Best Vinyl Cutting Machine Under $300 Review
Thanks to the technology nowadays, markets are full of great products. Best Vinyl Cutting Machine is another wonder of tech.
And technology is really keeping up to date with everything, as they’re expanding and meeting customers needs more than ever before.
It’s the same deal with vinyl cutter machines. Manufacturers are constantly updating cutter machines, to match the needs of the customers.
If you need a vinyl cutter machine for home use or even a business use, you will be able to find some for a relatively cheap price.
As we all know, best vinyl cutting machine can be priced in thousand of dollars, still low priced ones will do a great job for your home or office use.
If you are here to learn, you’ve come to the right place. Because in this post, I will help you learn what are the vinyl cutter machines – if you don’t know yet, what is their purpose, what will you be able to do with them and I will show you top 10 vinyl cutter machines from my personal recommendation.
What is a Vinyl Cutter?
The easiest explanation for a vinyl cutter machine would be a small type of machine which is controlled by a computer.
They look like a computer home printers and they have a very similar mission, so you can think of a vinyl cutter like a small printer but with a sharp blade instead of a pen.
Computer printers are controlled by the computer just like a vinyl cutter, however, printer’s purpose is to print out anything we demand by using a computer while vinyl cutter has a sharp blade and he cuts out anything we demand by using a computer.
Vinyl cutter will cut out shapes in adhesive vinyl which allows you to stick it onto any surface.
Using software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw you will be able to send the design to a vinyl cutter. You will be able to make custom designed gift cards or even pillows.
What Can I Make With Vinyl Cutter?
As I have mentioned before, by getting a vinyl cutter you will be able to send the wanted design to the vinyl cutter machine through the computer, which will then cut the design with a sharp blade onto the adhesive vinyl.
You will be able to choose from wide variety of colors, such as gold or silver foil which will make vinyl that simulates frosted glass, reflective or even holographic vinyl.
Only sky is the limit as you will be able to make labels & stickers which you will be able to stick onto your car, paper engineering, paints,T-shirt, prototypes, custom apparel and even silicon printing.
There are only a few limits, so you can really have a freedom and do anything you want. Being creative will help in this case, yet if you aren’t a really creative person it’s okay since there are plenty of ideas on the internet so all you have to do is find something you like and get to work!
How We Selected Top 10 Vinyl Cutter Machines
As there are many different versions of vinyl cutters, we had to look for individual factors and then combine them all together to get top 10 vinyl cutter machines.
Some of the features we have looked at before making a list of 10 best vinyl cutters:
- Size of a vinyl cutter
- Types of materials
- Adequate support and additional parts
- Ease of use
- Type of a drive motor
There are many more important features and details, but these are one of the most needed ones.
Size of a vinyl cutter is important because it depends on how big projects will you be working on. You will need to know what’s the max size of your vinyl sheets. The bigger the vinyl sheets size – the more pricey will be the cutter, so that’s something to keep in mind. Although, I don’t recommend settling down for the smallest size in a hope you won’t need a bigger size ever. It’s better to be ready than unable to do a project you want.
Types of materials depend on your purpose. If you want to cut only vinyl, then you can settle down with a less expensive model. However, if you want to be able to cut foil, thick plastic or even fabrics – you should consider going for a high-end model. Again, I don’t want you to settle down with the less expensive option just because you don’t think you will need better features. It’s better to invest some money, so later you have a piece of equipment which will meet your requirements and expectations.
Adequate support and additional parts are always of help. You will want to have a full support once you decide to purchase a vinyl cutter. If you have one vinyl cutter and it breaks down, you don’t want to find yourself in a trouble. Purchasing a vinyl cutter from a bigger brand might be a smarter idea because they will offer better support and replacement parts in the case something breaks down. I don’t recommend purchasing used out-of-date vinyl cutters because there is a higher risk for them to break down, and once they break down – you will have a hard time finding the right parts to replace.
Ease of use is very important. You want a vinyl cutter machine which will be easy to use as much as the software you will use to command the vinyl cutter. If you have experience with vinyl cutters, you can purchase a high-end model with a less user-friendly model. However, if someone who has never used a vinyl cutter before will operate it, the best for everyone would be to go with a user-friendly model which will be easy to handle for beginners.
