Heat press has become an important piece of equipment in digital printing. It is a machine that can bring your digital designs to life; this can be done by printing them on different kinds of materials such as fabrics, jewelry, and even mugs. Amazingly, it has given personalization a wider aspect.
The three main factors to look out for in a heat press are the timer, temperature, and pressure. They must be set to the proper level to ensure that your designs are transferred on your chosen material at the best quality possible.
In this list are five of the best 16×20 heat press that you can choose from. If this is your first time trying to buy one, then we are here to help you make your choice. Remember, when trying to purchase a heat press, you must consider the quality of materials, build, and affordability, just to name a few.
We hope you will find it helpful, just read on!
List of the Best 16×20 Heat Press– editor’s pick:
5 Best 16×20 Heat Press Reviews
There are different sizes of heat presses but in this list; we will only tackle the 16×20 ones, which is the biggest size commonly available to most brands. Let’s find out some of the best products on sale.
1. Fancierstudio Heat Press
If you’re planning on purchasing a heat press for large garments, then the Fancierstudio 16×20 is perfect for you. You won’t have trouble trying to fit in a large shirt for pressing. An additional feature of the product is its ability to do all-over sublimation.
This unit is built with a clamshell-style design. It’s convenient for a start-up business that doesn’t have much space in the work area. If you have owned the Fancierstudio 15×15 heat-press, then this one has almost the same features but with a larger plate.
It has 1800 watts of power and only uses 110 volts of electricity. Your regular home outlet will be enough to operate the heat press. We advise that you plug this to its own power connection because it tends to take current away from other electronics.
The machine heats up to 500F, and the timer can be set up to 999 seconds. Since the temperature and time are placed right in front of the machine, it will be easily visible for you to see. The product uses a manual pressure knob that lets you freely adjust it to your desired level.
Fancierstudio makes sure that heat pressing is safe and easy to do. The top heat plate has been coated for your protection; this lessens the risk of accidents. The baseboard has a silicone-gel glued on, so your garment won’t be slipping or moving away.
- Adjustable pressure knob
- Heats up to 500F
- The timer can run from 999 seconds
- Silicone-gel baseboard
- Accident-preventive top heat platen
- Opening and closing the machine must be done manually
- You must turn the machine off since it cannot be done automatically
2. ePhoto Inc. Digital Clamshell Heat Press
EPhoto Inc. Digital heat press is of excellent quality but at an affordable price. The knobs and buttons are clear to understand. It comes with a manual that you can consult if you think you’re getting lost in figuring out the mechanics. This is suitable for beginners, for it is easy to use.
You can adjust the temperature with the top-mounted knob. The temperature of your heat press depends on the thickness of the material you want to imprint on. It has a convenient digital control panel placed on the side of the machine. You can keep track of your chosen setting through the LCD screen.
The wide flat surface area is ideal for heat pressing all sorts of garments and materials. This includes mousepads, jigsaw puzzles, ceramic tiles, metal, glass, and common fabrics. Always take note that this is only for flat surfaces, so don’t expect it to work well on curved materials.
As enumerated above, the ePhoto Inc. digital heat press is versatile to use for various materials. This is due to the non-stick Teflon coat that makes it flexible to work on these different kinds of flat surfaces. For an affordable price, its value and versatility outshine the cost.
- Easy to use, suitable for beginners
- Adjustable top-mounted knob
- Timer and machine settings can be tracked through the LCD screen
- Versatile to use on different kinds of flat surfaces
- Non-stick Teflon coat
- Does not support sublimation
- Not very durable
3. STAHLS HOTRONIX Auto-Open Clam Heat Press
Stahls has become a world-known brand for its excellent quality heat press. Their products’ durability is outstanding as they outlast all other brands.
The professional-level output it displays shows that it is one of the best 16×20 heat press machines in the market today. But with its amazing quality and features, it also comes with a higher price.
When investing in a business that requires machinery, the number one priority in purchasing is the equipment’s durability and quality of features. The Hotronix 16×20 heat press can withstand being all used all day.
If your business needs to finish a large quantity order of heat pressing or imprinting, rest assured this one will be perfect for you.
A feature that sets this heat press apart from the others is its magnetic auto-open clam. With this, you can leave the machine to do its work. When it has finished imprinting, the timer will go off, and the heat press will automatically open. You don’t need to worry about over-application on your material.
The heat coverage of this machine is impressive as well. It is designed with an edge-to-edge heating system and a pressure adjustment that goes over the center. The settings are easy to adjust and monitor with a digital screen placed in front of the press.
Together with the long-lasting quality of the Stahls Hotronix heat-press, comes a warranty. For someone who is using the heat press every day, we can say that this one is a steal. Yes, it is more expensive than other brands, but the quality and durability make up for it big time.
