Since its release, the Cricut Easy Press has become one of the most popular heat transfer systems - but is it the best choice for you? In this review, you'll learn more about the system, what distinguishes it from other transfer machines, its costs, what other people think about it, and how it compares to other machines. We'll also take a look at some of the prices and offers.
The Cricut Easy Press is a high-speed heat transfer machine intended to give professional-quality results with the convenience of an iron. Its primary feature is the adjustable temperature, which can reach as high as 350 degrees to work with material like metallic, foil, or glitter projects. It's also a practical choice for larger and multi-layered projects. Most things can be transferred in 60 seconds or less.
In the practical sense, this machine is an unusually large iron designed for craft projects. It offers a 9" by 9" base (drastically larger than normal irons) and doesn't need a press cloth to get the job done. That said, the machine itself is fairly light and easy to move around. This is both positive and negative - it's great for larger projects, but if you have a lot of projects, a fixed press is usually a better choice.
When purchased new, the Cricut Easy Press includes the base machine, a Safety Base for storage, a Quick Reference Chart to help determine the right temperature settings (we loved this), a welcome booklet explaining the machine, a warranty, and a few practice materials. That last bit is relatively rare for heat presses, but it's a nice touch.
It does not include a heat press mat, but Cricut sells one separately for $25.
The main factor separating the Cricut Easy Press from its competition is how flexible and portable it is. As we mentioned above, this has both good and bad aspects to it.
On the positive side, it's easy to use this machine on oversized projects like blankets, quilts, or extra-large shirts. Since you can just hold it in place, then move to the next section, you have effectively unlimited room. This is particularly helpful if you don't want to move your project because a lot of little pieces would get jostled out of place.
On the negative side, this machine is a bit slower and harder to use if you have a lot of projects. It's light, but there is a bit of movement and lifting involved, and that can get pretty tiring when you're doing twenty or thirty projects in a row. As such, we feel that the Cricut Easy Press is best for occasional use or large projects, but not the best choice for high-volume needs.
The Cricut Easy Press has an official retail price of $149.99 and retails for that on the official website. We also took a look at some other stores, since this is a widely-available product. Prices (and taxes) can change based on many factors, so these may not be true when you're buying, but chances are you can find it for less somewhere.
On Amazon.com, we found this machine on sale for $130.20, a savings of about 13% off the MSRP. This is easily high enough to include free shipping, although you should expect to pay a bit of tax online.
We also found it on sale from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores for $129.99, with $13.52 in taxes and free shipping. That's slightly cheaper than Amazon's total price.
CraftDirect.com had a similar price at $129.95, though tax there put the price a little less than a dollar above Amazon's. Altogether and counting taxes, we didn't find any retailer selling the Cricut Easy Press for more than $10 off the MSRP, but a discount is a discount.
Some sellers offer the machine well above the MSRP. Most of the higher-priced offers we found were on eBay, with prices in the $180's. Wayfair.com offers the unit for about $172 after tax, which is almost $30 higher than the totals of the low-priced stores we checked. We can't recommend buying from them when better deals are widely available.
We also found a rarer version of the product - the Wisteria Bundle, which has a light violet color instead of the normal turquoise 'Sky' color. Jo-Ann offered this bundle with extra practice materials at a price of $150, down from the regular price of $170. If you'd like to have a different color, this may be your only option. You may be able to find a used Wisteria unit at a lower price, but we don't recommend that.
The Cricut Easy Press has a consistently good (though not great) set of reviews. All numbers are accurate as of when we checked on 6/11/18, but new reviews may have been added since then.
When we checked on Amazon.com, it had a 4.5/5 rating after 274 customer reviews, which is enough to draw a good conclusion from. 81% of the reviews were 5/5, while 10% were 1/5. That's enough negative reviews to suggest that some people had genuine problems with their machines, but it's just as obvious that a large majority of people are pleased.
Positive comments included statements on how fast it heats up, how easy it is to store, and how useful it is for travel and shows. One reviewer noted they had a full-sized heat press for business uses but appreciated having something they could easily move around.
Negative comments focused on a lack of heat from the product and a general sense it wasn't getting as hot as it was supposed to. Too many people cited this problem for us to believe it was a one-off manufacturing mistake, but the high number of positive reviews means the issue isn't endemic to the line.
What we can learn from this is that some units may need to be exchanged, so be careful about who you buy from.
