Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 06, 2021
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If you need a vinyl cutter on a personal or commercial level, finding the best vinyl cutter under $300 can help you take on your simple or complex projects, designs, and signs with perfection and attention to detail. Whether you need a commercial model for handling large numbers of projects or a personalized machine for smaller jobs, finding an affordable, yet high-quality vinyl cutter can help you tackle your project like a pro.
To be able to bring you the best guide here today, we’ve reviewed five of the top vinyl cutters on the market. Our Editor’s Choice, the Cricut Explore Air 2, is a 16-pound model with compatibility for Design Space software for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, as well as having the ability to cut over 100 different types of materials.
With each review, we’ve considered various factors and features essential to give some thought to when buying the best vinyl cutter under $300. We’ve looked at the cutter’s weight, type, compatibility to software, dimension, and warranty information to help you pick out what’s most vital for you to think about before you make a purchasing decision. As you navigate through our review, you’ll notice our side-by-side comparison table with all our top products, in-detail reviews of each product, and a buying guide to help you make that final pick.
"This machine is designed to cut vinyl specifically, so it’s perfect for those to whom it’s their main interest. While it’s not compatible with Mac OS, it works well with any other system. It also features an LCD display which makes navigating rather simple."
"This crafting machine is a great choice for a home studio because it’s a universal tool, that can be used to cut different types of materials apart from vinyl, while it also can be used for embossing, engraving, and debossing."
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is our Editor’s Choice for the best vinyl cutter on the market. Rated high on our guide and also by others through reviews, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great pick if you’re looking for a personal vinyl cutter for smaller projects. Not only does it out-cut and write its last edition when it comes to speed, but it also is extremely precise while cutting.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 also features various factors that set it apart from the competition, like Bluetooth wireless capability and software that is the perfect learning tool for any beginner or someone looking to get better. Adaptable with over 100 different materials, the Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with over 80 pre-installed settings. If you’re a fan of the fast mode, you’ll be able to work with vinyl, cardstock, and iron-on materials at that high speed. The Cricut Explore Air 2 works with a Design Space Software, which can be used with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Although the warranty isn’t specified, this vinyl cutter is a great option for the long haul.
What are our favorite features?
Very precise with cutting
Bluetooth connectivity available
What could be better?
Louder than predecessor
The Design Space app is not compatible with android
The VEVOR Vinyl Cutter not only meets its competition on a value basis, but it’s also our Premium Pick if you’re looking for an upgrade to our original Editor’s Choice. Although weighing around 41 lb, the VEVOR Vinyl Cutter has a maximum width of 24.8 inches, which makes it extremely easy to cut most kinds of vinyl—and other materials, as well. The operation is also quite durable, which means that you can rely on this machine for various projects—no matter if you’re a beginner or an expert.
This flexible machine work can be controlled using an LCD backlight display, which can help you easily handle the various settings during the working process of cutting. You can also rely heavily on the emergency stop/start function, which is a reassuring thought for a final project or for a beginner. Although it isn’t necessarily compatible with a Mac, the VEVOR Vinyl Cutter can run with any Pentium processor-based PC or compatible computer, like Windows, Windows XP, or Vista 7, 8, and 10.
The Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool is also the latest edition of Silhouette technology. Rated as our Best Value Pick, this affordable choice is a great product if you’re looking for a cutter that still has everything you need, regardless of the low price. The Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool is not only Bluetooth and Pixscan compatible, but it also features the connection with the Autoblade—making it possible to cut deeper than any prior edition.
If you’re looking for a portable vinyl cutter to take with you wherever your projects may lead, this 18 x 8 x 9-inch, the electric cutting tool makes space and budget a priority. It also awakens your creativity, with the possibility of choosing from and executing 50 exclusive digital designs. It’s also advertised as being about to cut through a variety of materials, which allows you to get versatile with your projects. You can also easily connect it with your Mac or PC since the software comes with the original purchase of the product.
Why are we impressed?
50 different digital designs
What negatives must you be aware of?
If its power you’re looking for, you might not find it here
The USCutter Craft Vinyl Cutter is a great deal if you’re looking for a budget option that still does it all. Perfectly designed for beginners and hobbyists, this smaller electric vinyl cutter comes along with a kit that can help you tackle any project for your everyday task. Although this software isn’t compatible with Apple or Mac computers—and isn’t capable of performing contour cuts, the manufacturer makes up for this by offering not only a 1-year warranty but also free lifetime phone support!
