Hobby presses are (mostly) great for pressing vinyl or sublimation and can provide a fantastic entry point into the print industry; yet they are far from ideal when printing with methods such as Laser.
A hobby press will cause endless headaches as the pressure and/or temperature is not consistently (evenly distributed) across the plate.
These factors are the main culprits of transfer failure with a cheap hobby press.
Inconsistent Temperature Readings
Using a probe thermometer, we can see the inconsistencies in temperature readings most common amongst cheap presses.
Having an inconsistent temperature across the plate will cause the transfer to fail, this is due to a press which displays 180c on the LCD; yet the highest probe reading is 190°c and the lowest probe reading is 170°c, the discrepancy is a 20°c difference between the hottest part of the press to the coolest.
This will not only result in poor transfer; but if you do manage to achieve a successful transfer, the affect on print durability remains and can lead to failure in the wash cycle.
Professional presses on the other hand are built to a specific standard; to deal with any range of materials and transfer papers efficiently and consistently.
The reliability, accuracy, consistency and quality are evident and save a lot of pain for 'future you'. Save transfers. Save toner/ink. Save shirts.
Your heat press is doing all the work and you're only as strong as your weakest link.