Your Ultimate Guideline
Crafting is a great and fun thing to do.
There are so many ways you can start creating or customizing your favorite piece of clothes or furniture.
Did you ever think about trying iron-on applications? If not, please consider further research on that subject. But if the answer is yes, this is the perfect place for you to be.
If you know a little about iron-on projects, I'm sure that by now you figured out that for this type of work you need to have a lot of creativity, patience, as well as proper tools, a flat, stable surface to work on and most importantly, heat and pressure. One more great thing that you need is a heat transfer vinyl, so if you need help to choose the best kind, please follow my Best HTV for T-Shirts review.
And where you can find all that? Well, there are two answers, heat press or easy press.
Now how can you decide which one will fit you the best? This depends on the type of projects you want to do - will they be small projects like customizing your clothes and shoes or you would rather do some larger home decor projects?
And of course, the essential thing is the frequency of use - will you use the device daily as primary work or will you use it sometimes just in hobbyist purposes?
Let me help you clarify the picture with my Cricut Easy Press Vs. Heat Press in depth review!
Let's start by learning more about heat press machines.
Heat press machines might seem intimidating to you, but I need you to relax and trust me. All of them are straightforward to use, and come with an appropriate manual, so you don't need to worry about will you be able to handle your press or not.
Heat presses can be manual or automatic. They come in various sizes, from the large industrial ones (they can even weight around 40lbs!) to medium and smaller ones that are suitable for your home DIY projects (size of a coffee maker). You will choose the right size and kind depending on the projects you have in plans.
The main thing for you is to comprehend how they work. These machines use pressure and heat to transfer the desired image, letter, or number onto the surface you picked up for your project. It can be shirts, T-shirts, mouse pads, make-up bags, tote bags, caps and many more. Don't forget that the design you apply on your item will stay there permanently because of the heat and pressure.
Heat press machines mainly work on flat surfaces, but some heat press machines on the market have additional attachments that allow them to work on curved and cylindrical surfaces too.
Every heat press has a flat surface named platen, which is usually made out of aluminum or any other material that provides good and even heat distribution. Machines are heated electronically, of course.
The next feature that all machines have is an LCD display that will let you control your settings like temperature and time to suit your needs best. For example, depending on the nature of the material you choose to work on, you can navigate temperature ranges in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Almost all models now have a beeper to let you know when the heat transfer is finished.
Today I'm going to suggest to you the two best-ranked heat press machines on the market. If you want to explore more options on the heat press market, please consult my Best Heat Press Machines review.
Fancierstudio Power Heat Press
Let's start with some basics first. This is an industrial-quality machine that is very sturdy and designed to open upward, which is excellent because it will not request any additional workspace. The manufacturer used high-quality, long-lasting aluminum that is great for heat transfer.
Dimensions of the machine are 30 x 19 x 27 inches, and that is quite small for a powerful machine like this. But the thing that might be a problem is weight all incredible 50 pounds of it will require assistance if you plan to move it from one place to another.
The size of the platen is 15 x 15 inches, and it will allow you to work on various print designs, but it will only work on flat surfaces. Platen is coated to make sure that heat is transferred evenly. And you will get the silicone pad to make sure your material is stable while working on it.
Watch this video to see how to put an iron-on application on the shirt with Fancierstudio Power Heat Press:
You can easily use it at home because it uses only 110 volts of electricity and 1800 watts. The thing I like about this machine is that it heats up quickly. The temperature range is from 0 to 699°F (0 to 371 °C), and the machine will reach it in the time range of 10 to 15 minutes max!
The LCD display is located on the side where you can adjust your temperature and pressure settings, depending on the material that you currently use. Luckily, you don't need to continually check up on your projects because this machine comes with a beeper that will notify you when the work is done as well as the timer that will automatically turn off your machine when not in use.
PowerPress Industrial-Quality Heat Press
This heat press is an industrial-quality machine like the previous one. It is made out of sturdy, high-quality aluminum that has a great ability to distribute heat through all 15 x 15 inches platen evenly. The thing that separates this machine from the previous is that this model has a special Teflon coating to prevent damages on your materials when printing.
Watch the PowerPress Heat press in action on this video:
Compared to the Fancierstudio heat-press, this machine is a bit lighter with a weight of 47 pounds (still not portable!), and dimensions are pretty similar 28 x 17 x 16.5 inches. So it is smaller than the previous one but still big enough to ensure you enough power 1400 watts to be precise, and it will work perfectly on your home outlet because it only needs 110 volts of electricity.