The USCutter Craft Vinyl Cutter is ideal if you’re looking for everything under one roof. With a kit that helps get you going, this vinyl cutter comes capable of printing out any project you may come to find, from decals to banners to signs of all kinds. With the starter kit, you’ll find a hobby knife, a squeegee, three vinyl cutting blades, a 14-inch USCutter MH Series Vinyl Cutter Plotter, VinylMaster Cut Software, a 1 x 3 feet TransferRite 31GL Clear Medium Tack Application tape with liner, and two different color types of vinyl.
What stands out?
Perfect for hobbyists and those on smaller budgets
The Silhouette America Curio Crafting Machine is our best home vinyl cutter since it comes with everything you need for any project you may have. As a lighter weight cutter, the Silhouette America Curio Crafting Machine is not only a higher-quality electronic cutting machine; it is a great middle-ground budget pick that does it all. Outlined with the capacity to work with most common materials, the Silhouette America Curio Crafting Machine can be your go-to machine for various tasks and projects as you get better and better—it’s capable of welding, drawing, piercing, embossing, engraving, and debossing.
The purchase also comes along with a great starter kit, with a USB cable included for ease of use. Even if you aren’t a beginner, you can definitely benefit from such an inclusive package—especially for replacing material that you might be running low on! Although it works perfectly as a standalone machine for a wide variety of projects, it also can be a companion machine to other cutters, since it is so versatile. The Silhouette America Curio Crafting Machine also comes with a starter software, the Silhouette Studio.
Why did it make our list?
It can be used on its own or with another machine
What is not ideal about it?
Its capacity is quite small
Things to Consider
Whether you’re going commercial or you’re thinking of investing in a vinyl cutter for personal products, you’ll need to be in-the-know before you finalize your purchase.
Since there are so many different features to look out for when buying the best vinyl cutter, you’ll definitely need to be aware of them all to help decide which ones are more important for you. The smallest of details can make a huge difference when it comes to your experience with the vinyl cutter.
Depending on whether you need one that’s Bluetooth enabled or manually operated, these factors and features can dictate which products from above are going to be in your range—as well as your price range.
Why do you need a vinyl cutter?
If you’re planning on taking a project with a variety of different materials, then investing in a vinyl cutter might be in your best interest. These projects, including creating signs or complex designs that involve cutting material, can be done on a quicker basis if you invest in a vinyl cutter.
If you find yourself in the professional business of larger numbers, you might want to look for more of a commercial model—however, if you just need one for personal projects, we would recommend any of the cutters from up above, which are more of a personalized machine. These cutters, like the Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool, are generally quite small—even weighing as little as three pounds, like the one here!
If you consider yourself a beginner in crafting, this tool is easy to learn, use, and implement into your best projects. This can help if you’re looking for an initial investment but aren’t exactly too sure about the commitment to the hobby—and spending a ton of money upfront if you don’t even enjoy doing it!
Features to consider before you buy a vinyl cutter
Before you commit to a certain brand or product—even if it’s featured here on our guide, you’ll want to inform yourself about the various features that should be considered in relation to the type of cutter you’re going to be buying! If you’re going to be investing in a commercial vinyl cutter, consider these features:
The ability to cut large designs: this feature is crucial since most of your clients will be working at a bigger size.
The ability to dish out complex designs: a fault-free output is extremely important to help you snag and keep demanding clients. The more creative a machine is—and precise—the better.
The ability to go through multiple jobs at once: as the list of your clientele grows, you’ll want a machine that can handle the bulk work—but be able to do it correctly.
If you’re thinking of investing in a personal vinyl cutter, make sure that it is:
Compact in size: for hobbyists who don’t need to complete massive projects all at once, the compact size, like the 14-pound Silhouette America Curio Crafting Machine, helps you tackle any project from your desktop.
Simple and easy to learn: if you’re willing to take the plunge and invest as a beginner, making sure it’s easy to use can help ease through that learning curve.
Within your budget: this isn’t limited to just our Best Value Pick, the Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool. If you do enough research, you should be able to pick out a vinyl cutter within your price range with all the qualities you may need.
Operates as quietly as possible: especially if you plan on working from home, you wouldn’t want your hobby to bother others!
