What are the different types of T-shirt printing machines?
The oldest printing technique, screen printing, originated in the 10th century in China, where clothing creators transferred designs using a similar silk screening method. The method involves spreading a Plastisol polyvinyl chloride (PVC) layer over garments using the different molds of desired patterns.
As straightforward and convenient as this technique, screen printing only allows you to use one primary color to create your design.
The liquid PVC ink permeates the fabric with little to no effort, ridding makers of any need for massive, expensive tools or heavy press mechanisms.
Heat press printing is the most popular T-shirt printing option. It combines heat and pressure to
vinyl designs and transfers them onto the T-shirt using vast amounts of stress, enabling the pattern to stick to the fabric at a single press. However, all graphic patterns must be printed separately before applying pressure.
Heat pressing can be divided into two main kinds, digital heat press and vinyl heat press. While vinyl heat presses are a more complex process, they have been around for a long time, and there are complete tools and solutions.
Direct to Garments DTG
Direct to garments printing uses standard ink heads usually found in vinyl printing machines to design your logo or pattern.
Direct-to-garment printing isn’t costly but requires a one-time hefty investment of an efficient printer along with additional accessories, such as toner, cutting board, and printing sheets
DTG offers the overall best resolution and fastest option for brands looking to produce on an efficient scale. However, direct-to-garment printing creators are limited to the fabrics they can print on.
Most DTG printers can only print on 100% fabrics that do not exceed the weight of 200 – 280 grams, a vital factor to consider if you’re using your machine for commercial purposes.
While this list only delves into different heats press machines, there are a few other options for you to consider, such as Airbrushing, embroidery, and iron-on.
Different uses of Press Machines
Owning your own heat press printing machine allows you to go above and beyond what you do. You can offer everything from T-shirts to pants and jackets without paying extra labor costs, shipping fees, etc. Generally, there are two main uses for press machines, and both are highly profitable if you master the technique.
One of the best ways to utilize your printing machine is to create your design to promote your brand or business. Using a heat press, you can print on everything from canvas bags to denim jackets enabling you to create awareness, level up your brand, and offer promotional items in your campaigns.
Custom printing is a whole business in and of itself. Many malls have T-shirt vendors that use these machines to generate revenue from printing custom graphics. Retailers cannot sell licensed pre-printed items but can publish any graphic upon request.
An excellent business model for gift shops, kiosks, and even comic and anime stores with limited selections of T-shirts, and custom printing, offers the highest revenue margins for printing graphics on different garments.
The Best T-shirt Press for your Brand
One of the popular options for commercial and professional use, the Mpress Dlclynee 15×15 is an easy-to-use machine that provides long-lasting, accurate results. The Mpress works on fabric and rhinestones, with temperatures up to 400 degrees and a heating surface as wide as 9.06″ x 11.81.
Nothing but positive reviews are available on this machine, and its common uses include mousepads, ceramic tiles, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and more.
Amazon bestseller and a #1 choice for small to medium size businesses, its parts are relatively simple and easy to change and adjust solely, offering simple multifunction graphic transfer options for the best value.
Hotronix Fusion IQ 16×20
A bigger machine for broader uses, the Hotronix IQ 16 x 20 is a top-notch professional heating machine offering more control over digital presets and settings.
This heat press machine offers advanced technology, eco-friendly energy-saving options, and a bright LCD touchscreen with comprehensive viewing point options.
The Hotronix IQ also allows users to schedule and automate their prints, qualifying it to be the best advanced industrial heat-press option on this list.
With a weight of only 10 pounds, the Royal press must be mounted to a solid surface to get the best results. Despite being the best cost-friendly option, the royal press is explicitly made for T-shirts and cannot heat enough to print on thicker materials.
One of Amazon’s best sellers, the Royal Press makes a perfect personal brand T-shirt heat-press due to its beginner-friendly single functionality.
A heat press with a different design than the standard push press mechanism, the Seetuk 8-in-1 swing away press, has a sliding heat panel instead. A function that makes it easier to use and eliminates any risks of burning your hands throughout the process.
Its 8-in-1 feature enables printing on hard-to-reach angles and surfaces, including hats, mugs, T-shirts, plates, and more. Maximum heating capabilities can reach 430 degrees, perfect for thicker fabrics like leather, denim, and cotton sweaters.
The best option for print shops due to its many printing options, the Seeutek 8-in-1 has a particular heating element for every shape and surface.
The machines on this list mainly target industrial and commercial use for vendors, designers, and small brands. Still, the Cricut EasyPress 3 is made for personal use and operates as a portable iron more than a mass T-shirt production Machine.
Cricut is known for making crafty personal-use products, and this machine is no different. It is managed by Bluetooth connectivity and does not offer the various options or presets offered in the recommended heat presses above.
If you want to create T-shirts for you and your team or make some for yourself, then EasyPress is more than enough for your needs.
What T-shirt Press is best for your brand?
Depending on how many T-shirts you’re looking it print on and how often you’ll need the press machine, you can easily find a suitable press machine that suits your budget.
Listed above are some of the most popular heat press options, yet many have recently shifted to using the Direct to Garment method granting better results and faster printing processes.
If you’re looking for a value-based T-shirt Press, we recommend the MPress 15 x15 due to its wide use and identified difficulties you may encounter. However, to start a T-shirt printing business or improve your existing one, The Hotronix IQ is the best-advanced technology option and produces the best overall print quality.