In my case, I haven't printed/pressed anything as of yet. I have not bought any equipment. So far I've been here on this forum for ~7 months studying every thread that pops up. I've also been watching lots of YouTube videos pertaining to both heat seal and screen printing; with a few DTG videos in the mix.
That is how I came to the cutter that I linked in my previous post. There are other cutters out there and other places to get them. However, this one seems to have the best price for the quality of printer that you get. In addition, one of our members on this forum is a representative (if not the owner?) of the company in the link. And he's active and contributes a wealth of information. So I will be doing business with him when I get a few $$$ together.
My thoughts? Optimal press: Hotronix Fusion closely followed by George Knight DK 20S. I managed to score myself a mentor of sorts here on this forum and have discussed a bit about printers with him. I had looked around on Amazon and found these "5 in 1" and "7 in 1" presses for ~$150. Great deal, right? Well, what if it's not (a great deal)? Then you're out $150 and still have the nothing that you started with. But, what if you spend $299 on a press from ProWorld that comes with an actual warranty and customer support?
Optimal cutter: Universal Laser (very high $$$) followed by Graphtec CE6000-60. But those are $THOUSANDS. So why not go with THE PACKAGE linked previously where you get the cutter and several vinyl samples for $519?
Or you could even go cheaper by going Cricut.
Optimal printer: Haven't decided yet since I've decided to get my feet wet with HTV.
Now, if you don't want to weed at all you'll have to do the FlexSoft or JPSS or the like while using the correct printer. Some are more compatible with a certain printer while others require a more expensive white toner printer. Easier? Sure. Better? Well, again, it's a matter of opinion.
As for being more cost effective due to time, well, what are you doing with your time now? From what I've read so far (from you) you haven't actually begun to sell anything yet--same as me. So I'm spending my time reading/studying. Whenever I begin the business (at least I hope it becomes a profitable business) I guess I'll just cut into that study time. Therefore I'm not actually losing money.
Where you're losing money is when you build your business into a position where every second counts toward production because there is such demand for your product. Until then, it's just a matter of weeding instead of watching TV or something. Shucks, I suppose you could weed while occasionally glancing at the TV.
Bottom line is that there are many diverse opinions on this forum. You've been around long enough to see that.
But even though the opinions vary, the consensus seems to be a vague do what's best for you with a healthy dose of buy the best equipment that you can afford.