of heat presses, a tradition that dates back to the Stahls family’s original company, started in the 1930s to produce logo clothing for athletic teams.

They developed the Stahls Hotronix brand in the 1980’s to focus on heat press technology for the production of customized, imprinted clothing. The Stahls Hotronix Fusion model is a commercial grade heat press capable of handling large production runs.

RECOMMENDED READ: Best Heat Press Machine for Small Business

Product Specs

Let’s take a look at what makes this brand so popular.

Digital Technology

The Stahls Hotronix Fusion Heat Transfer Press Machine features innovative technology to give the user easy touch screen access to the functions of the machine and information on every aspect of performance.

It provides a real-time temperature and pressure read-out and allows the user to program and store an unlimited number of time and temperature applications to make handling repeat orders a breeze.

The settings options include a sleep mode option to save on electricity and keep the machine ready for operation. It can also be set to automatically shut off and turn back on at set times to maximize production time.

It meets all UL/ULC/CE standards and operates at 120 volts, 1750 watts, 14.5 amps.

Platen Design

The Stahls Hotronix Fusion has a 16 by 20 inch heat platen with the option of operating in either swing or draw motion. It is easy to install interchangeable platens.

The machine has a threadable lower platen to allow the user to maneuver around zippers and buttons. It can handle items up to 5/8-inch thick, allowing the machine to handle heavy sweatshirts and jackets, including hoodies.

Pricing

The heat presses in this review range in price from around $1730 to around $2995. These machines are all designed for heavy production. All four are 16″ x 20″ heat presses. Other heat presses for smaller areas, shorter runs, small shops, and hobby applications start at around $150. Our rating of $, $$ and $$$ reflects how each of the heat presses in this review relates to the others in terms of price. Three of the four presses are available through Amazon.com.

How the Stahls Hotronix Fusion Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • HIX N-880 Air Automatic Heat Press Machine
  • Geo Knight Heat Press DK20S Digital Swinger 16″x20″ Heat Transfer Press
  • Insta INSTA256 Swing Away Heat Press Machine

Stahls Hotronix Fusion Heat Transfer Press Machine

Our impression of the Stahls Hotronix Fusion follows.

Ease of Use 5 Stars

The touch-screen technology makes it easy to get a new user started on this machine. It is very easy to operate and easy to change the settings or program settings to be saved and reused. The option for using in a draw motion or swing gives good flexibility for different projects.

Design Quality 5 Stars

The Stahls Hotronix design gives the user flexibility and has the specifications to provide maneuverability around rigid objects on a garment such as zippers and buttons. The temperature controls and the consistent temperature maintained by the unit produce consistent results. It can be used on materials of any thickness up to 5/8-inch.

Warranty 5 Stars 

The Stahls Hotronix warranty program includes a lifetime warranty on the heating element, a five-year warranty on major components, a two-year warranty on the circuitry board, and a one-year warranty on parts and labor. The company also provides lifetime free tech support on its equipment.

Price $$

Pros

  • Innovative digital features
  • Heating design that provides consistent temperature without hot or cold spots
  • Excellent warranty and tech support program

Cons

  • May be expensive for a small shop or hobbyist
  • Requires more space to operate than smaller models
  • Other models can handle thicker materials

HIX N-880 Air Automatic Heat Press Machine

The Hix N-880 Air Automatic Heat Press Machine is a 16″ x 20″ clamshell heat press designed for a rugged production environment. Its technology produces even heat for edge-to-edge coverage with large transfers.

The pneumatic air cylinder lift system combined with a larger air valve reduces operator fatigue on large production runs and assures consistent pressure.

This press is ideally suited for companies doing large runs as well as for shops in high traffic tourist areas doing a number of different short run projects. When the handle is lowered, it trips a switch enables the machine to automatically apply the preset pressure.

Once the pressure is set, this press will automatically adjust to the thickness of the material being printed. It has digital time and temperature controls and provides information on run time and numbers. Its touch screen controller allows the operator to switch between jobs and maintain the settings for four different combinations of time and temperature.

