No matter what your experience of paper crafting, a die cutting machine can become a favorite hobby with even the most basic of machines. Whether you are looking to make unique cards for gifts or just want to experiment with fonts and shapes, there are products for all budgets. Some are far better than others which is why you need to be careful and know what to look for but when you get it right, the results of your creations speak for themselves.
With different features to make each one stand out, we have created a list of the best die-cutting machines available. With everything from the manual products to the modern electronic machines, these are the best in the business.
- Editor’s Choice
Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value
Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool (Amazon) – Review
- Best Budget
Sizzix 660425 Big Shot Machine, 6 in (15.24 cm) Opening, White/Gray (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Thick Materials
Cricut Maker, Champagne (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Quilting
AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter Starter Set (Amazon) – Review
- Best Portable
Spellbinders PE-100 Platinum 6.0 Die Cutting and Embossing Machine (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint
This is the best die cutting machine on the market and a favorite for many people. It puts the user in the driving seat, allowing them to upload and download new designs from a computer and can easily cut through over a hundred different types of material. This includes the likes of faux leather and premium vinyl.
You can put it to work on a variety of projects so it can make stickers, greeting cards, personalized home decor, and a lot more. It comes with a fine point blade and housing, 12 x 12-inch cutting matt, design software, and a tonne of other useful features. The machine itself is available in various designs so you can choose from mint green, rose, blue, cherry blossom, and others. It is one of the best priced, versatile, and easiest to use die-cutting machine which is why we have given in top spot.
- Can cut through 100’s of materials
- Comes with 12 x 12-inch cutting matt
- Great value
- Vailable in different colors
- Can upload and download designs
Best Value: Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool
Bluetooth compatible and with Silhouettes auto blade feature, this is a contender for the best die cutting machine. We like that it easily gets through some of the more creative materials so it can be used with fabric, cardstock, heat transfer material, vellum, as well as paper and some of the other common types. All the software is included to make it easily connected to a Mac or PC and there are 50 exclusive digital designs included.
For an electronic cutting machine, it is pretty compact and the pack contains an 8-inch cutting matt which is more generous than a lot of the competition at this price. To top it all off, this product cuts wirelessly via Bluetooth
- 8-inch cutting matt
- Can cut through a variety of materials
- Compact design
- Reasonable price
- Some people want a larger cutting surface
Best Budget: Sizzix 660425 Big Shot Machine, 6 in (15.24 cm) Opening, White/Gray
Another popular die cutting machine and one that comes at a very reasonable price. It can also emboss materials up to 6 inches wide which is ideal for a variety of crafts. It is compatible with the back catalog of Sissix designs so you get to play with and amend Thinlits, Bigz, Textured Impressions, Impresslits, and a lot more.
We like that you get a one year warranty when you purchase and the Sissix Big Shot Machine also comes with a pair of cutting pads and an extended platform. The user only has to wait a matter of seconds as it cuts and shapes designs and it is so easy to use that a beginner will easily get to grips with it. Although there is enough about it for an expert to enjoy as well.
- Great value
- Compatible with Sissix designs
- Includes an extended platform
- Emboss materials up to 6 inches wide
- Can be a little heavy for some
Best For Thick Materials: Cricut Maker, Champagne
The slick look of this premium die cutting machine is complemented by its strength so expect it to easily get through thick materials such as leather. Its rotary cutter makes it capable of getting through regular materials but the cutting blade can also get through the likes of balsa wood so it is easy to see why it is known for its power.
The pens it comes with allow it to trace lines onto the fabric as they wash off and because of the digital download capability, it makes die-cutting and quilting projects a lot easier. The docking station allows you to charge your device at the same time as using the machine and it also comes with two 12 x 12-inch cutting mats.
- Can cut around 300 different materials
- Makes light work of thick materials
- 12 x 12-inch cutting matts
- Docking station charges smartphones
- Software can be a little tricky to navigate at first
Best For Quilting: AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter Starter Set
You can use this machine to cut up to six layers of fabric at the same time making it an ideal die cutting machine for quilting. The design ensures you do not have to work so hard, taking a lot of the hard work away so a younger user can get to grips with making unique pieces.
The AccuQuilt Go folds up small so it is great for taking to a class and is compatible with all AccuQuilt Go dies giving the user loads of options for making unique gifts and crafts. This pack includes a 6 x 12-inch cutting matt and we found that it was one of the easiest products to use although the price means it is more of an investment than some of the other products on our list.
