Last updated on February 10th, 2021
With countless manufacturers introducing vinyl cutting and each bearing the ‘Best’ cutter label, taking the final call surely becomes an extremely cumbersome affair.
You can thus very well understand that trying to pick a cutter without having adequate subject knowledge will ultimately land you in a deep soup.
However, this is where we come in with our expert knowledge to keep your back in the quest for the ultimate vinyl cutting machine.
But before proceeding with a discussion on the top ten devices available in the marketplace we are going to take you through the A-Z of vinyl cutter buying guide so that you can bring home the best possible device whether for personal or professional use.
Things To Keep In Mind While Purchasing A Vinyl Cutter
1. USCutter Vinyl Cutter MH 34in BUNDLE
Embark on a fun adventure in the path of vinyl cutting coupled with the USCutter MH-Series which works with popular software such as Flexi, Sure Cuts A Lot, SignCut Productivity Pro.
SignBlaser and many more through the standard vinyl cutter PNC1000 drivers. The pack is accompanied by a VinylMaster Cut (Basic Edition) software which has been specifically designed for making vinyl signage.
You can produce a wide array of pinstriping, vinyl lettering as well as general signage coupled with this versatile software which comes with a suite of curve, text as well as object tools. It thus becomes easy totransform your creative vision into a computer image file aided with its intuitive and easily customizable interface.
It just takes a few seconds to transform even low quality bitmap and jpeg images into cuttable vector path designs. The innovative spooling function of VinylMaster Cut aids in the production run of vinyl projects requiring multiple color layering with optimum efficacy.
You can sort by color while sending multiple jobs to the queue thus taking on multi-coloured and multi-layered workflow without having to toggle between different coloured vinyl rolls. It is also possible for your digital printer, design team and vinyl cutter specialist to collaborate using just one license so that you can keep up with your workflow irrespective of the location.
The pack is also accompanied with GreenStar IPV vinyl wherein each hue comes in high gloss finish and matte version available for black and white. This 5-year calendered vinyl is tailor-made for interior/exterior graphics inclusive of window graphics, banners and signs.
The dual magnetic sign blanks can conform easily to most of the metal surfaces and can also be removed in a hassle-free manner.
- Can be set up easily.
- Bang on accuracy which is bound to impress you.
- The kit consists of everything which can get you started with your vinyl cutting job.
- Accompanying software does an excellent job of creating outlines and vectors for the cutter.
- Features three different cutter styles with clear demarcations of depth setting examples.
- Not meant for professional level use.
- You need to be highly attentive while running large graphics.
- Track buttons are not pressure sensitive and roller bars are too low.
2. Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint
This machine can serve as the ultimate bliss for designers who wish to transform their ideas into reality in an easy and budget-friendly fashion. Once you are done uploading your files into the system, you can turn them easily into cards, home décor, fashion items, gifts and many more.
It becomes easy to edit, customize and even preview projects with its versatile Design Space software which runs seamlessly on your iPhone, iPad or computer.
You can either upload your very own designs or opt for the ready-to-make projects. The dynamic machine can take on more than 80 different materials ranging from thick leather to thin vellum courtesy the joint efforts of custom material selection and the Smart Set dial. The brand new “Fast Mode” aids in operating at 2x speed when it comes to cutting and writing for cardstock, vinyl and iron-on.
The Cricut vinyl cutter guarantees optimum precision when it comes to cutting intricate details ranging from fine snowflakes to lace stationery designs and even spider webs for the upcoming Halloween home décor.
The Cricut Pens can also be used for making ‘handwritten’ projects and cards as it allows you the supreme versatility of taking your pick amongst 370 different font types or even the one present in your computer without having to shell out any extra dime.
The Circuit Explore machines can also be used for creating perfectly folded lines of envelopes, cards, 3D paper crafts, boxes, acetate pinwheels and many more.
- Built-in Bluetooth offers wireless writing, cutting and scoring.
- An accumulation of more than 920 printable patterns and 50000 printable images available in Design Space.
- Allows uploading of your custom images absolutely for free.
- Double tool holder aiding in cutting and scoring or cutting and writing in one step.
- Smart Set Dial ensures optimum pressure and depth while cutting a diverse array of materials.
