6 Best Cutting Machines for Paper, Fabric & Metal

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Product reviews

After spending more than 24 hours on testing 15 different cutting machines, we managed to create a list of the 6 best cutting machines for your DIY projects. The Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine headlines our list due to its expandable set of sharp blades that allow you to cut through hundreds of different materials and make precise, clean cuts every single time.

Another cutting machine worth mentioning is the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine. It offers wireless cutting via Bluetooth which allows you to effortlessly make accurate cuts and can also cut through several different materials like leather, card stock, and many more.

We created a comparison table below to help you decide on which of the best cutting machines to pick up. Check it out.

Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine – 94%

 

The Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine sits on our list as the best electronic cutting machine and for good reason. This craft cutting machine can make any of your DIY projects come to life with its expandable set of blades that are both powerful and precise.

Cricut Maker - Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine
Cricut Maker isn’t just for sewing or balsa wood projects. It cuts over 300 different materials, including all the materials that made Cricut Explore machines so popular like cardstock, posterboard, vinyl, and iron-on. So you’ll never be held back.

The rotary blade cuts through fabrics easily and the knife blade is sharp enough to cut through mat boards and balsa without any problems, making it one of the most capable fabric cutting machines as well.

You can virtually cut through hundreds of different materials like leather with such accuracy that even the most intricate designs can be achieved flawlessly.

It’s the perfect machine for the DIY enthusiast who wants to take their creativity to the next level. The 12 x 12” working space is plenty enough for large projects and the rate it cuts is absolutely quick. Without a doubt the Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine is our number one pick for the best cutting machine you can buy.

 

Pros
  • Can cut hundreds of different materials
  • Powerful and accurate set of blades
  • Large working area
Cons
  • Android app only works in the U.S.

 

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Review – 94%

 

True to its name, the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine is another solid offering that makes precise cuts and features a convenient wireless cutting feature thanks to Bluetooth.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine
  • 2X Faster. Adjustable cutting and writing speed up to 2x faster.
  • Quick Projects.  Choose Make It Now projects or make quick cuts with the Circuit Design Space app.
  • Design on-the-go.  Create on your computer, tablet, or smartphone

You can score and cut your desired patterns and just like the Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine, the blades are sharp and powerful enough to cut through a variety of different materials like vellum, leather, and a whole lot more.

There’s a built-in Fast mode to speed up the cutting process and it does the job quite well, making intricate and fine cuts at a very quick pace.

A smart set dial feature is also onboard to help you configure the correct settings for a variety of different projects.

We do notice that it’s inconsistent when it comes to cutting fabric as it tends to leave soft tears on the edges but if you’re looking to use it for paper and cardstock, you will not be disappointed.

 

Pros
  • Wireless cutting feature via Bluetooth
  • Sharp, powerful blades
  • Built-in Fast mode to speed up cutting process
Cons
  • Inconsistent when it comes to fabric cutting

 

Gemini Global Version Machine Review – 88%

 

The Gemini Global is a good craft cutting machine that offers a reasonably large 9 x 12.5” working space. We tried cutting multiple dies during our tests and it came out fantastic.

Gemini Global Version Machine
  • The Gemini machine is faster, lighter and quieter than other die-cutting machines
  • It is compatible with most thin 'metal dies and embossing folders
  • It has a large platform size (9" X 12.5") so you can cut multiple dies at one time

The machine is sleek and low-profile in design and provides enough space for edge-to-edge cutting of A4 sized papers.

It can even cut through fabric which is quite impressive and the results are crisp and clean. Intricate cuts come out very detailed and accurate.

One feature that we liked is you can pause or rewind during cutting which can come quite handy if you want to take out the plates and change it.

Upon purchase you will also receive a 3D embossing folder, 3 papercraft die sets, and a mixed media die set so you can start your DIY projects immediately.

If you want a simple, functional cutting machine that produces accurate cuts, the Gemini Global Version Machine is a good choice.

 

Pros
  • Sleek, low-profile design
  • Edge-to-edge cutting of A4
  • Pause and rewind feature
Cons
  • Plates warp easily

 

White/Gray UK Version FT MLH Big Shot Starter Kit – 85%

 

The Sizzix White/Gray UK Version FT MLH Big Shot Starter Kit is one of the best die cutting machines that come in a full kit for you to get up and running right away with your DIY projects.

White/Gray UK Version FT MLH Big Shot Starter Kit
The Big Shot die-cutting and embossing machine is the perfect tool for a wide range of creative pursuits. With a 6” (A5) wide opening, the Big Shot cuts shapes and intricate designs in a matter of seconds. With hundreds of designs in the Sizzix product library to choose from, this machine is the perfect tool to cater for every kind of crafter, from beginner to expert.

It’s the perfect machine for card-making and paper projects because of its consistency and ability to produce clean, crisp cuts.

The crank action is very smooth and stable so you won’t have any trouble cutting through cardstock and vinyl. You can even cut small fabrics if you’re into quilting.

The design is also light and portable, meaning you can craft your DIY projects anywhere you go with this capable machine. We’re happy to report that embossing is also clean and detailed during our testing.

Beginners and advanced enthusiasts will appreciate this whole kit that comes with a set of dies, a 5.5 x 6” paper pad and an included cotton fabric.

