10 Best Vinyl Cutting Machine For T-shirts: Reviews of 2021 (Recommended!)
Thinking of a cool business startup with the best vinyl cutting machine? Thanks for landing on the right page. We’ve got something cool to show you.
We know how much it takes to find the right investment scope on a vinyl cutter. As there are 100s of models on the market, it’s nothing hard to make a wrong purchase and grief afterward.
So, to put this malpractice to an end, we were researching and analyzing a number of vinyl cutters and experiences of real users respectively. Finally, with our month-long research data, we are here with the top ten vinyl cutting machine reviews.
Need a quick suggestion? Check our top 4 picks!
What’s Good About a Quality Vinyl Cutter?
When you have the best vinyl cutter, the only limitation is your imagination. Having one of these will add a new dimension to your crafting. With the help of this, making stickers of different sizes is the real fun.
You can also use a vinyl cutter for making t-shirts. They work pretty well with different kinds of materials if you can maintain the thickness of the paper you used.
You will find a plethora of vinyl cutting machines out there. But unfortunately, most of them are not built for individuals or small businesses. Rather they are good for full commercial purposes.
On the other hand, most of the so-called best vinyl cutting machines fail to satisfy their users.
Under such circumstances, our team has done the real hard work to bring up the best one for you. They have analyzed every data that are available and also done the math to find out which one is the best vinyl cutter for money.
Vinyl Cutter vs Vinyl Cutter Plotter: How do they differ from each other?
People mostly get confused between Vinyl Cutter and Vinyl Cutter Plotter as both have a minor difference in their working. Let’s understand how.
Vinyl cutter plotter uses pencil, marker, pen, and other writing tools to draw the desired pattern on vinyl material or any other surface. On the other hand, Vinyl Cutter uses a blade or knife to cut the desired design instead of just plotting it on the surface.
The other big difference between the two is that you can use Vinyl Cutter as Vinyl Cutter Plotter by replacing its blade attachment with the pen attachment, but you cannot do vice-versa with the plotter.
Vinyl cutter plotters also vary from the Vinyl Cutting Printers in their work. Vinyl cutter plotter can design print with a single colour pen at one time while the printer uses multiple ink cartridges to draw the pattern on the surface using dots.
Commercial Vinyl Cutter vs Personal Vinyl Cutter: Which one you should choose?
As we have mentioned above, there are plenty of vinyl cutters on the market depending upon your requirements and budgets. Some of them are designed for personal use while others are designed for commercial purposes like cutting of T-shirt printing stickers, vehicle stickers, home decor stickers, etc.
Personal Vinyl Cutter
If you need a vinyl cutter for your small work and personal use, then Personal Vinyl Cutter is the ideal type to buy. Unlike commercial vinyl cutters, Personal vinyl cutters are compact and portable in size. They come with several advantages and disadvantages that you must know before buying one for you.
- Compact in size and can be placed anywhere
- Designed for small work and use like sticker printing
- Comes with Versatile Functionality like scanning, embossing, cutting dies, etc.
- Easy to Use
- Small Cutting base
- Suitable for smaller projects only
Commercial Vinyl Cutter
Unlike Personal Vinyl Cutter, Commercial Vinyl Cutter is designed for big organizations and professionals who want to start their own merchandise or home decor sticker business. They are huge in size and comes with both pros and cons that you must know to choose the best commercial vinyl cutter for yourself.
- Professional Vinyl Cutter
- Costs less for big requirements
- Versatile Functionality and suitable for Print on Demand Business
- Provides great ROI with a small investment
- No Setup Cost
- Higher Cutting Force with excellent minute details & finishing
- Higher Cutting Speed
- Can cut through thicker and tougher media conveniently
- High Initial Purchase Cost
- Takes more space than the personal vinyl cutter
- Not portable
Top 10 Best Vinyl Cutting Machine Reviews:
1. Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
What makes the Cricut Explore Air 2 stand out in the crowd is its ability to cut over a wide range of materials (over 100 plus different materials, ranging from premium vinyl to htv vinyl, faux leather, adhesive foils, etc.). So if you are that crazy who wants to design on everything find in front, this is the one that you might be looking for.
This became possible with the help of the Smart Set dial technology feature. This one automatically changes the cutting depth and pressure applied on various materials. All you need is to select the material type and the Smart dial technology will do the rest.
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine isn’t only limited to master class cutting performance, but it is a complete DIY cutting machine. It also lets you write on any material. The most appreciating fact about this machine is, it can write any font. All you need is just to select the font on your computer.
For fold lines and 3D paper crafting, this is an unbeatable one. The scoring technology does this job fine than most other vinyl cutting machines out there.
When you work with complex designs, cutting generally takes a longer time. And by nature, this is boring to all of us. And of course, we eagerly want to see the final result of our hard work.
This machine has solved this problem a lot. This one is 2x faster than other vinyl cutters. In this sense, this one is the best vinyl cutter for small businesses that cannot afford a big commercial and sometimes there is an extra load of work.
