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The best embossing machines in 2022

Lifestyle shot of Sizzix Big Shot Manual, one of the best embossing machines, on a cluttered crafting table
(Image credit: Sizzix)

The best embossing machine offers so many creative possibilities for the crafter and other creatives. At the most basic level, it offers an easy way to add flair and texture to a homemade card or label. Some machines can also be used to create embossed food and even leather, with professional-standard detailing.

An embossing machine, then, is up there with the best Cricut machine as an essential purchase for everyone from hobbyists to fashion designers. And the great news is, they're pretty affordable. 

Most embossing machines can also die-cut, and some of the best options in our guide are essentially die-cutting machines with added embossing functions. Bear in mind, though, that to reach an evenly embossed piece of cardstock, embossing machines require a fair deal more pressure than a standalone die-cutting machine. If you're not exactly sure what you're looking for, read our section of how to choose an embossing machine first.

Below you'll find the best embossing machines on the market today, including both manual and electronic options. With the former, all it takes is the turn of a handle to achieve even compression across your chosen material. With the former, you just need to touch a button, making everything quick and (almost) hands-free. 

Meanwhile, if you're looking to expand your crafting kit further, don't miss our guides to the best laser cutters and best watercolour pencils.

The best embossing machines in 2021

Product shot of Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Bira)

01. Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

The best embossing machine overall

Specifications

Best for: Most people
Type: Manual
Size: 45.72 x 35.56 x 22.86 cm
Opening: 9"

Reasons to buy

+
Portable size
+
In-built height adjustment
+
Easy controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a manual model

We'll start with the best embossing machine on the market today: the Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine. 

Why do we like it so much? Well for starters, it has an adjustable gear system to adjust the height of the platform for a range of projects. 

Furthermore, it combines a 9-inch slot opening with a portable, fold-away cutting surface. That means that not only is it large enough for full-sized A4 tasks, it's also a portable choice. Plus there's even space underneath the cutting surface to store the handle when you're travelling. There are three modes to choose from, which can be controlled with the dial at the top. Alongside a 3D emboss and 2D letterpress emboss setting, there's also a die cutting mode. 

Product shot of Gemini GEM-M-GLO, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: vevor)

02. Gemini GEM-M-GLO

The best electronic embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Paper
Type: Electronic
Size: 22.5 x 43 x 25.6 cm
Opening: 8.5"

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for A4 paper
+
Electronic controls
+
Comes with a large starter kit

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs to be plugged in

Don't want the hassle of cranking a handle manually? Then here's our pick as the best electronic embossing machine: the Gemini GEM-M-GLO. 

It has three buttons on the top: On, Start, and Reverse. In use, this machine is quick and even, and it's perfect for those who want to be more hands-free, or who may struggle to turn a lever. 

With this set, you get a lot for your money, including a magnetic shim, plastic shim, rubber embossing mat, metal cutting platform, and two clear cutting platforms. It also includes an ornate lase 3D folder and a multimedia die set. 

Product shot of Sizzix Big Shot Manual, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Sizzix)

03. Sizzix Big Shot Manual Die-Cutting Machine

The best embossing machine for beginners

Specifications

Best for: First-timers
Type: Manual
Size: 41.7 x 29 x 23.1 cm
Opening: 6"

Reasons to buy

+
Durable design
+
Compatible with plenty of extras
+
Great value

Reasons to avoid

-
Not foldable

New to embossing? Then our top recommendation is the Sizzix Big Shot Manual Die-Cutting Machine. 

It won't work with embossing folders wider than 6 inches, but with a carry handle and manual design, this machine is perfect for beginners and those who are new to embossing. Because Sizzix has a wide range of compatible dies and platforms, you can even expand your collection as you advance.

This starter kit is built to last, too. It has a steel core roller system to evenly emboss and die cut every task, and comes with a platform, cutting pads, and a thin die adaptor. Our one complaint is that it won't fold away for easier storage, but this does mean that the cutting platform is stronger. 

Product shot of Gemini Midi Manual, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Gemini)

04. Gemini Midi Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

The best embossing machine for cards

Specifications

Best for: Making cards
Type: Manual
Size: ‎34.4 x 19.9 x 14.2 cm
Opening: 6"

Reasons to buy

+
Works on a range of materials
+
Perfectly sized for cards
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't do larger than A5 cards

If you're mainly interested in embossing your homemade cards, then check out the Gemini Midi Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine. It has a 6 x 9-inch cutting platform, so it's the perfect size for cards. It works on felt, cardstock, foil, glitter paper, and other materials, and comes with a plastic shim and cutting folder. Note, though, that you'll have to buy additional folders for embossing.  

While it's perfectly sized for card making, you can also use the Gemini Midi for smaller embossing tasks, making it a perfect machine for scrapbooking or adding finishing touches to larger projects. At under 3kg, it's also very lightweight. 

