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What is the best heat press for DTF transfers?

What is the best heat press for DTF transfers?

If you are thinking about or in the process of starting your own apparel decorating business that utilizes DTF transfers you know there are a lot of questions and decisions to be made.  When thinking about what heat press to purchase you have more than likely asked yourself some questions regarding what might be the best heat press for you.

Those questions might include:

  • Should I spend more money for a premium quality heat press, or go as cheap as possible as I start out, or aim for somewhere in the middle with the proverbial happy medium?
  • What advantage even is there in a expensive heat press, since they all work essentially the same?
Lets take a look at what makes a good heat press and why skimping on this important piece of equipment might hurt you in the long run.

Accurate Temperature

The biggest thing with heat presses is that not all of them are created equal when it comes to the design of their heating element.  Sure they essentially look the same on the outside, but most heat presses use some variation of the simple "U" design for the heating element.  This design has some obvious disadvantages as the middle and edges are often left without proper coverage and can become cold zones leaving you unable to properly apply heat to 100% of the transfer. 

This quality difference quickly becomes clear when you take a look at the two pictures we included below.  

Cheap Heat Press Element            Geo Knight Heat Press Element

Obviously the Geo Knight covers a much higher percentage of the area.

We have used different heat presses and we can tell you that our Geo Knight heat press is a fantastic press for maintaining consistent and even temperatures with its patented design that winds back and forth in an even and consistent manner that leaves no cold zones.   

After using a heat gun to check a cheaper heat press we found temperature fluctuations that simply did not exist on our Geo Knight.

Speaking of heat guns, it is highly advisable that you purchase a heat gun to test your heat press for consistency to help you in gauging that your press is actually hitting the set temperature as well as looking for any areas to avoid when using it.  It is true that if your press has too high of a loss in temperature, it will begin to affect the DTF adhering to the chosen apparel properly. 

The opposite of this is also true, if your heat press is running to hot then it can leave your transfers or clothing "burned" which will not feel or look right.  Often times, "burned" transfers feel and sound more like vinyl, have less elasticity, and feel rough, and lose their vibrant color.

If your Armor Ink transfer isn't soft, flexible, or have great color, then something is wrong with your pressing method.


Ability To Easily Use Leverage To Get Desired Pressure

Cheap Heat Press

With the smaller and cheaper heat presses you might think that you are getting a great medium/high pressure press with how hard you are working to lock it in, but unfortunately it is a poor design of leverage leading to the extra work you have in making your products.  

The Geo Knight heat presses have large long arms for you to use, and give you the ability to use that extra leverage and get a great heavy pressure press without working nearly as hard.  Your body will most certainly thank you for this after a big order!


Geo Knight Heat Press DK20

Not only that, we've found that a heavy pressure press at lower temperatures with our Armor Ink transfers leads to the softest transfers that we've ever felt.  They stretch, maintain color, feel amazing, and LAST without losing color.  Using a heat press without that extra leverage will make it harder to achieve these highly desirable results!


Large Opening To Work With When Loading Garments

Smaller and cheaper heat presses have smaller range of motion that results in them not opening as wide.  This makes loading apparel, placing transfers, and not burning fingers more difficult for the operator.  We absolutely love our Geo Knight DK20's wide opening as it allows us to easily load garments, see where the transfer is exactly on the garment, and not worry about brushing the heating element.


Geo Knight Warranty

Warranties are often overlooked but they can usually tell a story of how well something is constructed.  From a quick look on Amazon, one of the top results has a warranty of only 6 months!  That is VERY short compared to the lifetime platen warranty that a quality press like Geo Knight carries.  Geo Knight does break it down with 3 years for the control panel and 5 for the frame (as shown in the image) but that tells a story of a quality build that the company is willing to stand behind. 

Also, moving an amazon quality press can be done by one person, but moving a Geo Knight is required to have two people.  It is made of heavy duty steel and is built to last once you get it installed in your workspace.  The weight in its construction tells the story for how it is built to last.


Manufacturer history

At this point most of us are probably familiar with drop shipping from China and being able to sell on Amazon.  Many brands on Amazon are importing the same products with different names/colors and who knows how long these businesses will be in business and able to warranty your heat press.

Buying a Geo Knight gets you a quality product by a quality American company that has been around since 1885!  You can rest easy knowing that they will be there for you if you need them.

Geo Knight Established 1885


It is true that you will pay a premium price for a heat press from Geo Knight over the cheaper competition.  Taking a look at the prices, at the time of writing this article, a small 15x15 clam shell press on Amazon can be purchased for $199, a bigger 16x20 can be purchased for $330, while an entry model Geo Knight is $1,275. 

This is a significant price difference but after making the switch to Geo Knight and talking to others in the apparel decorating industry, we would never go back to the cheaper models as the advantages of the Geo Knight are well worth the price difference and the quality of press is well worth the premium price.  


I hope that after reading our write up you have a clearer picture of what is right for you and your business.  We don't all start out with the funds to purchase everything we want, but I do know that a top quality heat press should absolutely be on the top of your list when you are looking to reinvest into your business if you can't purchase it initially!  

Special Offer From Geo Knight To Armor Ink Customers!

Geo Knight was also kind enough to provide us with a coupon code for our customers to use, so if you do decide to purchase from them at use the code "ARMOR 67526" at checkout for a 5% discount! 

You can also reply to the confirmation email they send to confirm a preferred customer shipping rate for another discount!!

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