How to know which cutting machine is right for you.
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I have gotten so many questions about cutting machines and I want to answer them all! So this is part 1 in a series where I’ll answer all your questions! The first question I get is always, Silhouette or Cricut?
About 4 years ago, my husband took me to dinner on a date and I told him all about cutting machines and how much I wanted one. My husband took me straight to WalMart after dinner and we stood in the isle while I tried to make a decision. I had researched on Pinterest and left with the impression that Silhouette had complicated software, but Cricut was more expensive. After a lot of thinking, I decided I’d get the Silhouette Cameo 3.
Now there are different machine options. Here is what is available!
Cricut has a few different options that I think are worth the cost. The first is the Explore Air 2. It comes in a lot of cute colors! The second option is the Cricut Maker. The main differences of these are the Cricut Maker can cut fabric with a rotary blade while the Explore Air 2 does not. Both machines can connect with Bluetooth and both cut materials 12″x24″. Click to see the cost of the Explore Air 2 or Cricut Maker.
The Cricut Maker blew me away when I first heard it could cut fabric! The Cricut Design Space even has sewing patterns for sale that you can buy to cut. I think that is an amazing idea! So that’s one plus for Cricut!
One of the best features of the Cricut is the app! If you love drawing sticker designs on your iPad and then want to upload it right to Design Space and cut, then this is for you! Silhouette does not have that capability yet. The ease of not having to switch to a desktop makes my work flow so much better!
Silhouette recently came out with a Silhouette Cameo 4 and Silhouette Cameo 4 Plus. The Cameo 4 cuts up to 12″ wide and the Plus cuts up to 15″ wide. These machines can use a rotary blade to cut fabric and is the fastest cutting machine on the market. Silhouette also still has the Cameo 3, and it is a great machine too! It is comparable to the Cricut Explore Air 2.
The benefit of a Silhouette Cameo 4 is that it doesn’t need a mat to cut cardstock or vinyl! Since a Silhouette doesn’t need a mat to cut vinyl, it can cut so much longer than 24″! The longest I have cut is 3 feet long. The Cameo 4 has a roll feeder in the front and a vinyl cutter in the back. It gives you all the tools you need to cut long vinyl decals. Silhouette had an Auto Blade option so you can set the blade in the software.
- Internet based
- Opens SVG files
- Design App
- Memberships for designs
- Downloaded to your computer
- Opens DXF, PNG, and JPEG with basic plan
- Options to upgrade for more design options
- Silhouette Design Store
- No App
Cricut design space is limited in options for designing your own cut files, but it is possible to use Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to design and open it in the design space for cutting.
Silhouette Studio gets a bad reputation for being harder to use, but I really disagree! I find Studio to be very user friendly as long as you’re willing to make a few mistakes. Don’t worry, there is an undo button!
If you are really curious, you can use both Silhouette Studio and Design Space for free! Just go to their websites and download/enroll. Then you can open some files and try to design something simple. I think that will really tell you what machine you should buy!
So which one is better?
In the end, I think the main deciding factor is if you like the software! If you’re like me, you’ll spend a lot of time using the software and if it gives you a headache, you won’t ever use it!
Since I like having more design options, I like the Silhouette better.
If you are looking for a machine that you can make cool projects available from other designers, then Cricut would be a great choice!
Feel free to ask all your questions in the comments!