The best Cricut alternatives in August 2023
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The best Cricut alternatives in August 2023

Jul 27, 2023

The best Cricut alternatives for cutting and crafting with vinyl, paper, card, fabric and more.

If you're looking for the best Cricut alternatives then the choice is even more varied than it was this time last year. While Brother and Silhouette of America offer similar approaches, new brands xTools and Glowforge have brought laser cutters into the mix. These alternatives to the best Cricut machines can cut paper, card, vinyl, fabric and so much more.

But for every Cricut machine, there's a good alternative, and indeed a cheaper alternative to Cricut. In this article, I look at the best Cricut alternatives and how they do everything a Cricut can, and in some ways a little more. I've personally tested some of the digital craft machines below.

The Silhouette brand is one of Cricut's biggest rivals, we have a full guide to the best Silhouette machines available now. We also pit Cricut versus Silhouette to really see how they match up. But take a look below for the best Cricut alternatives, especially now that the excellent Silhouette machines are more widely available outside of America.

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Our expert review:

The xTool M1 breaks the mould for digital craft machines by offering both a blade cutter and a laser cutter in one machine. The same housing holds both, so you can blade cut and laser engrave in one go, or blade cut and then laser cut smaller details even a blade won't manage.

This neat box of tricks won a Red Dot Design Award in 2022 and it's easy to see why; this is a smart and compact craft machine that works like no other on the market right now. The machine itself has few buttons and everything is controlled via xTools app for Android and Apple. It's very similar to Cricut Design Space, and supports vector art software such as CorelDRAW.

The slight downside to the xTool M1 is the laser is a 10 watt diode laser which is less powerful than the 45 watt CO2 laser of the Glowforge Pro – in my xTool M1 review I found this to be slower than Glowforge Pro but with good results. This means the xTool M1 is ideal for thinner materials and all engraving, but for larger laser-cut projects you'll likely need to upscale to the Glowforge. The brand does have a more powerful machine, the Laserbox, and you can read about that in my guide to the best xTools machines.

Yet, at a fraction of the cost of a Glowforge but more expensive than a Cricut Maker 3, the xTool M1 is a nice mid-way craft machine that can deliver projects beyond Cricut. This is an excellent hybrid option and easily one of the best Cricut alternatives you can buy.

Our expert review:

The Siser Juliet Digital Cutting Machine is the newest digital craft cutting machine on the market, and easily the best alternative to Cricut Maker 3 if you're looking for a straight forward blade cutter with some neat design choices.

Firstly, the included Leonardo design software comes with many pre-installed designs making this ideal for a newcomer to digital crafting. But if you are a seasoned pro, there are some nice new features too. I like the LCD display which means I can take direct control over the machine's settings, the built-in camera offers precise cutting (handy to perfect print after cut projects), and the Siser Juliet adjustable pinch rollers, which means it's possible to adjust the speed and pressure of the cut and experiment more.

The Siser Juliet looks quite stylish too. It's a cylindrical build that feels more compact than Cricut Maker 3. It's also whisper quiet (78dB) compared to the latest Cricut machines and features a Marker adapter to turn the Siser into a drawing plotter – that built-in camera really aids precision when drawing. Overall, the Siser Juliet is an excellent and comparable craft machine; Siser is also a well-respected craft brand.

Our expert review:

The Brother ScanNCut SDX1200 is the part of the excellent ScanNCut series of craft machines from the brand mostly known for its sewing machines. The difference between this machine and its rivals at Cricut and Silhouette is the built-in 600dpi scanner and and onboard computer, accessed via the LCD touchscreen.

The difference with the ScanNCut SDX1200 and some other machines on this list is you can begin cutting out of the box; no need for laptop, tablet or extra software. There is over 1,000 pre-programmed projects to use or you can create your own using the touchscreen and included stylus to adjust the size of shapes and weld them into new patterns.

Then there's the scanner. In our Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review, a Disney-themed edition, our writer found this revolutionary to use – you're able to scan drawings, photos, material, or even pages of old sewing patterns into the machine and then cut from this data.

You can scan and cut sections of material and the AI will even scan and cut leftover materials – it can judge how many shapes you can get from a piece of fabric, for example. If you're new to craft cutting machines, and have the budget, the Brother ScanNCut SDX1200 is a great place to start, and our preferred Cricut alternative.

