If you’re a home crafter with lots of heat pressing to do, you may be wondering if the Cricut Autopress is the right option for you.
This popular heat press has many features that make it a great choice for small businesses and hobbyists, but there are also some alternatives that you might think fit your needs.
To help me make my own decision, I decided to compare the Cricut Autopress to some of its competitors – and share it with you.
What Is the Cricut Autopress?
Before we take our little detour into Cricut Autopress alternatives, we should probably do a bit of a deep dive into the Cricut Autopress itself.
The Cricut Autopress is a larger, less manual version of the Cricut EasyPress line of heat presses. The Autopress, as we’ll call it from here on out, is a semi-automated (hence “auto” being in the title) heat press that is intended to be used by home crafters and hobbyists, with a lean toward making the experience super user-friendly, particularly when tackling larger batch projects.
Cricut Autopress is a versatile tool that can work without the user’s constant attention. The dials on the control pod allow you to set needed temperatures and times for projects, while also having four programmable buttons available. So no matter what type of substrate and transfer material you might be using, there will always be an option that’s just right. And with its Zero Effort operation closing (you only need 2 fingers) it’s super easy to use, making sure even those who may have never used one before don’t feel overwhelmed by all their options.
Cricut Autopress Alternatives
Because of the variability in all of the options on the market, I decided to focus on a heat press that I personally own and one that is incredibly popular that I know other crafters use frequently, the HPN Black Series 15″ x 15″ Auto-Open High-Pressure Heat Press Machine and the HeatPressNation CraftPro 15″ x 15″ Crafting Transfer Machine.
The HPN Black Series 15″ x 15″ Auto-Open High-Pressure Heat Press Machine, which we’ll just call the HPN Black Series machine from here on out, is a commercial grade, business-quality heat press intended to be priced within reach of the home-business market. This heat press features a padded reinforced double bar “strong handle” for easy high-pressure application.
The HeatPressNation CraftPro 15″ x 15″ Crafting Transfer Machine, which we’ll just call the CraftPro from here-on-out, is a compact heat press intended for the home crafter. This particular machine features a slide-out bottom plate to allow the user to work away from the heat of the top plate.
Cricut Autopress Alternatives Comparison Table
To help kind of compress all the most pertinent technical information, I put together this efficient and fun table. However, don’t get perturbed if tables aren’t your joy in life. I dove deeper into a bit more detail down below, so keep reading for all that deliciousness.
|Cricut Autopress Alternatives|
Side by Side Comparison
|Cricut AutoPress||HPN Black Series 15″ x 15″ Auto-Open High Pressure Heat Press Machine||HeatPressNation CraftPro 15″ x 15″ Crafting Transfer Machine|
|Machine Dimensions (when open)||16.6″x25″x26″||24″x15″x31″||19″x16″x 17.5″|
|Machine Weight||53 lbs||65 lbs||43 lbs|
|Temperature Range||170-400 degrees F||0-400 degrees F||0-400 degrees F|
|Heat Plate Material||Ceramic||Non-Stick Coated||Teflon|
|Digital Display (Time & Temp)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Closure Type||Auto-Open Release||Magnetic Auto-Open Release||Clam-Shell|
|Compatible Material||Heat transfer vinyl, Sublimation Prints, Cricut Infusible Ink, and more||Heat transfer vinyl, Sublimation Prints, Cricut Infusible Ink, and more||Heat transfer vinyl, Sublimation Prints, Cricut Infusible Ink, and more|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Now, let’s get into all the fantastic details of what these different heat presses can bring to your craft room.
Both of these presses are priced way better than the Cricut Autopress price. Check it out for yourself. You will save $400-$500 with the presses from Heat Press Nation!
What Makes the Cricut Autopress Different from the Alternatives?
The Cricut Autopress is the “professional” version of the standard Cricut EasyPress line. What I mean by that is that the Autopress is designed to be used with presettable buttons in order to allow your crafting to be done in large batches. By making it easy to use with the simple closure, auto-open release, and repeatable settings, the Cricut Autopress is intended to be used by someone working on multiple projects at a time, relieving you of having to use your hands on the item being pressed while you prepare the next.
Where Do You Get the Designs to Press?
It’s important to realize that sourcing designs to put on various substrates is a whole new discussion. You can absolutely make your own in graphic design programs if you’re so inclined, but I have to emphasize that they can also be bought or downloaded from places like Cricut Design Space. By all means if you are looking for some ideas or maybe a free SVG to show you exactly what you can do with the design types, you can check out my library here.
What are the Materials That the Cricut Autopress and Competitor Heat Press Machines Can Apply?
Honestly, all heat press machines can press the same materials. For all of the projects I have ever made, this is typically something that can be done somewhere between the temperature of 230 degrees F and 400 degrees F. So, as long as your material specifications fall within that same range, any of the heat press machines can tackle it. Some of my favorite materials are:
- Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Sublimation Prints
- Cricut Infusible Ink
The truth is, if you need heat to apply it, within the temperatures noted above, any of the heat press machines can knock it out. The real difference is in how the machines function during use, not generally a limitation on what they can be used on.
What are the Materials That the Cricut Autopress and Competitor Machines Can Press Onto?
There’s an incredibly wide variety of substrate materials that can be used with any heat press machine. When the goal is to apply heat and affix one heat-activated material to another, there are literally a ton of materials that you can use. Some of my favorites are:
The list is just so wide and varied, it would be far too long to write everything down here.
Does The Cricut Autopress Come With a Pressing Mat?
Yes, the Cricut Autopress comes with a pressing mat. This mat is placed under the substrate for even heating.
Do the Cricut Autopress Competitors Come with a Pressing Mat?
No. The base plate is built into a typical heat press machine and a pressing mat is not typically necessary for the proper use of one.
Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut AutoPress
- Pressing Mat
- Control Pod & USB Cord
- Power Cord
Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Autopress Competitors
Because there is so much variability in the product, each competitor item comes with different included items.
Cricut Autopress vs Alternatives Price Comparison
The Autopress costs: $999 and you can buy one here.
The HPN Black Series costs: $599 and you can buy one here.
The CraftPro costs: $539 and you can buy one here.
Which is Best: Cricut Autopress or an Alternative?
Given the specifications being so widely different for each of these three heat press machines, there is no right answer that will work for every crafter. For those new-to-heat-pressing, with questions in their mind about making large investments, the price may be the most critical concern. But for those who are pro-pressers and looking to really increase their volume without having to set the controls for each press – then the time savings by having the programmable options on the Cricut Autopress might be the more critical consideration.
It truly depends on your situation as to which of these heat press products is better for you.
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