Heat Press vs Screen Printing – the Actual Differences That You Need to Know

Anyone who is interested in printing often gets stuck between heat press and screen printing.

This is normal. Every great business presents the opportunity to make a difference in the world. But, it also presents the challenge of deciding where to start, grow and be the leader. Printing is no different.

Both screen printing and heat press offer unique advantages, but there are also challenges to choose from.

Today, we’ll be looking at two popular printing techniques, especially towards the end. t-shirt printing businessHeat press vs. Screen printing. Finally, a little advice on which method you should use.

Screen printing: What You Need To Know

Screen printing used silk to reproduce images and text from a template. Its roots can be traced back as far as ancient China. This ancient technique has been around for thousands of years and yet, due to its timeless effectiveness, it still finds its place today in the printing industry.

Screen printing is a process that involves ink being applied to objects via a screen. It can be applied to clothing, as well as other objects like bottles, pens and cups. You can find out more about it here. printer that is capable to print screen printing transparencies as we’ve done on our another article.

Silk screening is difficult because it requires a complex process that requires large investments in chemical and equipment. To succeed in screen printing, you need to have a lot of money.

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Types of screen printing

There are two types depending on the type of ink used.

Water-based Inks

They are embedded in the fabric, giving it a soft feel. They are easy to crack or fade, and cause minimal damage to the environment. To truly blow your mind, you will need pure cotton towels and fabrics.

Plastisol Inks

The ink does not embed into the fabric like the water-based ink. It sits on top. They are susceptible to cracking and fading.

Screen Printing Requirements:

  • For creating a screen, you will need to use emulsion, ink thinner and dehaze.
  • A washout booth to clean and create screens.
  • A dark place for storing screens.
  • A light machine to burn screens.
  • Tape, films, squeegees and scrubbers are all needed.

Screen Printing’s Advantages

  • This is a great choice for larger designs that include more than one color.
  • Even on darker fabrics, it produces a vibrant print.
  • Iron your printed fabric.
  • Screen printing is flexible and can be done in any size.
  • It gives off a warmer and softer feeling.
  • Garments can withstand the roughness of the washer.

Notable are also the disadvantages

  • It can be expensive to work on small projects.
  • Screen printing is not a good option if you require multiple colors.
  • It takes a lot time to finish the work and move on.

Heat Press – All You Need To Know

Next is the heat press. This machine uses high pressure and high temperatures to imprint the design onto the material. This is essential to permanently embed the design.

Temperature ranges You can get work done at temperatures between 350-450°F and 40-80psi.

Types of Heat Press

They include

Vinyl Heat Transfer

Before materials are transferred to heat pressing, they are cut into small pieces or designed. This allows for both mass production and one-off printing designs. This allows you to print different colors.

It is commonly used to orient sport wear jerseys and multicolor graphics.

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Digital Print Heat Transfer

The artwork is created on a specialty paper using specialty ink. The heat from the heat press is used to transfer the fabric to the garment.

Mass production of t-shirts is more economical since only one design is created and multiplied. The printmaking tools list post This site contains additional information to help you start a t-shirt printing company.

Digital printing is high-quality and has high-resolution images. A single fabric can be printed in about two to three minutes.

There are many sources and types of transfers.

A typical one is composed of inks, carrier paper, and other materials. Some depend on heat, while others may be sublimation or tropical. The first requires that the image be applied to the garment’s surface. For the latter, the transfer is absorbed onto any fibers of the material being used.


  • It is very affordable. You just need to get the machine and you are good.
  • It’s very simple to set up and use.
  • Capable to work with many colors
  • You can also press photographic material.
  • This is a great way to improve occupational health.


  • It is only better for light-colored T-shirts.
  • It is not recommended to iron your prints.
  • It is possible to take a lot of time heat printing, but it all depends on the size and complexity of the work.

Heat Press vs. screen print: Which should you choose?

These are some factors that will help you choose the right technology for your printing business.

Durability of Your Designs

Heat press has a low chance of your design becoming faded. It all boils down the principle of heat press: heat press transfers the design using high heat, pressure and pressure. This ensures that your design will last a lifetime.

Screen printing doesn’t confer such an advantage.

Cost Effectiveness

A heat press is also more convenient if your business is small. You can get contracts for as little as 2-5 shirts. Screen printing is more efficient if you have figures over 100.

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When starting small, it is necessary you minimize cost and still meet customer’s expectation and that’s what heat press offers you. You don’t have to worry about buying a new screen for each new design.

You should also know that screens can be reused, regardless of their cost.

Speed Printing

Screen printing, despite its advantages, is slower than heat presses. It does a lot more work in a shorter amount of time than heat presses.

Complex Designs

Screen printing is also great for larger designs with more than one color. This means that it can be used to create complex and multiple designs.

Large Works

Screen printing is more efficient than heat press for complex designs, but not when it comes to printing large designs on heavy material.

The heat press is the best option. There are machines of industrial size that allow printing large graphics on large materials.

Final Thoughts

The choice of technology is based on which one will save you more time or cost. It all depends on your business size. A heat press is perfect for small jobs. However, if you have orders over 100, it is wise to invest in a screen printer.

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