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Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review

Can the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D replace Cricut Maker 3 as the top craft machine for you?

5 Star Rating
A photo of the Brother ScanNCut SDX on a wooden table
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

As a Cricut devotee, the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D has turned my head. This craft cutting machine can perfect pretty much every task the Cricut Maker 3 can do. What really sets this machine apart is its ease of use and onboard computer and LCD display – every function is a button press away, including the wonderful option to scan cuts directly in the machine. If you want to go deeper the CanvasWorkspace offers a bespoke design space and the machine itself can be manually adjusted, something Cricut doesn't offer. Honestly, Brother just gave me a reason to pack away my Cricut.

For

  • Easy to pick and and use
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Excellent LCD display and assistance
  • Scan and cutting is revolutionary

Against

  • It's a pricey option

For a while now Cricut has dominated the craft machine space, and for good reason. But there are some top Cricut alternatives on the market and the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D is one of the best. The difference here is the onboard computer, LCD touchscreen and built-in 600 dpi scanner that turns images into cut data without a need for a PC or laptop.

Like other craft machines the ScanNCut SDX2200D can cut most materials. Uniquely it can also scan nearly anything, including drawings, project templates and even photos. New designs can be cut or drawn from these scans, which are saved to the machine's memory – in fact everything you do can be stored and reused.

We have a guide to the best Cricut alternatives to help you see what else is available, and we have a feature on Cricut versus Silhouette, which compares two of the leading brands. Take a look at our guide to the best Cricut machines if you want to gauge how the ScanNCut SDX2200D measures up to its rivals.

A key part of this craft cutting machine is being able to scan and then cut in one go. It feels revolutionary to use. This particular Disney branded model comes with exclusive designs and projects featuring the Mouse House's most popular franchises – ideal for party decorations, gifts, cards and even wallpaper.

What you get for your money is a powerful craft machine that can be used out-of-the-box. There's no need for a computer, scanner or any add-ons – everything you need is in the box. I'll go into more detail about what you get and how this works in my review below. In particular I'll explain how this machine is perfect for quilters and why it's scanner could be my favourite yet.

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review: setup

One thing levelled at Cricut machines is they can be a little tricky to get up and running with, particularly as everything goes through the Design Space app. Not so the ScanNCut SDX2200D. Out of the box you can be creating your first paper craft project in minutes – for my Disney branded machine it's a Disney papercraft bag for holding treats. 

Everything I need is in the box: the card, project pattern and even a step-by-step guide. The fact the ScanNCut SDX2200D can be controlled via the onboard computer and large 5-inch LCD touchscreen means there's no faffing around for instructions – at a couple of clicks my project is printed.

In the box you get everything you need to try out the machine's features and its setup for future projects. The Auto Blade can cut pretty much anything and the included Thin Fabric Auto Blade is just the job for quilting and delicate garment cutting (Cricut would have you buy one separately). There's a six colour pen set and a two erasable pen set included, and the holders for both so you can try out the illustration projects found in the ScanNCut SDX2200D's database.

You can just get stuck in to creating and testing out everything the ScanNCut SDX2200D has to offer out-of-the-box

Between the mats, sheets, sample fabrics and 1,455 pre-loaded projects you can just get stuck into creating and testing out everything the ScanNCut SDX2200D has to offer with no extra expense. Special mention goes to the Rhinestone Trial Kit – this is something I've not tried before so it was great fun creating a rhinestone pattern that can be ironed onto clothing (you get the stones, spatular, tweezers and material included).

After a few hours of experimenting you can go deeper into the machine's capabilities by downloading the CanvasWorkspace app and creating your own designs. The app is simple and clear to use, but currently only works on Windows and Mac, meaning Android and Chromebook users aren't catered for. This is the only misstep in a near faultless setup process.

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review: design

The ScanNCut SDX2200D is blockier and chunkier than the Cricut machines you may have seen before. That's not to say this Brother machine is ugly, far from it, there's a strength to the angles and overall build. The coloured blocks at either end of the cutting area create a separation and lightness, too. With a footprint of 21.5 x 53 x 17cm when closed, or 42 x 53 x 17cm when open, it's about the same size as a Cricut Maker 3.

There are some nice hidden features in the ScanNCut SDX2200D that help you get more out of the machine and show a little finesse. For example, the tray that feeds material into the cutting area houses a lidded compartment for storing pens, blades and tools. Likewise an indented top plate and groove are perfect for storage.

The switch at the side of the machine alters between cutting and drawing modes, which I find very useful and avoids any mishaps – but this is likely due to the Auto Blade's detection system that judges material depth before cutting.

Special mention goes to the large 5-inch LCD touchscreen that controls the ScanNCut SDX2200D. This display is a bright screen controlled by touch or using the included stylus for greater accuracy. It's easy to navigate and has icons and menus that accurately represent what they do (trust me, some other apps like this make no sense). The screen folds away for a compact look.

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review: performance

A photo of the ScanNCut SDX2200D's LCD screen with quilt patterns

The ScanNCut comes with pre-made shapes that can be adjusted and welded into new designs via the LCD display (Image credit: Future)

The ScanNCut SDX2200D is, frankly, impressive. The machine can cut almost anything and in different ways – for example standard cutting or kiss-cutting to create perforations for stickers. I've been using the machine for two weeks for this review and find it's whisper-quiet and very fast; it feels a generation ahead of my old Cricut Maker. 

This new SDX2200D model (as well as the SDX1200) features a blade that automatically detects the depth of the material you're cutting and adjusts. It can cut up to 3mm thick materials, which is more than the Cricut Maker and Maker 3 – you'll need the Knife Blade (sold separately) to match the ScanNCut SDX2200D.

