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Last updated: July 28, 2022
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As some previous buyers have found out the hard way, not all vinyl cutters are as good as described. However, you can still get the best vinyl cutter for your Mac if you know how and where to look. To be successful in your purchase, you’ll need to learn all there is to know about vinyl cutter features before buying the device. That shouldn’t be hard to do, as we have provided information on these features in the write-up below.
Notably, the features that will determine whether your vinyl cutter is top-notch or not include the size and weight, cutting speed and depth, connectivity, the workable materials, and in some cases, any extra features. Ideally, you should want a vinyl cutter that is large enough for your needs but light enough to transport. The machine should also be fast and have the capacity to easily cut through vinyl paper of varying thicknesses. Another thing that users may appreciate is a vinyl cutter that can handle cutting different materials. Finally, being compatible with other types of computers and smartphones is also a plus. The fact that five of the best vinyl cutters for Mac are listed below might help you make your final purchase decision as well.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 suffices as the first pick on our list. As mentioned above, this DIY project machine comes with a fine point blade that will cut your designs into vinyl alongside other different materials. Some examples include faux leather, cardstock, and more. In fact, the total number of materials that can be used with this vinyl cutter is more than 100.
Also, if you don’t have a Mac, you can still get to use the device. After all, it is compatible with your phone and even windows devices. Speaking of devices, you get access to a design app from either your phone or your computer that you can use to create original images. Additionally, the fact that vinyl cutter can use both Bluetooth and USB to communicate with your devices is a major positive.
You also get a trial version of Cricut access. If you’re struggling to create original images and fonts, the Cricut access library may be your saving grace. This is because it provides you with over 100,000 images and fonts. However, do note that you’ll have to pay a subscription fee for the Cricut access library after the two week grace period.
Another positive of this Cricut device is the fast mode, which might be handy if you’re in a rush to finish a project.
What do we love it for?
You can connect this machine with your devices via Bluetooth and USB. You get a free design app to work with. You also get the Cricut access library for a limited period. The machine’s ability to cut through more than 100 different types of materials is another positive.
What were we disappointed with?
Some people don’t like that the design software is only available online. There may be a learning curve when figuring out how to use the device.
Software: Design apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Dimensions: 21.18 x 6.99 x 5.93 inches
Weight: 23.7 pounds
Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
Cuts: 300+ materials
Other features: expandable suite of tools, rotary blade, knife blade, adaptive tool system, digital sewing pattern library, 12-inch max. material width, 2-foot max. length
This offering is from the same manufacturer as the editor’s choice, and from the looks of it, the machine has some top-tier features as well. One of them is the machine can cut through more than 300 different materials. This might explain the relatively high pricing of this vinyl plotter for Mac computers.
However, just like its predecessor, you’re not limited to using only a Mac device alongside this vinyl cutter. You can couple it with your iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, or Android smartphone if that is what you have available.
Connecting the vinyl cutter with your device should also be a walk in the park. Notably, you can opt for a Bluetooth connection or use a USB connection to link the devices. Also, you can place your phone or iPad in the inbuilt docking bay as you use the cutter.
The manufacturer knows that you might want to cut through fabrics with your vinyl cutter. For this reason, they have included a rotary blade in the purchase, which is perfect for the job. There is also a knife blade for other projects.
Notably, you can get optional accessories that should help you expand the capabilities of the machine. Lastly, you get access to the design app alongside hundreds of different sewing patterns with this purchase.
Why are we impressed?
You get access to quite a number of sewing patterns to use with this machine. The machine can cut through 300+ different materials. You are given access to a design app once you purchase this vinyl cutter. This product can be coupled with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac devices. The expandable capabilities of this vinyl cutter are also another positive.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This vinyl plotter for Mac will cost you a pretty penny compared to other similar machines. The online design app is also not everybody’s cup of tea.
Another pricey option is the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E. You can use this vinyl cutter in conjunction with your computer, whether it is a Mac or Windows option. Also, you can couple this machine with your Android Smartphone if you want to. However, the Android smartphones need to have Android 4.4 or a later version of the operating system.
