Are you frustrated with the lack of reliable facts online about the best die cut machine? No worries as I have prepared a complete review and buyers’ guide. I have taken a look at the best die cutting machine reviews and selected the top 5. In addition, I have included information about die cut machines in general.
There are many kinds of die cut machines. But their basic purpose is the same. They make it easy for you to create complex and accurate shapes from various materials. Deciding what model to choose can be tough especially if you don’t know much about these machines. This guide can help.
- 1 Why need a Die Cut Machine
- 2 Advantages of the Die Cut Machine
- 3 Types of Die Cut Machine
- 4 Things To Consider Before Buying a Die Cut Machine
- 5 Our Pick For Best Die Cut Machine
- 6 Short Review Of Each Best Die Cut Machine
- 6.1 1. Silhouette Cameo – Starter Bundle
- 6.2 2. Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Tool
- 6.3 3. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Electronic Cutting Machine Bundle
- 6.4 4. Sizzix 657900 Big Shot Cutting/Embossizng Machine with Extended Multipurpose Platform
- 6.5 5. Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine, 14.4 by 12-Inch, Green
- 7 How to Use a Die Cut Machine
- 8 Accessories for a Die Cut Machine
- 9 Maintenance Tips
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 My Recommendations
- 12 Final Word
Why need a Die Cut Machine
A die cut machine has nearly limitless usage. You can use it to customize your birthday and party invites, spruce up wedding favors, decorations and banners. You can also use it to add some style to your photo albums.
A die cut machine can also be used for school projects, posters and various types of school reports. If your business involves creating decors from paper, cardboard, cardstock and other materials, this machine will be necessary.
Are you still unsure if you need one of these? Here are some of the top reasons.
- Can be used to make materials for scrapbooks, quilts, artwork, business cards, emboss and more.
- Can be used for large and small tasks.
- A die cut machine is more precise than scissors and knives.
- They’re great for hobbyists or professional use.
- These machines automate the die cutting process.
- They can cut through tough materials.
The bottom line is this: a die cut machine makes your life easier. Whether you’re into die cutting for fun or business, these machines make the process simpler. You don’t have to do any laborious cutting anymore. You won’t be limited to a rectangular shape either.
Have you ever felt frustrated cutting complex, intricate shapes with scissors and knives? They never come out the way you like, right? The time and effort you put into that isn’t worth it.
Is it more expensive to buy a die cut machine than use knives and scissors? No. The money you spend is well spent as you increase productivity. Over time it’s going to spell the difference in terms of what you can do.
Advantages of the Die Cut Machine
- Die cut machines come in different sizes with varying capabilities.
- They can cut paper and card stick as well as thicker materials. Some of the tougher die cutters can be used with leather, sheet metal, paperboard, foam, fiberboard etc.
- All die cut machines are capable of embossing and cutting.
- Some models can scan, weld and print.
- Die cutters can be used for scrapbooking, quilting, cards, stickers and stamps.
- Die cutters produce intricate and delicate pieces.
- Specially designed die cutters can work with various types of fabrics. These machines are designed to work with fabrics of varying thicknesses and textures.
Types of Die Cut Machine
There are mainly three types of die cut machine—Manual, Electric and Digital Die Cutting Machine.
Manual Die Cutting Machine
Manual die cutters are the most affordable. However they need more work. They do require more from you. Usually you place the die sandwich in the system. Turn the lever or handle and rotate repeatedly until the die is cast.
Electronic Die Cutting Machine
Electronic die cutters cost more than manual, but there’s less work for you. Just like with a manual die cutter, you put the die sandwich in the machine. But rather than turning or cranking, the machine does the work.
Digital Die Cutting Machines
Digital or computerized die cutters are the most expensive. Usually they have a graphics or software program built in. They are capable of producing various designs. They also work at various speeds. Digital die cutters require very little physical exertion on your part. They are also accurate, versatile and easy to use.
So which of the three should you buy? Here are some suggestions:
- If you are on a budget, a manual die cutter is a good option.
- If you find that a manual die cutter cannot satisfy your requirements, an electric die cutter could be what you need.
- If you want it all, go digital.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Die Cut Machine
Durability: If there is one trait the best die cut machine products share, it is being durable. If you’re going to use the machine extensively, it must be built for long term use. Even the most durable die cutters won’t last if not properly used, however.
Ease of Use: Even the most feature-packed die cutter is worthless if you cannot use it. A good die cutter isn’t just about capabilities. It is also about being easy to use. The simpler the die cutter is, the more productive you’re going to be.
