Did you know that you can get the best vinyl cutter even with a tight budget?
With time, these highly valuable machines have incorporated more advanced features and functions…but they’ve also become more affordable for everyone.
But don’t just buy any cheap vinyl cutter before confirming its quality!
The following uncut guide will take you through the crucial things you need to know about the cutter machine and how to pick one that fits your budget.
(Good news: I’ve also compiled a list of the 15 top-best, highly affordable vinyl cutting machines for your personal or business needs).
Let’s get straight into details…
What’s a Vinyl Cutter?
A vinyl cutter machine, also known as a vinyl plotter, refers to a device used to cut out your preferred letters and shapes from various materials- like vinyl, leather, plastic, and paper.
For those who don’t know, this machine is computer-controlled.
The machine works just like a printer, with the exception that it prints out shapes and letters into the adhesive vinyl machine that you can then stick to any surface.
To use this machine, you first need to create a vector-based design using a software program- like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc. – then send it to the cutter. The cutter then accurately cuts along the vectors paths defined in your design.
Since the movements of this handy machine are controlled by the computer, they can easily cut along the X- and Y-axes over the vinyl material to produce any imaginable shape.
The machine finds extensive usage in making signs, given its precision cutting of vinyl material to produce durable designs.
They’re also used to make banners and advertisements.
Above all this, they’re used for apparel decoration and customization.
Keep in mind that you can use this cutter for either personal or business use (I’ll show you how to get the right model for your intended purpose later on).
Next, we’ll discuss the 15 all-time best vinyl cutting machines available on the market today…
Best Vinyl Cutter for the Money in 2023
1. CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2 MACHINE
Cricut Explore Air 2 machine opens our list of the top vinyl cutter reviews. As a highly affordable and the perfect cutting machine for personal use, Cricut Explore Air 2 allows you to work on all the small to medium-sized projects you have at hand.
You can decorate your apparel with it, create custom vinyl stickers, unique greeting cards, personalized home décor, and so much more.
The key feature I love on this particular machine is the Smart Set Dial. This allows you to set your device to the correct cutting depth and pressure to match that of the material you’re cutting- resulting in precision cuts at all times.
Besides, the machine has undergone tests and proved to easily cut over a hundred different materials- including the basic as well as special vinyl, specialty paper, faux leather, iron-on, vinyl, cardstock, adhesive foils, and so on. That said, you can work on just any craft project you can imagine, regardless of what material it is in.
Uploading your own designs is possible on this machine. Or you can opt to choose from the countless pre-made projects and designs from Cricut’s library.
Even better, the tool allows you to carry your design projects anywhere, anytime! It presents you with 100% FREE access to Cricut’s easy to use design software (Cricut Design App) so that you can work on your design from your smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. – anywhere, anytime.
- Perfect for personal use
- Allows you to upload your own designs
- Simple design software included
- Smart Set Dial for precision cutting
- Cuts over 100 materials
- Embedded Bluetooth facilitates wireless cutting
2. SILHOUETTE CAMEO 2 ELECTRONIC CUTTING MACHINE VINYL STARTER KIT BUNDLE
As one of the most popular manufacturers of quality vinyl cutter machines, Silhouette, occupies our second position with their Cameo II model (with more advanced features and functionality than its predecessor and competitors).
And just like our previous model, it also comes with an extremely affordable cost such that anyone can easily afford it without breaking the bank.
The main feature that will draw you to this machine is the auto blade function. This takes the device a giant step ahead of the previous Cameo models that required you to manually adjust the blade whenever you wanted to cut.
With this automatic function, you don’t have to go through all the hassle of manually setting the blade- like keeping a memory of the depth of each cut, ensuring uniform cuts, etc. You just need to select any of the three automatic cutting settings according to the material at hand, and the cutter will adjust accordingly.
This makes the machine even easier to use for starters in this field.
You’ll also fall in love with the dual carriage feature, no doubt! This makes it possible for you to simultaneously cut and draw when using this Cameo II for your design projects. The included FREE software (Silhouette Studio) gives you an easy time editing your designs to make them look even better before you can cut them out.
With this machine, you’ll successfully work on all your small to mid-sized projects at the comfort of your home office.
