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Die cutting machines have been around for quite some time, and their evolution has come a long way. What’s a die cutting machine anyway? It’s a machine designed to cut materials such as metal, paper, fabric, or vinyl into a specific shape. These machines are essential equipment to crafters as they save them big time. Why do you need one as a crafter? Well, the best die cutting machine will enable you to create admirable items such as homemade cards, stencils, scrapbook designs, fun foam designs, magnets, fabric cutouts, and much more.
In this article, we review ten products with Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine sitting on top of the table. This Editor’s Choice is the best die cutting machine for beginners and, at the same time, beneficial for professionals. It’s electric and cuts twice as fast as its counterparts. Also, the device is user-friendly. Find more information in the detailed review below. We’ve also discussed the other nine products in detail and why they’re worth trying.
Throughout our review, we consider essential features such as type, weight, dimensions, functions, and work materials. Each of these features plays a significant role in determining the best die-cutting machines. We explain each feature in-depth in our buying guide section that you’ll find towards the end of this article. We’ve put together a comparison table to help you do a quick skim of what we have. Detailed reviews of each product are available to equip you with the necessary information that you need.
"It’s another Cricut machine, that is also electric. It has a rotary blade and comes with a pattern library. It’s an easy to use model that can apply up to 4 kg. of force, which insures that it works effortlessly with a wide variety of materials."
"This die cutting machine is perfect for those who look for an unusual but cozy design. It has all-metal gears and cuts materials up to 6 inches wide, while being compatible with entire Sizzix library."
More features: user-friendly; built-in Bluetooth; getting started guide; USB cord included; comes with digital designs
The Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine is a fantastic starter pack that comes with everything a beginner would ever need. It comes with a tool kit and vinyl in multiple colors. The tool kit includes a spatula, scissors, scraper, tweezers, and weeder. Besides, you get eight 9×12 inch sheets Cricut Vinyl, two 9×12 inch sheets transfer paper, and five medium point pens in different colors. What’s more is that you get a starter guide, an electronic format e-book. The tutorials come in handy when creating your first project. Your PDF will be emailed to you once you make your purchase.
That’s not all to be excited about; the machines boast a design space software that you can access through a computer, an iPad app, tablet, or your smartphone and upload images in .svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp and .gif formats. As an icing on the cake, it comes with a built-in Bluetooth for wireless cutting, scoring, and writing. It has a unique ability to cut through different materials. Using the smart set dial, you can adjust the machine to cut a variety of material paper, felt, and iron-on. What’s exciting is that this thing cuts through the material at a speed that’s double its predecessors. If you’re starting, this is the best die cutting machine for beginners on the market.
Work materials: a variety of materials up to 6 inches wide
More features: portable; release lever handle
Sizzix Manual Die Cutting Machine is for you if you’re always on the move. It features a handle that neatly folds away making it best for people on the go. The best part is that this machine is straightforward to store. Well, let’s look into other cool features that you’ll like. The cutting surface allows you to cut and emboss up to 6-inch-wide, making it ideal for papercraft, home-sewn projects, card making, scrapbooking, and upcycling. Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, this machine will fully satisfy your needs. The big shot machine can create a detailed and perfect design in easy steps. It is designed to cut a range of materials from tissue to cork. Also, you can chop fabric as well as wood. With this die cutting machine, you’ll never worry about storing your wafer-thin dies as it has storage compartments built into the foldaway.
If you’re looking for the best manual die cutting machine that’s consistent with results, look no further. Following the available instructions to the latter makes this machine one of the easiest to use. Something else that’s worth mentioning is that The Big Shot has a high cutting power. If you’re looking for die cutting machine to use not over and beyond cutting, then this is it.
