Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Craft Die Cutting Machine

Last updated on June 4, 2020

We looked at the top 8 Die Cutting Machines and dug through the reviews from 39 of the most popular review sites including Heat Business, Model Railroader, Improve Craft, How To Heat Press, Compare Before Buying, Quilter's Review and more. The result is a ranking of the best Die Cutting Machines.

Best Cricut Machine

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Die Cutting Machines

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut

Explore Air 2

Overall Take

Lots of ImagesA craft die-cutting machine with a wide selection of images in its free library.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Cutting Machine Reviews, Vinyl Cutting Machines, 10 Techy, Ken’s Kreations and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Michael’s.
Pros
" Upload your own images, or access a good selection on Cricut's free library. Cuts through foils, leather, vinyl, and a whole lot of other good stuff."
Cons
"It doesn’t make sense to have an app for iOS and lack one for Android."
  The Best Value

Sizzix Sidekick Portable Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Starter Kit

Sizzix

Sidekick Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Starter Kit

Overall Take

Easily PortableIf you enjoy meeting up with friends to do a little scrapbooking, you'll want this portable craft die-cutting machine.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Quilter’s Review, BestReviews, Best Reviews Guide, Big Time Shirt, Jade & Grey Studio. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Taylored Expressions.
Pros
" The great thing about the Sidekick Starter is that it’s lightweight and easily portable. The machine weighs just two pounds and it’s only 4-3/4″ tall. Along with its compact size, this die cutter has a special vacuum seal that keeps..."

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine

Brother

ScanNCut Craft Die Cutting Machine

Overall Take

682 Patterns IncludedYou can't go wrong with this electric craft die-cutting machine, as it has a built-in scanner, 682 patterns and an LCD touchscreen.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Heat Business, Model Railroader, Improve Craft, How To Heat Press, Compare Before Buying. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart and QVC.
Pros
" Versatile: usable for cutting, drawing, embossing and foiling, has an integrated scanner and its different features. It supports SVG files. Has possibility of use of vinyl rolls. The machine is usable without a computer. On screen editing possibility of the..."
Cons
"There are a few who have expressed displeasure for a few reasons. The first is the manual. The device has no prepackaged manual, so you must browse online to find one. The second is tiny details that can make the..."

Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut

EasyPress 2

Overall Take

Heats Up QuicklyThis craft die-cutting machine is ready to use in 60 seconds or less.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Vinyl Cutting Machines, Dream A Little Bigger, Crafting In The Rain, Silhouette School, Handmade in the Heartland, 10 Techy and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" It heats up hotter, faster, and makes for more effective presses. Especially effective when using thick materials like glitter HTV."
Cons
"Price is comparable or more than a standard 15 x 15 heat press"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
15

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the die cutting machines available to purchase.
8

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

39

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Heat Business, Model Railroader, Improve Craft, How To Heat Press, Compare Before Buying.

19,784

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, QVC, Taylored Expressions, Michael’s and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 8 Die Cutting Machines and also dug through the reviews from 39 of the most popular review sites including Heat Business, Model Railroader, Improve Craft, How To Heat Press, Compare Before Buying, Quilter's Review and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Die Cutting Machines.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Cricut Explore Air 2

Our Expert Score
9.5
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
1,390 user reviews
Our Take

If you have your own images that you want to die-cut, this craft die-cutting machine is a great choice. You'll be able to choose from a wide selection of images in the machine's free library. This will be one of the most valuable devices in your crafting room.

