Buying an electronic craft cutting machine can be a big decision. There are many websites on the Internet that claim to sell the "ultimate device."
The most popular brands out there right now are ScanNCut, Silhouette and Cricut, and these brands have dominated the market in recent years with their new and improved models.
But which one is the best?
First, every electronic cutter has several functions and cuts a number of different materials, so it's important to know what you want to do with it before you buy!
De Brother ScanNCut SDX is my overall best choice. It's not the cheapest, but it includes a built-in scanner and can cut directly, without the help of a PC. It cuts completely through most materials.
But before I tell you all about this Brother SDX, let me first show you my top 3 best cutting plotters.
|Best electronic cutters||Picture|
|Overall best electronic cutter: Brother ScanNCut SDX|
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|Best Electronic Cutting Plotter for Hand and Carving: Silhouette Cameo 4|
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|Best cheap cutting plotter: Cricut Explore Air 2|
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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
- 1 What do you pay attention to when purchasing a cutting plotter?
- 2 Best Electronic Cutting Plotters Reviewed
- 3 Finally,
What do you pay attention to when purchasing a cutting plotter?
Before you make a purchase, make sure you are well informed. First, think about what you are going to use the plotter for.
I would therefore like to give you a few tips before you make a choice. Keep the following points in mind:
- What do you want to do with the cutter? You may have specific wishes. Does the cutter need to be able to work independently or, for example, wirelessly?
- What do the cartridges cost? Think of the costs for new cartridges and how often you'll replace them. Note: some cartridges are more expensive to purchase, but use less ink.
- How much does it cost to replace parts? The (repair) costs of these parts can sometimes be quite high.
- Note the size of the device. Does it fit in your hobby room?
I will explain about the features of my favorite crafting machines below.
Best Electronic Cutting Plotters Reviewed
With that in mind, I will now discuss my top 3 electronic cutters in detail. Which will be your favourite?
Overall best electronic cutter: Brother ScanNCut SDX
The Brother ScanNCut machines come with a built-in scanner and can scan and cut without being connected to a computer.
This is done very easily using the built-in display. The Brother range can cut the following materials:
The Brother machines have built-in software that allows you to import SVG (Vector) files along with Brother's own files.
All models also come with 2 different cutting blades (Standard and Deep Cut) to ensure you cut completely through the material.
Another advantage of the Brother ScanNCut range is that it comes with an interchangeable pen set with which the machine can draw your design or make dots to indicate, for example, the seam allowance.
Finally, these machines can also be used as conventional scanners, so just swipe your document/photo through and it will be saved to a USB stick for you.
Scan your design with the Brother ScanNCut SDX to instantly convert it to a cutting file, and cut out your design.
No computer is involved. This lady explains exactly how that works:
You can tinker with up to 682 built-in designs, including 100 quilt patterns and 9 fonts, all with this Brother ScanNCut SDX.
You can also add your own designs. The 5 inch touchscreen LCD is comfortable to use
- Standard 12″ x 12 adhesive mat
- Black pen and touch pen
- Accessory bag
- 76 Additional cartridges
- Automatic Knife
- Automatic Knife Holder
- Sample carton
Advantages Brother SDX
- Automatic material selection
- Cut most materials effortlessly up to 3 millimeters
Disadvantages Brother SDX
- The cost of replacement materials can be high
- The initial setup of the machine can be tricky
Best Electronic Cutting Plotter for Hand and Carving: Silhouette Cameo 4
The Silhouette series is perfect for the hobbyist who just wants to design and customize their own project.
The Silhouette has long been regarded as one of the best electronic cutting plotters on the market, and is loved for its simplicity and easy-to-use design studio software.
This advanced software also makes it possible to trace and then cut out any image, it is perfect for logos and lettering.
The Silhouette cutting machines can also use any font installed on your computer.
As an added bonus, anyone who buys a Silhouette machine will receive a free new design every week through the Silhouette store, which every crafter will love.