This vinyl cutter works on both Windows and Mac platforms. But along with this, it also offers to print and cut from your phone via Bluetooth.
This Vinyl Cutter Cricut has an awesome application that lets you upload and cut your design for free. For this, they use a mobile application that works on ios platform. Along with all of these, they also give you cloud service to store your design and use them anywhere.
After all of these brighter points, the bad about this one is Cricut doesn’t let you install any 3rd party software on this machine. So if you are not flexible with this software, this one is not for you.
If you can cope up with the cricuts platform and make the best use of their plethora of facilities and design, you will really enjoy working with this machine.
- Works with 100+ materials.
- Writing facilities are available with any computer compatible font.
- Bluetooth printing along with wire printing.
- Annual subscription is available.
- 2X faster performance.
- Vast image and pattern library.
- Also, works with users own custom design
2. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Cricut is a leading vinyl cutter manufacturer that is renowned for manufacturing a large variety of quality vinyl cutting machines.
This one is a dual carriage vinyl cutter. There are two great benefits of having two carriages. One is you get your job done two times faster. Another is you can replace one with a sketching pen. As a result, you will be able to print and cut or cut and score at the same time.
Again if one blade shows a problem, you can run your works using another one.
Another great feature of dual carriage is that you can cut a box and fold lines at once.
If you love more precise works, then you will love this one also. Cricut has invented smart cut technology. With the help of this technology, this vinyl cutter can cut as small as a quarter-inch design.
Again for large designs, this has an upper range of 11.5 x 23.5 square inches. So you needn’t worry if you have to cut a large design for your t-shirt or banner.
As this one has an auto-adjusting blade you don’t have to change the setting from time to time for different materials. This machine will automatically adjust the cutting depth and pressure itself.
This one works well with a wide variety of materials. From vinyl to leather the performance is always the same. In fact, it is the best cutting machine for vinyl stickers.
With this machine, you will get access to the Cricut design space software. There you can upload your own images or can use any stock designs for free. This wireless Cricut vinyl cutter comes with Free Cricut Design Space online software and an iPad app.
What gives Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine speciality is embedded Bluetooth technology. You don’t have to connect this machine to your computer with a wire. The app will connect with the machine using Bluetooth to get your work done.
This machine also has integrated storage compartments and there you can keep the necessary stuff that needs to be accessed frequently.
The price of this dual carriage vinyl cutting machine is very much affordable. Again if you measure the ROI, that is also great. If you want to get the most out of the money you spend, I strongly recommend this Cricut maker for you.
- Embedded Bluetooth technology.
- Cuts over 60 materials.
- Auto-adjusting blade.
- Easy setting for a wide variety of materials.
- Quarter-inch precise cut.
- 11.5 x 23.5 square inches maximum cutting area.
- Extra storage compartment.
- Smart Cut technology.
- Access to Cricuts design space.
- App for iPad.
- Dual carriage for 2x performance.
- Professional Vinyl Cutter.
3. Silhouette Cameo 3 Bluetooth Starter Bundle
If you are ready to spend some extra money to have an awesome vinyl cutter and a bunch of stuff that will make your work fabulous, the Silhouette Cameo 3 Bluetooth Starter Bundle is here for you.
You will get all the things you need to complete your first successful project.
But before discussing other things in the bundle, let’s first talk about the cutter.
Silhouette Cameo 3 is designed for more precise cutting than ever. The smallest piece of design that it can cut has a dimension of a quarter inch. So if you want to do complex designs this is a preferable option.
With this Silhouette vinyl cutting machine, you can work on a twelve-inch design and the design can be up to sixteen and a half feet long. So if you need to craft a banner that is also possible with this machine.
It’s featured with PixScan technology. The facility that this provides is, you can also cut the pre-printed drawings. In this sense, this can be termed as the best vinyl cutter for t-shirts.
CAMEO 3 comes with an auto blade feature. This means that you needn’t set the depth for every material and thickness. This will automatically adjust.
This one has both wired and wireless connectivity. You can connect this one to your computer with USB 2.0 and wirelessly with Bluetooth. CAMEO 3 is also compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
This one doesn’t require you to connect to the internet. You can simply make your own design and put them in this machine. This will save you time and money.
Now, let’s see what silhouette vinyl cutting machine offers with these bundles except the cutter.
First of all, you will get 24 sheets of oracle 651 permanent vinyl paper which is most used in crafting stickers.
For sketching, there are 24 pens of different colours. Recently Silhouette has doubled the amount of ink in each of these pens.
You will also get some of the small accessories like a vinyl trimmer, cutting mat, scraper, hook, spatula, ratchet and 6 feet roll of one-foot wide premium transfer tape. They will make your work easier and more professional.
For getting started with design, this pack has an instructional video by Silhouette School. There is includes instructional class which will teach you the basics of vinyl crafting.
You will also get access to Silhouette Studio software. This is currently at version three. Using this software you will get access to the vast free library of designs. You can use them for some quick projects. You can also make your own design in this software and print it.