- German carbide premium blade which tags along precision and accuracy in the cutting operations.
- Is not of much help unless you specifically subscribe to their service which opens a pathway for continual expense.
- Performs terribly while trying to cut sandblast resist.
3. Silhouette SILHOUETTE-CAMEO-3-4T Wireless Cutting Machine
The self-adjusting AutoBlade of the Silhouette SILHOUETTE-CAMEO-3-4T Wireless Cutting Machine ensures that you do not have to adjust the cutting blade manually time and again as the deep-cut blade runs smoothly on materials belonging to various thickness levels.
Thus, it won’t pose as a problem even if you forget the sizes used for each cut as the machine calibrates the same automatically. Its dual carriage feature is helpful in accomplishing two different functions at the same time to make your cutting job faster and easier on the go.
Coupled with its mat-less cutting capability, you can easily bid adieu to the cutting mat while dealing with materials about 10 feet long. This versatile device can also bring ahead wireless cutting capability with its built-in Bluetooth function.
You will be presented with multiple pre-made digital designs and a highly-powerful Silhouette Studio design software, by the manufacturer of this fantastic vinyl cutter which is totally compatible with Pixscan and Print and Cut technology.
The best thing about this machine which transcends its brilliant specs is the stellar community support which can shower you with invaluable wisdom on the go whether you face any technical difficulty or wish to overcome boundaries.
Although the Cameo-3-4T seems to be a basic printer in its entirety, it surely offers a significant jump-off point both for small business owners and beginners. It also renders support to a broad range of materials comprising on paper, fabric, vinyl and many more.
If you are struggling with the perfect design, then you can easily access the ones from its ready-made store or customize the designs of your choice using the Silhouette Studio 3.0. There is also a mobile application compatible with both Android and iOS which makes things more seamless for its users.
- Features built-in Bluetooth functionality.
- Accompanied with an USB cable, dust cover and power cord.
- Compatible with both Windows and MAC systems.
- Automatically adjustable blades which can free you from all tensions with bang-on accuracy.
- Has an incredibly sensitive and intuitive touchscreen.
- Nice enough built-in storage which doesn’t add much to the overall size.
- Compared to its peers, the cutting force of this vinyl cutter is quite weak.
- It is pretty loud.
4. Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle
Money can indeed buy happiness at times and the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle stands out as the biggest evidence in favour of the same. Purchasing this machine might curve out a big hole in your wallet but you are bound to have a jolly good time catering to all those DIY projects you were wishing to take up since a long time.
Whether you are a rookie or a professional, all you will have to do is connect your tablet, phone or computer to the machine for marvelling at the wonders performed by the Cricut machine.
With two times faster adjustable cutting and writing speed, the Provo Craft-Cricut Explore Air Machine 2 can cut through iron-ons, paper, adhesive vinyl and thick materials such as burlap, felt and lightweight leather.
Adjusting the material setting also becomes a cakewalk coupled with the Smart Set dial while the built-in Bluetooth assists in wireless cutting, cutting and scoring or writing and cutting at one go.
You can upload your very own images belonging to .jpg, .svg, .bmp, .png, .dxf and .gif formats using the Cricut Design Space online software for creating professional looking DIY craft projects. The machine is accompanied with a huge set of efficient tools comprising of more than 50 free project ideas as well as a getting started guide which can take your DIY game to a completely new level.
- Comes with a full package of everything you shall need inclusive of a starter guide.
- You can choose specific settings for handling the materials coupled with the Smart Set dial.
- Has an adjustable writing and cutting speed which is 2 times faster than its peers.
- You can even cut wirelessly through a variety of materials with the built-in Bluetooth setting.
- Does not come off as too loud.
- Pretty expensive model.
5. Brother Electronic Cutting Machine, CM350
The first thing which is bound to mesmerise you about the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine is its built-in 300 DPI scanner which makes it super easy to create your own cut files.
You can thus scan almost everything ranging from handmade drawings, to cherished family photos, home décor and many more by using the machine to come up with custom-cut outlines and shapes which sync with your specific project.
