Die cutting machines have given crafters the power to create cutouts at their leisure for various projects such as card making, T-shirts, scrapbooking, quilts, decorations and other papercrafts.
Owning a die cutting machine comes with a lot of benefits, no wonder that they are now seen as necessary equipment among serious crafters.Top Pick of Best Cutting Machines For Crafts:
- Silhouette Cameo 4
- Cricut Explore Air 2
- Brother SDX125E
- Sizzix Vagabond 2
- Gemini by Crafter's Companion
Even though, it is clear that this machine can take your crafts to greater heights, selecting the best die cutting machine can seem like such a big task, but it doesn’t have to be so daunting.
Hopefully, the die cutting machine reviews in this article will open your eyes to some exciting die cutting features, so you could make a better choice and enjoy the fun of crafting.
Best Die Cutting & Embossing Machines of 2021
#1 – Cricut Maker
- Cuts over 300 materials from the most delicate paper and fabric material
- Free design apps helps you quickly and conveniently layout your project
- Its rotary blade accurately and quickly cuts through any fabric
- It has a suite of expandable tools which gives you endless project possibilities
- It only works when connected to the Cricut Cloud software
- Your final design must use the Cricut Design Space cloud software
Cricut Maker gives you countless project possibilities through its expandable suite of tools. You get the opportunity to grow as you explore and learn with its powerful blades, scoring tool, and pens.
With Cricut Maker, you will enjoy the freedom to be more creative on paper crafts, vinyl decals, leather crafts, iron-on, sewing projects, and balsa models.
This machine comes with a new rotary blade for fabrics, which uses a rolling and gliding action to cut through any fabric. You will get a quick and accurate cut without backing material.
To simplify your quilting and sewing projects, Cricut Maker offers you access to numerous digital sewing projects. You can choose from the many digital sewing patterns, and the Cricut Maker will cut them and mark all the pieces. All you have to do is to sew them together.
This revolutionary machine will also help you design for free! It comes with simple design apps to help you, regardless of whether you are a beginner or a pro.
With this machine, you have the option to layout your project on either a mobile device or a computer very quickly and conveniently. You can also and use your images, as well as fonts, free of charge.
When purchasing this powerful and versatile machine, you can choose from its five colors, which include Blue, Champaign, Lilac, Mint, Raspberry, and Rose.
Cricut Maker gives you a whole new world of materials, so your creativity and imagination are not limited. This is the ultimate cutting machine that gives you the tools that you need today and tomorrow. Pens, markers, tips, and DIY gears will help you achieve your full potential.
#2 – Silhouette Cameo 4
- Cutting force up to 5 kg resulting from its dual-motor system
- Comes with a build-in cross-cutter and roll-feeder to make cutting very simple
- Offers automatic tool detection, and faster 3x cutting speed
- Faulty software making it difficult to connect to Mac and Windows
Silhouette CAMEO 4 is the new unmatched cutting machine that delivers high cutting speed and force. You will enjoy the new dual carriage of the CAMEO 4, which allows you to cut in two different ways.
Carriage one provides the machine with unparalleled speed, while carriage two provides unprecedented power. This gives the machine 3X the power of the previous model without sacrificing accuracy.
The Silhouette CAMEO 4 comes with a build-in roll-feeder, which is stored in the machine’s compact pull-out drawer to help you to cut vinyl quickly. This feature also enables you to heat the transfer materials directly from the roll.
Its built-in cross-cutter allows you to cut a clean, straight edge on your vinyl roll ready for your next project.
This machine has an ultra-smart system which uses a tool sensor technology to detect the tools you are using then triggers the Studio software of the Silhouette machine to automatically adjust cut settings.
The Silhouette CAMEO 4 is the latest and smartest cutting machine that will deliver great results. It is highly automated, comes with faster speed and great force. Any creative person not using this machine should upgrade immediately!
