Choosing from best Cricut alternatives gives you a great deal of choice. These machines from brands such as Brother and Silhouette can do everything a Cricut digital cutting machine can do and often a little more. Cricut is the strongest brand around when it comes to craft machines, but the alternatives have a lot to offer too.
These machines, along with those of Cricut, can cut paper, card, vinyl, fabric and do much more. But for every Cricut machine there's a good alternative. While rival Silhouette aims to go head-to-head with Cricut in terms of features and approach, Brother goes a step further and includes a built-in scanner with its machines – but these are more expensive.
Cricut now has a wide range of devices, from its flagship Cricut Maker 3 to the more affordable Cricut Explore 3 to more niche devices like the Easy Press 2 and the Cricut Mug Press. See all the Cricut options with our best Cricut machines guide, and be sure to pair them with the best laptops for Cricut. Make sure you also check out our guide to the best Cricut accessories, our list of the ten reasons to get Cricut Access, and see our feature on the best Cricut materials, for more on these machines.
In this article, we'll look at the best Cricut alternatives and how they do everything a Cricut can, and in some ways a little more. If you like the sound of the Silhouette brand, we have a full guide to the best Silhouette machines available now. We also pit Cricut versus Silhouette to really see how they match up. But take a look below for the best Cricut alternatives, especially now that the excellent Silhouette machines are more widely available outside of America.
The best Cricut alternatives available now
The Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D is the newest machine in the excellent ScanNCut series of craft machines. The difference between this machine and its rivals at Cricut and Silhouette is the built-in 600dpi scanner and and onboard computer, accessed via the LCD touchscreen.
The difference with the ScanNCut SDX2200D and some other machines on this list is you can begin cutting out of the box; no need for laptop, tablet or extra software. There are 1,435 pre-programmed projects to use or you can create your own using the touchscreen and included stylus to adjust the size of shapes and weld them into new patterns.
Then there's the scanner. In our Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review our writer found this revolutionary to use – you're able to can drawings, photos of old sewing patterns into the machine and then cut card, wood, fabric and more materials from this data. You can scan and cut sections of material and the AI will even scan and cut leftover materials – it can judge how many shapes you can get from a piece of fabric, for example.
If you want to go further Brother has its own app, CanvasWorkspace, for anyone who wants to work on a larger screen. This is similar to Cricut's Design Space, but here it's an optional extra and not necessary for using the machine. If you're new to craft cutting machines, and have the budget, the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D is a great place to start and our preferred Cricut alternative.
The best alternative to Cricut Maker is the Silhouette Cameo 4. There are plenty of similarities between to two machines. In terms of speed, it's pretty on par with the Cricut Maker 3, with both being very fast, and like the Maker 3, the Cameo 4 has an integrated roller feeder. You'll find lower Silhouette Cameo 4 prices, as it's cheaper, and yet it's actually the stronger of the two machines in terms of downward force, boasting 5kg, a full 1kg more than the Cricut Maker.
The roller can handle longer designs, and the cutter has new tools like the Kraft and Rotary and can handle balsa wood, leather and even chipboard. It can cut material up to 3mm (0.11in) thick using the knife blade, which beats the Maker 3 by 0.6mm. Another big difference is the software. Cricut's is very intuitive and easy to use, if perhaps simplistic, while the Silhouette Studio has a steeper learning curve.
That said, we like the fact that Silhouette opted for standalone software that runs on your computer. This means there's no monthly subscription fee like there is with Cricut Access, and there's no need for an active internet connection. All in all, this is the best Cricut alternative for a wide range of professional and personal projects.
Brother will be a more familiar brand name for many. It's known for its printers and sewing machines, but it also makes Cricut-like machines for cutting. Its ScanNCut SDX125 is a great alternative to Cricut for hobbyists working with paper, card vinyl and fabric, and particularly for quilters.
What makes the ScanNCut SDX125 different from other alternatives is the scanning part. It features a built-in scanner so you can transfer printed pages into real projects. You can send SVG files from your computer, but you can also programme design directly on the machine using the LCD touchscreen display and its 682 built-in designs, including 100 quilting patterns and nine fonts.
Like the Silhouette Cameo 4, it can handle material up to 3 mm) thick, beating the Cricut Maker 3. It has an AutoBlade that automatically detects the material thickness. However, in terms of width, The SDX125E is limited to 29.7cm (11.7in) compared to the Cricut Maker's 33cm (13in). The other downside is that it's actually more expensive than the Cricut Explore Air 2. Note that the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E is sold in the US, see below if you're in Europe.
If you're in Europe, you might be scratching your head wondering why you can't find the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E anywhere. Well in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, Brother has the SDX900, which is a very similar machine in terms of size and functions. Like the ScanNCut SDX125, it's a great alternative to Cricut for hobbyists working with a wide range of materials.