In spite of being designed as a stand-alone model, the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 provides the option of being hooked up wirelessly to your PC. This electronic machine does not require the backing of dies or cartridges for carrying on its operations thus making it a top-choice of artsy craft fans.
The 30% larger display screen spread across 4.85” also makes it easier to tinker with your designs. Users can edit designs on the LCD touchscreen though its on-screen editing function. You also utilise the option of transferring designs to the cutter from the computer via USB cables although you will be required to purchase the same separately.
A cloud-based application accompanies the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2thus making it easy to edit, resize and design your cut data by converting files to FCM from SVG formats. You can usher in greater variety to your creations by merging scanned image and built-in designs for coming up with a unique one.
The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 has been specially designed for cutting large surface areas ranging up to 12”x24” and belonging to a wide variety of materials from handmade papers to fabrics.
Coupled with such attributes, the ScanNCut 2 can surely be termed as an incredible innovation in the field of electronic cutting machines as it brings advanced cutting-edge technology to the homes of laymen. The product is backed by a free lifetime technical phone support and a 25-year limited warranty.
- Offers both wireless as well as direct connectivity through the USB cord.
- Perfect for mixed media crafters.
- Features inbuilt scanning.
- 85” LCD touchscreen makes it easy to select functions.
- Is compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
- Accompanying software is extremely limited in its scope of application.
6. 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Value Sign Making Bundle with Design and Cut Software
The 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Value Sign Making Bundle can definitely be termed as a high value cutter which can suffice all beginners trying to win accolades with DIY cutting projects.
This versatile model is accompanied by a complete bundle comprising of squeegee, knife, vinyl rolls, tape rolls and magnetic blanks which can help you in nailing an easy start. Its dual adjustable pinch rollers is another feature which is carried forward from its predecessor model and aids in facilitating precise and easy cutting of a wide variety of materials.
It has also evolved into a popular choice amongst both hobbyists and professionals coupled with its compatibility with the Roland blade holder so that you can make the most out of the economic blades available in the market.
The machine also features an advanced ball-bearing roller system which aids in bringing mammoth time savings by allowing you to place materials on the rollers which you wish to cut in a smooth and quiet manner. The USCutter MH-Series is compatible with popular software such as VinylMaster Cut, Flexi, Sure Cuts A lot, SignCutProductivity Pro, SignBlaser and many more.
Its dedicated vinyl cutting software can take on vinyl signage like an absolute pro thus aiding you in producing a wide array of pinstriping, general signage and vinyl lettering aided by its curve, text and object tools.
You can thus take your creative flair to a whole new level as the intuitive and customizable interface of the VinylMaster Cut software aids in the seamless transition of your creative vision into computer ready image files. You can also create logos, modify signs, customize texts, edit images and draw shapes with the vectorised fonts.
The innovative spooling function of the VinylMaster Cut helps in working on vinyl projects requiring multiple color layering. You can thus take on multi-color and multi-layered workflows without having to toggle between differently hued vinyl rolls.
- Can be installed pretty easily by following the accompanying instructions manual.
- Stellar customer support team.
- Sturdy cutter stand which has been built to last for long.
- Well illuminated and highly visible LCD display.
- Multi-function carriage provides the flexibility of using either an ink pen or a cutting blade.
- It is not compatible with Mac.
- Cannot be used for engraving or etching.
7. Silhouette America Portrait 2 Vinyl Cutting Machine
The Portrait 2 comes in as a significant improvement over its predecessor as it incorporates cutting-edge technologies such as Bluetooth connectivity and AutoBlade without adding to its bulk. Its biggest downside however lies in the fact that it has a weak cutting force and can only take on 8-inch-wide cuts.
Thus, if you are on the lookout for a big and powerful model, then the Portrait 2 might not suffice your needs. However, it can definitely be termed as one of the very best portable electronic cutting machines which can serve small craft studios, maker spaces and even classrooms. The entirely white capsule-shaped body of the Portrait 2 ushers in utmost aesthetic appeal over its two-tone predecessor.
There are no storage compartments in the Portrait 2 making it imperative to keep another storage option handy for stacking all pens and accessory blades which can be used along with the machine. The manufacturers have also decided to give the touchscreens a miss for five buttons earmarked against Bluetooth, power, pause, load and unload to keep things simple and user friendly. Weighing at just three and half pounds, the Portrait 2 can be used in a hassle-free manner at your workstation without the requirement of a wheeled tote.