Work materials: paper, vinyl, iron-on, sewing, leather, quilting, basswood, metal, foil and more
More features: rotary blade; sewing pattern library; applies up to 4 kg. of force
Powerful and perfect. That’s the best way to describe this machine. Cricut Maker is an individual die cutting machine with professional-level cutting performance and is often referred to as the ultimate smart cutting machine. It looks beautiful, and the design is compact. No matter your creativity, this machine gives the ability to do stuff as much as you can imagine. What provides the Cricut Maker an edge over its counterparts is the extensive tool options. You’re able to cut, deboss, write, perforate, engrave and create waves with the available blade. What’s even more exciting is that you’re not limited to cutting anything as the machine cuts through hundreds of materials from the most delicate such as tissue to tough stuff like matboard and leather. You only need to learn how to play around with its power to achieve all you want.
The rotary blade and the special knife blade with their rolling and gliding action cuts through nearly any fabric. You’ll never run out of ideas as their sewing pattern library hosts hundreds of patterns. Besides, it features a design space online software just like the Cricut Explore Air 2 that enables you to save your designs. Two modes are available for you to utilize, the fast mode whereby you make cuts faster and the precision mode that lets you cut micro designs without compromising on anything.
More features: height adjustments possible; compact design
Bira Craft is a unique easy to use a manual die cutting machine with a 9-inch-wide cutting platform. The crank handle is easy to assemble and disassemble while the fold-out platform is an excellent storage box for the crank handle and other small tools. Although the rubber pad to emboss dies is sold separately, you can choose to use one from any brand of your choice because the machine has an adjustable system. This machine is excellent for embossing larger folders, and the beautiful part is that you can control the pressure. You can use almost any acid etched dies, steel rule dies, and embossing folders from the leading brands. The adjustable plate makes it ideal for different projects based on what you’re working on.
The mode knob makes it easy to achieve different modes right on the machine, and there is no need for building different sandwiches. The depth knob, on the other hand, comes in handy whenever you want to cut tiny sections and also when working on something like adhesive paper. You’ll rarely go wrong while using this machine as it is stable and does not move around while using. We recommend you go for this machine and you’ll be glad to discover the top kept secret and be thankful that you took a chance. No regrets at all.
Work materials: cardstock, vellum, felt, leather and more
More features: compatible with the entire Sizzix product library; safe to use; has a carry handle
If you’re looking for the best die cutting machine for card making, then look no further. Sizzix Big Shot Manual Die Cutting is a manual machine designed to suit both experts and beginners. It can emboss a wide range of materials up to 6-inch-wide. What’s more, is that this machine is compatible with all products from the Sizzix library including texture fades, thinlits, textured impressions, bigz, framelits, and impress its embossing folders. The A5 size opening makes it possible for you to create multiple designs such as paper crafting, fashion embellishments, home décor, quilting, scrapbook pages, among others. It comes with an extended multipurpose platform and a pair of cutting pads. Besides, the starter kit also comes with excellent dies – two different styles, so you’re safe if you didn’t have any dies to use yet.
This fantastic die-cutting machine can work on papers, fabrics, felts, tins, among others. Note that the 6-inch wide opening means small materials and therefore, if you want to work on something bigger, you’ll have to consider a big machine, although this machine weighs 7.5 lbs. You need to hold it down when turning the crank to prevent it from sliding around. The machine’s design is compact and allows moving around with it, although its sides don’t fold up. What makes it limiting is its working capacity – the 6-inch opening is quite small for some crafting projects.
Functions: cuts up to eight layers of most materials in a single pass
Work materials: from leather to wool, to craft metal, to Balsa Wood
More features: modern design; clear cutting plates, standard platform, embossing plate, and embossing mat included
This is yet another leading die cutting machine on the market. It’s a perfect machine for embossing, crafts and hobbies, card making, paper crafts, and scrapbooking. It’s so amazing that this Platinum can cut over 40 different materials up to 8-inch-wide. What’s, even more, is that it’s sturdy and can cuts as many as six layers thick in a single pass using contour steel rule dies. Isn’t that cool? Besides, it is compatible with most standard wafer-thin, etched dies, embossing folders, and texture plates. This thing can cut through dense materials such as leather or craft metal. Whether you’re working with the thick or thin material, the Platinum will blaze through.
