Home Gear

The 9 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines of 2020

Best Vinyl Cutting Machine

Photo: Cricut

A vinyl cutting machine is a manual, electric, or computer-controlled cutting device that is used mostly for decorative work in cutting paper, vinyl, leather, and other similar materials. They resemble printers in appearance but differ in functionality.

That said, these units are available in different types and varieties but we’ve narrowed it down to 9 of the best vinyl cutting machines that are worth buying. Let’s get right into it.

9 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines – Review 

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Brother SDX125E

1. Brother SDX125E (Best Overall)

  • Cutter and scanner in one
  • Multiple built-in designs and patterns
  • 5 in. LCD touchscreen
  • ScanNCut DX auto blade
Sizzix 661500

2. Sizzix 661500 (Best for the Money)

  • Affordable
  • Comes as a complete starter kit
  • Firm top grip handle
  • Stable rubberized feet
Spellbinders PL-001

3. Spellbinders PL-001 (Best Manual)

  • Solid steel core construction
  • Cuts up to 8 layers of material in a single pass
  • Compatible with multiple dies
  • Cuts over 40 different materials
Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA

4. Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA (Best Compact)

  • Compact design
  • Edge-to-edge cutting of A4-size materials
  • 3 easy-to-use buttons for control
  • Includes multiple accessories
Cricut Explore Air 2

5. Cricut Explore Air 2 (Best Dual Carriage System)

  • Convenient dual carriage system
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Includes multiple accessories
Silhouette America Curio

6. Silhouette America Curio (Best for Embossing)

  • Performs three embossing methods
  • Powerful Silhouette Studio software
  • USB port for PC/Mac connection
  • Large 5mm clearance
Sizzix 660540

7. Sizzix 660540 (Easy-to-Use)

  • Easy-to-use single switch control
  • Grippy top handle
  • Rubberized feet for stability
  • Extended platform to hold longer materials
Cricut Maker

8. Cricut Maker (Has Rotary Blade)

  • Rotary blade for accurate fabric cutting
  • Includes an expandable suite of tools
  • Accesses hundreds of digital sewing patterns
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
Silhouette America Portrait 2

9. Silhouette America Portrait 2 (With Auto Blade)

  • Auto-blade for easy use
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Includes an 8-in cutting mat

PRODUCT

1. Brother SDX125E

(Best Overall)

Brother SDX125E
  • Cutter and scanner in one
  • Multiple built-in designs and patterns
  • 5 in. LCD touchscreen
  • ScanNCut DX auto blade

2. Sizzix 661500

(Best for the Money)

Sizzix 661500
  • Affordable
  • Comes as a complete starter kit
  • Firm top grip handle
  • Stable rubberized feet

3. Spellbinders PL-001

(Best Manual)

Spellbinders PL-001
  • Solid steel core construction
  • Cuts up to 8 layers of material in a single pass
  • Compatible with multiple dies
  • Cuts over 40 different materials

4. Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA

(Best Compact)

Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA
  • Compact design
  • Edge-to-edge cutting of A4-size materials
  • 3 easy-to-use buttons for control
  • Includes multiple accessories

5. Cricut Explore Air 2

(Best Dual Carriage System)

Cricut Explore Air 2
  • Convenient dual carriage system
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Includes multiple accessories

6. Silhouette America Curio

(Best for Embossing)

Silhouette America Curio
  • Performs three embossing methods
  • Powerful Silhouette Studio software
  • USB port for PC/Mac connection
  • Large 5mm clearance

7. Sizzix 660540

(Easy-to-Use)

Sizzix 660540
  • Easy-to-use single switch control
  • Grippy top handle
  • Rubberized feet for stability
  • Extended platform to hold longer materials

8. Cricut Maker

( Has Rotary Blade)

Cricut Maker
  • Rotary blade for accurate fabric cutting
  • Includes an expandable suite of tools
  • Accesses hundreds of digital sewing patterns
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity

9. Silhouette America Portrait 2

(With Auto Blade)

Silhouette America Portrait 2
  • Auto-blade for easy use
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Includes an 8-in cutting mat

1. Brother SDX125E – Best Overall Vinyl Cutting Machine

Brother SDX125E

Photo: Brother

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 12 x 24 in.
  • Dimensions: 20.9 x 8.4 x 6.8 in.

Brother’s SDX125E takes the best overall position because it combines two main functions. The first one is a scanner and with this, you can scan your drawings or any other customized files that cannot be found on the internet, then convert them to a cut file.

The second function is a cutter and this allows you to use the scanned cut files, 682 built-in designs, 100 quilting patterns, and 9 fonts to cut beautiful designs on different materials.