- Software and templates included
- Cutting blade 12”x12” mat, and vinyl trimmer included
- Touchscreen control
- 1-month FREE access to the Silhouette store
- Auto blade cutter
- Bluetooth wireless connection enabled
- Double carriage feature for both drawing and cutting
3. VINYL CUTTER USCUTTER MH 34IN BUNDLE
If you’re looking for the perfect vinyl cutter for your business, you can never go wrong with this moderately priced USCutter MH 34in vinyl cutter. It comes with a sleek and straightforward design that makes it look attractive in your office. It features heavy-duty construction which means it will serve you for a lifetime.
The main reason why business people prefer this machine is its exceptionally large cutting blades. In other terms, it can objects as wide as 31 inches and as long as 8 feet! This makes it the ideal machine for easily working on the largest projects for your clients.
Besides, it facilitates easy cutting through stronger materials. The fact that the device features two 100% adjustable pinch rollers means that you can use it to cut a wide range of materials.
This machine is also extremely easy to operate for everyone, including the absolute starters. It comes with integrated software that gives you access to basic tutorials on how to come up with vinyl-based craft projects.
You’ll also love the additional supplies and tools shipped alongside the machine as they save you a significant amount of money while making it more convenient to run the vinyl cutter.
- 34″ MH Cutter w/VinylMaster Cut
- Integrates design and cut software
- T fully adjustable pin rollers
- Superior, ball bearing dual roller
- Roland compatible blade holder
- Vinyl cutting supplies and tools included
- Lifetime phone support
4. SILHOUETTE PORTRAIT
We can safely describe the Silhouette Portrait as a more compact and lighter version of the highly popular Silhouette CAMEO electronic cutting machine.
Just like the Cameo, this portable tool connects to your computer via the included USB cable- allowing you to download thousands of the designs included in the Silhouette store, make your own designs with the included software, and easily cut all your fonts.
Unlike most of the cutting machines out there, the Portrait support cutting of a wide range of materials- including fabric, cardstock, paper, transparencies, vellum, heat transfer material, adhesive vinyl, and magnet paper. This makes it a versatile cutter that you can rely on to accomplish different craft projects.
Ideal for personal use, this machine comes with a maximum cutting area of up to 8″ x 12″ (20.3 x 30.5 cm). The included Silhouette Studio software is compatible with both Mac and PC and goes a long way in improving your designs before you can actually cut them.
- Cuts a variety of materials
- Free design software (Mac and PC compatible)
- 10 USD download card included
- 50 exclusive digital designs
5. BROTHER CM350 SCANNCUT 2 HOME & HOBBY CUTTING MACHINE
I just don’t understand how Brother CM350, a cutting machine with all premium features and great functionalities, could sell at such a reasonable price. If you’re a business person looking for the best vinyl cutter for commercial use, just invest in this highly innovative and affordable machine. Thank me later!
The top reason why I included the machine on our list comes from the fact that it’s the first model that offers you built-in scanning function (the top-quality 300DPI scanner).
It allows you to scan virtually everything (including handmade designs, home décor designs, cherished family photos, etc.) and eventually create custom-cut shapes and outlines that fit your unique project.
With a cutting area as large as 12×24, you’ll also appreciate how easy this machine makes it for you to work on larger projects that other tools can’t handle.
You’ll also love working on your designs on the 30% larger 4.85 LCD touchscreen display that comes with this cutter.
The machine also incorporates 600plus built-in designs plus seven built-in fonts so that you can use it as a standalone machine. Additional features include the ability to read SVG data files and wireless connection capabilities.
- Larger 4.85″ LCD touchscreen display
- Wireless network ready
- 600 plus built-in designs plus 7 built-in fonts
- 300 DPI built-in scanner
- Enhanced scanning
- Free cloud-based web app for design editing
- Stand-alone use
- Precision cutting
6. SILHOUETTE CAMEO 3 MACHINE BUNDLE VINYL STARTER BUNDLE
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I’d recommend the Silhouette Cameo 3 Machine to everyone looking for the best vinyl cutter for small business. For the most part, this machine is similar to the Cameo 2 we reviewed earlier, only that it comes with some additional (NEW) features and critical upgrades to improve your vinyl cutting experience.
One such feature revolves around the built-in Bluetooth connectivity, where you can connect the machine to your computer wirelessly. The device also retains the USB cable connectivity option, so it’s upon you to choose which connection method to use with the machine.
The blade also presents you with up to 3 blade options to facilitate easy cutting off nearly all the materials you can think of. These blades include the standard blade (for cutting thin to medium thick materials), deep cut blade (for cutting thicker materials), and auto blade (automatically adjusts the depth and force to match the material being cut).