#3 – Brother SDX125E Electronic Cutting Machine
- Built-in scanner for creating unique designs
- Gives precise and quick cuts
- Easy editing designs on the touch-screen display
- Built-in storage for all your blades, touch pen, and the other tools
- The mat loses its adhesiveness quickly
- It does not come with clear instructions and the paper slips out of the mat
This machine is made with a blade sensor technology, which automatically detects the thickness of the material you are using. It has the power to cut up to 3mm material thickness.
Its 5-inch touch screen display allows you to scan your material and see it. The display screen also enables you to turn your scanned images into unique cut designs and patterns.
The Brother ScanNCut SDX125E whispers quietly. It scans with very little noise giving you ample time to focus on your DIY projects, card making, and quilting, whether it is day or night time.
You will like the convenience this machine brings. It offers built-in storage for your blades, touch pen, and other tools. If you are working on fabric projects, then this is the ideal machine for you.
Brother ScanNCut SDX125E is an affordable cutting machine that cuts up to 3mm thickness of the material. If you are mainly dealing with fabric material, this machine will help you deliver on your projects quickly and conveniently.
Did You Know?
You can sew a homemade face mask with the help of an electronic cutting machine and a basic sewing machine for beginners. Learn more with the following video:
#4 – Silhouette Cameo 3
- You can easily download or create your custom design
- Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to transfer cut job easily
- Works with many different materials
- Comes in various bundles at an affordable price
- Inadequate instruction guide
- It takes time to learn how to use the machine properly
The Silhouette CAMEO 3 is one of the best electronic cutting machines you’ll find on the market. It comes with lots of exciting features so you will have lots of fun doing crafts with the machine.
It is Bluetooth enabled; this allows you to transfer cut designs to the machine wirelessly. The machine is equipped with dual carriages for cutting and printing without a halt and an inbuilt storage space to keep spare blades.
It comes with a full-color touch screen display that allows you to adjust the settings or view the inbuilt tutorial.
It is compatible with PixScan™ technology, and also with USB, PC, and Mac which means that you to copy, download, or create your own custom designs with the help of Silhouette Studio, its powerful design software.
The CAMEO 3 has 2mm cutting clearance for cutting a variety of materials up to 12 inches long and 12 inches wide, and the fact that it can even register and cut printed materials makes it more intriguing.
It comes with a year warranty which is only available to Canadian and US customers.
With the crafting experience you would gain from the CAMEO, you would agree that this ultimate DIY machine is simply the best Silhouette cutting machine for the money.
Useful Tips for Silhouette Cameo 3
- Set up the machine properly before use, you can follow the below video to set up the machine
- You can replace the blade with a pen to make a sketch instead of cutting
- Check and replace the blade whenever it becomes dull
- Replace with a new cutting mat when the old one gets damaged
- Clean and store in a cool, dry place after usage
Learn how to set up the Silhouette Cameo 3 with this video:
If you want the best electronic die cutting machine, the Silhouette CAMEO 3 might be the best way to go. Its Bluetooth functionality, powerful software and dual carriages make it the best Silhouette machine for the money.
#5 – Cricut Explore Air 2
- Easy to use and well-designed
- Fast and accurate cutting
- USB and Bluetooth capabilities allowing you to transfer cut jobs easily to the machine
- It can score and cut over 100 different materials
- The writing feature is not good
- Internet connection is required to operate the Cricut Design Space software
Empower yourself with Cricut Explore Air 2, a Cricut personal cutting machine that has never failed in living up to its expectations. Everything that comes with this machine is simply designed with its users in mind.
Considered one of the best Cricut machines, it is very easy to set up and even comes with Bluetooth capability to transfer cut jobs easily. It is fast and reliable, allowing you to create designs on your iPhone, Android devices or your computer easily.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 has a great deal of accuracy and works with a variety of materials from thin vellum to thick leather up to 12 inches long and 12 or 24 inches wide.
It features a friendly user interface and has dual clamps that make cutting and sketching easy in a single step. The machine also has the print and cut feature that allows you to print full-color images from your computer and then cut.
The set smart dial automatically configures the blade according to the material to be cut to provide a smooth and precise cut.