- Magnetic auto-open clam
- Edge-to-edge heating
- Over the center pressure adjustment
- Easy to maneuver and monitor
4. Siser Digital Clam Heat Press
Siser is more known for its heat transfer vinyl. They are one of the best manufacturers of it. What most don’t know is that Siser can also produce top of the line heat press machines, varying from different sizes of 11×15, 15×15, and 16×20. In this review, we will talk about the 16×20 heat press.
The first notable feature of the Siser heat press is the wide opening clam design. With this, you can do away with using a project under its heat platen. The 16×20 wide working surface makes it suitable to be used for large, flat materials.
It has the same over-the-center pressure adjustment as the Stahls Hotronix heat-press. The purpose of having this kind of adjustment is to let the pressure travel from the center to the outwards of the platen. This ensures even heat distribution throughout the entire working area.
Besides such features, the upper floatation platen provides equal distribution of heat too. With both the top and bottom surfaces having this even pressure feature, the product can guarantee that the imprint on the material will be smooth and flawless.
The overall construction of this heat press comes from excellent quality materials- from the laser-cut steel build to the LED timer and temperature display, and up to the full-heat circulation feature.
This Siser heat press and the Stahls Hotronix one can go head-to-head in terms of quality but sadly, in terms of price as well.
- Over-the-center pressure adjustment
- Durable and strong
- Trusted-quality brand
- Upper floatation platen provides equal heat distribution
- Comes with a LED timer
5. Rincons Heat Press
For a beginner user of a heat press, before using the machine, always read the manual first. Rincons has made their product beginner-friendly with a fully-detailed but easily understandable instruction manual. This affordable 16×20 unit will provide you great results with every use.
It is made up of durable steel frame construction. Indeed, the product is heavy-duty but can still be carried conveniently from one place to another. It needs the standard input voltage of 110 to 120 watts. A regular home outlet will be enough to power up this machine to its full potential.
The opening is the same as the other four, clamshell-style. It is the best choice if there’s not much available space to work with. Compared to a swing-type of opening, the clamshell-style is much simpler to use.
Rincons provided a space in between the top heat platen and bottom cushion surface to protect you from burns or injuries. Much more, this heat press can reach a temperatures up to 450F.
If you’re more comfortable with using Celsius, the manual provides a conversion scale. For temperature reaching this high, the machine is suitable for transfers like sublimation, rhinestones, heat transfer vinyl (HTV), flocked and glitter vinyl etc.
The pressure setting is done manually by turning the knob located at the top of the machine. This is one of its drawbacks since you cannot be 100 percent sure about how much pressure the machine releases.
It takes time and practice before you can be accustomed to using this kind of heat press if this is your first time.
- Easy to understand instructions manual
- Suitable for different types of transfers
- Manual has a conversion scale
- Guarantees portability
- Manual pressure knob
Things to Consider Before Buying
Given the many choices in the market, it’s undeniably challenging to find the right product for you. The good news is that we want things to be simple for our readers. In this guide, you will understand some of the features that you should consider before opting for a certain heat press.
In purchasing a heat press, size always matters. Before you go and get your own machine, think first what are the materials or garments that you will be using. It must be large enough to accommodate the entire area of where you want your prints to show.
The 16×20 size of heat presses is sufficient to be used on large garments or materials. If you own a t-shirt printing business, this is the perfect one to buy so you can print on extended sizes of shirts. It is great if a business can cater to different size ranges and not just stick to the common ones.
- Equal Pressure
For every heat pressing activity, there are three factors you must consider: time, pressure, and temperature. Out of the three, the pressure is the most difficult one to deal with, especially if you are using a manual knob. To fix this, look for a heat press with an over-the-center pressure adjustment.
This feature will ensure even distribution of pressure and edge-to-edge heat coverage. Also, take note that the upper platen must precisely meet the lower platen to avoid uneven pressure and heat distribution.
Most often, the more expensive the heat press is, the better the performance. You can see and differentiate the quality and construction between the two. But even though an expensive heat press gives out better output, you must still consider the budget and the purpose of your purchase.
If you are going to start up your printing business, then it is more appropriate to invest in a more expensive heat press. You need your machine to last for a long time, and it must withstand being used for long periods of hours.
However, if your purpose is just casual pressing, then you can opt for a cheaper one but check if the materials are up to standards.
How to Use Your Heat Press Machine Properly?
First of all, make sure there is enough room for you to use your heat press. We recommend purchasing a clamshell-type of heat press if there is not much available space in your area to work in.
- Proper Level of Heat
For your machine to produce the best outcome, it must work at a high level of heat. Do not be worried about increasing the temperature in your heat press.
It might lead to a more horrible result when you use a lower level of heat. The design or whatever you are trying to transfer will not stick to the clothing if the heat is not high enough.
- Fabric Selection
Most heat press machines are used for garment printing. But not all types of fabric can handle the same heat temperature and pressure. There are types that are too thin for the machine to work on, therefore the fabric melts instead.