You can also add free patterns and custom designs from your computer using the built-in USB port or wireless connection. To navigate through these multiple designs, a 5 in. LCD is built-in and it has touch functionality for easy use.

Since the unit can be used to cut through a wide variety of materials, a ScanNCut DX auto blade is included for easy use. This utilizes automatic material sensor technology to detect the material’s thickness so that you don’t have to adjust the blade or select the material manually.

That said, this knife can cut up to 3mm thick and it can be used on foam, chipboard, paper, fabric, vinyl, etc. Other features include an auto-blade holder, a 12 x 12 in. standard tack mat and a black pen as accessories. The only problem is that the machine is very expensive.

Pros:

  • Cutter and scanner in one
  • Multiple built-in designs and patterns
  • 5 in. LCD touchscreen
  • ScanNCut DX auto blade
  • Includes multiple accessories

Cons:

  • Expensive

2. Sizzix 661500 – Best Vinyl Cutter for the Money

Sizzix 661500

Photo: Sizzix

  • Type: Manual
  • Cutting Size: Up to 6 in. wide
  • Dimensions: 14.25 x 12.38 x 6.63 in.

Some high-quality vinyl cutters are quite affordable and Sizzix’s 661500 is the perfect example. It comes as a complete starter kit that includes an extended multi-purpose platform, a pair of cutting pads, a bigz die and a thinlits die set, just to name a few.

With these accessories, the machine can be used for die-cutting, which is a quick way of producing individual or mass pieces of designs from different materials.

That said, it has an A5-sized opening, which allows you to cut or emboss different designs that are up to 6 in. wide.

Other features include a firm gripping handle at the top and rubberized feet for stable use. However, being a manual type, you don’t get a wide variety of designs to choose from and you cannot add more from your computer.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes as a complete starter kit
  • Ideal for die-cutting
  • Firm top grip handle
  • Stable rubberized feet

Cons:

  • Few designs

3. Spellbinders PL-001 – Best Manual Vinyl Cutting Machine

Spellbinders PL-001

Photo: Spellbinders

  • Type: Manual
  • Cutting Size: Up to 8.5 in. wide
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 11 x 9.5 in.

If you prefer the manual vinyl cutting machine type, Spellbinders’ PL-001 is the best one to buy because it is very powerful.

It has a solid steel core construction that is firm enough to cut up to 8 layers of material in a single pass. For this, you need a contour steel rule die, which is very tough. However, it is compatible with the standard wafer-thin dies, texture plates, and embossing folders.

Additionally, the unit has a wide 8.5-in platform that can be used to create full-size crafts for bags, boxes, and the like.

You can use the unit to cut over 40 different materials and this includes wool, craft metal, leather, and vinyl, just to name a few. However, you don’t get multiple designs to choose from for your projects.

Pros:

  • Solid steel core construction
  • Cuts up to 8 layers of material in a single pass
  • Compatible with multiple dies
  • Cuts over 40 different materials

Cons:

  • Few designs

4. Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA – Best Compact Vinyl Cutter

Gemini by Crafter's Companion CCM-M-USA

Photo: Gemini by Crafter's Companion

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 8.5 x 11 in.
  • Dimensions: 14 x 8 x 6.5 in.

Measuring only 14 x 8 x 6.5 in., Gemini’s CCM-M-USA is very compact and as such, it fits neatly in very tight spaces. Despite this, it cuts up to 8.5 x 11-in materials and enables edge-to-edge cutting in A4 size materials.

On top of this, it is compatible with most dies and embossing folders, which enables you to work on different projects or different parts of the same project.

3 buttons are included in the control panel and these are for pausing, resuming, or resuming cutting operations. Though few, these make it very easy to use.

Other features include a 3D embossing folder, a multimedia die set, 3 papercraft die sets as accessories. However, the unit cannot be connected to a PC to access more designs.

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Edge-to-edge cutting of A4-size materials
  • 3 easy-to-use buttons for control
  • Includes multiple accessories

Cons:

  • Lacks PC connectivity

5. Cricut Explore Air 2 – Best Dual Carriage Vinyl Cutting Machine

Cricut Explore Air 2

Photo: Cricut

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 12 x 12 in.
  • Dimensions: 24 x 9.5 x 9.5 in.

Cricut’s Explore Air 2 is equipped with a dual carriage system that is very efficient. It allows for cutting and writing or cutting and storing in one step and this ensures you get more done in little time.

That said, the unit can be used to cut over 100 different materials, including vinyl, and you get access to over 100,000 images, fonts, and make-it-now projects/designs to help you customize your project.

