Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular Models

Can't decide between Brother ScanNCut and Cricut Maker? We compared them for you.
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Last updated: November 28, 2021
Brother ScanNCut
vs
Cricut Maker
Can't decide between Brother ScanNCut and Cricut Maker? We compared them for you.
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One of the most frequently asked questions in the world of cutting plotters comes up when comparing the main brands on the market. ScanNCut vs Cricut Maker: which is the best cutting plotter?

Without a doubt, the two products are one of the most powerful machines right now; the first being the star product of the popular Brother brand, and the second, the most advanced model of the Cricut brand.

To answer the question, the first thing we have to do is analyze the characteristics and possibilities of each machine, both the ScanNCut and the Cricut Maker, and compare the features that each of them has. The brand itself also influences the decision, so in the next section, we will talk about each of them.

Brands Comparison

Knowing a little more about the history of these two great brands will help you shed light and tip the balance to one side. In any case, and whatever you choose, you should know that you will be acquiring a very good, high-quality, specialized, or top-brand product. The home cutter you buy will be a true wonder when cutting your designs in a huge variety of materials. You will experience a professional finish when customizing any product and you will save a lot of time.

Brother ScanNCut

The Brother ScanNCut is a sub-division of the Brother brand which we all know for their various types of sewing machines. The ScanNCut machine line was born in September 2013 Trusted Source Brother Expands Lineup of Cutting Machines with New, BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Brother International Corporation has announced the launch of ScanNCut DX (SDX225), a revolutionary… www.globenewswire.com when Brother Industries, the Japanese multinational, introduced the electronic cutting machine, making it become the world’s first home and hobby cutting technology with a built-in scanner.

The Brother ScanNCut, in general, is an electronic cutting plotter which in addition to cutting, allows you to draw and scan all kinds of designs on countless materials, with which you can create countless projects and crafts.

It is used to cut many materials such as paper, cardboard, vinyl, cloth, eva rubber, cardboard, thin metal sheet. The scan function is very useful because we can scan a design and save it in the memory of the machine. Then we can use it as many times as we want.

Most models have USB input with which you can add designs to the machine memory or use them from the pen. They have a touch screen with which we can choose the designs we want to use. We can also change the size of the chosen design.

Most ScanNCut machines come with a drag blanket on which we will place the material to be cut. There are several models of the Brother ScanNCut on the market.

The latest Brother ScanNCut models are the Brother ScanNCut CM 260, CM 600, CM 900, SDX125, SDX 225, and the DX1200.

Cricut

Unlike Brother which is a “Jack of all trade” in the professional and hobby craft equipment manufacturing industry, Cricut is an American brand that traditionally makes cutting plotters. It was established in 1962. When you do the math, you’d see it has been in the market for almost 60 years making cutting plotters and other creative accessories, unlike Brother which opened its ScanNCut machine lines in the early 2000s.

Since Cricut opened, it has expanded to many other countries such as China, the United Kingdom, Australia, as well as countries in Europe, and South America.

The mission that the Cricut brand publishes on its website is to help people lead creative lives by providing them with tools to make their projects beautiful, fun, and easy.

When they made their first domestic cutting plotter, they realized the potential of these machines, which would go on to transform people’s concept of craftsmanship, design, and manufacturing. Since then, they have not stopped innovating in this field. Their machines are of such high quality that they stay on the market for a long time until new versions come out.

They have a community of millions of crafters around the world and continuously feed it with inspiring projects and tutorials from professionals in the sector. The latest addition was the well-known American actress Zooey Deschanel – maybe you know her from the New Girl series or from one of her many roles in movies – who has turned out to be a true lover of crafts. Well, she has 25 designs made with Cricut Trusted Source 25 DIY holiday decor and gift ideas from Zooey Deschanel – Cricut Festive decor? No problem! Holiday gifts? Don't worry! Here are 25 holiday decor and gift ideas I made with my DIY best friend, Cricut. inspiration.cricut.com .

Some of the best cutters from Cricut are the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2. The latest models are the Cricut Maker 3 and Explore 3 machines.

