The 9 Best Cutting Machines

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in May of 2015. For all you crafty people out there, you can die, cut and emboss to your heart's content with one of these machines. Much more than a simple guillotine, these models offer creativity and, in some cases, computer connectivity, and are capable of delivering beautiful patterns for embroidery, paper crafting, home decor and more. They can also be helpful to many small businesses. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best cutting machine on Amazon.

9. Cheery Lynn Big Sister

8. Cricut Cuttlebug

7. Spellbinders Platinum 6.0

6. Sizzix Big Shot Pro

5. Cricut Explore Air 2

4. Brother ScanNCut 2

3. Sizzix Big Shot

2. Silhouette Cameo 3

1. Cricut Maker

Editor's Notes

May 02, 2019:

When evaluating the best cutting machines we found the latest and greatest featured the advanced technology and an ever-increasing array of bells and whistles to delight the most dedicated crafters.

But we were sure to include the best simple machines for Luddites who don't want to deal with software, like the Sizzix Big Shot and the Cricut Cuttlebug. These popular options are built to last and are portable enough to take to a crafting party. They do most of the basic cutting and embossing that beginning crafters do, and will remain in your crafting studio even after you have expanded your horizons to more complicated models.

To the top spot we added the Cricut Maker which differentiates itself from all the other models with advanced software and Bluetooth connectivity because of its dedicated rotary blade that lets you cut with fabric without backing material,and a special extra-deep adaptable knife blade that allows you to die-cut everything from crepe paper to leather.

How To Choose The Right Machine

Because these advanced machines need to be connected to a computer during operation, they don't offer the portability of manual models.

Cutting machines make the work of dedicated scrapbookers and card makers simple. Most models can complete die cutting, regular cutting, and embossing. Older cutting machines are manual and require the operator to turn a knob or push a lever to send the knife and die across the materials. Newer models activate with the push of a button, or via touchscreen.

If you need to add tougher materials to a project, like fabric, rubber, or foam, an industrial-quality cutting machine can be useful. These can slice through almost any material, and their blades won’t snag or deteriorate during difficult projects. If you create products that are larger than standard printing paper, look for a cutting machine with an extended platform.

For more advanced designs or high volume demand, find a computer-connectable model. These offer unlimited design options; one can take any image found online (copyrights considered) and transfer it onto the material. These machines are usually compatible with printers, meaning that if you print a design out on standard paper, your machine can detect it and accurately cut around it. Because these advanced machines need to be connected to a computer during operation, they don't offer the portability of manual models. If you require versatility, use a cutting machine that can connect to a computer, but that also allows you to manually insert and move a die across your fabric.

How A Cutting Machine Can Save You Money

For important events, like weddings or anniversary parties, most people want to have invitations that stand out. While making wedding invitations used to be a practice reserved for the extremely wealthy, today, couples of all means are expected to send out elaborate invitations. Ordering them from a stationary company can be costly – designs with embossing or textured patterns can cost up to $5 per invitation – but these can be made at home for pennies. A large-platform cutting machine allows one to create several feet of paper with charming patterns, and to cut those into perfectly symmetrical cards.

A large-platform cutting machine allows one to create several feet of paper with charming patterns, and to cut those into perfectly symmetrical cards.

Wedding goodie boxes are always a nice touch, but a container store will charge a high price for each box. Fortunately, you can make your own. Download a template with the exact cutting dimensions for a box. With a cutting machine that can slice through thick paper or cardboard, you can produce your own boxes, and just fold them up according to the template instructions.

During the holiday season, it is common practice to attach dozens of gift tags to presents, and the cost can quickly add up. The design options in stores are limited, typically just displaying Santa Claus or snowflakes. With a cutting machine, it is possible to make hundreds of gift tags for a fraction of the cost of store-bought versions, and have unlimited design options. To personalize the tags, one can include portraits of the gift recipient or images of their favorite hobbies. Everybody appreciates a homemade birthday card, too. Use your machine to create pop-up words and scenery, and make the card into a unique shape like a cupcake.

The History Of The Cutting Machine

The first cutting machine was designed to cut fabric. In 1888, a Canadian inventor named George Eastman made the first fractional motor that was mounted on a cutting base. The motor attached to a reciprocating knife mechanism. Eastman’s invention made tedious, manual cloth cutting in garment factories a thing of the past. He then went on to found the Eastman Company in 1898 with the help of an investor by the name of Charles Stevenson. Stevenson eventually acquired full ownership of the company and passed it down through generations of his family who made adjustments to the machines.

In 1995, the Eastman Company acquired the largest sailmaker in the world — North Sails Group.

In 1908 Charles Stevenson passed away and his son, Wade Stevenson, inherited the business. Between 1920 and 1965, the Eastman Company introduced motors that were more powerful and weighed less than the original model. They also expanded the range of cutting machines to make their product more appealing to markets outside of the apparel industry. One improvement that remains popular today is the automatic sharpener for the cutting knife, which allows for precise edges, and makes the machine safer for hobbyists.

After Wade Stevenson passed away, his son Chuck Stevenson took on the company and eventually passed it onto Robert and Wade Stevenson, Jr. The Stevenson brothers introduced user-friendly features to their product like hand-held rotary shears, heavy duty manual cutters, advanced material handling solutions, and their patented oiling system.

In 1995, the Eastman Company acquired the largest sailmaker in the world — North Sails Group. This spurred on the creation of computer-controlled cutting machines. North Sails had previously worked with niche markets in aerospace, carpet, insulation, vinyl cutting and automotive applications. This helped Eastman expand their reach into a range of new industries.

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Tina Morna Freitas
Last updated on May 04, 2019 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and three cats. She has a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in English, and has built a freelance career over the years in writing and digital marketing. Her passions for cooking, decorating and home improvement contribute to her extensive knowledge of all things kitchen and home goods. In addition, her 20 years as a parent inform her expertise in the endless stream of toys and equipment that inevitably takes over the homes of most parents. She also enjoys gardening, making and sipping margaritas, and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.


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