According to research conducted by the NPD Group, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that having a T-shirt printing machine in their business is important.
Having a machine can be a great way to save time and money and increase your sales. Printing shirts yourself can also be a good way to create your own brand and increase your business’s sales.
Finding a t-shirt printing machine for your small business can be difficult. Some of the more popular models can be quite expensive, which can make them out of reach for some small businesses.
However, we have compiled a list of top t-shirt machines for small businesses that offer superb functionality and outstanding productivity.
Why T-shirt Printing Machines For Small Businesses?
Simple And Efficient
Printing requires a printer that is easy to use and effective. Most t-shirt printing machines offer both features, making it very user-friendly and the installation process relatively short.
These printers typically come with a variety of printing options that enable you to efficiently complete tasks and provide easy access to performance tracking through smartphone apps
Meet Work Demands
Many small businesses find it difficult to keep up with the ever-increasing work demands. This is especially true for businesses that are just starting out.
Using a t-shirt printing machine is a quick and easy way to print t-shirts as they are simple to operate and can handle large orders.
Top-Notch Quality And Large Volumes
For printing shirts for small businesses, nothing beats a top-notch quality machine that can handle large volumes.
A good t-shirt printing machine for small businesses will print shirts quickly and accurately, making it a great option for busy businesses.
Many small businesses don’t have the time or money to print their own t-shirts. These machines are incredibly cost efficient and can help your business save money on printing costs.
With it, you can do away with outsourcing the work and focus on in-house production. Likewise, you could cut your expenses by only printing what you need.
Printing t-shirts for your small business can be time-consuming. But with a T-shirt printing machine, you can speed up the process and save money.
A t-shirt printing machine can print shirts quickly and easily. Plus, printing t-shirts on a machine saves time more than printing them in a professional printing lab.
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Our Top 5 T-shirt Printing Machine Picks
We have compiled a list of the best t-shirt printing machines based on user reviews, experience with some of them, durability, and affordability. Whatever you’re looking for in a t-shirt printing machine, we’re confident that one of our options will meet your needs.
1. ePhotoInc Swing Away 9 x 12 T-shirt Heat Press Machine Transfer Sublimation Press ZP9BU
This clamshell giant offers you an enormous 15 by 15 area which is greater than any other t-shirt press machine and suffices to take care of your most substantial print requirements.
It also features adjustable pressure knobs to ensure proper pressure depending on the thickness and nature of the substrate.
The clamshell design gives compactness that is needed in a small space. The press feels very much sturdy and is made from steel making it one of the more powerful presses on this list.
This heat press comes pre-assembled and is a great option for those who need a machine that can handle a lot of substrates.
2. Fancier studio power heat press digital 15 by 15 sublimation
If you want to start a commercial t-shirt business, then this is the machine for you.
It offers the perfect blend of versatility, durability, and affordability – it has a compact design and does not require large space.
This professional t-shirt printing machine is ideal for imprints on fabric and also handles canvas puzzles and many other things with much ease.
The heat plate is glued with an additional layer of silicon rubber base. The structure looks well built and should last for a while. It has a temperature control that can reach up to a maximum of 700 degrees Fahrenheit which is more than you usually require.
Its timer control ranges from zero to seconds and is controlled electronically which makes it more precise.
3. PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation T-shirt Heat Press
What makes this heat press such a desirable heat press machine is its combination of durability and versatility to print on any type of flat surface at such an affordable price for the t-shirt business.
The heat press can easily transfer high-quality prints not only on fabric but also on customized mats, ceramic plates, license plates, and wood.
The element of the heat press has a 15 by 15 area, which is quite nice even if you work on larger-sized projects.
The glue silicone gel board and even heat distribution through the element result in high-quality prints every time.
It has a temperature range of zero to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and an electronic time control option with an alarm system ranging from 0 to 999 seconds.
4. Zeny Heat Press Machine
If you want the best heat press machine that is also multi-purpose, the Zeny pro-six-in-one combo heat press pro is the machine for you.
It has a 12 by 15 inch Teflon coated plate and press element that is very useful for designing your t-shirt.
It’s a six-in-one combo including a one-hand press, two mug presses, two plate presses, one silicon pad, and one cotton pad, as well as a fully assembled machine with platen plates.
It has an adjustable multi-spring balancer that distributes pressure more evenly across the plate when closed, and the built-in structural support maintains flatness during operation.
