The Top 3 Things to Consider Before Buying a T-Shirt Press

T-shirt heat press

There is a heat press for each need and budget.

You are ready to start your business, and the first step is to get a t-shirt press, but where do you start? Those $300 heat presses look enticing and you saw some good reviews, but before you pull the trigger, here are a few items to consider. Your heat press can make all the difference to the success of your t-shirt business if you will be applying screen printed transfers. It is really the only investment you need to get started, so it is not the place to cut corners.


  • Will the platen provide even heat? Ask to see the configuration of the heating element. They should be close together, and go edge to edge. Why? Where there is no heating element, there is no heat, so you want a press with the heating element close together. A wide gap can create a cold spot, and in this spot your custom transfer won’t apply correctly.
  • Will your press retain heat? If you are starting a t-shirt business using custom transfers, your average run will be 25-50 t-shirts. You want the first shirt to apply as well as the last. The thickness of a heat press platen is directly related to its ability to retain heat. To make that happen, your platen should be ¾” thick. Presses that are less than that, may not get the heat to your application throughout your run.
  • Does the press provide even pressure? The three variables for a successful application are time, temperature and pressure. No matter what press you buy, you can control your application time. The two variables above dictate your temperature. Pressure, although harder to measure on a manual press, is just as critical. The upper platen needs to meet the lower platen equally and without pinch points. Look for a press with over-the-center pressure adjustments that will ensure even, edge to edge pressure during your application.
what to look for in a t-shirt press

Since your heat press is your only investment for your T-shirt business, do your research before you buy.


All heat presses are not created equal. See our complete checklist before you make a decision.



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