Like the Cameo II, this cutter also comes with dual carriage function that lets you draw and cut your designs simultaneously. What’s more, this mechanism features a push locking mechanism (unlike the twist mechanism found in other Silhouette machines) making it more secure.
Thanks to the included Silhouette Cameo software, you’ll have an easy time creating your own designs or importing images from other sources.
For all your small business needs (say t-shirt printing projects), Silhouette Cameo 3 will never disappoint!
- Built-in Bluetooth for wireless connection
- User-friendly machine
- Self-adjusting blade for cutting different materials
- Dual carriage function
- Extremely easy to use
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7. SILHOUETTE CURIO CUTTING TOOL
A decal maker machine shouldn’t always be limited to cutting vinyl and other materials. This is precisely illustrated in this Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool…not only does it cut but it also embosses, etches, debosses, stipples, and sketches. It’s also an excellent option for people who plan to cut materials that are thicker (with up to 2mm height).
Curio is one of the few Silhouette models that use the manufacturer’s new deep cut blade. Made from sintered tungsten alloy (and composed of super-fine powder for the ultimate durability), this blade makes it easy for you to correctly cut the thicker machines as well- something not possible in most machines that come with such a lower price.
Keep in mind that this machine also presents you with dual carriage capabilities- allowing you to draw and cut your designs at the same time.
It’s also important to note that Curio comes with the Silhouette Studio included (it’s one of the top software on the market btw). This material makes it possible for you to easily customize your project designs or come up with your own designs from scratch using the countless designs provided by the software.
- Deep cut blade for cutting thicker material
- 5 mm clearance for smooth feeding of thicker materials
- Silhouette Studio software included
- Dual carriage option
- Auto blade function
8. USCUTTER 28-INCH VINYL CUTTER VALUE SIGN MAKING BUNDLE
The eighth spot of our vinyl decal machine reviews goes to the USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter. This machine has won (and continues to) the hearts of many entrepreneurs looking for convenient cutters for their sign making businesses.
The machine comes with a broad range of remarkable features that make vinyl cutting easier than ever before. Not forgetting the attractive price tag that makes it affordable to the small businesses owners as well.
Right out of the box, this machine presents you with two fully adjustable pinch rollers. These come handy when you want to set the width and length you want the cutter to roll at- depending on the material you’re cutting.
The 28-inch cutter also comes with an incredibly easy to use Design & Cut software that helps customize your designs, improving your overall cutting experience. Besides, it can work with any other design software and can connect to your computer with the included USB cable.
Inside the package, you’ll also find a total of 3 blades, so you don’t have to buy a replacement blade for your machine anytime soon. The machine has a higher level of flexibility given that it cuts up to 10 types of materials. Additional accessories included in the box are the dust cover and pen adapter.
- 28” vinyl cutter
- Two fully adjustable pinch rollers
- Superior, ball bearing dual media roller system
- Roland compatible blade holder
- Can cut up to 240 inches
- Lifetime phone support
9. SILHOUETTE CAMEO 3 WIRELESS CUTTING MACHINE – ULTIMATE STARTER BUNDLE
The silhouette appears again on our list of the top vinyl sticker maker machines.
This time, it presents you with the Silhouette CAMEO 3 Wireless Cutting Machine that allows you to experience the joy and convenience that comes with feeding designs to your cutter without necessarily using the traditional cable (thanks to the included Bluetooth technology). And just like all the other Silhouette cutters, the machine comes at a fair cost.
Labeled as the perfect machine for your DIY projects, this cutter comes with the powerful Silhouette Studio software that allows you to create your own designs for your use with your projects.
Besides, you can count on the software to enhance or customize your existing designs with its powerful editing features. Similar to most top-rated cutting machines on the market today, the machine also comes with dual carriage function to allow you to carry out the drawing and cutting tasks simultaneously.
The machine’s small but powerful blades can easily cut up to 100 different types of materials, allowing you to work on projects on various materials.
Inside the box, you’ll get the following items: 12” cutting mat, cross cutter, auto blade, USB cable/power cable, up to 100 exclusive designs, and the Silhouette Studio software. Isn’t that a reasonably priced package that you’ve been looking for?