Putting these all together this can be said that, from all perspectives, this is really the best vinyl cutter for the money for anyone who is going to kick start their work.
- Both wireless and wired connectivity.
- Two cutting mats.
- 24 vinyl sheet.
- 24 sketch pen.
- All necessary accessories.
- Both cuts and prints.
- Instructional videos.
- Access to Silhouette Studio software.
- A quarter-inch precise cut.
- Premium transfer tape.
- PixScan technology.
- Works on 110-240 voltage range.
- Windows and Mac compatible.
4. Cricut Explore Wireless Electronic Cutting Machine
Most of the designers are squeamish with their work.
If you are one of them, then the Cricut Explore Wireless Electronic Cutting Machine will be the best one for you.
The Cricut Explore can cut simple shapes and fonts as small as ¼ inch. This is really impressive for a non-commercial vinyl printer.
When you go larger, the performance is also professional. This one allows you to cut up to eleven and a half inches wide and twenty-three and a half inches tall image. That is why this is considered the best vinyl cutter for t-shirts.
Although this one doesn’t let you cut that plethora of materials like the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine, you can still cut more than 50+ different materials like paper, vellum, leather and much more.
With Cricut Explore, you can also cut your pre-printed designs and this is unique among all other vinyl cutting machines.
Another awesome feature of this machine is, it can print and cut any design at a time.
The belt mechanism of this vinyl cutter is awesome. This is made with Kevlar Polymer which has extensive use in making bulletproof stuff. Therefore this Cricut maker is lightweight and durable at once.
Tungsten carbide – one of the strongest metal alloys is used to make the blade of this cutter. As a result, the blade is more durable and gives a life-long super performance.
After all of these exclusive features, you will also get Cricuts cloud service and access to their vast library of designs and patterns.
Putting these all together, this can be said that Cricut Explore will be an awesome machine for individual use for a long variety of purposes.
- German carbide blade.
- Cuts 50 + materials.
- Prints and cuts at a time.
- Can cut pre-printed designs.
- The cartridge isn’t required but is compatible.
- Cloud service.
- Free access to Cricut library.
- ¼ inch precise cutting.
- Able to cut 22.5” X 11.5” projects.
5. Cricut Expression Electronic Cutting Machine
Cricut Expression is another best portable vinyl cutter that is designed for individuals. Although this one doesn’t offer some of the functionalities like other Cricut vinyl cutting machine series does, small projects of daily life can easily be done with this.
Cricut Expression mainly works with the cartridge. This one doesn’t require any computer to perform but you can also use one for this purpose. For that, you have to connect with the free software that Cricut offers with every vinyl cutting machine they have.
As this one is cartridge-based, this one isn’t able to cut that plethora of materials. But you can work on the most common ones like vellum, chipboard fabrics vinyl, cardstock and aluminium foils.
When it comes to precision cutting, Cricut Expression is a good performer. It has the ability to cut a quarter inch dimension small picture. You can also work on a big project having a dimension of 12 inches by 24 inches.
This small budget also gives you flexibility in your work. This one has 6 modes of cutting with 4 functions. You can have a portrait or landscape with this.
Cricut offers two cartridges with this machine. They include fonts, tags, 3D images, borders and a number of layered images. So for getting started, this will be a nice vinyl cutter for beginners.
So, if you are looking for a simple and easy vinyl cutting machine on an affordable budget, Cricut Expression will be the best option I think.
- Comes with two cartridges.
- Easy to read LCD screen.
- Both portrait and landscape orientation.
- Computer compatibility.
- A quarter-inch dimension precise cut.
- 6 modes with 4 functions.
- Autofill and quantity feature for any number of designs.
6. Xyron 624632 Creative Station
Xyron 624632 Creative Station is a perfect combination of a laminator, sticker maker, and magnet maker. And the most noteworthy fact about this fabulous machine is it doesn’t require any kind of power supply or heat. You can operate this one simply b rotating the handle.
Lamination and adhesion are directly related to crafting, if you are familiar with these, you must have known that because the crafts have to be stick with something and to protect them it always requires a layer of lamination. For getting all these done, the Xyron 624632 Creative Station will help you out the most.
First of all this one saves your money.
It accepts both 9 inches and 5 inches cartridges. As a result, there is less wastage of cartridges and materials. And nowadays the price of laminate, magnet, and the adhesive cartridge is a bit higher.
With this creative station, you are going to get a pre-loaded 25 feet long and 9 inches adhesive cartridge. This will yield more stickers for free.
An easy operation has made this one the best choice of crafters. You can easily drop and place the cartridge into the machine and set the required setting to get your design done.
This one stands out above the crowd for its latest technology. It doesn’t require any type of power to operate.
As this one doesn’t use any type of heat to laminate, your craft stays fully safe.
Due to the edge to edge adhesive spraying in a nominal amount, the craft stays from corner to corner.
