We are often asked by people as to whether they should considering buying a Stahls Heat Press, or if a Cricut EasyPress or iron could be used instead. As there are many different factors to consider, we’ve put together this guide to help you to understand the difference between commercial-grade heat presses and hobby-style presses.

For reference, based on over 30 years of experience in supplying heat transfers and related equipment, we only sell heat presses from Stahls and Stahls’ Hotronix due to their superior build quality. In addition, unless you were looking to apply large designs onto your garments, the 38x38cm Stahls Clam Basic heat press would usually be the size of Stahls Heat Press that we would recommend if you’re working to a tight budget.


 

Do You Need A Heat Press For Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Although a domestic iron or hobby press could be used, to ensure that the HTV is properly applied to the garment a commercial-grade heat press is strongly advised based on our extensive knowledge. This 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 to make the design last as long as the garment.

A Stahls heat press can be calibrated to these requirements and to maximise your efficiency, whereas you may not be able to apply designs properly with a Cricut EasyPress or hobby press. Although they are 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 garments).


 

Even and Accurate Temperature On 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 your heat press gives a true, even temperature and that there are no cold spots on your heat press platen.

Stahls and Stahls Hotronix heat presses are widely regarded as the industry’s most accurate, innovative and technologically advanced heat presses available anywhere in the world. Hotronix heat presses continuously outperform rivals in comparison tests and outlast the competition in all aspects.

The Cricut EasyPress may struggle to provide or maintain a consistent and accurate temperature due to it being manufactured for the hobby market and is rarely, if ever, used for retail or commercial use.  A temperature difference of 20°C-30°C on a craft press isn’t a big issue, but if you plan on selling the printed items ensuring that they’re applied at the correct temperature is essential.


 

Even and Accurate Pressure On Your Heat Press

The correct pressure you need in your commercial heat press would be dependent on the specific heat transfer – 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 its pressure control is done solely by the operator pressing down on the handle and is not adjustable on the press itself. Based on the inability to provide even pressure with an EasyPress, if you’re looking to selling the garments once printed, we’d strongly recommend looking at purchasing a Stahls heat press.


 

Why Are Stahls’ Heat Presses So Good?

Stahls’ Hotronix® MAXX, Auto Open and Fusion IQ Heat Presses are high-quality heat presses which are proudly made in the USA. In addition, the Stahls Clam Basic heat presses are made under strict quality controls within China to make them affordable yet reliable to companies on a smaller budget.

Their wide range of heat press machines 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 Hotronix® presses made in the USA.
  • Comprehensive UK warranty included.
  • Variety of press sizes available.
  • Wide opening on clam presses for easy layout.
  • Over-the-centre pressure adjustment for even pressure.
  • Different shaped Hotronix quick-release platens available to purchase.

If you’re considering purchasing a heat press for commercial use, we’ve also created a comprehensive, UK-specific heat press guide on how to choose the best heat press machine which will hopefully help you to determine the right press to fit your requirements.

In addition, the video below explains the advantages of using a heat press:


 

We hope this guide has helped you to see how much a Stahls heat press would be beneficial to your printing business and the finished goods that you produce for retail.

If you have any questions or suggestions related to our guide, we’re available any time between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. You can contact us on 01253 349917 or by email to info@heat-transfers.uk and one of our friendly team would be happy to assist you.

To keep up to date with other guides and additional information, please feel free to check out the Heat Transfer Help Guides and Heat Press Blog section on our website. Our team are also available by telephone or email if you have questions on any of the products we supply, such as heat press machines, custom heat transfers, heat transfer vinyls, heat transfer papers and heat press accessories.