10 Best Die-Cutting Machines – Exceptional Functionality for Countless Projects!

By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: April 18, 2021
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

What is a die-cut machine? Die-cut machines cut shapes out of fabric, cardboard, paper, and other materials. The dies can be thought of as templates to cut shapes into different materials. They come in a variety of sizes, to handheld models to some as large as small toaster ovens. Die-cut machines have become popular over recent years for crafters, scrapbookers, and those that run their own small businesses.

Not all die-cast machines are created equally. Various models have different capabilities, along with pros and cons. For this buyers’ guide, we had several criteria to pick the best die-cutting machines on the market. The first factor is machine type, and the meaning is it just a die-cut machine, or does it have other capabilities? Next is the functionality of the machine: what all can it do? Also, we looked at what suitable materials can be used with each machine. And finally, we took into account the dimensions and weight, as some customers may not have room for a large, heavy machine.

Top 10 Die-Cutting Machines Review 2021

1.

Cricut Explore Air 2Editor's Choice

Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: cutting, writing, and scoring
  • Suitable materials: vinyl, cardstock, faux leather, adhesive foils, and more
  • Dimensions: 24 x 9.5 x 9.5 in.
  • Weight: 14 lbs.

 More features: Bluetooth, comes with 12×12 in. LightGrip adhesive cutting mat, access to a vast library of over 100,000 images, fonts, and designs

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect die-cut machine for fast DIY projects. The quick and smart machine allows you to create projects using over 100 materials and utilize the Cricut mobile app and templates. Also, it includes access to the Design Space, which shares 1,000s of templates and designs. However, some designs require a subscription to use them.

The Bluetooth capabilities allow you to use the Cricut app to send your projects wirelessly to your machine. The Cricut pen allows you to create “handwritten” designs and drawings on your projects. If you are in a rush to finish a project, the Fast Mode allows you to create it with double speed.

Costumers love the accessibility and performance of this die-cut machine. It is great for projects or small business work as well. As some customers say, it is a nice option that can be used for hobby or even for income.

What we liked:

  • Works with multiple materials
  • Convenient Bluetooth access
  • Huge library of designs
  • Fast and user-friendly

What could be better:

  • Requires Cricut Design Space subscription for access to some designs
Features
  • Machine type: manual
  • Functions: die-cutting and embossing
  • Suitable materials: cardstock
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.25 x 5.25 in.
  • Weight: 11 lbs.

 More features: built-in storage for dies, portable and lightweight, can be used with a motor, comes with a starter kit

The Evolution Advanced machine is perfect for die-cutting, embossing, and letter pressing. The unit easily fits any project using the innovative hight adjustment gear system. The versatile machine operates manually and is a nice choice for beginners.

With its lightweight and portable design, this is the best die-cast machine for any home. The removable manual handle allows for easy transport and compact storage as well. Users can also opt for automatic use with an attachable motor, which is sold separately.

People love the small dimensions of this die-cut machine, perfect for those that may not have a lot of space for crafting. The self-healing mat also allows for easy reusability and fewer mat replacements between projects. Just be gentle with it because it wears out quickly over heavy use.

What we liked:

  • Easy to use and adjust for different designs
  • Portable and compact
  • Self-healing mat
  • Built-in storage for dies

What could be better:

  • Motor is not included
  • Self-healing mat wears out over heavy use
Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: cutting
  • Suitable materials: paper, vinyl, fabric, balsa wood, chipboard, foam, felt and more
  • Dimensions: 12.25 x 25.0 x 12.1 in.
  • Weight: 12.79 lbs.

 More features: 682 built-in designs, auto blade holder detects material thickness, USB port, LCD touch screen display, comes with useful accessories

The Brothers ScanNCut has one feature that makes it stand out from the competition – a built-in scanner. This die-cutting machine allows you to take your scanned images and create one-of-a-kind die-cut designs, which is a huge plus for users that want to make their own unique designs. The LCD touchscreen and USB port allow you to connect to a computer or mobile device to easily create and retrieve your designs. Unfortunately, you will have to download the user manual, as a paper manual is not included.

The auto-blade holder automatically detects the thickness of materials, allowing you to cut leather and foam without having to adjust and guess blade settings. The half-cut setting allows you to cut the first layer of vinyl or sticker sheets without cutting the bottom layer. With a whisper-quiet running noise, this is perfect for home, office, or teachers.

What we liked:

  • Auto-blade sensor and half-cut setting makes cutting items easy
  • Built-in scanner and USB port

What could be better:

  • Manuel is not included and must be downloaded off their site
  • Some difficulty finding compatible mats.
4.

Sizzix Big Shot MachineBest Small Machine

Features
  • Machine type: manual
  • Functions: die-cutting and embossing
  • Suitable materials: cardstock, vellum, felt, leather and more (up to 6″ wide)
  • Dimensions: 14.25 x 12.37 x 6.62 in.
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.

