8 Best Vinyl Cutters for all the DIY Enthusiasts out There

Finding a high-quality vinyl cutting machine is not an easy job, particularly if you haven’t worked with this type of device before. There are multiple reasons for which you may need a vinyl cutting machine, ranging from upping your game when it comes to DIY arts and crafts projects at home to creating professional-looking personalized items for your business. Some of these machines also work great for children, as they for keeping them busy and expand their artistic skills.

To find the best vinyl cutter, we considered a range of essential factors such as cutting force and size, machine dimensions, connection, and warranty. We also looked at the operating system required by each of the machines and considered the various applications a certain device would have for personal or professional use. When shopping for this kind of cutter, make sure you consider all these features, as well as your budget, to find the best vinyl cutter for your needs.

Top 8 Vinyl Cutting Machines Review 2018

With so many features to consider, it is obvious that finding the right vinyl cutting machine is a difficult endeavor, so we did all the work to help you make an informed decision. We spent weeks testing the best machines on the market, looking at technical specifications and reading hundreds of reviews from professionals and customers alike. Below you will find a table comparing the best eight vinyl cutting machines on the market, as well as in-detail reviews of each of your selections. In the end, you’ll find a buying guide offering you all the information you need to buy the best machine for your needs. Now, let’s have a look at the reviews the top eight of the best vinyl cutting machines on the market.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. Cricut Maker (Editor’s Choice)
A fantastic all-rounder, suitable for a wide variety of projects for any level of experience
Cricut Maker
2. Cricut Explore Air 2 (Best for Home Use)
Great for those looking for a machine to fulfill their need for creativity at home
Cricut Explore Air 2
3. Silhouette Cameo 3 (Best for Small Businesses)
A vinyl cutter to suit all your businesses needs
Silhouette cameo3
4. Silhouette Portrait 2 (Best for Beginners)
High-tech vinyl cutter for all your business logos, prints and more
Silhouette Portrait 2
5. Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350 (Best Scan and Cut Combo)
A two-in-one that is incredibly simple to operate
Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350
6. Crafter's Companion Gemini (Best Standalone Cutter)
Suitable for hobbyists and small commercial projects alike, with no need for a computer connection
Gemini Crafter's companion
7. USCutter MH-721 Bundle (Best Semi-commercial Cutter)
A vinyl cutter with a cutting size designed for large projects
USCutter MH-721 Bundle
8. Sizzix Big Shot 660425 (Budget Pick)
Simple vinyl cutter, fab for DIYers and a fun way to keep your kids busy
Sizzix Big Shot 660425
Features
  • Cutting force: up to 4 kg
  • Cutting size: 12 x 24 inches
  • Dimensions: 23 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Connection: USB, Bluetooth (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Extra features: advanced rotary blade and Adaptive Tool System, helpful docking slot to hold tablet or smartphone

OVERALL RATING: 9.9 out of 10

Featuring a superior rotary cutter that achieves an extra-deep cut, the Cricut Maker offers you the freedom to navigate through a wide variety of projects including vinyl decals, paper crafts, and iron-ons, as well as dabble into leather crafts and sewing projects. The powerful knife blade, which is sold separately, slices thorough heavier materials and makes it easy to tackle sewing and quilting projects. Moreover, the Adaptive Tool System controls the blade direction automatically for enhanced precision.

The machine comes with its own app, so you can lay out your project on your mobile device or computer, and upload your own designs for extra versatility. The Cricut Maker supports all common media formats and is easy to use, whether you’re a beginner or a professional. A cloud-based storage is available, so you don’t have to store your files in cartridges.

This vinyl cutter comes with improved software, which requires a high-speed internet connection to work. Alternatively, you can use the iOS Design Space app if you prefer to work offline. The integrated Smart Dial tool makes it easy to select the right settings with just a couple of touches.

The Cricut Maker is one of the strongest machines out there, which is why we chose it as the best all-around vinyl cutter. Users mention how easy it is to program the machine and are happy with the gliding and rolling action of the improved rotary blade, which cuts through all kinds of materials accurately and quickly.