- Can cut up to 6 layers of fabric
- Folds up small
- Includes 6 x 12-inch cutting matt
- Easy to use
- Might be a bit pricey for some budgets
Best Portable: Spellbinders PE-100 Platinum 6.0 Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
For a versatile die-cutting machine that can cut through a variety of materials thick and thin, the Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 is a great option. It doubles up as an embossing machine and can get through up to 8 layers depending on the material used. This means you should have no problem working with leather, wool, balsa wood, and even craft metal.
The collapsable handle makes it easy to move from place to place and the compact design isn’t too small so it can still work on a cutting surface up to 6 inches. It packs up small with the sides folding up so you can take it to a friend’s house and create cards, home decor, work on mixed media, and a lot more.
- Can cut through 40 different types of materials
- Packs up small
- 6-inch cutting surface
- 1-year warranty
- Not as effective at embossing
With so many uses that go well beyond making unique cards, a quality die cutting machine is a crafters dream. You need more than free designs when looking for the most suitable machine and although some of the more obvious traits such as the strength of its cutting are enticing, there is a lot more to know before you make a purchase.
This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what a quality product should be capable of.
Being able to cut through the thick paper is one thing, but beyond making cute personalized gift cards you will want your die cutting machine to have more cutting power. This is why you should ensure the product you are considering can get through thicker materials. A lot of products boast that they can easily get through leather and balsa wood among others. Although you might not need this much strength, look for a machine that can get through multiple materials with ease.
The larger the cutting matt the greater the potential size of your projects. A common width for a die cutting machine tends to be 6 inches which are fine for a lot of people. Still, if you are looking for something that opens up more opportunities then consider something closer to 12 x 12 inches.
The price of a die cutting machine can change drastically depending on the number of features you are looking for and the power of the machine. Still, you can get good value no matter what your budget.
If you don’t need a product that is ideal for quilting and offers features you aren’t going to use, then there is no need to spend money on them. For certain projects, you will need a higher spec of the die-cutting machine so this is something to consider, especially if you are looking to grow in experience and expertise.
If you like the sound of a scanner to make life a little easier then this is a unique feature that some products offer. You are more likely to find products that emboss instead which can save money. Other additional features include a docking station to charge a device or included designs.
To create new designs you are going to need to plug the die cutting machine into a computer. This is the easiest way of gaining access s to unlimited possibilities and tonnes of designs. The better products make this easy, just look for products that can be plugged straight into a laptop or can that use Bluetooth.
The more money you spend on a die cutting machine, the more significant this might be. The reputable brands tend to include at least a year’s warranty. This helps to protect your purchase as you never know what could go wrong even with the more advanced products.
With a few to choose from, you get to decide how much easier you want to make the process and how much control you get. Here are the most common types of die cutting machine:
Using a handle to allow the user to press the design and cut it, manual die-cutting machines are a throwback but can be highly effective. One of the better options for making impressions and usually pretty portable although you might not get to work with wider materials.
The handle requires a little strength from the user but they can be used anywhere without the use of an electrical outlet.
Arguably the most common type of die cutting machine now, these are designed to make life easier and certainly take a lot of the manual strain out of creating unique projects.
Using cartridges for any different font or shape to use for fast cutting they are usually capable of cutting through thicker materials such as leather, cardstock, vinyl, and beyond.
Sometimes you will find that these products require an internet connection to work but this is where you can open up endless opportunities and download new designs.
This is one of the main debates when it comes to choosing the ideal product. Both offer their benefits and many people favor the software variety. This is because they are easier to use with more designs available online.
You have to make sure that the software is reliable as some models are easier to get on with than others but for the most part, they keep things simple.
A cartridge machine is good if you want to be able to use your machine anywhere. Because they do not require a power outlet but there is significantly less variety making them less desirable for a lot of people.
Used for a multitude of crafting projects, these devices cut a variety of materials such as fabric, vinyl, card, leather, and a lot more to a specific design or shape. This is to bring a gift card to life, or make a t-shirt, quilts, personalizing homeware projects, and a lot more.
This varies depending on the type of product and the features of each model. For the most part, a beginner die cutting machine will set you back a little over $100 for a quality product. Expect as smaller width for your projects but this should still give you enough strength to cut through many materials.
The high-end products can be around $300 but this will get you loads of additional features, a wider cutting matt, and the ability to get through tougher materials.