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Comparing Fabric Cutting Machines

Which is the best fabric  cutting machine?  AccuQuilt, Big Shot? Brother ScanNCut? Silhouette? It depends on your needs. I liked rotary cutting until I lopped off the corner of my finger and had stitches. Machine cutters are much safer. I researched machines for weeks before purchasing. Here is what I learned.Note: I’m blogging as a quilter not a scrapbooker here.(Cricut is not included as it not geared for fabric.)

die_fabric_cutters


Sizzix Big Shot

Machine Price: Retail $119, Amazon $72
Starter Kit: Retail $160, Amazon $129

sizzix_dresden

What I like about Sizzix Big Shot:

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • Over 141 quilting dies from Sizzix (as of spring 2014)
  • Uses many AccuQuilt Go Baby and other company dies. (requires shim, i.e mylar or cardboard piece)
  • No electricity needed
  • Cuts 8 layers of fabric at one time
  • Easy to crank
  • Small enough to travel. (Carrying case available)
  • Great for cutting strips.
  • Includes a pair of Standard Cutting Pads
  • It’s pretty. Soft blue, turquoise and pink.
  • You can get another version in black with pink trim. 
  • Three-year limited warranty.

What I don’t like about Sizzix Big Shot:

  • Limited to 6″ width (eliminated by moving to the Big Shot Pro below)
  • You have to buy dies. They range from $12 to $60 (look on Amazon for discounts, swap with friends)
  • Starter Kit is geared to scrapbookers, they should make one for quilters.

Sizzix Big Shot Pro

Machine Price: Retail  $389 at Amazon $299

What I like about Sizzix Big Shot Pro:

  • All the reasons listed above for Big Shot
  • Can use up to 12 inch dies
  • High Volume Die Cutting
  • Over 160 quilting dies and works with every Sizzix and Ellison design ever made
  • Also can use AccuQuilt Studio dies and many other dies
  • You can use strip die to make other shapes (see video above)
  • 13-inch wide opening for all of you materials: paper, cardstock, foam, cork, and  more
  • Contains one machine, one standard cutting pad and one premium crease pad.
  • Includes two 0.10 millimeter mylar shims, and an adapter pad
  • Custom dies available
  •  3 year limited warranty

What I don’t like about Sizzix Big Shot Pro

  • It big 40lbs, requires a dedicated space. (I don’t mind)
  • It’s on my wish list and not on my quilting table.

AccuQuilt Go Baby

Machine Price: Retail $139, Amazon $60

What I like about AccuQuilt Go Baby

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • Cute
  • Portable, built-in carry case
  • One year warranty

What I do not  like about AccuQuilt Go Baby

  • Limited size
  • Only cuts 5 or 6 layers
  • You have to buy dies. They range from $20 to $80
  • Only 65 dies
  • Will not take other dies.

Accuquilt Go

Machine Price: Retail $349 Amazon $219 or $209
Starter Kit Price:
 Retail $581, Amazon $359

What I like about AccuQuilt Go!

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • New version rolls better than older version.
  • 165 dies availble
  • Portable (15 lbs)
  • Created for quilters
  • No electricity required
  • Built in carrying case
  • Cuts 8 layers of fabric at a time

What I  do not like about AccuQuilt Go!

  • You have to buy dies. They range from $20 to $80
  • Will not take other dies.

Accuquilt Studio

Machine Price: $595
Starter Kit Price:
 Retail $1,075

What I like about Accuquilt Studio:

  • All the reasons I like Accuquilt above.
  • For power users.  You can make and sell kits.
  • Cuts like a hot knife through butter
  • Easiest to crank
  • Cut up to 10 layers of fabric
  • Life-time warranty
  • 15″ wide
  • Over 400 Dies
  • Will use Sizzix and Ellison dies with adapter.

What I  did not like about Accuquilt Studio:

  • Required dedicated 4′ x  2′ table space. 34 pounds
  • High price. Starter set over $1000 , only my wish list if I get a quilt shop or quilt business.
  • Dies only available through Accucut. ($30 to $120)

Computerized Cutting Machines

What about the computerized machines?   Brother ScanNCut? Silhouette? It depends on your needs.

  • If you piece quilt and need layers or strips and shapes you should consider a die cut machine above
  • If you do a lot of appliqué  and only need to cut one layer, look at ScannCut and Silhouette.
  • If you do both, look at both.

brother scanncut vs accuquiltBrother ScanNCut

Retail Price: Amazon $399

I purchased the Brother Scanncut and returned in three days. I purchased it for the reasons I liked it below. And returned for the reasons listed I did not like below.  If I had a bigger budget I would have kept it and worked harder on the learning curve. I just kept thinking how many dies and much fabric I could purchase for $400.

What I liked about the ScannCut:

  • The computer was very easy to use
  • No dies or  design cartridges needed!
  • Perfect accurate cuts
  • Ability to resize all images
  • Do not need to hook to computer (works as stand alone)
  • Can hook to computer
  • 600 Built in Designs
  • Can draw on the 1/4 inch seam allowance (or not)
  • Built in Scanner
  • You can scan in fabric for fussy cutting
  • Easily converts .SVG files to .FCM files.
  •  LCD touch screen with on-screen editing capabilities such as rotating, welding, resizing and organizing.
  • Online community
  • Scan to USB
  • Easy  to return and get my money back

 What I did not like about the Scanncut:

  • You can only cut one layer of fabric (which is OK if you do a lot of appliqués)
  • You have to prep fabric with starch and paper mats before cutting
  • Can’t cut strips longer than 12″
  • Lousy manual
  • I felt like  the time it took to set everything up to cut you can cut it easier by hand.
  • The sticky mats were not sticky enough to hold the fabric (as fI understand it  you have to replace them often)
  • Maybe a in few years they will come up with a better machine for fabric. Some quilters love it.