PROS:
  • Highly versatile machine
  • Can cut through thick materials of up to 2.4 mm
  • Very intuitive to use

CONS:
  • Knife blade sold separately
  • Cutting area is limited at 12 x 24 inches

Features
  • Cutting force: 400 grams
  • Cutting size: 12 x 24 inches
  • Dimensions: 24 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Connection: USB or Bluetooth (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Extra features: double tool holder allows for Cutting and writing or Cutting and scoring in one step

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

A machine that works perfectly for home use, the Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts and draws at twice the speed of the Cricut Explore Air, its predecessor. The machine comes with wireless Bluetooth technology, so you can send a job to it from a mobile device. It allows you to create and upload designs from your tablet, smartphone, or computer. The Smart Set dial makes it very easy to control the settings of the machine, and you can cut more than 100 types of materials with it, ranging from vinyl to leather.

More than 3,000 ready-made projects are included, and you can easily add your own. Users who reviewed the Cricut Explore Air 2 raved about the double tool holder, which allows for cutting and scoring, or cutting and writing in a single step. The adjustable cutting and writing speeds make this machine a highly versatile one.

As with other machines of this type, the Cricut Explore Air 2 has a maximum cutting size of 12 x 24 inches, which is more than enough for hobbyist crafters. Even though you can only use the machine with the proprietary Cricut Design Space Software, you have the liberty to upload your own images and fonts and convert them for free, which is a plus for more advanced designers. An iOS app is available as well, so you can design on your phone or tablet before sending your creation wirelessly to the cutter.

PROS:
  • Easy to use software
  • Great speeds
  • Comes with wireless Bluetooth technology

CONS:
  • A bit noisy
  • Only works with the Cricut Design Space Software

Features
  • Cutting force: 210 grams
  • Cutting size: 12 inches x 10 feet
  • Dimensions: 23 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Connection: USB or Bluetooth (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
  • Warranty: 1 year, lifetime product support

Extra features: 1 Month Membership to Silhouette U – access to over 150 videos, guides and more

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

The Silhouette Cameo 3 is one of the best choices out there for small businesses. Featuring built-in Bluetooth technology, the machine connects to your computer or tablet wirelessly, but it still retains a USB cable connectivity option for extra versatility. With three blade options, you can work with various materials to suit your individual projects. The standard blade is suitable for cutting thin materials, the auto blade adjusts the force and depth required to match the material automatically, while the deep cut blade is ideal for cutting thick materials.

Compatible with both PC and Mac computers, the Silhouette Cameo 3 features a dual-carriage so you can use two tools at the same time. The Silhouette Pixscan technology allows you to cut around any printed image with precision, making it ideal for digitizing a stamp collection, for example, or making a cut from a hand-drawn sketch. Our research found that this vinyl cutter is the best machine for small business owners, as it allows them to create designs for a huge range of projects, including personalized party pieces, custom apparel, unique home décor pieces and much more.

Users often describe the Autoblade system of the Silhouette Cameo 3 as one of the best features on the market, as you don’t have to worry about the thickness of the material before making a cut – the cutter does all the work for you.

PROS:
  • Self-adjusting blade for different materials
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Dual carriage function
  • Sensitive touchscreen

CONS:
  • Cutting force may be weak at times compared to other vinyl cutters

Features
  • Cutting force: 210 grams
  • Cutting size: 8 x 10 inches
  • Dimensions: 18 x 8 x 9 inches
  • Connection: USB or Bluetooth

(Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)

  • Warranty: 1 year, lifetime product support

Extra features: PixScan compatible

OVERALL RATING: 9.2 out of 10

Looking quite similar to the original Silhouette Portrait, this machine is a good choice for personal use. The Silhouette Portrait 2 works just like a home printer and is compatible with your PC or Mac computer. Instead of printing, however, this electronic cutting machine uses a small blade to cut vinyl, paper, cardstock, fabric, and more. An excellent tool for DIY aficionados, this machine comes complete with an auto adjustable blade and has the capacity to cut through more than 100 materials.