The Silhouette series cuts the following materials:
With over 1400 satisfied customers on Amazon, the Silhouette Cameo is not only a craft favorite, but also one of the best electronic craft cutting machines.
The Silhouette Camio 4 is suitable for more than 100 materials: it cuts vinyl, cardstock, vellum, acetate, paper, thin cardstock and much more. Customers rate this Cameo 4 a whopping 4,6 stars on Amazon.com
The machine can work wirelessly and has a cutting blade that changes automatically.
Overall, this is a great cutting machine and perfect for glass etching projects, cards, scrapbook pages, sketch designs, paper crafting, vinyl decorations and much more.
You get the Silhouette Studio design software for free.
Benefits Silhouette Cameo
- Perfect for projects
- Great Package Deals
- Great on vinyl
- Autoblade setting is suitable for different heights
Cons Silhouette Cameo
- Low pressure cutting blade means cutting ability is limited to thin materials
- instructions could sometimes be better
A customer writes:
Check prices and availability here
The reason my first few projects failed was because I selected "Ratchet Knife" from the SEND menu. It looked like a ratchet blade with the numbering and lined lines. I was more surprised that the Cameo 4 did not initially recognize that the automatic blade was installed. I have reset the device to Auto Blade and selected SEND. The trial cut failed. The blade made movements as if it were cutting, but left no marks on the vinyl. Then I increased the cutting depth and tried again. This time I only saw a slight indentation in the material, no cuts. Here, clear instructions could improve the customer experience.
Best Cheap Electronic Cutting Plotter: Cricut Explore Air 2
Until recently, Cricut machines had a reputation for only working with cartridges. Now some of the most modern and best electronic cutting machines come from this range. The Cricut Explore model comes in two versions.
The Cricut Explore 1 already had access to more than 50.000 images in the Cricut image library, but the Cricut Explore 2 has gone a step further in technology than its elder brother.
It simply has the same features and benefits, but this device can be used wirelessly without the need for an additional device and, even more images are now available.
The Air 2 also has the ability to cut and write one easy step. Without the need to change blades/sticks etc.
Both models are among the best electronic cutting machines available today and are compatible with your iPad and iPhone so you can design anywhere.
With a smart dial that allows you to set the right cut for each material, there's no need to configure complicated settings.
Cricut cutting machines are an ever-popular brand among die-hard crafters, with a quiet cutting action along with easy-to-use software, they are both practical and versatile.
The simplified software in all Cricut cutting machines allows you to purchase files for a minimal cost, or have the option to upload SVG files online or from your own library.
While the 11,5 x 23,5 cutting area is slightly smaller than the competition, it more than makes up for it in the quality of the machine.
The powerful motors in the Cricut machines mean this is one of the best electronic cutting machines for thicker materials such as thin wood and leather.
This unique feature makes the range a popular alternative for those looking to tinker within a niche.
Another option that makes the Cricut a popular machine is the ability to draw and cut at the same time, certainly the Silhouette range can do this, but you have to stop the machine and swap the balde and pen, the Cricut performs this function in one flowing movement.
The only downside to the Cricut Range is that users don't have the option to experiment without an internet connection, meaning that in areas with poor signal strength, functionality will be reduced.
However, this may be a possible acceptance in sacrifice of its other capabilities and functions.
Benefits Cricut Explore Air 2
- Over 100.000 accessible images
- Design technology on the go
- No complicated set ups – just turn the knob to adjust the material
- Faster cutting speed compared to the previous model
- Wireless operation
Cons Cricut Explore Air 2
- You will lose all your images if you cancel your subscription
- Some designs can be tricky
As you have just read, there are many things to consider when choosing a cutting plotter. Check carefully which points are most important to you, so that you make an informed choice!
Every artist and every hobbyist has different demands on his cutting plotter, but I can guarantee you that you can make really beautiful pieces of art with these devices.
Have fun with your projects!