Some other additional features that might spark your interest are:
Wireless capability: just like the Cricut Explore Air 2, having a vinyl cutter that is Bluetooth enabled can help ease that transition between your creativity and physical product.
Automatic settings: instead of having to mess with settings and pray you’re right, some of these vinyl cutters give you the access to push-of-the-button automatic settings for blade pressure, different materials, and digital designs. For example, you can choose from 50 exclusive digital designs with the Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool.
Software: depending on the type of vinyl cutter you’re getting, it may or may not be compatible with your computer or software program. This is especially important to check out before you commit to the purchase. For example, if you have a Mac computer, the USCutter Craft Vinyl Cutter should be crossed off of your list as it’s not Mac-compatible.
All the vinyl cutters on our guide today are going to be electric cutters, which make them very simple to use and can help lessen that learning curve if you’re just getting started. However, if you do like the traditional design, you can go with a manual cutter, which might be a bit more difficult to learn how to use but can be an interesting investment if you like to stick with the original way to do things.
Unless you’re planning on having a commercial cutter and don’t mind the 41 pounds of weight of the VEVOR Vinyl Cutter, the compatibility and transportability of the vinyl cutter can be compromised by the weight if you don’t pay attention. The lightest vinyl cutter we have on this guide is the Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool, which weighs only 3.5 pounds.
If you plan on using your vinyl cutter on a specific table or storing it in closet space, you’ll need to make sure you know the dimension range of the cutter to see if it fits or not.
We would recommend measuring your working space before buying and committing.
Electric vinyl cutters usually come with their own software and, while some of them, like the Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool, is compatible with all popular computer operating systems, some may not work with Mac OS. Though it’s not relevant for manual cutters, because they don’t need a computer to work.
When you plan to purchase an electric vinyl cutter, don’t forget to check if it’s compatible with your computer’s operating system, because otherwise, it won’t work.
Since these machines can be prone to malfunctioning, you’ll want the longest warranty available, which is generally going to be around a year but can be checked with the manufacturer.
Even if you are a beginner, setting your vinyl cutter up and getting it going doesn’t have to be a headache. You will always find the instruction manual along with the delivery of the product. The only challenging part that can come up is the possible software installation, but if you check the cutter’s compatibility beforehand, all you need is to follow instructions.
With such an independently-thinking machine that seems to be able to do so much with such versatility, it may leave you wondering what the machine can’t do. However, depending on the product you buy, you’ll find that some vinyl cutters are more capable than others in cutting other materials. This is an extremely important detail that you should be made aware of or inform yourself about before you invest in a machine like this! The last thing you would want is that your vinyl cutter is not cutting into the material that you specifically bought it for! For example, the Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts over 100 different materials into the design of your choice. As technology advances, you’ll find that high-quality vinyl cutters can actually cut into materials like paper, cardstock, tissue paper, reflectives, thermal transfer material, and even wood or aluminum.
The manufacturer’s information on the product should say which software works best with the specific vinyl cutter. For example, the Cricut Explore Air 2 works with Design Space software, which is just one of many different types of software compatible with vinyl cutters. Some other ones include Inkscape, CorelDRAW, VinylMaster Cut, and Easy Cut Studio, just to name a few. However, it’s extremely important that you first look into the compatibility of the vinyl cutter not only with the software that you plan on investing in but also the computer you’re working with. While some vinyl cutters are even compatible with something as unique as an iPad, others have a more restricted list of compatibility, like the VEVOR Vinyl Cutter not being able to be used with a Mac. The last thing you would want is to invest in something like a vinyl cutter, be excited about using it, and then having to return it!
Before you finalize your decision about which vinyl cutter to invest in, we would like to narrow down our picks to our fave three. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is our Editor’s Choice with its high speed, middle-range weight, and that it also cuts over one hundred different types of materials, which is one of the most on the market. The VEVOR Vinyl Cutter is our Premium Pick with its Pentium processor-based PC. The heavier system (weighing around 40 lbs.) has an easy-to-use LCD display to help you keep control over all of your projects. The Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool is our Best Value pick if you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality vinyl cutter. The lightweight, 3.53-pound cutter is compatible with both Mac and PC as well as uses 50 exclusive digital designs. We hope our guide and picks have helped you choose the best vinyl cutter under $300 to meet your budget and your project needs!