Have you used a heat press machine? If you try heat transfer vinyl in your crafting, you’ll come across heat press machines. You cut your shape in heat transfer vinyl, then place it on fabric and apply heat to the back. The heat makes the vinyl stick to the fabric. Take a look at our vinyl crafts article to see the process in action.


Most crafters use an iron to apply the heat and pressure to make the design transfer. This works fine for small designs like tea shirt motifs, or words where only a thin bit of craft vinyl is used. But it is impossible to apply an even heat and pressure across a design using an iron. Keeping an even pressure just using your arm is really hard!

Steam irons have holes that interrupt the heat plate, too. So with big designs that are solidly coloured, you can get an uneven design transfer across the area. This is especially a problem if you are using infusible inks where the design bonds with the fabric. It won’t sit on the surface like heat transfer vinyl will – the infusible ink becomes one with the materials. This means it will never crack, as heat transfer vinyl projects can over time. But if uneven heat is applied, you get discrepancies in the bond and an inconstant finish on your design, whatever its size.

Irons can scorch fabric, too. But heat press machines have far more accurate temperature settings. You can usually enter the temperature you need as a number rather than guessing the temperature of your iron settings. Heat press machines typically have timers or alerts that make sure the exact amount of heat is applied. The most mechanised will have auto off functions, so you can even wander off mid transfer and make yourself a cuppa.

Herat press machines have a place in sewing projects, too. Heat press machines with large heating plates make short work of adding iron-on interfacing to your fabrics. You can always use a regular iron to do this, of course. But if you have a heat press machine, it will be much quicker to let its large plates the work. The same is true of your regular ironing jobs too - think of a large heat press machine as your own home corby trouser press alternative!

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What to consider when buying a heat press machine

Heat press machines come in many different shapes and sizes. Some have 2 plates that push together to add pressure. Some are self heating pads which you push down manually onto your designs once the target temperature is reached. Before you purchase a heat press machine, think about the size and kind of designs you are typically going to use it for. For smaller projects, an iron will likely suffice, unless you are using infusible inks. What is the footprint of the machine – will you have room for it on your craft desk? Do you have any dexterity issues with your hands and arms which would make pressing down difficult?

Take a look at our pick of the best heat press machines uk and see which one is the right choice for you

Aoneey Easypress heat press machine

the aonesy heat press machine in white with raspberry coloured flashes

It is the cheap price point that makes this heat press machine so attractive. Oh, and the fact that it comes in a choice of 3 different colours so you can match it to your craft room. The heat press machine’s uk price is £99.99, which is a lot cheaper than the market-leading branded alternative. We have had good results with this heat press machine. You get a heating area of almost 10 x 10 inches, which is large enough for most t-shirt and sweatshirt decals. It heats up in just a few minutes, up to a maximum of 200 C! You can choose to use the in-built display in Celsius or Fahrenheit depending on what you like. It is easy to adjust temperature and timing setting. Once it is hot enough, it beeps to let you know, and you then remove from the base and place over your vinyl area. The plate vibrates, which helps even out the pressure for a smoother transfer. Brilliant value for money and a solid machine build - we have heard early models have an issue with base alignment, though we have not seen that.

Cricut Easy Press2 Heat Press machine, Large

Cricut heat press machine with a black base

When your project size goes up, inconsistencies in your heat transfer process goes up too. So where an iron may do for smaller projects, you can’t apply an even contest pressure on larger designs. That is why we think that if you are going to get a Cricut EasyPress, you should invest in a large one. The large model has a transfer area of 30 x 25cms, which covers you for T-shirts all the way up to XXL, banners and other jumbo makes. These machines are well designed with little details to help the home crafters step their makes up a gear, The insulated base plate protects your surface, and auto shut off stops accidents. It’s also big enough for quick and easy shirt pressing!

American crafters can take advantage of a great price that Joanns has on the Raspberry EasyPress2 of $230 as of May 2023. We are so sorry there is no heat press machine uk price for this deal!

Buy the heat press machine from Joanns

Cricut Autopress Heat Press machine

the cricut autopress heat press machine looks a bit like toaster sandwich maker

If money was no object, the Cricut Autopress would be the heat press machine we’d choose. Like a big sandwich toaster, it has a large heat area of 38 x 30cms, which is big enough for every heat press project. And the big benefit for crafters who have any dexterity issues is that there is no need to apply pressure - just close the lid and the Autopress does all the work for you. It adjusts the gap between the heat plates automatically to accommodate different project thicknesses, and auto releases when done for the ultimate safety and ease. But money is rarely no object and the heat press machine’s UK price tags is £899. Which is more than I paid for my car. But if you can afford better wheels, you can have the Rolls Royce of heat press machines with this model, too.

Siser heat press machine

The sister het press machine uk has a red foam handle and a large black display screen

Buy this heat press machine on Etsy

Unlike most clam shell machines which look far too industrial for our taste, the Siser heat press machine looks quite nice. It is set up for business use with features designed to assist in mass production. But the price point makes it an alternative to a manual machine to consider. The pressure comes from gas assisted struts (as in your car boot opening) which help apply pressure with minimal force from the operator. The plate area is 22 x 30cm, which gives you good options for large shirts and banners. Temperature and time are easily adjusted using the LED display, and you get an alert sound when the time is finished as a nudge to open the machine and remove your make. The machine can be adjusted for different thicknesses of material by turning the adjustment knob. The machine is quite small considering its large heat area, and would not look out of place on a craft desk.

Tumbler heat press machine

the tumblr heat press machine adds designs to mags

Buy this Heat press machine on Etsy

Going beyond a flat heat press machine, the Tumbler is designed to apply heat to tube shapes. This lets you add heat transfer designs to mugs, bottles and other cylinders. It only works on circular forms with a diameter of 225mm. There is a slit at the top to accommodate mug handles, which means if you want a design that goes all the way round, like bottle, you’ll need the adjust your position mid transfer. It comes with a US plug as standard, but they will supply alternatives on request. It’s a very clever but very specialist heat press machine. Really, this is most appropriate for a mug making business rather than a home crafter, but would be a great bit of kit for a mug making side hustle!

Cricut Easypress mini heat press machine

the circuit het press machine looks bit like a small iron

This machine has certainly got the cute factor down. Cricut market it as being ‘mini but mighty’, and there are some things that this heat press machine does way better than its larger siblings. Its oval shape and design make it great for getting into tricky areas on design shapes, working around hat curves or shoe eyelets. You can see that feature in action in our heat transfer vinyl on shoes project. It is super simple to use, with 3 heat settings – low, medium and high. The auto shut off feature makes sure the machine and your crafting is safe. It looks lovely, takes up very little room, but we think an iron will do just as well for your needs in most instances. If you are predominantly planning to use infusible inks, it would be worth investing in this machine – this heat press machine’s uk RRP is just £54.99, and there are plenty of deals and offers to be had.


Hannah BellisKnitting Editor, Gathered

Hannah has worked on Gathered for 3 years, since our launch in 2019. At school Hannah learned to knit collaborating on dorcas blankets – now she edits our knitting section. She inherited her love of stitching and embroidery from her talented grandmother, and her passion for thread led her to be Editor of The World of Cross Stitching for six years. Card making is a more recent passion, developing from her position as editor of Cross Stitch Card Shop. She loves using kinetic techniques to make cards that move – she was editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine for over four years, creating loads of card making video tutorials at www.youtube.com/PapercraftTV.

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