Cricut EasyPress™ 2 or Heat Press–Which is right for you?

Cricut EasyPress™ 2 or Heat Press–Which Is Right for You?

November 5th, 2018 • Contributor: Cricut Blog Team

We often get the question: “I am trying to decide what to buy, a Cricut EasyPress 2 or a traditional heat press. What is the difference?” Read on … or if you want to skip to the punchline, we have an easy comparison chart at the end.

Making flawless iron-on projects requires first and foremost your creativity! That’s a given, but in terms of tools, top on the list is a machine that applies even heat across the design. Next is a hard and stable surface, and finally, some pressure. The myth of super-pressure arises because for optimal outcome you need a flat, stable surface, and not all projects are completely flat. T-shirts have seams, make-up bags have zippers, baby bibs have piping, and on and on. Typical heat press machines have no way to work around these features. In order to work correctly, they use high amounts of pressure to push the feature into padding which helps to create a flatter pressing surface. More on this below.

Let’s start with similarities.

How are EasyPress 2 and a typical Heat Press similar?

If you love working with iron-on (also known as Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV), or if your next must-have for your craft room is some kind of press, both EasyPress 2 and heat presses deliver professional results. Here’s how:

  • Both heat up to at least 400-degrees Fahrenheit, making it possible to work on a wide range of iron-on applications
  • Both have edge-to-edge even heating across their respective heat plates
  • Both are steam free (there are no holes in the heat plate; crucial for iron-on success)
  • Both have exact temperature controls and timers, so you know how long to press

That’s where the similarities end.

Let’s start with size, weight and portability differences.

  • Questions to ask: Is my craft table stable and large enough for a heat press? Will I be able to lift a heat press if necessary? Do I want a portable machine I can take from room-to-room or to a friend’s house:  think crafternoons, baby or wedding showers, birthday parties?
  • EasyPress 2: Fits easily in most craft rooms and spaces, can be stored on a shelf or in a cabinet, and comes with a convenient canvas travel tote. EasyPress 2 12” x 10” (our largest) weighs-in at only 8.6lbs. And, despite being really light, you do not need to press hard to get flawless iron-on. You only need the pressure of one or sometimes both hands, depending on your project, for optimal results. (See here for an overview on how to determine the right pressure for your projects and here for all weights and dimensions of all three sizes of EasyPress 2.)
  • Heat Press: Most heat presses weigh 45 lbs – or more – and take up considerable space on your craft table. A heat press is typically a permanent fixture; once it is placed in your workspace, you will likely not want to move it again.

Next, size of the heat plates

  • Questions to ask: The key questions is, “what size will work best for my typical projects?” Do you make small things for baby, t-shirts for tweens, teens or teams, or larger tote bags, towels or blankets? Ideally, the heat plate dimensions should be large enough to cover the area of your iron-on project, without seams, zippers or trim interfering in a successful outcome.
  • EasyPress 2: EasyPress 2 comes in three sizes so that you can select the right size for your projects. For example, the 6” x 7” EasyPress 2 is perfect for a small surface when making it flat is challenging, like on baby t-shirts or bodysuits. Seams create an uneven surface and can disrupt the successful application of iron-on – bummer. To learn more about the advantages of each size, see our blog: Which one is right for you?
  • Heat Press: Most heat press plates are 15” x 15” or larger (mostly for commercial purposes). The large surface area provides coverage for most iron-on projects that you can fit between the plates. They use a lot of pressure to compensate for squishing seams, collars or anything else that could get in the way of transferring your design onto a completely flat surface.

Types of projects possible with each press

  • Questions to ask: What types of projects will I be making? Do I want versatility to apply iron-on to rounded items like hats, household décor or dimensional projects like the wooden stool pictured above.
  • EasyPress 2: EasyPress 2 works on all types of materials, thicknesses, and dimensional projects, (like a hat, stool or sign). See the kid’s wooden stool project in Design Space as an example of applying iron-on to a larger object. Imagine trying to fit a wooden stool into a heat press … talk about a craft fail!
  • Heat Press: With a clamshell or swing arm design, projects need to lie flat so they can be pressed between two plates. Some machines come with add-ons that will help with applying iron-on to smaller rounder objects like hats.

Safety

  • Questions to ask: Do I have surge protection available or dedicated 20-amp circuit?  Does my workspace need to be kid-friendly?
  • EasyPress 2: EasyPress 2 comes with streamlined safety base, a safe-touch plastic shell, has an auto shut-off feature and does not require a dedicated power outlet.
  • Heat Press: Built for commercial purposes primarily, heat presses require dedicated power outlets to avoid tripping circuits. These machines generate a lot of heat and to operate them you are putting the item – not to mention your hands – between plates. You’ll also want to keep kids a safe distance away. Heat presses do not have an auto-off feature.