 

Pros
  • Comes in a complete kit
  • Can cut through small fabrics
  • Smooth crank action
Cons
  • Cutting plate deforms after a few uses

 

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine – 85%

 

The Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine is a capable manual paper cutting machine that features a wide cutting platform of 8 ½ inches which is larger than the Sizzix White/Gray UK Version FT MLH Big Shot Starter Kit.

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine
  • Grand Calibur - Teal. NEW color and logo
  • Stronger support beams and gears 8 1/2 inch wide cutting platform
  • Compatible with Nestabilibites and Shapeabilities and all Spellbinders dies in addition to most wafer thin dies throughout the industry.

What we liked most about this machine is that it’s versatile enough to be compatible with a variety of different dies meaning you’ll have plenty of options to choose from aside from the Spellbinders dies.

The cuts this machine produced on cardstock and paper were excellent and consistent and the large workspace area allows for cutting multiple dies.

Cranking out the handle doesn’t need a lot of force and is stable enough even when cutting through multiple layers.

We do notice that the build quality isn’t up to par with most of the cutting machines on this list, especially the handle so do be careful when using it.

Embossing can be quite difficult as well since the handle became quite stiff when we tried to use it.

 

Pros
  • Wide cutting platform of 8 ½ inches
  • Compatible with a variety of different dies
  • Clean and precise cuts
Cons
  • Subpar build quality
  • Struggles to emboss properly

 

Amethyst Die Cutting And Embossing Machine Review – 72%

 

The Sweet Dixie Amethyst Die Cutting And Embossing Machine is the smallest cutting machine on our list which makes it perfect for small DIY projects.

Amethyst Die Cutting And Embossing Machine
  • Will not accept A4 card or designs
  • No assembly required; machine dimensions - width 195 mm (including handle), height 120 mm, depth 80 mm; weight 875 gm
  • Use the Sweet Dixie Amethyst Die Cutting and Embossing Machine with all Sweet Dixie and virtually all other thin metal dies up to 159 x 78mm

The dimensions are very small and the cutting area is only 6.2 x 3” so you’ll be quite limited in space when working with your crafts.

The size is perfect though for personalizing and accessorizing. Don’t let its size fool you because it’s still a capable cutting machine that produces clean, detailed cuts in even the most intricate designs.

If you have a larger machine, this makes a perfect compliment for working on the little details on your projects since it’s very compact and you can take it absolutely anywhere.

For those looking to start their die cutting journey, this is a great start that will allow you to work on small, creative pieces before venturing into bigger DIY projects.

 

Pros
  • Small and compact
  • Makes clean precise cuts for its size
Cons
  • Size means you’ll be limited to creating small designs

 

Frequently asked questions

What is a die cutting machine?

A die cutting machine is a tool that’s used for cutting intricate designs and details on a variety of different materials like paper, leather, fabric, cardstock, and many more.

These machines are perfect for DIY projects like cardmaking, quilting, and other arts and crafts like scrapbooking and decoupage.

What are the different types of die cutting machines?

There are two distinct types of die cutting machines; electric and manual.

Below we’ll discuss how each type of machine works to find out their advantages.

Electric cutting machines are generally bigger and more capable than manual cutting machines. They operate at much faster rates and can cut hundreds of different materials with proficiency and accuracy.

Electric cutting machines are also more versatile when it comes to overall functionality since they can cut, write, and score multiple designs on the material you’re working on.

 

Manual cutting machines require you to turn a handle in order to cut the design on your chosen material.

One advantage of manual cutting machines over electric cutting machines is that you can take it anywhere and create your own DIY projects anytime since it doesn’t require electricity to operate.

What should I look for when choosing a die cutting machine?

Die cutting machines come in all shapes and sizes so before you head out to buy one for yourself, here are some important factors to consider to make sure you get the correct machine.

Size. Choose a die cutting machine that will allow you to comfortably use it on your workspace.

Do you need a machine with a large cutting surface? Or do you want a small, portable cutting machine that you can take anywhere?

Weigh in your options and make a decision from there.

 

Type. Depending on the type of projects you wanna work with, you can either choose between an electric and a manual machine.

If you plan on creating large DIY projects with a variety of different materials, an electric machine is your best bet since it operates faster and will allow you to cut more pieces in a short time.

If you value portability and simplicity, a manual cutting machine will work just as well as an electric machine and since it doesn’t require any power to operate, you can use it anytime you want.

 

Cost. Heavy duty printing and cutting machines especially the electric ones will set you back around £300 and up because they come with more features and are more efficient at cutting.

Manual cutting machines usually cost around £100 so consider your budget and buy the best equipment you can afford.

What’s the best die cutting machine? Why is it the best?

When it comes to the best cutting machines, we have two recommendations for both electronic and manual options.

First off is the Cricut Maker – Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine. It’s really the ultimate cutting machine in terms of functionality because it comes with a set of different blades that are sharp enough to cut through almost any material you use on your crafting projects.

Whether it be for fabrics, leather, vellum, or paper, expect fine, accurate cuts no matter how intricate the details are.

The second one goes to the Sizzix White/Gray UK Version FT MLH Big Shot Starter Kit. If you want a portable cutting machine that makes precise cuts, this kit is for you.

It comes with all the essentials you need to start with your DIY projects immediately and is also capable of embossing clear details with the materials you’re using.

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