Time is a precious resource, and we must use it efficiently; this is why you shouldn’t spend your time looking through 50 different die cutting machines available on the market trying to find the best one. Two companies Cricut and Silhouette, offer many products to their customers. In order to save your precious time, we have narrowed down the choices and picked the very best machines from both companies for comparison. So keep on reading if you want to save time and get to crafting as soon as possible.
The best machine Silhouette offers is Cameo 4, and the top machine from Cricut is the Maker. These two machines are the recent products offered by these two companies, and in this article, we will compare them based on various criteria to determine which one is the best fit for you.
Cricut maker vs. Silhouette cameo; a rundown of notable characteristics.
This cutter is relatively easy to use, so an average person will not have any problem operating it. Silhouette Cameo is the ace up the sleeve for many Etsy sellers who use it on a regular basis. It can cut through tough material such as leather, and if you decide to use the machine to enhance your crafting business with a bit of practice, you may even be able to make money by incorporating leather items into your product range. Cricut maker.
Its software is very intuitive and quite easy to learn. Cricket maker is very useful for different types of crafters and especially miniaturists, as it lowers your production cost and increases return on investment. If you like to work with felt, this machine is also a great option for you. It will enable you to cut various designs out of this material quickly and effortlessly.
This was the general overview of these two machines. Now, let’s go into detail and compare specific characteristics to see whether there is a huge difference between the two.
Comparing the size and weight. How do they look and feel?
Let’s have a look at the size of these two machines first. From just one look, it is obvious that the Silhouette cutter is slightly smaller and lighter than the Cricut Maker. But this does not necessarily put it at a disadvantage. If you live in a small apartment and don’t have a lot of space for your cutter or if you like to travel with it and take it to various craft meetings, then a smaller size is certainly a plus.
However, sometimes a lighter weight indicates that the manufacturers used inferior materials during the manufacturing process. Luckily this is not the case here. We can confidently say that both machines are durable and will serve you for many years to come. So if you’re one of those crafters who regularly attend tradeshows, fairs, and like to carry their cutters with them, then let us put your mind at ease and tell you that you will not be compromising on durability if you choose the lighter machine. Also, both machines are capable of cutting and drawing as well as their competitor, so there is no difference here either.
What will you be using these machines for?
If you’re planning to use your machine to mainly cut paper and vinyl, then both of these options will work perfectly fine. In addition, both Cricut Maker and Silhouette Cameo are able to transform various drawings and pictures into craft designs. In both cases, you will need a smartphone or a similar device to take a photo and upload it to the software. The software does the rest of the work for you.
With all of that being said, there is one area in which one of the cutters significantly outdoes the other. We are talking about the cutting force. Silhouette has finally upgraded theirs, and now it is better than ever. Cricut cutter, with its 4000 g cutting force, used to be a champion in this field; however, it has recently been overtaken by Silhouette Cameo that boasts 5000 g of power. This is a massive upgrade from the previous Silhouette Cameo 3, which only had 210 g of power. Even though 5000 g of cutting power certainly takes the crown in this category, 4000 g of cutting force is also very impressive. Both of these machines will enable you to cut through stronger and thicker materials, but at the end of the day, Silhouette Cameo does offer 20% more power than its counterpart. Machine specifications.
Both machines offer a decent cutting size. However, Silhouette Cameo does have an advantage. The standard cutting size of the Cricut Maker is 12 x 24 inches, whereas in the case of Silhouette Cameo, it can go up to 10 feet with the help of a feed roller, which is built into the machine. 10 feet! Now that’s impressive!
Auto blade. Silhouette Cameo now sports a really helpful feature called the auto blade. This is a very useful tool that eliminates guesswork from your craft cutting. The auto blade automatically detects which material is being used and adjusts the cutting force accordingly.
By comparison, if you are using the Cricut Maker, you will have to set it up manually via the Cricut Design Space Software. So it goes without saying that Silhouette Cameo wins this match.
The next feature we need to discuss is the cross cutter. Unfortunately, the Cricut machine doesn’t have this one. This feature is very handy for cutting something down to the exact size; all you need to do is pull the blade horizontally, and voilà! No scissors required. Another point for Silhouette.
One of the most significant elements which both machines have is dual carriage. This feature reduces the production time significantly, so once you get used to it, you will not be able to imagine your crafting activity without it.
Dual carriage enables the machines to perform two steps, one right after the other (these steps are performed sequentially and not simultaneously.) For example, you can set up your machine to draw a design and then cut it out. Alternatively, you can set it up to perform two drawing tasks or two cutting tasks. Once you set up the machine and choose the appropriate program, you are done; you don’t need to babysit your machine; you can go about your day and allow it to do its job. And this is the feature that makes the scale tilt in the Cricut’s favor.
What’s more, the Cricut machine’s blade is similar to an X-Acto knife, and the sharper blade paired with tremendous cutting force can cut through even the strongest of materials such as wood with ease (provided that the thickest larger than 2.4 mm).