I did not research nor use the Silhouette cutter. Sorry. If I do I will add to this post.

And the Winner is…

I purchased Sixxiz Big Shot. I love it! The reason I decided on Sizzix over Accuquilt is 1. cheaper to get started and 2. I can use dies from other companies.

I cut out a ton of adorable, accurate, Dresden petals this morning in a few minutes.

tanya_dresden

I also purchased the Brother Scanncut and returned in three days. Had I not purchased both I would have gone for the Big Shot Pro. But I am very happy. I would love to have a computerized cutter but….

Accuquilt_dies_fit_Big_Shot


What fabric cutter do you use? Why do you like it? What don’t you like about it? Share in the comments.

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About the Author

Homeschool mom to 11, Marmee to 14 and author.

Comments (17)

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  1. Maya says:

    First of all, thanks for writing up the wonderful comparison.

    Working at a store that sells various machines like this, I’d like to mention to you, that there are more options for the Scanncut, that you might have missed.
    There is a mat that’s 12″x24″, so you can cut pieces that are longer than 12″. They just can’t be wider than 12″.
    As to it sticking to the mat, if you put the high tack adhesive mat onto the standard or low tack mat, you don’t need to necessarily starch the fabric. It also sticks better and leaves no residue on the fabric. We’ve had no problems with it, though we’ve mainly used it for cutting paper.

    The Big Shot is a great machine though. I was just wondering if you researched the Crossover or Just Cutz machine. The difference between them and the Big Shot is that you can adjust the pressure. So you need to buy less replacement parts for it, and it’s easier running it through the machine. It works with the European A4 format, which is slightly more narrow than letter and a little longer. The main thing it lacks, as you said yourself is that you have to buy the dies to work with. If you want to be completely free to make your own designs and stencils, the Brother ScanNCut is better.

    • Robin Sampson says:

      Sorry. I have not used Crossover or Just Cutz.

  2. norimah says:

    Hello!

    Thank you for your wonderful review, it really helps for starters like me 🙂

    Just a question thou, have you ever tried felt materials on Sizzix Big Shot before? Do you think it is also suitable for felt materials?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    🙂

  3. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much. Just what I was looking for to compare products. Extremely helpful. Putting the sizzic big shot on my birthday list!!

  4. violet says:

    thank you so much for your using and giving your opinion on fabric cutters.
    I am leaning toward the Go! Fabric Cutter, as I have submitted a pattern that I use often.
    One thing, do you think the crank on the Go! runs smooth? Is it hard to turn, or ok?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Robin Sampson says:

      The crank is easy to use. If its super think I have to push a little harder.

  5. Pamela says:

    Thank you for a great article. I know what to look for in a fabric cutter. ♡

  6. Shelley Freeman says:

    Thanks for such a well-informed review! I have had the Sizzix Big Shot for years, for scrapbooking. I’m looking for which die cutting system will be best for quilting fabric. I love my Big Shot, but I want to use the bigger Sizzix dies. Now, I think it’s between sticking with what I have or going up to the Big Shot Pro. Thanks again for the helpful review. You’re a woman after my own heart!

  7. I have a stash so big, that I will never be able to use it all, I thought I might chop it all up, could you help me Catherine, Phone 02 44723286

  8. Martha says:

    I work with a group of ladies in the local community, we make cards and do a little quilting, was wonder which machine you recommend. We have received a grant towards equipment and I want to buy a die cutting machine suitable for card crafts and quilting.

  9. Penne Kane says:

    I found if I starch the fabric and then spray the back with a fine sticky quilt spray that the fabric cuts well in the Scan n Cut. I also have the Big Shot. I like the quilt patterns in the Scan n Cut. Love both machines. Enjoyed your post, thankyou.

  10. Lucy Zhang says:

    It is really a beautiful cutting sample. While can it meet large quantity production? Are you need a machine to cut on paper and cloth more fast and cheaper? Free Training and Half price best quality cutter is waiting for you.

    My whatsapp number: +86 136 5989 9108 skype: perfectlaser007

    Any interest, welcome to contact me.

  11. Jason Howard says:

    Wh ich one of these cutters can you please recommend for a custom item (custom )

    no bigger than 1 and a half. Synesthetic polyester blend.

    My name is Jason. 603 396 2630

    Thank you

  12. paul says:

    Hi,
    My wife has had a stroke and im trying to help her be worthwhile, so im looking at setting her up in making microscope covers up for me as a job. The material we are using is a light canvas fabric so I need a cutter to cut the shape out and then she can sew it. Have you a cutter which could do this? How many layers at one time? size is approx. 250mm wide and 350mm high shape is like upsize down U.
    Thanks Paul
    0418415446

  13. Robin Sampson says:

    Sizzix Big Shot depends on the canvas thickness. Maybe 4 layers?
    http://amzn.to/28lIUjg

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