Selections of fabric that can tolerate heat from heat press are Cotton, Nylon, Spandex, Polyester, and Lycra. But, before you try to put these under the machine, make sure you have thoroughly washed them first.
And, when the printing is done, do not immediately wash the garment or else the print will wrinkle.
- Properly Align the Materials on the Machine
Together with making sure both the top platen and bottom surfaces align, also check if the material you are printing on aligns with the machine. If you heat press a garment, straighten the garment on the bottom surface.
Besides, you should smooth it out too, so wrinkles don’t form as they crook the design.
- Test Your Print
It is advisable to test your chosen design or text first before printing it on any material. You can use paper or any extra material that you don’t need.
With this, you can experiment and see the possible outcomes. If you don’t like how it looks in the test-run, you can adjust and make changes to fit what you or your client wants.
Different Uses of Heat Press Machine
A heat press is a very versatile machine. In this section, you will know its various uses. Let’s delve further.
- T-shirt Printing
The most common use of a heat press is for t-shirt printing. It is a simple and easy way to transfer a design from your computer to the fabric. Besides simplicity, a heat press works at very high-speed. This enables you to mass-produce in a short amount of time.
Sublimation using a heat press requires a special kind of paper that is called sublimation paper. It has the same process as using a heat transfer paper, but this method is much durable. Designs produced through this process last longer.
It is known that the procedure works with polyester fabrics. But, more than that, it can work on a wide array of hard poly-coating surfaces as well, this opens up customization to a wider area of mugs, jewelry, puzzle games, and the like.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
Do you wonder how a shirt has either those glittery, glow-in-the-dark, reflective, embossed, or holographic effects? Well, that is because of the HTV or Heat Transfer Vinyl. This is a special kind of vinyl polymer usable on several fabrics and materials that you can heat press designs on.
So, if you want to make different and outstanding designs with the use of your heat-press, then we suggest you purchase sheets of Heat Transfer Vinyl as well to help you.
Heat Press Maintenance Tips for Long Lasting Service
Just like other things, this machine also requires maintenance to ensure longevity. Here are some of the ways on how to do so:
- Keep the Upper Platen Clean
For a perfect transfer, your work surface must be smooth and clean. Every dirt that accumulates in your platens, transfers to the material as well. Make it a habit to clean your platen, and the whole machine as well, after every use to make sure that the heat press is still in perfect condition the next time you use it.
- Keep the Teflon Coating Protected
The purpose of a Teflon coating is to prevent ink from sticking on to the surface of the upper platen. This cover is also at risk of gaining deep scratches, which makes the surface area bumpy and uneven. You don’t want your platen to be rough because this will make heat and pressure distribution uneven as well.
These scratches are usually caused by buttons, zippers, or anything bumpy and sharp-edged on the material. This cannot be avoided sometimes, so we suggest that you have interchangeable upper platens at the ready.
- Keep the Lower Platen Rubber Pad Protected
The best way to keep your rubber pad protected is by coating it with a Teflon cover. It is responsible for the even distribution of pressure during the printing process. That’s why always check the quality and durability of this component before using the machine.
- Regular Lubrication
All machines have a tendency of going rusty or the pivot points being too hard to control anymore. Regular lubrication will solve this problem. Once a month, grease all the pivot parts of your heat press. It will keep the machine smooth and running.
Lubricating is crucial for people who use the heat press daily. The more frequently you use the machine, the faster the pivot parts undergo friction. But, at the same time, do not over lubricate the parts.
With time, grease shows up on the exterior of the heat press, and this can stain your materials. Always wipe away the excess drippings before using your machine.
Why Should You Use a Heat Press Machine for T-Shirt Printing?
There are many reasons why using a heat press is better compared to other means. Let’s know more!
- Cleaner and Eco-friendly
Comparing it to the commonly used screen-printing method, heat press is cleaner and more environment friendly. In screen printing, you need to use a lot of chemicals that may be dangerous for you as well as the user, and for the environment when you throw the used chemicals out.
- Simple Operation and Flexible
Working with a heat press is easier, and it gives you more freedom. This machine uses special ink and graphical software, which can help you create wonderful designs with a breeze.
A heat press is flexible as well since you can do sublimation and heat transfer vinyl (HTV) with it. The possibilities are endless!
- High-quality Result
T-shirts that are printed using heat press tend to be of better quality. This machine can print images in high resolution at a fast rate. Most t-shirt printing companies are already using heat press instead of traditional screen printing because of the improved and more efficient results it produces.
A heat press is suitable for t-shirt printing since it can be easily inserted and removed from the platen. If you’re working on a bunch of t-shirts, you can do it faster with the use of this machine. A heat press also comes with Teflon coating, so the design will come out crisp and smooth.
Whichever between the five machines we have listed above you choose to purchase, we guarantee that you will not be disappointed for they are the top 5 best 16×20 heat press available in the market today.