The best embossing machines in 2022

The best embossing machine, a white embossing machine is on a white table surrounded by craft card, tools and materials
(Image credit: Sizzix)

The best embossing machines offer an easy way to create interesting and unique cards and labels as well as personalised gifts from a variety of materials. While traditionally these have been fully manual machines you can now get digital devices too. These can even compress designs onto leather for professional-looking craft makes and presents. 

Much like owning one of the best Cricut machines, investing in a good embossing machine is a fantastic way to step up your crafting game. And luckily, we've got some pretty affordable recommendations for you. We've curated this list based on consumer reviews as well as our own expertise. If you want some more details about how we test products, check out how we test craft and sewing machines here.

Our list below contains the best embossing machines on the market today, and we've included both electronic and manual options based on your preference. With the former, you just need to touch a button, making everything quick and (almost) hands-free. With the latter, all it takes is the turn of a handle to achieve even compression across your chosen material. If you're not quite sure what it is you're looking for, scroll down for our advice on how to choose an embossing machine.

If you're looking to expand your crafting kit further, don't miss our guides to the best vinyl cutters and best label makers. Now, below I begin with the best dedicated embossing machines but scroll down and I also include some of the best craft machines, including the the best Brother ScanNCut machines that do more than just embossing.

The best embossing machines available now

The best embossing machines is a white rectangular device with chrome sides

(Image credit: Sizzix)

01. Sizzix Big Shot Switch Plus

The best digital embossing machine

Specifications

Materials: Card, fabric, felt and more
Type: Digital
Size: 38.1 x 14.92 x 16.5 cm
Opening: 9"

Reasons to buy

+
All-digital embossing machine
+
Good storage for die cutters
+
Simple and easy controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Same price as a Cricut Joy

The Sizzix Big Shot Switch Plus is the newest die cutting and embossing machines from the Sizzix brand, one of the best around, and it's finally caught with the likes of Cricut and Silhouette. Kind of. While this latest machine is an all-digital device it doesn't use an app to create its embossing but remains faithful to the metal cutters you may be used to from the traditional manual machines.

The Sizzix Big Shot Switch Plus uses the same metal die cut process, so you place pre-sized templates into the machine with your material and it uses pressure to stencil, emboss or cut the designs. Being digital, however, this can be done at the press of a button and the machine judges the pressure and feeds the material through. It's a great machine, especially if this is the embossing process you're used to.

The only real downside is the cost, as you can buy a Cricut Joy or older model Cricut Explore for around the same price. But those craft machines can be complex and not for everyone, if you're already in the Sizzix style of die cutting, then the Sizzix Big Shot Switch Plus is an excellent option.

A product image of the Bira Craft Die embossing machine on a white background

(Image credit: Bira)

02. 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. 

A product picture of the Gemini GEM-M-GLO embossing machine on a white background

(Image credit: Vevor)

03. 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. 

A product image of the Sizzix big shot manual embossing machine

(Image credit: Sizzix)

04. 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. 

A product shot of the Gemini Midi embossing machine against a white background

(Image credit: Gemini)

05. 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)

06. 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)

07. 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, making it a great addition to our list of the best embossing machines. 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. 

A product image of the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway embossing machine on a white background

(Image credit: Sizzix)

08. 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 and deserving of a rightful place in our list of the best embossing machines.

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)

09. 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. 

The best embossing machines: craft cutters

The machines above will emboss materials out of the box, but if you're looking for a more modern approach then craft machines from Cricut, Brother and Silhouette offer tools that can be used to emboss and deboss many materials. The advantage of these devices is you can create your own projects in the machine's apps, they can handle large designs, and they are all-digital, meaning less hassle for you.

The best embossing machine, a small blue and white Cricut Joy embossing and cutting machine

(Image credit: Cricut)

10. Cricut Joy

The best small digital embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Everyone
Type: Digital
Size: 21.4 x 13.8 x 10.8 cm
Opening: 4 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Fits in a bag
+
Does much more than embossing
+
Upgrade with new tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Ideally you need Cricut Access

Cricut Joy is the brand's smallest and cheapest craft machine but it's more than capable of handling most projects you'll want to do. The advantage of the Cricut Joy is it can fit into a bag and be taken on your travels or a good option if you're short of space at home.

The Cricut Joy can cut and draw from designs created on the new Cricut mobile app, and with the right attachment you can emboss all sorts of materials, including foils. You'll need the Cricut Joy foil transfer kit and or the Cricut Debossing tip for embossing. You can find these in our best Cricut accessories guide.

The advantage of the Cricut Joy is you can do more than simply embossing all in one machine, so it's ultimately good value for money. It's also an incredibly easy craft machine to use and is a nice size; but it can also handle projects up to 20 feet long. It's worth noting the small machine size means it's restricted to four inch wide materials.

Best embossing machines, a Disney themed SDX230Di craft machine is white with red sides and Mickey and Mini Mouse details

(Image credit: Brother)
The best large digital embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Everyone
Type: Digital
Size: 38 x 34.9 x 34.3 cm (varies)
Opening: Up to 12 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful and adaptable cutting machine
+
Includes built-in scanner and CPU
+
Can attach new tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for just embossing

The Brother ScanNCut range of craft machines are powerful and adaptable cutting machines that differ from the likes of Cricut because they have a built-in scanner and onboard CPU (complete with LCD touchscreen) for designing. It also connects to a tablet or laptop.

A Brother ScanNCut can do pretty much anything, including cutting, drawing, etching, engraving and more. If you buy or have a Brother ScanNCut machine and want to emboss then you'll need to buy the new Brother Embossing Accessory Set (opens in new tab) that comes with the new tip attachment, mat, metal sheet and 50 embossing designs.

Brother has a number of ScanNCut models that range in size and power, from the high-spec SDX2200 model to the smaller and cheaper SDX900 device. Choosing the right model is important, for example the SDX2200D is expensive but comes with every attachment and more pre-designed projects. The SDX1200 model (opens in new tab) is a good overall machine.

The best Silhouette machines, pictured by a photo of a Silhouette portrait machine

(Image credit: Silhouette)

12. Silhouette Portrait 3

The best medium digital embossing machine

Specifications

Best for: Everyone
Type: Digital
Size: 43.2 x 14 x 10.8
Opening: 8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Create your own designs from scratch
+
Adaptable craft machine
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Embossing tool sold separately

The Silhouette Portrait 3 is the smaller of the brand's two main digital craft machines, which makes it a nice entry machine for anyone who likes the idea of these devices but needs more than Cricut Joy offers but not quite as complex as Cricut Maker or the Silhouette Cameo 4.

As with the other two digital craft machines here, the Silhouette Portrait 3 can do more than embossing, and is capable of replicating illustrations, cutting many material type from card to fabrics, and you can design from scratch in the app. If you want to emboss you'll need to buy the Silhouette Embossing Tool (opens in new tab) separately, but it's not too expensive (around $8 / £10). Note this is the 'Curio' tool, and you may need to also buy an adapter for newer Silhouette machines like the Portrait 3.

You can do some embossing out of the box, but only on card and paper and you'll need to track down some good tutorials as it involves some fiddling. It's why the Portrait 3 is a good machine overall but requires a little more effort to just emboss.

The best embossing machines: frequent questions

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 Fender
Freelance writer

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