The best Silhouette machine makes it easy to cut out the most intricate designs on paper, fabric, vinyl, and a few other materials. This makes it a great addition to your crafting kit.
Our team reviewed nine printer-sized gadgets and, as a result, chose the Silhouette Portrait 2 as our top pick. A look at the features tells you why this is so. One of these features is that the device is capable of cutting different materials, allowing the automatic blade to make automatic adjustments based on the material being used. It also comes with a few templates to get you started. Nevertheless, if you dismiss the other four products without sufficient information about them, you may not find the ideal tool for your needs.
The criteria one would need to rank the various Silhouette machines on the market include the dimensions of the device as well as its weight. Also, since the machines work with computers, what are the compatibility requirements? You also need to check the functions of the device, the warranty coverage, and any other features that would enhance the status of the gadgets. These factors help in assessing the usability of the devices. It’s no wonder that with so many attributes to each product, our team spent a lot of time reviewing each item with the information available on the manufacturers’ websites. Below you’ll find a ranking chart of the nine Silhouette devices on our list. Right after that, you’ll find all the details you would need about each product and an additional buying guide to follow to choose the best Silhouette machine for you.
Silhouette Portrait 2
Aesthetically, this device has a rather sleek design and will probably fit perfectly on your computer if you have enough space on your desk. It’s also not likely to disappoint you in terms of functionality. When you buy the product, it comes with nearly 50 digital designs exclusive to the brand. You can use them while you create your own designs for future use.
This is not a standalone tool and it needs to be powered by your computer to work. So it makes sense that the machine is compatible with both PCs and Macs. It also shows a bit of foresight on the part of the manufacturer, who decided to include software in the package to load onto your PC.
As far as connectivity goes, you don’t even need wires connecting your computer to the Silhouette machine. You can rely on Bluetooth to send messages from your computer to the device and vice versa. This also makes it easy to position the tool in your workroom, even if you don’t have room on your desk.
Another notable feature of the device is the auto blade. You won’t need to tell the device what material you are using it in. It can measure the thickness and type of fabric and work accordingly to make the appropriate cuts. Speaking of materials, the fact that it can handle over 100 different ones probably elevates the device to a higher pedal stool level.
As far as the warranty is concerned, you’ll have to settle for the one-year coverage you receive upon purchase. Also, if you compare this device to others of the same caliber, you will find that it is one of the most affordable devices on the market. With all the features mentioned above, you can see that the tool offers exceptional value for money and should therefore be at the top of the wish list regarding your Silhouette machine.
- 18 x 8 x 9 inches
- 53 pounds
- Silhouette Studio® software
- Mac and PC compatible, cuts up to 8 inches wide and 10 feet long, 50 exclusive digital designs, Bluetooth® technology, 2mm of free space
Set of Silhouette Alta 3D printers
Here we have a Silhouette machine that differs from the editor’s choice in many ways. It is a 3D printer and therefore can only be used to make 3D models of specific designs. The maximum dimensions of the models are 120 mm in height and 116 mm in width. Like its predecessor, it comes with software that will help you to fully use the device.
Once you have the machine on a desk next to your computer, you can choose a design from the Silhouette design store and go to print. However, if you have unique ideas, you can create and customize them before using the machine to print them. You must also select the print color from the available selection before you can turn on the device.
Once you receive the tool, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that you are also given four different filament rolls. Blue, red, green, and yellow are the primary colors of these rolls, and they are all 1000 inches long. So, you’ll find that you can get a lot of designs and prints done before you run out and have to buy more rolls of filament.
Also, depending on the project, you may need to adjust the speed settings to get the best results. This way, you can change the print speed from high to low and vice versa in a snap. The tool can handle both high and low-temperature printing, and these factors are unlikely to affect the integrity of the print. The kit also includes a nozzle tip cleaner and a print removal tool.
- The 3D printer creates models in PLA plastic filament (1.75 mm)
- 9 x 9 x 18.75 inches
- 7 pounds
- 3D Silhouette
Delta Style can print up to 120 mm high and 116 mm wide, prints at low and high temperatures, high-speed USB 2.0 interface
Silhouette White Cameo Starter Set 4
The Silhouette White Cameo 4 starter pack is an excellent Silhouette machine for vinyl use. Even users new to design will be able to work with the tool easily. Plug the machine into a power source, connect it to your PC, load the software, and you’re ready to go. You’d do well to note that this tool also has Bluetooth capabilities. So you don’t need to fill your workspace with cables to and from your computer. Nevertheless, a USB cable is included in case you prefer to use Bluetooth.
To assist you in your design efforts, the package comes with a copy of Silhouette Studio software that you can easily install on your computer. One of the benefits of this device is that it is capable of cutting accurate designs out of various materials that you can use. The manufacturers even take into account the fact that there are thicker materials by including a 3mm clearance.
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The size of the device allows you to include a roll feeder. There are also a few accessories that you can purchase for a small additional fee. These include a rotary blade, a pen holder, a punching tool, and a kraft blade. Of course, purchasing them will make the machine more user-friendly. As for the warranty, you get one year of coverage from the day you receive the product from Amazon.
- Makes precision cuts in vinyl, cardboard, fabric, etc.
- 2 x 11.8 x 9.2 inches (package)
- 85 lbs.