Like the first two cutters listed, you have USB and a wireless connection option when it comes to coupling the cutter with your computer. However, this machine seemingly doesn’t need to be connected to any of these devices to function. This is because it has 682 built-in designs.
Also, the built-in scanner may help you upload your designs into the machine without needing a computer. As for controlling the Mac compatible vinyl cutter, there is a 5” built-in touchscreen LCD display.
Last on the list of impressive attributes for this cutter is the automatic material sensor technology. This technology reads the thickness of the materials and makes automatic cutting adjustments to cater to them.
What makes it special?
The automatic material sensor technology makes use easier. As seen above, there are 682 built-in designs that can get you started with DIY projects. The touchscreen display is a plus. Also, you can scan your designs into the machine using the built-in scanner.
What cons did we find?
A lower price would make the vinyl cutter more accessible to the masses. It might take some time to learn to use the cutter effectively. The manual is also not very detailed.
For those looking for a simple vinyl cutter, the Silhouette Portrait 3 may be one of your best bets. It is lightweight, cuts different materials, and easily connects to your Mac or PC. The fact that it has matless cutting capabilities also raises its standing among other vinyl cutters.
Despite the lower price point, this Mac-compatible vinyl cutter also seems to have an auto-adjusting auto blade. As such, the machine will be making the necessary blade adjustments to cater to the different materials and thicknesses.
The 50 exclusive digital designs might also help you as you get started. However, over time you’ll need to come up with additional designs for your DIY projects.
Why did it make our list?
This vinyl cutting machine is lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around. The product is relatively affordable. Additionally, the automatic blade adjustments should make your work easier.
What is not ideal about it?
This vinyl cutter is not compatible with smartphones.
Cuts: 50+ materials (iron-on, cardstock, vinyl, paper, and Smart Materials™)
Other features: makes continuous cuts up to 4 feet and repeated cuts up to 20 feet, 12-inch max. material width
The Cricut Joy is the least expensive option from the Cricut manufacturer to make it onto our list. The device is also somewhat small and lightweight. As such, if the goal is to find a portable vinyl plotter for Mac computers, then the Cricut Joy might be the option you’ve been looking for.
Seemingly, the capabilities of the machine are relatively limited in terms of the materials it can cut. However, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise since this is a more affordable vinyl cutter.
Also, just like with the other two Cricut options, you get design space access when you choose this as your Vinyl cutter of choice. Additionally, the free trial of the Cricut access platform is available once you purchase this compact device.
Why are we impressed?
You get a free trial of Cricut access after buying this device. You also get design space access. This vinyl cutter is affordable. Lastly, the Cricut Joy is light, compact, and portable.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This tool is relatively limited in the materials it can cut.
At the very least, the vinyl cutter you’re looking for has to be compatible with your Mac computer. However, it also has to fulfill a few other requirements to attain the title of “best vinyl cutter for your Mac.” The buying guide below should tell you what these requirements are, and that will help you decide on the product to purchase.
Why invest in a good vinyl cutter?
A vinyl cutter can be used for so many projects, with examples such as making custom apparel, making stickers for your home, decorations, gift cards, and more. As such, if you are an avid DIYer, there is no doubt that the machine will be an invaluable purchase. However, the quality of the machine will influence your projects as well.
Notably, if the machine is of poor quality, you can’t expect to get consistently high-quality cut-outs from your designs. Also, substandard vinyl cutters don’t last very long. Finally, using them will be more frustrating than fulfilling as you may have to keep repeating your designs to get the final product right.
By investing in a good vinyl plotter for your Mac, you avoid these problems altogether and have an easier time using the machine.
Features to consider when choosing the best vinyl cutter for Mac
The differences between good and bad vinyl cutters are the features. They provided the criteria used to select the machines in the list above, and they could help you decide on a purchase as well. That said, some of you may be unfamiliar with said features, which can make things more complicated. However, reading the section below should give you essential information on these features, thereby making your selection easier.
