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The Best Electronic Cutting Machine for 2023

Bring your creation to life at the snap of a finger, right from the comfort of your home, using an electronic cutting machine.

The Best Electronic Cutting Machine for 2022

Calling all interior decorators, DIY lovers, and creatives! We’re introducing you to the “Holy Grail” of arts and crafts equipment: a machine that prints out your masterpiece on almost any surface you’d like.

Electronic cutting machines use a small blade to carve out programmed designs on paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric, and all other sorts of materials. You can decorate, redesign, and elevate any space at the click of a few buttons.

We know by now you’re thinking you might have to rob a bank to own one of these bad boys, but as always, our readers deserve the best. That is why we have taken our time to research, test, and find the best of these devices that will offer impeccable value and make all other creators jealous from a mile away.

How We Picked

  • Project/Material Type

    Electronic cutting machines have different ranges of materials they can carve. So if you’re a creative bumble bee, bursting with ideas, there is a device that will fulfill all your design desires and more.

  • Strength/Sharpness

    Precision is the name, and our selected machines are the game. Blades are the tools that electronic cutting machines use to create design imprints on materials, and the strength of the blade determines its sharpness.

  • Style/Size

    Just like home printers, it's easy for these devices to take up a lot of room. With that being said, we’ve found stylish, portable cutting machines that will seamlessly blend into your home without cluttering up your space.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    Our selected machines offer the best value on the market within their price ranges. So whether your budget is low, average, or in surplus, there’s a device guaranteed to give you premium satisfaction without emptying your wallets.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3

With our top pick, you can express your creativity on over 300 different materials!

Get all you would ever need from a cutting machine that inspires borderless creativity.

Buy Now for $365.00

With this beginner-friendly pick from Cricut, you get a versatile, compact machine that can slice through an extremely wide variety of materials easily without barely making a sound. The Cricut Maker series is one of the top-rated die-cutting machines on the market, and the Cricut Maker 3 is at the top of that list. With a powerful downward force, this machine can practically carve on anything, from leather to balsa wood.

Runner Up

Silhouette Cameo 4

Silhouette Cameo 4

A powerful option from Silhouette that is made for heavy-duty work and large-scale projects.

Take your creativity up a notch with this powerful option from a well-known manufacturer.

Buy Now for $299.19

Another staple name in the electronic cutting machine industry, the Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in a close second after our top pick. With an even more powerful 5 kg-downward force, this machine was made to cut through just about any material and is more than suitable for heavy-duty work. It comes with an intuitive blade and enough room to load multiple tools at once. Our runner-up cuts at incredible speeds and has all the extra little features you never knew you needed.

Most Cost-Effective

Cricut Joy Machine

Cricut Joy Machine

Perfect for home DIY creatives, this compact option gets the job done seamlessly.

Cutting is made stylish with this adorable, tiny machine from Circut.

Buy Now for $119.99

Our third pick may just be the cutest little cutting machine you will ever come across. The baby of the Cricut family is perfect for creatives who love to create on the go. Its lightweight design makes it super portable and easy to handle. Not to mention, its beginner-friendly features and budget-conscious price make this machine hard to resist.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3

With our top pick, you can express your creativity on over 300 different materials!

$365.00

Buy Now

Runner Up

Silhouette Cameo 4

Silhouette Cameo 4

A powerful option from Silhouette that is made for heavy-duty work and large-scale projects.

$299.19

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Cricut Joy Machine

Cricut Joy Machine

Perfect for home DIY creatives, this compact option gets the job done seamlessly.

$119.99

Buy Now

Who This Is For

These machines were designed for true, hands-on creatives, people who love seeing their ideas come to life and will go to any length to make it happen. Electronic cutting machines are great for all kinds of designers. So whether you’re an artist, a DIY master, an interior decorator, or just looking to spruce up your living room, this equipment will make a useful addition to your creative arsenal.

What is an electronic cutting machine used for?

As we touched on earlier, these devices are used to carve out designs and images on a variety of materials such as paper, vinyl, cardstock, and iron-on transfers, and some can even cut on fabric, wood, leather, and more. They do this using sharp built-in blades at high speeds under the direction of pre-programmed designs. Electronic cutters go by many nicknames, some of which include plotters, vinyl cutters, craft cutters, and digital cutters. 

Different Types of Cutting Machines

Cutting machines vary per industry and use, so it’s hard to place them in one category. For the purpose of this article, we will be discussing the different types of cutting machines used in the garment and fabric industries, as this often applies to the majority of lightweight materials.