- Silhouette Studio® software
Silhouette Cameo 3
This Silhouette Cameo machine may be another appropriate purchase option. It is similar to the Silhouette Portrait 2 in that it can cut 100 different types of materials. It also has a touchscreen on the body of the machine, so you can control the machine with a simple touch. However, you will need to choose the design on your computer beforehand, and then transmit it to the Cameo 3 to be cut out. As for the transmission method, you can choose between Bluetooth and USB.
The clearance of the device is 2mm, so while it’s not as large as the cameo 4, it’s still pretty impressive. An automatic blade is included in the design, which allows the device to adjust the blade based on the requirements of the job at hand. However, a deep blade can also be purchased to complement the unit and cater to the thicker materials you encounter. Another impressive aspect of the tool is the dual carriage. With it, you’ll be able to keep all the accessories closer to you and get the job done much faster.
Cuts over 100 materials, including vinyl, cardboard, paper, and fabric
- 24 x 11 x 9 inches
- 96 lbs.
- Silhouette Studio® software
- Color LCD touchscreen, dual carriage for multi-tool use, 12 x 24″ max. cutting area 75 mil max. media thickness, 2 mm cutting distance, USB or Bluetooth connection
Silhouette Mint custom printer
This device is inherently different in design and function from any of its predecessors on the list. The device is compact and, as such, will not take up much space in your office. Its primary function is to create stamps, so output designs can only reach a maximum size of 45mm x 90mm. Thus, it can also be one of the best Silhouette machines for making stickers.
All the user has to do is select the image, text, or design that he or she wants to turn into a stamp and send it to the machine. Once the cutting and printing are complete, you attach it to the stamp kit, add ink, and then use it to mark the design on the surface of your choice.
The information is transmitted to the device from your computer via a USB cable, and unlike most of the other options listed above, this purchase does not allow for Bluetooth technology. However, it does come with a one-year warranty, which should entice you to purchase the device.
- turns text, images, and drawings into stamps
- 2 x 4.8 x 2.2 inches
- 85 pounds
- Silhouette Mint™
- 45 mm x 90 mm max. pad size, two pad kits, four ink bottles, power cord, USB cord, &; quick start guide
- Features to consider before purchasing a silhouette machine
Features to consider before purchasing a silhouette machine
There are many things to know before you can use any of the Silhouette lines as a tool. These include the computer requirements for the software, the materials the machine can cut, the software, what comes in the package, as well as any additional information that might be helpful to you. This information is provided below to make it easier for you to purchase the right Silhouette machine for you.
Type of use
You may have concluded from the list above that there are three main types of Silhouette machines, primarily in terms of performance. The most common are used to cut designs on a variety of materials. The Silhouette Cameo 3 is one example. Another type of machine produces 3D prints, and the only example we have of this type is the Silhouette Alta 3D Printer Bundle. Of course, the design of this machine will be different from most other options. The stamping machine is also another variation of the Silhouette machine. Not surprisingly, this is the smallest of the bunch, as it only does stamp-sized cuts and designs.
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions as well as weight affect where you can place the device as well as the size of the materials it can handle. The Silhouette Mint Custom Printer, for example, can only produce stamps up to 45mm x 90mm due to its size. In contrast, the Silhouette Cameo 3 has a maximum cutting area. This is made possible by the dimensions of 24 x 11 x 9 inches.
Fortunately, you don’t need high-end computers to connect to a Silhouette machine. However, for the computer to be compatible, it must meet certain requirements. First, you must have at least 1GB of RAM, which isn’t much in this day and age. Secondly, you must have Windows 7 or later for the PC and OS X10.7 or later for the MAC. A USB 1.1 or faster port is also required, in addition to at least 2GB of space on your hard drive. Finally, processor speed also comes into play, with 2 GHz being the minimum requirement. Most modern computers meet these criteria, so most people won’t need to buy a new computer to use the Silhouette machine.
It should also be noted that different gadgets will require different software for optimal use. For example, the Silhouette Alta 3D printer bundle requires a copy of the Silhouette 3D software to run on your computer. However, the same software cannot be used with the Silhouette Mint Custom Printer. Other software includes Silhouette studio, Silhouette connect, Silhouette model maker, and Mint Studio. Each of these has a device that it is most compatible with, and you need to make sure you have that information before you even purchase the Silhouette machine.
The savvy buyer knows exactly what will be in the package in addition to the Silhouette machine. For example, the Silhouette Alta 3D printer package comes with four rolls of filament that will allow you to create your first models. Others come with software, as well as some free designs.
You might as well do yourself a favor and check out the materials used by the device. If the project you had in mind requires the use of a specific type of material, you can evaluate its suitability before you even make the purchase.
Warranty is a common factor to check for any purchase you intend to make, including the Silhouette machine. You can also check if the device supports Bluetooth technology, permission to use thicker materials as well as anything that can add value to the device.
The Silhouette Portrait 2 is a well-designed, inexpensive device and overall a great Silhouette machine for beginners. Keep in mind that you will probably go through a long learning curve to learn how to use the tool. Secondly, the Silhouette Alta 3D printer set is also ideal for the unique 3D model creation feature. As such, it’s particularly suited for specific projects that other devices won’t be able to handle.
If you are familiar with the various Silhouette machines, the Silhouette White Cameo 4 Starter Bundle should be your next purchase. It should help you work with more complex designs, fabrics, and materials that you may encounter. Plus, it can be complemented with various optional accessories. The other two can also meet specific needs, so you shouldn’t rule them out. Nevertheless, you can now know which device would be most useful to you and why. As such, your purchase should more or less be a piece of cake.
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