Xyron 624632 Creative Station is a compact machine and has a nice look that will easily suit your desk. For adding a new dimension to your work, you can have one of these on an affordable budget.
- Lamination, adhesion, and magnetization in one machine.
- Doesn’t require any electric power.
- No application of heat.
- Accepts both 5 inches and 9-inch wide cartridges.
- 25 feet long pre-loaded adhesive cartridge.
- Edge to edge adhesive spraying.
- Easy load of the cartridge.
7. Silhouette Portrait 3 Electronic Cutting Tool
Silhouette Portrait 3 is designed in such a way that, with its adequate features, it satisfies all the requirements of professional crafting.
This one is originally a small and lighter version of Silhouette CAMEO.
Silhouette Portrait 3 uses a small blade that can cut a wide range of 0.8 mm sheets of various types of paper rhinestone and cardstocks. The maximum cutting force that this one applies is 210 gf. Hence, the craft doesn’t get damaged due to pressure.
This item includes a CD that contains software for both Windows and Mac OS. With this software, you can cut any built-in design or upload and make your own design to this. Initially, this software has 50 different designs and some fonts to use.
One disadvantage of this machine is that you can’t operate this one from your phone Silhouette don’t offer this feature.
For connectivity, this one uses USB 2.0 and there is no wireless connection.
The maximum cartridge width of this vinyl cutter is 8.9 inches which are enough for general purposes. It has also a precise cutting ability of a quarter-inch dimension. So if you want to have some macro design that is also possible.
Although this one normally can’t print designs, you can replace the blade with a sketch pen to get your sketch done.
Finally, a small but important feature of this vinyl cutter is it runs on a wide voltage range. They provide a power adapter for 100 to 240 volts. So you can use this machine anywhere.
This is true that Silhouette Portrait 3 doesn’t have all the features that some of the most advanced vinyl cutting machines have. But when you are a newbie and just want to start crafting, this is the most suitable option at an affordable price.
- Free Silhouette Studio design software.
- Adjustable blade.
- Can also print if the blade is replaced by a sketch pen.
- Runs on 100-240 volt.
- 8.9 inches wide cutting.
- Compatible with both windows and mac.
- USB 2.0 connection.
- Maximum cutting depth of 0.8 mm.
- 210 gf cutting force.
- 8” x 12” mat cutting and 8” x 10” lined media.
8. Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine Vinyl Starter Kit Bundle
Silhouette Cameo is a starter pack for Silhouette that contains everything that one might need to get started with DIY crafting projects.
So if you are a beginner and confused about how to get started, having this one can help you out.
Actually, this bundle is a combination of 7 different options. So you can choose any one of them according to your need and interest. Every pack offers a one-month free membership to silhouette huge download store.
This one has two blades. Therefore, your work will be faster. In order to add an extra dimension in your work, this pack includes 4 metallic sketch pens and a picking tool.
It works on a 100 – 240 (50/60 Hz) voltage range. Therefore when you change your place or migrate, this one won’t be useless.
The cutting performance of this machine is also well. This one also works on one thin chipboard.
With 210 gf force, this one can cut at a maximum depth of 1 mm. This is enough for normal projects. If you aren’t satisfied with this depth you can go for Silhouette CAMEO 3. It is able to cut through up to 2 mm depth.
You can also sketch with this vinyl cutting machine. For that, you have to replace the blade with a sketch pen that is included in this pack.
For starting your works, the silhouette will give you a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat, instructional CD and a number of vinyl paper sheets.
You will also get access to the Silhouette Studio software and their design library. But this is free for a limited time. After that, you have to purchase their regular plan for any duration.
Everything is good with Silhouette CAMEO. But the only bad is they don’t let you use any third-party software and this is the incident with other vinyl machine brands.
But as this one is just for starting and used by the individuals for the home purposes only, this handicap won’t suffer you that much.
If you are in confusion about where and how to start this cutting machine is best to show you the way and that is why this is mostly recommended for the newbies.
- Dual cutting blade.
- Vinyl starter kit.
- Vinyl trimmer included.
- One month of free membership to the silhouette.
- Free software and template.
- Extra accessories included.
- 1 mm cutting thickness.
- Runs on 110 to 240 volts (50Hz-60Hz).
- 12” X 12” cutting mat.
- 10 feet premium transfer paper.
- Instructional DVD.
9. Silhouette CAMEO 3 Wireless Cutting Machine
CAMEO 3 is an ultimate vinyl cutting machine from Silhouette. Due to its ability to cut up to 2 mm thickness, it’s considered the best vinyl cutting machine for crafts.
Along with deep cutting, this one is also able to cut over hundreds of materials. This one can cut cardstock, vinyl, paper, fabric, leather and even foils. So the only boundary with this machine is your imagination.
This one has auto-adjusting blades as a result whatever the material you use and whatever the thickness is, this will cut effortlessly.
CAMEO 3 has a dual carriage. This means it can do two tasks at a time. As a result, you can cut at 2x speed.