 

  1. Straight Knife Cutting Machine – These are handheld electrical devices used in cutting lays (fabric piles) to separate fabric or cutting thick materials such as denim. Its blade’s edge is usually straight but can also be waved, sawed, or serrated.
  2. Band Knife Cutting Machine – This is an electrically-powered device that consists of three or more pulleys used in producing more precise and accurate cuts on pieces.
  3. Round Knife Cutting Machine – This machine has a circular blade and a flat base plate. It’s used for cutting straight lines on less thick lays than a straight knife.
  4. Die Cutting Machine – This is used in creating smaller, more precise designs on fabric and other types of materials for design purposes. It uses a similar principle to electronic cutting machines.
  5. Drill Cutting Machine – As the name implies, these devices are used to create holes in materials.
  6. Computerized Cutting Machine – These are fully-automated devices that cut at very high speeds based on pre-programmed settings that may include the number of fabric layers, fabric textures, and so on
  7. Rib Cutting Machine – These devices are used to craft cloth pipings, such as T-shirt necks, from knit fabric.
  8. Laser Cutting Machine – This computerized device uses lasers to cut through materials as opposed to blades

Is a cutting machine worth the money?

The answer to this question once again truly depends on your preferences and needs as a user. Are you someone who enjoys creativity and design as a hobby? Are you a DIY enthusiast looking to expand your skills and take on multiple projects? Are you an artisan looking for new ways to earn money from your craft? If you fall into any of these categories, then we guarantee that a cutting machine will make a worthy addition to your toolbox.

These devices allow you to craft a variety of designs according to your taste in under a few minutes. However, if you are looking to tackle a few design projects or have one specific thing you’d like to bring to life, this piece of equipment may seem like an unnecessary purchase for you in the long run.

Why You Should Trust Us

Creative expression is an important part of our principles as researchers and writers at National Today. We take pride in the ability to freely create all forms of art in ways that are true and unique to individuality. This is what makes us the best decision-makers for selecting crafting tools such as cutting machines. We have been able to suggest and prove the best electronic cutting machines on the creative market through extensive research and testing.

How We Picked

These intricate machines carry out their work through precise tools that produce the most accurate and detailed designs. Here are some of the key features we looked at to that effect.

Material type being cut
As we have discussed, these tools are used to carve on a variety of materials, from plain old paper to vinyl, fabric, and wood. Each machine has a range and limit for the types of materials it can cut through; however, material thickness is a major determining factor.

Typically, the larger the clearance of the machine, the thicker the materials it can cut. For example, the Cameo 4 from Silhouette has a 3 mm clearance for cutting thicker materials like balsa wood and leather, while the Portrait 3 can only cut materials that are 2 mm thick.

Strength and sharpness
Out of all the tools found on a cutting machine, its blade is the most important. This is because it is the main tool that produces the final design of your chosen material. The strength and sharpness of the blade determine how precise, clean, and accurate your designs come to life on these materials. A blade’s strength is measured by its downward force. The heavier the force, the more powerful the impact, and the thicker the material that can be cut.

Safety features
As you would assume, these machines don’t sound like the safest tools to use. With all these talks of blades, materials, and cutting, it’s easy to get scared away from owning one of them. However, you can discard your worries and rest knowing that the best cutting machines come with the most reinforced safety measures that ensure the protection of their users while they craft.

Style and size
At first instance, these machines sound bulky, immobile, and space-consuming. It’s hard to believe that a tool that does so much crafting, takes up a small amount of space. Well, our selected options make that possibility a reality through compact designs, that are even smaller than most home printers. These cutting machines are not only able to fit into any space, but they also do so seamlessly through stylish construction and inviting color options.

Ease of use
Every crafting tool has a bit of a learning curve, especially for beginners who are new to the art. With that being said, however, the best ones make it look easy through guided instructions and user-friendly operating systems. Every product was created by a group of people to be used by others; therefore, the best manufacturers and our selected machines make their products easy to use and master.

Price vs. quality
Just as with other powerful pieces of equipment, cutting machines aren’t the cheapest purchase to make. The key is finding one that offers more than its worth and the best features within its price range. The machines discussed in this article are the gifts that keep on giving and will serve you for years to come.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Cricut Maker 3

Best Pick

Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3

With our top pick, you can express your creativity on over 300 different materials!

Get all you would ever need from a cutting machine that inspires borderless creativity.

