If you’re interested in getting started with vinyl cutting then you’ll be looking for the best vinyl cutting machine. They aren’t an insignificant purchase so getting the best information about all the options available is essential. This article will hopefully help you decide which is the best option for you whether you’re planning to make your own t-shirt designs or whether you plan to set up your own vinyl decals business!
Choosing the best vinyl cutting machine for home – what to consider
Things to bear in mind when buying a vinyl cutter machine:
- what do you want to cut? Most machines will cut way more than just vinyl but make sure what you buy will deal with your chosen material well.
- cost – the more up to date and newest vinyl cutting machines which have all the latest software comes at a price. If you want to try it out for a lesser cost, perhaps try a slightly older model.
- Do you want to design your own images or will you be happy with purchasing pre made dies? Some of the cheaper options won’t allow you to cut your own designs and of course you’ll need to purchase dies for what you want to do. Some of the computerized options have subscription models to access their library of files.
- What accessories come as standard? All of the machines below have extras that you can buy so if you can get any included with your purchase this will be a money saver in the long run. Look for tools, extra dies or cartridges or perhaps even a pack with different materials to try out.
- Are spare parts easy to buy? Are they expensive or not?
- Size – finally check the space you have to store your machine. Some of them are quite large, certainly larger than a printer size so a dedicated space for it in a craft room would be perfect or at least a large cupboard.
- Computerized or manual? Do you want simple or do you want the option to do all sorts?
Our vinyl cutting machine reviews
The following are some of the top rated die cutting machines around at the moment and are my personal favorites:
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
The first in my list of top vinyl cutting machines has to be the latest from Cricut. To be honest, they have a wealth of good machines in their range, but I’ve chosen to highlight the latest in the range, the Explore Air 2, as with any of these options getting the latest means you’re getting the latest in technology.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is much faster than any of the other machines, and can be used wirelessly too. It has an app so when you’re waiting in a cafe or for your daughter after school you can be designing your creations ready to make as soon as you get home!
It will not only cut vinyl, but it can cut a whole range of other materials – cardstock, paper, leather, craft foam. You can also use a pen in the machine to draw or use it to score. While I think it’s the best choice for a vinyl cutter machine, it’s just touching the surface of what can be done so if you have grand designs in your head you can’t go wrong.
It does come at a price though and is one of the more expensive machines – but you’re definitely getting a good product.Check out the latest price of the Cricut here
Or see my full in depth review here
Silhouette Cameo 3
The main competitor to the Cricut is the Cameo from Silhouette. It’s another really good machine that has lots of fans online. The latest model from them is the Cameo 3.
It can cut up to 100 different materials, including vinyl and one thing that I really like about this machine is the automatic blade adjuster. It will adjust the blade to the correct depth for you and it saves time as well as helping people like me who often forget this step!
Like the Cricut it can be accessed using Bluetooth so you can have wireless capability. There have been some issues reported with that though, especially using Macs so be aware of that.
What Silhouette seem to excel at is allowing creativity to shine through with their machines. You can use their studio software to help with designing your projects and it’s great for customising your ideas.
Check out the latest price of the Cameo here
Or see my in depth review here (coming soon)
Brother CM350 Scan N Cut 2
The Brother Scan N Cut is another computerized vinyl cutter that is a competitor of both Silhouette and Cricut. However I’d say that although it’s comparable, there’s a lot of different things that the Brother can do that isn’t available on the others.
The main thing that it offers is the ability to scan images. If you want to scan something and then use that image to cut out later then this is perfect as it will do everything in the one machine. You can purchase an extra for the cameo to be able to do this, but you’ll get it all included with the Scan N Cut. It is also a good stand alone machine which doesn’t need to be connected to a computer if you don’t want it to be or it can be connected using wireless capability.
One thing to note with this option is that there is a slight higher cost for things that might need replaced like the blades or the cutting mats than you might pay with the other brands. It is comparable with the initial cost but of course, ongoing costs need to be taken in to account.
All in all it’s a really good option and if you want to scan your own designs you’ll definitely want this one.Check out the latest price of the Scan N Cut here
Or see my in depth review here
Sizzix Big Shot Plus
This machine and the one mentioned below are different beasts than the computerized options above. They are manual die cutting machines which allow you to cut through all sorts of different materials from cardstock to vinyl to even balsa wood. Simply place your die and material on the plate and use the handle to feed it through and out will come your cut project. It’s very simple in how it works which can be perfect for someone who doesn’t want the fiddly computerized counterparts.
These are perfect if you want to get in to scrapbooking and card making as well as vinyl cutting. They not only cut, but they can also do embossing of materials too.
The Big Shot Plus is one of the largest in the range of die cutting machines from Sizzix with a 9 inch plate and it can use almost all of the Sizzix dies that are available (not the Bigz Pro size ones). The options are huge with this machine and lots that you can do with it – of course you’ll need to buy dies to use with it though.Check out the latest price here
Spellbinders Platinum Die Cutting machine
Again, this is another manual vinyl cutter machine and it works in a similar way to the Sizzix above. It will cut vinyl as well as a range of other materials too such as paper, cotton or even thin metal. It will do embossing as well so again if you’re looking for a machine that you can also use for scrapbooking or paper cutting this is great for you.
It’s quite a heavy machine this one so would be more suited to if you have a dedicated space.
You will again need to buy dedicated dies to use with this machine, none of which come with the machine on it’s own, but can be purchased fairly inexpensively from craft stores or from Amazon.Check out the latest price of this product here