8 Best Vinyl Cutters of 2019

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What is the best vinyl cutter—for you? Well, needs and wants can vary a lot between hobbyists and small businesses. That’s why there are so many cutters out the targeted at specific consumers. This short intro will help you identify your expectations and find a cutter that’s just right. The 8 easy-to-read product reviews on this page highlight the best cutting machines around.

The next section lists the most significant buying considerations. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make much sense right now. I’ll walk you through what each point means further down the page.

Budget
best-budget-vinyl-cutter
Cricut Explore Air 2
4.6/5.0
Blade Type: Fine Point
Cutting Area: 12 x 12 inches
Designer-friendly, over 100 materials, built-in Bluetooth.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-vinyl-cutter
Silhouette CAMEO 3
4.7/5.0
Blade Type: AutoBlade
Cutting Area: 12 x 12 inches
Bluetooth, Studio software, autoblade, video tutorials, free downloads.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-vinyl-cutter
USCutter Vinyl Sign Making Kit MH
4.8/5.0
Blade Type: Roland Type
Cutting Area: 34 inches
VinylMaster, customizable interface, works with popular software programs.
Check Amazon

Buying a Vinyl Cutter 101

The 7-point list below highlights the things to consider before buying a vinyl cutter:

  1. Usage: personal, commercial, or a bit of both?
  2. What do you want the cutter for? Be specific
  3. Your skill level and the machine’s ease of use?
  4. Max size of the cutter; where will you use it?
  5. Motor type; servo or stepper?
  6. Material compatibility
  7. Availability of additional accessories

Answer the questions above to create a buyer’s profile. Also, add anything to the list that matters to you. Some examples might be budget, warranty, and safety features. That last point is especially vital if you are buying for—or intend to share the cutter with—kids.

Making Sense of it All

This section explains the above points so that you have a good understanding of what they mean. Please don’t skip this if you’re unsure about any of it. It’s a quick read, and it’ll help you to make better sense of the reviews further down the page.









Other Buying Considerations

Think carefully about the points above as you consider your vinyl cutter machine. Make a note of anything else that matters to you like blade types, cutting speed and cutting depth. The average maximum cutting depth is about 2mm. More is always better. Finally, always ask the seller if you’re unsure about anything, anything at all. Buying in ignorance is too much of a gamble.

About My ‘Best Vinyl Cutter’ Reviews

There are lots of vinyl cutter brands competing today. I researched all the best models and the reasons they appeal to hobbyists and small businesses. I also highlight any features they lack or areas where they fall short. I have not based this list of 8 vinyl cutters solely on personal thoughts, though. As always, I took the views of industry experts and real user feedback into consideration too.

The first three reviews are the Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top Pick. The ones under those are by price, lowest to high. This table shows each product as it appears on the page.

Vinyl Cutters Comparison Table

1. Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint Vinyl Cutter | Best Budget

Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint Vinyl CutterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint is a favorite DIY cutter among hobbyists. It’s an ideal machine for all things vinyl and so much more. The device is quick to set up out of the box and super easy to use.

  • Best feature 1: Cuts, writes, and scores
  • Best feature 2: Fast 2x cutting mode
  • Plus points: Designer-friendly, over 100 materials, built-in Bluetooth, vast image library
  • Minus points: Hidden features, software needs an internet connection to run

Cuts materials (over 100): Iron-on vinyl, specialty vinyl colors, cardstock, adhesive foils, faux leather poster board, specialty paper, and much more.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Product Highlights

Consider the Cricut Explore Air 2 if you’re a hobbyist who wants to bring custom designs to life. It’s the perfect partner for things like vinyl stickers, custom designed garb, bespoke home decor, events cards, and so on. The versatile machine cuts, writes, scores, and includes a 2x fast cutting mode. It also has a Smart Set Dial to prevent using the wrong depth or pressure.

The built-in Bluetooth is a welcome touch for those who love to create on the go. All you do is access Cricut’s ‘Design Space’ simple design software and you’re good to go. The company provides a vast library of pre-made projects and designs. There were over 60,000 images available at the last count.

In the Box of a Cricut Explore Air 2

  • Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine
  • Fine-point blade w/ Housing
  • Fine point pen (black)
  • LightGrip 12 x 12” mat
  • USB cable & power adapter
  • 50 ready-to-make projects
  • Materials for a practice project
  • Welcome booklet

The Not So Good

The company has some extras that are not overly obvious. The most annoying is the monthly subscription fee to access and use their software. That costs around $10/mo. They’re not the only maker to charge subscription fees, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. The software also needs an internet connection to run. That’s fine—until there are connectivity problems.