This machine is one of the best out there for beginners, and users often mention how easy it is to set it up and use, thanks to the simple software. Owning the Silhouette Portrait 2 gives you one free month of access to the new shapes and designs available in the Silhouette Online store (there is an additional fee after that).

The small footprint of the machine makes it possible to tuck it away into a closet easily when not in use. This is a budget-friendly machine that makes an excellent choice for beginners – but make no mistake, it still cuts accurately and offers results that are very similar to those obtained with machines twice the price.

The Silhouette Portrait 2 can handle designs of up the 10 feet long, but the maximum cutting width is 8 inches, something many users may find a bit restrictive.

PROS:
  • Compatible with both PC and Mac computers
  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Can cut through more than 100 materials

CONS:
  • Maximum cutting width is 8 inches

Features
  • Cutting force: not specified
  • Cutting size: 12 x 24 inches
  • Dimensions: 10 x 23 x 11 inches
  • Connection: USB or Bluetooth (Windows only)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Extra features: ScanNCutCanvas – a

free cloud-based app for editing and designing cut data

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

Produced by Brother, a brand famous for its printers and scanners, the Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350 combines the functionality of a scanner with that of a vinyl cutting machine. This machine is one of the few out there to come with an inbuilt scanner, a feature that comes in quite handy because you can scan your own designs from hand-drawn sketches or other sources, and start cutting the material you want straight away.

The ScanNCut supports wireless design transfer, so you don’t have to use it right next to your computer. The ScanNCut Canvas software allows you to send your designs from your tablet or computer straight to cutting, wither via Bluetooth or USB cable. The large color touchscreen makes it easy to select functions, and the on-screen editing functions let you edit your designs before cutting.

The machine is compatible with PCs running on Windows Vista or later and features a built-in 300 DPI scanner that makes it possible to scan anything – from family photos to your kids’ drawings – to then create custom-cut shapes for your project. A cloud-based app called ScanNCutCanvas is available for editing and storing your designs.

PROS:
  • Integrated scanner
  • Large touchscreen
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Cloud-based app

CONS:
  • Price
  • Lacks Mac compatibility

Features
  • Cutting force: not specified
  • Cutting size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Dimensions: 23 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Connection: N/A
  • Warranty: not specified

Extra features: pause, resume and reverse buttons improve ease-of-use

OVERALL RATING: 8.9 out of 10

Sporting a sleek, low-profile design, Crafter’s Companion-Gemini uses higher pressure than other machines in its range and comes with a selection of buttons for easy use. This die cutting and embossing machine works with any kind of embossing folder or thin die, and unlike the majority models we reviewed, it is a standalone machine, which means that you don’t need a computer to operate it.

The machine is easy to use, as all you need to do is load your favorite folder or die between the plates and send it through with the push of a button. The pause, resume, and reverse buttons make the die cutter very easy to operate. The Gemini works well for card makers, scrappers, and anyone who likes DIY arts & crafts and collages. It’s not really a suitable choice for commercial use, but it could come in handy for small businesses that only need this kind of machine occasionally.

One of the things we liked most, and which was mentioned as a positive by lots of reviewers, is the possibility to use multiple dies at the same time. The pause button gives you peace of mind because you can check your combinations for extra peace of mind, and the reverse button comes in handy for reversing out smaller dies once they are cut.

PROS:
  • Multiple buttons for extra control
  • Can cut multiple dies at once
  • No need for a computer

CONS:
  • Price
  • May have trouble cutting through metal dies

Features
  • Cutting force: 350 grams
  • Cutting size: 24.8 x 60 inches
  • Dimensions: 15 x 23 x 23 inches
  • Connection: USB (Windows only)
  • Warranty: 1 year, lifetime phone support

Extra features: comes with 3 Roland-compatible blades, 2 rolls of vinyl,

2 sheets of magnetic blanks,

2 rolls of transfer tape, a hobby knife and squeegee

OVERALL RATING: 8.7 out of 10

Suitable for both vinyl cutting hobbyists and small signage businesses, the USCutter MH-721 is a semi-commercial cutter that is primarily intended for signage purposes and vinyl cutting. It can, however, cut several other materials, including paper, cardstock, paint mask, and heat transfer vinyl. The machine can cut a maximum width of 30.83 inches and a length of a maximum 30.63 inches.

