For paper crafters, there isn’t a more useful machine to tackle all kinds of projects than a die-cut machine.
With these versatile tools, you can create and implement designs from symbols and clip art to calligraphy on a wide variety of materials. For people interested in making customized gifts or merchandise, a die-cut machine is the best way to get high-quality project results.
The best die-cut machines on the market come from well-known companies that have great reputations amongst crafters. These Cricut, Sizzix, Spellbinders, Brother, and Gemini.
When deciding which machine to purchase, Crafters should determine what type of projects they will want to create, what materials they want to use, and the size of their projects to determine which die-cut machine is the best one for them.
Below you’ll find some of the best die-cut machines on the market, along with a breakdown of some of their most useful features. Keep reading to learn more about the best die-cut machines and which die-cut machine is right for you!
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The Cricut Maker
Cricut is one of the biggest names you’ll hear about associated with die-cut machines. This is a great company that has several different models available
This die-cut machine can cut through many kinds of material, including the following:
- Balsa wood
If you are also a sewer, one major advantage of using the Cricut Maker is that you’ll get access to hundreds of digital sewing patterns that take a lot of the guesswork out of working on DIY sewing quilting projects.
Best Cricut Maker Features
The Cricut Maker is compatible with several simple design apps.
This makes it easy for people to graduate from using other crafters’ designs to coming up with their own. It also makes the Cricut Maker a good choice for artisans looking to make money on their handiwork (at least enough to recoup some of the costs of their materials and machinery).
Here are some of the other features of the Cricut Maker that make it one of the best die-cut machines on the market:
- Diverse tool suite: The Cricut Maker is compatible with a large selection of blades, pens, and scoring tools, allowing the individual crafter to pick and choose which will work best with their projects. This makes it useful for many crafts—the sky is the limit!
- Fabric rotary blade: The Cricut Maker has a fabric rotary blade with a gliding, rolling action that helps the die-cut machine cut through fabric smoothly without getting the fabric backed up in the machine while you work.
- Smart device docking port: The Cricut Maker has a convenient docking port for a tablet or smartphone. This small but useful quality-of-life accessory can streamline a crafter’s operations and workspace.
- Multiple colour selections: The Cricut Maker comes in a few different colours to match any crafting workspace, including champagne, blue, lilac, rose, and mint. While this might not affect the machine’s operation, it does help it fit in better with an overall interior design when the machine is left out in the workshop.
For those looking for a good all-around machine for beginners and advanced crafters alike, the Cricut Maker recommends many things.
The Sizzix Big Shot
The Sizzix Big Shot is a manual die-cutting and embossing machine perfect for all kinds of artwork, crafting, scrapbooking, and card-making.
A benefit of this Sizzix machine is that it’s compatible with the full range of Sizzix die-cut designs except for Plus and Pro designs.
The Sizzix Big Shot can work with the following materials:
- Balsa wood
The Sizzix Big Shot features a sleek white and gray design, and because it’s a manual design, it can be used in more workspaces than a die-cut machine that requires an electrical hookup.
The machine has a platform, a clear pair of cutting plates, and the A/B adapter plates.
Best Sizzix Big Shot Features
A Sizzix Big Shot has loads of features that give this machine a serious range for creative projects—all you need other than the machine is your chosen material, selected dies, tools, and any embellishments you want to add for that final touch of pizazz.
The Sizzix product line features hundreds of designs, so you’re sure to find something you like no matter what occasion you’re trying to design for.
Here are some of the other features of the Sizzix Big Shot machine that make it one of the best die-cut machines on the market:
- 6-inch (A5) opening: The six-inch opening on this die-cut machine can easily accommodate most standard embossing and die-cutting projects.
- High-quality construction materials: The Sizzix Big Shot features a heavy steel roller suited for constant use. The machine also has a hard, plastic outer casing to help protect its internal components.
- Useful dies included: The dies that come with the Sizzix Big Shot are versatile and can be used in various crafting projects.
The only major disadvantage of the Sizzix Big Shot is that the instructions included can be difficult to read. Crafters who purchase this machine would be well-served to hit YouTube or the Internet to seek additional instruction for best results.
The Spellbinders PL-001
The Spellbinders PL-001 Platinum Cut and Embossing Machine is a heavy-duty die-cutting machine that can cut over forty different materials, making it one of the most versatile die-cutting machines available.
It’s especially useful for its ability to cut heavier materials such as leather and even metal, which lighter die-cutting machines typically can’t handle.
Another major advantage of the PL-001 is that it can cut multiple layers of the same design at once, allowing it to create six to eight reproductions of the die in a single pass through the machine. This significantly cuts operation time when making bulk orders of products such as handcrafted cards.
The Spellbinders PL-001 can be used with the following types of dies:
- Standard wafer-thin dies
- Etched dies
- Embossing folders
- Texture plates
- Contour Steel Rule dies
Best Spellbinders PL-001 Features
The Spellbinders PL-001 has a strong, consistent cutting pressure that allows it to cut a wide range of materials and cut them precisely for consistent results. Whether you’re crafting with fabric or metal, the PL-001 can help you customize your final product.
Here are some of the other features of the Spellbinders PL-001 machine that make it one of the best die-cut machines on the market:
- Extra-wide design: The Spellbinders PL-001 can accept dies up to 8.5 inches, making it suitable for larger die-cutting projects. This extra width allows the die-cutting machine to work on full-sized fabric bags, boxes, and dimensional crafting projects.
- 1-year warranty: This die-cutting machine’s design is so sturdy that the manufacturer offers a one-year warranty on it. This is good news for a crafter who plans on putting their die-cutting machine under a heavy workload.
