A good mini heat press should be small enough to get into tight and small spaces, handle small objects yet be big enough to handle bigger jobs with a few multiple presses, and cover a full range of temperatures. It should feel sturdy and have a bit of heft to it. Its base should feel solid and dissipate heat quickly, and it should have a shut-off mechanism after a pre-determined period.
In this post I will review the Nonley Mini Heat Press. I will discuss its characteristics, pros and cons. I will then discuss why you may or may not want to purchase this mini heat press machine. In order to provide this review, I verified certain specifications and ran tests to gather data. I’ve provided the specifications and the results for you.
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The Nonley Mini Heat Press is small with a surface area of 3” x 5”. It is larger than the Cricut EasyPress Mini and is “squoval”. It has three heat settings:
- Low: 320°
- Medium: 356°
- High: 392°
It retails for $45.99 (priced on April 4, 2022) and comes in aqua-green only. It has a one-year warranty.
At first glance, it’s a pretty cute little thing. It’s supposed to look like an elephant, and I suppose it does a little bit. It has a sturdy base with a grill in the bottom, and the heat press feels pretty solid too. Its listed weight is 1.72 pounds, but it weighed in on my scale at 15.2 ounces without the base and 1.4 pounds with the base.
The cord is 53”. It’s a little nitpicky of me, but why not 60”? It’s supposed to come with a spray bottle and a canvas bag, but I didn’t get the spray bottle. I wasn’t terribly upset.
It heats up pretty quickly. It hit setting one at 1 minute and 45 seconds. It made the second heat setting, 356°, 30 seconds later, and the third setting, 392°, 70 seconds later. All told, 3 minutes 25 seconds to almost 400°. I thought that was completely acceptable and respectable. It also indicates it turns itself off after ten minutes of non-use.
Here’s a breakdown of the specifications:
|Low heat setting
|Medium heat setting
|High heat setting
|Time to temperature
|105 sec / + 30 sec / +70 sec
|15.2 oz. without base, 1.4# with base
|5.5″ L x 3″ w x 5″ H
|~3″ X 5″
Here is what I tested and the listed temperatures with the Nonley equivalent from Cricut’s Heat Guide:
|315° (low) / 30 sec
|280° (low) / 25 sec
|305° (low) / 30 sec
|385° (high) / 40 sec
What Did Not Go Well
Although the Nonley Mini Heat Press Machine wants to the be mini heat press for all, it’s not. It’s low setting is just not low enough, leaving out a swath of materials. For example, two of the materials that I chose for my experiments were burlap and cardstock. Burlap presses at 305° and paper at 280° with Iron-on/HTV. The lowest temperature on the Nonley mini heat press is 320°. Despite that, I carried on, reducing the press time in some cases.
I tried two experiments with the burlap. The first was a press for 20 seconds. The temperature was too hot and the vinyl wrinkled. But it stuck, which can be difficult sometimes with burlap. I gave the second press 15 seconds. The vinyl still wrinkled. I couldn’t compensate the overheat for time with the burlap. I needed the lower temperature as well.
Paper required a temperature of 280° for 30 seconds. First, I gave it the full 30 seconds on low. The vinyl design came out alright, but the paper curled and looked horrible. I gave my second attempt 15 seconds and the paper still curled. If you are using vinyl designs/addresses for nice envelopes for a party or a wedding and you choose the Nonley Mini Heat Press, I would proceed with caution and test this carefully.
It looked like anything that needed to be pressed below about 315° was not going to do well due to the lack of lower temperature on the Nonley Mini Heat Press.
What Did Go Well
The cotton and the infusible ink did well with one exception. I tried the cotton on two settings (low and medium), and the infusible ink on high. The cotton and polyester were each 100%.
The vinyl did well on the cotton in both medium (356°) and low (320°) tests. Cotton requires a temperature of 315° for 30 seconds. I pressed it for 30 seconds for both low and medium heat settings. It looked and felt just a little better on the low press. I didn’t run a wash test on the vinyl since I was testing the mini heat press and not the vinyl. My recommendation for anything that’s pressed at 315-330° low temperature (t-shirts, etc.).