Our expert review:

The best alternative to Cricut Maker is the Silhouette Cameo 4. There are plenty of similarities between to two machines. In terms of speed, it's pretty on par with the Cricut Maker 3, with both being very fast, and like the Maker 3, the Cameo 4 has an integrated roller feeder. You'll find lower Silhouette Cameo 4 prices, as it's cheaper, and yet it's actually the stronger of the two machines in terms of downward force, boasting 5kg, a full 1kg more than the Cricut Maker.

The roller can handle longer designs, and the cutter has new tools like the Kraft and Rotary and can handle balsa wood, leather and even chipboard. It can cut material up to 3mm (0.11in) thick using the knife blade, which beats the Maker 3 by 0.6mm. Another big difference is the software. Cricut's is very intuitive and easy to use, if perhaps simplistic, while the Silhouette Studio has a steeper learning curve.

That said, we like the fact that Silhouette opted for standalone software that runs on your computer. This means there's no monthly subscription fee like there is with Cricut Access, and there's no need for an active internet connection. All in all, this is the best Cricut alternative for a wide range of professional and personal projects.

Note: there are three models of the Cameo 4, which includes this base model and the Cameo 4 Plus and the Cameo 4 Pro (see below), each goes up in size. Read our guide to the best Silhouette machines for more details.

Our expert review:

The Glowforge Pro is a powerful and unique Cricut alternative that adapts Cricut's clever approachability and design ideals into the laser cutter sector. The Glowforge Pro looks like a high-end printer, and has been nicknamed a laser printer, but inside is the tech that can cut, engrave and score over 100 hundred materials.

You can use everything from wood and plastic to metal and fabrics, and even marble, with the Glowforge Plus. What sets this aside from other laser cutters is the design – it's elegant and simple. Like Cricut the Glowforge Pro is simple to use too, just drag and drop your design files into the Glowforge app, align the material in the machine, and press 'Print'.

The Glowforge app also contains thousands of pre-made designs. Some of these can be used commercially as well as adjusted to make them unique to you. What can you make? Everything from board games and toys to jewellery and even furniture.

Glowforge Pro is expensive, and possibly too powerful for some, but the brand also makes two other models – the Glowforge Plus and Glowforge Basic. Read our guide to the best Glowforge machines for more on this exciting brand.

Our expert review:

Brother will be a more familiar brand name for many. It's known for its printers and sewing machines, but it also makes Cricut-like machines for cutting. Its ScanNCut SDX125 is a great alternative to Cricut for hobbyists working with paper, card vinyl and fabric, and particularly for quilters.

What makes the ScanNCut SDX125 different from other alternatives is the scanning part. It features a built-in scanner so you can transfer printed pages into real projects. You can send SVG files from your computer, but you can also programme design directly on the machine using the LCD touchscreen display and its 682 built-in designs, including 100 quilting patterns and nine fonts.

Like the Silhouette Cameo 4, it can handle material up to 3 mm) thick, beating the Cricut Maker 3. It has an AutoBlade that automatically detects the material thickness. However, in terms of width, The SDX125E is limited to 29.7cm (11.7in) compared to the Cricut Maker's 33cm (13in). The other downside is that it's actually more expensive than the Cricut Explore Air 2. Note that the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E is sold in the US, see below if you're in Europe.

Our expert review:

If you're in Europe, you might be scratching your head wondering why you can't find the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E anywhere. Well in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, Brother has the SDX900, which is a very similar machine in terms of size and functions. Like the ScanNCut SDX125, it's a great alternative to Cricut for hobbyists working with a wide range of materials.

Again, it has a built-in scanner, LCD touchscreen and 682 built-in designs, and it beats the Cricut Maker 3, handling material up to 3 mm thick. However, it is expensive. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, you may prefer the Cricut Explore Air 2 unless you really need to cut thicker material.

Our expert review:

While the Silhouette Cameo 4 is the best alternative to Cricut Maker 3, the Silhouette Portrait 3 is comparable to Cricut Explore 3. This machine is designed as an entry level cutting machine, and in this respect it's ideal though don't expect the kind of cutting force and flexibility you'd get from the larger Silhouette cutting.

The Silhouette Portrait 3 is smaller than a Silhouette Cameo 4 and has a reduced cutting power (210 grams to Silhouette Cameo 4's 5000 grams), as such it's great for card and sticker projects and can handle some materials (vinyl, heat transfer (iron-on), paper, cardstock, sticker paper, and some fabric), but if you're a serious sewer or quilter we'd recommend the Silhouette Cameo 4 or one of the Brother machines.