What other experts liked
Upload your own images, or access a good selection on Cricut's free library. Cuts through foils, leather, vinyl, and a whole lot of other good stuff.
- BestReviews
And the Explore Air 2 has one of the better, established resale values if you ever want to upgrade to a new machine. It’s an investment, but we think it’s worth the cost.
- New York Times Wirecutter
It doesn’t make sense to have an app for iOS and lack one for Android.
- Cutting Machine Reviews
The major benefit of the Explore Air 2 is that it’s faster.
- Vinyl Cutting Machines
June 5, 2018 | Full review
We also loved the embedded Bluetooth that enables wireless cutting. With the help of the embeded Bluetooth, it becomes easier to move the designs from the computer into the machine.
- 10 Techy
One thing I noted, is even though the Cricut Explore Air 2 is 2X faster.
- Ken's Kreations
October 12, 2016 | Full review
I love the flexibility of being able to place my vinyl cutting machine well out of the way from my working desk space. So incredibly handy!
- The Best Vinyl Cutters
What other experts didn't like
Access to the extended graphics and font library requires a pay-per-image fee. Some users had problems with software.
- BestReviews
It doesn’t make sense to have an app for iOS and lack one for Android.
- Cutting Machine Reviews
It’s annoying that Android users aren’t yet able to enjoy the experience of using Cricut’s products from the comfort of their phone or tablet.
- Vinyl Cutting Machines
June 5, 2018 | Full review
We must also point out that a lot of value added features of the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine do not come with the machine. One very easy to recognize example is the design studio, it is available on the...
- 10 Techy
You will be frustrated to know that the Cricut machine has been designed to only work with their software only, so no Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw access for you! The machine is a bit noisy, no Android App available, you...
- The Best Vinyl Cutters

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sizzix Sidekick Portable Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Starter Kit

Our Expert Score
7.1
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
1,290 user reviews
Our Take

Beginners will love this craft die-cutting machine, as it comes with a complete starter kit. The bottom of the machine has a vacuum seal that makes it a cinch to secure to any tabletop. The device is also portable, so you can craft at a friend or family member's house.

What other experts liked
The great thing about the Sidekick Starter is that it’s lightweight and easily portable. The machine weighs just two pounds and it’s only 4-3/4″ tall. Along with its compact size, this die cutter has a special vacuum seal that keeps it firmly in place when working on smooth surfaces.
- Quilter's Review
The Sizzix Sidekick is tiny and compact, complete with a vacuum seal that allows you to secure it, for extra stability, to any smooth work surface—no need to worry about excited children knocking it over. As it is a Sizzix, it is compatible with their vast line of products. This...
- Big Time Shirt
The Size sidekick machine is exactly what you’ve have been looking for-a portable, affordable and adorable crafting system designed for detailed (plastic backed or wafer-thin) dies and embossing folders up to 2 1/2 inch wide, including Size 12 inch decorative strip dies. The sidekick will cut a single sheet of...
- Jade & Grey Studio
What other experts didn't like
The Sidekick’s small size can be a pro or a con, depending on your needs. You might find that the small size of the plates won’t work with your quilting style. Otherwise, the Sidekick Starter Kit is a great option those who are just getting started or want a more...
- Quilter's Review

Overall Product Rankings

Cricut Explore Air 2

1. Cricut Explore Air 2

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 10

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine

3. Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 9

Cricut EasyPress 2

4. Cricut EasyPress 2

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

Cricut Original Cricut Maker, Champagne Color

5. Cricut Original Cricut Maker, Champagne Color

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 12

Cricut Easy Press

6. Cricut Easy Press

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 1

Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

7. Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 10

Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine

8. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 1

Our Die Cutting Machine Findings

Cricut Explore Air 2

What We Liked: If you have your own images that you want to die-cut, this craft die-cutting machine is a great choice. You’ll be able to choose from a wide selection of images in the machine’s free library. This will be one of the most valuable devices in your crafting room.

Sizzix Sidekick Portable Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Starter Kit

What We Liked: Beginners will love this craft die-cutting machine, as it comes with a complete starter kit. The bottom of the machine has a vacuum seal that makes it a cinch to secure to any tabletop. The device is also portable, so you can craft at a friend or family member’s house.

Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine

What We Liked: Even though this craft die-cutting machine comes with 682 built-in designs, you will still be able to add custom designs using the USB port and Wi-Fi. The machine is powerful enough to cut through paper as thick as 3 millimeters, which means you’ll be able to complete a variety of projects. There’s even a built-in scanner.

Cricut EasyPress 2

What We Liked: You won’t have to wait for this craft die-cutting machine to warm up. Unlike other craft die-cutting machines, it can heat up in 60 seconds or less. It reaches temperatures as hot as 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also get convenient notifications once the device has heated up, as well as beeps when the device is about to go to sleep due to inactivity.