The USCutter MH-721 comes with the VinylMaster Cut (Basic Edition) software that is compatible with Windows only and is available only on CD. With this software, you can produce a wide range of logos, lettering, pinstriping and more. A collection of fonts is also available, and you can play with objects and curves to create unique designs.

While the cutter may be a bit unreliable for large and complex jobs, as stated by multiple users, it does a good job at delivering simple signage. The machine comes as part of a bundle that includes a variety of vinyl supplies and tools, as well as three blades, so you don’t have to worry about replacements too soon. The adjustable pinch rollers of the plotter are excellent for precision cutting, and according to user reviews, the machine works best when you put it to task on small batches at a time.

PROS:
  • Semi-professional results
  • Suitable for bigger cuts

CONS:
  • Cannot cut through many materials
  • Difficult to set up

Features
  • Cutting force: not specified
  • Cutting size: 6 x 14 inches
  • Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 7 inches
  • Connection: N/A
  • Warranty: 3 years

Extra features: comes with a pair of standard cutting pads and the adjustable extended multipurpose platform

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

A good choice for those who are looking for a portable vinyl cutter machine, the Sizzix Big Shot 660425 accommodates a large variety of materials, ranging from paper and cardboard, to fabric and thin leather. With this machine, you can create custom invitations, scrapbook pages, cards, quilting patterns, and much more. The Sizzix Big Shot is very easy to use and is a suitable option for children who are only getting started with arts and crafts, but also works well for more experienced users.

The Big Shot cuts materials up to 6 inches wide and setting the machine up is a pretty straightforward process. Users often praise the adjustable extended multipurpose platform that makes this a highly versatile cutter. Hundreds of designs are available from Sizzix and you can try them all with this machine, which is also compatible with all Sizzix and other manufacturers’ dies.

To operate the Big Shot cutter, all you have to do is turn the handle to spin the rollers and let the machine do the rest. The roller is heavy-duty, smooth, and provides you with excellent results on vinyl, paper, card, or fabric. You can also use vellum, felt, paper wood, sheet magnet, self-adhesive rubber and many more other fabrics with this machine. The Sizzix Big Shot 660425 comes complete with comprehensive guidelines to help you get started and has an extended 3-year warranty.

PROS:
  • Compact size
  • Price
  • Ease of use

CONS:
  • Lacks connectivity

Buying Guide

Whether you are looking for a commercial vinyl cutting machine or you just want a quality cutter for your arts and crafts projects, you need to know how these machines are different and what factors to pay attention to when shopping for one. In this buying guide, we’ll explain the main features you can expect to find in a vinyl cutting machine and why each of them is important when it comes to the end result.

Advantages of having a vinyl cutter at home

With a quality vinyl cutting machine, you can explore the world of arts and crafts in a whole new way. Moreover, this device is a great choice for children to develop a new hobby that involves creativity. In the past, these machines were bulky and difficult to operate, but today you can find compact and efficient models that fit well on your desk. Some of the uses of a vinyl cutting machine for the home include creating your own stickers, iron-on transfers, and making your own cards and stationary.

Vinyl cutter

Features to consider when choosing a vinyl cutting machine

If you have never bought a vinyl cutting machine before, the sheer number of specifications may be quite overwhelming. Because there are hundreds of different makes and models available, it is important to consider the essential specs and features you will need for your particular projects before deciding on which machine you should be spending your money on.

Cutting force

The cutting force of a vinyl cutting machine is an essential factor to consider because it determines how precise the cut will be, as well as the kinds of materials machine can work with. Force isn’t as important for home use as it would be for a professional workshop cutter, but you should have a look at this specification if you intend to use the machine for bulk projects.

Cutting Size

The cutting size refers to the length and width of the material you can cut. Many models such as the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut materials of up to 12 x 24 inches, which is more than enough for home projects.

For commercial projects, look for a cutter with a bigger cutting size, especially when it comes to the length of the material.