The temperature range is a bit higher with this model. In a maximum of 15 minutes, this machine can go from 0 to 750°F (0 to 398 °C). This allows you to work on all kinds of different materials.
When the heat transfer is done, you will hear the beeper. Like all other models, this one comes with an LCD display to allow you to adjust pressure and temperature settings to fit your ongoing needs.
The easy press is something in between the iron and a heat press machine; it has a little bit of both. The great thing is that it is very compact, light, and portable compared to a heat press machine.
And it does not require a permanent workspace in your home.
Temperature range is closer to iron than to the heat press cause it goes only in the field from 0 to 350°F (0 to 180 °C) in a maximum of 3 minutes, but that will still be enough heat for large and layered projects you plan on doing.
Cricut Easy Press machines come in three different models, but they all come with a handle for more comfortable operating. They are straightforward to use. You only need to read the manual that comes with each machine, and you are set to go.
You will find it very easy to establish your easy press thanks to a little LCD screen with convenient buttons that will allow you to adjust your desired temperature and timer. Like a heat press, easy press requires a firm and flat surface for work.
Before every use, always make sure that your base material is entirely dry and always return your easy press to its safety base, so you don't damage your machine. On this link, you can find an online heat transfer guide to help you set up the right temperature and time for all kinds of materials every time.
Cricut Easy Press
This model will offer you pro-level efficiency at your home. It is very lightweight, compact, and portable. It weighs only 11 pounds and requires a workspace of 9 x 9 inches to fit in.
It is user-friendly, and equipped with a safety base and auto-shutoff feature for the user’s safety. Insulated safety base will keep your heat plates protected. Auto shutoff will appear after 10 minutes of inactivity.
On top of the easy press machine, you will find a big handle to help you operate it. When using easy press machines, you will need to apply pressure manually during the entire process and always make sure your machine is still during this process.
Learn how to work on Cricut Easy Press watch this official guidance:
Just right above the handle, you will find a small LCD screen with six buttons along each side:
- Power button,
- Temperature button, timer button,
- +/- Buttons for adjusting the temperature and timer,
- And green Cricut button to initiate the timer.
The Easy Press is equipped with two ceramic-coated heating plates of 9x9 inches. Plates always get evenly heated and can reach temperatures from 0 to 350°F (0 to 180 °C), and it will only need 3 to 4 minutes to reach the maximum temperature.
You will need only 60 seconds to adhere your vinyl iron-on design onto the base material of your choice. Temperature variance with Easy Press is +/- 9°F. When you hear the beeping sound, your device is ready to use.
With Easy Press device, you can use base materials like cardstock, cotton, canvas, silk, burlap, and jersey mesh. If you want to learn more about this particular device, please read my Cricut Easy Press review.
Cricut Easy Press 2
This model comes in three different sizes so you can easily work on all kinds of projects, from baby clothes to tote bags and larger projects like blankets. Depending on projects you prefer to do, you will choose the right dimensions for your needs, and those are:
- Small Easy Press 2 is 6 x 7 inches,
- Medium Easy Press is 9 x 9 inches
- Large Easy Press is 10 x 12 inches.
Like the previous model, Easy Press 2 also comes with a safe base - the only difference here is that the safe base that comes with this model is a bit taller, which can guarantee you more safety. Furthermore, there’s the auto-shutoff feature that will automatically shut down your press if not in use for more than 10 minutes.
Here you can watch the official presentation of the Cricut Easy Press 2:
Like other models from Easy Press family, this one too has a comfortable handle to help you with maneuvering machines safely and efficiently. Same goes with the small LCD display with six buttons that will help you set up your machine to desired temperature and time.
Compared to the first model, this one can reach the temperature up to 400 °F (205 °C), and temperature variance is just +/- 5°F, which is quite an improvement and make this model more reliable and versatile. This is possible because the ceramic-coated heating plate on this model is thicker than the ones on the original Easy Press machine.
This, of course, affects the heating up time, which is 25% faster too. The small press needs 60 seconds to heat up, medium one needs 2 minutes, and the large model needs 3 minutes.
You can use this device on all base materials I mentioned in the previous model plus now you can add faux leather, nylon, polyester, and felt too.
To learn how to transfer iron-on to a shirt with Cricut Easy Press 2 watch this official tutorial:
Some features aren't available with the previous model, but here you can benefit from them a lot. This model has firmware update and a USB port! Now you must ask yourself why this is such a big deal? Well, if there are any errors or if Cricut makes some new features and ways to improve your machine, you can update it!