Tech Specs
Brand: Cricut
Dimensions: 24 x 9.5 x 9.5”
Product Weight: 14 lbs.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Blade: German carbide premium
Cutting Speed: 2x fast speed mode
Software: Design Space
The Pros
Cuts, writes, and scores
Fast cutting mode
Designer-friendly
Over 100 materials
Built-in Bluetooth
Vast image library
The Cons
Hidden features
Software needs internet connection to run

2. Silhouette CAMEO 3 DIY Vinyl Cutter | Best Value

Silhouette CAMEO 3 DIY Vinyl CutterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The editor’s Best Value pick goes to the Silhouette Cameo 3 Teal Bluetooth Starter Bundle. It’s a time and money-saving purchase that has everything you need to start in one box.

  • Best feature 1: No internet connection needed
  • Best feature 2: Touchscreen display
  • Plus points: Bluetooth, Studio software, autoblade, video tutorials, free downloads
  • Minus points: Overwhelming for newbies

Cuts materials: Iron-on vinyl, cardstock, adhesive foils, faux leather, specialty paper, and more.

Silhouette CAMEO 3 Product Highlights

The Silhouette Cameo 3 comes with a touchscreen, Bluetooth, and the latest Studio software. Its AutoBlade auto-adjusts to match the material in use. You don’t need an internet connection to use this vinyl cutter or software. That’s a significant buying consideration. Some rival products won’t function unless you pay a monthly subscription fee. There’s no need to buy fonts or designs either.

New users welcome the Vinyl Application Guide and beginner-friendly assistance. There are free digital design downloads, bonus e-guides, and access to 150+ video tutorials.

In the Box of a Silhouette CAMEO 3

  • TEAL Silhouette Cameo 3 w/ touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 12 x 12” cutting mat
  • AutoBlade – Auto adjusts cutting blade to match material
  • Ratchet adjustment tool, vinyl trimmer
  • 7 e-guides by Silhouette School
  • Online Cameo 3 Instructional Class
  • 100 exclusive designs + 100 bonus designs
  • Latest Studio software for Windows & Mac
  • Power adapter, USB

The Not So Good

There’s too much of a good thing. This bundle has a lot going on and much to offer, and that’s one of its problems. It can get overwhelming for newbies. Guides and video tutorials are aplenty. Still, the learning curve may be too steep and time-consuming for some raw novices.

Tech Specs
Brand: Silhouette America
Dimensions: 24 x 11 x 9”
Product Weight: 14.8 lbs.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Blade: AutoBlade
Cutting Speed: Xxx
Software: Silhouette Studio
The Pros
No internet connection needed
Touchscreen display
Bluetooth connection
Studio software for Win/Mac
AutoBlade (auto-adjusts)
Lots of video tutorials & guides
Free design downloads
Online Cameo 3 class
Lifetime customer support
The Cons
Overwhelming for newbies

3. USCutter MH 34″ Vinyl Sign Making Bundle | Top Pick

USCutter MH 34 Vinyl Sign Making BundleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The top vinyl cutter pick is the USCutter MH 34″ Vinyl Sign Making Bundle for professional use. It’s capable of making banners, signs, stickers, and many other large-scale projects.

  • Best feature 1: Purpose vinyl signage cutter
  • Best feature 2: Software w/ entire suite of text, curve, and object tools
  • Plus points: VinylMaster, customizable interface, works with popular software programs
  • Minus points: Not compatible with Mac, needs practice

Cuts materials: Standard vinyl, heat transfer vinyl (HTV), paper, craft paper, card stock, paint mask.

USCutter Vinyl Sign Maker Highlights

The cutter comes with VinylMaster Cut dedicated software (Basic Edition) for vinyl signage. The interface is intuitive and easy to customize. The vectorization tools built into the program are compatible with most popular image formats. The bundle also includes an entire suite of text, curve, and object tools. And the innovative spooling function lets users queue multiple jobs.

This machine has a standard blade holder for use with the most economical blade types. Its 3 fully-adjustable pinch-rollers accommodate a flexible choice of materials. The dual media roller system is a real time-saver. It allows material to be placed on top of the rollers (no feeding necessary).

In the Box of a USCutter MH 34

  • 34″ USCutter MH series vinyl cutter plotter w/ Stand
  • VinylMaster Cut (design & cut software)
  • 2 x Roll Greenstar Sign Vinyl (not HTV)
  • Roll TransferRite Ultra 592U paper application tape
  • Roll TransferRite Ultra Clear 1310G (grid) medium tack application transfer tape
  • 3 x Vinyl Cutter Roland type replacement blades
  • Hobby Knife and squeegee

Point to note: The USCutter MH-Series vinyl cutters work with other popular software programs. Some of those include Sure Cuts Alot, Flexi, SignBlaser and SignCut Productivity Pro.