Additionally, you can upload your creations or internet-downloaded designs from your computer via its wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Other features include a 12 x 12-in cutting mat, a fine point pen, blade housing, and a blade, which are included as accessories.

The only problem is that you don’t get an LCD screen, which would come in very handy considering that there are multiple design options to choose from.  

Pros:

  • Convenient dual carriage system
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity for uploading custom images
  • Includes multiple accessories

Cons:

  • Lacks an LCD screen

6. Silhouette America Curio – Best Vinyl Cutter for Embossing

Silhouette America Curio

Photo: Silhouette America

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 8.5 in. wide
  • Dimensions: 17.25 x 5.5 x 7 in.

With the capability of doing three embossing methods, Silhouette America’s Curio is the ideal machine for your embossing needs.

These three include path emboss, score & emboss, and print & emboss. These give you plenty of options for customizing the outline around your fonts and images.

That said, the machine runs on Silhouette Studio software, which gives it the functionalities of embossing, stippling, etching, and even dual carriage options.

Additionally, the software gives you access to the Silhouette Design Store, which has free and premium designs and fonts for download.

Other features include a 5mm clearance, which allows you to feed in thicker materials, a USB port, and a USB cable for connecting to your Mac or PC to upload custom designs. However, you don’t get an auto-blade for detecting the material and its thickness.

Pros:

  • Performs three embossing methods
  • Powerful Silhouette Studio software
  • Accesses the Silhouette Design store for design downloads
  • USB port for PC/Mac connection
  • Large 5mm clearance

Cons:

  • Lacks an auto-blade

7. Sizzix 660540 – Easy-to-Use Vinyl Cutting Machine

Sizzix 660540

Photo: Sizzix

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 6 in. wide
  • Dimensions: 14.25 x 10 x 6.25 in.

Sizzix’s 660540 only features a single switch for control and even though this means reduced functionality, it simplifies its use. This only lets you switch on to feed the material then switch off to pause or stop the machine after use.

In actual sense, this is a slight improvement from the manual type because it even has a grippy handle at the top, which can be found in the manual Sizzix 661500. It also has rubberized feet that hold it steady as you feed the material.

Other than that, the unit is highly compatible because it can be used with the entire Sizzix product library, except only Bigz Plus and Bigz Pro dies. This means you can work on different designs such as texture fades, embossing, and the like.

You also get an extended platform (lengthwise), an extended thin die adapter, and a pair of cutting pads to help you get started. On the downside, the platform is quite narrow because it only allows you to feed a 6-in wide material.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use single switch control
  • Grippy top handle
  • Rubberized feet for stability
  • Extended platform to hold longer materials
  • Highly compatible with the brand’s product library

Cons:

  • Narrow platform

8. Cricut Maker – Vinyl Cutter with a Rotary Blade

Cricut Maker

Photo: Cricut

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 6 x 12 in.
  • Dimensions: 22.6 x 7.09 x 6.22 in.

One of the most unique things about Cricut’s Maker is its rotary blade, which is specifically designed and optimized for cutting fabrics. It has a gliding, rolling action that allows the blade to cut through any piece of fabric without backing. This results in very accurate cuts.

Apart from this, you get an expandable suite of tools and key among them is a knife blade, which is ideal for cutting through thick materials such as 2.4mm balsa and matboard. In total, you can cut up to 100 different materials using the included knives.

To utilize its full potential, the machine gives you access to hundreds of digital sewing patterns to use in your project. It also has Bluetooth wireless connectivity for uploading new custom designs from your phone or computer.

Other features include a fine point pen, two 12 x 12 cutting mats, and design apps that allow you to create custom designs from your windows, Mac, iOS, or Android devices. However, the tool is very expensive to buy.

Pros:

  • Rotary blade for accurate fabric cutting
  • Includes an expandable suite of tools
  • Gives you access to hundreds of digital sewing patterns
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity for uploading custom designs

Cons:

  • Very expensive

9. Silhouette America Portrait 2 – Vinyl Cutter with Auto Blade

Silhouette America Portrait 2

Photo: Silhouette America

  • Type: Electric
  • Cutting Size: Up to 8 x 10 in.
  • Dimensions: 18 x 8 x 9 in.

Silhouette America’s Portrait 2 comes with an auto blade that detects the material and its thickness then adjusts automatically to cut it optimally.

This eliminates the manual selection that you would otherwise have to do. In total, this blade can be used to cut over 100 different materials.

