Article - Comparing the Digital Die Cut Machines
You’ve decided you want an electric die cutting machine but are not sure what machine would be best for you. In this article I’ll cover some of the most important things you’ll want to consider in buying a cutter for home use. The best cutter for you may not be the best cutter for me. It will depend upon several key factors and those are what you’ll want to consider when making your decision.
First and foremost is cost. How much do you have available to spend on your machine? Is the money available now, or would you rather make a smaller investment to start and slowly add to that. For instance if you were to buy a Cricut, the initial output is less but as you buy the design cartridges that are needed your investment will soon be more than some of the heavy duty machines. The current range of MSRP prices for machines range from the Slice at $149 to the Klic-N-Kut Maxx 24” which is $1,049. Most of the “light weight” machines are in the $300-$500 range such as the Silhouette, Cricut, Wishblade, & Craft Robo. The more “heavy duty” machines range from $525-$600 like the Klic-N-Kut (KNK) Groove, Bosskut Gazelle & Pazzles Inspiration. Then you have the larger sized, heavy duty machines such as the KNK Maxx 15” & 24” which are over $1,000. One thing to keep in mind are the cost of the “add ons” such as extra blades, mats, adhesive sprays to keep those mats sticky, cartridges for the Cricut & Slice. Also, some of the machines may need additional software to be purchased to enable it to do what you want. Keep an eye on our news section, as we will post current sales as they occur.
Probably the second most important thing for most people to consider is the “ease of use” factor. Are you able to take the time needed to learn a new software program? How are you with machines? The Cricut is very user friendly, and has a simple interface if you are ok with limited designing abilities. " If you are wanting to do more with the Cricut, then you are looking at adding two additional “outside manufacturer” software programs (one of which is free, one of which the MSRP is $99) 3rd party software no longer compatible with Cricut" to enable you to cut designs other than the cartridges you buy. The other machines will have a higher learning curve, as will their software that you use to make them cut. I personally had no problem learning the KNK Studio software, but as with any of the programs if you want to get the most out of them you’ll need to invest some time into learning them. You might be able to get your machine cutting, but if you want to take it to the next level it will take some time to learn. If you are afraid of getting in there & using your machine then it probably won’t be used much and you may be better off getting an easier machine (or check out our manual die cutting machine comparison). Some of these machines have fantastic user support systems with forums & tutorials. Look into that before you buy.
Also important is what you want to use your machine for. What will you do with it? Depending upon the answer to that, you will need to consider how wide & long your machine will cut. The materials you want to be able to cut. Use the link below this article to access Paperthreads awesome comparison chart and make sure the machine you want will cut what you want it to. Another very important consideration is if you want the flexibility to edit & create your own personalized files. If you do, you need to make sure the software for your machine will let you. Some of the machines don’t come with software that lets you edit & create your own files, or it has limited abilities but you can purchase software that will, or download a free program called Inkscape (Cricut, Silhouette, Craft Robo). Some of the machines come ready to go with very powerful software included (KNK, Bosskut Gazelle, Pazzles Inspiration). Another thing to consider is the file type that your software uses to cut, and the file types that it can import. There are thousands of free files available on the internet with new ones popping up daily, so if being able to use those files is important to you be sure to weigh this into your decision when choosing a machine. Some of the software allows for many different file types to be used, others do not. Take into consideration if you need your machine to be portable? Check the chart below & see if your machine requires a computer to be used. If it does, you could still take it with you but it would need a laptop too with your software installed on it. Also consider if you want to use your machine to emboss, engrave, distress, punch or draw. Check out the size of your machine too, do you have room for it?
Hope this article helped you sort through some of the pros & cons in buying a digital die cut machine. I hope you’ll be cutting electronically soon! Happy cutting!