There are loads of cool things you can do with a vinyl cutter. You can modify and personalise clothes, t-shirts, and bags, you can make all sorts of custom-designed signs, stickers, and banners, you can use them in greeting card making…the possibilities are endless!
We’ve had a good look at what vinyl cutters are out there on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our Top 5 to show you. Their reviews will be coming up shortly. After that, we’ve got a handy buying guide for you which goes through everything you might want to think about before you buy.
And we’ll top that off with some answers to your most frequently asked questions.
This article will concentrate on vinyl cutters for home use, but we’ve also included a more commercial vinyl cutter in our Top 5, in case you were thinking of investing in one for a home business.
If you’re after a vinyl cutter for professional use, and you need a vinyl cutter that’s also a plotter, then this would be a really good choice. And better yet, it’s actually cheaper than many of the hobbyist’s varieties.
One of the things that mark it as suitable for commercial use, is the cutting size it can do, seeing as it’s 28 inches wide. Perfect for making banners.
It comes with its own stand, saving you more desk space.
Despite being of professional quality, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners and novices.
It’s compatible across a range of Windows operating systems, including Windows 10. And it also works with an array of design software, including Adobe Illustrator, and for sign specific software, it will work with Signcut Pro.
It has 4 MB of memory and has an impressive cutting force, 0 to 500g.
You get a pack of 3 blades in with the price, along with several other necessary accessories.
Manufacturer UKcutter is sufficiently confident in their product that they’re prepared to offer a 1-year warranty.
Plotter as well as cutter
630mm max cutting width
Suitable for beginners
Compatible with Windows 10
Works with adobe illustrator & signcut pro
4 Mb of memory
Cutting force of 0 to 500g
Comes with a stand
Pack of 3 blades included in the price
1-year warranty available
Only compatible with Windows operating systems
Please ensure that you buy from a trusted retailer so you won’t get overcharged
The reviews on the Amazon page are rather thin on the ground, that said the customer feedback that is there is very positive overall, and the negative reviews look like they’re referring to a different product.
This machine comes from one of the biggest names in vinyl cutting, Cricut.
This particular model is flying off the shelves at Amazon, and those who have bought it rave about it. After well over 1000 customer ratings, the average Amazon customer rating still comes out at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5.
But that’s not the only reason why it made our Top 5. What we love about it, and what makes it such a good buy for an arts and crafts enthusiast is just how versatile it is. You can cut through over 300 different materials, whether they be delicate or tricky items such as crepe paper or cotton, all the way through to really thick materials like leather or wooden matboard, and of course vinyl.
And it’s not just what materials it uses that make it so versatile. In addition to cutting, you can also score, engrave, and deboss. You get both a rotary blade and a fine point blade included in the price, but for the other effects you will have to buy additional tools separately.
Speaking of blades, there’s a really handy guide to the different blades available on the Amazon page for this machine.
You will need an internet connection for the apps, but when you do there’s a huge library of design ideas to start you off and the apps are available across the range of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It comes with a USB cable, and it can connect via Bluetooth too.
Top brand in the field Impressive customer ratings
If you think you’ll be content with a smaller vinyl cutter, perhaps because you only want to use it for greeting card making, making stickers and scrapbooking, or for iron-on transfers for fabric customisation, then this would be a great little machine to go for.
It comes from Cricut, the top brand in such machines, but this model comes at a fraction of the price of the other Cricut in our Top 5. The lower price is down to a combination of being a smaller size, and not being able to cut through as many different types of materials.
That said, it can cut through over 50 different materials, and is certainly sufficiently versatile for the majority of crafters.
As well as cutting your vinyl designs to perfection, it can also draw and write on it, effectively making it a vinyl cutter plotter, but for hobbyists rather than professional sign makers.
The compatible app is super easy to use and is available for all the main operating systems, iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
Despite its narrow width, the length of continuous cutting it can do reaches a whopping 20 ft long.
You don’t need any fancy accessories for it, not even a cutting mat.