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E vs. Cricut Maker

Before making an in-depth analysis of how the best models from both brands compare, here is the side-by-side evaluation of the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E and the Cricut Maker, considered the best of both brands.

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Cricut Maker
Cutting size (max) 12 x 24 inches 12 x 24 inches
Cutting force (max) 350g 4,000g
Material thickness (max) 3 mm 2.4 mm
Workable materials Paper, vinyl, fabric, balsa wood, chipboard, foam, and felt 300+ materials, from the most delicate fabric and paper to matboard and leather
Connectivity USB, wireless USB, Bluetooth
Software CanvasWorkspace Design Space software for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac
Dimensions 20.91 x 8.46 x 6.81 inches 22.6 x 7.09 x 6.22 inches
Weight 12.79 pounds 15.02 pounds
Warranty 1-year limited 1-year limited
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW ON CRICUT

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E: Quick Overview

If you were excited about the ScanNCut before, you will no doubt be surprised now. Released in 2018, the new ScanNCut DX 125E is a built-in scanner cutting plotter that includes new features that will allow you to take your projects to another level.

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsThe new ScanNCut DX cuts various materials up to 3mm thick! It has a higher cutting speed and precision due to its new automatic blade adjustment system. Now it comes with a 12.7 cm LCD touch screen, making images easy and clear to view.

Its scanning area of up to 30 cm x 30 cm will allow you to carry out projects in a more comfortable and versatile way.

In addition, the equipment has a Wi-Fi wireless connection, so you can transfer your cutting or drawing patterns to the equipment more quickly. The ScanNCut DX cuts paper, vinyl, acetate, eva, balsa wood, magnet, fabric, and silicone, to name a few.

With Brother’s free “Canvas Workspace” software, you can download, edit, and create cutting or drawing patterns. Create, design, and bring your ideas to life, with the new ScanNCut SDX125.

The Brother ScanNCut is the textile genius among cutting plotters for even more creative freedom! This makes cutting different fabrics fun, with or without a PC.

The functions of the plotter and the accessories are designed entirely for processing fabrics. In addition to the additional automatic knife for fine fabrics, it also comes with a pen holder. Erasable phantom pens are included, with which seam lines or seam allowances can be drawn on the fabric. Adhesive film for fabric cuts and iron-on sheets for appliqués enables the first attempts at cutting fabrics.

The Brother ScanNCut recognizes drawings with good contrast and closed contours with the help of the 600dpi scanner and cuts out the motif directly. If necessary, you can still edit on the color touchscreen. The scan function is also useful when using leftover material.

You’ll find more features from the Brother ScanNCut below:

Pros

  • Up to 682 pre-installed designs
  • USB connectivity
  • It can scan, draw, and cut your art
  • Easy to use touchscreen
  • You can create beautiful images even offline
  • Integrated storage compartments

Cons

  • The manual isn’t detailed enough for starters
  • Not easy to find supplies (i.e. the mat)

Cricut Maker: Quick Overview

With the Cricut Maker, you have professionalism at your desk! The Cricut Maker has more or less the same characteristics as the ScanNCut, with a few small details that solve the big question: what differences are there between Cricut Maker and the ScanNCut?

With the Cricut Maker, you change the rules of the game. It cuts fabric without interfacing and the need for a stabilizer with its rotating blade. While the ScanNCut uses its scanner to transform images to design, the Cricut Maker uses its Design Space.

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsBut the Cricut Maker can also cut balsa wood, linden wood, chubby leather, chipboard, and laminates with great precision and effortlessly!

With a few clicks, you already have all your patterns for your sewing or patchwork projects. It offers you greater creative possibilities at your fingertips thanks to its ability to cut more than 300 materials.

The design software for the Cricut Maker (as well as the Cricut Joy) is the Cricut Design Space. You can download and install it for free on your computer and it’s particularly practical. There is also a suitable app (both for iOS and Android). If you have logged into the Design Space, you can easily switch from mobile to desktop and have all your saved projects in one place.