In the box / features

1,455 Designs, including 132 Disney patterns
20 bonus Disney roll feeder patterns
Universal pen holder
Rhinestone trial kit
PES/PHC/PHX file readability
Two pieces of high tack adhesive fabric support sheets
Two pieces of iron on fabric applique contact sheets
Six piece colour pen set
Two piece erasable pen set
Pen holder
Cardstock and first project (DIsney bag)
One 12X12 standard tack mat and
One12X12 low tack mat
One Auto Blade and holder
One Thin Fabric Auto Blade holder
Two year warranty - UK only

No matter what you plan on doing with the ScanNCut SDX2200D – papercraft, quilting or embossing – there's a pre-made pattern and project to make use of. The 12 x 24-inch cutting space is good enough for these and self-designed projects too. A few taps of the LCD screen and you're off.

I want to go deeper into what this machine can do for this review so I create some of my own designs using the LCD touchscreen and onboard computer. It's very easy, you can adjust the shapes and blocks on screen, alter the size, merge, 'weld' and generally do everything you need to do from inside the machine – no computer needed. It can even add seam allowance into your designs, which is an incredible option for sewists and quilters – seriously, I love this feature. 

Coupled with the 140 Built-in quilt and appliqué designs, this really is a great machine for sewists to embrace.

It can automatically set the pattern pieces to the cutting board so there's little waste. In a similar vein, you can scan in irregular or leftover material and the ScanNCut DX2200 will set pattern pieces to make maximum use of the material you have. As money can be tight, this is an excellent feature to avoid waste.

The scanner… this is the ScanNCut SDX2200D's secret weapon and Brother's big gamble. The machine is more costly than its rivals – Cricut and Silhouette – because it has the built-in scanner (and LCD/CPU). I test it out in a number of ways.

First, I scan in a complex material and overlay a shape, the machine will cut out the material to that shape, useful for creating repetitive and accurate designs from old fabrics. A more complex use is to scan in a fabric, highlight the edges of a design and the ScanNCut SDX2200D will cut this out. You can also scan a drawing and it will cut this out (and again add a seam allowance if needed) and is perfect for taking your designs directly into material patterns and projects.

My favourite use of the scanner was transferring old patterns from paper into the machine to then cut my fabric. It was as easy to do as scanning the design, then loading my material and pressing cut. The scan comes back with seam allowance and is perfectly proportioned (even some standalone scanners are prone to reducing or enlarging proportions).

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review: price

A photo of the Disney logo on the Brother cutting machine

The ScanNCut SDX2200D edition comes with Disney designs that include Frozen projects (Image credit: Future)

There's no escaping the cost of a ScanNCut SDX2200D (known as the SDX330D in the US), at $599.99 / £599.99 it's more expensive than Cricut's premier machine, the Maker 3, which sells for $429.99 / £399. But for this you get a built in scanner and onboard computer with LCD touchscreen. Unlike a Cricut machine that needs to be connected to a laptop for use, the ScanNCut SDX2200D can get going straight away – you can create projects directly into the machine.

If you like the sound of this machine but want something a little cheaper, then there's also the ScanNCut SDX135 Pro ($499 / £499) that has the same cutting power and LCD touchscreen but lacks the SDX2200D's cutting size and number of pre-designed patterns.

Considering the price you need to acknowledge this is largely a one-off payment with the Brother, the blades, mats, pens and tool holders included can cut thicker and more materials than Cricut and Silhouette machines out of the box. For Cricut in particular you'll need to purchase new blades to get a similar overall performance. And if you want to go deeper into what the ScanNCut SDX2200D can do, the CanvasWorkspace is excellent, free and easy to use.

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review: should I buy one?

A photo of the ScanNCut SDX220D at an angle

(Image credit: Future)

If you're new to these computerised craft cutting machines I'd absolutely recommend buying a ScanNCut SDX220D. Out of the box it can pretty much do anything, with the only extra you need being the roll feeder ($49.99 / £49.99) for large lengths of material or vinyl. The onboard computer and LCD touchscreen work perfectly and is far more accessible than Cricut and Silhouette machines that require a PC.

The built-in scanner is a joy. I regularly need to use a scanner with my Cricut Maker so having the option to perform this task in the cutter itself, edit the design, and then cut is well-worth having. It's a timesaver and opens up new creative possibilities.

If you're already invested in Cricut and have the array of extra tools associated with a Maker or Explore then perhaps this isn't for you. But if you're looking for first craft cutting machine I'd highly recommend the ScanNCut SDX220D ahead of others. Likewise, if you're a sewist or crafter the easy scan and cut ability of this machine, as well as how it calculates and adds seam allowances, makes the ScanNCut SDX220D unmissable. I love it.

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The Verdict
10

out of 10

Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D

As a Cricut devotee, the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D has turned my head. This craft cutting machine can perfect pretty much every task the Cricut Maker 3 can do. What really sets this machine apart is its ease of use and onboard computer and LCD display – every function is a button press away, including the wonderful option to scan cuts directly in the machine. If you want to go deeper the CanvasWorkspace offers a bespoke design space and the machine itself can be manually adjusted, something Cricut doesn't offer. Honestly, Brother just gave me a reason to pack away my Cricut.

Julie Dean is a former doctor and occupational therapist by profession which inspired her to start sewing and quilting as a therapeutic activity. She is passionate about her craft and has been quilting and using Cricut for over five years. As well as selling her own work on Etsy Julie has taken commissions for interior design agencies to create bespoke quilts, including Beata Heuman (opens in new tab). Julie's work has appeared in Architectural Digest (opens in new tab).