The Best Vinyl Cutter Buying Guide

The Best Vinyl Cutter Buying Guide

No matter which type of business you run or the projects you create at home as part of a hobby, having a quality vinyl cutter is one of the most important purchases you’ll make.

With the right vinyl cutter in your toolkit, you’ll be able to make signs, stickers, iron on transfers, small gifts, decorations, greeting cards, and so much more, so it really is a one stop shop for many designers.

With all of these capabilities, it can get confusing when you start to shop around for the best vinyl cutter though. You need a solid idea of the types of crafts and projects you’ll be doing before you can even consider one, and also know about your own capabilities as a user.

Cutting Vinyl On Cutter

Finding out what is the best vinyl cutter can be a frustrating experience, though, as there’s nothing like investing in a machine that you thought would serve you well only to find it’s limited in its capabilities or doesn’t suit exactly what you were looking for.

For this reason, you need to carefully study the features before jumping in and buying an expensive and useless device.

We’ve searched the web and found some of the best picks for vinyl cutters to suit all home hobbyists and small business owners. Whether you’re looking for something to make fun craft projects with in your spare time or something a little more durable for a small business, there’s a make and model here to meet your needs.

All you need to do is work out how and when you’ll use your vinyl cutter to ensure you’re choosing the best of the bunch.

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Product Name

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Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit VIEW ON AMAZON
Brother ScanNCut2 Machine VIEW ON AMAZON
USCutter Vinyl Cutter Bundle VIEW ON AMAZON
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine VIEW ON AMAZON
GCC AR-24 Desktop Cutting Machine VIEW ON AMAZON

The Importance Of Finding A Good Vinyl Cutter

For many business owners and home hobbyists, their vinyl cutter is the machine they rely on the most. When it’s not working right or it breaks down, they often find themselves lost and unable to complete most of their work, so you need to ensure you’re investing in one of the right quality and capabilities.

The best vinyl cutter machine doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive, however, you can expect to outlay a bit of money initially to purchase one. Provided it’s covered with a solid warranty, though, this initial investment should last for many years and help you to create countless projects, so it’s certainly worth the cost.

Woman Sending Design From Tablet To Cutter

The most important thing about buying the right vinyl cutter is that you find one which suits your projects and the type of work you do, as some are more specifically suited to different jobs. Here are just a few things you can create with a vinyl cutter, and why it’s so important to find the best fit for you:

 

  • Stickers – you can create large or small stickers in a number of designs with a vinyl cutter, and make personalized labels as well
  • Iron on transfers – as a popular choice for vinyl cutters, it’s easy to make iron on transfers that can be placed on clothes, bags, and other items, giving you a unique style to any mass produced products
  • Cards and invitations – some vinyl cutters work well with cardstock and are ideal for cutting fine and delicate shapes and patterns out of these materials
  • Signs – the most common use for a vinyl cutter professionally is by sign makers, thanks to the ability to cut precise and accurate lines and shapes into vinyl
  • Clothing and bags – with the right vinyl cutter than can work with fabric, you’re able to make headbands, t shirts, bags, and other things which require a cutout pattern

Before you can consider which vinyl cutting machine might be the best fit for your projects, you need an understanding of its features and specifications so you can make an educated choice that will add efficiency to your home or professional workshop.

Features To Consider With A Vinyl Cutter Machine

Before you decide one of the biggest investments in your home workshop that you’ll ever make, you need to think carefully about the features of a vinyl cutter and which ones will be important to suit your projects and workshop.

Vinyl Cutter Plotter On Grey Background

Size

Most vinyl cutters for the home are desktop sized and can be quite compact. However, you also need to consider the size of the cutting area which is measured in inches and will indicate how much space you’re able to cut with on any given material.

Speed

Just because a vinyl cutter has more speed, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of the cut. The speed is usually measured in terms of millimeters per second, but it’s important to find that the precision is maintained even with a faster cut, as this will determine how straight your cuts are.

Memory

The memory built into a device sometimes means you can have a range of functions, patterns, and designs already installed. This is important for anyone who makes bulk copies of the same design or prefers not to use the software.

Cutting Capabilities

The capabilities of a vinyl cutter refer to the types of materials they work with. Most commonly, a vinyl cutter will not only work for vinyl but also cardstock, paper, and some lightweight fabric. Look for something with an adjustable pinch roller which can give you greater flexibility with the types of materials you work with.

Cutting Vinyl

Software

Most vinyl cutters come with a free version of software specifically designed to match that system. This software allows you to scan or create designs, and sometimes has pre-programmed patterns built in too.

Our Top Picks

With so many great options available, it all comes down to finding one that suits the type of projects you do. Whether you use your vinyl cutter for home art projects or need something a little more durable for a commercial setting, we’ve uncovered the best choices for vinyl cutters that can suit all needs and budgets.

