The Best Cutting Machines – Cricut, Silhouette & Brother Scan N’ Cut

From the moment I first heard about cutting machines I knew I had to have one. I couldn’t believe all the craft projects you can make with a cutting machine. Isn’t it so cool what we can do with them?


If you’re looking for a cheap cutting machine, take a look at what we’ve listed below. These are the best craft cutting machines – I’ll let you know my favorite brand below!


The Best Cutting Machine


The electronic cutting machines in the table below are the ones we’ll cover in this post.


There are older models of these machines, but in my opinion, it is best to get the most current model. The exception to this is with Cricut. The Maker is the best vinyl cutting machine, but it is more expensive. The Explore Air 2 is an excellent machine if the Maker is beyond your budget (it’s the machine I use and love).


Cricut Maker

  • Cut more materials quicker & easier
  • Rotary & Knife blade for more projects
  • Scoring wheel for best folds
View on CricutView on Amazon

Cricut Explore Air 2

  • Duel tool holder
  • Use for business
  • Bluetooth capable
View on CricutView on Amazon

Silhouette CAMEO 3

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Dual carriage for multiple tools
  • Contour cut printed htv
View on Heat Press NationView on Amazon

Brother Scan N Cut 2

  • Cuts fabric, vinyl, paper
  • Built in scanner
  • Built in designs for use without computer
View on EbayView on Amazon

Sizzix Eclips 2

  • Precise cutting
  • Cuts paper, fabric, chipboard, vinyl, cardstock, vellum and adhesive sheets
  • Cut, score, & draw
View on Sizzix.comView on Amazon

The main feature of cutting machines is fairly obvious: they cut! But that’s not all they can do. These machines also etch, draw and score. The Brother Scan N Cut even has a built in scanner.

  • Etching (or engraving) – often used on metal surfaces like dog tags, plaques and jewelry
  • Drawing – write and draw designs on paper and cardstock
  • Scoring – used especially for creating fine folds in card making


Home vinyl cutters can cut many materials including:

  • Adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl
  • Cardstock and paper
  • Fabrics and leathers
  • Some bonded fabrics

The Maker can cut the greatest range or materials, from balsa wood & chipboard, to silk & burlap


Cricut Cutting Machines


Cricut cutting machines are my preferred brand of craft cutter. I think all three brands listed here produce high quality products, I just prefer Cricut.

Here’s why (in summary):

  • Look – Cricut machines come in a range of very attractive colors
  • Innovation – Cricut are constantly working to make their products better
  • Features – I believe the features are better with Cricut (eg. the various blades)
  • Software – I prefer Cricut’s web based Design Studio
  • Performance – the Maker & Air 2 perform better than the Cameo & ScanNCut


Let’s take a closer look.


The Cricut Maker


the cricut maker newest cricut machine


The Cricut Maker was released before Christmas in 2017, and quickly became known as the best craft cutting machine. Ask anyone in the know, ‘what is the best cutting machine?’ and I don’t doubt they’ll say, ‘the Cricut Maker’.


Here are it’s special features:

  • Cuts hundreds more materials, from the finest paper to heavy fabrics
  • The rotary blade used for cutting fabric (from canvas to cotton)
  • The knife blade used for thicker materials (chipboard or balsa wood)
  • A scoring wheel for sharper and finer folds
  • A digital sewing pattern library – access to hundreds of fabric plans to cut instantly
  • All controlled digitally (no dial on the machine)

For the full range of features, see the Cricut Maker overview.


The Cricut Explore Air 2

the cricut explore air 2 mint cutting machine

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a cheaper cutting machine than the Maker. With it you can create a huge range of projects. I use mine most often for cutting vinyl and iron-on.


Check the full range of features and specs.


Silhouette Cutting Machines


The Silhouette brand of cutters are synonymous with excellence in the personal cutting machine category.


Silhouette CAMEO 3 Wireless Cutting Machine

the silhouette cameo 3 cutting machine

The Cameo 3 is up next. There is a bigger leap in performance between this one and the Curio. As you go up in price, you get a more precise and faster cut. They are also able to perform more tasks.


The Cameo 3 is Silhouette’s latest cutting machine. The main difference between this machine and the Curio is that this one can be used wirelessly and can hold two tools. It has the largest cutting space of all their machines.


Find the cheapest Silhouette Cameo 3 here.


Sizzix Cutting Machines


Sizzix are another brand of craft cutting machine. Their marketing is not particularly directed toward the t-shirt community, nor are their machines specifically designed for cutting t-shirt vinyl – although some are capable of doing so.


Sizzix Eclips 2


The Eclips 2 has a cutting area of 12 x 12 inches. Perhaps if you’re thinking of doing small transfers on small items of clothing, like baby onesies or childrens t-shirts, this might be for you.



Brother Cutting Machines


Brother are another company that have given home and hobby cutting machines a go. Their machine is well reviewed and has many happy users. 


Brother CM350 Scan’N’Cut2 Cutting Machine


brother scan n cut 2 cutting machine and scanner

This machine is special because it has a scanner as well. With this you can hand draw whatever you like, scan your image and then have the machine cut it (as seen in the video below). This machine does not use software and connect up with a computer, it is stand alone with a touch screen. You can bring in outside images via a USB.


This machine, as with the others above, can cut heat transfer vinyl for heat pressing onto t-shirts, etc. We have a written a complete review of the Brother CM350 ScanNCut2 here



That is all the machines that we will look at in this post. We aren’t going to say one is better than another either! (Though if you have the money for it, get the new Cricut Maker!). In this post we simply wanted to get all the cheaper electronic cutting machines for crafts and home hobby together – at least the ones available on Amazon.


We will have fuller reviews of all these machines coming in the near future. Let us know what you think of them in the comment section below. We’d love to consider your opinion too.


(Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.)


Comments 2

  1. Maria Jose November 2, 2018

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.