The 10 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines – Rated and Compared
Is creating vinyl decals your hobby? Could your business benefit from a new vinyl cutter? It can be hard to pick out a model that suits your needs, but we've rounded up the top ten devices on the market.
Here's the best in this year.
Vinyl cutters are used in households across the country for hobbies as well as in business offices around the world. They save valuable time in both creating and crafting designs, but how can you choose the right model for your needs with so many options flooding the market?
We’ve scoured the internet, researching over a hundred different vinyl cutters to find the ten best available today.
Here’s our list, complete with a buying guide to help you make the best decision.
What Is A Vinyl Cutter?
A vinyl cutter is similar to a printer but utilizes a sharp blade to cut shapes and letters into thin sheets of self-adhesive vinyl. These designs can be placed on nearly any surface, making them useful for both business and individuals who love crafts.
Designs are created via computer software, then sent digitally over to the vinyl cutter. Most models can make cuts on multiple types of materials including paper and leather, depending on the pressure their blades are capable of applying.
However, most users enjoy creating vinyl decals and the freedom of creativity that these machines offer.
Now that you know what a vinyl cutter is, it’s time to unveil our top ten list! First, we’d like to explain how we came up with our ratings.
How We Chose Our Ratings
After hours of extensive research, we finally decided on a top ten list. Every fact has been checked for accuracy, and these are our honest opinions of each product.
To determine which devices made the cut, we read hundreds of testimonials and customer reviews as well as data about each machine’s capabilities.
We also weighed in the general reputation of the brand to further develop an accurate list. We’re confident that these are the absolute best models on the market, and we hope our hard work is reflected on this list.
Best Vinyl Cutter Machine Comparison Table
This is our comprehensive list of the best vinyl cutters on the market. They’re arranged from “best of the best” to “worst of the best” for convenience, but they’re all winners in our book.
Vinyl Cutter Machines Reviewed
1. Brother ScanNCut CM100DM Cutting Machine
Easily the most high-tech vinyl cutter on the market, Brother’s ScanNCut features an inbuilt 300 DPI scanner for absolute precision cutting.
It’s scanning ability allows you to incorporate family photos, handmade drawings, and anything else you could possibly think of. That’s on top of the 600+ included designs.
An integrated LCD screen allows you to edit your work beforehand by resizing, welding, rotating, and more.
Capable of cutting several types of materials and offering lightning fast speeds, the most impressive feature found in this model might be how all of this technology was stuffed into such a small package.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
2. Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
With circuit pens that allow you to choose from over 300 handwritten fonts and cordless capabilities, the Cricut Explore Air 2 soars ahead of the competition. This model features a “fast mode” that boosts performance for rapid speed cutting with precision strokes. You’ll also be able to cut everything from vinyl to cardstock, making it highly versatile.
Perhaps the most exciting feature is the smart dial, which allows you to quickly adjust the settings for your current project. With free Design Space software included, you can quickly create and cut your own artwork. Throw in Bluetooth for wireless commands, and you have one impressive vinyl cutter.
Rating: 5 out of 5
3. Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine Vinyl Starter Kit Bundle
This bundle is designed with beginners in mind but still offers the high quality and reliability a professional would expect in a vinyl cutting machine. The device features a touchscreen display with simple navigation, while the tray accommodates materials up to 10 feet long and 12 inches wide.
The kit comes with 51 exclusive designs, multiple blades for various materials, and a free download for ten unique vinyl designs. The Silhouette Cameo’s operation can cut through pretty much anything like it’s butter, and the model is built to last.
Rating: 5 out of 5
4. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Despite its second-generation model hitting the market, thousands still prefer the original Cricut Explore Air vinyl cutter. This high-quality machine delivers the performance that businesses expect while staying versatile enough to handle a multitude of materials and tasks.
Cricut is well known for implementing Bluetooth technology into their cutters, and this model is no exception. Continuing the theme of wireless connectivity, users can take advantage of the free cloud-based apps that can sync across all of your devices.
The Explore Air is capable of cutting thick materials like leather as well as adhesive vinyl. With the added ability to write, cut, and score in one step, you can’t go wrong with this machine.
Rating: 5 out of 5
5. Silhouette American Cameo 3 Bluetooth Starter Bundle
This nifty bundle comes complete with network connectivity and inbuilt designs ready for customization. The Bluetooth technology allows for simple file transfers as well as a neater workspace. Meanwhile, the automated blade can cut up to 12 by 12-inch designs.
The bundle comes with 24 sheets of permanent Oracal 651 vinyl, 24 different sketch pens, and various tools to make your task easier. Adding to that simplicity is a responsive touchscreen pad with simple navigation and software that allows for fully customizable designs.
Rating: 5 out of 5
6. Silhouette Portrait Vinyl Cutter
Affordable, lightweight, and sleek, the Silhouette Portrait is still going strong since its inception in 2012. This device is excellent for small signage as well as cards and can utilize all sorts of materials from chipboards to cardstock.
The included design software offers you a wealth of customizable options as well as pre-designed shapes you can download. Best of all, there’s no wall plug required. All you have to do is hook the device up to your computer via the included USB cord.