Capabilities: Even the simplest die cutter can be used to make different shapes. If you’re a beginner it’s best to go with a simple die cutter first. If you’re experienced or want more features or need to use it for business, an electronic or digital die cutter would be better.
Software: The best die cut machine has software built in. Software makes it easy to create various shapes and designs. However this feature is only present more advanced die cutters. You also have to remember the software in these machines have different capabilities and features.
Size and Portability: The larger the die cutter, the bigger the projects you can work on. If you’re not going to move the machine, size won’t be a problem. But if you plan to carry it around, look for a more portable die cutter. Smaller units however, do not have as many features.
Die Cutting Machine Safety: Modern die cutters are safe to use, but it never hurts to read the manual and follow the safety guidelines.
Price: Compare prices of die cutters online. The more powerful and feature packed, the more expensive it’s going to be. Even so the price has gone down considerably from a few years back.
Our Pick For Best Die Cut Machine
We made a short list of 5 best die cut machine for you. Let’s take a look at our best pick.
Short Review Of Each Best Die Cut Machine
Here is the short review of each best die cut machine that we selected for you.
1. Silhouette Cameo – Starter Bundle
As far as starter bundles go, the Silhouette is one of the best die cut machine sets I’ve tried. The bundle comes with all the essentials necessary to get you started. The software is easy to use. I also like how it’s able to cut different images and fonts. The touchscreen is in full color and it’s very responsive. It’s also one of the most versatile die cutters. From vinyl to shirts, jeans and other materials, the Silhouette gets it done.
- Cuts 100+ Materials.
- Includes the most powerful cutting and design software in the market, Free!
- Features a full 12 inch cutting width and mat-less cutting for rolled materials.
- Cut any font installed on your computer.
- Cut precisely around pre-printed materials with Silhouette’s Print & Cut feature.
- One-month basic subscription over 50,000 pre-designed shapes in the Silhouette Online Store.
- Easily Connected with Mac or PC using a simple USB cable.
- Includes 2 12″x12″ cutting mats, 2 cutting blades, a Silhouette Pick Me Up tool, a Silhouette Metallic Sketch Pen Pack.
- Included instruction guide and instructional DVD.
- 1 Year Parts and Labor Warranty.
- Easy touchscreen operation.
- Cuts hundreds of materials.
- Has a container for extra cutters and blades.
- Designed for beginners.
- Does not come with a physical manual.
- Blade adjustment somewhat tedious.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The reviews for the Silhouette die cutter are mostly in its favor. One customer says it’s the perfect choice for beginners. Another reviewer says the die cutter has a lot of features and comparable to more expensive models. One customer gave an enthusiastic review and rated the die cutter five stars.
The general impression I get from the reviews is the Silhouette is really good. One customer says she uses it for vinyl decals. Another reviewer awarded it 5 stars. I also came across another review who says it is the perfect bundle for die cutter newbies.
Some of the reviews have complaints. One customer isn’t happy the manual is only online. Another says the software should have more features. But by and large, majority of those who bought the Silhouette are happy with it.
2. Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Tool
Another Silhouette product makes it on our list. Some of the best die cutting machine reviews has been written about it, and it’s true. The cutting process is quick and accurate. The software is compatible with the Mac and PC so that won’t be an issue. What I really enjoy about the Silhouette is its versatility. Whether it’s for scrapbooks or crafts, the results are smooth. When it comes to paper crafts, this is one of the best in the business. The Cameo is good enough for professional use, but it’s also fun. The precision and features are up there with the more expensive die cutters.
- Weight 12 lbs.
- The silhouette cameo include a 12 inch cutting mat, cutting blade, 50 exclusive cuttable. designs and $10 gift card to the Silhouette Online Store.
- Includes access to thousands of downloadable designs.
- Includes PC and Mac compatible software.
- Cuts up to 12-inch wide and 10-feet long; cuts a variety of materials from vinyl to fabric.
- Great for Scrapbook layouts, cards,custom apparel, vinyl decor, etched glass, sketch. designs, and paper crafts.
- Intricate cuts, precision duplication, and smooth edges make the Silhouette the perfect tool for paper crafting projects.
- USB slot for easily loading and cutting directly from a USB stick.
- Bundled software is easy to use.
- Compatible with your computer fonts.
- Cuts to any size.
- Great for paper crafts.
- One customer says the program is slow.
- Bits of paper could end up in the blade.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
Feedback for the Cameo is mostly in its favor. One customer says the Cameo is easy to use. Another reviewer gave the Cameo 5 stars, saying it’s “perfect” and works without problems. There are also several reviews from buyers who expressed satisfaction with its performance.
