Guide to Vinyl Cutters

Thanks to technology, designing shirts, mugs, and other household items have never been easier. Today, designers will be able to put their designs on the fly using power tools that are specifically made to print out layouts and designs, and one of these is the vinyl cutter.

Uses of the Vinyl Cutter

A vinyl cutter works like a printer; however, instead of printing the content in a single piece of paper, it cuts out the design, and then you would have to remove the excess paper or background to produce the finished product. You may choose to print the design using a piece of paper, but the best material to use is, of course, vinyl.

In vinyl, you have a choice to peel off the backing paper and transfer the design immediately on any item. Similar to a printer, you would first have to make the design on a computer, and once you send it to the vinyl cutter, it will automatically cut it out of the sheet of vinyl.

Besides vinyl, you can also print your design on sticker paper or cardboard. Some powerful vinyl cutter can even print designs on aluminum and wood. In addition to t-shirt transfers, vinyl cutters are also capable of printing car decals, box labels, and business signage.

For those who want to start a t-shirt business, they may use heavy-duty vinyl cutters to cut out vinyl decals and use them as stencils for t-shirt designs.

Where to Buy
Cricut Explore Air 2, Matte Black
Cricut Maker, Champagne
Silhouette Portrait 2 Electronic Cutting Tool
Silhouette Cameo 4 with Bluetooth, 12x12 Cutting mat, AutoBlade 2, 100 Designs and Silhouette Studio Software - Black Edition
VEVOR Vinyl Cutter 28 Inch Plotter Machine 720mm Paper Feed Vinyl Cutter Plotter Signmaster Software Sign Making Machine with Stand (28Inch Style 2)

The Best Vinyl Cutters

There are hundreds of different vinyl cutters that you can buy online or in hardware stores, but there are probably only some that are considered to be the best when it comes to cutting out designs with precision. Here are the best vinyl cutters for you to start designing.

1. Cricut Explore Air 2

The best-selling vinyl cutter in the list, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a versatile product that can cut through 100 kinds of materials, from softer ones like paper and vinyl, up to the harder materials such as leather and cardboard. The Cricut Explore Air 2 cutter is capable of cutting materials using the Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade, and it can also write on anything by utilizing the black fine point pen installed inside it.

Along with the hardware, Cricut also provided software for your computer and smartphone. This software, which is called Design Space, lets you create your own designs, or you can choose from the library of images and fonts that the company offers on their Cricut Access subscription service.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is priced at $227, and it is available in a variety of colors, including mint green, persimmon, lilac, light blue, and matte black.

2. Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker is a bigger version of the Explore Air 2 that has one feature that is not found on the base model of the smaller Cricut product. Besides being able to cut materials and write on them, the Cricut Maker also has a scoring tool that you can utilize to emboss or deboss the materials.

Moreover, one of the Cricut Maker’s blades is a rotary blade that is able to glide easily through materials even it is cutting in a curved motion. For thicker or heavier materials, the Cricut maker will use the special knife blade that acts like an X-ACTO knife, except that the force that is pushing it down is more powerful.

Like the Explore Air 2, designers can also download the Design Space app in order for them to produce designs without relying on another program or software. But there is an added feature for the software specially made for the Cricut Maker, which enable it to select premade patterns and sew together to create bags, pouches, bracelets, and other items that are made of textile.

The Cricut Maker has a price tag of $369, and there are also plenty of colors to choose from for the vinyl cutter, such as lilac, mint green, champagne, and rose.

3. Silhouette Portrait 2

The Silhouette Portrait 2 is another great vinyl cutter that can cut over 100 materials like the Cricut cutters, but it is significantly smaller, making it the best space-saver out of all products on this list. This silhouette vinyl cutter also comes with a cutting mat that can help softer materials retain their shape and position while inside the Portrait 2.

Similar to the Cricut cutters, the Silhouette Portrait 2 includes a Mac and PC compatible software, although there is no smartphone app available for the device. Furthermore, you can connect this device on your computer via Bluetooth, but you would have to purchase a Bluetooth adapter separately to use its wireless feature.

The Silhouette Portrait 2 is currently priced at $184.

4. Silhouette Cameo 4

Since the Cricut Explore Air 2 has a bigger brother, then the Portrait 2 must have one as well. The Silhouette Cameo cuts materials the AutoBlade 2, which is made of sintered tungsten alloy that is significantly sharper than regular steel. However, you can upgrade the Silhouette Cameo 4’s blade by purchasing the Rotary Blade or the 3mm Kraft Blade.

The Rotary Blade is best used for fabrics or textiles, as it cuts more effortlessly on softer materials than the AutoBlade 2 that can often struggle with keeping these materials in place. The Kraft Blade is the opposite of the Rotary Blade, as it is thicker and is built to cut heavier material or specialty craft materials that the AutoBlade 2 will have a hard time cutting through. Once a new blade is inserted on the carriage, the Cameo 4 will automatically detect what it is and will adjust its force settings accordingly.

The price for the Silhouette Cameo 4 is $299, and you can purchase it in pink, black, and white.

5. VEVOR Vinyl Cutter

The VEVOR Vinyl Cutter is an old school-looking device that looks a lot bigger than any vinyl cutters on this list because of its long stand. This Vevor cutter is more suitable for business uses, as it has two fully adjustable pinch-rollers that provide better flexibility in terms of the materials that it can cut. The blade holder on the device is also universal, which means that you can fit almost any blade on it, as long as it is specifically made for vinyl cutters.

You can adjust the cutting pressing of the VEVOR cutter from 10 grams to 500 grams, and you can also set its cutting speed, starting from 10 millimeters per second up to 800 millimeters. All of these settings can be set using the LCD control panel at the top of the machine. Similar to all vinyl cutter mentioned above, the VEVOR Vinyl Cutter includes a SIGNMASTER software that enables you to make designs and your computer and easily transfer the data to the cutter.

Buying at least one of these vinyl cutters will be enough for you to start being creative in designing items for your home or for your business. Before printing a design on the vinyl cutters, make sure that you learned all the intricacies found in the software included in them in order to produce better quality designs.