On the other hand, you can replace them with a pen to draw or sketch instead of cutting. This will help you most when you are in a hurry and doesn’t have a suitable printer to print on your desired material.
Another awesome facility of CAMEO 3 is it lets you cut without a mat and you often going to need this facility if you do a lot of crafting. For paperback materials, like vinyl, where there is a transfer of heat, matless cutting is necessary.
This one has two 12-inches by a 12-inch mat. So you can craft on a 12-inch wide design up to 10 feet long.
CAMEO 3 also has a blade and other stuff holders. So you can room them in that and access them anytime.
You will also get some extra tools with this vinyl cutting machine. They are one spatula, one pickup tool, one sketch pen, one hook and a scrapper. They will skyrocket your crafting performance.
After all of this CAMEO 3 also gives you flexibility in your work. This machine is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. You can connect this to your computer by a USB cable or use Bluetooth for a wireless connection.
You will get access to Silhouette Studio. This is a great source of the design. You can freely use them for a month. For later use, you have to subscribe to their program.
For all these reasons, this is CAMEO 3 can be marked as the affordable vinyl cutting machine for personal use and small business purposes.
- Works on over 100 materials.
- 12-inch cutting width.
- Can cut 10 feet long design.
- After print cut capability.
- USB and Bluetooth option.
- 2 mm cutting depth.
- Dual cartridge.
- Two 12” x 12” cutting mats.
- Matless cutting compatibility.
- PixScan compatible.
- Free 85,000 readymade designs.
- Can print and cut at a time.
- Vinyl cross cutter technology.
- Additional tools.
10. Silhouette Cameo 3 Machine Bundle Vinyl Starter
Just getting started with crafting?
Then the Silhouette Cameo 3 Machine Bundle is the one that you might be looking for.
Silhouette Cameo 3 Machine Bundle Vinyl Starter is considered the best starter bundle for beginners because of having all the necessary stuff in one bundle.
This machine has the ability to cut a wide range of materials at a maximum of 2 mm depth.
Also for precise cutting, this one gives a professional performance. The smallest size that this one can cut is a quarter inch. For bigger projects, this one has the ability to cut twelve inches wide and sixteen and a half feet long.
As this machine is PixScan compatible, you can also scan and cut printed designs. This one will recognize the edges successfully.
This one has both the wired and wireless connectivity. You can use USB 2.0 to connect this with your Windows or Mac PC. Or you can also use Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
The LCD screen allows you to see the readings and adjust the cutting process.
This one has a cross-cutting tool and two 12 inches by 12-inch mats. You can use them while working with thin paper.
This one also includes some additional accessories that will help you to run your works smoothly. You will get a hook, scraper, specula and a pickup tool.
I have mentioned before that this one is a starter pack. This pack includes seven rainbow colour boards. You can make almost any design using them.
Silhouette not only give you a tool, they also care about your design. In this pack, there is 12 exclusive design and instruction for another 12 projects. If you are a beginner, you will get ideas and inspiration that allows you to create a perfect masterpiece with this machine.
So, finally, this can be said that Silhouette Cameo 3 Machine Bundle will be the perfect starter pack for anyone who is just mad with crafting.
- Bluetooth and USB 2.0 connectivity.
- Works with both windows and mac.
- Self-adjusting blade.
- Quarter-inch precise cut.
- Cuts a wide variety of materials.
- 12-inch cutting mat.
- 25 permanent adhesive oracle sheets.
- Additional tools.
- LCD screen.
- PixScan technology.
So here now, I want you to read through the buying guide. It will help you to judge every cutter on the list and find the best one for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Vinyl Cutting Machine [Ultimate Guide]
Every vinyl cutter that we have reviewed has a proven record of master class performance and long-time durability. But here are some other criteria that must be occupied.
Again one vinyl cutter that is good for someone may not be suitable for others.
Therefore, I have made a list of criteria and by applying these, you will be able to find the best one for you. These are –
1. Cutting Depth and Materials
Cutting depth directly depends on the blade. But this is also dependent upon the pressure that the machine can apply.
In general, 210 gf force is able to cut 1 mm depth. But the maximum cutting capability can be 2 mm of some of the advanced vinyl cutters.
So, you must decide what depth you are going to need.
In my opinion, it’s wise to go for the 2.0 mm because sometimes it requires cutting comparatively thick papers and leather.
On the other hand, you should also check the compatibility of the cutter with various types of materials. Although some of the best vinyl cutters are able to cut hundreds plus materials, a good one will be able to cut through the most common materials.
If you want to get your design on various materials, you should choose one that has the ability to cut a plethora of materials.
2. Printing Facility
The printing facility is not available with all vinyl cutters. Only some of the advanced cutters will allow you to do this.
Some vinyl cutter has two cartridges and you can replace one for printing. Sketch pen is available for the cartridge in various colour and some bundle pack offers a number of them of the different colour.
With only one cartridge, some vinyl cutter also offers this facility. But you are going to face some trouble while cutting them after print.