- Ideal cutter for all your DIY projects
- Cuts over 100 different materials
- Incorporates the powerful Silhouette Studio software
- Bluetooth technology for wireless transmission
- Dual carriage function
10. USCUTTER TITAN 28 INCH VINYL CUTTER
I’d also recommend the USCutter TITAN 28 inch Vinyl Cutter to all small business owners looking for the perfect machine to meet their vinyl cutting needs at a lower price.
Even at such a low cost, the machine still manages to offer you premium features usually found in high-end models. More so, it does a professional job that will appeal to all your clients.
The TITAN 28 inch Vinyl Cutter has all it takes to excellently cut a broader range of materials- including heat transfer vinyl, adhesive vinyl, cardstock, laminate, paint mask stencil, low intensive reflective material, and sandblast mask.
We also can’t fail to mention its top-quality pinch rollers that facilitate excellent tracking. Above all, the machine comes with a quiet, stronger servo motor that takes its accuracy and performance to a whole new level- more so when cutting thicker materials.
You might think that this machine is difficult to master and use, but that’s not the case. It has a simple plug-and-play installation process, plus it features an easy-to-navigate user interface to make it easy and fun to use for everyone, including beginners.
Don’t forget its large LCD display & control panel that lets you easily adjust the cutting pressure and speed to your preferred levels.
- Laser registration facilitates contour cutting function
- Carriage with four wheels
- Durable aluminum alloy construction w/precision ABS sides
- integrated Vinyl Master cut software
- Large LCD display and control panel
- Servo motor for quieter and more accurate performance
11. MKCUTTY 53″ VINYL CUTTER SIGN CUTTING PLOTTER MACHINE
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For all the business owners who want a stronger cutting machine to reliably handle the higher load (and larger) projects for all their clients, this is the ideal model for you! This is evident from its incredibly durable design that involves advanced aluminum alloying structure plus metal streamline modeling for an extended lifespan.
Another feature that makes this machine a must-have for all big businesses is its ability to handle larger and more demanding projects. These include advertisement signages, PVC labels, hot-cutting contour cutting maps, electronic construction, drawing, molding, and even small batch hard brush cutting.
One particular feature that sets this machine from the rest is Emergency Reset Button that lets you stop the cutting process and restart the machine in case a cutting error arises.
Above all this, the machine offers you a full 30-day money-back guarantee, with no questions asked. This shows the total confidence the manufacturer has in their cutting device. It also gives you some peace of mind as you know what to do if the machine doesn’t meet your expectations.
- Extremely durable and long-lasting machine
- Emergency reset button included
- Can work offline
- Commercial-grade cutting machine
- Design and Cut software included
- 100% 30-day money back guarantee
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12. CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2 MACHINE BUNDLE
Here’s another one from the Utah-based company! The Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine is designed with the DIYers in mind and comes with a load of impressive features to take the crafting efforts of all scrapbook enthusiasts to the next level.
The key feature that puts this machine on the map is its faster cutting and writing speed (which is actually two times faster than the earlier Cricut models).
Besides increased speed, this machine also comes with high cutting versatility- where it’s capable of cutting more than 100 different materials. These include cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and even thicker materials like leather.
If you prefer cutting your designs with the ultimate, flawless precision, this machine will not disappoint you. It comes with the Cricut’s Smart Set Dial that automatically finds the best settings to cut out the material at hand perfectly.
You’ll also enjoy FREE access to the Design Space online software which is extremely easy to use and will cover all your storage needs (it is cloud-based). The software offers you thousands of designs to pick from. And, of course, you can opt to create your own designs or upload them from other sources.
- Adjustable cutting, writing speed
- Smart Set Dial for more precise cuts
- Cricut Design Space online software
- Built-in wireless Bluetooth
- Getting started guide included
13. MKCUTTY 27″ VINYL CUTTER SIGN CUTTING PLOTTER MACHINE
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Also from the MKCUTTY, we have the 27″ Vinyl Cutter Sign Cutting Plotter Machine. This model is similar to its cousin- right from sharing a similar durable design to having the same list of advanced features.
The only difference existing between them is that this one comes with a slightly smaller cutting surface of 27 inches and sells at a lower price than the MKCUTTY 53″ plotter.
Nevertheless, businesses on a tight budget can count on this machine to meet all their vinyl cutting needs without disappointments. The machine can work on larger and more demanding projects- signages, PVC label, hot cutting contour, cutting maps, electronic construction, drawing, molding, etc. – quite easily.
