Die cutting machines can give you the exact design within no time. To help you find the best die cut machines for fabric we spent 64 hours researching, testing, talking to experts and taking feedback from existing customers. The Cricut Explore Air is our best pick for the fabric cutting. It is a digital cutting machine that has a wide variety of features, and provide precise cutting for fabric.
1. Cricut Explore Air Wireless – Best Electric Cutter
Cricut has the best cutting machines. Cricut Explore Air is the only model with wireless capability, versatility and advanced features which make it the on our list. With electronic cutting machines, the job becomes much easier. You do not require any plates or templates. Just create a design on your computer and let the machine manifest it for you in real.
The advantage of having a smart cutting tool is that you can make even the tiniest of design. You can cut any material using your phone or your computer via Bluetooth. The Cricut Design Space software system gives you the power to manage and create your designs.
If you are good with computers and love to create your design on a computer, the Cricut Explore Air will add to your productivity and quality. Though it is an expensive option compared to hand-cut machines if you are serious about quilting, it’s worth buying the machine.
2. Cricut Cuttlebug Embossing Machine – Best For Versatile Cutting
Circut is one of the biggest manufacturers of cutting machines. They have a wide variety of cutting machines and can process almost all kinds of material. But for fabric, Cricut Cuttlebug makes the cut among other variants. It is suitable for both cuttings as well as embossing. When you look at the unit, it is small and light. And it can be used for paper, foils, ribbons, and thin leather.
Other than cutting ability, it is easy to operate, works well with fine materials like a ribbon. While using the unit, you get good stability because of the suction feet. And being compact, it can be carried in a travel bag.
3. Sizzix Big Shot Plus Manual – Best For Fast Cutting
The Sizzix Big Shot Plus is one of the most popular die cut machines for fabric. When we were looking for the die-cutting machines to tests, the first name that came up was the Big Shot. Almost all the quilters who have used the machine have good things to say about the machine. This die-cutting machine is much faster than Cuttlebug.
We had an expert who had years of experience as a fashion designer. He helped us to create several fashion-related pieces. The team member who was operating the machines talked about how comfortable the crank handle is. And there is one more handle to provide stability to the unit while using the machine. Even the platform is much wider compared to other models that allow you to accommodate the material much better.
4. Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur – Best For Budget Conscious Users
Just like Cuttlebug and Big Shot, the Spellbinders GC-200 is perfect for the home users. But with the simplicity of using and with so many Spellbinders templates available with cutting machines, it is perfect for a beginner. The lovely retro design also makes it an attractive piece of the tool in the home. The unit was suggested by one of our experts as she owns it personally. She has done so many home projects using the GC-200.
The crankshaft is smooth, and even the plates are of good quality. Over the material used in its construction is high-quality plastic and it is durable. The weight is around 13 lbs which is a little on the heavier side compared to the machines that we have tested.
5. Silhouette CAMEO 3 Wireless – Best For Designing
The Silhouette Cameo 3 is one of the most popular cutting machines. It is an ultimate cutting machine that can process more than 100 types of material. Many businesses use Silhouette Cameo 3. If you look at the package itself, there is almost every kind of accessory needed for the cutting machine. Like many other wireless cutting machines, it also works with both phone and computer.
With wireless cutting machines there is a lot of things that you can do. However, if your job only requires you to work with fabric, these wireless cutting machines have few limitations. During our tests, we did observe with thicker fabric; the finishing wasn’t there. If the design is too small, the quality is low. But with a large design, cutter works fine.
If you run a business or professionally involved in quilting, the Silhouette CAMEO 3 provides you a great option as a computerized fabric cutting machine. It offers you many features, designs and can handle hundreds of material.
6. Sizzix Eclips2 Electronic Starter Kit – Best For Beginners
No other digital fabric cutting machines are more price than Sizzix Eclips2. This cutter by Big Shot impressed us with its performance and versatility. We had many electronic die cutting machines for fabric, but almost all were more suited for the experienced quilters. The Sizziz Eclipse2 is a starter kit. The price is much less, and you have all the features of an electronic die cutting machine.
To create your design, the package includes eCAL lite software. It is free and does not require any subscription. The software is easy to use and has readymade templates to make the designing process much easier. The only thing we had an issue with is, it is slow and makes a sound if tougher material is exposed to it.
7. Gemini GEMJR-M-USA – Best As Portable Option
Most of the electronic die cutting machines use mats which sometimes not easy to manage if you are using fabric. But with Gemini, you can use the hard mats just like a manual cutter. The hard mats allow you to manage fabric in a much better way. And instead of cutters, it uses the dies. The package also includes few dies but you can always make your own.