Buy Now for $365.00

Who It’s For

For creatives who hate being put in a box and having a cap on their creativity, this option from Cricut encourages borderless art with an enormously wide material selection catalog. With unmatchable features, this piece of equipment has all the bells and whistles you could ever desire as a creative, DIY lover, or artisan.

Why It’s Great

Cricut is one of the most prominent names in this industry, and their Maker 3 is one of the most powerful, smart, and clean-cut machines they have ever made. This bad boy works with over 300 kinds of materials and a design library with thousands of images and projects. It has 13 powerful tools that get the job done at incredible speeds and precision. With this machine, you can bring just about any design to life at the press of a few buttons.

Potential Flaws

Our top pick offers a bounty of extra features but also a number of surmountable hidden charges. While this machine already has a steep price tag, you would have to cough up some more bucks to get the tools that make it possible to craft with its wide range of material compatibility. Certain designs on the free software also require individual purchases or a subscription for use.

Other Features

To say the Cricut Maker 3 is a powerful tool would be an understatement. With 4 kg of downward force and a 330 mm working width, this machine has the ability to cut over 300 kinds of materials, including leather and wood.

Made with every crafter in mind, this piece of equipment is compatible with 13 tools — from foil transfer tools to simple pens and markers — that serve multiple purposes, from debossing to writing and engraving.

Another stand-out feature is its rotary blade and additional fabric mat, which seamlessly cut through the fabric without needing any bonding or stiffeners.

With a working area of 12 inches, you get ample crafting space, while its two tool slots allow you to carry out separate tasks for one project simultaneously, and thanks to Cricut’s QuickSwap system, you get to change tools without a hassle.

The Cricut Maker 3 carves at incredible speeds and precision and allows you to cut on Cricut-branded smart materials. Its user-friendly, free, and upgradeable design software offers thousands of images, designs, fonts, and projects at your disposal, and with a small monthly subscription fee, you get to upload your own artwork.

Additions like Bluetooth connectivity and a ‘fast-cutting’ mode make crafting all the more enjoyable. This machine has been reviewed by multiple users as easy to use and set up through detailed guidelines, instructions, and step-by-step prompts.

Runner Up - Silhouette Cameo 4

Runner Up

Silhouette Cameo 4

Silhouette Cameo 4

A powerful option from Silhouette that is made for heavy-duty work and large-scale projects.

Take your creativity up a notch with this powerful option from a well-known manufacturer.

Buy Now for $299.19

Who It’s For

Our runner-up is a match made in heaven for heavy-duty crafters who like to tackle large-scale projects. With multiple sizing options, there’s no task too big for the Silhouette Cameo 4 to handle!

Why It’s Great

The Cameo 4 is a powerful option provided by yet another staple name in the industry: Silhouette. It boasts up to three times more speed than previous models in its class and an incredible power of 5,000 g. With a minimum cutting width of 12 inches and a built-in roll feeder, you get to craft lengthy materials of up to 3 mm in thickness with ease.

Potential Flaws

This machine can only use one cutting tool at a time, which makes jobs a bit slower. It also doesn’t offer half the range of material options and designs as our top pick and has only six compatible tools.

Other Features

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is ideal for creatives who enjoy taking on new and challenging projects at every opportunity. This piece of equipment comes in three different size options (12, 15, and 24 inches) that encourage longer cutting lengths and large-scale projects that suit a variety of users’ needs.

Its powerful 5 kg blade creates precise cuts and designs that engrave on materials as thick as 3 mm. Through its pop-out cutting feature for lighter materials like paper and cardstock and kiss-cut action for roller materials, this device gives you the freedom to cut selected material types (specifically those that are naturally lined) without a cutting mat.

Other sought-after features of the Silhouette Cameo 4 are its automatic tool detection, which instantly adjusts software settings based on the input tool, and its built-in cross-cutter and roll feeder, which allow projects of up to 10 feet in length.

This machine takes its usefulness a step further with the addition of separately purchased compatible tools for drawing and punching. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to pair with other devices, such as printers that enable their "Print and Cut" feature.

Gather inspiration from the upgradable Silhouette Studio software, which offers an expansive collection of content and the ability to import your own designs and work offline. The Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in three gorgeous colors and seamlessly blends into any space.

Most Cost-Effective - Cricut Joy Machine

Most Cost-Effective

Cricut Joy Machine

Cricut Joy Machine

Perfect for home DIY creatives, this compact option gets the job done seamlessly.

Cutting is made stylish with this adorable, tiny machine from Circut.