Top, best selling brand
Reasonably affordable price
Cut through over 50 materials
Draw on the vinyl as well as cut
Easy to use app
Compatible with all main operating systems
Can cut continuously up to 20 ft
No cutting mat or other accessories required
There aren’t too many peer reviews for this product on the Amazon page, but this is simply because it’s only recently been made available on Amazon
Vinyl cutters are rarely cheap, and it’s for this reason that you should be particular about which vinyl cutter and ensure that you invest in the one which best suits your needs. We’ll run through a few things you might want to think about before you buy it.
It sounds obvious, but if you need a vinyl cutter, make sure you get a vinyl cutter. There are many cutting machines on the market today which can cut through a great many things, but not necessarily vinyl.
If you’re in the market to buy a vinyl cutter purely for use as an arts and crafts hobby at home, then what you should look for in a vinyl cutter is versatility. The more that your vinyl cutter can do, the more fun you can have with it.
If however you want to invest in a vinyl cutter because you want to make professional signs, adverts, or banners, then other aspects of your vinyl cutter become more important, such as cutting size and accuracy. You may decide you need a vinyl cutter and plotter rather than just a vinyl cutter per se.
You should also consider whether you need a vinyl cutter that is also a plotter. While a vinyl cutter will cut vinyl, a vinyl cutter plotter can also print over the vinyl.
There are some great vinyl cutter brands out on the market today, and although the Cricut brand is the best known, it’s actually really hard to say which brand is actually the best overall.
We do recommend going with a branded product however. The more well established the brand, the better the availability of parts if the machine is ever in need of repair, or if you need new blades.
Dimensions and Cutting Size
If your vinyl cutter is for professional use, for making banners for example, you will likely prefer a machine with a large cutting size. Inevitably with large cutting size comes large dimensions.
However if you just want a vinyl cutter for making stickers or making iron-motifs to customise clothes, then cutting size and dimensions becomes less important, particularly if space is at a premium.
Software and Compatibility
Many vinyl cutters come with their own specialised software and with cloud storage to store your designs. Sometimes the software is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, other times the machines use more professional design software aimed at those who know their graphic design. This is something worth looking into.
If you already have specific software in mind that you want to use, please ensure that it’s compatible with your vinyl cutter before you buy it.
Sometimes a vinyl cutter can have Bluetooth connectivity so you can hook it up to an app on a mobile device rather than to a PC or Mac. That’s something else to think about.
Even when you’re using a vinyl cutter just for fun, you want to have precise cuts. If you don’t it’s hardly worth your while. That’s where the cutting force comes in, as it determines not just what materials you can cut with it, but also, how precise the cutting will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best vinyl cutter for t-shirts?
If you’re looking for a vinyl cutter to add iron-on vinyl to t-shirts, we can happily recommend our Number 1 pick, the Graphtec GB Ltd Silhouette Curio, our Number 3 pick, the Cricut Maker-Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine, and our Number 5 pick, the Cricut Joy Cutting and Writing Machine.
What machine do I need to make vinyl decals?
All of the vinyl cutters in our Top 5 picks can be used to make vinyl decals.
What is the best free vinyl cutting software?
There’s some great vinyl cutting software out there, and better yet you can download some great vinyl cutting software free of charge. Our personal favourite, and a big favourite amongst many crafters is Inkscape. It features a suite of flexible drawing tools and a powerful text tool too. You can run it on Windows or on a Mac, and it has broad file format compatibility. Why not check out the online tutorials and see what you think?
How long do vinyl cutter blades last?
How long a vinyl cutter blade lasts for will very much depend on how much use it gets. It also depends on what materials are being cut most frequently, it depends on what brand your using, and it depends on whether it’s a rotary blade, a fine point blade, or some other blade or tool.
So basically there’s no easy answer to that one. However, you can be assured that the blades that come with the vinyl cutters in our Top 5 picks all have a decent lifespan, and better yet, some of them come with spare blades. If you buy from a well-established brand, the blades are more readily available.
What is the best cheap vinyl cutter?
The most affordable vinyl cutter in our Top 5 picks, is our Number 5, the Cricut Joy Cutting and Writing Machine. It may be small but it’s really good.
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