The built quality is great. It weighs only 13 lbs which is much lighter than any electronic cutter. Another thing about this machine is you don’t require you to connect any computer or phone. The overall size of the unit is compact which can be easily carried in a travel bag if you travel a lot with die-cutting machines.
During our test, we observed that manual die-cutting machines were more effective for fabric than digital cutters. If you want power and capacity of manual die cutters with automatic pressing, then you must try Gemini GEMJR-M-USA.
Buyer’s Guide – What To Consider While Buying?
Die-cutting machines are used for multiple purposes and can process many materials. So you have to be sure that what are your requirements and which machine is best suited for your requirements. For fabric, you must know not all cutter machines work. Even if they work, they have some limitations. So it best to know the factors that will help you buy the die cut machines for fabric.
If you have gone through over list you have noticed there are generally there two types of die-cut machines—manual and electronic.
Manual die cut machines use mats and die to cut through the material. When you place the material between the mats, and you have to use the manual crankshaft to push the material into the push. The advantage of manual die-cutting machines is that it produces the pressure required for cutting the fabric. It can cut several layers of fabric at once. However, using a manual cutter does not allow you to produce designs at a faster pace. You rely too much on dies.
In case you are a fan of manual die-cut machines for fabric, our pick is Sizzix Big Shot Plus. Among all the manual cutters, it had the best performance when used for fabric cutting.
These cutting machines are popular among the small and large scale business as they have many features that allow them to produce at a higher rate compared to manual cutters. One big advantage of electronic cutting machines is that everything is automated. You do not require metal dies for cutting; instead, you require a digital format of the design you want to create and the high-quality cutter cuts it for you. For that, these machines come with design software. If you go for the wireless cutting machines, you can create your design and produce even if you are not near the machine.
2. Die Vs Software
Initially, when the cutting machines were created, they are all die or cartridge-based. Using die or cartridge, cutting was limited to only certain shapes or designs included in the cartridge or die. For every new design new die or different cartridge was required. At present, such cutting machines are more suitable for mass production. Once you have created the design, you can mass produce it with powerful die-cut machines.
But when you require new designs for every new project, you have to go with the software-based cutting machines. This software allow you to create your design. Most of the cutting machines come with their software. They preload with readymade shapes, fonts and many other things to make the process of creating design easier and faster. Software-based cutting machines for fabric are more suited for home users and small scale business owners who require news on an almost daily basis.
The size of die-cut machines may vary depending on the type of machine you are using. It is quite possible the set up may hog your whole desk or just fit into your travel bag. Before buying the machine, you will have to look at your workspace. If you have dedicated a room just for die cut machine, then you can go for the biggest of the machine with a bigger plate or mate size. However, you are an individual who does quilting or costume design as a freelancer or just as a hobby, you might want to go for the compact machine. The manual die-cut machines are usually compact like Sizzix Big Shot Plus. However, you can also go for the wireless machines like Cricut Explore Air . They are also compact.
Accessories play a key role in die-cut machines. For manual options, the accessories include, die, mats, plates, rulers, cartridges, etc. And for the digital machines, the accessories include stencils, templates, and patterns. Depending on the type of machine you are using you have to make sure that the right accessories and are easily available separately in case you need a new one.
How We Conducted The Test?
We began by identifying the top-selling and most popular die-cut machines. With the help of seller and nine experts, we were able to get the 19 different die-cut machines including seven manual and 12 digital. After we had the units, we determined the parameters to test each unit. The parameters included precision, speed, versatility, portability, and durability.
Next, the step was to begin the testing procedure. For that, we collected several types of fabric samples. We made sure that the operator is experience is fabric cutting so that we eliminate the human error. Also, we allowed a novice to operate the unit to understand if the unit is suitable for a beginner or not. During tests, we create a single design both on manual and digital. Then we used each machine to create it. This allowed us to compare the quality of each machine. In addition to tests, we also contacted existing users to learn their experience with the machine.
After considering the test results, expert views and user reviews, we asked each team member to score the machines based on three factors precision, versatility, and ease of use. Then we calculated the overall scores and shorted out the 7 die cut machines for fabric. Here is the scorecard of the top seven:
Die Cut Machines For Fabric Tests
|Cricut Explore Air||96.4||97.6||96.8||96.9||Check Price|
|Sizzix Big Shot Plus||96.9||95.8||97.7||96.8||CheckPrice|
|Silhouette CAMEO 3||97.1||96.8||95.8||96.5||CheckPrice|
|Sizzix Eclips2||97.1||96.3||95.7||96.3||Check Price|
Our research is detailed, and we make sure we understand the product first. For the die-cut machines, we have tried to provide each type of unit because we understand not everyone has the same need. Some may require a compact machine and some may require a more versatile machine. So while you go through our list, make sure you choose the one that fits your need and budget.