The infusible ink did well with a caveat. The mini heat press gets up to 392° on high, which is sufficient for Cricut Infusible Ink. Where I ran afoul was my inability to get the whole vinyl design applied properly to the shirt. The decal was 2.95 inches on purpose, which is smaller than the surface area. I had a hard time seeing the decal through the Teflon and blow paper (butcher paper), so I missed a part of it. That is one of the risks of using a heat press with such a small surface area when sublimating. This is a fail in my book because I didn’t get the design on, but the mini heat press does sublimate.
The base was hot. The heat did not dissipate from it quickly. I burned my hand on it once when the heat press mini was on high and I had the machine out and pressing the infusible ink. At exactly eight minutes (not ten), the mini heat press started beeping and then shut off.
Would I buy the Nonley Mini Heat Press Machine?
There are two questions I would ask myself. “Would I buy this mini heat press machine instead of the Cricut EasyPress Mini?” No, I wouldn’t. The Nonley Mini Heat Press is missing the lower temperatures and the surface area is too big to do the really small jobs. It can’t get into tight spots. It also has too many small bumps that need to be ironed out, like the auto shut-off and the base that won’t cool off fast enough.
The second question is, “If I wouldn’t buy this heat press, what would I buy instead?” The answer to that is—it really depends on what I’m doing. Do I need a Cricut EasyPress but it’s a little expensive at the moment? Am I pressing a lot and only using an iron? Am I making hats? What other things do I want to embellish (like baby shoes)?”
Here are the things to consider:
- Are you pressing a lot of designs right now?
- Are you using an iron instead of a heat press?
- What are the sizes of the designs you typically press?
- Do you want to use infusible ink?
- What materials are you pressing onto? (What temperatures do you need?)
- How much do you have to spend?
If you are pressing a lot of designs for charity or commercially and you are using a household iron, consider getting a right-sized heat press, either handheld or tabletop. Having the right tool for the job will make your life so much better in that respect. You’ll be able to get the heat levels you need, and you can feel confident your designs will look great and stay put over time. I have tabletop, handheld and mini heat presses, and I use all three as I press and sublimate all types of designs.
If the size of the designs you are using are primarily small and you may only need to do multiple presses every now and again, a mini heat press, either the EasyPress mini or an off brand would be a good start. They are economical and don’t take up much space. Just make sure they hit all the heat ranges you need and the surface area is small enough to press the materials you are going to press, like baby shoes or stuffed animals.
If, however, your designs tend to be bigger than the surface area of the mini heat presses, I recommend looking at a larger press like the Cricut EasyPress 9”x9” or 12”x10”, or one of the off brands depending upon what you might be able to afford right now. Doing multiple presses can get old and fast. The 9”x9” can be a good compromise if many of your designs fit within those specification and you need to do a second press occasionally.
Again, if you’re going for an off brand, make sure it hits all the temperatures ranges you need. And one more thing; you shouldn’t do multiple presses with infusible ink or any kind of sublimation—you risk ghosting. So make sure you get one that covers the sizes of the majority of your designs if you plan on doing a lot of sublimation or using infusible ink.
The Nonley Mini Heat Press can make a good small heat press for materials that require higher heat only and infusible ink/sublimation. It isn’t for the super small blanks, and it has a “squoval” shape, so it can’t get into small or tight corners. It makes an adequate iron for cotton, cotton/poly blend and polyester material as well, but it doesn’t move as smoothly as an iron, so I wouldn’t use it for that. If you are going to use it for infusible ink, make sure the design fits within the size of the surface area (~3”x5”). The Cricut EasyPress Mini (original) is only $4 more (priced on 4/4/2022), so if you’re looking for full range, go with the Cricut EasyPress Mini. If you landed here and were hoping for an alternative with the shape of the EasyPress Mini and the cost of an off-brand, go for the HTVRONT small heat press.
I hope this review has been helpful for you to decide on which mini heat press to buy. If you have any questions or if I’ve missed anything, please be sure to comment. I love hearing from y’all. Until then, happy, happy crafting!
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