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Cricut Alternatives (2020): Best Die-Cutting Machines From Brother, Silhouette And Sizzix

There’s no denying that Cricut is the market leader for vinyl cutting machines. However, if you want to try something different from another brand, or simply wish to take the less-beaten path, there are Cricut alternatives aplenty. Here are the top three die cutting machines from Cricut’s competitors: the Brother ScanNCut, the Silhouette Cameo 4, and the Sizzix Big Shot.

Cricut Alternatives Comparison

ModelBrother ScanNCutSilhouette Cameo 4Sizzix Big Shot
Silhouette Cameo 4 WhiteSizzix Big Shot
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ModelSDX125SILH-CAMEO-4-BLK-4T661500
Dimensions20.9″ x 8.5″ x 6.822.4″ x 7.68″ x 6.69″14.2″ x 12.4″ x 6.6″
Weight12.79 lbs10 lbs10.7 lbs
Max Cutting Area12″ x 24″12″ x 24″A5
Max Material Height3 mm3 mmn/a
Cutting PressureUp to 1,260 gfUp to 5,000 gfn/a
SoftwareCanvas WorkspaceSilhouette StudioNone
ExpandableYesYesNo
StorageYesYesNo
Included ToolsAuto Blade, Pen, Spatula, Stylus, Adhesive MatsAutoBlade, Cutting MatMultipurpose Platform, Cutting Pads, Die Sets, Embossing Folder
ConnectivityWi-FiBluetoothNone
Colors251

Brother ScanNCut SDX125

Standalone cutting machine with built-in scanner and LCD screen

Cricut Alternatives - Brother ScanNCut SDX125e
Create unique projects by scanning and cutting original drawings with the Brother ScanNCut.

The Brother ScanNCut SDX125 is a popular Cricut alternative with unique features not found on other cutting machines. Just like its name says, you can scan and cut your own patterns with it, which is particularly great if you like drawing your own designs. Moreover, it has several features that make it an excellent complement for quilting and other fabric-based projects.

Top Features of the Brother ScanNCut SDX125e

First off, the Brother ScanNCut is the only DIY cutting machine that has a 600 dpi scanner built into the device. This lets you turn any scannable image, whether it’s your child’s handwriting or a family photo, into a design that can be drawn or cut expertly by the machine. It comes with more than 682 built-in designs as well, including 100 quilting patterns, so you’ll have plenty of patterns to choose from.

The other noteworthy feature of the ScanNCut is a 5-inch LCD touchscreen that pops out on the top of the machine. This lets you edit designs on the machine itself, so you can cut even without connecting to a computer or mobile device. It also has internal memory where you can save pattern data to cut or retrieve later. For advanced editing, you can install Canvas Workspace on your laptop and use a variety of compatible file types.

As to cutting power, the SDX125 lets you cut up to 3mm-thick materials, such as foam, balsa and thick cardstock, using the included Auto Blade. Other cutting machines typically require a separately-purchased blade to accomplish this. It’s able to auto-detect the thickness of your material and adjust as necessary. Optional accessories and tools expand what it can do by letting you emboss, perforate, foil, etc.

Should You Get The Brother ScanNCut SDX125?

We highly recommend the Brother ScanNCut SDX125 for those who prefer a standalone cutting machine that doesn’t rely on computers or phones for editing. With its touchscreen and scanner, you can draw your design, scan it, and cut it, with only the ScanNCut on your table. Quilters will also find it well-suited for cutting fabrics. Best of all, it’s powerful and quiet, letting you use thin and thick materials with ease.

Silhouette Cameo 4

Fast and powerful cutting machine with maximum versatility

Cricut Alternatives - Silhouette Cameo 4
With a built-in roll feeder, the Silhouette Cameo 4 can cut rolled materials with precision.

If you’re after a cutting machine more powerful than the best Cricut has to offer, may we present the Silhouette Cameo 4. This desktop crafting machine has a dual motor system that allows it to cut thicker materials faster than other cutting machines. Moreover, it enables mat-less cutting with select materials for convenience and speed.

Top Features of the Silhouette Cameo 4

Silhouette America packed some serious cutting prowess into the Cameo 4 using a unique dual carriage system. Different motors power each separate carriage, with the second one providing additional downward cutting force that beats the Cricut Maker. It’s also able to auto-detect the tool you insert into the carriage and adjust the settings in the Silhouette Studio design software automatically. Furthermore, the Cameo 4 is able to cut up to 30 cm per second, putting it ahead in the cutting machine class in terms of speed.