Compatibility and connectivity
As implied in the title of this write-up, all the vinyl cutters listed had to be compatible with Mac computers. However, some of you may have other devices at home, such as a Windows PC, Android smartphone, or even an iPhone. If you want to use your vinyl cutter with these devices, you’ll have to check for compatibility before purchase.
Some options like the Silhouette Portrait 3 are not compatible with smartphones, which is something you should know before you commit to buying the machine. Also, the connectivity mode matters. Those with multiple connection modes are preferred. To use the example of the Silhouette Portrait 3 again, the device can be connected to your Mac via Bluetooth or by using a USB cable, which is a major positive.
Dimensions and weight
Also, deciding how you want to use your vinyl cutter can help you make a better purchase decision. Admittedly some of you want such a device for home or workshop use. As such, the vinyl cutter will have a permanent home where it is rarely moved. In such cases, the weight of a vinyl cutter like the Cricut Maker won’t be a problem.
However, some of you will want something you can move around with, making lightweight and portable options like the Cricut Joy ideal purchases.
Cutting speed and depth
Some key performance metrics of any vinyl cutter are the cutting speed and depth. In the Cricut Explore Air 2 option, you can select the fast mode, which means you can get done with your projects much faster. This saves you time.
Also, some machines can cut through thick cardstock and other thick materials while others can’t. As such, it makes sense to check the cutting depth and speed before purchase to ensure your device has the right capabilities.
Additionally, as you’ve seen in the list above, most options will come with software that helps you design and create your designs. If you buy the Cricut Joy, for instance, you’ll have access to design space, which is a free online software.
Also, you’ll be granted access to Cricut access for some time after your purchase. This is a library of design templates that you can use. Notably, these design templates can be useful, especially if you’re starting out.
There are also other vinyl cutting software options in the market. It can be beneficial if your vinyl cutter is compatible with them as well.
All vinyl cutters are limited in terms of the materials they can cut through. However, the Cricut Maker isn’t as limited as other options listed. This is because it can cut through more than 300 different types of materials.
Compared to that, the Cricut Joy, which can only cut through about 50 types of materials seems underwhelming. However, some of you will work with a limited range of materials, and thus buying the Cricut joy shouldn’t be a problem.
These machines also work with different types of blades, some of which are not included in the initial package. Notably, if the vinyl cutter you buy is compatible with more types of blades, it makes the machine more versatile. This is because the blade types all have different functionalities.
When buying your vinyl cutter, it would be a good idea to choose one with an extended warranty. After all, some of these machines suffer manufacturing defects that could be sorted out without you needing to pay anything. However, if you buy a vinyl cutter without a warranty, you may find yourself having to pay for repairs soon after your purchase.
It’s also not uncommon for vinyl cutters to have some extra features. In the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E cutter listed above, some of these extra features are like the touchscreen interface and the built-in scanner. Both of these features can be instrumental in making your work easier. Other extra features you find should have similar benefits and thus should have some effect on your decision-making process.
There are several different answers to this question, depending on the projects you have in mind. Some good options you might want to consider include Adobe Illustrator, VinylMaster PRO, and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2020. However, the list is not limited to these three, and you can find others that match your needs to a tee.
This is yet another question where you have more than one correct answer. As such, you can look through some of the affordable options mentioned above and see which one best suits your needs. Once you have that narrowed down, you have found the best cheap vinyl cutter for your Mac.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 seems more or less like a jack of all trades. It can serve the needs of professionals and hobbyists alike. The connectivity, materials it can cut, and the software it is bundled with are all relatively impressive attributes.
Second place goes to the Cricut Maker. This machine’s most endearing quality is the variety of materials it can cut. It also has an expandable suite of tools that you can get by paying more. Other than that, it is quite similar to the Explore Air 2.
We were also impressed by the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E’s additional features. They include an inbuilt scanner, touchscreen display, and even built-in designs. Seemingly, it is one of few vinyl cutters that can be used without needing to connect it to a computer.
There are other good vinyl cutters for Mac users, but we found the five above to be the most impressive. However, you can comment and let us know of any other vinyl cutters you’ve come across that should be on the list. Though unlikely, we may have missed one or two.