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Geo Knight Heat Press

Shop Hix Heat Press

Geo Knight Makes Heat Presses from Hobby to High Production For Shirts, Caps, Mugs, Large Format & More

Geo Knight Heat Presses

Geo Knight is a family business founded in 1885. They've manufactured industrial presses and die cutting machinery for 100+ years and for the past 50 years has specialized in heat press equipment.

Geo Knight (aka George Knight) heat presses are used by thousands of decorators worldwide. And are the most often recommended products by apparel decorators and distributors alike.

The company is proud of the fact that they provide options for heat pressing t-shirts, caps, plates, mugs, tiles, or anything else that requires heat transfer printing. And with enough options that you can find a Geo Knight heat press for any budget.

What will you be Heat Pressing?

There are well over 40 different combinations of heat presses from Geo Knight. So the first thing you'll need to do is identify your application and basic requirements.

Making Custom T-Shirts

The most common application for heat press machines is making custom t-shirts. Whether it's using one to apply a transfer to a shirt, like with sublimation or direct to film, or cure something printed with ink technology.

Direct to garment printing, for example, requires a press when you pretreat and after the shirt is printed.

White toner printing requires a press when you "marry" the transfer and when you apply to a garment.

What custom t-shirts have in common is that they are, for all intents and purposes, flat. So a standard clamshell or swing away heat press with a flat press area is needed.

A flat press, like the GEO Knight DK20A [the most popular heat press for direct to garment printers] is perfect for t-shirts. But wouldn't do you any good at all if you wanted apply a transfer to a mug, or a plate, or a soccer ball.

How to choose a T-Shirt Heat Press Machine

Your options for a t-shirt press in the Geo Knight Heat Press lineup include:

  • Platen Size
  • Clamshell or Swing Away
  • Auto or Manual Press

Platen Size Options and Applications for Custom Tees

The DK20A is a great example of a mid-range, high quality heat press.
It is has a 16"x20" platen size which means that you can use it to customize almost any garment.

Most t-shirt transfer printers use an 11"x17" paper, or a 13"x19" paper, which means that even the largest designs will fit.

And every popular direct to garment or digital garment printer has a maximum platen size of 16" x 20", so you're covered there as well.

But there is also a Geo Knight heat press called the Digital Knight 14" x 16" and 12" x 14" that are also designed primarily for t-shirt printing. So you can match your t-shirt printing equipment with the appropriately sized press.

For example, if you have a Sawgrass SG500 sublimation printer that prints an 8.5" x 11" transfer you might want to save money and the smaller George Knight.

On the other hand, if you are using a G4 or Epson SureColor F2100 DTG printer, you'll want the bigger press so you can make bigger designs!

Heat Press Styles for Making Custom Tees

The Geo Knight heat presses us 2 different approaches to opening and closing.

  • Clamshell
  • Swing Away

While those are pretty descriptive terms, let's examine the differences.

The DK20, DK16 and DK14 are all clamshell presses.

The 20, 16 and 14 are the first numbers in the platen size. So the DK20 is a clamshell heat press with a 20" platen.

They all open just like a clam opens its shell.

The bottom of the press is stationary and the top opens wide on a hinge along the back. The top plate in the one that gets hot.

The DS20, DS16 and DS12 are swing-away presses with 20", 16" and 12" platens respectively.

The tops of these heat presses open up several inches, then it swings out of the way on a pivot joint along the back.

Style Pros and Cons

The clamshell presses are far more popular than the swing away presses for 2 reasons:

#1: Cost a swing-away will always be at least a few hundred dollars more than the clamshell because the mechanisms are more expensive. It's just takes more to make them.

#2 Space because a clamshell opens up and down the width of the platen is pretty much the only space you'll need. But with a swing away you will have to make sure the 2 feet (depending on heat press size) NEXT to the press also stays clear.

There are a few reasons that people are willing to spend more on a swing away press:

First they're a little safer to operate. When you open a clamshell press that top platen is still at 320F or so, and it's not unheard of for someone's hand to come into contact with it while peeling a transfer.

Second a clamshell press opens TALL, so you'll need to reach up to close it every time. If you're doing enough volume this can cause fatigue and the t-shirt businesses version carpal tunnel syndrome.

Third a clamshell press doesn't open as violently. With some processes, like white toner transfer production, the spring-fed opening of the heat press can pull the transfer apart.


What are "Automatic Heat Presses"

Most of the time when someone says a heat press is an "auto", they mean it auto-opens.

Using the GeoKnight 14" heat press as an example. There are 2 part numbers:



The DK14 is a 14"x16" clamshell heat press. The DK14A is an "auto" open, or auto-pop.

Both models have the ability to digitally set the temperature and a timer. The difference is that when the DK14 timer goes off, it just beeps.

When the DK14A timer goes off, it automatically POPS open.

Why is this an important feature?

Because if you're making custom t-shirts that are supposed to be pressed for 2 minutes and you don't hear the timer that shirt is ruined.
Just like if you're cooking something on the stove and forget it's on- burnt dinner!

Auto AIR Presses

There is a different kind of "auto" press that busier shops use; air-operated heat presses.

These can come in swing away or clamshell and operate just like it sounds. There's an air compressor that opens and closes the press for you.

Geo Knight DK32AP is a large 26" x 32" heat press that is air operated. So not only can you heat press a larger item, fabric square or t-shirt, you can do it at the push of a button: Geo Knight DK32AP 26"x32" Air-Automatic Large Format Press | Colman and Company

There is also an air operated DK20 Swing Away that's VERY popular: Digital Knight 16X20 Air Operated Swinger (DS) | Colman and Company

Why purchase an Air Operated Automatic Heat Press?

2 reasons:

  • Volume if you're heat pressing 100-500 or more shirts per day it will quickly take it's toll physically. For either you or your employees. An air operated press completely eliminates that physical part of t-shirt production
  • Size the bigger a heat press gets, the more ungainly the top platen is to either lift UP or swing away.

As we said in the beginning, most people are using Geo Knight heat presses to make custom t-shirts. But you can customize a wide variety of things using their specialty presses too!

Making Gifts, Promotional Items and More with a Heat Press

Now that you have the basics down for making t-shirts with a heat press machine, take a look at these other presses and their applications:

  • Mug presses
  • Cap presses
  • Plate presses
  • Tags and Lable presses
  • .. more

Best Heat Press Choices

Geo Knight is a 100 year old brand that's made in America and has a great reputation for quality and support after the sale.

If you are in the customization business, or want to be, you're choosing right!

Learn more about choosing the perfect heat press for your business.

Shop Hix Heat Press