This post and the photos it contains may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you buy something through the link, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
What is the best heat source to use Iron on Vinyl (HTV)? We've put a heat press, a home iron, and the Cricut EasyPress through your paces to determine the pros and cons of each, so you can make the right choice for your needs.
This post was sponsored by Cricut.
Are you ready for a showdown? Let's get ready for an iron on rumble!
today we talkvinyl iron(also called heat transfer vinyl or HTV) and how to apply it to a base material like a T-shirt. It takes heat to activate the adhesive on the vinyl with an iron, and lots of it!
I tested three different heating methods: a household iron, a professional heat press, and the Cricut EasyPress.
I've wanted to write a comparison post about these three heating methods for a long time, as I get a lot of questions about using irons on vinyl and the different ways to stick it.
With so many options on the market today, it can be tricky to decide which heating method is right for you.
I finally have a heat press, so now we can cut right to the chase and find out which heat source stands out and the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision before you buy.
For this test, I made a shirt (which I pre-washed) using three types of vinyl irons with three different heat sources: regular mint iron, metallic pink iron, and gold glitter iron.
Remember that the sheet is ironedcool fall. Then I washed the shirt. Many, many times. Every time I did a load of laundry, they threw that shirt away.
We'll see at the end of this post how each heat source and type of iron held up!
But first, let's take a look at today's competitors and how they performed in our competition! *boxing bell*
the household iron
I use mineBlack & Deckerthat I've had for several years.
It's a mid-range iron, nothing fancy, but it's not super cheap either. I put it on the "Cotton" setting and made sure the water hole was empty so steam wouldn't come out.
Regular iron-on vinyl adhered well, the gloss worked great. The sheet...well that was awful. My iron must have been very hot, although it's hard to tell how hot it was as there are no actual temperature settings.
Unfortunately, the foil melted and released bubbles. On the right you can see the smoother result of the transfer press.
Advantages of domestic irons:
- It's versatile: you can iron shirts and also iron wrinkled pants.
- he sees
- It's easy to store.
- You can maneuver it on surfaces that aren't perfectly flat, like B. Hats.
- It's a cheap buy.
Disadvantages of domestic iron:
- There's no way to set an exact temperature, so finding the right setting is often a guessing game.
- It can have hot and cold spots and cause the iron to blister in some places and not stick to others.
- Pressing usually takes longer than other methods.
- It often requires extra keystrokes because the first keystroke wasn't good enough.
- The "staying power" of iron stuck with an iron is usually less than other methods.
For this comparison I use theCO-Z 5 in 1 Swivel Arm Heat Press.
Cricut sent me for this comparison. However, I've wanted to try it out for a while, so I was really excited to try it out.
When it arrived at my house (all £40), I found it rather intimidating: the printer itself, plus a plethora of add-ons.
It took me a while to figure out how to use it (the instructions were oddly uninstructive), including a lot of YouTube time and trial and error (why SP = Temperature? No idea).
All three types of panels adhered well with a single press of 20 seconds at 295°. I used the heat resistant tape that comes with the press to hold everything in place, I love it!
- It adheres beautifully and quite easily to vinyl (once I got the hang of it).
- It has an even heat distribution across the plates.
- You can adjust the temperature and time to get the perfect pressure.
- Remember the last used temperature.
- They can leave during press time. Yes, it usually takes less than 30 seconds, but that's enough time to clean up a bit or check Facebook.
- It comes with several plugins for making non-flat items like mugs, hats and plates.
- While not particularly complicated to use, I found it immediately intimidating.
- The lack of instructions was frustrating.
- It's big and uncomfortable. It takes up a lot of space in my craft room and is not easy to store (I can't easily store it under my work desk, for example).
- I know it shouldn't matter, but it's not the most attractive piece of machinery.
- The heating time is much longer than iron or EasyPress: almost 7 minutes to reach 315°.
- Hot dishes are a bit daunting as I tend to be clumsy. I like that this one disappears compared to the ones that attach over the top, I think it's a little more secure.
- It's weird to do projects bigger than printing plates.
- It is inaccessible for some users.
La Cricut EasyPress
I'm using my newCricut-EasyPress 2for this test, although you also get the same results with the original EasyPress. I also used mineEasyPress-Matte.
You can check out my post about the differences between theEasyPress and EasyPress 2, as well as a printable table of heat levels.
The foil and glossy cling vinyl adhered well with a single 30 second press at 295° and adhered smoothly with additional pressure at 315°.
- Vinyl adheres well and easily.
- It has an even heat distribution across the panel.
- It's easy to use, right out of the box.
- It comes in a variety of sizes, making it easy to complete both small and large projects.
- You can adjust the temperature and time to get the perfect pressure.
- EasyPress 2 remembers the last used temperature.
- Heats up super fast: one minute for EasyPress 2 and two minutes for EasyPress Original.
- It's lightweight (compared to a heat press) and easy to store.
- It's easier to do larger projects than with the printing plate because you can move it easily.