The blades are durable. However, you can replace them with the Cricut pen to draw or make handwritten cards.
This DIY craft machine is the bomb! Get the Cricut Explore Air 2 and your crafting operations will not only be faster, smoother but also be a lot easier.
#6 – Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine, Scanncut2
- Wireless capability enables a quick transfer of designs to the machine
- Scanning capability and ability to work without connecting to the PC
- It is user-friendly and very easy to use
- Not suitable for very intricate cuts
- The cutting mat is not durable and sticky enough
This Brother scan and cut machine is an exceptional electronic machine with an inbuilt 300 DPI scanner which allows you to scan anything you like into the device to automatically create cut lines.
With this, you can easily create your designs without computer or cartridge and save them into an external USB drive or the machine’s internal memory.
This amazing piece of crafting equipment comes with an in-built 4.85-inch full-color LCD touch screen display to manage and move the designs.
It has powerful free cloud design software (ScanNCut Canvas) which allows you to create excellent cut designs.
It also comes with JPG, SVG data readability and inbuilt fonts and designs that can be accessed without subscriptions or extra charges.
The machine has a great deal of accuracy and works with a variety of materials from thin homemade papers to fabrics up to 12 inches long and 24 inches wide.
Another amazing feature is the wireless compatibility that allows you to transfer designs from your PC to the machine easily.
What is The Difference Between ScanNCut and Direct Cut?
If you’re new to this type of scan and cut machine, check out this video:
Useful Tips for Brother CM350E ScanNCut 2
- Read the manual carefully before operating the machine
- The machine can draw, but you will have to purchase the pen and the pen holder.
- To cut fabric and get the best result, starch, and iron the fabric properly to flatten it.
- It is advisable to use darker lines in order to get the best scanning results. If your design comes with lighter colors, outline it lightly with a pencil and erase it after you completed the scan.
- Unplug, and store properly after use.
With some amazing features present on this machine and absent on other die cutting machines; you would agree that the Brother CM350E is simply the best scan and cut machine for the money. It is highly recommended for more serious crafters.
#7 – Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Machine
- Comes with 50 exclusive designs
- Compatible with Silhouette’s new AutoBlade
- Allows for wireless cutting
- Lightweight, compact design
- Can’t cut materials with a width greater than 8 inches
- It does not come with an instruction’s manual
Silhouette Portrait 2 is a very convenient machine which also easy to use. All you have to do is to plug it into your PC or Mac using a USB cable, and you are ready to start cutting.
It works by using a small blade to cut vinyl, paper, cardstock, fabric, and other material. It can cut material of up to 8 inches wide and 10 feet long.
It is also compatible with Silhouette’s new AutoBlade, which automatically adjusts the cutting depth. The machine comes with Silhouette Studio 4, the latest version of the design software to give you more features, speed, and stability.
This is one of the best machines for personal use. It is small enough to fit into a crafting corner, lightweight, and portable, yet it operates on the latest design software.
#8 – Silhouette Curio Crafting Machine
- It is fast and reliable and allows you to create your custom design
- Features many capabilities (cut, sketch, stipple, etch and emboss)
- Can work on a variety of materials
- Can work with thick materials thanks to its 5mm cutting clearance
- Small capacity, only hold materials that are not more than 8.5-inch wide and 12-inch long
- Inadequate instruction guide
The Silhouette Curio is one of the best craft cutting machines for DIY projects that come loaded with exciting features.
This machine is not a perfect replacement for Silhouette Cameo although it has more capabilities than the Cameo. Think of it as a kitchen knife and the Cameo as a cleaver; both have different uses and functions.
The Curio is a companion tool rather than a replacement; it can cut, draw, stipple, etch and emboss and this makes it the best embossing machine for card making.
It has 5mm cutting clearance which allows thicker materials the same way it allows more varieties of materials including fabrics, wood, leather, and soft metals.
Other exciting features are the adjustable base platform and the dual carriage, allowing you to work with different material thicknesses, emboss and perform other operations simultaneously.