 More features: compatible with the entire Sizzix product library, ergonomic handle, durable outer casing and steel core roller system, comes with useful accessories

For those that do not have a lot of space, the Sizzix Big Shot’s name is deceiving. This is one of the best die-cutting machines for teachers as it is small and not overly expensive. This portable roller machine is compatible with the entire Sizzix product library, allowing for a wide array of designs.

This manual model allows for the creation of designs on various materials such as cardstock, vellum, felt, leather, and more. This die-cutting machine is perfect for scrapbookers and people creating their home decor. One flaw of the manual design is that the screws sometimes come loose and may break when attempting to tighten.

Apart from it being lightweight and compact, customers love its ease of use. The variety of accessories allows for the creation of hundreds of projects, too.

What we liked:

  • Easy to use
  • Variety of accessories included
  • Can work with many materials

What could be better:

  • Screws on handle sometimes need tightening and may break
Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: die-cutting
  • Suitable materials: cardstock, fabric, and leather
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 4.62 x 9 in. (closed)
  • Weight: 17.47 lbs.

 More features: all-metal gears and industrial-strength motor, compatible with Sizzix products, includes useful accessories

The Sizzix Vagabond scores a lot of points for this review. At under $150, it is one of the more budget-friendly die-cutting machines on our list. It is portable and electric, which means no need for a hand crank, and it can go just about anywhere that has an electrical outlet. Due to its unique design, this machine provides more stability, allowing it to be used in most work areas, including small tables.

The foldaway technology allows for easy transport and storage if you don’t have a lot of workspace. It is adjustable to accommodate projects up to “6 and is compatible with most leading Sizzix products, though larger plates are not included and must be purchased separately. Still, many owners also were happy to get a large bundle of accessories with this unit.

What we liked:

  • Compatible with other Sizzix products
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Attractive design
  • Ensures excellent stability

What could be better:

  • Having to depend on an electrical outlet limits travel use
  • Larger plates are not included
6.

Cricut MakerBest for Advanced Users

Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: cutting, writing, and scoring
  • Suitable materials: cardstock, posterboard, vinyl, iron-on and more
  • Dimensions: 21.18 x 6.99 x 5.93 in.
  • Weight: 15 lbs.

 More features: can be used with various blades, access to hundreds of digital sewing projects, pens and scoring tools, comes with useful accessories and materials for the first project

Cricut is one of the leaders among top-rated die-cutting machines. While it is one of the most expensive machines on the list, you get what you pay for with this die-cutter. The Cricut Maker includes multiple blades and tools, making it the best die-cutter for multiple projects such as embossing.

This model for advanced users is great for various sewing projects because it is compatible with many blades and can work with different materials. With the vast digital library, you can choose the pattern you want, print it to the fabric, and sew it to whatever project you are creating. This machine is great for large projects, though some have mentioned issues with setting the machine for smaller tasks.

What we liked:

  • Multiple blades allow for work with various materials
  • Access to hundreds of digital projects
  • Excellent for large projects
  • Perfect for advanced users

What could be better:

  • Adjustment for smaller projects can be difficult.
7.

Silhouette Cameo 4Best with Crafts Bundle

Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: cutting
  • Suitable materials: sticker paper, cardstock and more
  • Dimensions: 25.2 x 11.2 x 9.4 in.
  • Weight: 17.16 lbs.

 More features: allows you to cut in two distinct ways, doesn’t require a mat, fast and accurate performance, comes with crafts bundle

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is loaded with goodies! It comes with a crafts bundle, which includes sketch pens, sticker, tattoo, and Kraft paper, as well as printable cardstock and 10 design templates. The bundle is perfect for someone who is beginning the die-cutting hobby. Not many products on the market come with such large kits with accessories.

This die-cutter has two distinct cutting features and does not require a mat for cutting projects. Their online store has hundreds of cheap and affordable designs, and also allows customers to get credit points for free items as well. Many users admit fast and accurate performance as well as ease of use. As for the drawbacks, there are some reports about the auto-blade not functioning correctly.

What we liked:

  • Bundle includes a lot of craft accessories
  • Not cutting mat required
  • Ideal for beginners

What could be better:

  • Some issues with auto-blade functioning correctly
8.

Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing MachineBest for Beginners

Features
  • Machine type: electric
  • Functions: die-cutting and embossing
  • Suitable materials: cardstock, vinyl, foil and multiple layers of fabric
  • Dimensions: 14 x 8 x 6.5 in.
  • Weight: 15.2 lbs.