Michaels Stores had a slightly lower rating at 4.1/5 after 21 reviews. Of these, 16 reviews were 5/5, one review was 3/5, and four reviews were 1/5. This is a similar spread to what we saw on Amazon - most people either really like or really dislike the machine (with significantly more people liking it).
Positive reviews included comments on the ease of use, the portability, and the auto shut-off system. Many people also appreciated the beeps that let you know when it's time to remove the unit.
Negative reviews on Michaels' site noted the product didn't work for them, and that vinyl in particular just didn't seem to stick. Given the similar distribution of reviews, we suspect they had the same problem that Amazon's buyers did.
Walmart.com had the lowest number of reviews, with a total score of 4.2/5 after 13 reviews. Of these, nine reviews were 5/5, and two reviews were 1/5, with the last two being three and four stars.
One positive review here noted the purchaser used it to make a variety of personalized gifts for different events. They claimed to have no issues and that the machine heated up quickly and evenly. Another buyer felt this press was the best product since iron-ons became available, and that it can save you a significant amount of time and frustration.
On the other hand, a negative review noted that they needed to press down hard over and over to get it to work. With the force they needed to use, they felt a fixed heat press was a better choice.
The most important piece of information from the public perception is that this product works very well or it doesn't work at all. There's not a lot of in-between here - people really like it or they really don't, with few people feeling ambivalent after they've used it for a little while.
Since the large majority of reviews are positive, we see this as a good thing. It's clear the product suffers at least some manufacturing defects, but the fact that so many people really like the final results is a strong point in the Cricut Easy Press' favor.
It's difficult to compare the Cricut Easy Press to other products. There's little doubt that a professional heat press is more effective, but they're also more expensive and, in most cases, fixed in place. More relevantly, they're a different sort of product. The Cricut Easy Press straddles the line between iron and heat press, so there's only so many ways to fairly compare it to other products.
That said, it's more like an iron than a heat press, and it's clearly superior to irons if you want to do heat transfers. It has a much larger surface and a number of helpful features, including easily-adjusted controls and a timer you can set. For most at-home crafting needs, it's easy to recommend this product over a standard iron.
Overall, the Cricut Easy Press is a good product. As we detailed in the Public Perception section, there are clearly some manufacturing defects on part of the line (about 10%, we think), and that makes it a little harder to recommend. Even taking that into consideration, though, most people who buy this machine are extremely happy with the results.
Given the positive perception, we're comfortable with recommending this product to anyone who meets the conditions we described earlier. If you've forgotten, that means we like this product for occasional use or oversized projects you don't want to jostle too much. If you need to do a lot of heat transfers, a full heat press is a better option.
The part we like most is the inclusion of materials to practice with. You don't want to jump straight into working on something for your home or a friend. Since you have things to test the machine on, you can get a feel for it before you spend money on other materials or accidentally ruin a project. Honestly, we wish more heat transfer systems included practice materials.
While there aren't very many discounts on the Cricut Easy Press (see the Pricing section), there are a few bundle deals available on their website.
The first of these is the Easy Press Bulk Iron-On Bundle, which retails for $180. In addition to everything in the basic box, this package includes three bulk glitter iron-ons (Silver Shimmer, Rich Red, and Gold Dust, each 12" by 120"), two rolls of White Iron-on Lite, and 1 roll of Black Iron-on Lite. The MSRP of these products is $253.94, so it's a fairly decent discount.
The mid-price bundle is the Easypress + Ultimate Iron-On Bundle. This includes the basic machine, a set of weeding tools, three Iron-on Lite colors, two Glitter Iron-on colors, two Holographic Sparkle Iron-ons, and a foil Iron-on. It sells for $200 and is worth about $275. The real value here is the variety of different materials you can practice with - if you haven't used heat transfers much, having stuff you can waste is handy.
The most expensive bundle is the Easy Press Everything Bundle, which retails for $220 (and the contents of which have an MSRP of $352.87 - a big discount). This bundle offers the essential toolset, the weeding toolset, and a few more iron-ons than the previous bundle. We wish there were a set with just the tools, but if you want as many materials as possible, this is the best place to get started.
Unfortunately, due to the small but real chance you'll need to return or exchange your unit, we can't recommend using anything from the bundle (not even the tools) until you're sure you want to keep the machine. Keep that in mind if you decide to buy one of these.