The Silhouette Curio comes with Silhouette Studio; its powerful design software to get you started. It is also compatible with PixScan™ technology, and with USB, PC and Mac to create your own custom designs. It comes with a 1-year warranty, starter guide and other Curio accessories.
Let’s see how to metal etch using the Silhouette Curio
If you want to take your crafting operations to the next level, you need to add this crafting monster Silhouette Curio to your crafting tool kit.
#9 – Sizzix Tim Holtz Vagabond 2 Electric Die Cutting Machine
- Strong motor
- Sharp cut and smooth operation
- Portable design
- Easy to use
- The plates are a bit narrow for large projects
The Vagabond 2 is simply a portable yet powerful die cutting and embossing machine from Sizzix.
It has a suitcase appearance which does not only guarantee its ease of transportation from places to places but also the ease of storage.
Its sturdy construction offers a great deal of durability and other exciting features you should consider when shopping.
The Vagabond 2 features all-metal gears and stronger motor which replaces the crank system on regular machines, allowing a faster, smoother and professional cutting operation.
This Sizzix die cutting machine is an indispensable companion to serious crafters as it embosses and cut various materials and thickness without a hitch.
It comes with a year warranty and an inbuilt mechanism that helps to prevent breakage and overload.
It also comes with a pair of standard cutting pads, an extended thin die adapter, and is compatible with all Sizzix components that are not thicker than the big 6-inch die.
Here are some tips and tricks for using the Vagabond 2:
Vagabond 2 is strong and highly durable; it has a unique appearance and offers a high-performance crafting experience.
If you are tired of hand crank machines or you are experiencing wrist pain and now looking for a budget-friendly electric cutting machine, this Sizzix Vagabond 2 may be the right choice for you.
#10 – Sizzix Big Shot Express Electric Die Cutting Machine
- Easy to use machine suitable for both beginner and expert
- It is portable, cuts and embosses many different materials
- Easy to understand instructions to get you started
- It has limited accessories
- Its size is too small for an embosser
Sizzix Big Shot Express comes with a motorized cutting and embossing motor affected by a simple push of a button. Enjoy a quiet working environment with its silent motor, which gives you the peace you need to focus on your project.
Its gears are made of sturdy materials to ensure durability, while its built-in overload protection helps you avoid material jams.
The electricity consumption is nothing to worry about as the Big Shots Express machine uses lower voltage to ensure less power consumption and your safety.
This machine gives you the versatility of working with all the Sizzix products, right from the smallest to the big 6-inch wide plastic-backed dies and embossing tools.
It also comes with a pair of standard cutting pads and an extended platform to make its components thinner than those of Bigz Die.
It comes with a 1-year limited warranty, but you can register for two additional years on the Sizzix website.
This is the easiest cutting and embossing machine for anyone. It gives you the benefit of working with the entire Sizzix product library to create one-of-a-kind projects.
#11 – Gemini by Crafter’s Companion Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
- Durable and reliable
- Convenient operation buttons for better control the cutting progress
- Large platform size and can cut multiple dies simultaneously
- Compatible with embossing folders and dies of other brands
- Some user complained of warping plates
The Gemini by Crafter’s Companion is an electric die cutting and embossing machine that is well appreciated for its versatility and durability.
It has the ability to cut a wide variety of materials such as rubber, plastic, fabric, magnetic sheets, cardboard, vinyl, or metal without a hitch and without missing an edge.
The Gemini die cutting machine is highly recommended for intricate dies due to the high amount of pressure it exerts.
You can easily select from the 16 cutting dies and three embossing folders that come with the machine to make the most appealing designs.
The machine can also work with most embossing folders, and metal dies, giving you a lot of options to work with. It has a large cutting platform that can hold materials that are 9 inches wide and 12.5 inches long to cut many dies at a time.
Gemini die cutting machine is very easy to use and has the pulse, resume, and reverse buttons to control the machine cutting operations.
Undoubtedly, the Gemini die cutting machine is one of the most versatile crafting machines you can bank on.