This is a neatly priced machine that does enough for anyone new to digital cutters, and is compatible with the new Silhouette Go App for mobiles. We found most Silhouette tools and blades work with the Silhouette Portrait 3, but some do need an adaptor (sold separately). If you're new to digital cutters the Silhouette Portrait 3 is a good place to start.

Our expert review:

The Silhouette Cameo 4 Pro is the largest model in the Cameo 4 range. With a 24-inch cutting width and supporting three metre lengths there's not much this digital cutter can't handle. I've put it a little further down my list because the Pro is so large and specialist. For everyday crafters the Cameo 4 or Cameo 4 Plus (above) is more suitable.

Yet, of you do need a craft cutting machine that can handle large materials, particularly fabrics and heavy paper, the the Cameo 4 Pro is ideal. Other than the size this model is similar to the smaller Cameo 4 editions; meaning it can trim and cut vinyl, heat transfer material, cardstock, photo paper and fabrics.

Our expert review:

The Silhouette Mint is designed to digitise the art of ink and paint stamping. It does it exceptionally well. The machine is neatly specced and small, large enough to hold in the hand or take to a friend's house in a bag. The advantage of creating ink stamps digitally to create patterns on bags, shirts and cards, is it creates consistency.

Using the Silhouette's designed sheets you feed them into the Silhouette Mint, its thermal tech heats the design and creates raised 3D patterns. These can then be coloured using Silhouette's thermal inks and stamped onto clothes for custom designs. It's easy and approachable, and the Mint comes with over 50 free templates (naturally you can design your own).

The Silhouette Mint isn't a cutting machine and so is limited in what it can do. It's more again to a heat press machine, maybe the size of a Cricut EasyPress Mini with the advantage you don't need a cutter, such as the Silhouette Portrait 3, to create the designs.

Our expert review:

You can cut for a lot cheaper if you're happy to put in some arm work. Cricut's cutters are automatic, digital machines that you programme from your laptop, but there's still a lot to be said for a manual die-cutter, not least the fact that there's no need for a computer or even an electricity supply.

The elegant grey-and-white Sizzix Big Shot has a 15.24 cm (A5) wide opening and can cut a wide range of materials, from paper, tissue and cardstock to felt, cork, leather, balsa wood, polyfoam, sheet magnet, static cling vinyl and more.

The roller system's steel core is wrapped in a heavy-duty outer casing and it can handle material that’s up to 22.5cm wide and 1.6cm thick. For amateur crafters that are just getting started with die-cutting, we'd certainly recommend starting with this before working up to a more technologically advanced option like a Cricut machine. The assembly instructions aren't the clearest – we'd recommend watching the many tutorials on YouTube. There's also a Pro and Plus version for those that need to cut at bigger sizes.

Our expert review:

If you do want an automatic cutter without the price tag of a Cricut device, in steps the Gemini. This compact, highly portable electronic cutter is most comparable to the size of the Cricut Joy but comes in a good bit cheaper. It does the work for you, with cutting plates feeding through automatically like a laminator. There's also a reverse button, which can be handy in an emergency.

It's compatible with many dies and can cut through even the thickest card stock without a problem. It also offers a wider cutting width than the Sizzix Big Shot, cutting material at up to A4 width, while happily fitting in the corner of a desk. Like all die cutters, the plates will eventually need replacing, but that's fairly easy and inexpensive.

Our expert review:

If you're printing rather than cutting, and particularly on T-shirts, sweatshirts or other fairly large textile items, then the Cricut EasyPress 2 is a handy, portable device that works a treat. However, it is expensive, and there are cheaper options out there than can do the job. The Fierton heat press is light, portable and it's suitable for vinyl and textiles like sweatshirts, banners, and T-shirts using thermal transfer and sublimation paper.

It's very easy to use. Simply set your preferred time and temperature, then watch it do its things in under sixty seconds. There's a safety mode and an insulated safety base, and you can work for a good couple of hours without it getting too hot. There's also an automatic turn-off time to help if you forget. The iron sits a little way from the surface and takes a little longer to heat up than some options, but once it's ready it does the job very well.

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Daily design news, reviews, how-tos and more, as picked by the editors.

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.

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