I prefer dual carriage ones. Because while I don’t want to print I can use both the carriage for cutting. As a result, I get my work twice faster.
If you have decided to go for the one that has a printing facility, there is another small thing that you should consider.
That is print quality. Generally, a good one has 100 dpi printing capability. But some of the most advanced can print in 600 dpi.
The flexibility of a machine depends on various parameters.
Check the voltage rating of the machine. If it’s compatible with your supply line then it’s ok.
But you can also choose one that runs on the variable voltage rating. As a result, when you change your place, it won’t be a useless machine.
Some vinyl cutter doesn’t work with any third-party software. They supply their own software with the machine.
If this seems to be a handicap to you, choose one that works on any third-party software.
The software that they provide as well as the third-party software generally works on both windows and mac. But if you have a chrome book, you are going to face some difficulties.
Pixscan is a new technology and some vinyl cutter is featured with this. This technology has the ability to detect the outline of any design. Therefore, with this, you can cut pre-printed designs.
Cutting and printing is also a great feature that you can consider for great flexibility.
4. Complexity of Design
The more precise cutting ability the machine has, the more complex design you can make with it.
There is some cutter available in the market that has the ability to cut a quarter inch design.
So if you love the micro and complex design, you should go for those ones.
5. Design Length
Most of the vinyl cutter works on a 12” x 12” inches mat. Yet you can also add longer mats.
Sometimes you are going to have large designs say you want to craft for a banner. As such condition, must go have one of those.
6. Extra Tools and Accessories
Although you can run your works just with a vinyl cutter some handy tools swifts the process.
With some bundle pack, you will get some extra tools like a hook, spatula, vinyl trimmer, built-in scanner, pickup tool etc.
If you don’t have these tools and don’t want to buy them separately, you can go for the bundle pack.
In a bundle pack, you will also get some sketching pens, vinyl sheets, and adhesive papers.
7. Ease of Work
Before picking up a vinyl cutter, you should make sure that the cutter is easy to operate and the working mechanism is simple.
Because sometimes you have to change the cartridge and replace them with a pen for printing.
Again you have to load papers in it. So make sure the process is easy.
On the other hand, you should check the compatibility of the machine. Before you get one check if that works with the most common type of paper like vinyl, adhesive paper, magnet paper, and leather.
Presently, some leading manufacturer offers software for the ease of work. With this software, you will get access to the vast library of free designs. So for some quick projects, you can use them.
Another service you can get with a vinyl cutter is cloud storage. Note that this is only available with a few vinyl cutters.
Cloud storage will give you mobility in your work.
After ensuring the above points, the final fact is the price.
In general, the price of a good vinyl cutter that is used by individuals for home purposes ranges from two hundred to two hundred and fifty bucks.
But some manufacturers offer bundle packs. The price of these bundle packs is higher than only the cutter.
In my opinion, you should check the ROI rather than the price. Measure what you are getting for your money.
This is not wise to pick junk at a low price because after all, you are not going to buy one every month.
It is crucial to decide your purpose to buy the right vinyl cutter for yourself as both home and commercial vinyl cutters vary in applications. If you want to print decals for mugs, vinyl lettering, for making greeting cards or hanging letters, then a home vinyl cutter is suitable to perform all these actions.
But if you want to establish your own Print on Demand business or print more complicated designs, then a commercial vinyl cutter is suitable for you. So it is crucial to decide your purpose first to find the best vinyl cutter for your home/office.
10. Cutting Depth and Accuracy
To be able to cut thicker and larger paper materials, you need to check the cutting depth and accuracy of the vinyl cutter you are opting to buy. The cutting depth of a vinyl cutter determines how smoothly it can cut a thick material without putting extra pressure.
Most of the ideal vinyl cutters come with a 2mm cutting depth that is the ideal depth to ensure you can cut easily through thick materials like paper and leather.
Apart from cutting depth, the other crucial thing to look for in the best vinyl cutter is its degree of accuracy. The vinyl cutters that come with Pixscan technology ensures the highest accuracy in complex designs. If you want to print high-quality small size prints (quarter-inch size), then a decal printer will be the right choice for you.
11. Size of Print
Depending upon the type of vinyl cutter you are opting for, the printing size also varies. While a normal vinyl cutter can print a paper of a maximum length of 2feet and maximum width of 12 inches, a commercial vinyl cutter can be used for bigger papers or more complicated designing processes.
12. Drive Type: Servo Motor or Stepper Motor
There are two types of drive motor systems available in the vinyl cutter that controls the movement of the cutting head on the cutter. It is crucial to understand both types before buying the right one for you.
Servo Motor Drive Type:
A digitally controlled servo motor is great for getting high accuracy with its cutting head. The digitally controlled movement offers precise high-quality patterns on the surface. This type of motor drive type is generally suitable for professional cutting machines as it provides high speed with excellent accuracy & precision. If you are looking for a durable drive type, then Servo Motor Type is the right choice for you.
