Best die cutting machines of 2023 tried and tested
Crafting has had a hi-tech renaissance thanks to these handy devices
ave you ever found yourself spending unspeakable hours attempting to cut out what feels like a million little fiddly shapes?
Are you a paper craft aficionado who prides yourself on handmaking all your greeting cards but detests the faff - and paper cuts - that come with the artisan skill? Prepare to thank us, for we have the hi-tech answer to all your crafting woes: die cutters.
Die cutters are nifty machines that have the ability to carve out a variety of both intricate and simple shapes using a specialised die-cut piece. A die is a thin metal shape with a raised outline on one side, known as the cutting edge. Remarkably similar to cookie cutters in both appearance and function, the shape of the die-cut piece is what will get cut out on your paper.
Thus, dreaded hand cramps and eye strain from excessive snipping and shaping by hand are eliminated. This is just one of the many advantages die cutters have to offer, with others including making multiples of uniform shapes a breeze, cutting down on waste and – perhaps most importantly –saving you precious time.
With a die-cut machine, the crafting possibilities are endless. Depending on the machine type, you can create anything from cake toppers and stickers, to scrapbooks and even wearable apparel. Some of the more advanced machines even allow you to engrave onto metal and glass. Making personalised gifts is easier than ever.
There are two main types of die-cutting machines:
A popular example of a digital die-cutting machine is the Cricut, which has grown in popularity due to its incredible features and ease of use. It has even been spotted on the Apple TV original show The Big Door Prize where one of the main characters is able to capitalise off the town’s current predicament by making apparel featuring relevant phrases using the machine.
The main differences between the two types come down to functionality and price. Below, we will break down the different models and help you figure out the best option to meet your crafting needs. Keep scrolling for a round-up of the best manual and digital die-cutting machines on the market.
The Mini Blossom die cutter is a compact and portable machine that works best with wafer-thin metal dies. It may be small, but it can easily die-cut a variety of materials including paper and card stock. The mini blossom die-cutting machine features durable cutting plates and suction cup feet, making it a reliable little machine. This model is best suited for smaller paper-based projects such as greeting cards.
The Gemini mini is another example of a compact yet capable die-cutter. Perfect for those new to die cutting, this model comes with tools and accessories meaning it’s ready to use straight out of the box. Plus, it comes to a grand total of £29.99, making it one of the more affordable die-cutting machines on the market.
Scrapbooking savants will love the Vevor Manual die-cutting machine as it comes with a complete starter kit that includes 10 A5 cardstocks and eight handy cutting dies. It can also cut through a wide selection of materials including felt, leather and metal plates, making it a versatile crafting tool.
This sleek machine has an A4 opening, making it great for crafters who want to create on a slightly bigger scale. It’s also compatible with other Sizzix dies and embossing folders, so it’s ready and rearing to go for a range of craft projects.
Coming in at under £20, the Made to Surprise Manual Mini is one of the cheapest models on the market. But fear not, its low cost doesn’t mean that it’s any less efficient than other manual die cutters. Like other small manual die cutters, this stylish model has been designed to die-cut cardstock, thick paper, and many other materials. Its pocket-sized nature also makes it perfect for crafting on the go.
Probably the most well-known machine on this list, the Cricut hasn’t sold out of craft stores internationally for no reason. The Cricut Maker 3 is the brand’s latest offering, providing an unparalleled cutting experience.
With the power to cut over 300 materials – including wood, leather and paper to name a few – and speeds up to 2x faster than previous Cricut models, this device is ideal for more advanced crafters and those who plan to sell their creations. Though on the pricier side, the Cricut Maker 3 is considered by many seasoned professionals to be the best smart cutter machine on the market, but there’s only one way to find out.
Do you want the quality assurance of the Cricut brand without all the extra frills and high cost? The Cricut Joy is the machine for you. Think of it as the Cricut Maker’s younger sibling - this machine excels in making easy and long cuts without a cutting mat. This smart little machine is even able to finish a wide range of projects in just 15 minutes, such as custom vinyl decals, labels or greeting cards. It’s the dream gift for anyone infatuated with labelling and organisation.
With 5kg of cutting force and the ability to cut material up to 3mm thick, the Silhouette Cameo 4 is well-suited for handling large projects. Plus, it’s three times faster than previous cameo models. It may be quite tricky to operate for those without experience of die cutting so for that reason, this hefty machine wouldn’t be our first recommendation for a first-timer.
One of the few cutting machines that comes with an integrated scanner and LCD touchscreen display, the Brother ScanNCut means business. It’s also equipped with an Autoblade that automatically detects material thickness. This innovative crafting gadget can be used independently of a computer so it’s great for those who aren’t as comfortable with the Bluetooth connectivity game.
The Gemini II uses a higher pressure than many other die-cutting machines on the market, which allows it to cut with greater precision. This powerful machine has the added bonus of being even quieter than the original Gemini, meaning you can craft in peace. You can get started with creating straight away, as everything you need to embark on your digital die-cutting journey is included in the box.
The Cricut Maker 3 comes out on top with its slick and powerful design and ability to create a truly mind-boggling number of projects. However, if you prefer to stick to manual, the Vevor Manual Die Cutter is a nifty machine that still manages to pack a punch despite its smaller size.What is a die cutter and how does it work?What are the different types of die-cutters?Manual die-cutting machine:Electric or digital die-cutting machine: VerdictCricut Maker 3Vevor Manual Die Cutter