If you read the product reviews, you will notice how versatile it is. Some have used it for birthday parties. Others use the cutter to make cards and others for kids’ decors. While some customers have criticisms, most are content with it. After reviewing the Cameo, it’s clear the positive reviews are correct.
3. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Electronic Cutting Machine Bundle
The Cricut deserves to be included in this list of the best die cut machine products. It is easy to use and the software is free. You can upload your designs without paying. If you have ever wanted to do a custom job for your project, this is the software that will do it. The Cricut also uses the company’s Cut Smart technology for smooth edges and cuts.
- Embedded Bluetooth for wireless cutting.
- Dual carriage for cutting and writing or cutting and scoring in one step.
- Upload your own images for free (.svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .dxf).
- Cut over 60 materials from vellum to leather.
- Smart Set dial for easy material settings.
- Free Cricut Design Space online software and iPad app.
- Cut Smart precision cutting.
- Works with all Cricut cartridges.
- Integrated storage compartments.
- Smooth cuts.
- The software is intuitive.
- No need to mess with complex settings.
- Automatically cuts white space.
- Cartridge use is optional.
- Online connection required.
- Large files take a while to process.
- only prints at 100 dpi.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The best die cutting machine reviews online have given the Cricut the thumbs up. One reviewer says he’s happy with the die cutter’s ability to cut different materials. Another customer says uploading is quick and easy. This view is echoed by other customers who enjoyed its versatility.
Majority of the people who bought the die cutter say it’s just what they need. One gave the Cricut a 10, an indication of how highly he thinks of it. This rating is shared by other customers who have been frustrated with other die cutters.
There are some reviewers who aren’t entirely satisfied with the product. But overall the response has been on the positive side.
4. Sizzix 657900 Big Shot Cutting/Embossizng Machine with Extended Multipurpose Platform
If you read the best die cutting machine reviews online, the Big Shot is often mentioned. I’m not shocked because it is really good. The machine is portable but doesn’t compromise with performance. You’ll find the Sizzix easy to use. Making art, crafts, décor and other stuff is straightforward. You can also make your own one-of-a-kind cards, invitations, scrapbook pages, home decor, fashion, altered art, quilting and much more. The cutting pads are well-designed and safe for kids to use. You can also emboss various types of materials so that’s a plus.
- Powder Blue and Teal color scheme.
- Portable shape-cutting and embossing roller-style.
- Included with the Big Shot are a pair of Standard Cutting Pads and the adjustable Extended Multipurpose Platform.
- Works with almost the entire Sizzix product library, as well as other die-cutting and embossing tools.
- Weight 7.50 lb.
- Measures 14-1/4″ x 12-3/8″ x 6-5/8″ inches.
- 3-years limited warranty.
- Beautiful design.
- Simple to use.
- Compatible with the Sizzix library.
- Machine is well-designed.
- Instructions could have been clearer.
- One customer complained the embossing feature isn’t that good.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
Give its specs, it’s to be expected the Sizzix gets some of the best die cutting machine reviews online. Not all the reviews are enthusiastic, but most are. One customer calls the Sizzix stylish and practical. Another one says she uses it to make crafts with her kids.
Most customers praise its versatility. A long time die cutter says he’s happy with the way it works with small and large dies. Long time users posted reviews saying they like its performance and versatility.
The impression I get is that the Sizzix is an outstanding die cutter. It is a lot of fun to use and durable. Reviews show adults and kids are happy with it. After reviewing the die cutter, I can only say, add me to the list of the impressed.
5. Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine, 14.4 by 12-Inch, Green
I don’t easily bestow the title of best die cut machine, but the Cuttlebug deserves it. The machine is beautifully designed, but more than that it’s full-featured. You won’t have any problems getting it to work with your dies. Cutting and embossing materials is straightforward and it doesn’t make a lot of noise. I like the fold n store design as it occupies less space. Performance is good and you can use different types of materials. The handle is also convenient.
- Accepts the dies you already own.
- Freeing you to cut and emboss from a wide range of crafting materials.
- Compact fold-n-store profile allows storage in less space than other leading machines.
- With a built-in pop-up handle, the Cricut Cuttlebug goes wherever you find inspiration.
- Box contents include: Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutter & Embosser, 1 A Spacer, 2 B Cutting Pads, instruction booklet and 1 5×7 flower embossing folder.
- Comes with all necessary cutting pads you need to get started.
- User manual.
- Bonus embossing folder: simple flower.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Strong suction power.
- Great for large and small crafts.
- Easy to store.
- One customer says the handle broke while cranking.