It also comes with an integrated design and cut software that you can use to customize your designs as well as come up with your own designs from scratch. The option is yours!
Like the MKCUTTY 53”, this machine also comes with an emergency reset button that allows you to restart your machine when it starts misbehaving in the middle of the job. The 100% 30-day money back guarantee is also provided when you buy this device, so you’ll be making a risk-free investment.
- Durable, long-lasting construction
- Emergency reset button
- Can work offline; without getting connected to the computer
- Industry-grade cutting machine
- Design and Cut software included
- 100% 30-day money back guarantee
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14. SILHOUETTE AMERICA PORTRAIT CUTTING TOOL
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If you’re still looking for the best vinyl cutting machine for home use, consider bagging the Silhouette America Portrait Cutting Tool. The extremely easy to use and easy to install machine comes at a low cost, yet it provides you with better features than most of the high-end models you’ll come across on the market.
One particular aspect you can’t help falling in love with is the integrated Silhouette design software. Referred to as the Silhouette Studio (I’ve frequently mentioned it earlier), this machine enables you to come up with a wide range of customization designs for your crafts projects.
This is way better compared to making the designs manually. You’ll also agree with me that the software will save you the huge costs you might have spent on the expensive cartridges for your machine on a regular basis.
Installing and using this machine is probably the easiest part! It presents you with decal and signs and card templates that goes a long way in helping those who are just getting started with the crafting world.
Don’t forget it also supports the cutting of over 100 materials, making it one of the highly versatile machines you can get on the market today.
- Cuts a variety of materials
- Vinyl starter kit
- FREE software (PC and Mac compatible) included
- Extremely easy to use
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15. CRICUT EXPLORE ONE CUTTING MACHINE
As a final pick on our list of the top-quality, most affordable vinyl cutter reviews, we take a look at the Cricut Explore One Cutting Machine. This is an electronic machine, with a simple and classic design, which comes ready to handle all your DIY or personal crafts and projects.
Like its brothers from Cricut, this machine also incorporates the Smart Set Dial function (plus the Cut Smart technology). This eliminates the hassle of making the complicated settings associated with other tools.
Instead, you just turn the dial on, and the machine delivers the most precise cuts you’ve ever witnessed on all your craft projects. Thanks to the FREE, easy-to-use Cricut Design Space software, you’ll enjoy access to countless designs and projects from any device (PC, Mac, iPhone, or iPad). The fact that the app is cloud-based means you can access the design anywhere, anytime!
What you can cut with this machine? Well, it also allows you to cut an extensive range of materials- like cardstock, paper, iron, vinyl, fabric, poster board, and so much more. And if you wish to upgrade this machine to a wireless cutter, you can just buy a Bluetooth adapter and enjoy the wireless cutting convenience.
- Electronic cutting ideal for personal use
- Freely upload and cut your own images
- Free cloud-based app for easy design at any place
- uts a wide variety of materials
Best Vinyl Cutter Machine: Buying Guide
Looking at the 15 best vinyl cutting machines above, you’d be asking yourself how I picked them for you.
To be honest with you, the process wasn’t easy.
I spent days researching all the cutters- analyzing their quality, performance, ease of use, and user feedback- to ensure I gave you the finest products on the market.
In my buying guide below, I’ll share with you the key factors I followed when picking these cutters:
You might not know this, but vinyl cutting machines come in two main types depending on the intended use- in either personal or business settings.
What do you intend to use your machine for?
If you’re looking for a simple home vinyl cutter (or personal machine), then you’d want to look for a compact model that doesn’t occupy a lot of space in your home.
It should also be straightforward for anyone to operate, including absolute beginners. Above all, ensure it runs quietly, so you don’t disturb your kids’ and neighbors’ sleep when working on your craft projects at night.
For your business/commercial needs, you’d want to look for something that handles all your signage and other large projects for your clients. Such cutters usually come with a larger size, higher cost, and can cut a variety of materials (in large sizes).
EASE OF USE
Regardless of whether you go with a commercial or home cutting machine, you should ensure that is easy to operate.
Ensure it comes with a user-friendly design, with simple, well-laid controls.
This factor is especially crucial for hobbyists or business people who have never operated a vinyl cutting machine before.
SIZE OF MACHINE
You’ll also need to check the size of the machine to ensure it’ll fit the available space.
If you plan to use your machine at home office with limited space, then you should look for a compact model that doesn’t occupy much space.