Aside from that, the machine has Bluetooth built-in for wireless connectivity to your devices but you can also use USB to connect to your PC or Mac to upload design files.

Other features include 50 exclusive digital designs to help you get started, an 8 in. cutting mat, a 2mm clearance, and a cutting size of 8 x 10 in. That said, the included 50 designs are relatively few.

Pros:

  • Auto-blade for easy use
  • Cuts over 100 different materials
  • USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Includes an 8-in cutting mat

Cons:

  • Relatively few designs

How to Buy the Best Vinyl Cutting Machine

How to Buy the Best Vinyl Cutting Machine

Photo: Cricut

1. Your Purpose

Most vinyl cutting machines are designed to handle different kinds of projects but some are a bit more specialized. For instance, Silhouette America’s Curio is specifically suited for embossing because it has 3 embossing methods.

Others are better off when dealing with fabrics but for decorative work, you should get a machine that gives you access to a wide variety of designs, fonts, and patterns. For this, be sure to check out Brother’s SDX125E.

2. Type: Manual or Electric

There are two main types of vinyl cutters.

Manual cutters are quite limited in terms of features (designs and connectivity) and require manual handle-turning to feed the material into the cutter. However, they are cheaper to buy. Also, if you don’t have access to power, this should be your type.

On the other hand, the electric type is a bit more advanced. Feeding is done electronically and you get access to multiple designs, fonts, and patterns.

Some even have wireless or USB connectivity for linking to your phone or computer to upload additional designs. Though expensive, this type is highly recommended.

3. Cutting Size

The cutting size is basically a measure of the material size that can be fed into the machine for cutting. Ultimately, the wider and longer it is, the better because this allows you to create full-sized crafts for your project.

With that in mind, Brother’s SDX125E takes the top spot because it has a wide and long cutting size of up to 12 x 24 in. respectively.

4. Compatibility

There are two ways of looking at compatibility.

The first should be checked when comparing electric models with wireless or USB connectivity. Some are only compatible with PCs and Macs while others add on compatibility with iOS and Android devices. We highly recommend this for easy access using any of your devices.

Second, you need to buy a machine that is compatible with multiple dies. This will enable you to work on different projects such as embossing, texture fades, etc. For this, be sure to check out the Sizzix 660540.

5. Ease of Use

The ease-of-use factor is relative. While fewer buttons are generally considered easier to use, those who are used to operating smartphones, which have multiple menus will find machines with multiple menus as very easy to use. Therefore, it depends on the user.

In general, though, the single-switch Sizzix 660540 is considered easier to use.

How to Use a Vinyl Cutting Machine 

Manual machines usually come with stamps that you use to imprint the design on the vinyl. However, if you only want to cut out shapes in the vinyl, there’s no need to stamp in the designs/writings. In this case:

  • Assemble the base and plate then put the vinyl on top.
  • Place the die on top of the vinyl then cover it using the top plate.
  • Guide this assembly through the machine then turn the handle to feed it through.
  • For embossing, use the same procedure but with an embossing envelope instead of the plates.

With electric vinyl cutters, you can upload the designs or use the ones available in the machine’s memory. If it doesn’t have onboard designs, use the steps above. However, if it is computerized:

  • Place your vinyl on the platform.
  • Select the design (pattern/font) then press start to begin cutting.
  • After cutting, remove the material then peel out the cut section to separate it from the other section.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we recommend Brother’s SDX125E as the overall best vinyl cutting machine because it has a versatile cutter and scanner design, multiple built-in designs, and a 5-in LCD for quick menu navigation.

However, if you prefer the manual type, Spellbinders’ PL-001 is solidly built and is strong enough to cut through 8 layers of material in one pass. We highly recommend it. You can also get the Sizzix 661500 if you want the manual type and are on a tight budget.

Thanks for letting us know!
Was this page helpful?
Related Reads
Blending fruits and vegetables to make smoothies is known to be a great way to access nutrients and ...
Summers and any other time when the sun is hot might be a temptation to drink as much orange juice ...
Ginger is one of the most versatile spices/herbs. It can be used in cooking and even in juicing. You ...
A good smoothie can be satiating and full of nutrition. This article addresses itself to questions ...
As an avid juicer, you may need to know how much juice in one orange to plan your purchases ...
Can you juice frozen fruit? This is a fundamental question especially for people who freeze fruits ...
Avocados are a superfruit. They are rich in nutrients, minerals, and fatty acids. You may be ...
You may wonder about ways to consume the superfood that is broccoli, without cooking it. So, can you ...
You may be doubtful about freezing juice due to health safety concerns. So, can you freeze juice? ...