Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Product Review: HTVRONT Heat Press

It's been a while since I had a fun craft product review to share, so today I'm sharing my experience with a new product I've recently tried out: the HTVRONT Heat Press.

HTVRONT (which stands for Heat Transfer Vinyl, Really outstanding, Never temporary) is a heat transfer & adhesive vinyl supplier.  They reached out to me and asked me if I'd be interested in trying out their new Heat Press machine and doing a product review.  

I'd done an extensive review of the Cricut Easy Press several years ago, and have done a number of HTV projects over the years.  I was curious to see how this machine would do, since I hadn't heard of it before.  FYI, I was not financial compensated, just received a press to try out, so the opinions here are completely my own, based on my own experiences.    

In case you aren't familiar with this sort of tool, a heat press is for iron-on and sublimation craft applications. Using heat transfer vinyl (HTV), you can press your own custom shirts, bags, pillows, wood, etc.  When paired with a cutting machine for cutting the design, it's a quick & easy way to customize just about anything and is definitely a beginner-level kind of craft.  

In the past, if you wanted to use iron-on vinyl, the options were either using a normal household iron or to buy a commercial heat press.  Basic irons don't always adhere the vinyl very well - it tends to peels off in spots after a number of washes. Regular, commercial-style heat presses can be big and bulky for home use and are pretty expensive.  A few years back Cricut came out with an Easy Press, a smaller, sleeker machine designed for home use, but it was still a fairly pricey option and it has stayed at that price, about $150, for the 9"x9" size since (and $199 for a 10"x12" size).  The HTVRONT version currently retails for just $105.

So let's look at the HTVRONT Heat Press:  

It has easy push button settings for temperature and time.

It's also got a heat resistant safety base and automatic shut off after 15 minutes of inactivity.

It also has a pressure display with the temperature and time settings so you can adjust your pressure based on your materials, which is a feature not seen on the Easy Press:

It also has two ways of applying pressure - either holding onto the top handle with one hand:

or by using the side handles for two hands, which is another innovation.  

Does it really work?

I was really pleased with the results I got.  The HTVRONT Heat Press performed just as described and my finished items were just as nice as previous ones I'd done with my other press.  

The Pros:

- The size is great.  It's versatile 10"x10".  I like that it's a bit bigger than my old press, so doing designs scaled for my teens/husband are a bit easier.

- It heats up pretty fast and evenly.  Within seconds it was up to temperature and in less than a minute my designs were fused:

- The button settings for temperature and timer are super simple and make sure you get an even fuse everywhere at the same time.  The company says their temperatures are more accurate than similar products.  I followed the same times & temps I've used in the past for fusing different types of HTV and they adhered well every time.

- I also liked the dual options for applying pressure and being able to see just how much pressure I was actually producing when I was working.  

And it comes with a handy storage bag to keep it clean and dust-free when not in use.  That was a nice bonus feature. 

I used several kinds of HTV and it did a good job with them all.

My key personal test was with flocked HTV.  I LOVE using it - it's thicker, with more dimension and a fuzzy texture.  It's not as common as the smooth and glitter types though, so I've had to trial & error getting a good result in the past.  I used my  295F, 30 sec front/15 sec back "recipe for success" and this press turned out perfectly:

- Even after washing (delicate, inside out and line drying), the designs have stayed put.  No lifting or peeling like I'd had in the past with iron fused heat transfer projects. 

The Cons:

- Like the Cricut version, the cord is positioned at the center of the top when it seems like it makes more sense to be at the bottom.  I don't have an outlet in front of my workspace, so I have to move the cord out of my way or turn the press upside down when I'm pressing, which is a little challenging.  

- There's no temperature/material guide included.  They do have one on their site but you have to search around a bit to find it and it's not clear if those settings are for their particular brand of HTV or more universal.  There are several links to various sections with project ideas, free files, tutorials & tips, but you have to sift through a lot of content to find basics, and since this product is new, a lot of the how-to's show using an iron rather than this press.  More tips for using this particular model and better categorizing would help a lot.  I went with my past experience to figure out settings for what I was using, but it would be trickier for someone totally new to figure out.

Is it worth buying?

Personally, I think this model is a good buy.  It works just as well as the famous maker brand, but offers some extra inches and bonus features, is a fraction of the price and carries a 1yr warranty.  And with the $ saved on the price of the press, you can snap up lots of great HTV to use with it!  They've also got a sale and product bundle giveaway currently going here, so you can get a good deal on them as well.  

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received a Heat Press from HTVRONT to review.  All other items referenced were purchased by me.  The opinions are completely my own, based on my honest experiences.  


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