Rating: 4 out of 5
7. USCutter MH 871 Sign Making Kit
Rated as a bestseller, this device is well-known for making precise cuts. It comes in a bundle with three vinyl cutting blades, five rolls of Greenstar vinyl, and an assortment of tools to help you create unique designs. Its 12-inch cutting width offers industrial capabilities, while the design helps save space in your workshop.
A spooling function allows you to send multiple jobs into its queue at a time, much like you would with a printer, and you can easily sort them by color. Taking full advantage of this feature allows you to create multi-layered projects without having to switch between rolls.
Rating: 4 out of 5
8. USCutter MH 34in Vinyl Cutter Plotter
This design from US Cutter offers both USB and serial connection on top of its three high-quality cutting blades. It comes with a pen adapter for custom handwritten designs, giving your work more artistic freedom. Aside from vinyl, this machine also cuts through paper and cloth via the adjustable pinch-rollers.
The MH incorporates the same stand for sturdy cutting but also includes a ball-bearing dual roller system for added stability and functionality. While its kit isn’t as large as the MH 871, it does come with several tools that every vinyl craftsperson needs.
Rating: 4 out of 5
9. Cricut Expression 2 Cutting Machine
Offering a 12 by 24-inch cutting scale made to be used with nearly any Cricut cartridge and an LCD screen for quick editing, the Expression 2 is impressive out of the box. A touchscreen eliminates keypad overlays, while the mat preview makes it simple to arrange images before making a cut.
The device comes with two cartridge handbooks, a screen protector, and a few other handy accessories. There’s also a Quick Start Guide to help you adjust to your new vinyl cutter. Finally, the design is compact enough for desktop use in a tight workspace.
Rating: 4 out of 5
10. Roland GS-24 Vinyl Cutter
Implementing an impressive 350 grams of force, the GS-24 delivers both efficiency and precision with each cut. A 10x overlap feature improves the speed of your workflow, allowing you to focus on other projects without fiddling with the device.
Roland’s machine features an optical registration capable of recognizing crop marks from your desktop, aligning them for more precise cuts. You can quickly adjust the blade to switch between materials or project parameters, which also allows for small or intricate designs. With a cutting rate of 20 inches per second, the device is as fast as it is accurate.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Now that you’ve read about the best vinyl cutters on the market, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for your needs.
We’ve put together this buying guide to make the process easier so you can get to doing what you love; making signs!
Picking a Motor
Every vinyl cutter relies on a drive motor to power the grit roller and move the blade across to produce your chosen pattern. There are mechanical stepper motors and digital servo motors. Mechanical variants utilize physical gears to move their parts, while digital versions employ coding to create your image.
The majority of models in existence today use the digital servo motor for its ability to cut more precisely on both larger and smaller scale designs.
They operate quietly compared to the mechanical version and are capable of pivots that the stepper motor simply is not. Ideally, you want to choose a model with a servo motor.
Tracking is what accurately aligns your materials inside of the cutter. Enhanced tracking capabilities lead to less adjusting and reduced scraps, saving you both time and money.
The size of your cutter is essential to the type of work you will be doing. Scrap-booking and hobby sized decals can utilize an entry-level cutter size, but more substantial scale productions such as vehicle accent striping require larger bladed and better tracking capabilities.
Consider the scope of projects you plan to create as well as what materials you will use, then consider what size of the blade would be required for each. Most devices allow you to adjust the blades or use the software to create smaller designs, but the maximum size is as large as you will be able to cut.
This one is simple. The faster, the better, so long as the machine remains precise. Faster machines often incorporate digital eyes to ensure accuracy.
This is often an adjustable factor in digital models, ranging anywhere between 35 to 250 grams of force. The thicker the material you plan to use, the more force you’ll need to make the cut.
While nearly every digital vinyl cutter comes with its own software, some are easier to use than others. There are plenty of models on the market with a steep learning curve and little in the way of support. Check online for any tutorial videos, or look on the manufacturer’s website for a customer service/support number to call when you need help.
These devices aren’t always cheap. Some can cost upwards of 1,000 dollars if you’re looking for industrial cutting machines. While all of the options on our list are for both hobbyists and small businesses, you’ll definitely want to protect your investment.
Final Thoughts on the Best Vinyl Cutter
The best vinyl cutter is not necessarily the biggest or the most expensive one. The best vinyl cutter is one that meets your expectations and requirements while being just right for what you’re willing to pay for.
While deciding what the right cutting machine is for you can be a little bit overwhelming, reviews are a good way to look for the best among the rest. This also allows you to get more information on the machine that you want by going through customer reviews.
There are a variety of options on the market today, and while all vinyl cutters perform the same basic function, there are some models that offer more features than others. Some have contour cutting which expands the kinds of designs that you can do, and others offer specialized pinch rollers to ensure that nothing gets stuck and that the cuts are as precise as they can be. Some models even provide a vinyl cutter software for easy integration to your computer; the software further gives you options as far as design goes.
Now that you know what to look for and which options on the market perform the best. Then you can start narrowing down your list until you find the perfect model for your needs. We hope you found this list helpful, and that you enjoy your new vinyl cutter!