8 best vinyl cutting machines
Finding a high-quality vinyl cutting machine is not an easy task, especially if you have never worked with this type of machine before. There are many reasons why you might need a vinyl cutting machine, ranging from improving your home DIY skills to creating professional-looking custom items for your business. Some of these machines also work great for kids, as they keep them busy and expand their artistic skills.
To find the best vinyl cutter, we considered a range of essential factors such as cutting strength 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 purchasing this type of cutter, be sure to consider all of these features, as well as your budget, to find the best vinyl cutter for your needs.
With so many features to consider, it’s obvious that finding the right vinyl cutter is difficult, which is why we’ve done all the work to help you make an informed decision. We spent weeks testing the best machines on the market, reviewing technical specifications, and reading hundreds of reviews from professionals and customers. Below you’ll find a chart comparing the eight best vinyl cutting machines on the market, along with detailed reviews of each of your selections. Finally, you’ll find a buying guide offering all the information you need to purchase the best machine for your needs. Let’s take a look at the reviews of the eight best vinyl cutting machines on the market.
The 8 best vinyl cutting machines
Featuring a premium rotary cutter that makes extra deep cuts, the Cricut Maker gives you the freedom to navigate through a wide variety of projects, including vinyl decals, paper crafts, and iron-on, as well as try your hand at leather crafts and sewing projects. The powerful knife blade, sold separately, cuts through the heaviest materials and makes it easy to tackle sewing and quilting projects. Plus, the adaptive tool system automatically controls the direction of the blade for increased accuracy.
The machine comes with its own app, so you can showcase your project on your mobile device or computer, and upload your own designs for added versatility. The Cricut Maker supports all common media formats and is easy to use, whether you’re a beginner or a professional. Cloud storage is available, so you don’t have to store your files in cartridges.
This vinyl cutter comes with enhanced software, which requires a high-speed internet connection to operate. You can also use the iOS Design Space app if you prefer to work offline. The built-in Smart Dial tool makes it easy to select the right settings with a few taps.
The Cricut Maker is one of the most robust machines out there, which is why we chose it as the best vinyl cutter. Users cite the machine’s ease of programming and are pleased with the glide and bearing of the improved rotary blade, which cuts all kinds of materials with precision and speed.
up to 4 kg
12 x 24 inches
23 x 7 x 6 inches
USB, Bluetooth (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
Advanced rotating blade and adaptive tool system, useful docking slot for holding a tablet or smartphone
Cricut Explore Air
Silhouette Cameo 3
The Silhouette Cameo 3 is one of the best choices for small businesses. With built-in Bluetooth technology, the device connects wirelessly to your computer or tablet but retains a USB cable connection option for added versatility. With three blade options, you can work with different materials to meet your individual projects. The standard blade is suitable for cutting thin materials, the automatic blade automatically adjusts the force and depth needed to fit the material, 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 that allows you to use two tools at once. Silhouette Pixscan technology allows you to accurately cut any printed image, making it ideal for scanning a stamp collection, for example, or cutting a hand-drawn sketch. Our research has shown that this vinyl cutter is the best machine for small business owners, as it allows them to create designs for a wide range of projects, including custom party pieces, custom apparel, unique home décor pieces, and more.
Users often describe the Silhouette Cameo 3’s Autoblade system 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.
- 210 grams
- 12 inches x 10 feet
- 23 x 7 x 6 inches
- USB or Bluetooth (compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
- 1 year, lifetime product support
- 1-month membership to Silhouette U – access to over 150 videos, guides, and more
12 inches x 10 feet
23 x 7 x 6 inches
USB or Bluetooth (compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
1 year, lifetime product support
1-month membership to Silhouette U – access to over 150 videos, guides, and more
Silhouette Portrait 2
Quite similar to the original Silhouette Portrait, this machine is a good choice for personal use. The Silhouette Portrait 2 works like a home printer and is compatible with your PC or Mac computer. However, instead of printing, this electronic cutting machine uses a small blade to cut vinyl, paper, cardboard, fabric, etc. A great tool for do-it-yourselfers, this machine comes with a self-adjusting blade and can cut over 100 materials.
This machine is one of the best for beginners, and users often mention how easy it is to set up and use, thanks to simple software. Purchasing the Silhouette Portrait 2 gives you one month of free access to new shapes and designs available in the Silhouette Online store (an additional fee is charged afterward).
