27 Apr 7 Best Vinyl Cutters in 2022
Cutting textiles like vinyl can be a tricky business. When you want to ensure you get a clean cut and a straight line it pays to work with the best tools. I know just how hard it can be to track down something you can rely on, which is why I’m offering my advice. A couple of weeks ago I worked through 7 of the best and today I’m writing up my notes just for you! That way when you come to make your final choice you’ll sleep easy knowing that you’re looking at nothing but the best.
I’ve been in the trade a long time, which in my opinion means I’m the right person for the job! I know a clean line or a blunt blade when I see one. Hopefully, you’ll find my insights, well…insightful, and you’ll be left with plenty of food for thought. Let’s jump right in and take a look at the first entry on my list.
Best Vinyl Cutter in 2018
1. 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Value Sign Making Bundle
Bundles are a great way to get up and running. With plenty of materials, easy to use software, and a robust cutter there was plenty for me to put to the test.
28 inches is more than enough for most applications
At 28 inches wide the feeder for this cutter is up to most jobs. That makes it an excellent option for the hobbyist or the serious, professional. I found that with a little practice you could feed the vinyl in super smoothly even when pushing the limits. This is really encouraging because it means you’re not paying for a 28-inch feed that in reality only accepts 25 inches.
Ball-bearing dual roller has a nice smooth action
The roller is just about as smooth as they come. If you’ve ever used a cutter where the bearing has started to go then, you’ll know how frustrating this can be. No matter how much skill you have, your cuts will be ragged and all over the place. Not so with this cutter my friends!
The blade holder is Roland compatible
Roland blades are known for being robust and reliable; two things every blade should be. The blade holder USCutter has installed is multi-purpose and more than capable of accepting a range of Ro-land blades. That alone makes it a highly commendable piece of engineering in my opinion.
Comes with easy to use software to get things up and running
The software is what in my opinion sets this piece of kit apart from so many of the others out there on the market. It’s clean, intuitive, and simple to get used to. That is the perfect trio of attributes you need from a usable piece of software. With clear controls and tutorials only a click away, I found it really easy to get to grips with. Hopefully, you’ll find the same thing because I can’t really fault it in this regard! I would highly recommend this cutter; it will serve hobbyists and professionals equally well.
2. 28 USCutter TITAN 3 Vinyl Cutter
With a name like the Titan 3, how can you not sit up and take notice when it hits the market? I loved the name, and I loved the hardware. But how about the software? Well…I liked that too if I’m hon-est. Here’s how it got on when I put it through its paces.
Automatic Registration Sensor is ideal for contour cutting at speed
The ARMS sensor is a smart little addition that makes it even easier to cut contours. This may sound like overkill, but the more cutting you do, the more you’ll come to appreciate it. If you want to get to grips with a challenging cut and not spend all afternoon doing it, ARMS is the secret weapon you need. To say I was very impressed would be an understatement.
USB port makes things connect quickly and easily
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard of people left frustrated by connectivity issues. What the Titan 3 does better than anything is, make this a problem of the past. All you have to do is connect via a tried and trusted USB, and you’re away. No complex local networks or weird cables you’ve never seen and don’t trust. I admired this back to basics approach!
Vacuum hold down gets to grips with things!
Vacuum hold down literally pumps all the air out from underneath your material, so it’s sucked flat. This makes it perfect for avoiding the crinkles and creases that can so quickly ruin a day’s work. If you want the right tool for the job, then this is a feature you can’t afford to miss out on.
The servo motor was deathly quiet, but how reliable was it?
The striking thing about the Titan 3 is just how quiet it is. Don’t let this fool you, however; the motor is packing more than enough power to get the job done. It’s just that because of the quality of the bearings and spindles it doesn’t have to work that hard. That means that not only do you get to use a quieter cutter but that it should last years longer because it’s having an easier time of it. Perfect!
Best Vinyl Cutters for Beginners
3. USCutter 14 inch MH Craft Vinyl Cutter Plotter
This compact cutter has a reputation as something of a pocket rocket. While it may not be the tool of choice for professional shops, it’s certainly causing a stir in the hobbyist market. Here’s how it faired when I ran my trained eye over it…
A pair of fully adjustable pinch rollers are ideal for the compact geometry
The pinch rollers are of such an impressive quality that words fail me to be honest. The bearings are precision machined which makes all the difference to the smoothness of the feed. This indicates to me that you’d be buying a machine that you can rely on for years to come.
10 inches of cut width, but 8 ft of cut length!
The cut width is small, narrower than a side of paper in a lot of cases, but the length is impressive. As this is a machine clearly aimed at the crafters market, I don’t want to criticize its size too much. If it turns out to be the only reason you don’t like it, then there are plenty of larger cutters out there for you.
VinylMaster Cut software comes as standard
I thought the software was spot on; it was simple, intuitive, and very straightforward to learn how to use. This makes all the difference in my opinion because there’s nothing worse than hardware being let down by software. If you love a back to basics approach that lets you learn while you craft then this is a solid contender for your next purchase!
Ideal for crafters and hobbyists who want the right tool for the job
The crafters amongst you out there are going to find it hard to look past this cutter. It has everything you need, but nothing more. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t claim to be able to do everything an industrial cutter can. It keeps its focus, and the use of the pinch rollers makes it ideal for use with narrower materials. Perfect if you want to give your crafting that clean and smooth edge that can make all the difference.
4. Graphtec PLUS CE6000-60 24 Inch Professional Vinyl Cutter
These folks have been on my radar for a long time, so it was time to put them to the test. See what you think guys!
A 24-inch industrial grade cutter with a difference
Industrial cutters come in all shapes and sizes, and at 24 inches this one is indeed competitive. What I like more than the size is the usability; it’s just absolutely easy to get to grips with. If you love seamless transitions to new hardware in your shop, then this could be just what you need.