And yes, one more awesome thing, this model can remember the previous temperature you used. If this all interested you in exploring this device better, please read my Cricut Easy Press 2 review and find out about all the things this device can offer.
Cricut Easy Press Mini
This little device is just a mini version of Easy Press 2. It is designed to help you press small heat transfers to small and some hard-to-reach surfaces like toys, shoes, slippers, baby clothes, and hats. Of course, you can use it for regular size projects too.
With 7.5 x 6.1 x 3.6 inches in dimensions and the weight just around 1.5 pounds, it is ridiculously small yet so powerful device. It also comes with a safety base and auto-shutoff feature that will turn down your device after ten minutes of inactivity.
Watch this video to learn all the things you can do with the Cricut Easy Pres Mini:
First, you will notice some differences in overall appearance. But don't be tricked by its size; this little beast can heat up to 400 °F (205 °C). It is equipped with ceramic-coated plates that heat up fast and evenly.
The main difference is that on this device, there is no LCD display because you can't set up temperature and timer as you wish. The Easy Press Mini comes with three different heat levels: low, medium, and high.
Cricut Easy Press Vs. Heat Press
Now let's compare these two types of devices.
I will list all the similarities and differences between the easy press and a traditional heat press to try to explain to you can expect from each type of device.
Honestly, there are not so many similarities between these devices, but in the end, both will guarantee you professional results.
Here is the list:
- Temperature - Both can easily heat up to at least 400°F, which will allow you to work on a wide variety of base materials and iron-on applications.
- Heating plates - Both are equipped with a heating plate made out of material that will evenly distribute heat.
- Steam-Free - The most important thing for iron-on applications is that the base materials are fully dry and that there are no holes in heating plates to prevent steaming.
- Temperature and timer settings - Both types of machines offer you the ability to set up the temperature and time for every project as you want.
- User- friendly - Both are very easy to set up and use, and they all come with user manuals.
I don't know where to start with this chapter.
Let's break some basics first.
The primary and most obvious difference is in size, weight, and portability. The heat press machine is quite massive compared to secure press devices. This will logically lead you to the conclusion that the heat press is not prone to portability and will require a permanent larger workspace compared to secure press devices that you can carry around with you and store them literally anywhere.
The next very important thing is the size of the heating plates. Most heat press machines have heating plates in size 15x 15 inches, which is excellent because it will allow you to do all kinds of projects on the same machine.
On the other hand, easy press machines have significantly smaller heating plates, which does not mean they aren't possible to handle some larger projects too. The problem is that if you buy some smaller models like Easy Press mini or Easy Press 2 in size small, you will be limited with the type of projects you can do on just one device.
You should consider buying more than one Easy Press device to cover all your projects, but that will, in the end, cost you a lot more than investing in some high-quality heat press machine.
Time to heat-up is crucial too. And in this category, the easy press wins. The heat press is larger, so naturally, it needs more time to reach the desired temperature (from 8 to 15 minutes). While the Easy Press is small and compact and will not take more than 3 to 5 minutes, maximum to reach its maximum temperature.
Naturally, for successful transfer or iron-on application to the base material, pressure is the key! But unfortunately, if you decide to use easy press instead of heat press, you must be aware that you must apply pressure manually. That can result in some failed projects because you cannot always apply even and steady pressure while the heat press machine has consistent evenly distributed pressure all the time and will make your work more comfortable.
Let's talk more about safety; we must consider some of the users have small kids running around the house, right? That means heat machines are hazardous for them if their kids have access to the room where they are stored and used.
Mainly because they generate a lot of heat, and they don't have a safe- touch cover like the Easy Press. Heat machines don't have safety bases, nor they have auto-shutoff features compared to easy press devices.[ninja_tables id="8019"]
So now is the time to come to a decision. But how? Both types of devices are great and reliable and will do the job done on time.
I can only recommend you to consider a few factors before making a purchase. Ask yourself how often you will use it? How many free workspaces do you have at your home? Do you want it to be portable or not? And last but not the least important how much money are you prepared to spend on this?
I hope that after you answer these questions, you will be able to decide do you need to buy a traditional heat press or you need the Easy Press type of device better. Anyhow, I can guarantee you that no matter what you choose in the end, you will get a great device that will serve you well for years to come.
If you want to explore a different type of printing on your shirts, hats, mouse pads, and more, I recommend you to read my Best Screen Printing Machines and learn how to do it.