#12 – Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutting Embossing Machine
- Easy to use
- Compatible with a large variety of dies
- Small and easy to travel with
- It does not come with detailed instructions
This is a great value craft cutting machine that truly fulfills its expectations. It features durable plastic construction, solid gears and steel rollers.
Although the Sizzix Big Shot is not as portable as the Vagabond 2 or the Cuttlebug since its sides are not foldable, but does provide a great and smooth die cutting performance you can bank on.
It is lightweight (weighs 7.5lbs) and comes included with a pair of standard cutting pads, and handle for easy carriage. It is a versatile and reliable piece of equipment, supported by Sizzix’s great customer service and 3-year warranty.
It also features a 6-inch opening which allows for cutting and embossing extra large dies of various materials. The machine works with all Sizzix dies up to their extra large and longer dies, even with dies of other brands.
However, the machine doesn’t come with detailed instructions, so if you are a first time user and feel confused about how to use it properly, search on Youtube and follow user guide from many happy users of Sizzix.
If you want quality but cheap embossing machine, Sizzix Big Shot is your best bet.
It is durable and more versatile as it can work with larger and longer dies and folders of various brands, highly recommend for more serious crafters.
#13 – Spellbinders Platinum Cut & Emboss Machine
- It delivers the right kind of pressure for every material
- It is suitable for beginners
- It comes with a storage pouch
- It takes up a lot of storage space
This is a strongly built manual die cutting and embossing machine with a solid cast design suitable for the demands of daily use. Enjoy the power and strength of the Spellbinders Platinum Cut & Emboss Machine, which cuts up to eight layers effortlessly in a single pass.
Its core construction is made of solid steel ready for any creative challenge. You can use this machine to cut up to 40 different materials such as wool, craft metal, Balsa wood, chipboard, among others.
This machine is compatible with most standard Wafer-thin or etched dies, texture plates, and embossing folders.
Besides its beautiful look, it delivers an 8.5-inch cutting space, which is enough for most domestic tasks. It is easy to carry this machine with you when working remotely due to its compact design and foldable sides.
Due to its strong design, this machine does not break easily and does not wobble when cutting material. If you are looking for convenience, the Spellbinders Platinum will help you cut over 40 different materials of different thicknesses and up to 8 layers in a single pass.
Best Die Cut Machines Summary
In a nutshell, these are the best cutting and embossing machines available on the market. Not only do they offer the best crafting experience but they can also be purchased at an affordable price.
Best Manual Die Cutting Machines
Below are the best manual die cutting machines you should buy:
Best Electric Cutting Machines
Here are two of the best electric die cutting and embossing machines for home use:
Best Electronic Cutting Machines
Below are top-rated electronic crafts cutting machines from Cricut, Silhouette and Brother:
Now that this die cutting machine review has opened your eyes to the best die cutters, it is time to select the one most suitable for you and take your crafting to the next level.
How To Select The Best Die Cut Machine
With so many different varieties and models of die cutting machines on offer, getting yourself the best die cut machine might seem a time-consuming effort.
To select the best and to be a well-informed buyer with realistic expectations, the factors you have to put into consideration are:
Determine Which Types of Die Cutting Machine You Want to Buy
Since all die cutting machines are drastically different as regards their cost and usage, having a good knowledge of the types and the use of these machines is therefore important in selecting the best.
Typically, there are three main types of die cutting machines – manual die cutting machine, electrical die cutting machine and digital or computerized die cutting machine.
The properties of these machines are discussed below.
Manual Die Cutting Machines
Manual die cutting machine uses a crank system that requires turning its handle to push the die sandwich through a slot where the material is cut or embossed.
These machines are a great addition to a digital die cutting machine since they can all carry out “embossment,” a die cutting operation that only a few digital machines can perform.
It involves making raised designs or symbols on a material, creating a “pop-out” effect on its surface.
These versatile pieces of equipment can work with a wider range of dies and are the most affordable and the easiest to carry.