Do you ask about portability? Well, this machine has a sleek, modern design with collapsible handles and fold-up sides to facilitate mobility and storage. The device comes along a pair of clear-cutting plates, embossing plate, standard platform, and embossing mat. Whether you’re looking to make cards, DIY projects, fabric arts, mixed media, wedding, party, or home décor, Platinum 6 machine can come in handy. It boasts high-end gears hence a secure unit, and its heavyweight makes it stable during use. This little machine can be a workhorse and never disappoints. It comes with a straightforward instruction booklet on how to set up and use.
More features: portable; lightweight; adjustment gear system; different platforms offered
Evolution Advanced receives considerable attention because it can work as a manual machine or an automated die cutting machine. Use the removable handle to operate it manually. For you to be able to use the device in an automatic mode, you need a motor that’s sold separately. We can say that this is the best die cutting machine for home use. First, it boasts a lightweight fold-up design that makes it a space saver. Second, it’s versatile and an excellent machine for DIY craft projects. Once you figure what pressure setting is needed, it’s easy and fun to use this machine than you could imagine. What’s even more fun and exciting is that the die is adjustable, making it easy to make a deep emboss or a light one.
It is a user-friendly die cutting machine, and there’s no guesswork even if you’re a total beginner and know little to nothing about this thing. A short mastery of the type of die and paper thickness will help you with more cutting precision. It is also a universal machine that works with die-cuts and embossing folders from most leading brands. Apart from being portable, the device features four clamping suction cups to prevent it from wobbling during use. Go ahead and get this die cutting machine and cut, emboss, or even letterpress with ease.
Work materials: heavyweight cardstock; vinyl; foil; multiple layers for fabric
More features: quiet; edge-to-edge cutting; pause button
Gemini die cutting machine is one of its kind. If you’ve been looking for a tool with a large platform to cut multiple dies at ago then this is what you need. It is fast, light, and quiet than most of its brothers on the market. Those three features tell you that this machine is not your average die-cutting machine. You know how difficult it can be to combine speed with silence. When we say this thing is unique, we mean it. It features pause, resume, and reverse buttons, meaning you have all the freedom to work without fear. That’s not all, it boasts a sleek, low-profile design and is ideal for intricate dies as well as for cutting heavyweight cardstock, fabric, vinyl, and foil.
It is a 120V machine and uses high pressure to produce high-end designs. With this machine, you can do edge-to-edge cutting of A4 materials. It is compatible with most thin metal dies and embossing folders. The device comes with the transparent cutting platform, base cutting plate, metal cutting plate, magnetic shim, plastic shim, rubber embossing mat, three design embossing folders, 16 cutting dies, a user guide, and a power cord. In other words, it comes with everything you’ll ever need to get started. You can also use third-party embossing folders and dies. The machine itself is pretty extensive, and you need extra room to load the plates. If speed is what you’re after and you’d like to cut large pieces often, then this machine is for you.
The Brother ScanNCut SDX125EGY is also quite deserving of a place on this list. It is an electric die-cutting machine that can take you from a beginner to an expert crafter in weeks. Like most modern die cutters, it comes equipped with inbuilt cutting designs that will be the basis for your first few projects. In this model, you get up to 682 of them. Notably, some of these inbuilt designs include quilting patterns and varying fonts. Despite the inbuilt designs being so many, you’re bound to outgrow them at some point in your crafting journey. When you get there, you can start incorporating hand-drawn concepts and ideas by making full use of the scanner component included.
The benefits don’t stop there. You can even add designs using the included USB port of the machine. Once uploaded, it’s possible to customize, edit and combine projects using the already available touchscreen built into the die cutter. Another attribute that should get potential buyers excited is the automatic material sensor technology. It eliminates any need to manually adjust the blades or account for the material you’re using. The machine will do all that and make the appropriate adjustments before it starts cutting. It even slices through tough materials like foam and leather.
