Stahls heat press

The printing and graphic arts business can be lucrative with the right machinery and with a good base of customers. Printers can make significant profits with relatively little labor and can enjoy themselves in the process. There are numerous types of equipment that printers use to imprint all sorts of materials with creative designs. Screen printing machines can produce high-quality work, but they are practical for all jobs. One piece of equipment that is practical, versatile, and cost-effective for almost any kind of print work is aheat press machine.. There are a number of reasons that a graphic printing business needs a heat press machine, and being aware of these reasons should help any owner of a graphic printing business see the value in owning one of these machines. With a firm grasp of all of the options that are available when it comes to buying a heat press machine, business owners should be able to successfully purchase the right one from a source such as eBay..

The Advantages of a Heat Press Machine

Many graphic printing businesses may not be able to fulfill their potential without a heat press machine. Understanding the advantages of this kind of device underscores its importance to the success of a graphic printing business. Many such businesses are likely to purchase one once they realize the benefits that heat press machines provide.

1. Cost-Effective

One of the major appeals of a heat press machine is its cost-effectiveness. As far as business costs are concerned, purchasing a heat press is relatively inexpensive. Graphic printing businesses can acquire good machines for a few hundred dollars and top-end ones rarely cost more than $3,000. Depending on the volume of orders that it receives, a business can recoup this initial investment and can begin to turn a profit quickly due to the high margins for all manner of graphic printwork. Furthermore, heat press machines still yield good margins for small orders, including single prints, for which screenprinting is not cost-effective.

2. Easy to Use

Another advantage of a heat press machine is that is easy to use. Even those with no prior experience using one of these machines can learn quickly. There is therefore no reason to be intimidated by the technology. Furthermore, heat press machines take up relatively little room in a shop, making them very efficient as far as space is concerned. A heat press machine becomes that much more valuable when businesses weigh profitability against ease-of-use and the necessary amount of dedicated space.

3. Fast

One of the primary benefits of a heat press machine when compared with other graphic printing devices is the speed with which businesses can produce finished products. A hand iron requires more time and manual pressure to print and users must also heat the shirt beforehand to remove moisture. A heat press machine features a control panel to program the operation and the machine carries it out quickly, efficiently, and with little effort from the user. Although screenprinting can move along quickly as well, there is no better solution for a series of smaller orders than a heat press machine.

4. Quality Production

A heat press machine manages to print economically and quickly without sacrificing quality. In fact, the quality of heat press printing is superior in some ways to other technologies. Silk screen printing can result in a rough texture on a shirt when numerous colors are applied, but heat press printing leaves a smooth graphic. Image resolution is also excellent when printing from a computer image and it is also possible to print a range of special effects with a heat press machine. The high heat of these machines (often as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit) also enables them to successfully print images where irons fail to do so.

5. Versatility

Businesses that take printing orders for a variety of materials appreciate the versatility that their heat press machines offer. They can print on different fabrics such as cotton and satin, on hard materials such as ceramics, and on synthetic materials like spandex. This versatility allows a business to accept printing orders for all types of clothing, mugs, tiles, koozies, mousepads, umbrellas, and many other products. The limits on what a heat press machine can print on are few, adding to the value of these machines. Furthermore, heat press machines give users the ability to print on various parts of clothing, enabling them to achieve over-the-shoulder and wraparound prints.

6. Integrated Techniques

It is also possible to use a heat press machine in conjunction with other printing techniques. Heat pressing works particularly well with ink injection techniques where users apply colors by injecting them into a fabric and quickly give them permanence by applying heat. A heat press machine is also good for sublimation, whereby users fix a protective gloss to a hard material such as a ceramic tile.

Choosing the Right Heat Press Machine

In order to achieve the benefits that they expect, graphic printing businesses must choose the right heat press machines for their needs. Being aware of the different options that are available for these machines, including types, sizes, timers, lower platens, and attachments, helps businesses select the heat presses that can boost their profits and make their jobs easier.

Types of Heat Presses

The table below describes the two main types of heat presses based on the way that the user operates the platens that hold the material and print on it.



Swing-Away Top platen on this type of press lifts straight up and swings to the right; Top platens on most swing-away presses rotate about 100 degrees; May be one arm or separate arms for lifting and swinging the top platen
Clam Standard clam or clamshell heat press machine has a top platen that just lifts straight up; Top platen of a clam draw press lifts straight up and the user can then slide the bottom platen out towards the user

Those with limited space may find that a clamshell or clam draw press fits better in their shops. Swing-away presses give users a comfortable way to work so long as shops have the room for them.


Size is an important consideration when it comes to choosing the right heat press machine. The bigger the machine, the bigger the designs the press is capable of printing. It is also easier to line up larger garments of clothing and it is possible to press designs onto multiple small items at the same time with a larger heat press machine. A large machine may not suit everyone though. Those to whom mobility of the machine is important may prefer smaller and lighter heat presses. Portable machines suit users who frequently print at shows and events. Swing-away presses can be as small as 9×12 inches and as large as 16×20. Clam presses can be from 11 x 15 to 16 x 20 inches.

Analog vs. Digital

Those looking to buy a heat press machine have the option of purchasing one with either an analog or a digital timer. The former uses a dial and is therefore not as accurate as the latter. Many analog timers also have an upper limit of one minute, and it can be difficult to read the timer’s gauge. With computerized controls and gauges, digital timers are easier to work with, making the pressing process more efficient.

Elevated Lower Platen

Another handy feature for heat press machines is an elevated lower platen. By leaving space beneath the lower platen, these machines enable users pull a shirt over the platen rather than place it on top. The user can then print on the front of the shirt, rotate the shirt, and print on the back side. This is easier than completely removing the shirt and repositioning it on the lower platen would be.


Those planning to buy heat press machines should be aware of the attachments that they can fit to the machines. It is possible to swap out lower platens for different sized ones as well as round ones. Those that expect to print on caps should look into purchasing various-sized cap attachments. It is important to use the right sized platens with caps, so these printers also need to have a few different lower platens available.

How to Buy a Heat Press Machine on eBay

Those looking to expand their graphic printing businesses and make them more efficient by buying a heat press machine can find one from a local or online graphic printing equipment vendor. eBay is also a good place to find sellers of heat press machines. The site has extensive listings for these machines and it is easy to search for the machine that suits your graphic printing needs. You can conduct a search from nearly every eBay page by entering the term “heat press machine&” into the search bar and clicking the Search button. To ensure that the results are related to printing and graphic arts,, choose the associated filter option for that category. The listings may be too extensive for browsing, so you can also use a more targeted search term, such as “swing-away heat press machine..” By using a term like this, the list of results should be easier to browse so that you can find the machine that best suits your needs.


Every graphic printing business needs a heat press machine because it is cost-effective, easy to use, fast, capable of high-quality production, versatile, and able to be integrated with other techniques. All of this helps to make a graphic printing business more efficient and more profitable, qualities for which almost every business owner strives. Once a graphics printing business owner is aware of all of the advantages of owning a heat press machine, he or she is likely to purchase one. Successfully purchasing one of these machines requires that buyers be aware of all of the different options available. There are different types of heat press machines, coming in different sizes, with different timers, and with different lower platens. There are also different accessories available for these machines. Having a good grasp on all of these options helps buyers choose the heat press machines that best fit their needs. By purchasing a heat press machine on eBay, buyers can expect to increase their profits and make their businesses more efficient at the same time.