The Not So Good

There are only 2 negatives with this otherwise incredible machine. One is the cutter doesn’t work with Apple/Mac computer systems. The other is that first-time users of a vinyl sign maker are sure to experience a learning curve. It’s as intuitive as it can be, but there’s still lots to take in.

Tech Specs
Brand: USCutter
Dimensions: 42.6 x 16.3 x 13.2”
Product Weight: 49.9 lbs.
Connectivity: USB
Blade: Standard blade (Roland compatible blade holder)
Cutting Speed: 39 in/s
Software: VinylMaster Cut
The Pros
Purpose vinyl signage cutter
SW w/ Includes a suite of text, curve, and object tools
VinylMaster software (Basic)
Customizable interface
Works with other popular software programs
Included light-duty hobby knife
Included application tape and roll vinyl
The Cons
Not compatible with Mac
Needs practice to master

4. Silhouette – America Portrait 2 Vinyl Cutter

Silhouette - America Portrait 2 Vinyl CutterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Silhouette Portrait 2 is an excellent choice for those who need to be mobile. It’s a lightweight, portable machine that you can take anywhere with minimal hassle.

  • Best feature 1: Auto blade design
  • Best feature 2: Reliable Bluetooth connectivity
  • Plus points: Easy to use, lightweight, cuts thick materials, digitalized cutting
  • Minus points: No designs included, subscription service

Cuts materials (over 100): Adhesive vinyl, heat transfer material, cardstock, fabric, transparencies, paper, vellum, and magnet paper.

America Portrait 2 Product Highlights

There are many reasons why hobbyists love the Silhouette Portrait 2 electronic cutter. It’s akin to a home printer in its size, lightweight, and ease of use. The machine plugs into the USB port of any Mac or PC via a simple USB cable. Material choice is vast with over 100 types to choose from (see above). And Silhouette’s brilliant new auto blade automatically adjusts itself to the proper cutting depth.

The Portrait 2 utilizes the deep cut blade due to its 2mm clearance. That’s ideal if you need to cut thicker materials. Bluetooth® is another welcome feature (adapter included) for wireless connectivity. The machine is also capable of digitalized cutting as it’s PixScan compatible. PixScan™ is a technology that cuts around printed images or positions with ultra-high precision. Think stamps as one example.

In the Box of a Silhouette America Portrait 2

  • Silhouette Portrait 2 electronic cutting machine
  • Silhouette Studio software
  • Power cable
  • USB cable
  • 8” cutting mat
  • Autoblade
  • 1 month free subscription to Silhouette Design Store
  • Bluetooth adapter

The Not So Good

There are no free designs included with this product which is unusual for a vinyl cutter. It does include a month’s free subscription to Silhouette’s software and $25 in credits. That means you can get enough designs, patterns, and fonts from the company store to get going. There isn’t a subscription to use the software, but there’s a fee if you need access to other fonts and designs.

Tech Specs
Brand: Silhouette America
Dimensions: 12 x 4 x 5”
Product Weight: 6.6 lbs.
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Blade: Auto blade
Software: Silhouette Studio for Mac/PC
The Pros
Auto blade design
Reliable Bluetooth connectivity
No internet connection needed
Easy to use
Small, lightweight, and portable
Bluetooth (cute wirelessly)
Cuts thick materials
Digitalized cutting (PixScan compatible)
The Cons
No designs included
Subscription service for extras

5. Scanncut2 CM350 Cutting Machine by Brother

Scanncut2 CM350 Cutting Machine by BrotherView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Brother’s Scanncut2 CM350 is a cutting machine with a scanner. This arrangement lets uses scan what they see and then cut it from a single device. It’s a worthy rival to Silhouette and Cricut.

  • Best feature 1: Larger color touchscreen
  • Best feature 2: Built-in Scanner
  • Plus points: Multiple connectivity options, on-screen editing, large cutting & scanning area
  • Minus points: Wireless activation fee, short of extras

Cuts materials: vinyl, paper (various), heavy card stock, fabric, photopolymer stamp material, leather, acetate, and much more.

Scanncut2 CM350 Product Highlights

The color LCD touchscreen is a clear, anti-glare 4.85” display. That’s a 30% increase on the previous model and makes working with projects even easier. Brother is the only vinyl cutter producer to include a built-in scanner. The RGB color recognition helps to produce incredibly accurate cuts. On-screen editing is a snap, and there’s access to 100s of built-in designs and fonts to choose from.

