Quilting different kinds of fabrics or embossing folders would seem a little improbable without a functional and savvy die-cut machine. There are different kinds of models in the market—some are perfect for starters, while others hold onto a specific kind of exercise. Whether you want to make texture plates for brands or try out a bunch of cardstock designs, owning a die-cut machine is a worthy investment especially if you’re a serial crafter.
But we’re glued to the fact that some of our readers are looking for reliability, while others need a portable model that’s functional but doesn’t dent their pockets. In this guide, we’ve looked at all other options and compiled a list of options that would suit your specific needs.
Best Die-Cut Machines (Reviews)
From a crafter’s perspective, owning a die-cut machine makes perfect sense. It’s a must-have tool especially if you’re looking to cut different sizes of fabric, cardstocks, or emboss paper materials a lot more often. We’ve reviewed 8 different models—each with a signature role. Read on to find out which works best for you.
Best Overall: Cricut, Lilac Maker
The Cricut Maker tops the list as an all-time favorite for DIY crafters and its reliability is by far unmatched. It’s not only useful when trimming paper crafts but also works seamlessly on iron-Ons and vinyl materials. Unlike most other die-cut machines in the market, this particular brand comes with a set of tools that would help you work on rigid materials such as genuine leather, Melton wool, and balsa models.
These accessories are perfect for learning new craft possibilities and make cutting different kinds of fabric a lot more efficient. Inside the box, you’ll find a razor-sharp rotary blade, point pen, and a scoring tool for cutting all kinds of materials. Most of all, there are a bunch of quilting and sewing patterns to work with. Aside from cutting most materials used in craft projects, this model lets you try out different and trendsetting decorative effects.View price on Amazon
Best for Starters: Cricut Explore Air 2, Mint
It’s no secret that the learning curve for some die-cut machines might be a little steep for beginners. The Cricut Explore Air 2, Mint model is exceptionally designed to flatten the curve. Its ease of use is peerless and the device runs on advanced software that has the capacity to level up your DIY craft projects. It’s a powerful device for crafters looking to custom-make stickers, home décor accessories, or emboss labels on gift cards, apparel, and screen prints.
Same as other models from this brand, you’ll get a few accessories such as the scoring stylus, light-grip adhesive cutting mat, together with a pre-installed Design Space software. You can download the digital designs for your craft projects using Bluetooth connectivity or via a USB cable. Cloud-based technology is for sure not only useful to a beginner but also adept crafters who want to customize, edit, and download designs on the go. While you need an internet connection to download a blueprint, you can use the offline mode feature to design any idea you have in mind. The Design Space app is available for iOS devices and it’s no wonder why this model has an obsessive following among most crafters—both starters and adept.View price on Amazon
Best for Embossing: Spellbinders Platinum Cut & Emboss Machine
With embossing, you need a model made of sturdy material and the steel construction which the Spellbinders die-cut machine is made of proves nothing less than durability. It’s capable of cutting up to 8 layers at a go on over 40 different materials such as metal, wood, leather, wool—the list goes on and on. While you need to apply some pressure when embossing, the handle on this model makes it less strenuous without compromising on its optimal strength. Apart from its solid cast construction, the cutting surface is about 8.5” inches wide, making this model gain footing in the world of DIY crafts.
If you want to emboss folder or texture plates for brands, this model will give you a run for your money when it comes to working on your projects with precision. It’s rare to find a manual die cutter with a sturdy steel gear that can cut automotive upholstery vinyl without leaving dents. The Spellbinders Cut & Emboss machine is perfect for users who are not interested in large cutting plates but want to emboss any kind of material without a hitch.View price on Amazon
Best Portable: Gemini Twin-Function Crafter’s Companion
So far, this is the top-ranking model you want to consider purchasing if perhaps you want to carry out all sorts of DIY projects wherever you go. The best part about this adaptive tool is its portability. But that’s not all—the efficiency is gives when embossing all kinds of craft projects can’t go unnoticed. If you have a small workspace in your home, this model fits quite well and the design is grand, compared to other portable options in the market that fail to make edge-to-edge cutting.
