Are you hunting for a cheap heat press?
Because this is a list of some of the cheapest. And I hope you like clamshells, because they’re all in that style!
This list is simply an overview of each of these machines, but we have done much more detailed reviews of some of them already in our product reviews. This will be clearly stated in the overview if it applies.
The cost of these presses range from around $150 to $250 – cheap as chips!
But are they right for you?
At the end of the article, after the overview, we talk about who should buy a cheap heat press machine, and who should invest more money for a better quality heat press.
Top 5 Cheap Heat Press Machines 2017
Gecko 15 x 15 Clamshell Heat Press
Gecko T-Shirt Sublimation GK100 Heat Transfer Press Machine, 15 x 15-Inch, Black / Amazon.com
The Gecko Heat Press has been a very popular machine for many years, and this is one reason we’ve devoted an entire post to this one machine. It has sold very well on Amazon, which means there is a lot of purchaser and user feedback that you can review.
This machine is a 15 x 15 inch clamshell heat press, especially designed for pressing garments such as t-shirts. It comes with a teflon sheet to protect the heat platen during presses.
It can be used to press all your usual heat transfers (inkjet, vinyl, Rhinestone, etc.) onto all the usual substrates (tees, baby onesies, canvas totes, etc.).
Read our full review of the Gecko 15×15 heat press here.
Power Press 15 x 15 Clamshell Heat Press
PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press, Black / Amazon.com
The Power Press heat press is another machine that we’ve already had the chance to review. Like the Gecko, it is an Amazon best seller that has served many users very well – though of course it is not without its critics either! Just check out its Amazon reviews.
The Power Press is also a 15 x 15 inch clamshell style heat press perfect for home use. It is suitable for use on all your usual substrates. It cannot take heat press attachments such as a mug press or a hat press.
What are some other features?
- A digital time and heat display
- Temperature range of 0-500℉
- She weighs in at 53 pounds
It is very easy to set up and use, even if you have no prior experience. We have plenty of information to help you on this website, and of course there are plenty of videos on YouTube.
See this post if you’re looking for other great heat press blogs and websites.
Read our full review of the Power Press heat press here.
BestEquip 11.5 x 9 Swing-Away Heat Press
BestEquip Heat Press Machines Swing Away for T Shirts with Digital LCD Timer and Temperature Control / Amazon.com
The BestEquip Heat Press is our only non-clamshell press on this list. It is a swing-away style press. We have an article on the features and functions of the different styles of heat presses here.
It is an 11.5 x 9 inch machine, making it rather small. Make sure you keep this in mind when considering this press. You will not be able to do transfers larger than the heat platen. Such a small platen can also make it difficult to do small transfers on larger sized t-shirts – there is not always the room for a lot of bunched up material.
Other basic features:
- Digital time and temperature reading
- 360° swinging arm – gets that hot platen right out of your way!
- Able to press on fabric garments, wood, glass, ceramic and some metals
This heat press is also the cheapest heat press on this list (though there is always the chance that others will be reduced in price at various times – so be sure to check!). Always remember that generally the less you pay, the less the quality. This beauty has some great reviews and some very foul reviews on Amazon. Buyer beware!
Rincons 15 x15 Clamshell Heat Press
Rincons 15″ X 15″ Heat Press Machine – Sublimation Vinyl T-shirt Rhinestone Transfer / Amazon.com
The Rincons 15 x 15 inch clamshell heat press machine is another cheap heat press worthy of your consideration.
The sellers of the Rincons Heat press are located in California and have a website with all of their contact details. Their clamshell press, highlighted here, has been well received by Amazon purchasers with fifteen 5 star reviews – people obviously believe they’re getting what they paid for.
Basic features include:
- A temperature range of 0-450℉
- Steel construction
This machine also comes with a teflon sheet and a 1 year warranty.
Read our full review of the Rincons 15×15 Clamshell heat press machine here.
DG 15 x 15 Clamshell Heat Press
DG HEAT PRESS Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press, 15-by-15-Inch – Black / Amazon.com
Here we have another 15 x 15 inch clamshell press, the DG heat press. It is very similar to the Gecko and Power Press heat presses, as you will notice if you compare pictures and features.
When one of the listed features on Amazon includes ‘brand new heat platen’ you know you’re looking at a fairly basic machine. Who is going to think that you’re getting a second hand platen when you’re buying a new press? Nevertheless, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to make that clear! And it has plenty of satisfied customer reviews.
Some of its other features include:
- Digital time and temperature display
- Silicon rubber base
Make sure you read both the negative and positive reviews before making your decision.
Are Cheap Heat Presses Worth Buying?
These heat presses are Chinese made and are more than likely bought in bulk and white-labeled. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but there are a few things to keep in mind with these types of products.
- They are basic machines which can be easily constructed on an assembly line by people who may not be extremely qualified. Therefore you can sometimes end up with electrical or other faults in your machine. You’ll be able to return your product if this is the case with your machine.
- Being shipped halfway across the world also increases the opportunity for damage to occur.
- The seller does not always have much input in the design, construction and manufacturing process. They are simply labeling and selling the product. There is a disconnect about which you can draw your own conclusions.
- These machines are made to be simple and cheap. Sometimes the materials used are also not of the highest quality.
I don’t point these things out to turn you off these machines, because they could be just for you. I just don’t want you to buy one and think that you are getting the very best, because there are much better presses available – just check out other reviews on our site!
Who Should Buy A Cheap Heat Press?
1. These machines are best for someone who is buying for use as a hobby or craft. They are very suitable for home use. They are good for making gifts for friends and family.
That being said, many many people do use cheap heat presses for business. They are putting out dozens, if not hundreds, of t-shirts per week. And I say ‘good on them!’
I would simply be hesitant to recommend these machines for business. If you will be relying on your heat press for work, it is better to spend a bit more and get something that will be more reliable and of higher quality.
2. These machines are also for the person who has a very limited budget. If you can only spend $200 on a heat press, whether you’re using it for commercial gain or not, then go for it – you’ve got nothing to lose.
3. These machines are also great if you are wanting to test out a business concept. If you think you have some great ideas for t-shirt design but you’re not sure if the rest of the world is ready, you might like to buy a cheap press to test them out.
This way you won’t be investing too much money if the business doesn’t take off, or if you lose interest once you get started. And if things do take off, and you’d like a better machine, there’s nothing stopping you from treating yourself to one!
The Final Word
At the end of the day, and at the end of this article, if you think one of these machines are for you then stop thinking about it and buy it already!
Check Price of Gecko Heat Press
Check Price of Power Press Heat Press
Check Price of BestEquip Heat Press
Check Price of Rincons Heat Press
Check Price of DG Heat Press
But if you need to further investigate better machines, why not eyeball our article on Hix Heat Presses, or if you want to go super gourmet, the Hotronix Fusion. One machine that is not all that much more expensive than these cheapies is the Hix SwingMan 15 x 15. That’s the one I would go for with a limited budget.
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