Time to complete projects

  • Questions to ask: How many iron-on projects will I most likely plan to make at one time? And, will I be producing repeat projects using the same design over-and-over (more than 10 at a time)?
  • EasyPress 2: In approximately three minutes, the 12” x 10” will heat up to 315 degrees Fahrenheit (the smaller sizes in the EasyPress 2 family take only a minute or two). It will beep to let you know it’s ready to go. Thirty to 45 seconds later, your iron-on project will be done!*
  • Heat Press: It can take up to 8 minutes or more for heat press to warm up to 315 degrees Fahrenheit. In the time it takes a heat press to warm up, it is possible to have applied iron-on to five t-shirts using an EasyPress 2. To be fair, once the heat press has reached the desired temperature, it is typically faster making the same project over-and-over as long as you are using the same design, iron-on material, and base: 10 or more t-shirts, for example.

*Cricut provides an interactive quick reference guide so you know the correct time and temperature settings and peel recommendations for your specific iron‑on project.

In Summary

If you have a small crafting business with plenty of space and want to produce the same projects over-and-over (over 10 times, for example), you might prefer a heat press. If you are a crafter who wants professional results using a lightweight, mobile, versatile and safety-first option, the EasyPress 2 is the clear choice.

Here is a handy comparison chart for easy reference:

If you are still not sure and have questions about Easy Press 2, please see our informative FAQ page or watch EasyPress 2 education videos. And, no matter which machine you own (or end up purchasing), be sure to consider high-quality Cricut Iron-on.

If you already have one or the other, please leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.

22 thoughts on “Cricut EasyPress™ 2 or Heat Press–Which Is Right for You?

  1. Hello! I just purchased the 6×7 EP2 and was the wondering if it could be used for sublimation. Does it hot enough and does it have enough pressure?

  2. In the photo that shows using the small easypress 2 making a hat, what is the hat sitting on? I’ve been looking for something I can use to make hats.

    • Hi. That is called a tailor’s ham. It’s a stuffed pillow that is great for curved areas like hats and sleeves to make it easier to press.

  3. My main issue is the iron. I’m in the U.K. and we have a very limited market of your products and deals. I normally used other brands of HTV however like very brand the instructions are always different …. time…. temp…… peel however sometimes sometimes guess work to translate their instructions for ESP as they only ever print iron or Heat press. A conversion guide would be helpful 😉
    Ps hurry up and make the ESP 2 and patterned HTV available in the U.K. always behind or don’t have the full range

  4. I don’t have the room for a big press, so to me the easy press was a no brainer. it works great. cept I never got a bag with mine..( snif snif). its easy to use and to put away.. love it. still got no bag…

    • I have the first easy press (blue) the first didn’t come with a bag but agree would’ve been nice. Glad the newer ones do as I know I’ll have once I upgrade.

  5. I have the original easy press and LOVE it! It is potable and versital! Now if Santa would send me the other 2 sizes and some htv it would make my day! I always thought I wanted a heat press
    Glad I went with easy press instead!

  6. If I can only afford one easy press, and I do a range of projects, do I go for the largest I can afford? Example, I do baby onesies but also adult t-shirts. Can the baby items be done with the larger press?

    • Yes. You would want to use something inside the baby items as needed to raise the fabric above the seams.

  7. I bought the Easy Press Wisteria Bundle 9×9, I absolutely love it. I love how it’s small I am able to sit down and still able to use it. It doesn’t heat up my whole craft room or my near by when I am sitting down. Just yesterday my husband needed me to iron a small spot on his work shirt, I so happen to have my easy press on I put the mat under his shirt and went over it real quick. He gave me a funny look but hey it worked. I am even considering the 6×7.

  8. I like the features of the EasyPress 2 except one and that one is a big one–the color. Colors that appear very pretty to some can have adverse affects on others. I hope Cricut will soon bring a more neutral color EasyPress 2 to market because I very much want the little one and the big one. I have the original EasyPress and plan to keep using it for a while.

    • Hi. The EasyPress 2 is a newer model than the Wisteria, which was a Joann craft store exclusive version of our original EasyPress.

  9. Is there a site that has the heat settings listed for the different types of vinyl, material, and other information. Melody Lane mentioned it but I can not find it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Pingback: Cricut EasyPress™ 2 - What You Need to Know - A Boy and His Mom

  11. I know this is an old post but hoping someone can answer. I got an Easy Press 2 10” x 12” for Christmas. I have searched all over the internet and can’t find heat settings for just pressing different fabrics (without any iron on transfers) – so for cotton and other fabrics (just the base fabric), as well as for applying interfacing to cotton or vinyl or leather – how many seconds and degrees?

    • Hi PP,

      Please use the Heat Guide for our qualified and tested press settings. It includes options for different types of fabric such as Cotton, Muslin, Silk, Polyester, and a few more, but with use of Cricut materials. When pressing other materials, we recommend testing a small spot first as it is difficult for us to qualify and test all the possibilities. For fusible interfacing, you could try a temperature that corresponds with the fabric you will be using for possibly about 10 seconds to start. However, please continue to keep in mind that this is only a personal suggestion and not a qualified setting. Hope this helps.

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