Our Die Cutting Machine Buying Guide

A craft die-cutting machine can be the perfect tool for any crafter’s workshop. Over the years, these devices have evolved from their original design that needed cartridges to cut out letters and shapes. Today’s craft die-cutting machines can print out die-cuts that are designed on your mobile device or computer, opening up the possibilities for what you can do with them.

If you’re interested in designing on your mobile device, though, it’s important to find a craft die-cutting machine that’s compatible with the operating system you use. Some machines have larger image libraries than others as well, with some featuring big-name designers as part of the free library they provide.

But not all craft die-cutting machines are created equal. Some can cut through extremely tough fabrics like leather and vinyl, while others can handle delicate fabrics like lace. If you plan to work with a wide range of fabrics, look for a machine that can adjust to the thickness and type that you’re using.

Craft die-cutting machines have also improved in their ease of use. Not only can you get started right out of the box, but today’s machines also have notifications built in that will let you know when your machine is warmed up and when it’s about to shut down due to inactivity. You’ll also find that some machines can quickly warm up, which means you’ll be able to complete a cut any time you need to without having to wait an extended period of time.

Crafting doesn’t always happen at home. If you craft with friends, perhaps through retreats or casual get-togethers, you’ll love that some craft die-cutting machines are ultra-portable. Not only are these machines lightweight and small, but they also have a handle that makes them easy to carry. Even if your machine never leaves the house, though, a smaller machine will more easily fit into your crafting room.

DWYM Fun Fact

Craft die-cutting machines are generally used for cutting fabrics, but their versatility shows in the many products they can make. Crafters regularly use them to make vinyl car window stickers, leather tablet cases, clothing, purses and pillows. Once you’ve purchased a craft die-cutting machine, you can start exploring all the possibilities. However, in order to be able to make many of these things, you’ll need a machine that can handle the type of fabric you’ll need to use. Whichever craft die-cutting machine you choose, you’ll likely be able to use a basic Google search to track down a list of things you can make with it.

The Die Cutting Machine Tips and Advice

  • For crafters, it’s all about the designs. The Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you upload your own images or choose from the large selection in its free library. Other models also feature built-in image libraries, with hundreds of patterns from big brands like Simplicity and Riley Blake.
  • Before you buy a craft die-cutting machine, think carefully about the types of materials you’ll want to use. The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut through foils, leather and vinyl, among many other material types. The Cricut EasyPress 2 is especially good with thick materials, like glitter heat transfer vinyl.
  • For quilters, you’ll want to look for a craft die-cutting machine that can cut fabric without the need for heat and bond.
  • Some machines can cut all types of fabric without you needing to add interfacing or backing to it to reinforce it.
  • Some models use a technology called the Adaptive Tool System, which features 10 times the cutting power of other machines. It adapts to the depth of the fabric you’re using at a given time.
  • Waiting for your craft die-cutting machine to warm up can be frustrating. The Cricut EasyPress 2 heats up in 60 seconds or less, achieving temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Whether you’re new to craft die-cutting machines or not, ease of use is important. The Cricut EasyPress 2 beeps to notify you once it reaches the preferred temperature, as well as before shutting down due to inactivity. Another handy feature of the EasyPress 2 is that it remembers the settings you last used. A quick start guide will walk you through your first project, so this one is great for beginners.
  • Cleaning and maintenance can be time-consuming, so look for a machine that lasts through many uses with minimal maintenance.
  • It’s important to note that these aren’t professional-grade die-cutting machines. However, they’re great for home craft projects that you wouldn’t have been able to do without a craft die-cutting machine.
  • For those concerned about staying within a budget, keep in mind that you can find a machine that fits your budget, depending on the bells and whistles that are included.
  • In order to print designs from your mobile device, you’ll need to download an app onto your phone.
  • A loud craft die-cutting machine can be a nuisance, especially if you use your maker when your family is around. Some are quieter than others, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
  • Technologies seem to always be changing. Some models are fully expandable, which means as new tools like blades and pens are released to the market, you can easily add them.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous blogs. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written content for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011. In addition to her online content, she is also the author of eight novels for Simon & Schuster, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series.