The included AutoBlade has already been reconfigured to adapt faster to settings changes, and with automated adjustments, it’s able to fine-tune the exact force necessary to cut your selected material. Speaking of which, the Silhouette Cameo 4 also has a built-in roll feeder so you can align and secure rolled materials to keep it straight for long or repeated designs. As these have their own backing, you can feed them into the Cameo 4 without worrying about cutting mats.

Once done with cutting, you can use the built-in cross-cutter at the bottom of the Silhouette Cameo 4 for a precise, straight cut on material rolls. You can access additional tools to expand its cutting abilities, such as the Rotary Blade for specialty materials like leather, cotton cloth, wool, etc., the Kraft Blade for craft foam, burlap and thicker materials, and the Punch Tool to graft weeding points onto heat transfer projects.

Should You Get The Silhouette Cameo 4?

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is perhaps the biggest rival to Cricut’s premium cutter, the Cricut Maker. It matches everything that the popular cutting machine can do, and outperforming it in terms of speed and power. But what really makes it an excellent Cricut alternative is its price point, as it’s able to provide you all of these creative DIY possibilities for a much lower cost.

Another standout feature that makes the Silhouette Cameo 4 even more attractive is its ability to accommodate rolls of materials. This lets you cut out designs continuously and you get to skip cutting mats. Some also prefer the Silhouette Studio software over Cricut’s Design Space, and with a 1 month free trial for the Silhouette Design Store, you’re able to download as many designs as you wish from the 100,000+ available and keep them even after the subscription expires.

Sizzix Big Shot

Portable roller machine for beginners and experts alike

Cricut Alternatives - Sizzix Big Shot
Unlike other cutting machines, the Sizzix Big Shot requires no electricity to help you craft.

For something more traditional instead of high-tech, check out the Sizzix Big Shot, a portable die cutting tool that only needs your hands to power. It lets you cut designs using numerous metal dies inserted between pads to keep your material in place. No need for computers, software, or even electricity for this one – you just roll the Sizzix sandwich through and instantly get a perfectly cut shape.

Top Features of the Sizzix Big Shot

The best thing about the Sizzix Big Shot is of course its hand-operated functionality. You don’t have to navigate and learn complex design software, fiddle with connections, or mess around with file formats. Everything is done manually, from inserting your material, selecting the die, and rolling the prepared platform through the machine. For some, this approach feels more like traditional crafting, and your creativity is only really limited by the dies you have.

Thankfully, the complete starter kit for the Sizzix Big Shot has all you need to get right into scrapbooking, quilting, and more. It can cut and emboss a wide variety of materials, including cardstock, tissue, cork, balsa wood, and even craft metal. You can easily expand your toolset with the large library of accessories and implements in Sizzix’s library.

Another advantage of the manual operation of the Big Shot is that it won’t fall prey to malfunctioning components and buggy software that electronic cutting machines can face. It’s purely mechanical, and the machine itself doesn’t do the cutting; it simply applies pressure for the die to cut out the pattern. You’ll be getting a machine that does what it does without worrying about potential costly repairs.

Should You Get The Sizzix Big Shot?

As it’s a manual cutting machine, the Sizzix Big Shot is quite affordable, so it’s great if you want to craft but don’t have the budget to spare for a complicated machine. Beginners will love being able to start their DIY adventures with a traditional die cutter, which is simple to learn but has many possibilities. Even those who already have other cutting machines will enjoy being able to go full manual with a project.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What are some of the best Cricut alternatives?

Here are the top three die cutting machines from Cricut’s competitors: the Brother ScanNCut, the Silhouette Cameo 4, and the Sizzix Big Shot.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is there a cheaper alternative to Cricut?

As it’s a manual cutting machine, the Sizzix Big Shot is quite affordable, so it’s great if you want to craft but don’t have the budget to spare for a complicated machine.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Silhouette Cameo 4 better than the Cricut Maker?

The Silhouette Cameo 4 is perhaps the biggest rival to Cricut’s premium cutter, the Cricut Maker. It matches everything that the popular cutting machine can do and even outperforms it in terms of speed and power.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Brother ScanNCut better than Cricut?

The Brother ScanNCut is the only DIY cutting machine that has a 600 dpi scanner built into the device. This lets you turn any scannable image into a design. To boot, it’s powerful and quiet, letting you use thin and thick materials with ease.

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Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.