Stepper Motor Drive Type:
On the other hand, the Stepper Motor Drive Type is mechanical and provides less controlled movements with the cutting head. As it is mechanical, it provides less accuracy with low speed & precision. Also, you can face a loud noise problem with less productivity. Thus this drive type is suitable for entry-level cutting machines or craft-oriented cutters.
How To Use A Vinyl Cutter Machine?
Although there are some slight differences in the operating process of the different vinyl cutting machines, the basics are the same. The following steps are general.
Choose the Font or Design:
- Some of the vinyl cutting manufacturers have their own software for cutting and printing. Using this software you can freely access their vast library of designs. So you can choose one from there.
- Again if you are creative and want your own design you can upload your design to the software. The file may be of jpg, jpeg, png, dwg and much more.
- If your cutter doesn’t have any specific software you can use CutStudio. This is easy to use small software that lets you cut and print with the vinyl cutter.
- You can also select a font. At this point, some of the cutters have their own font and some allow you to print any font from your computer.
- So select any font or design that you like to cut or print and load that in the software.
Select the Outline:
- The next step is to select the border or outline of your design or font. At this point, you have to be careful about the final result.
- You have to select what you want to cut and print. Moreover, you have to select the size and orientation of the design.
Load the Vinyl Paper and Set the Cartridge:
- After that you have selected your project it’s time to load the paper or anything else on what you want to get your design.
- You have to select the depth and pressure of the machine according to the material properties. Some of the best vinyl cutting machines does this automatically. If your one is not automatic, make sure you have done this manually.
- If you want to print instead of cutting you can replace the cartridge with a sketch pen. But remember, all vinyl cutter doesn’t offer this facility.
Start Printing and Wait a While:
- When you have completed the above steps, your work is almost done. Now just start the machine and let the machine do its work.
Collect your Design:
- After a successful cutting process, the sheet will come out from the machine. You can now collect the designs with a pickup tool or a spatula.
How To Clean A Vinyl Cutting Machine?
Generally, a vinyl cutter doesn’t require a great maintenance effort and frequent cleaning. But depending on the environment and material characteristics you may need to clean the cartridge.
And after a certain number of projects, you have to clean the cutting mat on a regular basis.
There is some space between the cartridge nose and the blade. Dust may clog here at various degrees depending on the material.
You can easily remove the blade from the cartridge and clean it. But make sure you don’t break the blade because as it’s made of tungsten carbide, it’s too much brittle.
You can adopt any option from the following for mat cleaning.
- Wash with soap and then dry it.
- Using alcohol and bleach-free wipes that we use for babies.
- Scotching with tapes or lint with a roller.
There is also some adhesive removal fluids on the market like GooGone. Wiping with them will give cleaner performance quickly.
You can also clean the inner parts of your vinyl cleaner in an interval of five to six months. But for this don’t use any liquid. Only use a low power blower for getting rid of dust and spider web.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Using a Vinyl Cutting Machine
If you are new to the use of a vinyl cutter, you might make a few common mistakes that you’d want to avoid. These mistakes may not sound very serious, but if you want your vinyl cutting machine to last long and work perfectly, it is important that you don’t make these mistakes.
1) Not to Make Test Cuts
A common mistake to make is to start your final design directly on the vinyl material you want to use for your design. Always, always practice your cuts on an extra vinyl sheet rather than on the one you are thinking of using for your design.
Especially if you are new at this, you should practice your design on several other pieces – vinyl or any other material – until you get your shape right. You can practice the same design on another material, or you can try making some simple cuts for practice.
When you feel confident enough to make the final cut, you should do it on the final piece of vinyl.
2) Not Testing the Machine First
Before you start working on a design, make a few random cuts on a spare piece of vinyl to see if the machine is working properly. There can be a lot of things that can be wrong with a vinyl cutter machine, especially if you haven’t used it for a few days.
Starting on the design you want may waste valuable vinyl material, so it is always important that you test the machine first to see if it is working correctly. For this, you may keep a few random pieces of unwanted vinyl material around for testing.
3) Not Investigating the Problem
If, and when, the designs come out wrong for some reason, the most common mistake to make is to immediately start on another piece. The right thing to do would be to try and see what went wrong, to pinpoint the mistake before trying again.
Even when you are not really a technical person, a simple investigation can reveal if something is wrong with the machine. So instead of automatically reaching for another piece of vinyl, take a moment to see what went wrong.
4) Not Paying Attention to the Blade
Sometimes, we don’t pay enough attention to the exposure of the blade. We exposure the blade more or less than we need it to. When the vinyl material is a thin one but we have exposed the blade too much, it might cut into the mat as well as the vinyl.
In the long run, this will dull the blade and create problems the next time you want a precise cut.
On the other hand, not exposing the blade much when the vinyl material is thicker will result in a partial cut. You will end up with only half a cut on your vinyl material, which is a bigger problem.
Trying to make another cut on the same vinyl material is definitely going to ruin it completely. Result – complete loss of material and time.