- Steel gear housing: The PL-001 is constructed of extremely strong materials, which is one reason it can cleanly cut even tougher materials like leather and metal.
The one downside to the Spellbinders PL-001 is that it doesn’t come with embossing plates or cutting plates for the full-size format (8.5 inches by 12 inches), only for the smaller 6.5-inch standard. Crafters who want to take advantage of the PL-100’s full size will need to purchase additional accessories in the 8.5-inch format.
Gemini Junior is A Die-Cutter and Embosser Crafter’s Companion
If you’d like a die-cutting machine that is more on the small size, the Gemini Junior is a compact machine that can work with many different cutting and embossing materials. This die-cutting machine can work with most lightweight materials, from cardstock to vinyl and thin metal.
The small size of this die-cutter is one of its major advantages, and it has a sleek, low-profile design that means even if left out on the crafting table, it won’t create that much visual clutter in the workshop.
Even though it is a compact design, the Gemini Junior can still cut multiple layers. It’s also capable of cutting elaborate and intricate dies.
Best Gemini Junior Features
The Gemini Junior has features designed around the concept of keeping your die-cutting and embossing operations as foolproof and space-efficient as possible. Even though the machine is smaller than some die-cut machines, it has several design elements that make it a worthy addition to your workshop.
Here are some of the other design aspects of the Gemini Junior machine that makes it one of the best die-cut machines on the market:
- Large platform for overall size: Even though the Gemini Junior is small, it still accepts 6.9-inch by 8-inch designs. Choosing a smaller, the more portable machine doesn’t have to compromise on design size.
- Comprehensive kit: The Gemini Junior comes with everything you need to start die-cutting and embossing. Along with the machine itself, the kit includes clear cutting platforms, a metal cutting platform, a plastic shim, a rubber embossing mat, a 3D embossing folder, a set of dies, a user guide, and a power cord.
- Community support: Along with the instructions that come with the Gemini Junior, many useful tutorials are available on YouTube and other social media outlets that can make using the machine even easier.
- Electric design: The machine’s electric design means no tedious cranking necessary to cut and emboss. This is great for crafters with limited mobility or younger crafters who may not have the strength to work larger die-cut machines.
- Capable of detail work: The Gemini Junior will continue to cut intricate dies even after several passes. Larger die-cut machines may not show as much detail on subsequent uses of the die due to warping.
The Gemini Junior is a great dual-purpose machine for die-cutting and embossing. For crafters who want a smaller workhorse for the workshop that can still handle most projects, the Gemini Junior is one of the best die-cutting machines available.
The Brother Scan N’ Cut Die-Cutting Machine is a High-Quality Die-Cut Machine
The Brother ScanNCut is more expensive than many die-cut machines on the market, but it also comes with a built-in scanner, making it much more versatile than many other die-cut machines. This can make it much easier for crafters to incorporate digital designs into their die-cutting and embossing operations.
The ScanNCut comes with the following designs ready to go:
- 682 built-in designs
- 100 quilting patterns
- Nine fonts
Best Features of the Brother ScanNCut
Brother is already a company known for its superior printing and scanning equipment, reassuring crafters looking for their crafting machines. You can be sure that the same amount of pride and attention to detail has gone into the design features included in their die-cutting equipment.
Here are a few of the other features that make the Brother ScanNCut singular among the best die-cut machines on the market:
- Scanning capability: The scanning capability of the ScanNCut means that it is easy for crafters to scan their hand-drawn designs and concepts into the machine for conversion into cut files. This allows the person using the ScanNCut a huge amount of versatility with design.
- Auto blade system: The auto blade system allows the ScanNCut to sense the thickness of the materials being used. This prevents the crafter from making blade adjustments or working from a preset material setting. The sensors in the ScanNCut mean you can get a precise and intricate die-cut every time.
- Quiet design: The Brother can work with many different materials, and it’s also made to operate quietly. This makes the Brother ScanNCut a good option for crafters who share their crafting space with others.
The Brother ScanNCut might be a bit more expensive than some other die-cut machines. Still, Brother is a machining company with a strong reputation for craftsmanship, and the range of this die-cut machine makes it a great option for either hobbyists or those looking to break into a crafting side hustle.
How Do You Choose the Best Die-Cut Machine For You?
All the die-cut machines on this list are the best ones available, but how do you choose between them? Here are a few things you can ask yourself to help you narrow down your choices when it comes to picking the best die-cut machine for your crafting operation:
- Price: If you’re just getting started crafting with a die-cut machine, you might not want to go for one of the more expensive models on the market at first. Try investing in a value model first, and see if you like it before progressing to a more intricate machine. On the other hand, if you’re looking to move from hobby work into a business, you might want a pricier model.
- Size: When you look at the size of a potential die-cut machine for your crafting workshop, you should look at the size of the machine itself as well as the formatting sizes it can take for die-cutting and embossing work.
- Material type: Not all die-cut machines can work with metals or heavy materials, and some of the mini-style die-cut machines may have a harder time even with mid-thickness materials, such as leather or stacked fabrics. Consider what kind of crafting products you intend to create to figure out which die-cutting machine you’ll need for your material type.
The best way to figure out the best die-cut machine for you is to know ahead of time the kind of things you’ll want to make with it. That can give you an idea of the dimensions and materials you’ll be working with and the best machine to handle them.
Die-Cut Machines Have Limitless Crafting Potential
Die-cut and embossing machines may seem complicated to the uninitiated crafter.
Still, these machines are relatively inexpensive and can help any home crafter or potential entrepreneur reach their peak ability when it comes to putting out a beautiful, professional-looking artisan craft.