Multiple connectivity options make this machine even more appealing. You can connect wirelessly, direct to PC, and via USB memory stick. There’s no skimping on the cutting area either with the 12×12” cutting mat. There’s also an option to upgrade to a larger mat if you need extra space.

In the Box of a Scanncut2 CM350

  • Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 cutting machine
  • Instruction guide
  • Standard cut blade
  • Standard cut blade holder
  • Standard 12×12 cutting mat
  • 2 Color pen set (red/black) + pen holder
  • Touch pen
  • Spatula
  • Accessory pouch
  • Limited 12-month warranty

The Not So Good

There isn’t an option to use wireless connectivity out of the box. New owners must pay an activation fee if they want to exploit the WiFi function. Second, this package lacks extras compared to some rival brands. Typical missing items include bonus mats and spare blades.

Tech Specs
Brand: Brother
Dimensions: 10.1 x 22.8 x 10.6”
Product Weight: 10.36 lbs.
Connectivity: Multiple
Blade: German carbide blade
Software: ScanNCutCanvas
The Pros
Larger color touchscreen
Built-in Scanner
Multiple connectivity options
Easy on-screen editing
Large cutting & scanning area
100s of new built-in designs
Free-to-use software
The Cons
Wireless activation fee
Short of extras

6. Mophorn Vinyl Plotter Cutting Machine

Mophorn Vinyl Plotter Cutting MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

This cutting machine is the popular 14” Mophorn Vinyl Plotter. It comes equipped with easy-to-use software and works with a variety of materials.

  • Best feature 1: Backlit LCD screen
  • Best feature 2: Large Control Panel buttons
  • Plus points: Adjustable speeds, clear instructions, perfect for the hobbyist or small business
  • Minus points: Learning curve, average quality

Cuts materials: Adjustable rollers allow a range of materials. PVC/soft polyester, soft film, Kent paper (inkjet or laser), drawing paper, postcards, scrapbooking paper, inkjet photo paper, and more.

Mophorn Vinyl Plotter Product Highlights

Setting the machine up out of the box could not be easier. The instruction booklet that comes with the product is straightforward and easy to follow. I mention that because not all guides are so practical. All users praise this model for its bright LCD screen. It also has large Control Panel buttons that make navigation a breeze. That includes touch-button controls for speed and force.

The machine comes with SIGNMASTER vinyl cutting software (Basic Version). It lets you design, produce, and edit existing projects like logos, vinyl lettering, and pinstriping, etc. It has everything a hobbyist or small business could need.

In the Box of a Mophorn Vinyl Plotter

  • A4 Mini Vinyl Cutter Plotter Machine
  • Blade holder
  • Blade
  • Pen holder with ballpoint pen refill
  • USB cable
  • Power cord
  • Disk
  • 2 X cutting mats

The Not So Good

Anyone who’s used a vinyl cutter before will have no trouble working the Mophorn Vinyl Plotter. But some novice users report a slight learning curve. Set aside a little time to play around and get familiar with it all. The price is average for a cutter in its class, but so is the finish. Everything works and nothing breaks. It’s just that the machine doesn’t have the same quality finish as some of its rivals.

Tech Specs
Brand: Mophorn
Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 12”
Product Weight: 20 lbs.
Connectivity: USB
Blade: Standard 2mm, Roland Compatible
Cutting Speed: 10-800 mm/s
Software: SIGNMASTER
The Pros
Backlit LCD screen
Large Control Panel buttons
Adjustable speeds & force
Fully adjustable pinch-rollers
Clear instructions
Ideal for hobbyist or light business
The Cons
Slight learning curve
Average quality

7. Cricut Maker Champagne, Multi-Cutter

Cricut Maker Champagne, Multi-CutterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The seventh pick is the Cricut Maker, Champagne, a truly flexible multi cutter. It’s a fantastic choice for creative hobbyists who love to experiment with different projects.

  • Best feature 1: Expandable suite of tools
  • Best feature 2: Rotary blade
  • Plus points: Cuts 300+ materials, knife blade, blade detection, rich sewing library, unique pens
  • Minus points: Limited cutting space, web-based design software

Cuts materials (300+): vinyl, iron-on, most fabrics, cardstock, poster board, and much more.

