A cutting machine is a fun tool for craft-makers interested in pursuing their passion and creating fun projects for friends and family at parties. However, it’s indispensable for true artisans who are trying to make a living out of it.
The market is filled with a wide range of cutting machines, each promising more features than its rivals. So it can be difficult to find the right product, and it pretty much depends on what you plan to do with it.
Created by different brands, Scan and Cut and Cameo are dedicated to artisans, amateurs, and small business owners who want to make a profit out of their craftsmanship.
If you’re on the fence when it comes to these two cutting machines, we’re here to set the record straight and help you decide which one is better for you: Brother Scan and Cut or Silhouette Cameo.
What Is the Brother Scan and Cut Machine?
Brother Scan and Cut is an electronic cutting machine that can mainly cut through paper-based materials, such as cardstock, tracing, and poster board. However, it also works with plastic sheets, foam sheets, and some fabric.
Scan and Cut includes some awesome features that you won’t find in other similar products, including an LCD touchscreen display that provides on-screen editing, predefined designs so that you can print and cut without having to use software, as well as use self-calibration mode to accurately adjust blade settings.
What Is Silhouette Cameo?
Silhouette Cameo is an incredibly powerful machine that can cut through more than 100 materials. It comes with Silhouette Studio, the exclusive design software app made by all Silhouette cutting machines.
Cameo supports multiple tools and a system that automatically identifies which tool you’re using and tweaks software settings accordingly to leave no room for human error.
How to Compare Brother Scan and Cut and Silhouette Cameo
- Speed and power. The cutting machine should cut materials quickly and by applying enough force, depending on the type of material. Otherwise, your craft-making production will slow down, and you will not be able to sustain your business.
- Ease of use. Having a feature-rich cutting machine is great, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to operate it. Instead of spending countless watching YouTube tutorials or talking to customer support, you should be able to swiftly learn the ins and outs of your cutting machine.
- Durability. Sure, you can find a lot of cheap vinyl cutters, but this won’t matter if the machines soon break down. So it’s worth investing in quality cutting machines made from long-lasting materials.
- Commercial use. Having a craft-making hobby is great, but why not turn your passion into a business to make some money out of it? To do this, the cutting machine should be optimized for commercial usage.
- Accuracy. Owning a cutting machine with multiple blades and which can cut various types of materials means that you have to calibrate settings every time you want to change something. But the best machines out there can tweak the pressure, speed, and thickness settings automatically.
- Noise. If you’re a work-from-home mom or dad, you need a quiet machine that won’t wake up your kids as soon as you turn it on. There are no 100% noiseless cutting machines, but some of them are pretty quiet.
- Price. The most expensive cutting machine is not necessarily the best one. Besides, you also have to take into account the amount of money that you will invest in extra tools, mats, materials, and other accessories.
Not Enough Time for a Full Read? Here’s a Comparison Chart
Keep in mind that there are multiple models available for these two cutting machines. For the purpose of this article, we took into account Silhouette Cameo 4 and Brother Scan and Cut 2 CM650W since they are currently the most powerful machines from the Silhouette and Brother families.
|Brother Scan and Cut||Silhouette Cameo|
|Machine Dimensions||10.25 x 23 x 10.5 in (26 x 58 x 27 cm)||22.44 x 7.68 x 6.69 in (57 x 19.5 x 17 cm)|
|Machine Weight||8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)||10 lbs 6.4 oz (4.7 kg)|
|Max. Cutting Area||11.68 x 11.76 in (30 x 30 cm) with a cutting mat|
11.68 x 23.76 in (30 x 60 cm) without a cutting mat
|12 x 24 in (30.5 x 61 cm) with a cutting mat
12 in x 10 ft (30.5 cm x 3 m) without a cutting mat
|Max. Cutting Force||0.77 lbs (350 g)||Carriage 1: 0.46 lbs (210 g)
Carriage 2: 11 lbs (5 kg)
|Max. Material Thickness||0.08 in (2 mm)||0.12 in (3 mm)|
|Materials||Fewer than 20 (printer paper, cardstock, vellum, flannel, others)||More than 100 (vinyl, heat transfer, cardstock, chipboard, fabric, others)|
|Connectivity||USB, Wi-Fi||USB, Bluetooth|
|LCD Touchscreen Display||Yes||No|
|Integrated Scanner?||Yes (600 DPI)||Yes (PixScan)|
|Out-of-the-Box Designs||Yes (without software)||Yes (with software)|
|Price||Check price on Amazon.||Check price on Amazon.|
A Side-by-Side Comparison: Brother Scan and Cut vs. Silhouette Cameo
Now, let’s take a closer look and figure out what this data actually means.
