When you buy through links on our Podi website, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

The 5 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines In 2022

Vinyl cutters are versatile machines that enable you to create ads, banners, and signs. They’re pretty easy to use, and as long as you own a computer, smartphone, or tablet, you’ll be able to make your ideas come to life.

Vinyl cutters are offered by a wide range of manufacturers, and each manufacturer has a whole line-up of vinyl cutters for you to choose from. Sounds overwhelming, right?

Well, guess what? We’ve already done the hard work for you and reviewed 5 of the most top-rated vinyl cutters, so you can pick the best vinyl cutting machines for your needs based on solid research.

Comparison Table

ModelMax Material WidthMax Cut LengthMaterial Compatibility
Cricut Maker 313”12’300+ materials
Cricut Explore 3 13”12’100+ materials
Cricut Maker12”1.9’300+ materials
Cricut Explore Air 211.5”1.9’100+ materials
Brother ScanNCut SDX125E12”6’400+ materials

The 5 Best Vinyl Cutters of 2022

Now that we’ve taken a look at the big picture, let’s explore the pros and cons of each of these vinyl cutters and help you decide which of them works best for you.

1. Cricut Maker 3 – Our Top Pick

Cricut Maker 3

The Cricut Maker 3 is one of the latest additions to Cricut’s recent line-up of vinyl cutters. It features a super-fast cutting speed that’s twice as fast as the original Cricut Maker.

With this machine, you can work with a wide array of materials (300+), including balsa wood, matboard, and unbonded fabrics. It’s also compatible with Cricut’s Smart Materials that don’t require mats, such as Cricut Smart Vinyl, Cricut Smart Paper, and Cricut Smart HTV Iron.

There are 13 tools that work with this machine. You can use them for cutting, scoring, foiling, writing, and even embellishing. Additionally, the Maker 3 has Bluetooth connectivity for easy wireless project creation.

Just like all other Cricut cutters, the Maker 3 is compatible with Design Space, Cricut’s proprietary software. It’s free to use, but you can get some pre-made images, fonts, and projects for a small monthly fee.

The cherry on top is the massive Cricut sewing pattern library that lets you get creative with your projects.

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Large sewing pattern library
  • Can cut through unbonded fabrics
  • 300+ materials
  • Supports Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with Cricut Smart Materials

What We Don’t Like

  • Somewhat expensive

Bottom Line

The Cricut Maker 3 is an excellent choice for most crafters. It works with lots of materials and supports wireless connectivity. Not to mention, it’s very fast and comes with 13 tools.

2. Cricut Explore 3 – Runner Up

Cricut Explore 3 

The Cricut Explore 3 is basically a watered-down version of the Cricut Maker 3. It offers many of its features at a fraction of the price, making it a good option for those on a budget.

Its cutting speed is quite acceptable, especially when compared with its predecessor, the Explore Air 2. In addition, the Explore 3 has Bluetooth functionality, enabling you to handle your projects without requiring USB cables.

The software bundle is somewhat primitive, but it gets the job done, especially if you’re a beginner who’s still experimenting with vinyl cutting.

With the Cricut Explore 3, you can use over 100 materials in your vinyl projects. It’s also compatible with 6 different tools. Not to mention, it works with the mat-less Cricut Smart Materials.

The maximum cutting length is 12 feet, which is quite impressive for a vinyl cutter at this price point. However, since this is a budget cutter, many add-ons aren’t included in the package. You’ll have to buy them separately, and they’re not cheap.

What We Like

  • Good cutting speed
  • Affordable
  • Supports Bluetooth
  • Supports Smart Materials

What We Don’t Like

  • Missing many add-ons

Bottom Line

The Cricut Explore 3 is a great pick for those who want to get as close as possible to the Cricut Maker 3 while also saving a bit. It’s fast, versatile, and won’t let you down in terms of material compatibility.

3. Cricut Maker – Best Value Pick

Cricut Maker

The original model of the Cricut Maker is still a worthy choice that offers a lot of bang for your buck. It enables you to cut through 100+ materials and even score and write them. These include paper, fabric, leather, and many more.

It comes with an expansive suite of tools, as well as alternative knife and rotary blades, allowing you to work on a wide variety of projects.

The rotary blades, in particular, are capable of gliding and rolling effectively to cut through most types of fabrics with varying thicknesses. The best part is that you don’t even need to use backing material.

Another good feature is the integrated Bluetooth connectivity. It makes it easier for you to send your projects from multiple devices without requiring you to connect or disconnect any cables.

Plus, it has a docking slot, where you can dock your smartphone or tablet and even charge it using the USB port.

The only downside is that the cut length is very limited compared to other models.

What We Like

  • Works with 100+ materials
  • Equipped with a docking slot
  • Supports Bluetooth
  • Works with many tools
  • High-quality rotary and knife blades

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited cut length

Bottom Line 

The Cricut Maker is a capable vinyl cutter that has a docking slot, comes with rotary and knife blades, and works with many materials.

4. Cricut Explore Air 2 – Best Budget Choice

Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a low-priced machine that allows you to create greeting cards, vinyl stickers, home decor, and clothes. It can cut through over 100 different materials at tremendous speed, giving you a variety of options for your projects.

The cutting speed of the German caribe blade is adjustable, so you can set the perfect speed for each material. Moreover, the Explore Air 2 is equipped with a dual carriage that combines cutting and writing or cutting and scoring into a single step, saving you a great deal of time.

