We are often asked by people whether they should invest in a Stahls Heat Press, or if a Cricut EasyPress or iron could be used to apply heat transfers to the material instead. As there are many different factors to consider, we’ve put together this guide to help you to understand the difference between commercial heat presses and hobbyist heat presses.

Considering use of an iron for heat transfers.
Iron on heat transfers or commercial t-shirt heat press?
Stahls Clam Basic Heat Press Machines

The 38x38cm Stahls Clam Basic heat press is our go-to recommendation if you’re working on a tight budget and need high-quality screen print production.

Why do heat presses work better than an iron?

The most important conditions needed when applying a transfer are accuracy, temperature, time and pressure. Heat presses adapt according to these requirements to maximize the efficiency of the process and produce much higher quality results compared to domestic irons.

With over 30 years of experience in supplying heat transfers and related equipment, we’ve found that using Stahls heat presses and Stahls Hotronix equipment for applying heat vinyl transfers offer many benefits. They are built to last, with the highest quality parts and are CE approved for safety. Featuring a clear temperature readout, an easy layout with wide opening action and a space-saving footprint!


Do You Need A Heat Press For Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Iridescent Heat Transfer Vinyl | STAHLS Chameleon HTV | 500mm Wide, Sold in Metre Lengths
Heat Transfer Vinyl Application
Metallic HTV | STAHLS Stretch Metallic Heat Transfer Vinyl | 500mm Wide, Sold in Metre Lengths
STAHLS Stretch Metallic HTV

To ensure that the HTV is uniformly applied to the garment, a commercial-grade heat press is strongly recommended, and although a domestic iron or hobby press may be utilized, the results will not be as consistent.

A t-shirt heat press not only saves time in applying the designs but also ensures that the Heat Transfer Vinyl is properly applied according to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature, pressure and time frame so that the design lasts as long as the garments. A Stahls heat press can be calibrated to these requirements and to maximise your efficiency.

Cricut EasyPress Hobby Presses

You may not be able to accurately apply designs with a Cricut EasyPress or hobby press. Although great for crafters who are printing items for family and friends, they’re not designed for commercial usage and wouldn’t be recommended for a retail business (i.e. if you’re selling the printed clothing).


Even And Accurate Temperature Control Of Your Heat Press

Ensuring that your heat press is running at the correct temperature is a must for any business that wants to ensure a high-quality finish to their printed garments. An infrared thermometer heat gun (pyrometer) is a relatively inexpensive tool to check that you are getting a true, even temperature and that there are no cold spots on your heat press platen.

Stahls and Stahls Hotronix Heat Presses

Stahls and Stahls Hotronix heat press machines are widely regarded as the industry’s most precise, innovative and technologically advanced heat presses available in the world. Stahls Hotronix heat presses include digital time controls which continuously outperform rivals in comparison tests and outlast the competition in all aspects.

The Cricut EasyPress may struggle to provide or maintain a consistent temperature and is rarely if ever, used commercially. A difference of 20°C-30°C on a craft press heating element isn’t a big issue, but if you plan on selling the printed items, they must be applied at the correct temperature to ensure high-quality production.


Even And Accurate Pressure On Your Heat Press

The correct pressure you need in your commercial heat press is dependent upon the specific heat transfer. Thanks to the use of lower platens, Stahls heat presses have adjustable, over-the-centre pressure, so when the lower platen is locked into place it provides even, consistent pressure between the transfer and the fabric.

By comparison, the Cricut EasyPress isn’t able to guarantee even pressure as this is controlled solely by the operator pressing down on the handle and is not adjustable on the press itself.

If you’re considering purchasing for commercial use, we strongly recommend adding a Stahls heat press to your shopping basket!


Why Are Stahls Heat Presses So Good?

Stahls’ wide range of counter-top and standing heat presses are available as manual, semi-automatic and pneumatic models, which makes them ideal for all business sizes from start-ups to high-volume garment decorators, and offer many features including:

  • All Stahls Hotronix® presses are made in the USA.
  • CE approved.
  • Comprehensive UK warranty included.
  • Variety of available press sizes.
  • Wide opening on clam presses with an easy layout for access.
  • Over-the-centre pressure adjustment for even pressure.
  • Digital time controls with precise heating element temperature adjustment.
  • Different shaped Hotronix quick-release platens are available to purchase.

We’ve created a comprehensive, UK Heat Press Machine Guide with details on how to choose the best heat press machine which will hopefully help you to determine the right one to fit your requirements.


Advantages Of Using A Heat Press


Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Stahls heat presses made?

Stahls Hotronix® MAXXAuto Open and Fusion IQ Heat Presses are high-quality heat presses manufactured in the USA.

How much does a good t-shirt heat press cost?

Good quality commercial heat presses start at £425 for reliable garment print production.

What is the best heat press for beginners?


One of the best heat presses for beginners is the Stahls Clam Basic. It’s affordable, lightweight, and easy to use.

What is the best heat press for professionals?

Hotronix MAXX Heat Press | UK DESPATCH | 38cm x 38cm (15″ x 15″)

One of the most versatile heat presses is the Stahls Hotronix Maxx. It’s durable, has a wide range of features, including a digital electronic time control, and comes with an extended warranty.

What kind of heat press is best for sublimation?

Stahls presses are ideal for processing sublimation transfers, plastisol-based, digital and lithographic heat transfersHeat Transfer VinylPrintable Heat Transfer Vinyl and using transfer papers for material application.


Heat Press Company Information

Thank you for taking the time to read our site guide, and we hope it has given you a better understanding of the Stahls press and its advantages for garment printing.

To keep up to date with other guides and additional information, please feel free to check out the Heat Transfer Help Guides and Blog section on our website. Topics include heat press machinescustom heat transfersheat transfer vinylsheat transfer papers and heat press accessories.

Please visit our Purchasing Information page for more details of where to purchase.