Type of a drive motor plays a role as well. There are stepper motors and digital servo motors. Stepper motors are older technology and they move in small steps by physical gears. As it’s the mechanical option, they can be sometimes noisy and have a little loss in precision. On the other hand, digital servo motors are newer technology and they’re more economical as they allow the manufacturers to produce vinyl cutters which are more affordable.
We have taken every aspect of the best vinyl cutter machines to make this list, so you can be sure you won’t miss by going for any of the cutters listed down below.
All you need to take care of now is your budget, and keep in mind your purpose for getting a vinyl cutter.
Here is The 10 Best Vinyl Cutter Machines
By the criteria, I have made where I have listed all the features, cons and pros of the vinyl cutter machines, I have come up with top 10 vinyl cutter machines listed down below.
01. USCutter MH
This vinyl cutter is 34″ which is important as I have mentioned earlier.
It comes with a VinylMaster Cut software for ease access and process of designing and cutting your favorite vinyl. This vinyl cutter won’t limit your material to only a vinyl. It allows you to use any of the 60+ materials available. It also has ability to cut even through different few layers.
Thanks to the adjustable pinch rollers you will be able to use other materials such as plastic or fabric.
A blade which is inside this cutter is a respected brand Roland, so if your blade ever breaks or you experience problems – you will have access to the most economical replacement blades available.
If you decide to purchase this vinyl cutter, you will be instantly ready to start working on your vinyl. Everything necessary is provided and it comes with this vinyl cutter. It includes vinyl rolls, transfer tapes, magnetic blades, squeegee, knife and even a lifetime phone support.
Pros of USCutter MH vinyl cutter: Size of 34″, great software, no limitations when it comes to materials, replaceable Roland blade, everything necessary to start working immediately and a fullsupport by their agents over the phone.
Cons of USCutter MH vinyl cutter: I have received some complaints about the stand which is provided with the cutter, however, if you experience a problem with it – it’s an easy fix.
02. Silhouette Cameo II
Silhouette Cameo has always worked hard to update their vinyl cutters. This is their newest model and it comes with a bundle for starters. It has all the necessary kit ready to begin producing vinyl.
It will get you prepared with the software and templates for you to choose from. If you aren’t very creative as I have mentioned before, templates will keep you busy until you think of a design yourself.
In this latest model, this vinyl cutter has a touch screen and you will also get a 1-month free membership to silhouette download store where you will find all kinds of useful templates and designs. On top of that, you will also get $25 USD to download things from Silhouette’s site.
This vinyl cutter is great for beginners, because of all the extra kit which is provided and user-friendly vinyl cutter with a touch screen option.
Pros of Silhouette Cameo II vinyl cutter: user-friendly, provided software, it comes with free templates, 1-month free membership to download store, easy to learn and use.
Cons of Silhouette Cameo II vinyl cutter: There are some speculations that there might be glitches with the software. Which doesn’t mean it’s the vinyl cutter or software problem, but rather a computer.
03. Silhouette Portrait
It’s another vinyl cutter from Silhouette.
This version is a little bit older than previous one, however, it’s still great for beginners. You will get 50 digital designs to start with, $10 USD for a download store and free software for both Windows OS and Mac OS.
Silhouette Portrait will allow you to use a variety of materials including fabric, cardstock, hard plastic, paper and much more.
This is a better option for beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune on Silhouette Cameo, instead, they can master the craft with Silhouette Portrait first.
The portrait isn’t too loud, but it’s not too quiet and that’s because of the mechanical stepper motors I talked about earlier. If you don’t mind a little bit of noise, then you will be alright.
Pros of Silhouette Portrait vinyl cutter: User-friendly great for beginners, software compatible with both OS, 50 digital designs to start with, $10 USD to use in their download store, no limitation of material, a great price.
Cons of Silhouette Portrait vinyl cutter: It is a little bit tricky to use your own designs instead of the designs they have provided. However, they have a full store of their designs so if that problem occurs to you, you’ll have an easy solution.
04. Circut Explore Air Wireless
As I have stated that technology is upgrading constantly nowadays, Circut Explore Air is a real proof of that.
It has embedded Bluetooth connection for wireless cutting which will save your time sorting the cables out. You will have a freedom to use any material from 60 available materials.
