5 Best Small Heat Press Machines for Craft

by Jesse Luginbuhl // updated on: August 20, 2020

A small heat press machine is precisely what you need, especially if you’re thinking of starting a small-scale garments business. The best small heat press machines come to your aid when you need to transfer stunning graphics onto various fabrics and materials. A mini or small heat press is the best way to pass on imprints to t-shirts, caps, and tops as you rest assured the prints will last.

Most importantly, using a premium heat press is far better than employing conventional printing techniques in terms of longevity and print quality. And particularly when it comes to commencing a t-shirt printing business on a small scale, small heat presses are perfect. Most of the best small heat press machines deliver top-quality prints, are easy to use, and by and large, pocket-friendly.

Are you considering purchasing a small heat press for the first time for your t-shirt startup? The sheer variety of heat presses in the market could puzzle you making it difficult for you to choose the right product. We sincerely hope our review of the five best small heat press machines will make it easier for you to select a suitable product.     

Buying Guide For Best Small Heat Press Machines for Craft

In case you’ve never used a heat press machine before, it’s better to have a good idea about the machine. Getting familiar with the heat press ensures that you’ll be able to make the most of it. You use a heat press for transferring and imparting graphics, illustration, representations, and icons onto different surfaces and materials.

The critical component of a heat press consists of two plates having a completely flat surface. The upper plate called the heat platen is heated up while you place the material or item (with the HTV on top of it) on the lower plate. You switch on the machine select your desired temperature and time following which the two plates press each other for imprinting the design onto the surface or material.    

What do you want to use the heat press for?

You can put a small heat press machine to a wide variety of uses, particularly when it comes to customizing supplies for your trade. You can use the heat press for embedding imprints on ceramics, fabrics, plastics, and various other materials, depending upon the machine’s versatility. A small heat press can be used extensively for personalizing t-shirts and sportswear with an emblem or logo.

At the same time, you can heat transfer designs on handbags, caps, hats, towels, mugs, and mouse pads with a heat press.

How to operate the machine?

Contrary to what you think, operating a heat press can be quite simple even if you’re a novice, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You plug in the adaptor of the machine into the electrical socket of the mains supply and switch it on. The majority of the quality heat presses have digital temperature and time control knobs that enable you to set the heating time based on the material.

Once the machine attains the preset temperature, the indicator light switches off. Now you swing away from the lever or raise it (depending upon the heat press type) for opening the unit. Next, place the sublimation paper or heat transfer vinyl upside down on the fabric and position it on the heat platen.

After that, press down on the upper plate till it locks into position and program the timer. As the timer beeps, lift the press and unpeel the sublimation paper or HTV very carefully. You’ll see the imprint or the design on the fabric; let the material stay in that position for a full day.

Later on, you can iron the fabric or rinse it just to ensure that the graphic has been embedded permanently

What to look for in a heat press?

The best small heat press machines should:-

  • Be durable and resilient
  • At least, have a size of 9″ x 12.”
  • Have a temperature range of 0-350°F and a time range of 0-10 seconds
  • Have electronic temperature and time controls
  • Come with a Teflon-coated robust heat platen that distributes heat uniformly
  • Offer a manufacturer’s warranty

Product Reviews Of The Best Small Heat Press Machines for Craft

Fancierstudio 9″ x 12″ Swing Away Heat Press

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The Fancierstudio 9″ x 12″ swing-away heat press is ideal for small business settings, both commercial and home-based. This swing-style heat press machine comes equipped with a host of versatile features for effectively completing small heat transfer projects.  This heat press’s ergonomic design makes the machine user-friendly, thereby enabling you to accomplish your printing jobs with elan.

The swing-away arm or lever allows you to transfer imprints in a very safe and secure manner. You can set the temperature in a range varying from 0°F-500°F and the time from 0 to 999 seconds. And you can program the time and temperature digitally, thereby ensuring proper selection.

The Teflon sheet protects your heat transfer materials from high temperatures and overheating. The included silicone padding is not stuck firmly that helps you in replacing the same when it disintegrates. If you want to heat transfer customized or standardized designs on t-shirts, then this Fancierstudio 9″ x 12″ heat press is the way to go.


  • Swing-away style heat press machine
  • Comes with Teflon sheet
  • Time control range: 0-999 seconds
  • Temperature range: 0°F-500°F
  • Heat transfer surface area: 9″ x 12.”