Again, it has a built-in scanner, LCD touchscreen and 682 built-in designs, and it beats the Cricut Maker 3, handling material up to 3 mm thick. However, it is expensive. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, you may prefer the Cricut Explore Air 2 unless you really need to cut thicker material.
While the Silhouette Cameo 4 is the best alternative to Cricut Maker 3, the Silhouette Portrait 3 is comparable to Cricut Explore 3. This machine is designed as an entry level cutting machine, and in this respect it's ideal though don't expect the kind of cutting force and flexibility you'd get from the larger Silhouette cutting.
The Silhouette Portrait 3 is smaller than a Silhouette Cameo 4 and has a reduced cutting power (210 grams to Silhouette Cameo 4's 5000 grams), as such it's great for card and sticker projects and can handle some materials (vinyl, heat transfer (iron-on), paper, cardstock, sticker paper, and some fabric), but if you're a serious sewer or quilter we'd recommend the Silhouette Cameo 4 or one of the Brother machines.
This is a neatly priced machine that does enough for anyone new to digital cutters, and is compatible with the new Silhouette Go App for mobiles. We found most Silhouette tools and blades work with the Silhouette Portrait 3, but some do need an adaptor (sold separately). If you're new to digital cutters the Silhouette Portrait 3 is a good place to start.
The Silhouette Mint is designed to digitise the art of ink and paint stamping. It does it exceptionally well. The machine is neatly specced and small, large enough to hold in the hand or take to a friend's house in a bag. The advantage of creating ink stamps digitally to create patterns on bags, shirts and cards, is it creates consistency.
Using the Silhouette's designed sheets you feed them into the Silhouette Mint, its thermal tech heats the design and creates raised 3D patterns. These can then be coloured using Silhouette's thermal inks and stamped onto clothes for custom designs. It's easy and approachable, and the Mint comes with over 50 free templates (naturally you can design your own).
The Silhouette Mint isn't a cutting machine and so is limited in what it can do. It's more again to a heat press machine, maybe the size of a Cricut EasyPress Mini with the advantage you don't need a cutter, such as the Silhouette Portrait 3, to create the designs.
You can cut for a lot cheaper if you're happy to put in some arm work. Cricut's cutters are automatic, digital machines that you programme from your laptop, but there's still a lot to be said for a manual die-cutter, not least the fact that there's no need for a computer or even an electricity supply.
The elegant grey-and-white Sizzix Big Shot has a 15.24 cm (A5) wide opening and can cut a wide range of materials, from paper, tissue and cardstock to felt, cork, leather, balsa wood, polyfoam, sheet magnet, static cling vinyl and more.
The roller system's steel core is wrapped in a heavy-duty outer casing and it can handle material that’s up to 22.5cm wide and 1.6cm thick. For amateur crafters that are just getting started with die-cutting, we'd certainly recommend starting with this before working up to a more technologically advanced option like a Cricut machine. The assembly instructions aren't the clearest – we'd recommend watching the many tutorials on YouTube. There's also a Pro and Plus version for those that need to cut at bigger sizes.
If you do want an automatic cutter without the price tag of a Cricut device, in steps the Gemini. This compact, highly portable electronic cutter is most comparable to the size of the Cricut Joy but comes in a good bit cheaper. It does the work for you, with cutting plates feeding through automatically like a laminator. There's also a reverse button, which can be handy in an emergency.
It's compatible with many dies and can cut through even the thickest card stock without a problem. It also offers a wider cutting width than the Sizzix Big Shot, cutting material at up to A4 width, while happily fitting in the corner of a desk. Like all die cutters, the plates will eventually need replacing, but that's fairly easy and inexpensive.
If you're printing rather than cutting, and particularly on T-shirts, sweatshirts or other fairly large textile items, then the Cricut EasyPress 2 is a handy, portable device that works a treat. However, it is expensive, and there are cheaper options out there than can do the job. The Fierton heat press is light, portable and it's suitable for vinyl and textiles like sweatshirts, banners, and T-shirts using thermal transfer and sublimation paper.
It's very easy to use. Simply set your preferred time and temperature, then watch it do its things in under sixty seconds. There's a safety mode and an insulated safety base, and you can work for a good couple of hours without it getting too hot. There's also an automatic turn-off time to help if you forget. The iron sits a little way from the surface and takes a little longer to heat up than some options, but once it's ready it does the job very well.
The O Bosstop Mug Printing Machine is a good alternative to the Cricut Mug Press, and has the advantage that you can manually adjust its heating cylinder to the size of the mug you're designing onto.
While the O Bosstop Mug Printing Machine might not be as pretty as the Cricut Mug Press, it's still light and portable enough to allow you to customise mugs out at craft fairs or other events, and heats up fast and evenly. It's more flexible on mug size than Cricut's device, and it's very easy to install and use.
it's worth noting this is a more manual machine and isn't as approachable and easy to use as Cricut Mug Press. Whereas Cricut's machine is a press-and-go design, we found you'll need to test heat settings here to get the desired results.