- It `s cute! (Again, this shouldn't matter, but my site is all about making beautiful things, so I appreciate beautiful design!)
- You can maneuver the little EasyPress 2 around non-flat objects, although I find it works best on flat objects.
- The safety base makes me feel a little better about using it in a household with two young children.
- Starting at $139, the cost is prohibitive for some users.
- You have to apply pressure to not run away.
- I think the bead is in a bit of an odd location for where I use my lathe.
wash test results
I've washed this shirt fifteen times already. I washed it inside out in warm water and tried to let it dry naturally (although, as the mother of two three-year-olds, I did throw it in the dryer a few times when I wasn't paying close attention).
To be honest, I'm blown away by ALL the results. I've had a lot of bad luck with my iron in the past, so I was surprised to see how well the iron held up to vinyl, especially with a home iron.
You can't see it in my photo, but the underside of the gold heart is starting to lift a little with the iron, but other than that everything is fine. EasyPress and transfer printer are identical.
So to answer the question: Is the Cricut EasyPress better than an iron? Yes, yes it is because it's application is totally different.Which is better Cricut easy press or heat press? ›
However, when it comes to pressure for projects, which is really important with Infusible Ink and Sublimation, a traditional heat press is far better at getting even pressure. If you are limited on space and want something portable I would recommend the Cricut Easy Press.Why is a Cricut press better than an iron? ›
The EasyPress 2 remembers your last-used temperature. It heats up super fast—a minute for the EasyPress 2 and two minutes for the original EasyPress. It's lightweight (compared to a heat press) and easy to store. It is easier to do projects larger than the pressing plate because you can just move it around.Do I need a Cricut press or can I use an iron? ›
If you have small designs that fit under your iron, you can transfer with one press, so you might not need a heat press. If you have larger designs, and you have to move your iron several times to cover the whole design, you will probably want to consider investing in a press.Is it better to use an iron or heat press? ›
IRONS HAVE A SMALL PRESSING AREA
This means you have to do most heat transfers in stages. Don't get me wrong, it works, but it's not ideal. Heat press machines have a much larger pressing area (the standard size is 15x15 inches). You will also have a much more professional result with a heat press.
With tailored shirts, suits and lined garments, the act of pushing and iron back and forth is likely to distort the fabrics. It is also a common problem when quilting. Many people find that an iron distorts blocks, pleats and seams. For this reason, a switch to pressing is highly recommended.Is Cricut Easy Press worth the money? ›
The machine is so easy to use and very safe. Crafting made easy! I 100% recommend this to my fellow crafters. It's so much easier to apply HTV over a conventional household iron, especially when using Cricut's heat press guide to select the ideal settings for the vinyl & base material you're using.Which easy press should I get? ›
- 9×9 Cricut Easy Press – This is the one I generally recommend for every crafter. ...
- 6×7 Cricut Easy Press – If you make a lot of small projects and already have the 9×9, you might want to consider getting this smaller size as it will make those smaller projects so much easier.
Heat transfer vinyl is, of course, made out of vinyl. However, iron-on transfers include paper and transferrable ink. When you apply heat to your custom HTV design, the entire design transfers onto your desired item. With an iron-on transfer, it's the ink that sticks to your piece.Can I use an iron instead of Cricut EasyPress? ›
Don't worry, you can use a household iron to apply your heat transfer vinyl. Yes, using a heat press is easier and faster, but it is possible to achieve a quality press with a household iron if you do it correctly!
The 1,700-watt Chi Electronic Iron with Retractable Cord 13102 is a fantastic steam iron that has performed reliably for three years of continued testing. It's a new top pick for 2023, but I originally tested it in 2019 and have continued using it regularly since.Do I really need an easy press? ›
In other words, Regular Irons are designed to press your clothes to perfection, not vinyl. Sure, if you aren't planning on making tons of T-Shirts, a regular Iron will be just fine. However, if you want to personalize tons of T-Shirts, trust me. The EasyPress 2 is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY!What type of shirt press is best? ›
- 1 HTVRONT Heat Press Machine – Best Overall.
- 2 RoyalPress Industrial Machine – Best Quality Material.
- 3 Tusy Pro 5-in-1 Heat Press Machine – Space Saving Design.
- 4 Seeutek 8-in-1 Heat Press Machine – Affordable Choice.
- 5 Fierton 12 “×10” Heat Press Machine – Most Portable.
- 6 Vevor 12”x15” Heat Press Machine – Most Versatile.
- Barbell Military Press.
- Barbell Z Press.
- Barbell Push Press.
- Double Kettlebell Overhead Press.
- Single Arm Landmine Press.
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press.
- Shoulder Press With Chains/Bands.
- Partial Shoulder Press.
Usha Press Iron-
Usha is one of the most trusted brands in India, it has become a household name over the years. Usha products guarantee you of the quality at very reasonable prices. Usha press comes with three major options, dry iron press, steam iron press and steam station.