5) Not Stabilizing the material before Cutting
Unless you are using vinyl or iron, you need to make your material absolutely stable before you use it on a vinyl cutter machine. This is especially applicable if you are using paper or thin leather.
You need to stick these materials (paper, thin leather, silk, etc.) on a sticky mat before running it through the machine. Sticking the material on a sticky mat will keep it stable enough to make your cut on it. You can easily remove it from the sticky mat after you are done with the design.
6) Not Understanding Blade Offset
Not many people who have not used a vinyl cutter – or a similar machine – before exactly knows what blade offset is. Blade offset means the distance between the centre of the blade to the tip of the blade.
Sometimes, the reason behind a bad cut is the wrong blade offset; managing the blade offset to adjust with the design will give you the correct cut you are looking for.
7) Deciding on a Wrong Reason for a Bad Cut
Sometimes, after a wrong cut with your vinyl cutting machine, you might suspect that you are stuck with a bad or dull blade, or a chipped one. But it can just be that the exposure of the blade was wrong, not the blade itself.
Therefore, before making the final cut, it is recommended that you check the exposure of the blade, and whether if the exposure is right for the material you are about to use.
Test cuts also help; if you can make a few random test cuts on a similar piece of material, you can be sure if your blade exposure is right for your material/design.
8) Not Studying the Manual
Almost no one reads the manual they get with a technical or electrical appliance, which is always a big mistake. Manuals always have the correct instructions to follow if you want to use the machine perfectly.
Besides, manuals also have instructions on what to do in case of a troubleshoot or how to take care of your machine.
9) Not paying attention to the machine while Working
It is recommended that you should always be near your vinyl cutter machine when it is in use. Even the most complicated designs don’t make much time to complete, and the user should always keep an eye on the machine while it is being used.
Don’t leave the room for the few minutes that it takes the machine to complete the cut, because if the machine runs into some trouble, you might have to stop it.
10) Not cleaning/servicing the machine
Like most other technical/electronic appliances, your vinyl cutter machine will also need regular cleaning and professional servicing. Don’t let too much time pass between cleaning and servicing sessions.
You may be able to clean the machine regularly by following the instructions that come with the manual, but the servicing should be left to the professionals.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I choose my vinyl cutter?
The answer depends on your purpose of use, workload and budget. If you are looking for a vinyl cutter for personal or home use, then getting a budget vinyl cutter seems to be okay.
On the other hand, if you are in a commercial or business purpose and the workload is heavy, get a good vinyl cutter that is able to handle your load.
2. Do I need to use any software?
Yes, you need to use software for enhancing good design outputs. Most of the companies suggest specific software to use for their vinyl cutters. If not specified, you can choose AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, GreatCut 3 and CorelDraw etc.
3. When should I replace the blade of my vinyl cutter?
Well, it actually depends on how frequently you use your cutter and the condition of the blade. When you see it got damaged, replace it with a new one immediately.
4. How frequently should I clean my cutting machine?
First thing, you obviously need to keep your cutting machine clean. The frequency is up to your use and how unclean it gets.
If you use your cutter on a regular basis, then make sure the blade, blade holder and other necessary settings are working fine before every use.
And if you use it rarely (common for hobbyists), then keep the cutting machine covered after use.
5. Which Vinyl Cutter is the best?
There are plenty of the best vinyl cutters on the market depending upon your requirements and budget. Here are some of the best suggestions for each category like:
Best Affordable Vinyl Cutter in Market: Silhouette Cameo 3 Vinyl Cutting Machine
Best Vinyl Cutter for Beginners: Silhouette Cameo 4 with Bluetooth
Best Portable Vinyl Cutter: Silhouette Portrait 2 Vinyl Cutter
Best Overall Vinyl Cutter: Cricut Explore Air 2 Vinyl Cutting Machine
6. How much does a vinyl cutter cost?
Depending upon Vinyl cutter type, the cost of every vinyl cutting machine varies. If you choose a normal vinyl cutter for small businesses or homes, it will cost you around $150-$300, depending upon model, specifications, brand and other requirements. However, if you will go for the commercial one, it will cost you something between $1500-$3000 depending upon its features, model type, brand, material and other things.
7. What vinyl cutter should I buy?
The choice of vinyl cutter depends upon your purpose, requirements, budget, features you want and many other factors. Based on all these factors, there are multiple best vinyl cutters available in the market for beginners and professionals. Depending upon your budget and need, you can choose the right one using our detailed buying guide. Don’t forget to check its ratings and reviews before buying the one for your space.
When we judge a vinyl cutter, we have to follow a number of criteria.
The cutters that we have listed here have passed all of them. And most of them are far better than the nominal requirements.
As you have read this far, now you should know what makes the best vinyl cutting machine. I also hope you have already figure out the best one for you.
Let me know about that in the comment section. You can also ask me if you still can’t figure out the best one for you. I will be happy to help you with this issue.
Bringing up the best one for you is our great pleasure.
Thank you for reading with patience.