They require no electricity, and this can be a great option in places with little or no electricity supply. No restrictions simply place your dies, turn the handle and voila! You’re done.
However, manual machines are slightly labor-intensive, and improper settings of the dies would result in some margin of error.
Electrical Die Cutting Machine
This machine works more like the manual die cutting machine but uses an electrically powered motor in place of the crank system.
They reduce the workload on their users but are costlier than their manual brothers.
Digital or Computerized/Electronic Die Cutting Machines
Digital or electronic die cutting machine has a function similar to a printing machine.
Designs can be transferred to this electronic machine in two different ways, either from a device that is preloaded with designs (cartridge) or through a computer system where the designs are drawn with the help of certain software or downloaded from the internet.
These machines are more versatile, accurate and faster. They allow you to draw your own designs and save them as templates for future use, but not all digital machines allow this feature.
The electronic cutting machines use electricity and are not as labor-intensive as their manual brothers but do require some level of computer knowledge.
These machines are somewhat larger, heavier and more expensive than the manual and electrical die cutting machines.
Consider The Type of Materials You Will Be Working With
You need to consider the kind of project you’ll be creating and the material you’ll be working with when selecting a machine.
A heavy-duty machine can work on a greater variety of materials and would be a great choice for projects that require cutting different kinds of materials.
It may not be reasonable to invest in this kind of machine if all your projects will be centered on cutting paper-based material.
Check Capabilities of the Machine
The capability and usability of a die cutting machine boil down to its type.
While many consider the ease of transporting and setting up the machine, others consider the versatility of the machine when shopping for the machine.
While it is advisable to select a machine that can handle nearly all the operations (such as die cut, emboss, pierce, engrave, scan, etc.), the aspect of durability should not be neglected.
Manual die cutting machine tends to be more durable since they have only a few moving parts with no wiring.
Understand the Cutting Dies
All die cutting machines work with dies and often comes with some amount of dies out of the market.
However, it is a good idea to check for other available dies for the machine before you decide on one.
Some of the dies properties you need to consider are:
Variety of Dies
There are many varieties of dies, and fortunately, most die cutting machines can virtually take any die. But this should not stop you from making sure that you have enough letters, figures, and shapes for your personal needs.
If you want to go for dies with special characters and logos, it is important to select a machine that has such dies available for purchase.
Dies are available in various sizes and compatibility with different types of machines. You need to consider the size of the machine, dies and what you’ll use them for before making a choice.
For instance, if you are going to be using them for scrapbooking, it might be ideal to opt for larger dies to create a background for one of your pages.
Some dies may be compatible with more than one machine while others may not.
Checking the compatibility of dies with the machine in question is a reasonable thing to do before making your selection.
Manual machines are more compatible with dies made from different companies while their digital brothers tend to be running low in this regard due to the software programming involved.
If you are interested in working with generic dies, a machine that can handle a wide range of dies might be the best for you.
Machine Size & Portability
This is another important aspect to consider as it plays a major role in the ease of transporting and storing the machine.
Typically, manual die cutting machines are more portable, easier to transport, much easier to store since it only requires a little storage space.
It may also be the best die cutter for a crafter who has no permanent space for their work.
Design Flexibility & Supported Software
Some electronic machines are compatible with the most common die cutting software while some require special software for it to function properly.
Not all machine allows for custom designs; you should, however, look into this carefully before making your selection.
If all you need is a machine that will allow you to preview, create, adjust, and store your own designs as templates for future use, then the digital or electronic die cutting machines may be the way to go.
Price & Warranty
Apart from the type of machine, the price is probably the most decisive factor considered when shopping for a die cutting machine. Most people tend to go for cheap products, but you would agree with me that quality does not always come cheap.
If you want a machine of low initial investment, a manual die cutter might be the way to go.
If you are however concerned about the operating cost of a machine over time, then the electronic die cutting machine might be all you need.
On the other hand, the product with a good warranty should be considered. Whichever machine you buy, buy the one that will adequately satisfy your needs.