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4 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines Reviewed: Computer Controlled to Manual

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Cutting machines today are all technology. That makes it difficult to choose well.

That's why I've put together this buying guide with all the information you need to buy a good vinyl cutting plotter that fits your project.

De Silhouette Cameo 4 is one of the best selling vinyl cutting machines in the world. This is a full-fledged hobby cutter that can really do more than just cut stickers. In addition to vinyl, he works with a wide variety of other materials including paper, cardboard and fabric.

Silhouette-Cameo-4-with-Bluetooth-cutter

It's not just about price, power or speed. A vinyl cutter is a computer controlled scissors. That's why you want precision, power and durability.

I'll tell you more about these choices later, but first the best options in a quick overview:

Overall best vinyl cutting machine

Silhouettecameo 4

This computerized cutting plotter is one of them and works a little more complex than the manual or stand-alone cutting machines, but it allows the passionate and demanding crafter to download designs, fonts, and figures from the internet.

Product image

Fastest Vinyl Cutting Machine

cricutExplore Air 2

Thanks to its versatile blades and Cut Smart technology, the Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts light to medium-weight materials quickly and accurately, even down to details smaller than a nail sticker.

Product image

Most Powerful Vinyl Cutting Machine

cricutMaker

It can cut very precisely and adjusts the cutting pressure on the knife itself, according to the material you use. Its cutting ability is enormous, allowing you to cut through all materials.

Product image

Best Cheap Manual Vinyl Cutting Machine

Crafter's CompanionGemini Mini

This lightweight machine is compact and portable and can cut quite a few different materials. Nice for the beginner and for children who like to tinker.

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How to choose a good vinyl cutting machine?

You simply want to be able to get started with vinyl, so you will have to choose a cutter that is good at it.

My advice is also to look beyond speed, power and price:

  • decide how intricate and how large your vinyl images will be.
  • are you going to process very thin or very thick sheets?
  • do you want to cut printed images into contours or produce perforated stickers?

Best 4 Vinyl Cutting Machines Reviewed

Overall best vinyl cutting machine

Silhouette cameo 4

Product image
9.1
Toy score
Cutting force
4.5
Ease of use
4.8
Sustainability
4.4
Best for
  • high cutting power, it cuts more than 100 types of material, some without mat
  • fast results for larger projects
Less good
  • the machine can only use one tool at a time
  • various blades not included

The best vinyl cutting machine for me still is the Silhouette Cameo 4.

A number of types die cutting machines require a computer and sometimes internet connection before they can be used.

This computerized cutting plotter is one of them and works a little more complex than the manual or stand-alone cutting machines, but it allows the passionate and demanding crafter to download designs, fonts, and figures from the internet.

So it allows you to cut almost any design in any size.

In addition to cutting vinyl perfectly, the Silhouette Cameo 4 is suitable for cutting many different materials - in fact it is a must for any avid craft enthusiast!

It has a high cutting force of up to 5 kg, especially for cutting thicker materials such as leather, balsa wood and foam rubber.

The cutting width is 30,5 cm and the cutting length is up to 3 m, this is just as possible with vinyl or iron-on film.

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is a really good DIY desktop cutting plotter with a relatively small blade that can cut to a thickness of 2 mm.

The machine comes with:

  • power adapter and USB cable
  • 12-inch cutting mat
  • autoblade cutting knife
  • cross cutter
  • Silhouette Studio design software (compatible with Windows 7 and above or Mac OS X 10.7 or above)

At 18 x 57 x 17 cm, it is a bit on the large side, but can work with A4, A3, A5, A6, A7 and A8 paper.

The Silhouette Cameo has a nice touch panel with which you can upload, download and pause your projects.

The roll feeder is conveniently stored in the drawer of the machine, you can use it when you want to quickly cut vinyl and any heat transfer material.

On the back of the Silhouette Cameo 4 is a built-in cross cutter for cutting clean straight edges.

Its tool-sensor technology decides which tool you use and then activates the Silhouette Studio software to automatically adjust the cutting settings.

The Cameo 4 is powered by 2 motors and can therefore cut up to 3 times faster and more powerful than its elder brothers. You can also cut cardboard and other materials without mat.

You can purchase 4 additional blades that are specially designed to work with the Cameo technology: the Rotary Blade, Kraft Blade, AutoBlade and the Punch tool (for perforating).

  • With the Rotary Blade you can cut fabrics such as cotton, vinyl, leather and other thick materials
  • with the Kraft Blade you can cut materials such as acetate, craft foam and jute
  • with the Autoblade, these are cutter blades that automatically adjust themselves (the double tool holder is intended for the Autoblade and other blades and pens to work with thinner materials)
  • the Punch Tool can be used to punch holes

Watch the Cameo 4 in this YouTube video:

The Cameo 4 differs not only from its predecessor, but also from other brands.

It has a high cutting power, but can cut even deeper – 3mm – than the Cricut machines at 2 to 2.4mm, increasing your choice of materials and making vinyl processing easy.

Thanks to the integrated roll holder and crosscutter, even longer workpieces can be cut with the plotter. The automatic blade adjustment also saves you time.

Existing motifs can be cut out particularly efficiently with the Print & Cut technology.

