The Best Cutting Machines of 2023
By Linus T.
Updated Jun 2023
If you're a hobbyist or serious crafter, having a cutting machine can be a great asset when inspiration strikes. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. To make the search easier, we've compiled a list of the best cutting machines currently on the market.
Best for Versatility: Silhouette Cameo 4
✓ Cuts over 100+ materials
✓ Mat-less cutting
✓ Versatile companion app
✓ Functional build design
#1 Best Overall: Cricut Maker 3
Cricut Maker 3
Cricut is one of the leading pioneers in the cutting machine space and their Cricut Maker 3 is the ultimate cutting machine. Many reviewers have dubbed Cricut's software as one of the most intuitive ones out there, and the Cricut Maker 3 is no exception. If you're a beginner or an experienced creator looking for a machine that accepts a wider range of materials and works fast, the Maker 3 is what you need.
Though the Cricut Maker 3 may be a slight handful when it comes to weight, you can feel the quality in them and none of its components feels cheap. The machine is sleek and smooth with rounded edges as a nice touch, and its design is modern and attractive. We love the Cricut Maker 3 because of the convenient storage compartments it comes with. Along with two tool holders on the left side, it also has a docking station to place your tablet or phone as you work, so you can easily access your projects and settings. There's even a feeder tray with a lid that opens up, providing additional storage for even more of your accessories. It's clear that the Cricut Maker 3 was designed with the user in mind, providing an efficient and practical way to store your materials and maximise your workspace.
Cricut Maker 3
The Cricut Maker 3 is ranked higher than the Cricut Explore 3 due to its Adaptive Tool System, which boosts its cutting strength by up to 10x compared to other Explore machines. This system also adjusts the pressure and direction of the blade and tips of your tools for more precise cuts. As a result, the Cricut Maker 3 can cut a wider range of materials, including denser materials such as leather and kraft board, giving you more creative possibilities.
The Cricut Maker 3 boasts improved cutting power and speed—up to 8 inches per second—when used with Cricut Smart Materials. Unlike regular materials, Smart Materials don't require a cutting mat, allowing you to complete jobs faster. Moreover, the Cricut Maker 3 does almost everything from cutting and drawing, to etching and even embossing. The best thing of all is that the Maker 3 can also work with the most finicky of fabrics and tissue, to make a perfect cut!
Overall, the Cricut Maker 3 is an excellent cutting machine for both novice and experienced crafters. It has a range of useful features that make it a great choice for anyone looking to take their creative projects to the next level. With its easy-to-use interface, powerful precision cutting, and compatibility with a variety of materials, the Cricut Maker 3 is a well-rounded device for any crafter.
#2 Best for Efficiency: Cricut Explore 3
Cricut Explore 3
People who are looking for a robust machine that will last them many years through their Etsy business or enjoy making crafts for fun and experimenting with different materials will love the Explore 3 from Cricut.
Appearance-wise, the Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Explore 3 are similar in shape and size. However, the Explore 3 has made some aesthetic improvements. The cartridge port on the left has been replaced with an expanded cup. Additionally, instead of a material dial to adjust specifications before cutting, the selection is done in the Design Space app for the Explore 3.
The Cricut Explore 3 is able to cut over 100+ materials. Need a team shirt or an extra-long banner for celebrations? The cutting machine has got this.
Cricut Explore 3
The Cricut Explore 3 is compatible with Cricut Smart Materials, allowing for a hassle-free cutting experience. You won't appreciate how much of a nuisance cutting mats are until you've tried matless cutting with the Cricut Explore 3. Not only does it save time, but you're also no longer restricted by mat size, so you can work on larger projects. Plus, when you opt for Smart Materials, you can get started right away by feeding them directly into the machine.
The Cricut Explore 3 also offers major upgrades compared to the Explore Air 2. It can cut twice as fast and its cutting length has been extended to 12 feet, a huge improvement from the previous 24 inches.
Unfortunately, the Cricut Explore 3 works better for regular materials such as cardstock and iron-on and will not be able to cut denser materials like leather or kraft board, which would require the Cricut Maker 3 instead. Therefore, the primary trade-off with getting this machine is that you have to be very sure that you would only like to focus on these materials and will not explore further.