The die cutter makes an excellent purchase for hobbyists but even more so for professionals. Lastly, the manufacturer is considerate enough to add the accessories you might need for your crafts that include: a touch pen, accessory pouch, black pen, tack mat, sample cardstock, and more.
More features: compatible with the entire Sizzix product library; all-metal gears; designed by Tim Holtz
Are you looking to take your die-cutting creativity to another level? Well, this Vagabond 2 could help you achieve that. The machine is motorized and all your die-cutting and embossing starts at the push of a button. Its briefcase-like intelligent design makes this electric roller machine portable and suitable for people with mobility challenges. The entire device is all-metal-gear hence strong and durable. Along the die cutting machine comes the platform, two clear cutting plates, and a thin adapter for using with the thin dies. Note that if you need longer cutting plates, you’ll have to purchase them separately. This thing is very versatile as it gives you the freedom to work with the entire Sizzix product library, but the dies and embossing folders should not exceed 6-inch-wide.
This powerful die cutting machine offers a great deal to crafters as it cuts and embosses various materials and thickness effortlessly. It is compatible with Spellbinders and you can use them whenever you like. With this machine, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll cut small thin dies with precision. Be gentle and don’t attempt to force a thick sandwich through. Be sure to follow instructions. Something else worth mentioning is that this machine uses electricity only. It might not be useful if you stay in areas with a frequent power outage or no electricity at all. It is exciting, die cutting machine, and you’ll like how it works.
Why did it make our list?
Easy to use
Great value for money
What is not ideal about it?
Things to Consider
There is a wide variety of die cutting machines on the market today. Getting yourself the right tool can be a tedious task. Since purchasing a cool die-cutting device could be a serious investment, it’s wise to make an informed decision. We’ve put together a detailed buying guide to help you make your first or next purchase with confidence. We hope it helps you.
What do you need a die cutting machine for?
Whether you’re a beginner crafter or an experienced one, a die cutting machine is must-have equipment as it brings lots of benefits. You can take your crafting skills to a higher level with this machine. The machine’s design helps a crafter to accurately cut materials such as fabric, paper, or metal to a specific shape. With the ability to cut material with precision, you can make fantastic items such as magnets, scrapbook designs, homemade cards, fun foam designs, stencils, fabric cutouts, among others.
Features to consider before you buy a die cutting machine
It is imperative to be vigilant when in the process of acquiring a new die cutting machine. The equipment is a necessary tool for crafters, and knowing what to look for in one saves them big time. We look into what we think is essential such as type, weight, dimensions, functions, and work materials. Below is a roundup of these features to consider before buying a die cutting machine.
The first thing that should hit your mind is the type of die cutting machine you need. Hunting for one without having a clear idea of the type you want is as good as wasting your valuable time. Type should always prevail. Well, die cutting machines vary from brand to brand, model to another, and their usage.
There are three major types of these machines – electrical, digital, and manual.
Electrical devices are more like the manual ones but have an electrical motor attached in place of the crank. A good example is the Sizzix Tim Holtz Vagabond 2 Electric Die Cutting Machine. The next type is the manual machine. This type uses a crank system that needs turning its handle to cut or emboss the material. They’re versatile and work with a wide range of dies and embossing folders. You’ll often find many crafters with this type because they’re affordable, easy to use, and mobile. Take the Sizzix Manual Die Cutting Machine is an excellent example of a manual die cutting machine. The last type is the digital machine. This is a computerized machine; it’s versatile, fast, and accurate. With a digital tool, you can transfer designs from a device that’s preloaded with them or via a computer system. A special software plays a significant role in the whole process. Check out the Brother ScanNCut SDX125EGY if you’re interested in a digital die cutting machine. Don’t forget it’s an electric machine by default.