  • Perfectly suitable for both domestic and commercial environments
  • Designed ergonomically for ease of use
  • Embeds designs permanently onto fabrics on the application of heavy pressure and high temperature
  • Digital temperature and time controls


  • Not very durable and resilient
  • Inferior quality components

Cricut Easy Press 2

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If you wish to give full vent to your creativeness with regards to your small printing projects, then the Cricut Easy Press 2 is your best bet. This performance-oriented heat press with heat adjustable up to 400°F from Circuit guarantees excellent heat transfer results in no time. The Easy Press 2 integrates the versatility of an iron press and a heat press for delivering impressions that stick for good.

The temperature and time setting controls have been subjected to strict quality controls to ensure every project comes out entirely. This Easy Press 2 unit from Cricut is available in three different sizes, so you can choose one that suits your plans. The sturdy heat platen is coated with ceramic that protects it’s surface and heat transfer materials from overheating and scorching.


  • Superior heat platen design with ceramic-layered surface
  • Available in three distinct sizes: 6″ x 7″, 9″ x 9″, 12″ x 10.”
  • Precision temperature controls up to 205°C (400°F)
  • Programmable time settings
  • Excellent results within a couple of minutes


  • Easy to use even for beginners
  • Comfortable environment of temperature and time
  • The ceramic coated platen transfers heat up evenly for quickly transferring designs onto fabrics
  • Graphics and illustrations remain stuck even after numerous wash cycles


  • You have to apply much more pressure than ordinarily required

TransPro Mini Heat Press

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The Mini Heat Press from TransPro is extremely popular, with individuals having a small printing set up in their home or office. Although this TransPro Mini Heat Press looks similar to numerous other small or pint-size heat presses, it is far superior compared to the latter. For a start, it features a swing-away press down lever, which keeps the plates away from your body, thereby ensuring safe operation.

The heat platen is made of sturdy and toughened materials that make it incredibly performance-oriented and long-lasting. This is a digital heat press machine, which implies you can automatically set the time and temperature by the heat transfer material. This mini heat press by TransPro can pass on graphics that you create with a laser or inkjet printer onto different surfaces.


  • Heat platen surface area: 9″ x 12.”
  • Digital temperature and time controls
  • Heat press type: swing-away
  • Durable construction
  • Rubberized rivets on bottom plate base for stable placement


  • Swing-away heat press machine for ease of use and safe operation
  • Built to last
  • Electronic timer and temperature controls
  • Ideal for passing on designs onto a variety of surfaces


  • Relatively expensive compared to other similar models
  • Not compatible with additional heat platens

HPN 15″ x 15″ High-Pressure Heat Press Transfer Machine

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You can bet you won’t cross a more versatile heat press than the 15″ x 15″ High-Pressure Heat Press Machine from HPN. Designed innovatively, keeping in mind the requirements of small-scale garments businesses, the HPN heat press ensures optimum torque and leverage with minimum exertion. This heat press’s heavy-duty clamping mechanism goes a long way in ensuring the deployment of maximum rotational force.

The electronic temperature control gauge facilitates the setting and reading of the temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales.


  • Complete range of heating coils for heating with greater accuracy and speed
  • Digital timer and temperature controls
  • Temperature range: 0°F-550°F
  • 15″ x 15″ Heat platen coated with a nonstick material


  • Ideal for heat transfer on almost any type of flat surface
  • Precision readings in Centigrade and Fahrenheit scales
  • Robust clamp system for better torque and leverage
  • Designed and created with meticulous care: extended functional life
  • 12 different sizes to choose from


  • Not suitable for use on rounded or curved surfaces

Transfer Crafts T-Shirt Heat Press & Digital Sublimation Machine

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The Transfer Crafts 9″ x 12″ digital heat press machine has been specially designed for completing small-scale printing projects. The 9″ x 12″ printing field effectively and safely passes on illustrations and representations to different flat surface products. These flat surface items include ceramic plates, mousepads, tote bags, garments, apparels, jigsaw puzzles, and so on.

The product is delivered in a fully assembled state enabling you to use right after you take it out. This heat press sublimation machine from Transfer Crafts features electronic LED time, and temperature controls, letting you work with greater convenience. 


  • The fully assembled unit includes transfer sheet and manual
  • Teflon coated aluminum heat plate
  • Suitable for small businesses
  • Available in two sizes: 15″ x 15″; 9″ x 12.”


  • Digital heat control and timer facilitate precision programming
  • Easily adjustable pressure knob
  • Temperature range: room temp-500°F
  • Timer range: 0-999 seconds
  • Perfect for using on mousepads, t-shirts, ceramic tiles, jigsaw puzzles, and plates


  • Gives off a noxious smell when turned on
  • Somewhat pricey


Every small heat press machine reviewed above from Fancierstudio to Transfer Crafts has attracted more positive than adverse feedbacks. So whether you’ll go for the Cricut Easy Press 2 or the TransPro Mini Heat Press boils down to your working needs and your budget. 

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