You can download some of Cricut’s preset designs and projects, upload your custom-made graphics, or even combine both when creating your projects.

The software, called “Design Space”, is available on all major platforms. It’s pretty easy to use, even for beginners. There are also tutorials available on the web.

Further, the Explore Air 2 is equipped with a Smart Set Dial that ensures the machine cuts at the most suitable pressure and depth for the material you’re using.

On a side note, the Explore Air 2 is a bit noisy, so that’s something to keep in mind when considering it.

What We Like

  • Efficient operation with the dual carriage
  • Easy to use
  • Automatically adjusted settings
  • High-quality carbide blade
  • Works with many materials

What We Don’t Like

  • Noisy

Bottom Line

If you’re not willing to spend much on a new vinyl cutter, the Cricut Explore Air 2 should  definitely be at the top of your list. It’s very efficient and tunes the settings automatically.

5. Brother ScanNCut SDX125E – Best Premium Choice

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E

The Brother ScanNcut SDX125E is one of the few machines out there that have a built-in scanner. This allows you to create digital versions of the designs or photos you like.

Plus, it lets you cut several pieces of material at once without requiring a mat, which spares you the time and effort of loading and unloading fabric pieces one by one.

The blade detects the material’s thickness and automatically adjusts the cutting parameters for maximum efficiency and optimal results. You can cut through chipboard, fabric, vinyl, foam, balsa wood, and many more materials.

There’s a 5” touchscreen LCD display that helps you adjust the machine’s settings and edit your projects. What makes things even sweeter are the included 600+ built-in designs, 100+ quilting patterns, and 9 fonts. The Circuit Maker also comes with a touch pen, tack mat, a spatula, and an accessory pouch.

The Brother ScanNcut supports Wi-Fi, which is quite rare for vinyl cutters at this price range. Most machines support Bluetooth at most, but of course, Wi-Fi connectivity is much more reliable.

Our only complaint is that the user manual is missing a detailed explanation of how the machine works. It’s also a bit tricky to find spare parts and supplies for this machine.

What We Like

  • Automatic parameter adjustment
  • Multiple pieces cutting
  • Matless cutting
  • Has a built-in scanner
  • Supports Wi-Fi
  • LCD control panel
  • Comes with lots of accessories and designs

What We Don’t Like

  • No detailed manual
  • Finding supplies can be tricky
  • Somewhat expensive

Bottom Line

If you don’t mind its hefty price tag, the Brother ScanNcut SDX125E leaves nothing to be desired. It can cut multiple pieces simultaneously, supports Wi-Fi, and has a built-in scanner and user-friendly control panel.

See also:

How to Pick the Right Vinyl Cutter for Your Needs

There are many vinyl cutter models on the market, so it’s important that you educate yourself about what you need to be looking for. Here are some of the factors that you must keep in mind when shopping for a vinyl cutter:

Settings

Manually-adjusted vinyl cutters are fine, but they’re nowhere as convenient as automatic vinyl cutters that are capable of automatically optimizing the settings for your projects.

All you have to do is select the material type, and the machine sets the parameters for you. This can save you a great deal of time and effort and enable you to work on more projects.

Connectivity

While a USB-connected vinyl cutter gets the job done, a wirelessly-enabled vinyl cutter would be much more convenient.

Many vinyl cutting machines now have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. They might be a bit more expensive than wired cutters, but they’re definitely worth it. Not only will you be able to send the designs from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, but also place the cutter in a different room than the one you work in.

Material Choices

The more materials your vinyl cutter can cut, the more versatile your projects will be. Some machines can work with over 100 different materials, while others are capable of cutting through 300+ materials.

Conventional vinyl cutters exclusively cut vinyl and cardstock only. However, many of the recent models are capable of cutting through unbonded fabrics, too. This increases your projects’ scope and allows you to work with more materials.

Some models can also cut through smart materials that don’t require mats.

Scanner

Sometimes, your favorite designs are only available as hard copies. In that case, creating vinyl projects out of them would be impossible without a scanner.

Luckily, there are 2-in-1 vinyl cutters that have a built-in scanner. They’re a bit more expensive than regular vinyl cutters, but of course, they’re more economical than having to buy a dedicated scanner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Vinyl Cutters Work?

Vinyl cutting machines use a knife or roller blade to cut the outline of figures onto your material of choice, but most people use vinyl, hence the name “vinyl cutter”.

Can a Vinyl Cutting Machines Cut Paper?

Yes, you can use a vinyl cutter to cut paper. However, not all machines are intended for that purpose, keeping in mind that using them for paper cutting may dull the knife in the long term.

What Are the Different Types of Vinyl Cutters?

Generally speaking, there are two types of vinyl cutters: stepper motor and servo motor models.

Servo motor cutters are somewhat complex in terms of design. On the other hand, stepper motor vinyl cutters boast a simpler design and are more affordable than stepper motor cutters.

Final Verdict

So that was our two cents when it comes to the best vinyl cutting machines. If we had to pick a favorite, it’d be the Cricut Maker 3. It’s hands-down one of the most well-rounded vinyl cutters on the market, thanks to user-friendly design, versatile material support, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Alternatively, you can opt for the Cricut Explore Air 2 if you’re on a tight budget. It’s very efficient and easy to use, which also makes it suitable for beginners.

Finally, consider taking a look at the Brother ScanNcut SDX125E if you want a premium vinyl cutter that has a built-in scanner and supports Wi-Fi.

Leave a Comment