There are also commercial grade cutters that come with a small size to meet your space-saving needs.
Experienced users of vinyl machines will tell you that this a key factor to consider when choosing the best vinyl cutting machine.
Let the size of material you plan to cut with your machine guide you into picking the right machine.
The simple, beginner machines come with limited cutting surfaces of a few inches only, which means you can use it to cut larger designs.
An average machine will provide you with a cutting surface of around 12 inches (width) or about a 2-feet (length).
Don’t forget that the high-end industrial grade cutters provide you with two fully feet cutting width, allowing you to easily cut out larger projects- like outdoor signage or banners.
Which printing size do you prefer?
TYPES OF MATERIALS IT CAN CUT
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a decal maker machine revolves around the type of materials it can handle.
While the simple models cut only the vinyl materials, you’ll also come across other models that can cut through different materials.
(I came across several of them that could cut up to 100 materials!)
My advice here is simple;
Go for a machine that cuts a wide variety of materials, not just vinyl. This ensures that you’ll not have to purchase a new machine when the need to work on non-vinyl projects arises.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to the vinyl cutting machines as well.
But don’t let that intimidate you…having analyzed many products on the market, I can confidently assure you that you can get a machine that suits your limited budget while providing you with excellent performance.
If you want to enjoy fancier features, however, you should be ready to dig deeper into your pockets.
Don’t forget to check if your machine comes with a warranty.
A great warranty should be around 1-3 years. This will give you peace of mind as you work on your machines.
While still on it, I’d also suggest that you look at whether the machine manufacturer offers you support.
This will come handy when you want help fixing minor issues on your machine, like setting it up.
In addition to the essential features we’ve just discussed above, I also feel that buying a stencil cutting machine that incorporates the three features below will make it even more convenient for you (both hobbyists and businesspeople)…
- Automatic Settings: most of the modern models come with a handful of automatic features and configurations. This allows you to operate them hassle-freely and quickly.
- Software Integrated: trust me; you can’t just run your cutter without some software. And to make your even easier, the machines are now incorporating handy software such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Silhouette Studio, and Vinyl Master Cut.
- Wireless Capabilities: As you have seen in our reviews above, a good number of the models available today come with wireless capabilities (Bluetooth connectivity) – where they allow you to feed the cutter with the design you wish to create without using the traditional cables.
CHEAP PRODUCTS VS. HIGH PRICED VINYL CUTTER: WHICH ONE & WHY?
Some years ago, vinyl cutting machines were only preserved for the big businesses that could afford the cost. Most individuals and business people had to spend a great deal of money to get a vinyl cutting machine.
Today, most of these machines have become quite affordable (while at the same time incorporating more advanced features). Though a handful of them are still highly priced.
And this brings us to the question of the century:
Between the cheap and highly priced cutters, which one should you buy?
First, let’s try to come up with a simple definition of each of these machine categories…
A cheap vinyl cutting machine refers to a model with simple design designed for light use. It comes in a smaller size, so it can easily fit in your house or desk. It might also show some degree of versatility in its functionality. Above all, it comes with a smaller cutting blade, limiting it to smaller projects only.
A highly priced model, on the other hand, comes with more advanced features and thus a bigger size. It’s capable of handling the larger projects you can imagine since it comes with larger blade size.
It might also come with some fancy features that you might (or might or might not need) when working on your projects.
With that in mind, let’s discuss which machine suits your need.
Assuming you’re looking for a simple machine for your crafts hobby, I’d recommend you to go for the cheaply designed machines.
Also, if you’re planning to set up a small business or a home office, and don’t have much capital, consider looking for the cheaply priced machine.
What if you’re looking for a model to use in your business where you work on your clients’ projects of various sizes on a daily basis?
In that case, you should look for the higher priced model as it comes with more convenient features to make your work much easier and more convenient. Plus, its larger size allows you to work on a various projects’ sizes.
In conclusion, the machine you choose for your vinyl cutting needs depends on what you intend to use it for as well as your budget.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR VINYL CUTTER?
As I was going through the customer feedbacks reviews for various cutters, I noted that most people complained about encountering various issues with the machines.
The most common complaint was the machine failing or misbehaving in the middle of the job…
And the users went on to attribute the issue to the machine’s quality.
Little did they know that skipping the regular maintenance of their machines was the real problem. Skipping this necessary ritual will not only keep your machine from reaching its peak performance but also cuts down its lifespan.
