Top 3 Things to Consider When Buying a T Shirt Press

Top 3 Things to Consider When Buying a T-Shirt Press
Printing t-shirts, whether as a hobby or for business requires a good t shirt press. With several in the market, there are a few key factors to consider before purchase. In this blog, we look at what these are so you can make better purchasing decisions.
Printing t-shirts, whether as a hobby or for business requires a good t shirt press. With several in the market, there are a few key factors to consider before purchase. In this blog, we look at what these are so you can make better purchasing decisions.
The Heidorn Report: Merch Research & Strategy Guide

Customization of products is a big business right now, and t-shirt printing is a great way to start.

To start, you can either look into joining print on demand companies or do the printing yourself.

For sellers who want to print their own t-shirts, investing in the right t shirt press is crucial.

This can make or break your print on demand journey as it is one of the core factors that determine the value of your product.

There are several things to consider when choosing your first t shirt press, and in this article, we give you an overview of the top three things to consider before buying one. 

What to Consider Before Buying a T Shirt Press


The most obvious perhaps is quality. 

It goes without saying, the better quality your t shirt press, the better your prints will look on your t-shirts. 

With several options in the market, not all manufacturers will be able to meet your quality standards.

You need to choose a t shirt press with high-quality parts because a lot of movement is involved when printing t-shirts.

Is the frame made of steel or plastic?

Steel is more durable and is the better long-term choice. 

Choose a corrosion resistant press for longer durability and use.

A good t shirt press also opens and closes smoothly without jerking as this can affect the flow of your work.

Does the steel press manufacturer offer a warranty, and for how long?

Does the warranty come with parts and labor?

It is also ideal to search for a manufacturer that provides 24/7 customer service.

This way, you can ask for help if something goes awry curing production.

This is important especially if you are rushing the orders and an unexpected problem occurs.

Print t-shirt printed with a t-shirt press
T-shirt printed with a t shirt press|Photo by Marty O’Neill on Unsplash

Safety quality is also something you need to consider.

If you choose a clamshell model, for example, you might need to put your hand under the heating plate.

Larger models on the other hand do not have this issue.

You should consider the working space for your heat press too.

For clamshell designs it is recommended that 2 feet of counterspace is provided.

For other models like the swing away, around 3 feet should be provided.

Having space beside the press is also needed as it will serve as a station for putting your finished designs.

Find a model that fits your working space.

By envisioning a space that provides a nice area for staff to move around, you can increase the efficiency of your business.

If safety is a concern, you might need to choose a t shirt press that is more suitable for your needs.


It goes without saying that temperature or heat is important for the functioning of your t shirt press.

If you only plan on printing on t-shirts, then choosing a heat press with a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit should suffice.

Apart from checking the temperature settings, you need to find out if heat is distributed evenly on the top platten.

You can determine this by looking at the shape of the heating element in your t shirt press.

Slow progress is better than no progress.


Ideally, the heating element should go from one end to the other and the coils should be close together.

This type of structure guarantees even heat distribution. 

Unfortunately, cheaper t shirt presses have coils that are not close together, ultimately affecting printing quality. 

If you are not able to look at the structure of the heating element, simply turn on your t shirt press and move your hand across the heating plate.

Remember, that even heat distribution makes for better printing, especially when printing large designs.

Heat distribution isn’t the only factor to consider, you’ll also need to find out if your t shirt press will retain heat. 

With cheaper heat presses, the first few shirts apply when and the quality steadily declines with the more t-shirts you print.

To combat this, you need to check the thickness of your t shirt press platen.

Ideally, your platen should be ¾ inches thick to ensure that it works as it should throughout its lifetime. 

This thickness ensures that your heat press’s temperature doesn’t drop in the middle of your printing, which can cause damage.

The Heidorn Report: Merch Research & Strategy Guide


Another important factor to consider is the pressure of your t shirt press.

When choosing a manual press, the first thing to make sure of is that the pressure knobs are easily adjustable.

This ensures that you are always applying the right amount of pressure on your t-shirts during printing.

If you chose to get a manual t shirt press, checking for pressure might be more difficult.

The best way to check for good pressure is to make sure that the upper platen meets the lower platen equally and there are no pinch points. 

Image of the printing process on a tshirt

Your manual t shirt press should also have center pressure adjustments to guarantee edge-to-edge printing.

Having a t shirt press that lets you position the fabric easily also goes hand in hand when you do this task.

A press that lets you slide the fabric easily and provides the right amount of pressure can ensure work safety.

Keep in mind that there are also various thickness of t shirts to consider, hence the reason why you need to choose a press that is easily adjustable to the thickness of the material.

Good pressure is very important when printing because it guarantees that your image is transferred evenly on your t-shirts. 


Printing t-shirts is a business, and that means you will eventually be printing several t-shirts every day.

The number of t-shirts you plan on printing daily should influence your purchase decision.

As your business grows, you will need to print more and more t-shirts and you need a t shirt press that will be able to fulfill all your orders.

Industry-grade t shirt presses will be able to handle high volumes of printing.

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.

Scott Belsky

However, some smaller t shirt presses will still perform the job and for a cheaper price.

You need to consider the bulk orders that may come in the future once you expand your business.

It is important to choose a t shirt press that can work overtime without sacrificing the quality of the product.

Having a machine that producs consistent good quality results will help you in the long run.

For heavy workloads, it can be a daunting task keeping up with all the orders especially if you have a looming deadline.

Cheap t shirt presses have manual timers but expensive ones have digital time and temperature control panels.

Although this is more expensive, it is suitable for keeping in the long run.

This way it is easier to keep track of the time and to have consistent results.

Other Important Points to Note

If you are just starting out with t-shirt printing, you might want to get a machine that is easy to use.

You can gradually get more high-tech tools down the line, but don’t invest in something that you will struggle to use.

Investing in affordable but good quality heat press can determine the efficiency of your work flow.

The best machines, in this case, would be automatic t shirt presses. 

In the event that you decide to invest in a manual tool while still a novice, look into getting a trainer to take you through all the parts and components before you begin printing. 

Your budget is also a big determinant of what machines you can get, especially in the beginning.

If you have a flexible budget, you can invest in sophisticated equipment with advanced features. 

For new sellers on a leaner budget, smaller machines that cost approximately $500 would suffice.

This can serve as a good run for your t shirt printing business as you navigate through different challenges.

Worry not as you can always upgrade to higher quality t shirt presses the moment you continue to grow and make sales. 

In Conclusion

A t shirt press could make or break your t-shirt printing business.

That means you need to spend a lot of time doing your research before purchasing one.

It will probably be your largest business investment, so you need to choose wisely.

Assess where you are in your business, what your needs are now, and where you want to go eventually.

Some people might need a t shirt press for small hobbies, while others want to start businesses that they can slowly scale.

Once you make your purchase, take time and read the manual and invest more time in taking care of it.

The goal is for your machine to last and serve its purpose efficiently.

Try out the machine on a few t-shirts before getting customers.

This gives you the hands-on experience needed to commercially use your t shirt press. 

We hope that this guide has given you key pointers in your journey to choosing the right t shirt press.

The Heidorn Report: Merch Research & Strategy Guide
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
The Free Keyword Research Tools
Read More

The Free Keyword Research Tools

Using the right keywords in your websites and web pages will attract the right audience who will later convert to customers. A free keyword research tool can be a great place to find these keywords. In this blog, we give you an overview of some of the best tools available today.