Cricut Maker, Champagne Cutter Highlights

Cricut Maker is a reliable workhorse of professional grade. The machine comes with an expandable suite of tools to meet all kinds of challenges. Tools include powerful blades, a scoring tool, and pens. It works with over 300 different materials without exaggeration. It’s a versatile cutter too. It slices through fine papers, fabrics, and tougher materials like chipboard and balsa.

Exceptional Blades for Exciting Projects

The rotary blade can tackle just about any fabric (without backing material). It works fast and with high accuracy too. This blade is also ideal for cutting felt and crepe paper. The Knife Blade is the one to use for heavier materials like 2.4mm balsa and matboard. Another valuable feature is blade detection. What that does is auto-check the blade in use is the right one for the material.

Included with the Cricut Maker Champagne are dozens of quilting and sewing projects. Users can access the offline Design Space software via the Android or iOS app.

In the Box of a Cricut Maker Champagne

  • Cricut Maker cutting machine
  • Rotary blade and drive housing
  • Premium fine point blade and housing
  • Fine point pen
  • Two 12 x 12” cutting mats
  • Design apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • 50 ready-to-make projects (includes 25 sewing patterns)
  • Materials

The Not So Good

The biggest gripe with the Cricut Maker Champagne is its limited cutting area. There’s less space than its rivals Cameo and Silhouette. The other complaint is the internet-based Design Space software. It’s free to use, but being web—as opposed to computer-based—it has limits.

Tech Specs
Brand: Cricut
Dimensions: 22.6 x 7.1 x 6.2”
Product Weight: 15.02 lbs.
Connectivity: USB
Blade: Rotary, Knife
Software: Design Space
The Pros
Expandable suite
Unique pens
Rotary blade
knife blade
Blade detection
Cuts 300+ materials
Rich sewing library
The Cons
Cutting space limited
Web-based design software

8. USCutter 28″ SC2 Vinyl Cutter Heat Press Bundle

USCutter 28 SC2 Vinyl Cutter Heat Press BundleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

This USCutter is a 28” SC2 professional vinyl cutting machine for creative sign businesses. It’s also a bundle and includes a 15x 5” clamshell heat press as part of the combo.

  • Best feature 1: MH Series Vinyl Cutter w/Stand + Heat Press
  • Best feature 2: Fast, quiet stepper motor
  • Plus points: Emergency stop feature, VinylMaster Cut software, includes sheets & rolls
  • Minus points: Difficult assembly, not compatible with Apple Mac

Cuts materials: Heat Transfer Vinyl

USCutter 28” SC2 Product Highlights

USCutter’s 28” SC2 combo is for those who want to take their business to the next level. You can create professional banners, signs, labels, stickers, and t-shirts, etc. The cutter comes with a sturdy stand that makes working comfortable and convenient. A fast, quiet stepper motor powers the device. There’s also a reassuring Emergency Stop and Stop to Return feature.

The software that comes with the USCutter 28” SC2 is VinylMaster Cut (Basic Edition). The company created VinylMaster Cut specifically for producing vinyl signage. This combo includes colored sheets and long-lasting vinyl rolls to get you started.

USCutter 15×15” Heat Press Highlights

The clamshell heat press that comes with this combo has a large 15″ x 15″ working area. It’s an easy-to-use commercial-grade machine that features a large digital LCD panel. It also arrives fully-assembled and ready to go straight out of the box. It’s a versatile product that can apply creative designs to any flat surface. Some of those include ceramic, fabric, wood, metal, and glass.

In the Box of a USCutter 28” SC2 Bundle

  • SC2 Cutter/Plotter unit
  • Aluminum stand with lockable wheels
  • 2 x superior ball-bearing dual roller
  • Cutting blade holder
  • Pen Holder with blue ink cartridge (for plotter drawing)
  • USB cable
  • Serial cable
  • 3 x high-quality blades
  • 5 color sheets 15″ x 3 yds.
  • 5 color rolls of Oracal 651 24” by 5 ft.
  • 15 x 15” heat press

The Not So Good

New users may encounter some frustration assembling the USCutter 28” SC2. The stand is especially awkward, and there are no instructions in the box. You can find help on the website, but they don’t make that obvious either. My advice would be to find some set up and installation videos on YouTube. Note also, this machine is not compatible with Apple Mac computer systems.

Tech Specs
Brand: USCutter
Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 11”
Product Weight: 121 lbs.
Connectivity: USB 2.0
Blade: Roland type
Software: VinylMaster Cut
The Pros
Vinyl Cutter + heat press combo
Robust machine stand
Fast, quiet stepper motor
Emergency stop feature
Includes sheets & rolls
Vinyl signage software
The Cons
Learning curve
Not compatible with Apple Mac

Contents

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