Heat presses can be used to create designs on many different materials, and they are a good way to set up a business or simply try to make a bit of money from home. With so many heat presses on the market, trying to find the right machine may not be quite so easy when you consider where to buy a heat press machine.
Before you start to look for a machine, you should consider which is the best option based on the space you have available and your budget.
Types of heat press
The two most popular types of heat press are clamshell, also called top opening, and swing away. The main difference if you are considering purchasing one, is the space you have available.
To use a heat press you will need a well ventilated room, with a worktop or desk, and space for a heat press. This space is important when you think about the type you need. You also need to remember that heat presses give out a lot of heat, so it’s best not to put them too close to anything which cannot handle it.
If you think about how a clamshell opens, that is how a top opening heat press opens. The top simply opens away from the bottom on a central hinge. If you only have a small space available, this is probably the best option as it takes up the least room.
This type of heat press needs more room. With these heat presses the top is raised and it then swings away from the lower platen. This method means you need to allow more room around the press in order to operate it properly.
Draw Heat Press
Another option is the draw heat press. This operates very similar to a swing away, but it is the lower platen which swings away, not the top.
While you might think all heat presses are the same, when you start to look at where to buy a heat press machine, you’ll soon find that they are not.
You can use a heat press to make so many different things, so it’s best to take the time to consider just what you will be using your heat press for before you buy. Here are a few things to consider:
- Temperature: Different materials and fabrics will require different temperatures. While all presses offer a good temperature range, check to make sure that the heat press you are buying can handle the material you will be using.
- Thickness: If you work with different materials, this is something you need to think about. If you are only working with one material, then being able to alter the thickness isn’t so important. If you want to offer a number of products, such as t-shirts and purses, then you will need to purchase a heat press with adjustable thickness.
- Pressure: This is another important consideration if you are planning to work with a variety of fabrics and materials.
Where to buy a heat press machine
Now you know what you want, it’s time to start looking. Everyone has a different budget when setting up a business from home, or indeed any business, and the good news is that there are heat presses for all budgets. But where can you buy them?
Hobby / Craft stores
While some craft and hobby stores will sell them, smaller stores may not. You can always call your local store to enquire before you go to visit. If they do not stock them, they may be able to order one in for you and they could also help you find the right model.
- If you buy from a store it’s likely to be a new heat press, so it will come with a warranty.
- If you ask, you may be able to get them to deliver it for you.
- If stores have to order them in, they may not offer a very wide range to choose from.
Classifieds / Craiglist
Some people do still like to use classifieds, and the online version of this now usually Craigslist. Heat presses are quite heavy so buying something local will be easier to transport. The heat presses offered in these adverts will often be second hand machines, so they are unlikely to have any kind of warranty. You do need to be careful as well, as some sellers may get you to buy without checking that the machine is in good working order. If it’s not, you may not be able to return it.
Ask for a demonstration before you pay for any heat press offered as second hand. This at least shows you that it’s working, and the seller may even show you what to do at the same time. If you ask for a demonstration and the seller refuses, they may be trying to hide something from you.
- You may get a better selection of local heat presses.
- These machines will not come with a warranty.
- You will need to arrange transport to get it back home.
Amazon / Ebay
The great thing about the internet is that it opens up a World of things for sale, and this includes heat presses. Amazon and Ebay are usually the first place anyone looks when trying to find out where to buy a heat press machine.
There are many advantages from buying off these sites, but also a few things you need to be aware of.
Both sites allow people to set up stores to sell anywhere they want to. Some choose to sell locally while others may choose to sell worldwide. The choice offered as a result means you are highly likely to find the heat press you want. If you buy from an online store, there is a good chance the press will be new and will come with a manufacturers’ warranty.
Some sellers are private sellers and in cases like these, you should always ask questions about the press and check their feedback. If possible, find a local seller, as the cost of shipping the heat press could be quite considerable.
There are always cheap deals as well as listings from overseas, and you should be very careful about choosing to buy from one of these. There are many things to think about if you buy from an overseas seller, such as how would you return it if it was faulty and would you need to pay any duty on it. While most machines may be reliable, cheaper machines may be made from cheaper parts, so may not be quite as reliable as more expensive ones.
- These sites offers a wide variety of heat presses
- There will have something for every budget
- Some items will come with a manufacturer’s warranty
- The cost of returning a press could be very high
- Some sellers may not offer returns
Checklist before you buy
Before you purchase your heat press, make a list of the things you need to check, and if you’re not sure you have the right press or the right deal, don’t buy it. It’s sometimes worth waiting a bit longer to get something you are completely happy with.
So before you buy
- Check the type and size of machine you want – don’t be tempted by a good deal to find you have the wrong machine.
- Research heat presses to see who offers these machines and how much they are.
- Set up the space you want to use it in before you get it.
- If buying from a local private seller – ask for a demonstration first
- If buying from a craft shop – ask if they have any add-ons such as printer inks, paper etc.
- If buying online – research the seller as much as you research the machine.
- Consider delivery costs, returns costs and duty
While most people don’t want to leave it too long to get a business started, always take the time to shop around as getting the wrong machine could prove to be a costly mistake.