KNK Zing Air Review
Searching for a straightforward way to emboss, cut cards or vinyl, or even cut fabric of glass? Finish your crafts in record time with a uniform cut every time with a personal die cutting machine.
Personal die cutters are a crafter’s best friend and, occasionally, their worst enemy. Die cutters encourage your creative potential, but once you are in the groove, you find one die cutter is never enough.
Die cutters and monogamy don’t mix. Each one offers a different value proposition to crafters, small business owners, and professional artists that make it indispensable for specific tasks. A crafter with one die cutter has several more hidden away in cupboards or under tables.
Crafters cover several machines, but one of the most popular die cutters was and still is the KNK Zing Air.
The KNK Zing Air’s value is that it does what few other die cutters do. It combines economy (in price, size, density) and sheer force to create a uniquely usable machine that anyone can use to test the limits of their potential.
Where will the KNK Zing Air fit into your hobby or business? Keep reading for our complete KNK Zing Air review.
What Is the KNK Zing Air?
The KNK Zing Air featured an attempt to create a lighter, more portable die cutter for at home crafters. It may be compact, but it is also incredibly powerful and offers 750 grams of force.
KNK designed for those looking for an entry level die cutter who want the chance to scale up their usage. Some describe it as a budget product, but we prefer to call it the economy option. It does the same job as expensive cutters, but it leaves behind the extra features that only intense craft makers or professional artists need.
Although KNK replaced the Zing Air with the Zing Orbit, the Air remains available as a refurbished or even new with some retailers.
Overall, the KNK Zing Air remains an excellent product for home crafters or home businesses.
In most cases, we prefer to discuss the size of the machine among its key features. However, the KNK Zing Air stands out because it’s one of the few vinyl cutters that doesn’t hog an entire desk.
You don’t need a dedicated cutting table like you do with a Cricut or Silhouette. We would even venture to say that the Zing Air is portable for those with the motivation to cut on the go.
Despite being an economy machine, the Zing Air features a metal body and parts, which makes it far more challenging to break compared to its plastic counterparts.
A die cutter’s key features are those that impact usability. In other words, does the machine limit your creativity or show you the sky is the limit? In our opinion, its features veer closer to the heavens than many other tools in the same category. These features show you why.
Let’s start with the feature that matters most: force.
One of the things we like most about KNK overall is its dedication to creating versatile machines at all price points.
The Zing Air features 750 grams of cutting force. It works far harder than the other cutters at its price point or offering the same features. The Bosskut Gazelle is the only machine to come close with 700 grams of cutting force. Tools made by Silhouette come in at a measly 210 grams.
Now, the force doesn’t compare to the high-end models dedicated to cleanly chopping through anything. Among the KNK range, the Maxx Air offers double the force (1,500 grams), and the Force provides an unprecedented 4,000 grams.
Still, 750 grams is all you need to work through even more rigid types of material like leather. Also if you fail to get the correct cut the first time, it’s possible to cut the same surface multiple times without damaging the integrity of the cut.
The 14-inch cutting width offers plenty of room to take care of small to medium-sized products.
In our opinion, 14 inches offers plenty for the average home crafter. If you need more than that, then the Zing Air was never an option. Only a specialty machine will suit your needs.
KNK machines don’t host cartridges.
Cartridges offer advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, cartridges encourage beginners along and have a much smaller learning curve. You’re less likely to pull your hair out or waste materials on failed cuts.
However, cartridges are also expensive. Any Cricut owner will tell you with a distraught laugh that they spend more on cartridges than they handed over for their machine. Cartridges also limit your creativity slightly. If your goal is to transplant your imagination to the computer, then cartridges won’t always suit you.
The KNK Zing Air is a versatile machine compatible with a wide range of materials including but not limited to:
- Balsawood (1/16”)
- Craft plastic
- Rhinestone rubber
- Thin chipboard
How to Use the KNK Zing Air
It’s impossible to walk you through the process in one review because it is both time-consuming and operation depends so much on the details of your project.
The most important thing to know before you buy and use the cutter is that KNK machines tend to feature manual functions. You will spend a lot of time adjusting, readjusting, and reaching for a glass of wine. Accept this, and you will enjoy the process more.
Design your cuts with KNK’s Make the Cut Software, which is suitable for downloading or drawing designs. Most buyers receive the activation code with a new or direct KNK Zing purchase. Download the software from KNK’s site and enter the code for full access to Make the Cut.
Find the user guide to Make the Cut in Chapter 3 of the general user guide.
