How to choose the best industrial heat press for your business

How to choose the best industrial heat press for your business

If you're in the business of dye sublimation, particularly sportswear & soft signage, having a reliable and high-quality industrial heat press is essential. 

One common challenge businesses face when selecting a commercial heat press is identifying the real differences between units. Many presses may look similar on the surface, but not all are created equal. 

Here are 6 important factors to consider when choosing an industrial heat press.

1. The type of commercial heat press

There are different types of industrial heat presses, each with its own pros and cons. It’s important to choose the right one for your workflow and production capacity. Here's a breakdown of the three main types:


Flatbed heat presses are ideal for entry-level requirements or specific production methods that involve working with pre-cut pieces in small volume. 

With flatbed heat presses, the piece of textile and printed paper are placed on the table and the heat plate is pressed down to sublimate the garment. While it’s very effective, setting up before every press means losing productivity. 

Working with a flatbed press is also more prone to ‘double imaging’, which happens when the paper and textile come apart when the heat platen lifts. The paper then drops back onto the textile in a slightly different spot, whilst sublimation is still occurring, causing a “ghost image”. This can be avoided by using tacky paper like Transjet Sportsline. It’s heat activated “tack” keeps the transfer paper and textile “stuck” together until separated by the operator. 

Calendar with table

A calendar, or cylinder press, with a table is ideal if you want maximum productivity when working with pre-cut pieces of textile, but still offering maximum versatility allowing you to work with rolls of paper and textile. 

To sublimate pre-cut pieces, the operator positions them on top of the printed paper as it rolls over the front table and into the calendar. 

The paper transports the textile into the calendar and once sublimation is complete, the pieces either fall off at the rear, or are transported back to the front of the machine so a single operator can collect the sublimated pieces, whilst placing new pieces on top.

This is an excellent workflow for pre-cut pieces of textile, but is not as efficient when sublimating roll of paper to rolls of fabric, as the table workflow prevents the full heat cylinder to be utilised. If you are only ever pressing rolls of fabric, and not pre-cut pieces, a calendar without a table will be more productive.


A calendar heat press is ideal for long or bespoke runs where multi-ply cutting is not feasible or when an automated cutting process follows sublimation.

This workflow is also the most productive. When there is no table on the calendar more of the cylinder can be used, resulting in either a faster pressing time, or the option to purchase a machine with a smaller cylinder—which is not only cheaper, but also uses less energy.

2. Consistency

It’s important to choose a heat press that keeps a consistent temperature. Temperature differences of only a few degrees from left to right of the cylinder will exhibit differences in final colour of the sublimated item.

Cylinder can be heated in many ways, however the most precise system is using an oil filled cylinder. The oil is heated by an element, and the oil is in contact with the cylinder, heating its surface. However, even when comparing oil filled cylinders, not all are created equal. When oil is exposed to air, over time it will oxidise and not retain heat in the same way. Eventually the oil needs to be replaced, however as it degrades over time, it has not been performing at its best prior to replacing the oil.

Choose a high-grade industrial heat press, like the Monti Antonio calendar, which has a patented vacuum sealed cylinder, and oil that will never oxidise and never need to be replaced. A Monti calendar will produce exceptionally accurate colour reproduction, press after press, year after year.

3. Energy efficiency

With the soaring price of energy, it's important to choose a heat press machine that minimises energy consumption. 

Some high-quality machines are designed with smart features that allow the operator to switch to lower energy consumption when heating the cylinder, when time is not critical. This not only helps reduce your energy costs but also ensures maximum use of the heating cylinder. Automatic programs for heating the cylinder can be set to turn off the machine during off peak energy periods - ensuring minimum cost, and that the calendar is ready to work when your team arrives.

Lastly, getting the right advice on the size of the cylinder required is also important. This will ensure you have enough capacity to meet current and future demands, whilst also being mindful that a larger cylinder requires more energy to heat.

4. Reliability

An industrial heat press should be a reliable workhorse. Generally in sportswear production, machines are running 1-2 shifts per day, sometimes 24/7. For this deadline driven industry, machine uptime and durability is an absolute key. 

Look for a manufacturer with an excellent reputation for machine reliability, longevity and local technical support to ensure it is well maintained.

5. Versatility

For businesses handling a variety of apparel materials, choose a commercial heat press that offers maximum versatility. Being able to easily fine-tune temperature, time and pressure settings is critical to getting the best results for each application.

Look for a machine with a control system that allows you to store and recall preset recipes to eliminate production errors. It will also mean that new operators are in production faster.

6. Cost-effectiveness

Everything you print, will go through your heat press. Think about that for a moment. Printers in your production will come and go, be champions today and replaced tomorrow by faster or more versatile options. A good quality heat press however, will typically outlast 3-4 cycles of printer purchases. So the choice of press is a critical one. 

If EVERYTHING you print will go through your heat press, what will it cost you in wastage, reprints and missed deadlines (which ultimately means lost clients) if you have an unreliable, or inconsistent press?

While it may be tempting to purchase a cheaper industrial heat press, spending a little more now will pay big dividends in the long run. A good quality press will provide years of quality service. It will reduce downtime, reduce reprints and reduce rejects.

When comparing price differences, ask questions like:

  • How much am I really saving if the machine needs to be replaced in 5 years, vs 20 years?
  • How important is consistency of colour from today's production and the same job printed in 6 months time?
  • How many people will it take to operate the machine?
  • When there is an issue, who can I call? Who will help get my machine back into production?

Monti Antonio: Our recommended industrial heat press

By investing in a quality industrial heat press, you can ensure consistent results, reduce wastage, improve productivity and achieve better outcomes for your business.

We recommend a tried and tested machine like Monti Antonio. Serious players in the apparel and sportswear industry often start with Monti Antonio heat presses due to their reliability and high-quality output.

Monti Antonio industrial heat presses offer:

  • Temperature consistency: Patented vacuum sealed cylinders give exceptional heat consistency across the entire surface of the cylinder
  • Vibrant colours: Maximum penetration of sublimation ink into the textile, which means more vibrant, consistent colours and reduced ‘grinning’ when fabric is stretched
  • Smart energy efficient features: Automated heating during off-peak times and Monti Green technology use less energy to heat the cylinder when time is not critical
  • Reliability and longevity: Monti Antonio machines are known worldwide for their robust construction and long service life (15-20 years). Their moto ‘A Monti machine is for life’ speaks to the durability and longevity of their presses
  • Versatility: The Monti Antonio control system allows for ‘recipes’ to be stored and named, which eliminates many production errors 
  • Cost-effectiveness: A quality machine like Monti Antonio is worth it in the long run.

We supply different types of Monti Antonio industrial heat presses. Get in touch with our expert team today to find the one that’s right for your business.