The Cricut Explore 3 is Cricut's most popular machine, and for a good reason! It cuts over 100 materials: cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and specialty materials like glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric. It's faster than the older Explore Air 2 – plus, it's compatible with Smart Materials.Which Cricut press is better? ›
The Cricut EasyPress 2 – 9″ x 9″ size may be our top pick for an all-around press, particularly if find yourself pressing onto flat surfaces without too many challenges. In those cases, we recommend the addition of the EasyPress Mini.Should I get the EasyPress 2 or 3? ›
The only difference is that EasyPress 2 does not have Bluetooth capability. Cricut EasyPress 3 added the capability of Bluetooth. Otherwise, these two presses are the same. So if you're looking for that ease of use with the Cricut Heat app, you might want to consider adding EasyPress 3 to your craft room.Which EasyPress is best for shirts? ›
9×9 EasyPress 2 is the ideal size for t-shirts and totes. You could also customize your throw pillows or even an apron. 12×10 EasyPress 2 is perfect for larger projects such larger T-shirts and sweatshirts.What is the newest EasyPress? ›
Cricut EasyPress 3 will be available to purchase in the US starting March 13, 2022. Learn more about what you can do with Cricut EasyPress 3 or visit Cricut.com for more product details. Cricut EasyPress 3 and the Cricut Heat app pair together to help you create easier and faster.
- Heat Distribution Across the Platen. ...
- Accurate Temperature. ...
- Even Pressure. ...
- Easy to Open and Close. ...
- Digital Time and Temperature. ...
- Easy-to-Position Garment. ...
- Size. ...
- Compatible with Your Workload.
Heat transfer is the process of applying an ink-based design (usually one printed on a sheet of special transfer paper) to the product to be decorated (usually a t-shirt) with a heat press machine. As the name implies, a heat press machine works by using heat and pressure to apply the design to the garment.Is Cricut everyday iron-on the same as heat transfer vinyl? ›
Everyday Iron-on is the one type of HTV that can be used as a base layer and then layer on top of it any other type of heat transfer material.Is Smart iron-on the same as heat transfer vinyl? ›
Iron-on is another name for Heat Transfer Vinyl. You can find tons of different colors, lengths and effects of Smart Iron-On.
Yes, any household iron will do. A flat iron with no holes on the plate will be a better option than a steam iron.Why is my iron-on vinyl not sticking? ›
Not Enough Pressure
First things first, the most common reason your HTV may not be sticking to your shirt, sweater or whatever else you're applying it to may be because you're not using enough pressure. And pressure is important. Without it, your HTV projects may not be as long lasting as you would like.
You shall hear a beep sound once the EasyPress is ready. Once the Cricut heat press is ready, place it on top of the fabric. Make sure you're using a parchment paper underneath.Is Cricut Easypress worth the money? ›
The machine is so easy to use and very safe. Crafting made easy! I 100% recommend this to my fellow crafters. It's so much easier to apply HTV over a conventional household iron, especially when using Cricut's heat press guide to select the ideal settings for the vinyl & base material you're using.What is the difference between Cricut heat transfer vinyl and iron-on? ›
Heat transfer vinyl is, of course, made out of vinyl. However, iron-on transfers include paper and transferrable ink. When you apply heat to your custom HTV design, the entire design transfers onto your desired item. With an iron-on transfer, it's the ink that sticks to your piece.Should I get EasyPress 2 or 3? ›
The only difference is that EasyPress 2 does not have Bluetooth capability. Cricut EasyPress 3 added the capability of Bluetooth. Otherwise, these two presses are the same. So if you're looking for that ease of use with the Cricut Heat app, you might want to consider adding EasyPress 3 to your craft room.
9×9 EasyPress 2 is the ideal size for t-shirts and totes. You could also customize your throw pillows or even an apron. 12×10 EasyPress 2 is perfect for larger projects such larger T-shirts and sweatshirts. It's ideal for blankets, banners and signs.Does the EasyPress get hotter than iron? ›
The EasyPress 2 heats up more quickly than its original predecessor, and it also heats up hotter – to a 400 degree maximum temperature vs. 350 degrees.Why do I need a Cricut easy press? ›
For heat-transfer material like iron-on to adhere successfully, it needs even heat. And that's why we created Cricut EasyPress. Two heating elements snake through the plate, creating perfectly even heat and flawless, long-lasting transfers. Because we eliminated the hotspot, a press cloth is rarely, if ever, required.Which is better heat transfer or vinyl? ›
However, it must be noted that the quality of the shirt designs made with heat transfer paper will not be as durable as those made with heat transfer vinyl, which is the primary tradeoff for creating custom shirts so inexpensively.What is the difference between heat transfer and heat press? ›
Heat transfer is the process of applying an ink-based design (usually one printed on a sheet of special transfer paper) to the product to be decorated (usually a t-shirt) with a heat press machine. As the name implies, a heat press machine works by using heat and pressure to apply the design to the garment.