When you’re trying to decide whether or not to splurge on platen covers for your heat press, focus less on the potential dollars involved and more on the convenience and benefits you’ll get out of using them during your production runs. As far as necessity goes, your heat press will work just fine whether you invest in fitted platen covers or not. Exclusively using Teflon sheets during heat transfer production is a route many successful decorators choose to go!
That being said, regarding convenience and consistent results, it’s never a bad idea to purchase a Teflon platen cover for the bottom platen of your heat press, at the very least. If you’re pressing sublimated items, a platen cover may save you from the potential horror that is getting sublimation ink on your platen’s foam rubber pad. Scrubbing the soaked-in dye-sub ink out of the foam pad is not the easiest task, and if any ink lingers, you may see it transfer on items you press in the future.
Platen covers have other great benefits too, including that they stay in place during pressing and allow you to thread your garments quickly and with ease. Teflon sheets can move around when they are not fastened securely in place, which may affect the consistency and quality of your results during a production run. Using a fitted platen cover eliminates that problem entirely.
In terms of threadability, the rubber platen pad has a tendency to create a bit of resistance when you are attempting to load fabric items. This may slow you down and make loading garments more time-consuming than it has to be. The smooth surface of a fitted platen cover allows the user to thread their shirts at a consistent speed without having to stop every time the garment stubbornly sticks to the rubber, thus improving production time during time crunches and rush orders.
Overall, a bottom platen cover is a wise investment for someone using their heat press frequently. You can always utilize Teflon sheets and thermal tape to cover your top platen until you feel the need for a top platen cover.
Here’s a rundown for reference:
- Stays in place during pressing
- Protects your garments from acquiring old adhesives and ink
- Increases the speed of your production time
- Allows you to thread your garments onto the platen faster and easier
- If you choose to not thread your items, it helps prevent heat transfer vinyl and sublimated designs on the front of your garments from sticking to the rubber foam when pressing the backs
- Prevents you from spending an arm and a leg on replacement Teflon sheets (because, yes, those do wear out and tend to go missing when you’re in a time crunch)
- Less cost-effective than purchasing Teflon sheets/rolls
- Will still need to be replaced over time
—Coastal Business Supplies