Buy Now for $119.99

Who It’s For

If your mind is always racing and your creative juices are always flowing, then you need a machine that can keep up with your pace — a machine that is always with you and ready to bring your thoughts to life. This is what makes this pick such a good choice for you because it is small, portable, and efficient.

Why It’s Great

Yet another option from Cricut makes our list—introducing Joy, Cricut’s baby cutting machine! This device is super portable, functional, and highly stylish. Its 1.75 kg weight makes it the best creative companion, not to mention it has all the features of our top pick on a smaller scale, meaning that it can cut, write, and draw with little to no effort from your end. It’s perfect for managing small projects and great for creating cute little accents that elevate your space, such as labels and cards.

Potential Flaws

This device doesn’t pack a lot of tools in its arsenal, and its small size doesn’t allow for work on a variety of materials.

Other Features

This affordable pick from Cricut is the perfect choice for minimalists and DIY creators alike. Cricut Joy can work on up to 50 materials, including vinyl, cardstock, iron-on, and Cricut Smart Materials. It is extremely beginner-friendly thanks to guided instructions from its design app, and the Bluetooth connectivity feature makes it an even more seamless process.

This device is 9 x 4.5 inches, making it the perfect fit for individuals who love taking on small cute projects. The Cricut Joy has an adorable design that blends easily into any given space.

Almost Made The Cut - Silhouette Portrait 3

Almost Made The Cut

Silhouette Portrait 3

Silhouette Portrait 3

Think big but start small with this feature-packed, multipurpose, compact choice.

Perfect for home DIY creatives, this compact option gets the job done seamlessly.

Buy Now for $169.00

Who It’s For

Looking for a compact cutting machine that holds its own and doesn’t crack under pressure? This versatile, affordable option from Silhouette is your best bet! Get a device that you can carry with you almost anywhere and that allows you to sketch and cut with the press of a few buttons.

Why It’s Great

The Silhouette Portrait 3 is a contender because, unlike other machines of its size, this device allows you to cut up to 10 feet of most materials, including vinyl and cardstock. It is also a versatile tool and includes most of the features of the Cameo 4 in a smaller package.

Potential Flaws

Although this machine is better suited to heavier duty than the previously discussed Circut budget pick, there is a limit to what this resourceful device can handle. Some users have also said its software isn’t the easiest to use.

Other Features

A pocket-conscious option from Silhouette nearly made our list of top picks. The Silhouette Portrait 3 allows you to enjoy all the top-notch features offered by its manufacturer — automatic tool recognition, AutoBlade, Bluetooth connectivity, matless cutting, and print and cut capability — at an entry-level price.

You also get to have the same upgradable software package of the design app, Silhouette Studio, as you would with bigger options from the manufacturer like the Cameo 4. The Silhouette Portrait 3 has an 8-inch-wide cutting area, making it portable enough to take anywhere, and 2mm of clearance space supported by a blade with 0.21kg of downward force, meaning it's only able to cut a handful of materials.

Care and Maintenance

Unless you’re a professional creative who is familiar with cutting machines and their tools, keeping your device properly maintained and in top condition over time can be a hassle.

This is made easier by the guides and instructions provided by manufacturers. When you’ve decided on the right machine for you, the next steps are to buy it and set it up.

Every manufacturer has detailed instructions on how you can go about this in their included manuals, and if you’re stuck, you can always research videos and tutorials of other users that have successfully set up theirs.

Here are some important things to remember that help maintain the optimal condition of your cutting machine:

Before you begin crafting, ensure that your blades are properly aligned and sharpened, as the opposite may lead to shallow cuts and inaccurate designs.

If you’re crafting heavier materials that chip off or create flying edges such as wood, ensure you wear protective gear like goggles and gloves before operating your machine.

Do not place your hands or body parts anywhere under the machine where the bulk of the work gets done.

A tidy workspace is an efficient workspace, so ensure you clear up leftover cuttings and materials after use.

If you’re a frequent user, service your machine once every month for premium production, otherwise once every quarter may suffice.

Over time, your machine may get blocked or broken due to constant use. In such cases, you may experience dull blade execution, misaligned designs, or even missing spots on your material’s design. Turn off your machine fully before investigating further to detect the issue.

In more severe situations, such as dented or misaligned blades, it’s advised to either replace your blade depending on the circumstance or call in the service of a professional.

However, in most cases, it may just be due to a dirty machine. To clean your machine, simply empty its cylinders and chambers, as paper fibers and cut pieces can accumulate and clog up your machine.