I don’t want you to have a bad experience with your machine as you continue using to make various designs, so I’ll share with you the top maintenance tips as explained by an experienced vinyl cutter user…
1. KEEP AN EYE ON THE CUTTING BLADES
Without a single doubt, the cutting blades are the heart of vinyl machines. This means that they require special care to ensure your machine reaches its full potential at all times.
You should always check the blades to ensure they’re not dull or broken as this can seriously frustrate your projects.
If you start noticing that your machine doesn’t completely cut through your material or you notice incomplete ends of the cut paths, this is a sign that you need to replace the blades ASAP!
Ensure you replace your machine’s blades at least once every year.
TIP: Because these blades are usually microscopic, always use a magnifying glass to observe them easily.
2. THE BLADE PROTECTION STRIP NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION TOO
Usually made using smooth, durable rubber, the protection strip facilitates smooth curves and clean cuts, preventing jagged edges on the material.
If you start noticing that your blade makes bumpy paths or incomplete cuts on the material being cut, it means that the strip has sustained damages from gashes from the cutter blades.
And that means that it’s time to replace the strip with a new one to continue enjoying the clean and smooth cuts.
3. CLEAN THE PINCH ROLLER REGULARLY
Pinch rollers, small in size, simply hold onto the material being cut, while progressing it back and forth during the cutting process.
The rollers have one main advantage- that they have an extended lifespan. But I recommend you to take them off once in a while and clean off any vinyl scrap, dirt, or dust that has accumulated on them.
When you notice that your material stops moving back and forth in a straight line; or if you notice the rollers aren’t running anymore, it means they’ve become worn out and needs a replacement immediately.
4. USE YOUR MACHINE AS PER THE MANUFACTURER GUIDELINES
Get this fact: if you follow the outlined guidelines on how to cut various materials with your machine, you’ll minimize the chances of your cutter blades or strips getting easily damaged.
While still on it, ensure you use your machine to cut only the listed materials by the manufacturer. If your machine is meant for cutting vinyl only, use it to cut just that. Thank me later.
5. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF THE BLADE HOLDER
As the name implies, the blade holder keeps the blades in position as they embark on correctly cutting out your designs.
That said, you’ll agree with me that these holders are always in motion and will get worn out after some period of use. When it gets worn out, it significantly affects the machine’s cut quality.
Make sure you replace the holder at least once every year to keep your machine performing well.
6. ALWAYS TEST CUT YOUR MACHINE
Before you can start working on your project, consider testing it to clear the doubts and prevent possible damages- like breaking down the blade.
And when test cutting, start with low pressure.
Test cutting will use a few square inches of your material only and will save you headaches, frustrations, all while saving you time and money.
7. KEEP THE MACHINE CLEAN- ALWAYS
The easiest part!
As you continue using your machine you’d also want to keep it clean. This is as simple as wiping it down regularly to get rid of any dust and debris buildup. Also, clean up the blade and the blade holder.
And oh! Keep your workspace clean too to prevent dust from easily collecting on the material or the motor.
If you don’t plan to use your machine for a long time, cover it with a dustproof cover.
You see…taking care of your vinyl cutter machine is neither hard nor expensive. You only need to maintain (or replace) a few parts. If you do these tips on a regular basis, I can guarantee that your machine will last longer and perform at its best (at all times).
COMMON VINYL CUTTER TROUBLESHOOTING
As you continue using your vinyl cutting machine, you might also experience some problems with it along the way. Knowing how to troubleshoot these issues will help you fix them easily and keep your machine back on track.
Below, we take a look at the common vinyl cutter problems and how to fix them:
1. VINYL CUTTING MACHINE NOT CUTTING MATERIAL (OR NOT RESPONDING)
Failure of the device to respond could result from a number of issues that I’ve listed below:
- Dull blade
- Not loading the mat and the material
- Machine not connected to the power
- Wrong settings; insufficient blade pressure or force
- The absence of cut lines
- Obstruction of the cutter blade
- Blade not positioned down to the blade holder
- blade absent
Check for any of the above causes in your machine and adjust accordingly. For instance, if wrong settings are the cause, set the right pressure/force that matches the material you’re cutting.
2. VINYL CUTTING MACHINE SKIPPING THE MATERIAL
Sometimes your machine would cut the material such that it leaves dotted lines, cutting dashes, or even makes it look perforated.