The software is as versatile as the machine itself. It allows you to convert common image forms like PNG, JPG, or GIF to cuttable forms. Compatible file types include:
KNK states that Make the Cut is compatible with Mac. However, some users experience issues when trying to create from a Mac OS. Moreover, a phone call with support led them to believe that Mac OS is not the ideal platform for Make the Cut because it struggles to process data as well as Windows.
Those upgrading from a plug-and-play type cutter to the KNK Zing Air don’t need to fly solo. The support offered by KNK is one of the better reasons to choose this machine regardless of your skill level.
KNK support communicates via email, message boards, and over the phone. Their interactive online manual also solves the simplest problems to save you time on support.
Niche buyers love that KNK is so happy to show off its machine. If you hope to cut material, but you’re not sure whether the apparatus is capable, ask. The KNK support team provides a definitive answer because even when they aren’t sure themselves, they try it out for you. You also receive a video of the machine cutting the material for proof.
Want to chat with other crafters? KNK online support groups offer helpful resources and provide unending inspiration.
KNK provides a limited one-year warranty for each machine. The warranty begins on the original date of purchase (i.e., the date on your receipt). KNK transfers the warranty to replacement parts when you send it in for repairs or other issues.
If you need to use the warranty, you must return it to KNK for service and customers pay for shipping both ways.
Anyone hoping for extended warranty may purchase it separately. Extended warranties cover both parts and labor.
Crafters Best Suited to the KNK Zing Air
The KNK Zing Air is perfect for home crafters and small businesses who see their creativity and cutting needs growing shortly. Although some aspects of use are more complicated than other machines, KNK offers plenty of support to help you get started.
As their projects become more sophisticated, crafters also find that they do not necessarily outgrow the Zing Air. Instead, it transitions from being their primary cutter to becoming one of the most used tools in their arsenal of cutters.
Its Most Unique Featuers
The KNK Zing Air combines two features rarely found together: force and economy. Compared to those in its price range, it works with far more materials (and more efficiently). If you’re new into crafting or you want to stretch your limited budget as far as possible by choosing only one machine, these features help you do just that.
Pick up the KNK Zing Air for between $449 and $508.99. Because the Zing Air is an established model, you might find a refurbished machine for additional savings.
How It Compares
How does the KNK Zing Air compare to other die cutters including those in the KNK family? The answer often depends on what you want to do with each machine. We examined the Zing Air along with two well-loved competitors: the Silhouette Cameo and the KNK Zing Orbit to see how the features stack up.
KNK Zing Air vs. Silhouette Cameo
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The main difference between the Zing Air and the Silhouette Cameo is its strength. KNK’s machines focus heavily on the force feature, and even compact devices like the Zing Air cut through fabric and leather without a problem.
The Silhouette Cameo works well for those who understand a limited budget also limits their cutting ability. It works well for cutting paper stock and working with printed images. It does not cut through media with a thickness of over 1/16”.
On the other hand, the Cameo is better suited to crafters new to die cutting or those who find themselves particularly impatient with the process. The Cameo is more of a click-and-cut machine, but once you master Cameo’s settings, you don’t have much else to do.
On the other hand, the Zing cuts through most media used by the stay-at-home crafter and allows you to work with a far greater variety of designs including and especially your designs. But it also requires manual adjustments that may be too much for those just starting out. Still, support, manuals, and forums make the process easier for those willing to commit.
It is worth noting that users say the Cameo blade is both sub-par and expensive. You save on the initial machine purchase, but the blade dulls and then requires a replacement.
KNK Zing Air vs. KNK Zing Orbit
The KNK Zing Orbit is the newest machine in the Zing line and postdates the Zing Air. The premise of the device remains the same, but the Zing orbit offers a few new features that some might enjoy.
The Zing Orbit offers an increased cutting force for a smaller cost. You’ll get 1,000g of cutting for to make cutting thicker materials easier. KNK also added a 2-way communication system between the software and the machine to stop buffering and handle increasingly complex jobs.
Additionally, the model expanded the cutting range. The Zing Air offered a 14” range. Its replacement comes in a 15” or 24” model for larger projects.
What We Think
Overall, we remain huge fans of the KNK Zing Air and KNK overall. Their economy product doesn’t go the way of many crafting machines and continues to pack a punch while coming in at a more affordable price.
Although KNK replaced the Zing Air with the Orbit, we continue to recommend the model even in its refurbished form. It seems that KNK feels the same way as they still help customers find refurbished models on their website.