The small footprint of the machine makes it easy to store in a closet when not in use. It’s an economical machine that’s a great choice for beginners – but make no mistake, it still cuts accurately and offers very similar results to machines that cost twice as much.
The Silhouette Portrait 2 can handle designs over 10 feet long, but the maximum cutting width is 8 inches, which many users may find a bit restrictive.
- Cutting force:
- 210 grams
- 8 x 10 inches
- 18 x 8 x 9 inches
- USB or Bluetooth
- 1 year, lifetime product support
- PixScan compatible (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
8 x 10 inches
18 x 8 x 9 inches
USB or Bluetooth
1 year, lifetime product support
PixScan compatible (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android compatible)
Brother Electronic Cutting Machine
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 with a built-in scanner, a very convenient feature as you can scan your own designs from handmade sketches or other sources, and immediately start cutting the material you want.
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 directly to the cutter, by blurring them via Bluetooth or a USB cable. The large color touchscreen makes it easy to select functions, and the on-screen editing features allow you to edit your designs before cutting.
The device is compatible with PCs running Windows Vista or later and has a built-in 300 dpi scanner that lets you scan anything from family photos to your children’s drawings-and then create custom-cut shapes for your project. An online app called ScanNCutCanvas is available to edit and store your designs.
- not specified
- 12 x 24 inches
- 10 x 23 x 11 inches
- USB or Bluetooth (Windows only)
- 1 year
- ScanNCutCanvas – a free cloud-based application for editing and designing cutting data
12 x 24 inches
10 x 23 x 11 inches
USB or Bluetooth (Windows only)
ScanNCutCanvas – a free cloud-based application for editing and designing cutting data
Gemini by Crafter’s Companion
Featuring a sleek, unobtrusive design, the Crafter’s Companion-Gemini uses higher pressure than other machines in its lineup and comes with a selection of buttons for easy operation. This die-cutting and embossing machine work with any type of folder or fine die, and unlike most of the models we reviewed, it’s a stand-alone machine, meaning you don’t need a computer to operate it.
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The machine is easy to use, as all you have to do is load your favorite folder or matrix between plates and send it off with the push of a button. The pause, resume, and reverse buttons make the cutter very easy to use. The Gemini works well for card makers, scratch makers, and anyone who enjoys DIY, crafts, and collages. It’s not really an appropriate choice for commercial use, but it could be useful for small businesses that only need this type of machine occasionally.
One of the things we liked most, and which was mentioned as positive by many reviewers, is the ability to use multiple dies at the same time. The pause button lets you check your combinations for peace of mind, and the reverse button is great for reversing smaller dies once they’re cut.
8.5 x 11 inches
23 x 7 x 6 inches
pause, resume, and reverse buttons enhance ease of use
USCutter MH-721 Bundle
Suitable for vinyl cutting enthusiasts and small signage businesses, the USCutter MH-721 is a semi-commercial cutter that is primarily intended for signage and vinyl cutting. However, it can cut many other materials, including paper, cardboard, paint mask, and heat transfer vinyl. The machine can cut a maximum width of 30.83 inches and a maximum length of 30.63 inches.
The USCutter MH-721 comes with VinylMaster Cut (Basic Edition) software which is Windows compatible only and is only available on CD. With this software, you can produce a wide range of logos, lettering, stripes, and more. A collection of fonts is also available, and you can play with objects and curves to create unique designs.
While the cutter is a bit unreliable for large, complex jobs, as many users have reported, it does a good job of providing simple signage. The machine is part of a set 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 plotter’s adjustable pinch rollers are excellent for precision cutting, and according to user feedback, the machine works best when you implement it in small batches at a time.
- 350 grams
- 24.8 x 60 inches
- 15 x 23 x 23 inches
- USB (Windows only)
- 1 year, lifetime phone support
- Comes with 3 Roland-compatible blades, 2 rolls of vinyl, 2 sheets of magnetic blanks, 2 rolls of transfer tape, a hobby knife, and a squeegee
- Semi-professional results
24.8 x 60 inches
15 x 23 x 23 inches
USB (Windows only)
1 year, lifetime phone support
Comes with 3 Roland-compatible blades, 2 rolls of vinyl, 2 sheets of magnetic blanks, 2 rolls of transfer tape, a hobby knife, and a squeegee
Suitable for larger cuts
Sizzix Big Shot 660425
A good choice for those looking for a portable vinyl cutting machine, the Sizzix Big Shot 660425 cuts a wide variety of materials, from paper and cardboard to fabric and fine leather. With this machine, you can create personalized invitations, scrapbook pages, cards, quilting designs, and more. The Sizzix Big Shot is very easy to use and is a great option for kids who are just starting to do crafts, but it also works well for more experienced users.
