This blog does have affiliate links! This is the big question we get when you decide to make the jump from your home iron to a heat press. The key to Heat Transfer is the heat and pressure, it is hard to get both completely correct with a home iron because of the human factor.
It will still work... I am not saying you NEED a heat press but it is highly recommended.
Another question I get is "what about the Cricut Easy Press?" People steer towards Cricut because of the name and the price but you are essentially buying a really nice home iron! Now you can control the temperature but what about that pressure? You gave yourself more surface area which is great and yes it will still work but the key is PRESSURE!! This is what the heat press does for you.
There are two kinds of Heat Presses, Clam-Shell and Swing-Away.
In my opinion the Clam Shell is ideal for space and ease. I do have both but I find myself using the Clam-Shell much more. A good size is 12x15 or above because the standard heat transfer sheet is 12x15 so this is a great size. I personally prefer the 15x15. Check out this Power Press, it is about $40 more than an Easy Press and definitely gets the job done.
Also Mophorn comes highly recommended by some of our clients. The swing away is nice for different items because the entire platen comes straight now instead of at an angle. This really won't matter most of the time. The swing away requires double the amount of space in order to swing the platen out of the work area. We have been cranking our for almost three years with no issues and it came from Amazon.
You must be aware that when purchasing a press from Amazon, many times they do not come with a warranty so it is at your own risk.