There are three main operating types of heat press machines, each of which with their own advantages and disadvantages. We will outline each below, along with our recommendations and thoughts on each.
Clamshell Presses: Clamshell heat presses are the most common type of heat press machine on the market today, and this is for good reason. This type of heat press machine is simple to operate, basic in design to reduce manufacturing costs and are efficient in terms of movement required to complete a heat press cycle. For most users, the clamshell press is very suitable, as this type of heat press saves space, is light enough for portability and is typically less expensive than the other types of heat press machines. It is important to note that because the heating element sits above the work surface during operation, to be careful not to burn yourself while moving heat press objects on and off of the lower platen. Though, engineers have kept this in mind during the design and given most clamshell heat press machines enough open space to prevent this.
Swing Away Presses: The swing away heat press design allows for an open lower platen to work with when the heat press is open during operation. This type of heat press accomplishes this by having the upper heat platen lift straight up and swing right, out of the way. This open space allows for slightly more worry-free operation, as you don’t have to worry about burning your hands. The swing away type heat press requires more space in your work area and is typically heavier and less portable.
Draw Press: The draw press is similar to the swing away press design. However, instead of swinging to the right, the lower platen draws out (like a dresser drawer) to allow for open space when operating. This engineering design is the most complicated and requires the most moving parts. This is a unique design in the industry and some will find it desirable in their work environment.