The Big Shot cuts materials up to six inches wide and setting up the machine is fairly simple. Users often praise the adjustable and extended multi-functional platform that makes it a very versatile cutting tool. There are hundreds of designs available from Sizzix and you can try them all with this machine, which is also compatible with all dies from Sizzix and other manufacturers.
To operate the Big Shot cutter, simply turn the handle to rotate the rollers and let the machine do the rest. The roller is sturdy, smooth and allows you to get great results on vinyl, paper, cardboard, or fabric. You can also use vellum, felt, paper wood, magnetic sheets, self-adhesive rubber, and many other fabrics with this machine. The Sizzix Big Shot 660425 comes with full instructions to help you get started and has a 3-year extended warranty.
6 x 14 inches
14 x 12 x 7 inches
Comes with a pair of standard cutting pads and the adjustable extended multi-functional platform
Benefits of having a vinyl cutter at home
With a quality vinyl cutter, you can explore the world of arts and crafts in a whole new way. Plus, this device is a great choice for kids who want to develop a new hobby involving creativity. In the past, these machines were bulky and difficult to use, but today you can find compact and efficient models that fit nicely on your desk. Some of the uses for a vinyl cutting machine for the home include creating your own stickers, iron-on transfers, and making your own cards and stationery.
Features to consider when choosing a vinyl cutting machine
If you’ve never purchased a vinyl cutting machine before, the number of specifications can be quite overwhelming. With hundreds of different makes and models to choose from, it’s important to consider the essential specifications and features you’ll need for your particular projects before deciding which machine you should spend your money on.
The cutting force of a vinyl cutting machine is a critical factor to consider because it determines the accuracy of the cut, as well as the types of materials the machine can work with. Force is not as important for home use as it would be for a professional shop cutter, but you should consult this specification if you intend to use the machine for large-scale projects.
Cut size refers to the length and width of the material you can cut. Many models such as the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut material up to 12 x 24 inches, which is more than enough for home projects.
Vinyl Cutter Dimensions
The dimensions of the machine itself are important, especially if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. Our best all-around machine, the Cricut Maker, measures 23 x 7 x 6 inches and fits perfectly on your desk. However, if you’re looking for a semi-commercial cutter like the USCutter MH-721, which measures 15 x 23 x 23 inches, keep in mind that you may need a little more space to accommodate it.
Not all vinyl cutting machines are wirelessly connected and some, like the Sizzix Big Shot, have no connectivity at all. Models with Bluetooth connectivity come with their own app, like the Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350, and they may also include cloud storage for all your designs.
The USCutter MH-721, for example, only runs on Windows.
The materials it’s compatible with
This is one of the most important things to consider. Decide what types of materials you plan to work with, as not all models can cut everything. Most cutters work well with common materials such as vinyl, cardboard, paper, or fabric for sewing or quilting, but if you want to cut thin metal, leather, or balsa wood, you need to make sure the model you choose can handle it.
Some vinyl cutting machines come with a set of accessories, like the USCutter MH-721, but for others, you’ll need to purchase additional accessories separately. From USB cables to extra blades and cartridges, there are many accessories that can enhance your crafting experience.
What you’ll use it for – hobby or professional use
Whether you need a machine for your hobby or for professional purposes is important not only in terms of the materials a machine can cut but also in terms of the size 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 will not last long and may not provide the accuracy you need.
Before choosing a model, be sure to check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Most models offer at least a one-year warranty, such as the Silhouette Portrait 2 and the Brother ScanNCut 2 CM350, but others come with an extended three-year warranty, such as the Sizzix Big Shot 660425. To make sure you get the kind of support you need for your machine, also check customer service availability before making a purchase.
Our guide offers comprehensive reviews of the eight best vinyl cutting machines available on the market. Since there are several models to meet many different needs, we can’t recommend any one of them as the best, but if you want something that meets the needs of beginners and professionals alike while being full of features, we recommend the Cricut Maker, our complete top pick. If you’re looking for a great cutter for home use, we’d go with the Cricut Explore Air 2, while the Silhouette Cameo 3 would be our top choice for professional use. No matter what type of vinyl cutting machine you need, it’s essential to consider the type of use and materials you want to cut before making a purchase.