 More features: low-profile design, fast and quiet operation, compatible with most dies and embossing folders, easy to operate, comes with metal dies and embossing folders

If you are a beginner in die-cutting and don’t want to invest too much, this electric Gemini model can be perfect. With its low price tag of $175 and an easy-to-use interface, this shouldn’t take much time at all to figure out how it works. This machine is great for die-cutting and embossing on cardstock, vinyl, foil, and layers of fabric. It is also compatible with most die and embossing folders.

The large design also allows for multiple projects to be created at the same time, which makes it perfect for multitaskers. While it may not be ideal for those with limited crafting space, the large 9” plate allows you to opt in bigger projects. It guarantees edge-to-edge cutting and is very fast and powerful.

What we liked:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Compatible with most die and embossing folders
  • Works with various materials

What could be better:

  • Large design can take-up workspace
Features
  • Machine type: manual
  • Functions: die-cutting and embossing
  • Suitable materials: wool, Balsa wood, chipboard, craft metal, leather and more
  • Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 12 in.
  • Weight: 20.4 lbs.

 More features: can be used with most standard Wafer-thin/etched dies, embossing folders, texture plates, and Contour steel rule dies

This heavy-duty manual die-cutting machine is great for big die-cutting and embossing projects. While it is one of the largest die-cutters on the market among mechanical models, it is designed to compact for easy storage. With compatibility with most standard dies and embossing folders, you have access to countless projects.

The die-cutter comes with several smaller plates and mats. The larger 8” mats can be purchased separately, which is a drawback for some customers. At the same time, this model is very convenient, and many people recommend it for various tasks since it can work with a wide range of materials. On top of that, it cuts up to eight layers in a single pass. It is a great choice to enhance your creativity!

What we liked:

  • Compatible with most dies and folders
  • Compact design
  • Works with a wide range of materials

What could be better:

  • Larger plates and mats not included
10.

Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing MachineMost User-Friendly

Features
  • Machine type: manual
  • Functions: die-cutting and embossing
  • Suitable materials: fabric, foam, felt, cork, cardstocks and more
  • Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 9 in.
  • Weight: 17 lbs.

 More features: works with many acid-etched dies, steel rule dies and embossing folders, soft-grip handle, height adjustment gear system

The Bira Craft machine is great for those that do not have a lot of space and are on a budget. At less than $120, this is one of the cheapest die-cutting machines on our list. The manual hand-crank is easy to assemble and disassemble and can be stored in the fold-out platform. Also, it has a soft-grip handle for added convenience.

This machine works great with acid-etched dies, steel rule dies, and most embossing folders. The dial allows the user to regulate pressure on their die-cutting projects. Rubber mats are not included but can be found with most retailers. Still, this option is great if you are just beginning your craft journey and want a unit with a user-friendly design. It will surely help you with your various projects.

What we liked:

  • Works great with acid-etched dies, steel rule dies, and most embossing folders
  • User-friendly design
  • Soft-grip handle

What could be better:

  • Mats not included

Things to Consider

After checking multiple die-cutting machines, it might seem like finding the right model will take a lot of time. In reality, this is far away from the truth. First, you should consider what features you want to find to achieve exceptional performance. Depending on your skill level, budget, workspace, and project needs, some die-cutters are more suitable for you than others. The following are some things to consider when shopping for a die-cutting machine.

Benefits of having a die-cutting machine

Die-cutting machines allow users to create unique designs. When crafting, especially if you are doing so for income purposes, uniformity is important. If you are mass-producing items, having the same design is crucial for customer satisfaction. Drawing and cutting by hand can be inaccurate as well as time-consuming.

Die-cutting machines can also save you time and money. While some die-cutting machines have some initial costs, when you consider how quickly you can create multiple projects and designs, it is worth the price.  Die-cutting machines also allow you to work with multiple materials to create different types of projects. They are generally not noisy, and at the same time, these units are highly portable. On top of that, they shouldn’t take much of your workspace, so you will have plenty of it left on your table for other tasks.

How to pick the best die-cut machine?

10 Best Die-Cutting Machines – Exceptional Functionality for Countless Projects!

Now that you have decided you need a die-cutting machine, you need to think about its type and other characteristics. We have looked at ten different die-cutting machines with various features. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a die-cutting machine. You will need to pick between a manual and an electric one, compare its functions, suitable materials to use, dimensions, weight, ease of use, extra accessories, and price. Let us look briefly at each of these factors that will help you to choose the best die-cutting machine for you.

Machine type

There are two main types of die-cutting machines. Manual machines use a hand crank to operate the unit. This method is popular with a lot of crafters as it allows for more mobility when needed. Also, using a manual machine is a great workout for the arms. The We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced Die Cutting Machine is a great example of a simple model that doesn’t cost much.