The 24 colors of pen which fit in the machine and different-sized pen holders aid the Portrait 2 in working with almost anything as it incorporates newer technologies in its operations. Its smart AutoBlade can adjust automatically to the right blade depth depending on the material settings you have fed into the Silhouette Studio.
In this way, you can benefit out of massive time savings as well as material costs since material waste arising out of improper settings get diminished.
You can also make the most out of its Bluetooth capabilities by connecting wirelessly with your Android and Apple devices over a range of 100 feet. It is also possible to sync 5 different devices with the Silhouette Cloud account for allowing them to send jobs in a wireless fashion to the Portrait 2 over Bluetooth.
- Advanced AutoBlade option aids in adjusting the cutting depth automatically.
- Newest version of Silhouette Studio 4 software brings along greater speed and stability while adding more features.
- Small and lightweight machine which can easily fit into cramped crafting corners.
- Can slice through materials having a thickness of up to 2 mm and length of up to 10 feet without the requirement of any internet connectivity
- Only 210 grams of cutting force makes it a weak vinyl cutting option.
- Does not feature any storage compartments.
8. Silhouette Portrait 2
Since its introduction in 2012, this smaller and comparatively lightweight version of the traditional Cameo has come a long way into becoming one of the most favoured vinyl-cutters ranking high both in terms of price and functionality. Entry level cutting enthusiasts just can’t stop raving about this affordable vinyl cutter which is tailor-made for proceeding with signage and card making.
The small and compact packaging of this versatile machine can easily fit anywhere on your desktop in a hassle-free manner. Apart from stickers, the cutter can also take on cardstock, fabrics, heat transfer materials, transparencies, magnet paper, vellum and adhesive vinyl accurately and without creating much fuss.
You might notice some teething problems especially while cutting intricate decals. However, you can circumvent the same by slowing down the cutting speed directly from the software. The Silhouette box is accompanied by a USB cable, Studio software, 8″ cutting mat, instruction manual, adjustable blade with ratchet cap and 50 free cutting designs which serve every beginner pretty well.
The cutting machine is also compatible with both Pixscan and Bluetooth as a sharp contrast to its predecessor thus making it easy to create your very own DIY masterpiece. You can even create your very own custom cuts coupled with the Print & Cut feature of the Portrait 2 which comes equipped with an optical scanner.
Its intuitive AutoBlade feature aids in calibrating to the correct settings automatically irrespective of the material being used. You can thus bid adieu to fiddling about pressure and blade depths by taking a guaranteed step forward.
This sophisticated piece of technology can also bring wholesome savings to the department of material wastage. The 2mm clearance comes in as a significant improvement thus making it easy to deal with thicker materials such as leather and craft foam.
- Offers complete value for money spent by bringing supreme precision in cutting.
- Can take on a wide variety of materials such as vellum, wood, paper, stickers, vinyl and many more.
- Easy to use Silhouette software which is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.
- Works brilliantly with small decals and card makers.
- Not a commercial grade cutter.
- Sticky cutting mat which might pose as a substantial problem while dealing with thin materials.
9. USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Plotter
The lightweight MH721 can be moved around conveniently as it imparts top-notch stability as you take up your cutting operations. The solid and sturdy machine can make intricate cuts at a decent speed which can surely prove to be a good thing specially if you are regularly dealing with projects having various difficulty levels.
The cutter is accompanied by the ‘Sure Cuts A Lot’ software consisting of all the essentials which are imperative for its seamless operations. The vinyl cutter can take on small to medium scale projects ranging from easy to moderate difficulty levels so that you can easily pay for the machine cost coupled with the products created as fragments of your imagination.
The MH721 can operate on vinyl sheets of up to 24-inch making it imperative to ensure adequate clearance prior to starting with the cutting operation. Assembling the device can pose as a substantial cause of concern as the instruction manual is poorly written making it difficult to make out the tips and tricks.
Its large LCD display is illuminated with a blue backlight which makes it extremely easy to read. Greater simplicity is imparted to this cutter with the dual aspects of an easy to use and well labelled control panel.
