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The best vinyl cutter machine in 2022

One of the best vinyl cutter machines on a worktop next to a selection of cardstock.
(Image credit: Cricut)

These best vinyl cutter machines enable you to cut out a variety of vinyl items, such as banners, stickers and T-shirts. And actually, many of them can be used to cut non- vinyl materials, such as cardstock, and even fabrics like denim. 

Some vinyl cutting machines come with added functions like debossing, scoring, foil transfer, or perforation, and most can be paired with laptop or smartphone to work with software so you can cut out sophisticated designs without having special skills.

Vinyl cutting machines vary dramatically in price. The cheaper models are typically best suited to just regular vinyls and cardstock. The more expensive models, meanwhile, will work on all manner of materials, and they often have wider slots to work on larger projects. For more on what you need to look for in a vinyl cutter, jump to our how to choose a vinyl cutter section.

Below you'll find the best vinyl cutter machines available today. Meanwhile, if it's specifically Cricut you're looking for, you should first read our guides to the best Cricut machines, and the best Cricut accessories. You might also find our roundup of the best laser cutters useful. 

The best vinyl cutter machines 2022

Cricut Expore

(Image credit: Cricut)

01. Cricut Explore Air 2

The best vinyl cutting machine for most people

Specifications

Best for: Powerful vinyl cutting
Dimensions: 17.8 x 53.8 x 24.2 centimetres
Cutting width: 30 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
Works with 100 materials
+
Weighs only 4.8 kilograms
+
Fast mode included

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive

Most crafters will want something that's not too cheap and nasty, but also won't want to pay top dollar for a premium cutting machine. In which case, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect middle ground. 

Aside from vinyl it can cut over 100 materials, from cardstock and iron-on for t-shirts to glitter paper, bonded fabric, and even cork board. You also benefit from a fast mode that can power through simple tasks in double its regular speed, which is fantastic for those finishing touches. 

You can control the Cricut Explore Air 2 using Bluetooth, and upload your own fonts and photos for free. There's also compatibility with Cricut software on both Android and iOS. And while it's pretty large, the in-built tool storage makes it surprisingly neat. 

Cricut explore 3 review

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips)
The best vinyl cutting machine for smart materials

Specifications

Best for: Cutting smart materials
Dimensions: 65.5 x 27 x 26.9cm
Cutting width: 33cm

Reasons to buy

+
Works with smart materials
+
Faster cutting
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Maker 3 has more pro features

Need to work with smart materials? Then the Cricut Explore 3 – the recently released successor to the Cricut Explore Air 2 (see above) – is probably the best vinyl cutting machine for you. 

Cricut's Smart Materials allow you to cut projects without the need for a cutting mat. This means you can make cuts up to 12 ft (3.6 m) long in one go. The Cricut Explore 3 cuts very fast, can cut 100 different materials, and yet it's quite affordable. It comes pre-installed with a premium fine-point blade, blade housing and an accessory adapter in the machine. You also get a quick start guide, USB cable, a power cord and a sample of Smart Vinyl for a test cut. For more information, read our full Cricut Explore 3 review.

Note, though, that this is a mid-range model, and not as powerful or feature-rich as the Cricut Maker 3, number 6 on our list. So if you need more professional features, such as being able to cut 300 types of material, then you may find this premium-priced vinyl cutter suits your needs more closely.

Gemini embossing machine

(Image credit: Gemini)

03. Gemini GEM-M-GLO

The best cheap vinyl cutting machine

Specifications

Best for: Die-cutting only
Dimensions: 22.5 x 43 x 25.6 centimetres
Cutting width: 22 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
No software needed
+
Perfect for cards
+
Budget-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Smaller cutting width

Want a cheap vinyl cutting machine? The Gemini GEM-M-GLO is our top pick, as it's a fraction of the price of most vinyl cutting machines. 

As well as cutting vinyl, it can also be used as one of the best embossing machines. That's because it uses manual dies to allow you to get more hands-on with your designs. Sure, you won't be able to work with custom software to make your own designs, but for those who would prefer not to use a computer for their designs, it's a brilliant option. 

You can pair the GEM-M-GLO with endless dies to never run out of options. It's controlled electronically, and applies even pressure as you apply die cuts to vinyl, cardstock, and layered fabric.  

Cricut Maker

(Image credit: Cricut)

04. Cricut Maker

Another great mid-range option

Specifications

Best for: Serious vinyl cutting
Dimensions: 57.4 x 18 x 15.8 centimetres
Cutting width: 30 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
Can cut over 300 materials
+
Works on large tasks
+
Fast cutting

Reasons to avoid

-
A lot to pay for just cutting vinyl

The original Cricut Maker is another great mid-range option, as it comes with a powerful rotary blade that cuts through far more than vinyl. It's capable of cutting through thicker projects up to 2.4mm, too, and the 30cm wide cutting slot is suitable for even larger tasks. 

Straight out of the box there are 50 projects ready to go. These work with Cricut Design Space, which has a capable free version, as well as an optional subscription that could massively expand the fonts and designs on offer. 

Vervor vinyl cutter

(Image credit: Vervor)

05. Vevor 34inch Vinyl Cutter Machine

The best vinyl plotter machine

Specifications

Best for: Vinyl plotting
Dimensions: ‎101.6 x 50.8 x 104.14 centimetres
Cutting width: 87 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
Generous cutting width
+
Great value
+
Adjustable speed and force

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of space

If you're seeking the best vinyl cutting machine for plotting purposes, look no further than this model from Vevor. It works on vinyl of up to 87cm wide and can be used for large-scale projects like banners and blueprints. 