The temperature can be set up to 450 degrees F. This press requires an air compressor. It operates at 120 volts, 1750 Watts/14.5 Amps and 220 volt 2000 Watts /10 Amps.

Ease of Use 5 Stars

The HIX N-800 Heat Press is designed to be easy to use both for large production runs and for high volume short runs where settings vary frequently.

Its air pressure function operates automatically to minimize operator stress. The digital functions are easy to operate and give the information needed to track production.  

Design Quality 5 Stars

The Hix N-800 is designed for easy operation in a high-production environment. Its automatic pressure assures consistent performance.

Warranty 4 Stars 

The HIX N-880 has a lifetime warranty on the heating element, a one-year warranty on the press itself and includes free lifetime technical support.

Price $$$

Pros

  • Air pressure system produces consistent, controlled pressing
  • Strong warranty and tech support program
  • Ability to switch between jobs easily

Cons

  • Requires an air compressor for operation
  • Somewhat more expensive than similar production models

RECOMMENDED READ: Pitfalls About T-shirt Printing Business You Need To Know 

Geo Knight Heat Press DK20S Digital Swinger 16″x20″ Heat Transfer Press

The Geo Knight DK20S Digital Swinger Heat Press is a swing-away heat transfer press in the extensive line of Geo Knight heat presses. This is another well-established American company with a 50-plus year track record in the heat press industry.

This press comes with 70 programmable preset options and interchangeable platen tables. It has bottom heat platens for producing double-sided products.

This press can be adjusted to produce heat from the top only, the traditional heat press function, and also from the bottom only when that application is needed. The temperature and timer controls are fully digital. It operates at 120 Volts, 1800 Watts and 15 Amps.

Ease of Use 4 Stars

The Geo Knight DK20S has the option to interchange platens easily. It can hold 70 programmed preset options.

Design Quality 4 Stars

The Geo Knight DK20S Heat Press is well-designed for operation in a production environment where many options are needed.

Warranty 5 Stars

Geo Knight offers a lifetime warranty on the heat platen, a five-year warranty on the machine frame, a three-year warranty on the controllers and a one-year warranty on parts.

Price $

Pros

  • Accommodates materials up to two inches thick
  • Somewhat lower-priced than some competitive models
  • Excellent warranty program

Cons

  • A higher-end model than some small shops may need

Insta 256 Swing Away Heat Press Machine

The Insta 256 Swing-Away Heat Press Machine is a swing-away style heat press with 16″ x 20″ platens. It swings nearly a complete 180 degrees to the right to give the user access to the lower platen while loading garments and placing transfers.

It has a quick-change feature that allows the operator to swap the lower platen easily. Insta offers several platens as optional accessories for this press. This press can be used for items up to 1 3/8″ thick. The pressure source for this press is centered over the top platen and moves the pressure to the corners with struts.

The heating element coils throughout the upper platen for even heat circulation. It has digital controls for time and temperature functions and a cycle counter. It operates at 120 volts, 1750 Watts, 14.6 Amps, and 240 volt, 2200 Watts, 9.6 Amps.

Ease of Use 3 Stars

Operation of the Insta 256 Manual Heat Press is somewhat more manual than the operation of other models. Its almost 180-degree swing function makes it easy for the operator to load the material to be pressed.

Design Quality 4 Stars

The Insta 256 Heat Press has an ergonomic handle for comfortable operator use and a heat shroud for safety. It offers the option of interchangeable platensthat are easy to use and can accommodate thick materials.

Its pressure and heat designs produce even heat and pressure for the full size of the press.

Warranty 2 Stars

Insta offers free lifetime technical support on this heat press.

Price $

Pros

  • Easy to interchange platens
  • Can handle material up to 1 3/8″ thick

Cons

  • Not as much digital technology as other models
  • A production machine that may be more than small shops need

Conclusion

The Stahls Hotronix brand has been a leader in this industry for many years. Their quality equipment and their commitment to providing support ensure that their customers are receiving excellent value.

We give this brand 5 Stars for its industry leadership and excellent line of heat presses.

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