Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Should You Buy a Cricut Easy Press? A Real Review.


With Christmas just around the corner, many crafters have special crafty gear on their wish lists.  It can be tricky to know if some of the bigger items are worth splurging on, so today I'm sharing my real world experience with one of them to help make that shopping decision easier: the Cricut Easy Press.



I'm going to start off by saying, this is a totally independent review.  I bought it with my own money.  No kick backs, freebies or compensation from Cricut or anyone else to cloud or slant my feedback.  I've seen only a few reviews like this when it comes to Cricut products, so I hope this helps others with buying decisions.

In case you aren't familiar with it, the Easy Press is a new-ish tool that came out a few months ago.  It's specifically for heat pressing aka iron-on applications.  Using heat transfer vinyl, you can press your own custom shirts, bags, pillows, wood and just about anything else.  It's such a quick way to customize just about anything and so easy.  Definitely a craft anyone can do!  



Traditionally, if you wanted to use iron-on vinyl, the options have been either using a normal household iron or to buy a commercial heat press.  Basic irons don't always adhere the vinyl very well - the iron it usually peels off after a number of washes.  Regular heat presses can be big and bulky for home use and expensive.  The Cricut Easy Press is about the same price as the lowest priced heat press machines, but has the convenience of a smaller, sleeker size.  



It has easy push button settings for temperature and time.



It's also got a heat resistant safety base and automatic shut  off after 10 minutes of inactivity.



Does it really work?

I'd been really curious about it when it came out, but had a hard time finding true reviews about it even a month or two later, so I took a gamble and bought one.  Since then I've used it on multiple projects, used several kinds of vinyl and washed most of them multiple times. Here are the results...

The Pros:

- The size is ideal.  It's big enough to do a large shirt design at 9"x9", but small enough to not take up a lot of room on the counter. It's square shape and holder base makes it easy to store too.  



- It heats up pretty fast and evenly.  It comes with a guide to tell you exactly how long and at what temperature to iron most types of HTV (from Cricut and other brands) on various fabrics.  A project is done in just minutes, so it's ideal for limited work time.



- The button settings for temperature and timer are super simple and make sure you get an even fuse everywhere at the same time.  I followed the directions for fusing on the front & inside out and the referenced HTV types adhered well every time.

Smooth/lite:



Glitter: 



Foil:



- Even after a dozen washes (inside out and line drying), the designs still stayed put.  No lifting or peeling like I'd had with my previous iron fused heat transfer projects.  I even had this shirt that accidentally went in the dryer twice that has been washed a dozen times and still stayed as nice as day 1!



The Cons:

- The cord is weirdly positioned at the center of the top when it would make more sense to be at the bottom.  Unless you have an outlet right in front of you, it means you have to maneuver it out of the way or hold the press upside down which is awkward when you're trying to press the buttons.



- They aren't always in stock.  They have them advertised as in-store several chain places, but none ever seem to have any.  I had to order mine online and it was out one day, available the morning I ordered and then out again a few hours later.  They also randomly put it on sale for the first time about a week after I bought mine.  Nothing like losing out on saving $20.  Grrr.

- The instructions say for best results you need to use a heat resistant mat & refer to a Cricut heat mat that's not included with it and not even available to buy.  They suggest using some stacked towels as an alternative, which I've done, but it seems stupid to promote a product they don't even sell or bother to tell you is "needed" anywhere in the product description before you buy it.



- There are some specialty HTV types, like flocked or glow in the dark, that Cricut doesn't make, so they have no guidance for temperature or time in their settings chart.  The chart refers to their website for more settings, but it's the exact same limited list.  Not exactly helpful.  I've used settings I've found elsewhere, but I had to go back over my flocked stuff again with the press multiple times.  Doing it for too long can cause it to melt or not adhere, so it's a bit trickier.   


- Cricut brand HTV is crazy expensive.  Even when on sale.  And Cricut is almost always excluded from any coupon offers in stores so doing a few big designs can be pricey if using their brand materials.  The amount on the rolls is pretty paltry and prices vary strangely too.  Glitter & Foil have more inches on the roll, but cost less than the plain Smooth/Lite.  

They also are frequently sold out of a lot of colors in stores & online and don't offer some that would seem commonly used like orange, light blue, pastel yellow or green.  These two factors mean it's better to look for alternative brands to be cost effective with HTV projects.   

Is it worth buying?

Personally, I think it's worth getting if you like to do quick projects and have a cutting machine already. I've got a Cricut Explore that's 3 yrs old and still works great so I can cut out a design in a few minutes and have it heat pressed just as fast.  



I've been really short on craft time lately, but still made nearly a dozen projects so far.  All have been quick and turned out well so the satisfaction level with the results has been high.



In an upcoming post I'll share my favorite source for excellent (and inexpensive) HTV, how I make original designs the fast way and other handy tips.




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5 comments:

  1. Excellent review - I especially appreciate hearing about your 'cons'. Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!

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  2. Check out https://www.651vinyl.com for HTV. I've found not only great prices but the guy that runs the store is super smart about the products. His YouTube channel is amazing as well. Thanks for the honest review!

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  3. Very honest review and I agree with all your points. I did buy an Easy Press but I was shocked at the HTV prices for the Cricut brand. I bought Siser and struggled with temperature as it didn't stick well and i had to up the temperature. Have you used Siser? If so which temperature? Did you use Siser's instructions or the Cricut instructions? I found Siser instructions silly with the Kraft paper thing.

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    Replies
    1. I hear you Tari. The prices (and how Cricut doesn't allow coupons for their products) are crazy. If you do a big design with the Cricut brand it costs of fortune! I've had good luck with Sister (and the quality seems better too). I bought mine in sheets, not on a roll, so I don't know what the kraft paper bit is...but for the standard variety, I did 302 degrees for 10 seconds on each side and had good results. I'm thinking about doing another post sharing some tips and where I get the best prices on HTV.

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