In such cases, you’d first want to check if the cutting strip is damaged as this might cause uneven cutting. If damaged, replace it immediately.
Also, check if too much of the blade is exposed (as it might cause increased friction buildup due to less space between the material and the blade) and decrease its depth.
3. VINYL CUTTING MACHINE NOT COMPLETING CORNERS
What if your machine seems to skip the corners or turns during the cutting process? This is mainly caused by the sharp part of the blade not turning or dragging on its side.
To solve this issue consider cleaning the inside of your cutter’s blade holder to remove any debris present. In severe cases, replace the blade holder with a new one.
4. VINYL CUTTING MACHINE NOT CUTTING CORNERS CORRECTLY
Other than skipping corners, some cutters might also fail to cut corners accurately, such that they look like flags or appear to be rounded. This is mainly due to incorrect offset settings.
Gladly, you can correct this issue by adjusting the offset setting correctly. If you get rounded corners, the offset setting is quite low; for flagged corners, the offset is quite high.
5. SOME PARTS OF THE LETTER MISSING
Ever experienced this problem with your cutter machine? Well, these are the possible causes:
- The vinyl material you’re using is extremely wrapped or is too heavy
- The presence of foreign elements or vinyl chips around the metal roller
- High cutting speed, high cutting force, or longer cutting tip
- Pin roller under extreme pressure
- Faulty metal roller
To get your machine back to normal, clean it to remove any foreign objects available, set the correct cutting depth or force, and check the metal roller status (replace if it’s faulty).
6. VINYL CUTTING MACHINE CUTS LETTERS ON THE SAME LINE TO DIFFERENT DEPTHS
In this case, you’d want to check if the blade holder is loose and tighten it to fix the problem. Besides, ensure that the cutter blade is tightly set in the holder.
7. THE CUT LINE TAPERING OFF AND/OR NOT CUTTING TOWARDS THE END OF YOUR MATERIAL
This common issue is attributed to a dull blade or a blade holder that’s not properly secured to the machine.
Fixing this problem is as simple as checking your cutting blades regularly (as explained in the maintenance section above) as well as checking whether the holder is securely attached to the cutter.
NOTE: Check your machine user manual for additional troubleshooting tips specific to your machine.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. WHICH VINYL CUTTING MACHINE SHOULD I GET FOR MY PROJECTS?
As you already know, the market is filled with cutting machines of all sizes and cutting capabilities. This means you’ve to be extra careful when shopping for the best vinyl cutting machine for beginners. The primary factors to consider during the purpose of the machine and your budget.
2. CAN I USE MY CUTTING MACHINE TO CUT OTHER MATERIALS APART FROM VINYL?
Yes, ONLY if the manufacturer of your machine allows you to do so. Some machines limit you to use them with vinyl only while others enable you to work on a wide range of materials apart from vinyl.
Check your user guide for more information on what materials your cutter can handle.
3. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO REPLACE THE BLADES OF MY CUTTER?
It’s always recommended that you replace the blades at least once per year. However, you should keep checking the blades regularly, and if you detect any damage signs, you should replace them immediately.
4. WHICH SOFTWARE CAN I USE TO ENHANCE MY DESIGNS?
Most of the modern cutters come incorporated with design editing software that you can use to improve the overall appearance of your project before cutting them out on vinyl material.
However, if your machine doesn’t come with such software (or the software have limited capabilities), you can choose to work with software such as AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, and CorelDraw.
5. DOES A CUTTER REQUIRE REGULAR MAINTENANCE?
Absolutely! If you want your vinyl cutter to perform well and for an extended period of time, you should take it through regular maintenance. The process is quite simple and cheap as it requires taking care of a few parts of the machine only.
Consult your user guide for more information on how to take care of your machine. Alternatively, visit our maintenance tips section for more expert tips.
As we come to the end of our best vinyl cutting machines for the money, allow me to remind you to be extra careful when buying these cutting machines.
This is especially the case for beginners who have never used or purchased the machine again; you’ll meet a myriad of cutting machines from all walks of life, and if you’re not careful, you might end up investing in a tool that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
My list of carefully selected cutting machines above covers the 15 highly affordable and popular vinyl cutter machines for hobbyists, small businesses, and even the large businesses handling larger jobs.
I’m confident that you’ll find a machine that blends well with your needs and requirements (and, of course, your tight budget) from this list.