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Five Factors to Consider When Purchasing An Industrial-Grade Heat Press

When you’re running a production operation, you can’t risk equipment failure. You need the highest-quality, most reliable heat press machinery to maximize your profit and streamline operational efficiency. Check out these five tips for evaluating the quality of industrial heat presses and find the right fit for your business needs. 

How Does An Industrial Heat Press Work?

The functionality of a heat press is not overly complicated.  It is designed to transfer ink from screen-printed or digitally printed paper or film to a substrate such as a garment, plaque, sign, or etc. It does so with the application of heat and pressure.

The options for heat press machines are limitless, from small-format transfer machines that can be used for one off projects to industrial grade heat press equipment designed specifically for an operation like yours. The quality, however, also tends to run the gamut. Quality is something that you can’t afford to compromise on when you’re producing products by the hundreds or thousands on a daily basis. 

Here’s our guide to selecting the best-quality, industrial heat press equipment for your needs.

What To Look For In An Industrial Heat Press Machine

There are few key factors to consider when looking for the machinery that will support your print and production operations. First and foremost is going to be the machine’s capabilities. You need an industrial heat press manufacturer who can support all of the services you want to offer. Additionally, you’ll need to consider size, style, temperature range, and, most importantly, quality. Let’s discuss how to evaluate all of these different factors to make the right choice in equipment.


Heat presses can be used for a number of different applications, including:

  • Shirts, Hoodies, and Apparel
  • Office Equipment
  • Plaques and Signs
  • Bags
  • Mugs, Cups, and Bottles
  • Hats
  • And so much more

Depending on the types of products you plan to produce, you may need a different type of heat press machine. Flat presses are great for apparel and other flat items that need transfers. A combination press is better suited for specialty items that don’t lay flat in a machine. In some cases, you’ll need additional attachments to adapt the right heat press machine to your business needs. Let Insta Graphic Systems help you make the right choice.


The size of transfer is going to dictate what size of heat press machine you need. Typically, you’ll find the largest transfers are 8.5” by 11” or 11” by 17”. At Insta Graphic Systems, you’ll find a plethora of different sizes to accommodate your needs, with our smallest being just 6” by 6” and our largest up to 20” by 25”. Consider what your smallest and largest transfers might be so you can select the right size industrial machine to support your heat transfers.


The two most common styles of heat press machines are a clamshell and swing away press. 

Clamshell heat presses are machines that open and close like a clam. The top plate rises to accommodate your products and will lower to snap close to evenly apply heat and pressure. Clamshell presses are okay for thinner substrates but not always ideal for thicker materials. You’ll want to get comfortable operating with a clamshell style press, as the pressure comes down from the rear forward and can cause the transfer to move if the operator is not careful.

The other most common kind of heat press machine is a swing away press. Referred to as “swingers” by heat press industry pros, a swing away industrial heat press operates with an upper plate that swings to the side as opposed to hinging from the top. This increases the level of precision you can apply to transfers while also improving the energy efficiency of the equipment. It is larger and more complex than other types of industrial heat presses.


You’ll find different thermometers implemented based on the type of equipment you have. Bimetallic thermometers are the standard, but not as accurate as an RTD probe. You may see 5-10 degrees of variance in the temperature with the standard thermometer.

Thinner plates don’t retain heat as well as the thicker ones, so that will potentially slow the process of heat transfer recovery, especially if you have repeated pressings.


The most important thing to consider when purchasing an industrial heat press is the quality of the equipment. How long is the machinery going to stand up to daily use? There’s a common industry misconception that the heavier the heat press the more durable it will be. While yes, heavy plates can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear, so much more goes into the quality of an industrial heat press. Rather than exclusively looking at weight, consider the frame of the machine itself. Steel is going to be heavier and more durable, but a cast aluminum alloy can also provide high levels of strength at a lighter weight point.

You’ll want to review what past customers have said about the products, as well. There’s nothing more insightful than hearing about the hands-on experience of your peers.

Contact Insta Graphic Systems To Find Your Industrial Heat Press

Insta Graphic Systems is a proud manufacturer and supplier of industrial-grade heat press equipment. With manual, automatic, and sublimation heat press machines available, our team is ready to help you find the best solution for your operation.

Contact one of our sales representatives today to learn more about our products and get a quote on equipment.


TBT: Impressions Expo, Long Beach 🏖️. Live demos with the Insta 780 Dual Shuttle Heat Press 🦾🔥, customizing tote bags 👜 The Insta 780 is the perfect Heat Press for high volume shops. It Reduces labor costs & increases productivity up to 70%! #heatpress #heatpressnation #heatpressmachine #impressionsexpo #impressionsexpo2024

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