In conclusion, the Cricut Explore 3 is an outstanding mid-range cutting machine that provides an impressive array of features for its cost. It is an ideal choice for crafters who are looking for an affordable cutting machine that can handle a wide range of materials. With its cutting-edge technology, the Cricut Explore 3 offers an efficient and accurate cutting experience.
#3 Best for Versatility: Silhouette Cameo 4
Silhouette Cameo 4
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is a top-of-line model from Silhouette. Once you've mastered working on one material, there are over 100 possible materials for you to practice with. It's also ideal for crafters who're thinking of integrating the Cameo 4 into their workflow.
Compared to the Cameo 3, the Silhouette Cameo 4 has a more industrial aesthetic to it because of the increased cutting power and sturdiness of the build. Since the Cameo 4 is a lot bigger than its predecessor, you might want to find a good place to store the machine.
Some cuttable materials include balsa wood, burlap and leather. If your vision narrowed immediately to balsa wood, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! The major improvement in cutting force from 210g to 5000g means it can handle bigger projects and materials with a maximum thickness of 3mm.
Silhouette Cameo 4
One thing the Cameo 4 can do is detect the blades you're using. It warns whether something's not right which helps with avoiding costly mistakes. New tools like the Rotary Blade and Kraft Blade open a world of crafting possibilities. Made out of durable Sintered Tungsten Alloy, the Rotary blade cuts vinyl and paper up to 0.1mm thick. The Kraft blade on the other hand easily handles tougher materials and cuts 3mm deep. However, depending on the frequency of use, you may have to change the blade quite often.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 uses the Silhouette Studio & Silhouette Go applications to prepare your designs for cutting. In concept, it is similar to Cricut’s Design space but where Silhouette stands out is that it provides users with more design tool options and greater customisability. You are able to access features like tracing, warping, and welding and also perform complex actions like free-hand drawing and neat vector tools. All these are not found in Cricut’s companion app, which serves more basic and essential-only functions.
An issue with the Silhouette Cameo 4 is that the repeat option is no longer available. If your craft project requires multiple iterations, you'll have to manually configure the process each time in the software.
Overall, the Silhouette Cameo 4 allows you to cut harder and thicker materials seamlessly and is the best cutting machine from the Silhouette line. Its machine and software favour users who prefer greater versatility in their craft. If you like to learn more, take a look at our comparison of Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4.
#4 Best for Beginners: Cricut Joy
We're featuring another Cricut product here, and each serves a different purpose! The Cricut Maker 3 is great for experimenting with various materials, while the Cricut Explore 3 is a more durable cutting machine. The Cricut Joy, however, appeals more to beginners, or "dabblers" who don't want to invest as much time and money.
The Cricut Joy is tiny hence it takes little space! At only 1.75kg, you can quickly unplug and put the machine away. It is perfect for quick, everyday projects that use basic materials such as artboards, card stock, iron-on and so on.
The Cricut Joy may not be as sophisticated a machine as the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 but it delivers well and beyond when it comes to simplicity. It cuts exceptionally well and we love that it's possible to make repeated cuts up to 20 feet long with this tiny thing!
Many have hailed the Cricut Joy as their "DIY best friend". It can be used to make more than just greeting cards; you can also use it to make labels for office and storage boxes, luggage tags, and even tote bags and t-shirts. To do this, you'll need to pair it with Infusible Ink and EasyPress tools (sold separately).
Despite the endless crafting projects, one caveat is that depending on what you're making, you'll need to purchase a few extras to get going with the Cricut Joy. Its functions are limited compared to the Explore and Maker range but work great if you’re just looking to get started in this space.
Overall, the Cricut Joy is an incredibly versatile machine that is perfect for small crafting projects. It is lightweight and portable, so it can be taken practically anywhere. With its clever design, the Cricut Joy is able to cut a wide variety of materials from cardstock to vinyl, making it a great choice for those just getting started.
Compare the Best Cutting Machines
A quality cutting machine can open up a world of crafting possibilities. Consider what you'll use it for, the features that are most important to you, and how it can streamline your process. These machines are worth the investment due to their versatility and ability to create personalized projects with ease.
Don't miss out on tech
Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest tech trends and guides on the best gadgets around.