The Maker can therefore only be controlled with a smartphone or tablet. The Maker is connected via Bluetooth, but when you set it up for the first time, you should connect it to the PC using a cable.

Particularly practical, the Maker has a USB port where you can plug in your mobile phone charging cable and a holder for your tablet or mobile phone.

With its ever-expanding set of blades, you’ll have the Knife Blade for thick and dense materials, the Rotary Blade for any type of fabric without the need for a stabilizer, the Deep Cut blade, and the Premium blade.

Because it can cut thicker and denser materials, it is perfect for creating structural elements for 3D projects, including models, décor, and more.

If you sew or think you will ever want to learn, Cricut Maker can help you with one of the most difficult and tedious parts: marking and cutting pattern pieces. You can even upload your sewing patterns.

Pros

  • Makes quick and complete projects with ease thanks to the patterns and projects offered on the software
  • Great blade clearance and design
  • Good precision in the smallest details
  • Costs under $500
  • Has a turbocharged engine with cutting-edge engineering
  • Has a beautiful and futuristic design

Cons

  • Limiting web-based design software
  • The cutting space is limited

In-detail Comparison of the Two Models

A lot of seamstresses want a cutting machine to personalize their designs. What could be better than a unique creation, isn’t that why we sew? When many discovered the Cricut Maker, they were like a child in front of a unicorn. It makes all your ideas suddenly come true! But the ScanNCut has cutting-edge engineering and innovation that make the machine stand tall among its peers, thanks to Brother’s long experience in electrical equipment manufacturing. We’ve seen what both can do in the quick overview. Let’s get straight to the heart of it all and analyze both machines side by side using criteria such as their functionality and versatility, their ease of use, their cutting performance, workable materials, and more.

Functionality and Versatility

First, we have to say that each machine has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, your end use will determine the choice that will be made on one of the two machines.

The ScanNCut wins our heart here. The machine remains functional and versatile. It allows you to work without a computer nearby, which is not negligible for people with a small workspace.

The integrated scanner remains a plus both for digitizing but also for placing our cutting pattern on our mat, a big advantage for the use of offcuts.

However, the Cricut Maker offers a really rich selection of tools. Embossing, wave cutting, drawing, drawing cut, rolling blade cut, the possibilities are so great that you almost lose track of things. The rotating tools in particular ensure precise processing even with thick materials. With two tool holders, it is then also possible to combine drawing and cutting without remodeling.

Both machines can cut, and yes that is their main role. The two machines can cut a multitude of materials, from simple paper to balsa, through fabric and iron-on.

The Cricut Maker allows you to print and cut. A super interesting option for the creation of stickers for example. Brother also offers this option through two kits.

Unlike the Cricut, the Scan has a built-in scanner that allows you to ScanNCut either the outlines or the interior lines but also to save the scanned pattern as cutting data to be cut in other materials or to be modified in the software. or for people who want it directly on the touch screen of the machine.

An SDX plotter has patchwork templates integrated directly into the machine, which can be cut with or without a drawn seam allowance. Own templates are simply fetched into the machine via the integrated scanner. But it only cuts the fabrics with the scraper and for this, they have to stick firmly to the mat. It’s either you help yourself with a carrier material (permanent or removable) or you risk the material being warped when you remove it.

When it comes to leather, synthetic leather, felt or the like, the Brother plotter cuts up to 3 mm, the Maker up to 2.4 mm.

Workable Materials

By workable materials, we mean the materials themselves (vinyl, fabric, felt, paper, leather, etc.). The ScanNCut DX cuts paper, vinyl, acetate, eva, balsa wood, magnet, fabric, and silicone, to name a few. But the Cricut Maker can also cut balsa wood, linden wood, chubby leather, chipboard, and laminates with great precision and effortlessly!

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsCutting Performance

In terms of cutting settings, Cricut offers us a bunch of materials whose settings are pre-recorded and allows you to create personalized settings. The ScanNCut with its automatic blade adjusts the output of the blade according to the material to be cut. It also allows the use of a manual blade with the appropriate blade holder.

