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We all love Cricut Brand products. But there is so much more out there beyond the Cricut family of products. In this post, you will get to see side by-side, the Cricut Mug Press Vs The WALAPress Auto Open Mug Press.

I have absolutely fallen in love with making mugs in my home crafting business. So fun and easy, customized mugs are just fantastic. But we definitely need to talk about the Cricut Mug Press and Cricut Mug Press alternative.

Whether you’re making mugs for a fun gift set every once in a while, or you’re making mugs on the regular as part of a business, you should definitely be working with the best equipment for your needs. So, let’s spill all the tea and find out which mug press alternative is right for you.

cricut mug press

What Is the Cricut Mug Press?

Before we dig into my favorite Cricut Mug Press alternative, it makes sense to understand what the Cricut Mug Press is and is not.

The Cricut Mug Press is a compact, table-top heat press with a vertical insertion of mugs for pressing. So, the mug is placed inside the machine (with the handle sticking out), then the press tightens around it, forcing the sheet of transfer paper tight around the mug. Then the heat press gets hot, activating the transfer.

Once the allotted time necessary for pressing is done, the mug press releases the mug and opens so you can remove the mug and discard the transfer paper.

Easily enough, you get a custom mug.

top of WALAPress auto open mug press

Cricut Mug Press Alternative

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 as well as an alternative that I am considering purchasing that expands the options to also include tumblers.

The WALAPress Auto Open Mug Press is a compact, table-top heat press with the vertical insertion of mugs for pressing. Very similar in design and style to the Cricut Mug Press, the WALAPress mug press I have is a vertical insertion of the mug, then closes around it. When the transfer time is up, the mug press opens, releasing the mug.

The HPN Signature Series 2-in-1 Automated Sublimation Mug and Tumbler Press is a large, horizontal insertion style press. Working like a clam-shell style heat-press, the mug is inserted horizontally with the transfer sheet attached, then the press closes around the mug, pulling the transfer sheet tight in place. Once the time is up, the mug press has an alarm to remind you to open it.

Cricut Mug Press Alternative Comparison Table

In the interest of efficiency (and because tables are fun), I made a quick-view table of all the pertinent information that might be helpful in making a decision. But if what you’re looking to learn isn’t in this table, don’t sweat. I went through a lot more detail below to help.

Cricut Mug Press Alternative
Side by Side Comparison
Cricut Mug PressWALAPress Auto Open Mug Press, Vertical
Mug Compatibility11 – 16 oz mugs11 – 16 oz mugs
Heating Time6 minutes3.5 minutes
Auto-Off Time?time unclear10 minutes
Digital Display (Time & Temp)NoNo
Closure TypeAuto-Open ReleaseAuto-Open Release
Compatible MaterialSublimation Prints, Cricut Infusible InkSublimation Prints, Cricut Infusible Ink
PriceCheck Price $199Check Price $199

Note: All prices are accurate as of the date of this post

Now, let’s get even more detailed about what the Cricut Mug Press or an alternative heat press can bring to your mug pressing activities.

Front of cricut mug press

Where Do You Get the Designs to Put on the Mugs?

The internet is filled with free SVG files that you can use to customize your own design. There are also sites like Etsy and Design Bundles where people upload pre-made designs for sale, and I even have a few fun designs that I’ve made. You can check out my design library here. So if this sort of thing interests you then I recommend checking that out.

If designing your own graphics from scratch sounds more up your alley though, you can always make your own in Cricut Design Space, Photoshop or other design software.

What are the Materials That the Cricut Mug Press and Competitor Heat Press Machines Can Apply?

The application of heat is what these mug presses do. So, anything that can be applied with heat to a mug can be applied with the Cricut Mug Press and alternative machines. But the following are my favorite transfer materials:

  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • Sublimation Prints
  • Cricut Infusible Ink
  • Cricut Infusible Ink Pens & Markers
front of WALAPress auto open mug press

What are the Materials That the Cricut Mug Press and Competitor Machines Can Press Onto?

The Cricut Mug Press can be used only with poly-coated, sublimation-ready compatible mug blanks. If you read the material from Cricut about the mug press, you’ll be led to believe you can only use the mugs that are specifically made by Cricut. But that’s not entirely true.

Non-Cricut mugs work in the Cricut Mug Press or any competitor mug press, but they have to be specifically poly-coated for sublimation. That means that not every mug will work—you can’t just pick up any old cup and expect it to perform well with a press. If you do find some good quality cups though, I recommend making sure that they’re straight-sided and have a diameter and height that fits the machine you have.

Can the Cricut Mug Press and Alternatives be Used to Press Anything Besides Mugs?

No. The mug presses are not safe to be used with anything except for mugs and/or tumblers, as noted. The way that the mug presses are designed, there are very specifically made for mugs and will not work for anything else, as far as I am aware.

Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Mug Press

  • USB cord for activation

Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Mug Press Competitors

Because there is so much variability in the product, each competitor item comes with different included items.

Which is Best: Cricut Mug Press or an Alternative?

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. If you want to make tumblers, then you obviously will not be able to use two of the three alternatives here. But if mugs are your jam, then your options are quite open. So, with that in mind, happy crafting!

More Cricut Comparisons.

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