- C plate has to be purchased separately.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The feedback is generally favorable. One customer says it’s easy to use and fun. Some of the best die cutting machine reviews come from newbies. They have expressed satisfaction with its performance and quality. Another reviewer said embossing doesn’t deteriorate.
Another customer who was looking for a portable die cutter only had positive things to say. A reviewer says that it’s a lot of fun. Yet another one says it’s “cool” and been a lot of fun. Other 4 and 5 star reviews point out it’s exactly what they thought it would be.
After going through these reviews and feedback, it’s safe to conclude the Cricut is well-designed and works fine. Even if you’re a first timer user, the manual provides all the essential information.
How to Use a Die Cut Machine
- Unpack the die cutter from the box.
- The main parts are pre-assembled, but you may need to install some components. Follow the instructions in the manual.
- Open the cover or sides. Take out the cutting platform.
- There should be a switch or lever to keep the machine from moving while you use it. Turn it.
- Turn the collapsed section and put the cutting platforms in place.
- Your die cutter should come with a base plate, cutting pad and metal sheet. You use these for die cutting. Refer to the manual for compatible materials.
- Setting the base plate on the cutting platform. Put the paper on the die and add the cutting pad.
- Adjust the depth gauge as befits your requirements.
- Push the materials in and push in the die cutter.
- If it is a manual die cutter, turn the crank. If it is electronic or digital, you may need to press a button and let the machine do its work.
The information above is a general guideline for using a die cutter. The specifics vary per manufacturer. Follow the instructions which are given there.
Accessories for a Die Cut Machine
Silhouette Replacement Blade 3 Pack
Over time the blades on your Silhouette will get dull. With this replacement pack you will get your machine up and running again.
Cricut StandardGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat
The package includes a couple of 12″ x 24″ mats. It’s perfect for die cutting, and can be used with other die cutters as well. If the mat is too sticky, wipe it with a shirt to remove some of it.
Silhouette Cameo Replacement Cutting Mat
This has been manufactured specifically for the Silhouette. They work well, but keep in mind the mat is really sticky. Design wise the mat is easy to use. Cut images also come out smooth.
Provo Craft 37-1260 Cuttlebug Adapter Plate C
This allows you to make various shapes for the Cuttlebug. It is also compatible with other dies. However it is designed mainly for the Cuttlebug and works best there.
Cuttlebug Cricut Cut and Emboss Dies, Rubber Embossing Mat
You can use this to create complex shapes with your Circuit die cutter. It is compatible with Cricut Cuttlebug and other brands.
Most of these mats come in other forms. Check each product in detail to find which version works best for your material.
- As the best die cutting machine reviews will tell you, a clean die cutter works best. A clean piece of cloth should be enough to remove dust and dirt. If there’s excessive buildup, apply a bit of alcohol on a piece of cloth and wipe the surface.
- Do not use strong detergents, cleansers or other powerful cleaning solutions.
- The dies should be kept clean. Dirty dies often cause jamming and cause damage.
- Clean the cutting plates. Just dampen the plate a little, apply some dish soap and use a toothbrush to clean it.
- Don’t force anything into the cutter.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I buy an automatic or manual die cutter?
Answer: If you’re a beginner or makes crafts only occasionally, a manual die cutter will do. For professional and business uses, an automatic die cutter is better.
2. Can I use X material on my die cutting machine?
Answer: It depends on what type of die cutter you’re using. The most basic models can handle paper, fabric and vinyl. The more advanced die cutters can work with sheet metal, leather and others.
3. What can I use a die cutter for?
Answer: Die cutters are used for crafts, scrapbooks, stamps, labels, stickers, party decors and even fonts.
4. Do all die cutters have an embossing feature?
Answer: Most of them have this feature.
5. My plate / sandwich is stuck. What should I do?
Answer: Pull it gently back out, or slowly shimmy along the roller.
Now you’ve seen the top 5, and the question is, which is the best die cut machine among them? They’re all of the highest quality. But I have to give the edge to the Sizzix 657900 Big Shot Cutting/Embossizng Machine with Extended Multipurpose Platform and the Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Tool.
The Silhouette Cameo is not just feature packed. It makes very good cuts and built for extended use. I also like its simple but effective construction. The Sizzix is also commendable. It’s got a stylish look and making adjustments is easy. I just cannot decide which of the two is better.
Die cut machines used to be considered nothing more than expensive toys. However that’s no longer true. These machines have become more powerful. They can also do a lot more in terms of cuts. Now the challenge is deciding what to buy. All too often people make mistakes and end up with a die cut system they can’t use.
What I have done here is provide you with a guide to the best die cut machine. True you can point and click your way and shop online. But it’s always better to be know what you’re getting, so enjoy!