Best Vinyl Cutter #1: Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit

If you’re completely new to the vinyl cutting world, or just want a user-friendly machine to work with, you can’t go wrong with anything from the Silhouette brand. This company prides themselves on making fun, interactive, and innovative devices that allow you to get the best out of your natural talents.

The Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit is exactly this, offering everything you need to vinyl cut from your home workshop and take the hard work out of craft projects. This starter kit comes with all of the hardware, software, and other accessories required to be a successful vinyl cutter, but it works just as well with other materials too.

You can cut vinyl, cardstock, paper, fabric, and anything that measure up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long, with this one device, thanks to the Cameo II Cutting Machine that comes with the starter kit. This is one of the newer models of vinyl cutter released by Silhouette so you know it’s got the latest and greatest software within.

Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit

Source: pinterest.com

OUR RATING

 

The Silhouette printer software is some of the best in terms of home vinyl cutters and works with both Mac and Windows systems. For anyone who’s looking for a creative helping hand, the Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit comes with a booklet of ideas and loads of designs already installed with the software, so you can get a push in the right direction.

If you’re looking for something that can cut fabric with ease, the Silhouette Cameo probably isn’t the right device. Although it will work, it takes a bit of effort and is best left for materials such as vinyl, cardstock, and paper. Anyone who needs a fabric cutter may need to invest more to get something heavy duty and built specifically for this purpose.

Some reviews of this cutter have stated it can be a little confusing to use at first and can take some configuration to get it up and running, however, once you do it works like a dream. Provided you have the time and patience to put in during setup, you’ll be rewarded with a quality and affordable vinyl cutter that would be a great addition to any home workshop.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONRead Our In-depth Review

 

 

Best Vinyl Cutter #2: Brother ScanNCut2 Machine

For the home hobbyist who loves to create, you need a machine that’s going to be reliable and innovative to help you do your best. The Brother ScanNCut2 Machine has been designed specifically to be this, and help out the home artist to create whatever their imagination can create.

Brother has a long history of making imaging and printing machines for the home user and their range of scanners and cutters are some of their best.

The Brother ScanNCut2 Machine makes it easy to create with a large 4.85” LCD touch screen built in. You’re able to do a range of functions from here, with over 600 designs built into the device that you can create with.

This machine works as a standalone cutter and scanner, otherwise, it can easily connect to your computer using WiFi or a PC cord, and you can operate from there or use the ScanNCut Canvas web based application.

Brother ScanNCut 2 Machine On White Background

Source: craft-e-corner.com

OUR RATING

 

This is free for Brother users so there’s no need to spend any extra just to get access to the great design templates and help offered, but you will have to go through the setup process which can be time-consuming.

One of the best things about the Brother ScanNCut2 Machine is the web based application that comes with your purchase, and this cloud based application gives you an even greater range of designs to work with.

The ScanNCut Canvas application gives step by step instructions on how to create, and some downloadable cut files that you can get for yourself. In addition to the designs you create on your own and upload with the 300DPI scanner, you’ll have so many choices to meet the projects you do.

The ScanNCut2 from Brother operates with a German carbide blade, so it’s tough enough to work with a range of materials and surfaces. For the best results, though, this device cuts thoroughly through vinyl, cardstock, and paper, so stick to these and similar materials where possible.

This machine works with a 10” x 24” cutting area which is quite large when compared to other home systems, so there’s no need to only work with small materials. If you’ve been looking for a durable and innovative home vinyl cutter to get your projects started, you will be seriously impressed by the cost and capability of the Brother ScanNCut2.

Once you’ve set up your device and connected it to your home computer, you’ll find both the software and the cutting machine extremely easy to use and capable of a lot more than you might think.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONRead Our In-depth Review

 

 

Best Vinyl Cutter #3: USCutter Vinyl Cutter Bundle

When you’re in need of more than just a vinyl cutter and don’t have time or money to be sourcing the additional tools and accessories, you can rely on the USCutter Vinyl Cutter Bundle to get you started. This is a great beginners kit that has everything you need to work with vinyl cutting and is one of the more reasonably priced options available.

If you’re searching for the best vinyl cutter for the money, this would be a top contender, and the fact that it’s a number one bestseller on Amazon just shows you how well it can perform.

This cutter is able to work with materials up to 34” so it’s not just great for home hobbyists but small scale commercial use too. Considering the cost, this would make an ideal investment for a small workshop that won’t blow your budget out too much.

USCutter Vinyl Cutter Bundle On White Background

Source: ebay.com

OUR RATING

 

USCutter also gives you a copy of the VinylMasterCut software for use with this machine which is valued at over $500, so it further adds to the great price of this bundle. This software helps you to create vinyl signage, but if you’re hoping to use a different software you’ll be pleased to know it’s compatible with most Windows products on the market.