For both machines, you still have to intervene in terms of speed and pressure depending on the pattern. The SDX series uses the automatic blade to measure the thickness of the material and then automatically adjusts the settings. There are three types of blades to choose from (standard, vinyl, fabric), but as a rule, almost everything can be cut with the standard blade. If the cut doesn’t work like this, you can readjust it.

The Maker wants to know what fabric is on the mat and then indicates which blade is being used. The assignment of the material is a matter of practice. Adjustments are then only possible with the specification of more or less pressure. In terms of speed, you can only go one tooth, slower cutting is not possible.

Ease of Use

The ease of use mainly has to do with finding your way through the integrated touch screen panel and using the software. So, how do you get a picture of the mat into the software? In the case of the SDX models, it’s very easy via the scanner. So it is not only easy to transfer your drawing (such as a section) into the program to edit it there. Leftovers can also be easily processed in this way.

You can do this with the Maker using the SnapMat function, but only to see a picture of the mat in the app. So you can see where the cuts have to be positioned. If you want to bring a drawing into the device, the template must be transferred to Design Space using other programs.

In terms of ease of use, Cricut is for us much better than its competitors. The software is ergonomic and quick to learn. The online help is complete and easy to understand with a dedicated site: Start2Cricut.com. Also, there is a large community of users, bloggers, and YouTubers.

Software and Connectivity

To operate, each cutting machine has its software. Cricut requires a computer or a tablet while ScanNCut is stand-alone thanks to its scanner function (it also has creation software if needed).

Cricut and ScanNCut allow you to use their software (Design Space and CanvasWorkspace) without having the machine. Both software allow you to create a project and send it to the machine.

Whether for CanvasWorkspace or Design Space, you will have access to ready-to-use projects. On CanvasWorkspace, all projects are free. For the Design space, part of the project is free, the other part is paid or accessible for subscribers. The Design Space, appealing to its community, has a greater number of projects, which is enough to find satisfaction.

In our eyes, CanvasWorkspace performs better than Design Space. The Design Space remains limited and above all limits us in our creativity. We will no longer work on importing patterns or projects from Design Space or external software unlike CanvasWorkspace which allows us to create projects from A to Z while working as vector drawing software; we will therefore be able to work on the points of our images.

In terms of vectorization, the two software have their limits but by working from good quality images, you will manage to have the correct result.

For handling, the two software remain ergonomic. Getting started for optimal use requires a little work but allows you to work intuitively and simply.

The plus of CanvasWorkspace remains the offline work which is not negligible while allowing us to keep track of our projects in the online version of CanvasWorkspace to find your work on several computers.

The advantage of the Design Space is that it is accessible on your computer, smartphone, and tablet and that you can find the projects automatically from one device to another without any manipulation.

In this software battle, we will give the point to the ScanNCut. Although the software is limited in project, it is the machine for experienced people or people who do not wish to be limited in their projects. But Cricut having already made some pretty nice changes, we think they will have some nice surprises in store for us.

Cricut ScanNCut
Software Design Space Canvas Workspace
Connectivity Bluetooth®, USB WIFI, USB
Compatibility Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, web application Windows, Mac, web application

Weight and Dimensions

Cutting machines are like sewing: we tend to stockpile to deal with any project that comes to mind. Additionally, cutting machines require a lot of space in the front and back to move the design when in operation. So do not imagine putting them like your printer on a desk or against a wall when you are using them.

For example, when using the Cricut Maker with the large mat, you need a space of at least 40 cm in front and 70 cm at the back of the machine! Not to mention your machine and sewing equipment, the iron, and more.

Here is a summary table by brand which shows the dimensions and weight of the machines in review. This is their average size which varies depending on the model.

Cricut ScanNCut
Weight 12.79 pounds 15.02 pounds
Dimensions 20.91 x 8.46 x 6.81 inches 22.6 x 7.09 x 6.22 inches

Accessories

For the SDX range, there are two types of blades. We recommend having one blade per cut material to preserve the blade and to have beautiful cuts. Of course, you can use the same blade holder.

For the Cricut Maker, you are going to have different blades and blade holders specific to the material to be cut. But don’t worry, you can buy according to the project (no need to have a knife blade sleeping in the drawer), and above all the blades are solid and therefore do not require too regular replacement if they are used properly.

Due to the scanning function, mats from Brother look a little different (the black fields on the edge are not just decoration). However, depending on the version, they cost more than twice as much. We find the durability the same, they are also very similar when cleaning. However, the Cricut mats have the advantage that they can be used in two directions.

With Brother, you not only have to stick to the direction, but the plotter also recognizes the selected mat and therefore pulls in a long mat further and further, for example. As a result, you have to set up the device for the long mat further away from the wall, even if you only want to cut the first few centimeters. In addition, it is a little more laborious to set the correct mat with the Brother plotter.

As for the designs and fonts, unless you create them yourself or find them on google (beware of copyright), you will need to buy them from designers or from the brand itself. Cricut offers a monthly subscription with unlimited access to a library of ready-to-cut fonts, designs, and projects (many are free). ScanNCut also offers free projects or to buy individually.

Price and warranty

As regards the comparison on the price basis, Brother seems a bit more expensive on the market than Cricut Maker. For example, it’s listed on Amazon for just above $350. However, the Brother version comes for more or less than $400. But the Cricut Maker is the most purchased online of the two. However, don’t forget that the Brother model has a little bit more value for money as it has an integrated scanner.

In terms of warranty, both models come to the market with an offer of a one-year warranty.

Other Brother ScanNCut Models Worth Considering

We’ve introduced you to the best models from Brother ScanNCut and Cricut. But these are not the only outstanding models from the brands. Below are some other Brother and Cricut models worth considering. First, we start with ScanNCut.

ScanNCut SDX85S

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsThe Brother ScanNCut SDX85X is a cutter and plotter but also has a built-in scanner. You have an area of about 12 inches by 12 inches that you can cut any material about that size.

The thing that sets this machine apart though from some of the others is the scanning ability. You can get a cheap vinyl cutter online and it’ll cut for you but what it won’t do is it won’t scan and that is one of the most powerful pieces to this puzzle.

Here, the SDX 85 allows you to put a hard print in and scan it. And then you have lots of options you can do from there. The coolest probably is creating a gap around the edges and cutting out your design. This is commonly used to do things like stickers.

There is software that allows you to create your designs, scan images and turn them into the design. The software is free and it’s available from their website. You can then export those designs onto a USB stick or send them to the machine directly over Wi-Fi.

ScanNCut 2 CM350

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsThe ScanNCut2 CM350 has fantastic new features and enhancements to help take your cutting and finishing to a whole new level. The cutting machine with a built-in scanner allows the user to scan patterns, images, and illustrations drawn by hand or of their choice, to easily create personalized cutting data.

The generated cutting data can be saved to a USB flash drive, a computer, or even a mobile device. ScanNCut2 can cut not only paper but also felt or cotton fabric.

The world’s first home and hobby cutting machine with a built-in scanner has truly become several cuts above the rest with RGB color recognition for super-accurate cuts.

It has a new 4.85-inch display that’s 30 percent larger so clear and easy to use. The ScanNCut 2 is connectable every way possible wirelessly direct to PC and as always with a USB memory stick. Finally, it comes with hundreds of new built-in designs and fonts. It’s the perfect creative tool for crafters, quilters, sewers, and mixed-media artists.

Other Cricut Models Worth Considering

Now back to Cricut, things are more exciting here. As Cricut only specializes in cutting and plotting machines, they have a wider range of cutters for the creative art and craft community.

Cricut Maker 3

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsCricut Maker 3 can indeed be called the best hobby plotter. Its perfection starts with the packaging. All plotters are in a nice and sturdy box. But this is again in a sturdy gray outer packaging for absolutely safe transport.