While you might be tempted to underlook its capacity to handle a heavy workload, we can’t miss highlighting its optimal pressure that builds up neatly when cutting multiple layers of fabric. Apart from that, you can use this miniature model to cut foils, vinyl, and cardstocks. Even though all that seems possible with the Gemini Junior, it depends on the type of die you’re using. If you’re looking to attend some crafting classes on weekends, this would be the most bountiful option to go with. It’s no wonder why it’s dubbed the ‘Crafter’s Companion’ by many DIYers.View price on Amazon
Best Manual: Sizzix Big Shot Manual Die
If you’re a beginner or an expert, this manual die-cutting tool gives the most impeccable and fail-proof results than most other machines in this category. This model doesn’t need any intricate computer software or get connected to a power source—yet it still cranks up an array of designs useful for all sorts of craft projects. Aside from die-cutting, the A5 size pad makes embossing on common materials used for craft designs less strenuous, especially for starters.
And if you’re an avid scrapbooker, we’d suggest you pick a manual die-cutting machine to isolate the need for depending on computer software anytime you want to preserve a few cherished memories. There’s no limit for this model when it comes to its reliability since it can handle a feeble sheet of paper, to rigid materials such as balsa wood without breaking down. The most engrossing part about the Big Shot machine is it’s compatible with a range of other die sets in the Sizzix library, apart from the Pro and Plus dies.
Most DIYers looking for a manual die-cutting tool opt for this model since there are lots of accessories that match its efficiency, compared to the Sizzix Big Shot Plus counterpart which is considered to be weightier when it comes to performance. It also cuts clean designs on materials such as cardstocks, craft metal, fabric, felt, Polly foam, and rubber.View price on Amazon
Best Budget: Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Combo
If you’re on a strapped budget, this is the go-to option. It works perfectly on paper material and ranks high under the scrapbooking die-cuts category. If you’re looking to emboss a few craft projects, you have the option to work on a card with up to 3’ inches in width quite effortlessly. While this model is such a bargain, the only cost implication you’ll have to bear is replacing the base plates especially if you’re using them regularly. And since it operates manually, you won’t need to get worked up with software updates.
Same as other top-ranking models in the market, it comes with a set of instructions and 7 cutting dies made of different shapes, to help you beat the learning curve. At such a competitive price range, it would be rare to find a manual model that can emboss folders with a heightened level of precision as it does. Its compact size makes it portable and fairly easy to store, compared to other die-cut machines.View price on Amazon
Best for Textiles: AccuQuilt GO Fabric Cutter
This machine works more efficiently and quicker than scissors or rotary cutting tools. It leaves no dents on fabric materials and a cutting mat is included in the package, so quilting two layers of textiles wouldn’t seem like an extreme sport anymore. Apart from its unmatched ease of use, the manufacturer of this model has designed it with safety in mind. If you’re an embroidery guru looking to quilt on the go, this is the perfect fabric cutter to tag along since it only weighs 15 pounds.
Whether your fabric crafts are for home use or retail, this model has the capacity to help quilt a wide array of patterns, depending on the shapes that interest you the most. Accubuilt GO Fabric Cutter is a useful tool for making gifts and saving lots of time. Even though it comes with user instructions, using it requires no effort at all.View price on Amazon
Best for Scaling: Sizzix Industrial Strength Die-Cutting & Embossing Machine
Die-cutting and embossing cards, invitations, and scrapbooks at a pro-level would require a sturdy tool. And no model beats the Sizzix Industrial Strength machine at its game. It’s made of steel, aluminum, and metal alloy, so this model won’t jam up quite easily even when it’s put to the test day after day. With a 33cm opening and the capacity to match up with the entire Sizzix library, it’s no doubt that the model can handle larger and finer projects.
This model is a perfect choice if you’re more into quilting and papercraft cutting. For smooth rolling action, the die cutter has an ergonomic handle that moves without having to exert so much pressure. Besides cardmaking and scrapbooking, the Sizzix application has wild ideas on home décor. You’ll also find lots of patchwork designs to work with.View price on Amazon
Choosing the right die-cut machine depends on the kind of craft ideas you’re looking to execute. While you might want to consider price when shopping around for a perfect model, it’s also worth looking at the features that each has to offer. You’ll find a model that’s portable but made of a material that is less durable. On the other hand, a die-cut machine might be perfect for textiles, but not paper cuts. Most of all, you want to look at the creativity aspect when buying a die-cut machine, so picking one that gives you space for more designs would be a brilliant idea.