Size and Weight
Cameo is much larger than Scan and Cut, but the difference isn’t that significant when it comes to the weight – only 1.73 lbs (800 g). However, this means that you will need a larger workspace dedicated to Cameo, without including the space necessary to perform cuts, store accessories, or use the software.
Neither machine is portable, though, so it would be slightly awkward to pack up the machine and carry it in a bag whenever you’re on the move, whether you proceed with the Brother cutting machine or Silhouette Cameo.
Silhouette Cameo wins.
Both machines cut materials using a mat. However, they also come with an integrated roll feeder that allows you to perform matless cuts. In turn, this extends the cutting length. For example, you can use this technique to create long vinyl stickers or decals.
When it comes to the maximum cutting length, Cameo surpasses Scan and Cut in both cases: with and without a mat. While Brother Scan and Cut is limited to a length of 11.76 in (30 cm) with a mat and 23.76 in (60 cm) without a mat, Cameo goes further to 24 in (61 cm) with a mat and 10 ft (3 m) without a mat.
Silhouette Cameo wins.
Cutting, Drawing, and Dual-Carriage
Dual-Carriage is a system that allows a machine to simultaneously use two tools at the same time. For example, it makes it possible to cut material and draw on it at the same time. It’s an awesome cost-saving solution because you won’t waste time having to manually change the blade with a pen. And, you can conveniently leave the machine unattended while it’s busy with the cutting and drawing task.
Both Brother Scan and Cut 2 and Silhouette Cameo are equipped with cutting and drawing abilities. However, only Cameo comes equipped with a Dual-Carriage to perform both jobs at the same time. So, if you were to go with Scan and Cut 2, you would have to set up a multi-step operation that involves manually installing the blade, waiting until the cutting is done, then replacing the blade with a pen and waiting until it finishes writing or drawing the design.
Silhouette Cameo wins.
Cutting Force, Clearance, and Materials
Brother Scan and Cut has a maximum cutting force of 0.77 lbs (350 g), which is more than enough to cut softer materials that are up to 0.08 in (2 mm) thick. On the other hand, Silhouette Cameo is one of the most powerful cutting machines in the market, with a downward force of 11 lbs (5 kg), making it capable of gliding and rolling through materials that are up to 0.12 in (3 mm) thick.
What does this mean for you? If you have a niche business that’s focused on softer materials, like paper, vinyl, and everything in between, you will have no problems by choosing Brother Scan and Cut. However, if you ever want to expand your business and explore thicker materials like foam or wood paper sheets, you must choose Silhouette Cameo.
Speaking of materials, Brother Scan and Cut isn’t that versatile since it supports fewer than 20 materials, such as paper (printer, scrapbook, cardstock, vellum, tracing, poster board), fabric (thin cotton, flannel, felt), and magnetic sticker or seal. But Silhouette Cameo is compatible with more than 100 materials, such as glass-etching cream heat transfer (glitter, metallic, reflective, etc.), vinyl (glossy, matte, whiteboard, printable, etc.), wood paper sheets, cork, and cotton canvas or fabric.
Silhouette Cameo wins.
Auto-Blade, Crosscutter, and Deep Cut Blade
The two cutting machines include an Auto-Blade feature, which means that you don’t have to manually tweak the pressure and speed every time you change the blade or material since this will be handled automatically. You just have to make a simple software tweak.
Additionally, Silhouette Cameo has a Crosscutter, which makes it possible to cut vinyl or heat transfer without a mat, as well as to cut finished products so that you don’t have to do it manually by using a pair of scissors.
Meanwhile, Brother Scan and Cut comes with a Deep Cut Blade that allows you to cut thicker materials like fabric, leather, hard paper, foam, and balsa wood.
Both cutting machines have an integrated scanner you can use to scan any photo and use it in your cutting designs.
When it comes to Brother Scan and Cut, you can use the LCD touchscreen display and its on-screen editing features in order to rotate, resize, combine and use more image manipulation options.
It has a high resolution of 600 DPI, scans designs up to 11.7 in (30 cm) wide, and supports both monochrome and colored photos. You can also adjust the number of colors. Unfortunately, it seems that Brother has trouble scanning preserving the sharp colors of images scanned with low contrast.
Silhouette Cameo uses PixScan technology and edge detection to replicate images that you scan or photograph using your smartphone. The designs must be placed on a special PixScan cutting mat.
Exclusive Design Software Apps
When opting for Brother Scan and Cut, you can use Brother CanvasWorkspace, a proprietary design app use by all Brother cutting machines, in order to design and prepare projects for printing and cutting. It only works with Windows and Mac, though, so you can’t use it on smartphones or tablets running Android or iOS.
Silhouette Cameo also has an exclusive design application, which is called Silhouette Studio, and is used by all Silhouette cutting machines. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS (you can find it as Silhouette Go on the Play Store and App Store).