Use the controls on the side of the cutter to adjust the pressure and the speed of the vinyl cutting as it works. The speed goes from 10-800mm/s and has a pressure of up to 500g. This is more of a vinyl cutter for office spaces. For the price, it's a seriously capable piece of kit. 

cricut maker 3 review

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips)
The best vinyl cutting machine for serious projects

Specifications

Best for: Large projects
Dimensions: 56 x 18 x 15.7 centimetres
Cutting width: 33 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
Works with Smart Materials
+
Can cut up to 12 feet
+
Twice as fast as the Maker

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you need a vinyl cutter that can also cut a range of other materials, the Cricut Maker 3 is the Rolls Royce option. Able to cut anything from vinyl to basswood, it also works with Cricut's Smart Materials, and you won't need a cutting mat to use them. This means you can work continuously for up to 12 feet. That's long enough to make a banner or poster of real scale, and a lot more than the original Maker's 24 inches. 

It's more expensive than the original Cricut Maker, but it's also twice as fast. While we don't recommend this one for people who aren't ready to make a seriously commitment to vinyl cutting, it's brilliant for large projects and works on over 300 materials. For more information, see our Cricut Maker 3 review, and for a comparison between Cricut models, our article Cricut Maker vs Cricut Maker 3.

Silhouette Portrait 3

(Image credit: Silhouette)

07. Silhouette Portrait 3

The best small vinyl cutting machine

Specifications

Best for: Multi-tasking
Dimensions: 43.2 x 14 x 10.8 centimetres
Cutting width: 21 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
More affordable than most
+
2mm material passage
+
Only 1.59kg

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited on-board storage

Short on space? The first is the Silhouette Portrait 3, a lower-cost, portable machine. It has an in-built roll feeder and weighs about the same as the Cricut Joy, despite being a lot more equipped for different materials. 

Silhouette is often pitted as a Cricut alternative, and this is an excellent example. It works with both Bluetooth and USB connection, so you'll always have the guarantee of a backup if your connection fails. Another smart feature is the auto-detection of different cutting tools, depending on what material you're working with. 

Cricut Joy product shot

(Image credit: Cricut)

08. Cricut Joy

The best portable vinyl cutting machine

Specifications

Best for: Taking on the go
Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 10.8 centimetres
Cutting width: 10 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Perfect for smaller tasks
+
Cuts up to 20 feet at once

Reasons to avoid

-
No on-board controls

The Cricut Joy is specially designed for vinyl cutting. While it's got a narrower cutting width, it can work on Smart Materials for as long as 20 feet, making it suitable for banners or repetitive tasks without too much supervision. You won't even need a cutting mat when working with Cricut's own materials, meaning it can go on and on. It's neat and compact, and looks pretty cute, too. 

Because it's controlled entirely from your phone or laptop, the Cricut Joy Vinyl Machine isn't a good choice for those who would prefer to push physical buttons. It doesn't have so much as an 'on' button, so it's really designed for techy types who want to work entirely from their vinyl cutting software. 

Silhouette

(Image credit: Silhouette)

09. Silhouette Cameo 4

The best vinyl cutting machine for t-shirts

Specifications

Best for: T-shirts
Dimensions: 20 x 57 x 17 centimetres
Cutting width: 30 centimetres

Reasons to buy

+
3mm cutting clearance
+
Built-in cross cutter
+
Backlit control panel

Reasons to avoid

-
Matless cutting only works on some materials

With a 3-millimeter clearance, the Silhouette Cameo 4 works on all sorts of material, from vinyl to leather. It's perfectly suited to working on t-shirts because of its generous cutting width, ideal for larger logos and images. 

You can control the Cameo 4 using Bluetooth or a USB connection, but there are on-board controls too, which will let you master the basics without having to unlock your phone. The built-in cross cutter will keep vinyl edges neat, ready for your next project. 

Choosing a vinyl cutting machine

Cricut Joy

(Image credit: Cricut)

How do I choose the best vinyl cutter machine?

The best vinyl cutter machines used to be predominantly die-cut models, with manual cutters that were only as good as the dies you buy. These days, models from Cricut and Silhouette mean you can have endless fun printing different vinyl stickers for use on cards, labelling, making banners, and even on clothing. 

Cricuts are certainly the most popular, but the Cricut vs Silhouette debate is still pretty active. Silhouette machines are often just as capable, and a lot cheaper than Cricut, but they lack the sturdy design with generous in-built storage. 

When choosing, think about the size of the projects you'll be working on. While cutting width is a big factor, machines that don't need a mat will mean you're not limited on the length of your project. Cricut models that use the brand's Smart Materials can go for as long as 12 feet, and that includes the nifty Cricut Joy. 

Are vinyl cutting machines portable?

While some vinyl cutting machines are hefty and not ideal for moving away from your crafting space, others can be transported to any place you may want to use them, and they're also a lot more storage-friendly. In our view, the best portable vinyl cutting machine is the Cricut Joy. It's neat and compact, and although that means a narrow cutting width, it can work on Smart Materials for as long as 20 feet, making it suitable for banners. 

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Millie Fender
Millie Fender

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