Its cradle is made of upgraded aluminum, allowing for even heating, and it can be detached to use mug elements. It has a temperature scale that can be adjusted between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
5. Fancier studio DG HEAT PRESS Digital Sublimation
The fancier studio DG heat press digital sublimation is an industrial grade heavy duty space-saving clamshell model that is significantly less expensive.
The machine can transfer prints not only on fabric but also on wood, license plates, ceramic, and other materials causing no damage.
It’s designed to handle a wide range of materials and temperatures and has an adjustable pressure setting for materials of various thicknesses.
It has a large 15 by 15 heating element that is nonstick and Teflon coated to prevent transfer scorching, so no additional silicon or plastic sheets are required.
When you unbox it, it comes fully assembled and ready to use. It has a temperature range of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and makes imprinting very comfortable.
It also has an alarm and timer system that work together to notify you when the work is finished. You will not be disappointed with its performance because it works flawlessly.
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Things to consider when shopping for the best t-shirt printers
What type of printer do you need? Do you need a standard printer that can handle a wide range of printing needs? Or are you looking for a specialized printer that is better suited for t-shirt printing?
A small sublimation machine will do if you plan to print less than 500 t-shirts per year. If you go above that figure, you’ll want to invest in a Direct to Garment (DTG) printer.
Then, you’ll want to consider the cost of printing. Do you want an affordable printer or one that is more expensive but offers better quality printing?
You’ll also want to ensure that the printer you choose is compatible with the type of t-shirt you’re printing.
Printing methods for t-shirt printing
When you’re shopping for a t-shirt printer, you need to consider what printing method you want.
You can choose from a variety of printing methods, including heat printing, screen printing, and dye sublimation.
Screen printing is a printing process that uses a mesh screen to apply ink to a substrate, typically a textile.
As the screen is pressed against the substrate, the ink is forced through the mesh and onto the fabric. Screen printing produces high-quality prints with a wide range of colors that last for a long time. It’s great for a lot of orders, but not ideal for very specific designs.
Heat printing is a printing process that uses heat to transfer ink from a printhead to a T-shirt. It’s fast and efficient and doesn’t require prepping the shirt in any way.
This process is ideal for printing logos, text, and images on T-shirts. It won’t hold up as well to washing as other methods but is more beginner-friendly.
Dye sublimation is a great way to print on t-shirts. Its printing technique uses color vaporizing to create breathable prints.
Sublimation, which is a printing process used on synthetic fabrics such as polyester, only works on a few fabrics.
Your preferred printing methods for t-shirt printing will also play a role when choosing a t-shirt printing machine.
Material and operation costs
When shopping for a t-shirt printer, it’s important to consider both the cost of the printer itself and the material costs associated with printing t-shirts.
The cost of the printer itself is important in determining what t-shirt printer to buy.
However, it’s important to weigh the cost of the printer against the cost of the material when shopping for a t-shirt printer.
Screen printing is a cheap way to produce custom designs, but it’s not very efficient for printing small orders.
The least expensive t-shirt printing technology is heat press printing, as you can use a standard inkjet printer with transfer paper and a heat press.
DTG printing isn’t cheap either, although it’s great for small orders and for switching between designs frequently.
Some printers require more maintenance than others. For less fuss, choose a printer with automated cleaning capabilities and low maintenance costs.
You’ll also want something with minimal manual maintenance time.
Another thing to consider when choosing a t-shirt printer is the printer’s warranty and how easy the printer is to use.
It’s important to choose a printer that can handle any future maintenance needs. Some printers will alert you when they need cleaning, so you don’t have to keep track of when you last cleaned it.
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Tips for getting the most out of your t-shirt printing machine
If you do not optimize the temperature, it may cause inefficient artwork transfer. The artwork may also peel off as it may not stick properly because of non-optimal temperature.
To determine the proper temperature for each substrate, it is best to consult the temperature guide mentioned in the user manual.
Keep the upper heat plate clean
A neat platen will also ensure an even distribution of pressure and temperature. Clean the upper heat plate and span before using it.
This will help remove any residual ink from the previous heat transfer process. Also, the cloth used for cleaning the Teflon coating should not be rough or it will scratch the coating.
Use the center of the platen for prints
Always place the substrate in the center of the plate and for transfers, it will ensure an even distribution of pressure across all four corners of the heating surface.
If the substrate is placed on the side of the platen and receives more pressure, this will cause the upper platen to become uneven leading to subsequent poor transfers.
Printing machines provide many advantages to small businesses but deciding which machine is best for your business can be difficult, but we hope these recommendations on t-shirt printing machines for small businesses will help you make an informed decision.