However, when purchasing Cameo, you will also receive 100 exclusive designs available for download, along with a 30-day free trial to the Silhouette Design Store, where you can explore, download and use even more templates.
Silhouette Cameo wins.
Printing Designs without Software
There is one key aspect when Brother Scan and Cut overcomes Silhouette Cameo. It comes with more than 1100 built-in designs, 140 quilt patterns, and 15 fonts that you can use in your projects without having to resort to a computer and software application. It’s because it has an internal memory module, which can also remember your designs in case you want to reuse them later.
Thanks to the LCD touchscreen display with on-screen editing options, you can make simple tweaks to the templates before starting the cutting operation. On top of that, Scan and Cut lets you upload designs from a USB flash drive.
Brother Scan and Cut wins.
Connectivity and Noise Level
You shouldn’t have any problems connecting your computer to the cutting machine since both Brother Scan and Cut and Silhouette Cameo support USB and wireless connectivity. The only difference is that you need to join the same Wi-Fi network on your computer and Brother machine, while Cameo supports Bluetooth connectivity. The type of wireless connection doesn’t actually matter since you still need to be in the range of the cutting machine – you can’t run jobs remotely.
As far as noise is concerned, Brother Scan and Cut is quieter than Silhouette Cameo. All Silhouette cutting machines are loud, so you can’t use them to pull late-night shifts or work on the weekends without disturbing your kids or neighbors.
Machine price and maintenance costs
Both cutting machines come in various sizes, models, and prices. The most significant difference is when it comes to the maintenance costs, however. If you want to buy extra blades, mats, and accessories later, you will find them at affordable prices for Silhouette Cameo. However, the accessory prices are outrageous for Brother Scan and Cut.
The Pros and Cons
The Pros of Brother Scan and Cut
Brother Scan and Cut is a great cutting machine for beginners who don’t want to waste time learning a design software application. It makes it possible to upload images directly from a USB flash drive for printing and cutting.
Plus, you can explore predefined designs on the LCD touchscreen display without having to resort to a computer and a piece of software. There are more than 1100 built-in designs, 140 quilt patterns, and 15 fonts put at your disposal. On-screen editing options are available, too, so that you can rotate, resize or weld images together.
You can use this cutting machine for hobbies or small businesses that handle paper, vinyl, and everything in between. However, you can also purchase the Deep Cut Blade to cut thicker material like foam or wood sheets. The blade has 5 adjustable levels and gets calibrated on its own by tinkering with the software settings.
Speaking of software, Brother CanvasWorkspace is pretty intuitive and allows you to quickly create designs for printing and cutting. You get a free copy of this tool once you buy a Brother cutting machine.
As far as connectivity is concerned, you can link your computer to the cutting machine by joining the same Wi-Fi network or by using a USB cable. So, you can create a tangle-free zone that’s also space for any critters that might be running around your house.
Brother Scan and Cut is really quiet, which means that you can afford to have a flexible crafting schedule and safely work during resting hours without becoming a nuisance for neighbors, family members, or housemates.
The Cons of Brother Scan and Cut
Brother Scan and Cut isn’t that versatile when it comes to the type of materials it can cut (fewer than 20), which is limited by the 0.12 in (3 mm) material clearance. So, if you ever plan on expanding your niche business, you might have to upgrade to a more powerful cutting machine.
Although the Brother machine can cut and draw on materials, it can’t do both tasks at the same time since it doesn’t have a Dual-Carriage system. It will make it harder to do business when you have numerous customer orders on standby that require both cutting and writing.
When it comes to the built-in scanner, we have discovered some areas where it can be improved. For instance, Scan and Cut has no sort of issues with scanning monochrome images, but results may vary when it comes to colored designs, specifically when the contrast is not correct. In this case, you might have to repeat the operation several times until you get it right, which means wasting materials and time.
On top of that, the LCD touchscreen display doesn’t have a great response time, whether you’re using your finger or the stylus to perform a simple command like clicking a button or opening a menu.
Brother CanvasWorkspace is not available for Android or iOS. Although the software application is easy to use, it doesn’t contain advanced image editing features. So, if you’re an experienced designer, you can’t give up your subscription to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, or whatever graphic processing app you might be using.
The machine itself is not that expensive, but the costs of extra tools, mats, and accessories are inexplicably high. It also doesn’t help that mats lose their stickiness pretty fast, which means they must be replaced often.
The Pros of Silhouette Cameo
Silhouette Cameo is one of the most powerful cutting machines in the industry, thanks to the 11 lbs (5 kg) cutting force and 0.12 in (3 mm) material clearance. And its speed has been greatly improved since Cameo 3.
You can use it to cut a wide range of materials (more than 100), which opens numerous possibilities for not only starting but also sustaining a crafting business.