The CB09UB blade holder is impressively versatile
Something that will often frustrate professional cutters is, blade holders. With so many varieties on the market right now you can end up paying a premium for a specific type of blade. That’s why I feel like I have to make a lot of noise about the approach Graphtec have taken. Their holder is simple, multipurpose, and very accommodating to a wide range of brands. This offers you a range of choice that you’re sure to find very refreshing.
Ships with three separate license keys to the powerful Pro Studio software
Pro Studio is the king of vinyl cutting software; so to get three licenses included is just awesome. It talks you through everything you need to know to get up and running. Plus it has a whole host of tutorials that make learning advanced techniques fun and simple. Be sure to update it regularly so that you never miss out on the cool options they’re adding all the time.
Setup manual was informative and easy to digest
The last thing I want to draw your attention to is how easy the setup manual was to use. It talked me through every step of the setup process with clear diagrams and short and sweet instructions. This is all it takes because you don’t want pages and pages to read through, you just want simple advice. That alone makes it a strong contender for cutting shops that know the importance of minimizing costly downtime.
5. 53 USCutter SC2 Series Vinyl Cutter Laser Enabled
Yeah, you read that correctly…53 inches! This is the king of industrial cutters, and I have been des-perate to take it for a spin. Here’s what I found when it finally arrived.
VinylMaster Cut software is powerful and easy to use
This is a piece of software you’ll have heard a lot about if you work in the industry. By including it, I like the fact the manufacturer is ensuring you have everything you need to get set up. Once you install it, I expect you’ll find it simple, intuitive, and easy to use just like I did. The help tutorials are also well worth a mention as they’re a great place to start.
Material roller bars work with rolls of all sizes
The roller bars are rigid and robust, and they have a beautifully smooth rolling action. This means that it was really easy to feed in large rolls; something that’s vital given the width of the cutter. If your shop is on the lookout for a piece of kit that will keep working all day long, then this could well be it. Ideal for tackling those heavy-duty jobs that make lesser cutters flinch.
Laser contour cutting may just be the way of the future
Laser guiding is something that will make all the difference when you tackle more intricate detailing work. By letting the software and hardware work it out between them, you can focus on designing it right in the software. I like this approach, and it certainly looks to be the way of the future given how well interconnected everything is with the SC2.
I love the idea of lifetime phone support
Phone support is a great way to iron out most of the creases in your system. If you get an engineer out, you often find that you’ve paid out a fair amount of your maintenance budget for the sake of 5 minutes work. By always being at the other end of the phone, these guys are showing they truly do care about their customers. What’s there not to like about that?
6. Graphtec CE-50 Lite 20 Inch Desktop Vinyl Cutter
Desktop cutters used to have a bad name, but now they’re really coming back in a big way. A significant part of that is the excellent compact engineering you see in the CE-50. Let’s delve right into the detail so you can see what I’m talking about.
The 20-inch desktop cutter that can be used by pros and crafters alike
Not every shop needs a large 60-inch standalone cutter, and not every print shop has one they can spare for smaller jobs. Because of the build quality, it brings to the table; the CE-50 is ideal for filling this gap and is also small enough to be used by crafters. It’s flexible and easy enough for the hobbyist, and precise and robust enough for the professional. The perfect balancing act if you ask me!
Powerful software that is easy to learn and offers some great functionality
The software has been made especially with the CE-50 in mind, and it really does show. Every option and function has been well thought out and works in harmony with the hardware. I love this approach rather than the modular approach to software that deactivates functions your cutter can’t make use of. With bespoke software, they have ensured that the digital environment is simple, clean, and comfortable to find your way around.
Low friction rollers ensure a smooth feed: ideal when you’re working with thin vinyl
Low friction rollers make all the difference when you’re doing precision work. If you’ve ever tried to accurately cutter thin vinyl sheets on a roller that keeps sticking, then you’ll know what I mean. The feeding action and bearings in the CE-50 are of the highest order. That makes all the difference when you want to make those subtle cuts and lines that will make your project really come to life. It also means that you’ll be able to work with a whole range of thickness of vinyl rather than limiting yourself to a narrow range. Highly recommended for the hobbyist and the professional alike.
7. Roland Stika SV-15 Vinyl Cutter
Onto the final entry on my list. See what you think and decide for yourself whether I’ve left the best till last!
A desktop cutter from the blade making specialists
Roland is known throughout the industry as the blade making specialists, so it’s nice to try their cutters for once. The build quality was fantastic and exactly what you’d expect from one of the established names. I liked how robust and simple the casing was. Underneath it, the rollers spin freely no matter what you load them with. A great piece of compact engineering.
CutStudio software comes as standard which is a nice touch
The software that it comes with is simple and easy to use. This means that if you’re new to the trade, you can quickly get up and running inside 30-minutes. I made plenty of use of the help utility which talked me through just about everything I could think of. This is great if you want a simple plug and play piece of kit that will allow you to get busy getting creative.
Contour cutting is simple when you connect via USB
Contour cutting used to be a real headache before you could input your designs from a computer. Now all you have to do is plug in via the USB cable that it ships with and you’re good to go. Just make sure you lay your vinyl flat as you feed it in so that a fold in the material doesn’t throw things out of sync. That said, because of the quality of the rollers this shouldn’t even be an issue judging from my experience.
Compatible with Adobe Illustrator
I love that it’s also compatible with Adobe software. Illustrator is an excellent tool for designing anything and everything so to be able to use it is a real bonus. All I had to do was select the correct file extension (the manual is super helpful in this respect), and I was sorted. This type of usability is something that I think will make things nice and easy for you to get started. Highly recommended for the user who wants to plug and play.