How much is a heat press machine?Industry expert’s guide

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
February 10, 2024

heat press machine is one of the major requirements if you plan to decorate your garments with heat transfer materials.

Because these devices come with different features, heat press styles, performance, size, etc. they come with different pricings. Making the wrong decision can, therefore, result in spending a lot of cash or buy too little.

In simpler terms, it’s always good to have a budget in mind before you head out to the stores. So how much should you spend on a good heat press machine that meets your t-shirt printing business needs?

Learn about Different Types of T-shirt printing here!

Let’s discover this in our post below…

Typically, a heat press machine costs from $300 to $3000 depending on its printing capability/performance, features, style and so on.

You don’t want to buy any heat press you come across. Rather, you want a machine that meets your t-shirt printing business needs- one that can meet your production needs and at the time prove economical.

So, the first thing you need to do is figure out the right heat press for you....

Which is The Right Heat Press Machine For You?

Starter Heat Press:

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If you are eyeing a small scale garments printing business, this would be the right machine for you. As its name implies, this device is designed to offer you an affordable option for starting your business.

This device is typically affordable, straightforward and compact.

Because it’s not designed for mass productions, it comes with compromises such as analog controls and slow warm-up times that are frustrating in large printing businesses.

The machine will serve you will if you intend to use it for individual, printing needs for low volume printing business.

Products that fall under this category would cost you somewhere between $200 and $500.

Intermediate Heat Press:

What if you want a device a little larger, more capable than the starter but don’t have enough cash to buy a professional model?

Well, this is where the intermediate heat press comes into play. This model offers you improved productivity and reliability than the starter model. Furthermore, it outputs a quality almost as good as that of the professional machines.

They also come with a simple design, making the highly affordable.

Needless to say, an intermediate model will cost a bit higher compared to the starter model. That is, its price ranges from $500 to $1000.

Professional Heat Press:

And then we have the professional heat press. If you have a busy garments printing business, this is the right model for you. The machine is designed to give you maximum efficiency and versatility, and come with a broad range of features to enjoy you get the best out of it.

And the best part is that it outputs high-quality end products that your clients will fall in love with!

One great thing about most of these advanced machines is that they feature intelligent control models that are capable of supporting up to 70 programmable presets. This enables you to quickly adjust the temperature, heat and pressure settings from one design to another, with repeatable accuracy!

For these machines, you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pocket. Be prepared to spend between $1,000 and $3,000.

Which Heat Press Should You Buy?

Of course, the answer to the above question depends on your budget. But before your cash o that printing device, you’ll also need to consider some additional factors that will ensure you pick the right machine that suits your needs and expectations.

These factors are....

1. Heat Press Performance

How does the machine carry out its intended job? Does it produce high-quality prints on garments? The best way to be sure about your device’s performance is to check the following information:

  • Manufacturer’s reputation
  • Service options supported by the machine
  • ​Warranty
  • Light vs. Heavy use

2. Temperature consistency

This is the most indispensable feature in any heat press. The presence of cold spots in your device’s upper platen can result in ruined garments.

3. Interchangeable Platens:

This feature makes the application on different types of garments much easier.

4. Digital Display:

Such a display is necessary for accurate heat, pressure, and timer settings

5. Heat Press Style

Heat press style is another factor to think before buying a product to print your garments.

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.