The other type of die-cutting machine is electric machines. There are some advantages and disadvantages to these models. For those that cannot or do not wish to use a manual machine, an electric die-cutting machine is a great option. Some electric models also allow for wireless capabilities that manual models do not have. A disadvantage to the electric models is that you have to have access to an electrical outlet, which limits mobility. The Brother ScanNCut SDX125E is a premium option that boasts 682 built-in designs and an LCD touch screen.

Functions

Some die-cutting machines have various functions. Many of those do only die-cutting, but some have other functions. Embossing, such as seen with the Gemini by Crafter’s Companion Die Cutting Machine, allows the user to make a stamp or impression on materials. With scoring that the Cricut Maker features, users can create fold lines in projects that will be foldable. Users can use writing functions to create their own designs and messages on their projects.

Suitable materials

Different die-cutters work better with different materials. It is important to know what materials you are working with and which die-cutter is best for those jobs. Some cutters work better with paper and other thin materials, while others, like the Spellbinders PL-001, can handle thicker materials like leather and foam.

If you plan to work with multiple types of materials, you will want a die-cutting machine that can handle them.

Dimensions

Dimensions are important when considering your workspace. You need to take into account the plate size as well as the unit itself. Also, look at how easy it is to store your die-cutting machine. If you have a small workspace, you do not want a large machine. Even with a smaller machine, you may need to store it in between uses. Therefore, the ability for easy storage should be taken into consideration as well. For example, the Sizzix Big Shot Machine is a nice choice for those who have limited space.

Weight

Along with the dimensions of a die-cutting machine, weight is also an important factor. If you have plenty of workspace and do not have to worry about moving your machine around, weight may not be a factor. However, if you will be carrying your die-cutting machine around, you will want something that is lightweight.

The weight does not necessarily mean better, so do not feel like you need to buy a huge, heavy die-cutting machine.

Ease of use

The next factor to consider is the ease of use of the die-cutting machine. Those that are experts at using those units may have no problems with more complicated machines. Others may want something that is very user-friendly, such as the Bira Craft Die Cutting and Embossing Machine, especially if they are beginners. Look for a machine that has easy to follow instructions and accessible user manuals.

Extra accessories

With some die-cutting machines, you’ll get extra accessories that are very useful. You may have some styluses, templates, pens, etc. For instance, the Silhouette Cameo 4 offers a huge bundle of add-ons. These can be great for new users to help to get them started. Also, check the Amazon description of the die-cutters to see if they include a “Starter kit”.

Extra accessories are great because they will often save you money in the long run. Instead of having to purchase more accessories separately, look for die-cutters that include items you may need.

Prices

The final factor to consider is the price of the die-cutter. If you are able to pay top dollar for a premium unit such as the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E, you can be assured that you will have one of the best die-cutting machines on the market. This particular model costs around $400. However, there are many die-cutters, such as the Gemini, that are a low-cost alternative available at around $100-$200.

Pay attention to what features each die-cutting machine offers. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth and not overpaying. If you are a beginner, you may not want to pay a lot of money for a die-cutting machine, and one of the cheaper brands will be your best bet.

FAQ

Getting started with a die-cut machine is very easy. Most die-cutting machines are very user-friendly, and there are multiple great tutorials online. Many machines also come with easy to follow instructions. While there may be a period of trial and error, die-cutting is a fairly easy skill to learn. Just make sure that a particular model that you like can deal with all the tasks that you want to use it for.

Most die-cutting machines are very quiet. Manual machines make little to no noise. As for the electric machines, some can be a little noisy, but that is comparable to your average computer printer. If your die-cutting machine begins to make a lot of noise, that can be a sign of wear and tear. Remember to cover and service it once in a while to make sure it works perfectly.

Die-cutting machines are very safe to use. Many teachers use them with students in their classrooms. However, there should be a level of caution when operating a die-cutting machine as blades, and sharp edges can cause injury of you are not paying attention. Watch hands and fingers when operating a die-cutting machine so that nothing gets caught in the press.

Our Verdict

Die-cutting machines are fun and great tools to have for crafting. Whether for a hobby, classroom, or business, die-cutting machines allow you to create countless projects. Among these ten die-cutting machines, three stood out as the best of the best.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the leader of the pack with its huge amount of options. With the wireless capabilities and versatility with multiple materials, this is the best on the market today. On top of that, you can access thousands of designs from their app, which should enhance your creativity.

If you are looking for something more affordable, look no further than the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced Die Cutting Machine. This highly portable model is great for those who want to give this hobby a try.

Finally, we also offer premium Brother ScanNCut SDX125E. LCD touch screen, a scanning function, 682 built-in designs, and a package of accessories are all reasons this is one of our top picks.

While any of the above-mentioned options are great, these three are a cut above the rest. All that’s left to do is to purchase the best die-cut machine for your hobby!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *