Cutter Comparisons


Julie Flanagan
 

There are a lot of old cutters out there, but not a lot of new ones on the market. I started working on a comparison chart some time ago, but got distracted by other things. 
 
Meanwhile, I think you will find that the Pazzles Vue is a much better cutter than Cricut Explore models, as it cuts with up to 1000 grams of pressure. Cricut Explore only cuts with about 350 grams. Even the regular blade on the Maker is limited to about 350 grams of cutting pressure. You have to purchase extra attachments to get more pressure out of the Maker.  The software that ships with Pazzles is much better than Cricut software. It has the same optical reader as Cricut Explore and Maker, but allows you to cut around printed images up to 8.5"x11" rather than the much smaller cutting area allowed by Cricut Design Space. Pazzles has the same click blade assembly as the older Cricut Machines, and the mats autoload nicely. This is a great multi-purpose cutter. 

Julie
 
Scan N Cut machines also cut much better than Cricut Explore models, as they cut with up to 1250 grams of cutting pressure, and will cut around printed images up to 11.5"x11.5" I design in Make The Cut or Pazzles InVue software, place my SVG cutting files on a thumb drive directly into either of my Scan N Cut machines and cut from there. I have the older CM600 and the DX225. You have to learn to harness all of this extra power. The autoblade feature on the DX225 is nice, and the machine runs very quietly. But the DX series has issues with cutting vinyl. The CM models cut vinyl fine. I use my Scan N Cut machines for scanning, and cutting around stamped or printed images. There is free software that works with Scan N Cut machines which is a lot better than Cricut Design Space, but not quite as good as Pazzles software. 

I have the original Cameo because I thought that I might like to use it for cutting designs that I purchased from the Silhouette Online Store. I did like cutting to it from Make The Cut. Cameo cutting pressure is only up to about 210 grams, and is totally inadequate for the heavier cardstock and 3D papercrafts that I like to do. Cameo 1-3 are only rated to cut up to medium weight cardstock. I was hopeful that when they came out with Cameo 4 that they would add more pressure to the standard blade. But that was the elusive dream. Again, I found that to use all the massive extra pressure on the Cameo 4, I would have to purchase extra special blades and tools. My original Silhouette Studio 2.0 DE still allows me to export SVG files from the Silhouette Online Store, and I don't want to give up that option to use the SS Business Edition that I purchased. If I want to use the latest SS software required for used with the Cameo 4, I would have to delete my 2.0 version. It somehow interferes with the latest version of their software. Cameo is fine for print and cut, lightweight cardstock, and vinyl. So if that is all you care to do with a cutter, then a Cameo 4 might work for you. But again, you are locked in to their proprietary format if using images from the their online store, or you will have to pay an extra fee to download those files in SVG format. I prefer cutting the files I purchase from them on my Pazzles or even Scan N Cut. But I am not willing to pay extra just to be able to use any of those nearly 30,000 cutting files that I have purchased from them on my other cutters. So I use my work arounds. Silhouette Studio software does have many great design features. You can import or export your own design files in SVG format if you own the Business Edition (an extra one time cost.)

I consider both Cricut and Cameo as Entry-level cutters. If you are serious about your craft, I recommend getting a cutter that has more design and cutting capabilities. When you get simplified machines and software, you limit yourself to basic software and cutter functions.  These entry level machines are fine to play with until you find what you really want to do with them. But you should plan to outgrow them at some point as you find your preferred niche.

KNK machines are no longer sold, but you can get a Sky Cut machine instead. If you only cut vinyl, you might want to consider a wider format dedicated vinyl cutter such as US Cutter. But before you buy, make sure that you can get it with SCAL, if that is the software you prefer to use.  Before purchasing a machine, check out the software that works with it, and make sure that the machine is capable of doing what you want to do most. Everyone here is welcome to share your experiences with other cutters.

You can take a look as some of the cutters available at the Used Cutters For Sale Facebook group. 

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