Cannot Silhouette Cameo do all of this, I hear you ask. Well, not as precisely as the Cricut Maker. You can cut through some thick materials with Silhouette, but you will need to go through a trial and error phase to get it just right. So you might need to do multiple tries just to produce one simple design, which will, of course, result in a lot of wasted material. Various crafters who have used at the machine have confirmed that Cameo is good for cutting paper and vinyl; however, if you want to embossed and score, you will need to buy Silhouette Curio separately; this is another extra expense.
The Cricut Maker has a rotary blade, which is a must-have if you are planning to work with fabrics. Rotary blade can cut through the fabric without wrinkling or damaging it, which is why it is so valuable for those crafters who work with fabric a lot.
Also, Cricut maker has a washable fabric pen, which means that after making your marks on fabric and making all the necessary adjustments, you can simply wash out these markings with water.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 has a rotary blade as well, so in this respect, the playing field is leveled.
Now, let’s discuss the thickness of the material each machine is able to cut through. Silhouette Cameo 4 is able to handle materials of up to 3 mm in thickness, whereas the Cricut Maker can cut through materials that are up to 2.4 mm thick. Silhouette Cameo is able to outshine the Cricut Maker in this category due to its 5000 g cutting power.
Moreover, both manufacturers claim that their machines are capable of handling 100+ materials, and we have no reason to doubt them. Measuring and testing noise levels.
Let’s speak about the noise each machine produces. If you have ever heard any Silhouette machine while it’s working, you have a pretty good idea of how noisy they can be. In fact, every machine in the Silhouette family is quite loud. So if you live in an apartment with thin walls, you will definitely not be able to work through the night.
As for the Cricut machine, although it is quite loud too, the noise level with the Cricut Maker is more acceptable.
As for speed, numerous speed tests have been done comparing these two machines to each other, and each time the Cricut machine emerged victorious. In fact, a Cricut machine is able to work twice as fast as its competitors; however, when you work at that speed, the noise level is considerably higher. But if the noise isn’t a problem for you, then go ahead and enjoy your 2X speed. However, the double speed works best with basic designs. You could, of course, apply it to some intricate patterns as well, but there is a chance that it will mess up the cut, so if you are planning to use some expensive materials, it is probably better not to risk it.
Although the Cricut machine costs more than Silhouette Cameo, the accessories are cheaper. This is an important point to make because if you are planning to purchase many different accessories, the final cost may differ greatly.
The cost of maintenance.
Blades tend to go dull over time, and mats lose their stickiness. These elements need to be replaced, and they, of course, costs money. As we have already mentioned, the Cricut Maker’s accessories are more inexpensive, whereas the Silhouette Cameo’s accessories are in the normal price range. If you look at the price of the machine alone, the Cricut is more expensive; however, if you take the cost of accessories and replacement parts into consideration, overall, it might end up being cheaper than its competitors.
How do they look? And last but not least, let’s discuss the looks. This is, of course, a matter of personal preference; however, most crafters say that they like the look of a Cricut machine better. The edges on it aren’t as sharp, and it just looks slicker in general. In addition, it has a mobile docking station where you can place your smartphone or tablet and watch some videos while the machine is hard at work (you can charge your device from the Cricut Maker’s USB port).
Who has better design software? (Silhouette Studio vs. Cricket Design Space).
First, let’s discuss the Cricut Design Space. We should mention that it is online-only, and you can access it from any of your devices that run on any system. Moreover, you don’t need to update the system ever. And finally, it is intuitive and easy to learn.
As for the Silhouette Design Studio software, most of it is available to crafters free of charge. However, if you plan to use SVG files, you will need to purchase a different version of the software. This software is stored on a CD, and you can either use that to install it into your machine or alternatively, you can download the newest version from the website. The downside is that it is much harder to learn than Cricut’s software. Several shortcomings of Cricut Maker and Silhouette Cameo.
Now we have to mention some negative characteristics these two machines possess (even though they may not be a deal breaker for you). Let’s start with the Cricut machine. A major negative characteristic is its software and the fact that it is online-only. This means that if you don’t have Internet access, you will not be able to use your machine. There is an off-line version; however, it is only accessible through iOS devices. If you don’t have access to the Internet or you’re planning to take your machine with you to the place where there might not be a strong Internet connection; then, this machine is probably not for you.
Another issue is the fact that you have to pay in a monthly fee of $9.99 to access Cricut’s design database. This may not seem like a lot of money; however, if you plan to use the machine for many years nonstop, the cost will add up.
Now let’s turn our gaze to the Silhouette. With the recent upgrades, the machine has finally caught up to Cricut. However, the fact that you need to buy Silhouette Curio to be able to emboss and the score is a definite minus.
Although we must say, that Silhouette has fixed the Bluetooth connectivity issue, which was definitely a problem with the Silhouette Cameo 3.
Another disadvantage is that it is quite loud.
Also, the software is quite hard to master, so it may not be appropriate for a novice.
And the SVG files are not free, so if you want to use them, you will have to upgrade to a paid account.
So which one is better overall, the Cricut or Silhouette? As always, it depends on your personal preference and what you’re planning to use the machine for. With the recent upgrades, these machines can perform tasks in almost the same way. However, if you plan to do a lot of embossing then it might be smarter to go for a Cricut cutter.