Product shot of Sizzix Big Shot Pro, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Sizzix)

05. Sizzix Big Shot Pro

The best large embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Large projects
Type: Manual
Size: 61.6 x 38.1 x 19.1 cm
Opening: 13"

Reasons to buy

+
Large cutting dimensions
+
In-built storage
+
Great for fabric and card

Reasons to avoid

-
An expensive choice

If you're going to be embossing at scale, you need the Sizzix Big Shot Pro. With an opening of 13 inches, it can be used for large tasks and die cutting in bulk. You can cut up to A3 size paper and use dies of up to 12 inches, which are made especially for this machine. 

Its roller is industrial strength and the design is entirely made of metal, but you'll still have to do the rolling yourself with the manual handle. Underneath the cutting pads there's also plenty of storage space for extra dies and crafting materials. 

The professional standard dies are suitable for cutting more than just paper and cardstock. You can also use this embossing machine for materials, making it perfect for quilting or fashion projects. 

Product shot of Gemini Mini Crafter's Companion, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Gemini)

06. Gemini Mini Crafter's Companion

The best embossing machine for scrapbooking

Specifications

Best for: Small tasks
Type: Manual
Size: 16.2 x 22.2 x 11.5 cm
Opening: 3"

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for embellishing
+
Very lightweight
+
Suction feet for sturdy use

Reasons to avoid

-
Not designed to be your main machine

The Gemini Mini Crafter's Companion is the smallest embossing machine in our lineup. From simple embellishments to stick to cards, to mini labels to complete a perfectly wrapped present, it's great for those little tasks that don't require a large machine, such as scrapbooking.

At only 1kg in weight, the Gemini Mini Crafter's Companion is also the most portable design we tried. It's got a platform of 3 x 6 inches, so your crafting will be quick and you'll be able to turn the dial evenly and smoothly. Use this in addition to your main embossing machine, or pair it with a Cricut machine to add to your list of crafting capabilities. 

Product shot of Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: Sizzix)

07. Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway

The best portable embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Portable design
Type: Manual
Size: 34.9 x 33 x 20.3 cm
Opening: 6"

Reasons to buy

+
Foldaway cutting surface
+
In-built die storage
+
Roller handle

Reasons to avoid

-
May be less sturdy

Want to do some embossing on your travels? Then you'll want something that's nice and compact, and the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is just the ticket. 

When closed and packed away, this embossing machine is just 15.8 x 26.6 x 20.3cm. Even the handle folds away in front of the machine, so it's perfectly portable and also well sized for those who want a neat and tidy crafting space when it's not in use. 

As with any hinged cutting surface, it may be less sturdy than a model that won't fold away, but it's a price worth paying if you love to craft on the go. You also get in-built storage that can keep dies and tools out of the way when you're not crafting. Be warned, though: at just 6 inches, this machine is best suited to A5 tasks, so don't expect to do any full-size A4 tasks.

Product shot of Vevor Leather Cutting Machine, one of the best embossing machines

(Image credit: vevor)

08. Vevor Leather Cutting Machine

The best embossing machine for leather

Specifications

Best for: Leather
Type: Manual
Size: ‎44.96 x 29.97 x 22.86 cm
Opening: 10"

Reasons to buy

+
Professional quality
+
Very sturdy
+
Large embossing area

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of space

If you want to emboss hefty leather projects, the Vevor Leather Cutting Machine is the best choice for you. Decidedly more industrial than the crafting machines we've mentioned above, it can also be used on fabric leather, foamed PVC, plastic or rubber board, and medium soft board. The large cutting surface will make it perfectly suitable for fashion projects and even large leather garments. It's also a great price for such a capable machine. 

Choosing an embossing machine

What is an embossing machine?

Embossing is the process of creating raised images, text and designs on paper and other materials. An embossing machine makes this easy to do, by using a combination of rollers and cutting plates to push your design through the card or paper and create a raised version with precise outlines.

How do I choose the best embossing machine?

The best embossing machine for you will ultimately depend on what you plan on using it for. When it comes to materials, most embossing machines predominantly work with paper and cardstock, so if you want a machine that can emboss leather or wood, you may need to get something a little more heavy-duty. 

Another thing to consider is size. Most embossing machines have a six-inch opening, so they're best suited to A5 tasks like making cards and scrapbooking. If you want to work with larger dimensions, size up to the Sizzix Big Shot Pro or the Gemini GEM-M-GLO.  

What's the best embossing machine?

The best embossing machine you can buy today is the Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine (opens in new tab). It's lovely and portable; it offers in-built height adjustment; and it's very easy to use. There are three modes to choose from: 3D emboss, 2D letterpress emboss and die cutting mode. You can work on items up to A4 in size, and there's even storage space for the handle when you're not on the move.

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Millie is a regular freelancer for Creative Bloq, and an expert in craft and design. In her day job Millie is Real Homes' Small Appliances and Cooking Editor, where she is constantly on the hunt for the latest (and best) kitchen appliances, and reviewing these products hands-on. She was previously at TopTenReviews as a Staff Writer. As a baking enthusiast, Millie’s job at Real Homes is the perfect excuse to cook up an endless supply of snacks. When she’s not in the kitchen though, she loves knitting and exploring London's top food markets. 

With contributions from