Do You NEED a Heat Press? (Determine If You Really Need to Invest)

The question I hear the most often when it comes to heat transfer vinyl is “Do I NEED a heat press?”  The answer depends a lot on the materials you work with, how much you do and if you sell your creations.

Do you need a heat press? How to decide if a heat press is right for you!Check out the flow chart below to see if you need to invest in a heat press.

The burning question- do I need a heat press?  To help you answer that question, I have created a flow chat:

Do you need a heat press? How to decide if you need a heat press for your heat transfer vinyl business. This flow chart starts with the most basic of questions- do you use heat transfer vinyl?  If you do not, then you don’t need a heat press.  If you work with regular adhesive backed vinyl, it comes ready to stick onto your project, no heat required.  If you work with heat transfer, move on to the next question.

Do you sell your creations?  If you’re making items to sell, you probably want to invest in a heat press.  While you can iron your items on with a regular iron, a heat press will give you a more professional finish and ensure that your heat transfer stays on your product.  If you sell your items, invest (and write it off as a business expense).

If you do not sell your creations, the next thing to consider is how much heat transfer do you work with.  Do you have large volumes?   If you only do a thing here or there for family or yourself, you don’t need a heat press.  If you make a lot of stuff for family or yourself, you might want to look into a heat press.  You can get by with an iron, but takes more time and effort.  How valuable is your time?   Consider that you may be spending over a minute per garment with your iron, so you might want to look into a heat press if you have a lot of things you’re making.

Finally, do you make large designs?  If you have small designs that fit under your iron, you can transfer with one press, so you might not need a heat press.  If you have larger designs, and you have to move your iron several times to cover the whole design, you will probably want to consider investing in a press.

In short- if you make items to sell, make a lot of items or make items with large designs, you may want to invest in a heat press.  If you only make items for yourself, with smaller decals or don’t mind spending time ironing, you probably don’t need a heat press.

While a heat press is certainly an investment, it will help you transfer vinyl quickly and easily and give you a polished product in the end.  If you can splurge, you should!




8 Replies to “Do You NEED a Heat Press? (Determine If You Really Need to Invest)”

  1. I’ve just started to get into iron on vinyl and your flowchart talked me off of the ledge regarding making such a large purchase for myself right now. I’ll wait to see how many more projects I want to do before purchasing. Thanks!

    Rachel says:
    1. Hi Rachel,
      I’m glad it helped! Don’t get me wrong, a heat press is worth its weight in gold! But it may be overkill if you’re not going to utilize it enough. It’s best to save up and invest in one when you’re ready!
      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Kala says:
  2. I have one question. I sew all my iron on stuff. With a heat press would I still need to do that? That could be the answering for me.

    Toni says:
    1. Hi Toni,
      A heat press is basically a giant iron. It would depend on why you are sewing on all the iron on stuff you work with. Are you sewing it on because the iron isn’t getting a good enough hold? If so, then the heat press will give you a better pressure for better adhesion.

      Hope this helps!

      Kala says:
  3. Thank you so much for this tip, I was wondering about this. You answered my question!

    Diana says:
    1. Thank you for telling me! I’m sure many people have looked at the chart and have made a decision based on it, but they haven’t left comments. Comments are a bloggers reward for a job well done- so I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a note!

      Kala says:
    2. Are you happy with the SINGER press? Is the quality good?

      Shelby Richards says:
      1. Yes! I have used it on all my projects and I really like it. It is really meant more for sewers/quilters looking to iron their fabrics, but I have not had any problems heat pressing shirts, stuffed animals, and more. You may struggle with it if the HTV you use requires a certain pressure or heat settings. This one doesn’t have pressure settings that you can adjust and the settings are kind of like an iron (cotton, wool, linen, etc). I’ve been happy with it!

        Kala says:

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