You will be able to all of that by simply following their software Free Circut Design Space, which is available for computers but also for iPad – which I find really amazing.
It looks more like a printer, and it has the ability to cut and write at the same time which is a great feature.
Pros of Circut Explore Air vinyl cutter: Wireless access which makes things faster and easier, no limitation on the material, cut and write at the same time option, free software which is available even for the iPad.
Cons of Circut Explore Air vinyl cutter: It has a potential as a powerful device, but the software just isn’t delivering the very best.
05. Circut Explore Air 2
Air 2 is an upgraded version of the Air which we have seen previously.
Circut Explore has done their very best to make this model way better than the last version. Air 2 has become a DIY machine which allows you to custom vinyl stickers, greeting cards, home decor, custom design apparel and much more.
It also features a better software called Circut Design space which is available for computers, tablets, and even mobile phones. They didn’t stop at tablets. Now you can design your favorite vinyl using your mobile phone.
Also, a great feature is Smart Set Dial which will make precise cut everything you make your own design, thanks to the calculation of the depth and pressure of vinyl cutter.
You won’t be limited to any of the materials because this cutter will be able to cut 100+ different materials.
It’s also wireless like a previous version so you won’t need to deal with cables, just connect to it with your software, start designing and producing your custom vinyl.
Pros of Circut Explore Air 2: Better updated version, better software, possibility to use any out of 100+ materials, custom designs, Smart Set Dial feature for precise cuts.
Cons of Circut Explore Air 2: Software needs the internet to be able to use it. It’s not a cloud software.
06. Circut Explore Air 2 Bundle
It is the same vinyl cutter like the previous one, however, this one comes with the bundle.
You will get 100+ free images and 50+ free project ideas, however, that’s not everything this bundle includes. You will get color candy shop pen set tool kit which has all the necessary tools for creating your design, 8 sheets of vinyl with 2 sheets of transfer paper, 4 pack of glitter heat sheets of transfer paper, exclusive Craft e-Corner Vinyl and heat transfer designs.
All of that will get you right on the track and you will be ready to start producing your custom vinyl once you set the vinyl cutter up.
You won’t need to worry about materials, tools or designs as everything within this bundle is provided and you only need to think of the custom design you want. However, if you aren’t creative enough, you will also get a book about designs and project inspiration which will teach you and give you ideas how to make your own custom design in the future.
It looks like a printer and actually, it’s even smaller than a printer, yet it’s such a powerful tool.
Pros of Circut Explore Air 2 Bundle: Everything necessary for work including tools and materials are included, wireless access, software available even on your smartphone, necessary help to design own custom vinyl.
Cons of Circut Explore Air 2 Bundle: Maybe it’s not user-friendly for beginners. But with some time you will learn everything and master the craft, no doubts.
07. Silhouette Cameo 3 Wireless
We have seen two different models from Silhouette already, but Cameo 3 is the newest and the latest model out there.
It’s similar to the Cameo II model, however, Cameo 3 has some improvements which will benefit the customers.
At the first sight, you could have already seen that this model is a wireless cutter. It’s common that new vinyl cutters have wireless for easy access. You will also get plugs and cables for your home, just in case.
It’s 12 inches wide and 10 feet long, and you will be able to use any of the materials including vinyl, fabric, plastic and any other materials. You won’t have problems cutting thicker materials either such as hard plastic.
Cameo 3 is available with a few different software which is good. You will be able to use self-adjusting AutoBlade, Print & Cut, PixScan technology and you will also have an access to the Silhouette Studio Software. All of that will make the process of designing and creating way easier for you.
Pros of Silhouette Cameo 3: An improved model of Cameo II, wireless connection, no limitations on the materials, different software and technology available to help, price.
Cons of Silhouette Cameo 3: Cutter might not work correctly if you don’t use the provided software.
08. Sizzix Big Shot – The lowest price
Sizzix is one of the vinyl cutters which have an extended platform. It’s nice to see that as all of the other cutters look like small printers.
It has a roller style, you will be able to use many different materials but also it’s a portable vinyl cutter.
Designing and creating own cards, shapes, home decors, art and much more. The limit is your creativity, I would say. The more creative you are, the more you will be able to design and create.
You will be able to use Sizzix library for inspiration and designs, but you will also be able to use any other tools.