Vinyl cutter dimensions

The dimensions of the machine itself are important, especially if you don’t have much space to work in. Our best all-around machine, the Cricut Maker, has 23 x 7 x 6 inches, which would fit perfectly on your desk. However, if you are looking for a semi-commercial cutter such as the USCutter MH-721, which is 15 x 23 x 23 inches in size, keep in mind that you may need a bit more space to accommodate it.

8 Best Vinyl Cutters for all the DIY Enthusiasts out There

Connection available

Not all vinyl cutting machines have wireless connectivity, and some of them, like the Sizzix Big Shot, don’t have any connectivity at all. Models with Bluetooth connectivity come with their own app, such as the Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350, and they may also feature a cloud-style storing space for all your designs.

Be sure to check compatibility before buying a vinyl cutting machine, as not all of them work on all computer operating systems.
The USCutter MH-721, for example, only works on Windows.

Materials it’s compatible with

This is one of the most important things to consider. Decide what types of materials you intend to work with, as not all models can cut through everything. Most cutters work well with common materials such as vinyl, cardboard, paper, or fabric for sewing or quilting, but if you’re interested in cutting thin metal, leather, or balsa wood, you need to be sure the model you choose can accommodate that.

Extra accessories

Accessories

Some vinyl cutting machines come with accessory bundles, such as the USCutter MH-721, but for others you need to purchase extra accessories separately. From USB cables to extra blades and cartridges, there are numerous accessories out there that can enhance your crafting experience.

What you’ll be using it for – hobby or professional purposes

Whether you need a machine for your hobby or for professional purposes is important not only in terms of materials a machine can cut through, but also when it comes to the dimensions of the cuts and the durability of the machine. Opt for a professional vinyl cutting machine if you intend to use it every day for commercial purposes, as machines designed for home use won’t last for long and may fail to provide you with the precision you need.

Warranty

Before deciding on a model, remember to check out the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Most models offer at least one year, with examples including the Silhouette Portrait 2 and the Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350, but others come with extended 3-year warranties, with the Sizzix Big Shot 660425 being such an example. To be sure you get the kind of support you need for your machine, check out the customer service availability as well before making a purchase.

FAQ

If you don’t have much experience with vinyl cutters, opt for a basic model that would allow you to experiment with different materials without making a dent in your budget. Our recommendation for beginners is the Silhouette Portrait 2, which offers great quality, combined with an intuitive design that is perfectly suitable for beginners.

The best reason to have a Bluetooth connection for your vinyl cutter is that you can work on your designs on your laptop, tablet, or even smartphone and send the finished file to the cutter while sitting on your sofa. The lack of cables is an extra benefit, but you need to make sure that the machine you purchase is compatible with your mobile devices or computer operating system.

Vinyl cutting machines are safe for children, but it is always a good idea to supervise them during use. Many models are easy enough for kids to operate, and with the Bluetooth connectivity, little ones can have a lot of fun sending the designs they create on a tablet or computer to the machine.

With most machines, you can cut your own designs that you created on your computer, tablet, or simply scanned from a hand drawn sketch. Many of the machines available on the market also come with hundreds of pre-existing designs so you can get extra inspiration for your projects. For example, the Silhouette Portrait 2 comes with access to the Silhouette online store where you can access thousands of pre-made designs.

Vinyl cutters have enjoyed so much success in both home and professional settings due to the variety of materials and types of art and crafts projects you can use them for. Some of the most common uses include creating signs and cards, but you can also do iron-on transfers to design your own logos and patterns, and even make refrigerator magnets or accessories such as hats and bags.

Our guide offered comprehensive reviews of the top eight best vinyl cutting machines available on the market. Because there are multiple models out there to fit many different needs, we can’t recommend one of them as the best, but if you want something that fulfills the needs of beginners and pros alike while being packed full of features, we recommend the Cricut Maker, our best all-around choice. If you’re looking for an excellent cutter for home use, we’d go for the Cricut Explore Air 2, whereas the Silhouette Cameo 3 would be our top choice for business use. No matter what kind of vinyl cutter machine you need, it’s vital to consider the type of use and materials you want to cut before making a purchase.

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