The built-in scanner automatically reads the register marks and can thus cut precisely along the contours. Its maximum cutting pressure is 5 kg.

Benefits

  • high cutting power, it cuts more than 100 types of material, some without mat
  • tool holder 2 has a cutting force of up to 5 kg and is used to cut the thickest materials.
  • fast results for larger projects
  • long cutting lengths
  • ability to load multiple tools at once
  • speed
  • can cut up to 3 meters wide
  • can cut in two different ways
  • integrated roll holder

Cons

  • the machine can only use one tool at a time
  • various blades not included
Fastest Vinyl Cutting Machine

cricut Explore Air 2

Product image
8.7
Toy score
Cutting force
4.1
Ease of use
4.8
Sustainability
4.2
Best for
  • wireless bluetooth technology
  • has fast mode to cut and write up to 2 times faster
Less good
  • made for creative consumers, not really graphic designers
  • doesn't cut as many materials as the Cricut Maker

Like the Silhouette Cameo 4, the Cricut plotters are computer controlled. The Cricut Explore Air 2 Cutter The Cricut Explore Air 2 Cutter scores 5 stars on Amazon.

Thanks to its versatile blades and Cut Smart technology, the Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts light to medium-weight materials quickly and accurately, even down to details smaller than a nail sticker.

It cuts up to 2mm deep and can handle up to 100 different materials, from cardboard, vinyl and ironable vinyl to a range of other special materials.

The cutter comes with:

  • fine point knife
  • black fineliner
  • Light Grip cutting mat 30,5 cm x 30,5 cm
  • welcome book
  • USB cable and power adapter
  • 30 Day Trial Membership on Cricut Access
  • practice materials for your first project
  • 50 projects ready to make

If you want to purchase a vinyl package, you can purchase the Cricut Standard Grip (green) cutting mat of 30,5 cm x 30,5 cm or of 30,5 cm x 61 cm for long cuts.

This vinyl is a self-adhesive printing foil to print on, holographic. You also get Transfer Tape with it.

The Knife blade is most suitable for cutting vinyl, it has a more precise 'cut'.

Upload or design your own images from your computer, tablets or cell phone using Cricut free design software Design Space.

You might consider subscribing to Cricut Access, a library of over 100.000 images and fonts.

By the way, there are dozens of groups on various social media platforms in which Cricut crafters and DIYers can exchange experiences, quite fun!

Benefits

  • wireless bluetooth technology
  • perfectly cuts over 100 different types of materials, including premium and htv vinyl
  • has fast mode to cut and write up to 2 times faster
  • solid and looks more solid than the Silhouette Cameo 4

Cons

  • made for creative consumers, not really graphic designers
  • doesn't cut as many materials as the Cricut Maker
  • Design Space software is sometimes perceived as slow
Most Powerful Vinyl Cutting Machine

cricut Maker

Product image
9.2
Toy score
Cutting force
4.9
Ease of use
4.5
Sustainability
4.4
Best for
  • glides easily through most fabrics and delicate materials, with no support material!
  • cuts deep: 2,4 cm
Less good
  • you have to know something about computers to use it
  • pricey

The De Cricut Maker cutting machine The Cricut Maker cutting machine offers you countless craft possibilities.

You can edit vinyl just fine and more than 300 other materials with this machine, to cut out your designs.

The Maker therefore cuts in sturdy materials such as vinyl, in leather, but even in balsa wood. If you decide to work with a lot of materials, you will also need more tools.

There are 11 additional tools available to give your designs the finishing touch. To change the tool, press the button on the universal extension tool.

It can cut very precisely and adjusts the cutting pressure on the knife itself, according to the material you use. Its cutting ability is enormous, allowing you to cut through all materials.

The Cricut Maker comes with:

  • rotary cutter with holder, which can cut light to medium weight materials, including vinyl, paper and adhesive iron-on films
  • fine-point writer
  • FabricGrip machine mat, for projects with textiles and composite materials.
  • cardboard as test material

Choose the Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Maker if you want to cut materials wider than 10,8cm, up to 30,5cm.

Benefits

  • glides easily through most fabrics and delicate materials, with no support material!
  • great cutting force
  • cuts deep: 2,4 cm
  • the rotary cutter cuts quickly and accurately through any fabric – without backing material
  • easy for sewing and quilting projects
  • the handy slot holds your tablet or smartphone while you're at it.
  • USB port

Cons

  • you have to know something about computers to use it
  • pricey
Best Cheap Manual Vinyl Cutting Machine

Crafter's Companion Gemini Mini

Product image
7.7
Toy score
Cutting force
4.2
Ease of use
3.6
Sustainability
3.7
Best for
  • it couldn't be simpler
  • great for scrapbooking
  • compact, easy to carry and clean up
Less good
  • too limited for the advanced DIY-ers and crafters
  • durability is questionable

This very simple die-cutting machine comes with a pair of standard cutting mats and a standard platform.

You can use it for making cards, photo frames and decorations, so also for scrapbooking.

This lightweight machine is compact and portable and can cut quite a few different materials. Nice for the beginner and for children who like to tinker.

Conclusion

If you have any additions that we missed in this list of the best vinyl cutting machines, let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.