After opening you will find the accessories very neat and beautifully presented, as well as a white envelope with super short instructions for installing and setting up Cricut Maker 3 in just a few steps. A sheet of SmartVinyl and SmartFlex as well as a box for the cutting test are also included.

The plotter itself is once again securely shrink-wrapped in foil to avoid scratches. After unpacking, connecting, and setting up, you’re ready to go. Your touch, whether plotter housing, flaps, or tool slides, feels very valuable and is made of solid material.

The plotter weighs a total of 15.4 pounds, which speaks for high quality and stability. The tool inserts are a dream. They are heavy and full in the hand.

Cricut Explore 3

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsCricut Explore 3 can cut stronger, more robust materials with the Knife Blade (sold separately). It’s the perfect addition to 3D projects, including models, decorations, and more.

Cricut Explore 3 can cut large banners or create an entire starry sky – the possibilities are endless! You can cut up to 3.6 m in one operation with Smart Materials, without a cutting mat – just load it and get started.

New sensors in Cricut Explore 3 measure your material before you cut it to make sure there is enough of it for your project. When you need more material, the Design Space app prompts you to load more. The machine also has material guides on the front and inside to keep your materials aligned from start to finish.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsCricut Explore Air 2 is a plotter with everything you need to get started in the world of crafts. It has the flexibility to cut a wide range of materials and with excellent precision so that your work is of exceptional quality.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the machine with a fairly high cutting force (more than the ScanNCut). As a result, it can cut a large number of materials: paper, cardboard, fabrics (cotton, wool, silk, burlap, etc.), flex, flock, felt, self-adhesive vinyl, stencils, stamps, magnets, aluminum, foam paper, leather, balsa, and any other thin material (0.8mm with the standard blade and up to 1.5mm thick with the deep cutting blade).

The Print Then Cut function lets you send your work to a printer and then cut it where you want it. It allows you to cut and draw in 1 single pass thanks to its double head (from the Explore Air). If you want to use it as a plotter, you will need to equip yourself with compatible markers.

Cricut Joy

Brother ScanNCut vs Cricut: Comparing the Most Popular ModelsCricut Joy is your new companion for faster and easier projects. With the Cricut Joy, you can cut more than 50 materials such as papers, cardboard, textile vinyl, adhesive vinyl, corrugated cardboard, finite acetate, finite synthetic leather (leatherette), Infusible ink, and more.

In addition to all these materials, you can use the Smart Vinyls, which are special vinyl for your Cricut Joy, with which you do not need a mat and you can make runs of up to 6 meters in 120-centimeter sections.

If you live in a mini apartment or just love simplicity, the Cricut Joy will be the perfect fit for you. It fits anywhere, it is also very compact when folded, it is easily stored and you only need a cable to start it. It’s ideal for saving space and for people on the move.

Final Thoughts

Both ScanNCut and Cricut are two giants in the crafts sector specialized in the manufacture of domestic cutting plotters and automatic tools used to cut custom designs in countless materials. However, they have evolved so much that now, they allow you to cut, sketch, emboss or draw. If you are passionate about crafts, both of these items cannot be missing in your studio!

Having analyzed the main difference between the Cricut Maker and ScanNCut, we think the Maker is designed mainly for those who need to create customized illustrations with dedicated software and make cuts on paper and vinyl, while the ScanNCut (being a stand-alone device) is suitable for those who need to import files and directly cut them with ease and on multiple materials.

So, we end our ScanNCut vs Cricut analysis by saying the Cricut Maker would be ideal for those who love to work from the computer and the ScanNCut would be great for those who love to work on the go or want to minimize space, eliminate the need to bring a computing machine or device into the studio as it has its scanner.

References

1.
Brother Expands Lineup of Cutting Machines with New,
BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Brother International Corporation has announced the launch of ScanNCut DX (SDX225), a revolutionary…
2.
25 DIY holiday decor and gift ideas from Zooey Deschanel – Cricut
Festive decor? No problem! Holiday gifts? Don't worry! Here are 25 holiday decor and gift ideas I made with my DIY best friend, Cricut.
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