Heat press time and temperature chart: Detailed guideline

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
February 7, 2024

A heat press machine utilizes three basic principles to enable you to print your graphics on garments. These principles are time, pressure, and temperature.

You’ll need to set these aspects to the recommend accurate values before you can start printing yon your garment. Make a slight mistake in the settings, and you’ll end up with an improperly printed t-shirt, or a crooked printing.

Understanding how to make this configuration is ideal for the performance of this machine (and a great design with excellent quality).

Today, we’ll discuss the heat press temperature aspect in details....

A Complete Guide to Setting Your Heat Press Temperature Correctly:

“How do I know that my heat press is printing at the right temperatures?” This is one of the most common questions you’ll find heat press users asking on forums, blogs- everywhere! Our simple answer to this question is here:

Consider your heat press as your oven and the garment you wish to print on as frozen pizza. To know how to heat your frozen pizza, you’ll need to read the directions so that you’ll know how to set your oven.

Certain heat press machines offer you a temperature range that you can adjust to accommodate a wide variety of fabrics, including the heat sensitive ones.

Usually, the temperature settings go hand in hand with the time setting and vary from dark to light colored clothes. When pressing light colored fabrics, you can simply set your temperature at around 360 degrees for up to 25 minutes.

For the dark colored fabric, consider using a temperature setting of around 330 degrees and timing for around 25 minutes.

These values are subject to variations depending on several factors such as the type of fabric you’re working on. Below, we’ve broken down the suitable temperature and time settings based on various factors:

1. Sublimated (Polyester) fabrics: If you’re working on polyester fabrics, you’re highly advised to observe low temperatures. The ideal value should be Temperature: 270 degrees F and Time: 10 minutes.

2. Vintage Look: if you want the image to be printed to look old, faded, you can achieve that by using these settings: Temperature: 350 degrees F and Time: 10-12 minutes.

3. Full Color: Use these settings to achieve a perfect, vivid color design. Temperature: 30 degrees F. Time: 10- 12 minutes.

4. Stretch: When heat transferring to fabric with many stretches such as swimwear, set your heat transfer Temperature settings to 33 degrees F and Time: 12-24 minutes.

5. Glitter: For a textured design, use Temperature: 350 degrees F and Time: 15 minutes.

6. Glow in The Dark: if you want to successfully transfer a design that glows in the dark after being exposed to light, you can set Temperature to 30 degrees F and Time to 10-12 minutes.

7. Basic T-shirts and Sweaters: use these settings… Temperature: 365-37 degrees F and Time: 10-12 minutes.

8. Difficult Garments: if you've got a stubborn fabric that you wish to print on use these settings. Temperature: 330 degrees F and Time: 15 minutes.

9. Metal-like Finish: if the design you intend to transfer with a heat press has a design that makes it appear metallic, you need to set your device Temperature at 320 degrees F and Time at 10 minutes.

10. High Quality: If the printing you’re transferring needs to be an extremely high definition (as well as full color), then you’ll to use these settings for a successful transfer. Temperature: 305 degrees F and Time: 5 minutes.

11. Photo Transfer (White): When transferring images onto a light colored fabric, use Temperature: 385 degrees F and Time: 25-30 minutes.

12. Photo Transfer (Dark): Use these settings when doing an image transfer onto a dark fabric. Temperature: 365 degrees F and Time: 25 minutes

13. Reflective: What if you’re printing in a reflective fabric, e.g. safety gear? Well, this technique will work best. Temperature: 305 degrees F and Time: 10-12 minutes

Most of the modern heat press machines on the market today come with digital temperature and timer settings which make it easier for you to make more accurate settings.

However, if you’re not always sure about your configurations, you can buy a Heat Press Kit to help you settle on a more accurate timer, temperature, and even pressure values.

NOTE: Often, your heat press machine comes with directions of use. These guidelines incorporate a chart that gives you full details about the correct time, pressure, and temperature values to use for different fabrics. Make sure to follow this chat.

Final verdict:

That’s it for our complete heat press temperature guide. The list contains the ideal temperature and timer settings you should use for almost all the fabrics you might encounter when doing heat transfer.

If you couple the above information with your device user manual, you’ll have all the information you need to operate your machine using the correct temperatures.

And you’ll correctly print on any fabric.