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The Great Iron vs Heat Press Debate

The Great Iron vs Heat Press Debate…which heating tool is better?

What’s the difference exactly between using a household iron, and a branded heat press?

This is a question we get asked time and time again as the popularity of home heat transfer and sublimation businesses grows. We want to take a moment to answer this for our readers!

The Iron as a Heat Press Option

An iron is a great, handy appliance that almost everyone owns in their home. And more and more often we have customers who are starting out in the heat transfer and personalised product market, so the use of a household iron is both practical and affordable.

An iron can be used for applying heat transfer vinyls, inkjet heat transfer papers, and even certain plastisol transfers.

Iron prices start from as little as $9 (thank you Kmart!) but some high quality irons can even cost more than your average heat press (yes that’s you, fancy pants Tefal and Elna). With iron presses, cordless irons (these are amazing – if you like ironing!), digital irons, mini irons…the options are endless.


Sometimes we even have customers using hair straighteners to apply HTV on icy pole holders, lanyards and more!

What is the Downside to using an Iron?

An iron can never get the three key features that a heat press will always offer.

An iron gives you a setting option, but you can’t really be sure of the exact temperature and the heat of all irons will vary.

An iron also doesn’t allow you to lock in a pressure setting, so sometimes applying pressure to a product can be quite tedious and time consuming with an iron rather than a heat press.

The time needed when using an iron will almost always be increased if the design is larger than the size of the iron, or if the iron runs colder/hotter on its setting. If printing on multi layered items, a small and simple design could end up taking several tedious minutes to complete!

Sublimation can not be completed using an iron due to the high risk of “ghosting” on the item, lack of pressure and varied temperature control.

Should I Invest in a Heat Press?

A heat press is the perfect addition to your hobby or business. A heat press will give you equal, even and consistent time, temperature and pressure for your creative printing projects. Those are the essential things you need to tick off when using heat applied products such and heat transfer vinyl (HTV), sublimation and heat transfer papers. We stock all of these in our online shop – now you know more about the iron and heat press benefits you can browse safe in the knowledge you’re making a great choice!

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