This flexibility makes it one of the better choices for the user who already has a trusted system they design with, provided you aren’t trying to operate it on a Mac. The best materials to use with the USCutter Vinyl Cutter Bundle are cardstock, paper, vinyl, paint mask, and heat transfer vinyl, and that’s most of its capabilities.

If you’re looking for something that can cut tint, laminate, or anything more heavy duty then you’ll have to invest in a more powerful cutter. However, for everything it can achieve this will suit most home arts and crafts lovers.

This bundle comes with everything you need to start cutting including the vinyl cutter machine itself, two magnetic sign blanks, transfer paper, vinyl rolls, and the software so there’s no need to shop around for other accessories.

Considering the low price and all of the additional items you get in the bundle, the USCutter Vinyl Cutter Kit is definitely a top choice for the home hobbyist or crafter.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONRead Our In-depth Review

 

 

Best Vinyl Cutter #4: Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine

When you’re just starting out with vinyl cutting and don’t have a lot of money to spare, you want a quality cutter that can get the job done without a fuss. The Cricut Explore Air might be just what you’ve been searching for, as a budget friendly and basic cutting machine without the bells and whistles.

This device can wirelessly connect to your home computer, meaning there’s no need for messy cords and setups. It comes with a scanner which is quite low on resolution, scanning at around 100DPI. However, if you’re able to make fairly basic designs then this won’t be an issue for the home hobbyist.

Don’t purchase this machine if you’re looking for a commercial grade device, as it’s definitely only suited to the home user. The scanner is lower in quality and it’s about half the price of others on the market, so don’t expect you’ll be getting the biggest and best vinyl cutter.

Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine

Source: shop.cricut.com

OUR RATING

 

However, for the price you’re paying it can certainly get the job done and won’t confuse you with a range of dials and buttons that you find on others.

The Circuit Image Library that comes with this cutter has over 50,000 images, so you can use them to get started on your projects. This cutter works with vinyl, cardstock, paper, and some basic materials so you can make just about anything your heart desires.

Whether you’re creating cards, invitations, party favors, decorations, or small gifts, it’s all possible with this one affordable machine.

One of the best features of the Cricut is how well it cuts when compared to others, so if you can look past the somewhat pixelated scanning resolution you’ll be amazed at how perfect the blade creates lines. For a great beginner’s vinyl cutter and something priced well below the rest, the Cricut Explore Air Cutting Machine is the choice for you.

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Best Vinyl Cutter #5: GCC AR-24 Desktop Cutting Machine

For a compact and powerful little cutting machine that makes light work of whatever materials you throw at it, it has to be the GCC AR-24 Desktop Cutting Machine. This nifty little device is one of the most powerful in terms of its cutting capability, but also one of the smallest so that it sits comfortably on your home desk without taking up any space at all.

One of the greatest design features of the GCC AR-24 is the control panel, with a wide enough screen to allow you to create directly from the device. This control panel has a few buttons that can help navigate the machine, and it’s one of the easiest to set up and run when compared to other vinyl cutters in this price range.

Although a little more expensive than some home models, the GCC AR-24 makes up for it with the cutting capabilities it has.

GCC Desktop Vinyl Cutter

Source: gccworld.com

OUR RATING

 

The GCC AR-24 is able to cut using 250 grams of cutting force and at a speed of 400mm per second which makes it one of the fastest and most powerful out. The cutting area is around 23.6” which is impressive, although a little small when compared to others for home use.

However, because this fits so snugly on your desktop without being a bother, it’s understandable that it might not have as much of a cutting area.

This cutting machine works with Corel Draw, so unless you have the software it might be useless. Setting it up on your computer couldn’t be easier, though, with a one click driver install button that gets the job done in just minutes.

From there, it’s simple to create and edit signs and projects and send them off directly to your GCC AR-24 for a precision and quality cut.

Although a little more expensive, you seem to be paying for the quality of the blade and cut with this model. Offering a far more precise edge and a wider range of materials that it can work with, this is a great choice for the home hobbyist who works with things that are a little more heavy duty.

If you can look past the limited software compatibility, it’s certainly worth the larger price tag.

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Read Our In-depth Review

 

The Final Verdict

Shopping around for the best starter vinyl cutter for your workshop doesn’t need to be a headache, provided you have a clear idea in mind about the types of projects you’ll be working on. This one device should add efficiency and flexibility to your workshop, giving you the freedom to create like never before.

Although it’s hard to say which of these would make the best beginner vinyl cutter, the clear stand outs are the Brother ScanNCut and the Cameo Silhouette. These have both been designed as beginner systems, and couldn’t be easier to use. Whichever of these vinyl cutting machines you decide on, though, you’ll be amazed at just how capable they are.

 

Resources:

HackADay​

CutterPros​

T-ShirtForums

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