Making a design for a hat is fun. Putting that design on a hat can be more complicated – particularly using a traditional flat-surface heat press.
For some crafters, making hats is where it’s at. I love making a beautifully designed hat and I know it can be a super fun gift or product to make regularly.
At the end of the day, though, what I really love is understanding the best way to do something – and the best tools to knock them out. So, let’s dig in and find out all the little details we need to understand the Cricut Hat Press and its alternatives.
What Is the Cricut Hat Press?
Before we dig into my favorite Cricut Hat Press alternative, we definitely need to understand what the Cricut Hat Press is and is not.
The Cricut Hat Press is a small hand-held heat-press, similar to the Cricut EasyPress Mini (if you’re familiar with that product). The Cricut Hat Press is curved and comes with a round form, making it easy to fit a hat onto the form and use the curved heat press for even coverage.
And, like the EasyPress Mini, the Cricut Hat Press has buttons on the front to control the heat settings, but unlike the Mini, there is Cricut Heat App integration, allowing you to control the temperature and time the pressing in a more customized manner.
Cricut Hat Press 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 would recommend as a reliable alternative, the WALAPress Auto Open Cap Heat Press.
The WALAPress Auto Open Cap Heat Press is a large, clam-shell style heat press that features a curved heat platen and corresponding form.
The most prominent feature of the WALAPress is the auto-open feature which allows you to go hands-free once you have the hat in the press, so you can set up the next project and not have to worry that your piece will be over-cooked.
Cricut Hat Press Alternatives Comparison Table
To give you just a big-ole data dump of all the technical information for each of these two heat presses, I assembled this fun table. However, don’t feel like this table is the end-all.
I explored a whole lot deeper into some pertinent details down below, so keep scrolling to get some more juicy bits.
|Cricut Hat Press Alternatives|
Side by Side Comparison
|Cricut Hat Press||WALAPress Auto Open Cap Heat Press|
|Pressing Area||5″x 3″ curved heat plate||3.75″x6″ curved heat plate|
|Machine Weight||less than 10 lbs||44 lbs|
|Max Temperature||400 degrees F||450 degrees F|
|Heat Plate Material||Ceramic|
|Form Material||Walnut Filled||Silicone|
|Digital Display (Time & Temp)||No||Touch Screen LCD Panel|
|Closure Type||No Closure||Auto-Open Release|
|Compatible Material||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|
Now, let’s get down into the details of what the Cricut Hat Press or an alternative heat press can bring to your crafting.
Where Do You Get the Designs to Put on the Hats?
Of course, you can make your own designs in graphic design programs like Photoshop or Illustrator; however, there are also sites where people upload SVG files that you can purchase. Even Cricut has a full library of designs that you can use to customize your hats. It’s worth checking them out if this kind of thing interests you. But (because you know I love a good design), I also have a library of pre-made designs that are perfect for hats and so much more. You can check out my library here.
What are the Materials That the Cricut Hat Press and Competitor Heat Press Machines Can Apply?
Most heat press machines are the same with regard to the types of materials they can apply – because it’s all about heat. For all of my projects, I have usually used materials that require between 230 -400 degrees F to press. So as long as your material specifications fall within this range then any heat press will do. Some of my favorite materials are:
- Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Sublimation Prints
- Cricut Infusible Ink
The real difference between heat presses is in how the machines function when you’re using them, not generally a limitation on what materials they can be used on to apply.
What are the Materials That the Cricut Heat Press and Competitor Machines Can Press Onto?
Hats are made of relatively few materials. But, you want to make sure that you’re ok to press onto that material before you go after it with 400 degrees F of hot hot hot. So, to keep you from ruining your substrate hat, here are the materials you can use in a heat press with reliable, safe results:
- Cotton/Polyester Blends
- Preshrunk Cotton
Sometimes, you can press on other materials, but I would rather “stay safe”, so I stick to this list.
Can the Cricut Hat Press and Alternatives be Used to Press Anything Besides Hats?
Absolutely. You can use the Cricut Hat Press or its alternatives to press any small project, as long as you can fit the item over the curved pad/form. So, for example, you can press the following with a typical hat press:
- Shirt Sleeves
- Neck Tags
- Pocket Peepers
As long as your substrate can be fit over/around your form, pressing with the Cricut Hat Press or an alternative press, is possible.
Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Hat Press
- Hat Pressing Form
- Safety Base
- Strong Heat Resistant Tape
- Iron-on design
Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Hat Press Competitors
Because there is so much variability in the product, each competitor item comes with different included items.
Cricut Hat Press Allergy Warning
The Cricut Hat Press comes with an allergy warning on the box and also on its front. The form itself is filled with walnut shells, which can be a concern for those who are allergic to nuts or have reactions when exposed often.
Which is Best: Cricut Hat Press or an Alternative?
For the one-off hat, using the Cricut Hat Press might be the most efficient and cost-effective choice for the home crafter. But if you’re running a business making hats and need a more hands-free alternative, then the WALAPress might be the more desirable option. There’s really no right or wrong answer that I can give you because it’s truly and fully based on your situation as to which of these heat press products is better for you.