Pros of Sizzix Big Shot: Multi-purpose extended platform, no limitations when it comes to materials, can even cut through 6 different layers, designing and creating is easy, ability to use it with any software, access to Sizzix library, 3-years warranty, support.
Cons of Sizzix Big Shot: I’ve heard from someone that Sizzix comes with small screws which don’t fit very well and that’s why the lifespan might be short. However, they’ve got new replaceable parts directly from the company after one call. So it’s not a problem at all.
09. Silhouette Cameo 3 Bluetooth – Best for T-Shirt
We have seen already this vinyl cutter, it was on this list previously, however, this cutter comes in a bundle.
I always prefer to choose a bundle, and I would always recommend it because there are so many things you get which will be necessary for your designing and creating art at some point. And when that time comes, you will have everything ready.
It’s user-friendly vinyl cutter Cameo 3, the newest and the latest model. What you get with this bundle is 24 sheets of permanent Oracal 651 vinyl, 8 pack of sketch pens, auto blade, vinyl trimmer, ratchet adjustment tool and many more useful tools.
They will help you with your creation and design art. You will also have an access to 100 exclusive designs, and a bonus of $25 in downloads from Silhouette Download Store. There is 30 days membership of Silhouette University which you will be part of where you will be able to find Cameo 3 instruction class.
You will be taught how to get inspired, get the idea, create a design and finally make it art.
Pros of Silhouette Cameo 3: Everything necessary in the bundle including papers, tools, and bonus things. Good for beginners, instruction class, 100 exclusive designs to choose from, $25 USD to spend in Silhouette Download Store.
Cons of Silhouette Cameo 3: Blade cuts too deep sometimes which can cause vinyl to get destroyed.
10. Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2
Last on our list, but not the least important for sure. As Brother has stated, this is a home & hobby cutting machine.
It looks very like a home printer, however, this vinyl cutter has some great features. It comes with a LED screen which is almost 5″ big, and it is 30% larger than in the previous model.
You will be able to connect to the device wirelessly, and it has 700 different designs you will be able to choose from, and also 7 different fonts.
The best thing about this cutter is the 300DPI built-in-scanner which gives you the ability to scan and create your own cut files. After you have scanned something, you will have an access to ScanNCutCanvas cloud application for editing and designing cut data. There is also step-by-step training provided so it’s a very user-friendly device.
I would recommend this device to anyone who wants to create their own designs. You will be able to find any design and scan it or even draw yours and produce it! Custom designed pillows, cards, home decor and much more is just a simple step away from you using the Brother CM350 vinyl cutter.
It doesn’t only have a vinyl cutter option, but it has a built-in scanner which is a huge advantage when compared to other vinyl cutters.
Pros of Brother CM350: Definitely built-in scanner, being able to scan anything and make your own print to cut vinyl, 700 different designs, 7 different fonts, wireless connection, big LED screen.
Cons of Brother CM350: Someone complained that it is not a very user-friendly device, but once you read the manual or look up a few videos online or even the step-by-step instructions provided, you will do alright.
What To Look Before Buying a Good Vinyl Cutter Machine?
You should definitely look for the purpose of what you intend to do.
On this list, there are many vinyl cutters, yet they are so different. You will need to know what are the features you would want to have with your vinyl cutter, what support will you get and what the purpose will it be for.
Reading how we chose these top 10 cutters might help you to understand what to look for in the vinyl cutter machine.
Look into the features, if it is a user-friendly cutter, what is the support like, do you get a warranty, and what else do you get provided along the cutter. Buying a bundle is a great option even for beginners because you will have everything necessary to start working on even the most complex designs.
You won’t miss by going for any of these vinyl cutters on the list.
They are the top 10 out of many cutters out there, so I made sure that they’re really quality and that they would serve the purpose even to someone who is new into the vinyl cutting.
Also, every vinyl cutter is different, so I made sure that there is a support on all of these devices, plus lessons or classes.
Basically, I chose the best vinyl cutting machine for you to help you decide it easily.
You should take this slowly as there are many things to consider. But once you find the right one, you will know it. It will have everything you wanted, and once you feel like that – you know it’s the right one.
What is your experience with the vinyl cutters?
Let me know in the comments, feel free to share your experience and opinion but also ask any questions if the help is needed and I will be more than pleased to answer.