Weight is an important aspect to consider before you buy the machine that you’ve liked. What matters when it comes to weight is how you’d like to move around with your stuff. If you’re always on the go, consider a light die-cutting mobile machine. You do not want to walk around with something that feels like a burden. But if all you need is a machine to use in your working station at the comfort of your home, then anything can do as you do not plan to shift it around. An excellent machine to move around with is the Sizzix Big Shot Manual Die Cutting. It weighs only 7.5 pounds. It could be the best personal die cutting machine for you. In spite of Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine being an exciting machine, it pretty heavy and might not be suitable for people on the go.
The next thing you want to be sure about is the size of the machine you want. Your functional space and your storage should inspire this. When we talk of space here, we mean the area you’ll be working with your machine. Die cutting tools vary in sizes from smaller options to large ones. Don’t go for a massive tool if you have limited working space. Understand the dimensions very well before getting a die cutting machine. If you have a small space, then Sizzix Manual Die Cutting Machine is all you need. Bira Craft Die Cutting is a big machine that will take up a lot of room. Be aware!
After deciding on the type and size of what you want, it’s time to look into the functions. This is equally important as it’s the center of your crafting activities. What are you interested in doing with your die-cutting machine?
To know the functions to look for in a tool, you must first understand what you need to cut and the types of projects you’ll be doing.
Are you interested in small projects, large projects, or you need something for having fun occasionally? Since these machines vary in types and sizes, they have different functions. Also, note that some tools can do the cutting and embossing, while others will just cut. For instance, while Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine cuts at high speed, it does not emboss. On the other hand, Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting Machine by We R Memory does the cutting, embossing, and letterpress. Individual machines like Brother ScanNCut SDX125EGY do the scanning. Again, you must understand the sizes you’d love to cut. Some tools will only work with materials 6-inch-wide and below. So, making the right decision concerning other features and forgetting about the function is as good as useless.
Finally, you must consider the work materials. This feature is hard to assume. Unless you don’t know what you’re doing, or you’re ready to waste your money, you cannot buy a machine without looking into this feature. Two categories of work materials are available – lightweight and heavyweight. These materials include paper, fabric, vinyl, leather, quilting, basswood, metal, foil, felt, among others.
Also, understand the size of work materials that the machine of your choice supports.
For instance, Spellbinders Platinum cuts over 40 materials up to 8-inch-wide. Always do your homework well before settling for a die cutting machine.
Not really. These machines come ready to use. What you only require are the right accessories, and you’re ready to go. Most die-cutting machines come with basic starter bundles, and you don’t have to worry about them.
Yes. It is safe to use a die cutting machine. However, personal safety should be put into consideration. It’s a machine, and there are moving parts that can be a little dangerous if you don’t practice caution.
Absolutely. You’ll often hear cracking sounds as you roll your die via your machine. That sound you hear is usually from the die-cutting into your paper. It’s normal for such sounds, and you have nothing to worry about.
Purchasing a die cutting machine is an investment that will forever change your crafting game. The device gives you power, control, and design possibilities to explore. You’ll never run out of ideas even on a single day of your creative crafting. The above information is meant to help you make the right decision when shopping for your next die cutting machine. As we put together this review, we considered the features we’ve explained in the buying guide. For instance, Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine tops our list because it’s a fantastic machine. What we liked most about it is that it’s user-friendly (ideal for beginners), cuts fast, and it’s versatile. The second position is the Sizzix Manual Die Cutting Machine. What fascinates us about this little machine is its ability to cut and emboss, and the flexibility that you get. Also, it’s one of the best manual die-cutting machines. Finally, we have the Cricut Maker Machine Bundle at position three. It’s our Premium Pick because of its smart cutting ability. It also supports a wide range of work materials. Now that you know what makes the best die-cutting machines, together with our well-researched products, you can never go wrong on your next buy.