It has an Auto Blade that adjusts settings automatically, along with a Crosscutter feature that makes it possible to cut designs that are already finished (instead of using scissors). There’s also an integrated scanner that uses PixScan technology and edge detection.
Thanks to a Dual-Carriage system, Cameo can cut materials and draw or write on them at the same time, greatly improving your business’ production time. It surpasses Brother Scan and Cut when it comes to the material’s cutting area – up to 10 ft (3 m) long without a cutting mat.
Silhouette Studio is really easy to use and comes with 100 exclusive designs that you can download from the Internet and use in your projects. It works not only with Windows and Mac but also with Android and iOS. There’s also a 30-day free trial to Silhouette Design Store included in the purchase.
You can connect your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to the Cameo by attaching a USB cable or by enabling Bluetooth.
Not only the machine but also any extra accessories are affordable, so you won’t spend a fortune investing in your craft-making business or hobby.
The Cons of Silhouette Cameo
Silhouette Cameo is quite large, so it can be tricky to find room for it. Unlike Brother Scan and Cut, it’s not built to perform tasks without its dedicated software. Subsequently, you can’t use its USB slot to directly upload images from a USB pen drive.
The machine is pretty loud, like all Silhouette cutting machines. You won’t be able to use it while others are sleeping or resting in your home, so you have to come up with a fixed schedule or invest in an office space if you want to make your crafting business truly profitable.
Why Is Silhouette Cameo Better?
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each cutting machine, we can confidently say that Silhouette Cameo is better than Brother Scan and Cut 2. Here’s why:
- Ideal for vinyl stickers and decals
- Comes equipped with an intuitive design software solution (Silhouette Studio) that helps you quickly create and upload designs for printing and cutting
- Explore more than 100,000 templates and use any of them in your business instead of designing projects from the ground up
- One of the most versatile vinyl cutters since it can glide and roll through more than 100 materials, including chipboard, single-sided adhesive cardstock, wash-away fabric stabilizer, vellum, and fabric ink
- Make matless cuts by using an integrated roller feeder, which allows you to cut up to 10 ft (3 m) long
- Sleek and elegant machine design that will make you an instant hit at parties
- Budget-friendly cutting plotter with affordable accessories
FAQ: Learn MoreAbout Brother Scan and Cut and Silhouette Cameo
What does the Brother Scan and Cut do?
Brother Scan and Cut can cut materials for do-it-yourself projects and craft-making businesses. It works with paper (printer, scrapbook, cardstock, vellum, tracing, poster board), fabric (thin cotton, flannel, felt, as well as magnet sticker or seal.
What software does the Brother cutter use?
Brother Scan and Cut and all Brother cutting machines use Brother CanvasSpace. It’s a web software application available for Windows and Mac only, which includes simple editing tools to help you create, design and prepare images for printing and cutting. It’s not compatible with Android or iOS.
What is the best vinyl cutter?
At the moment, the best vinyl cutter in the market is Cricut Maker 3. It’s followed by Silhouette Cameo 4, Cricut Explore Air 2, USCutter 28-Inch Titan 3, Brother Scan and Cut, Silhouette Portrait 3, and Cricut Joy.
What’s better between Cricut and Brother?
Although Brother Scan and Cut has some unique features, like cutting designs straight from a USB flash drive and without using a software application, we think that Cricut Maker 3 is better. It supports a wide range of tools, can cut through over 300 materials, and its accessories are really affordable.
Can you use an iPad with Silhouette Cameo 4?
Yes, you can connect an iPad to Silhouette Cameo 4 as well as download, install and use Silhouette Go from the App Store to create, prepare and send designs for cutting.
Can you cut wood with Silhouette Cameo 4?
Yes, you can use Silhouette Cameo 4 to cut balsa wood.
Final Thoughts: What to Pick Between Brother Scan and Cut and Silhouette Cameo?
The bottom line is that Silhouette Cameo is better than Brother Scan and Cut in almost all aspects. Its cutting force is unmatched, even better than Cricut Maker 3. You can use it to cut over 100 materials, including thick ones like foam or balsa wood.
Cameo tweaks blade settings almost completely automatic and can cut designs that have been already processed. You can also use it to scan images, cut and draw simultaneously, and create matless cuts up to 10 ft (3 m) long.
Furthermore, Silhouette Studio is super intuitive and doesn’t require any kind of graphic editing experience. Finally, Cameo is significantly cheaper than Scan and Cut when taking into account the cost of maintenance (tools, mats, materials, etc.).
However, this doesn’t mean that Brother Scan and Cut is a poor cutting machine. On the contrary, it remains one of the most performant vinyl cutters in the market, and it is especially aimed at beginners.
Whether you decide to purchase Silhouette Cameo or Brother Scan and Cut, make sure to return to this page after taking the machine for a spin and leave us your feedback in the comment section below.