There are three main types of heat presses on the market today. The type of press you need depends on your workspace area and the types of jobs you will be doing. A clamshell press is the most compact, while a swinger or draw press offers a heat-free workspace.
This machine opens and closes much like the shell of a clam. Application materials and substrates are laid on the bottom platen. The top platen then closes, applying the appropriate temperature and pressure. The clamshell press offers simple one-step operation and auto-open feature, providing the perfect application every time. This machine is portable and requires the least amount of workspace, and very little operator effort.
The swinger, or swing-away press, swings the upper platen away from the lower platen, allowing you full access to the substrate and design (without having to work underneath the heating element as you would with a clamshell press). While this style of press requires a larger workspace, it offers the benefit of a heat-free workspace.
With this style heat press, the lower platen pulls out toward the operator, much like opening a drawer. This allows a heat-free workspace with a space-saving design. Keep in mind, because the lower platen is mobile, this may not be the best option if you are applying intricate materials that require a stationary workspace.