Just like other USCutters, this particular model is also accompanied by two fully adjustable pinch rollers enabling the usage of wider variety of materials. You can also take your pick from the three different connectivity options of USB, serial and parallel so that you can make the most of its thorough versatility.
It also becomes possible to use the economical blades available in the market coupled with its compatibility with the Roland blade holder.
- Sturdy and durable machine construction courtesy its metallic parts and aluminium frame.
- Compatible with a wide range of file types.
- Large and easy to read LCD display.
- Well labelled control panel aiding in its hassle-free usage.
- Can be connected with the computer either through serial or USB ports.
- Laser guided crop mark alignment adds to its level of precision.
- Comes bundled with a basket and stand both of which are necessary for the optimum functioning of the vinyl cutter.
- Difficult to assemble.
- Machine doesn’t come with a manual and instructions need to be downloaded in a PDF form online.
- Blade is set too deep in the cutting area.
10. Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool
The curious little Silhouette Curio can serve as the perfect pick for DIYers who wish to diversify their creative radar. You can thus engage in embossing, debossing, cutting and etching functions coupled with this versatile cutter which comes in with a steep learning curve.
The Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool box consists of a studio software, Curio machine, regular base, basic instruction guide, embossing mat, embossing tool, cutting blade, power cord as well as 50 exclusive designs.
The Silhouette Studio software needs to be connected with the Curio before accessing the exclusive features such as etch and stipple. Although the Curio software comes in a CD format, you can also avail its soft copy readily available online which is also much more up to date.
New users are advised to set some time aside for getting a grip on the software and especially its brand-new features. But you are bound to be delighted by the scope of the Studio once you develop a clear understanding of the same.
Coupled with such attributes, the Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool can definitely suffice DIYers running on a tight budget especially as it renders support to three different embossing styles of Print & Emboss, Score & Emboss and Path Emboss.
Its latest deep-cut blade can slice through 2mm thick materials while its 5mm clearance paves the path for smooth and neat feeding as it takes on materials having varying thickness level.
With the Curio, you can cut custom design out of vellum, card stock, paper, stencil material, fabric, vinyl and many more. You can even sketch or cut fonts which have been pre-installed on your computer for creating mind-blowing stippled ink projects.
- You can keep on working continually without stopping coupled with its dual carriage aspect.
- Ideal for diverse crafters who wish to transcend boundaries of creativity.
- Intuitive and responsive touchscreen.
- Deep cut blades pave the path for deepest cuts.
- Extra durability guaranteed by its sintered tungsten alloy composition.
- Setup might seem to be a bit challenging.
- Perfect only for small designs.
- Requires extra accessories for unleashing it fullest potential.
Finding a perfect vinyl cutter can serve as your first step towards setting up a highly-successful production line. Once you stumble across the right unit, the only speed breaker you will have to deal with is your very own imagination. Having fun while experimenting with new works of art and adding dimensions to your craft simply doesn’t get easier than this.
Even when you are not interested in its commercial applications, these versatile machines can propel you towards engaging in a wonderful pass-time activity. Once you have decided on your vinyl cutter model and purchased the same, it’s time to start with the designing aspects.
Some cutters feature an integrated software wherein it becomes extremely easy to choose a design although you also have the flexibility of coming up with your very own design and uploading the same to the machine.
A font can also be uploaded in a similar manner following which you need to decide on the font border, design or outline by ensuring that you opt exactly for the ones which you wish to see in the final print.
Next you will be required to set the cartridge by loading the vinyl sheet wherein you wish to print your design. The depth and pressure parameters need to be set based on material properties.
These aspects can also be catered to by the machine itself if it is an automated one. Now that everything is set, you will have to print your design on the provided sheet which will finally have to be collected using a pickup tool or spatula.
Eva is Cartbig’s editor in chief and she has worked on everything Cartbig covers, from beyblades to lawn mowers. In her previous life, she held editorial positions in iEssent and BHP.
She loves reading, she has a daughter and a poorly behaved havanese dog.
She resides in Utah and she works remotely from a desk piled with post-it notes, science fiction books and all kinds of cameras. Even broken ones.