If you’re a passionate crafter, you have probably heard of all the incredible DIY crafts you can make with a die cutting machine. And earn money from your crafts.
And I’ve been asked over a hundred times, what’s the difference?
Cricut vs Silhouette, which one is better? Today, I will share my experience with both brands to help you determine which cutting machine responds to your needs.
Without further ado, let’s jump into my detailed guide and decide which brand is the winner and what’s their best die-cutting machine available on the market.
Which is Better Cricut Maker or Silhouette?
Similar to a home printer, die-cutting units plug into your Mac or PC. And they produce cuts in different crafting materials.
Both Silhouette and Cricut units can cut similar materials like cardstock, paper, and vinyl. They’re both amazing tools for making personalized gifts.
You can use a Cricut or Silhouette machine to make t-shirts, cups, organizing labels, paper crafts, party supplies, home decor signs, and so on.
Both brands produce similar machines. However, they’re still different in some aspects. Let’s take a look at some of their biggest differences.
Cricut’s Software: Design Space
Design space is a free software which allows for cutting and designing downloaded projects without an internet connection. It’s web-based but can also be used offline.
Inserting .jpg photos and transforming them to .svg photos to utilize them for cutting projects is easy in this software. You can use your images and fonts for free as well.
However, you can also buy fonts and images separately in the program or you can pay around $9.99 per month to join Cricut Access and utilize the files available only for members.
It’s also interesting to know that the files downloaded with Access can only be used for as long as you’re a member. Additionally, you can find many free .svg files online that you can use.
Silhouette’s Software: Silhouette Studio
If you want to take your unit on the go or have a weak internet connection, this is the perfect software for you. It’s a downloadable program where you can work offline.
It also comes with a lot of graphic design features to help you make photos from scratch which is a great thing if you want to make your designs and you’re not scared of programs.
Besides, you can utilize any fonts downloaded on your computer with this software. This software has a free version where you can open and memorize files in the .studio file type.
However, you need to have the paid version which costs around $50 to insert .svg files. This type is the most common type of files found free online.
You can buy files from the software’s online store or buy a subscription that allows you to download files at a discounted price.
Overall, they’re both great software. However, if you want to just cut and open files, the Cricut program is ideal for you. It’s also easier to use.
However, if you want to make your designs, the Silhouette’s software makes a better option. It has a lot of advanced designing options you can use.
Also, if you’re purchasing images from the Silhouette’s software, you will be able to use them even if you cancel your subscription in the future.
Tool Storage and Exterior Design
My Cricut and Silhouette units are very similar in weight and size.
They can both fit on a desk or shelf since they’re about the size of a small home printer. The Cricut unit is loaded with on-board storage underneath and on the top left of the unit.
I store all my extra blades, markers and tools there. The Silhouette machine, on the other hand, doesn’t have much storage space. However, I have heard that the newer models have.
Both Silhouette and Cricut cut materials utilizing blades. The Cricut comes with a knob on the top of the unit to customize appropriately according to the material.
To customize the Silhouette blade strength, just twist the blade to a certain number based on the fabric before slicing. Both brands provide separate deep-cutting blades you can buy.
They’re perfect for cutting denser materials. However, I haven’t had to purchase new blades yet so they are durable and long-lasting on both units when you’re slicing mostly vinyl.
Both Silhouette and Cricut can slice through a lot of materials including heat transfer vinyl, thin leather, vellum, vinyl, cardstock, craft foam, window clings, and so on.
However, the popular Cricut Maker has 10 times the cutting force of the Explore units. It also has a new rotary blade and a deep knife blade that can slice even more materials.
Ease of Use
Speaking from experience, the Cricut is easier to set up. Also, it has a user-friendly software and the mat is easier to load. I was able to complete many tasks on my first day with my Cricut.
The Silhouette is harder to set up. Loading the mat is time-consuming. I didn’t like their instructions also. And I honestly think that Cricut’s instructions are easier to follow.
However, both Silhouette and Cricut websites have great customer support. You can contact them and ask questions about anything that concerns you. And you will receive immediate help.
Silhouette machines have a higher price tag. However, in general, the pricing is similar. For instance, the Silhouette Cameo 3/4 and the Cricut Explore Air 2 have a similar price.
The biggest difference between the Explore models is the speed with which they cut designs. The Cricut Maker is a powerful unit with a lot of cutting options. Therefore, it’s more expensive.
Which is Better Cameo 3/4 or Cricut?
The competition between Cricut and Silhouette leads brands to make innovations and improvements to their electronic cutting units.
Bellow, I will review two of the most popular cutting models. Silhouette Cameo 3/4 and the Cricut Maker to help you decide which one is worth buying.
Keep in mind that both machines are similar and able to cut similar materials. However, they’re created for different types of projects.
Silhouette Cameo 3/4
With this cutting machine, you can slice up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long materials. I make stencils to utilize with wood signs that I create to decorate my home.
It’s simpler to slice long stencils than to have to put together smaller stencils. If you do try to slice longer pieces, I suggest that you buy a roll feeder.
Also, you can slice without a mat with this cutting machine. You can cut specific materials without a mat such as vinyl. This will save you money since you won’t need to buy mats.
The Cameo 3/4 comes with a dual cartridge installation. This means that you can put two tools at the same time. Also, it’s loaded with an auto-adjusting blade which cuts down on user error.
The software of this unit is robust. I have been using it for a couple of years but I still find myself learning new tricks every day. The latest edition opens embroidery files.
What I like most about this unit is that it can work wirelessly. Also, the cut and print area is bigger than that of a Cricut cutting machine.
Did I mention that the software has a big learning curve? It’s not suitable for beginners. Yes, you can find a lot of tutorials online but it’s still hard to master.
Also, this software requires users to buy add-ons to boost the features of Silhouette Studio such as the Business Edition, Designer Edition Plus, and so on.
This means that it’s limited. I consider this as a big disadvantage because the cutting machine was super expensive. And buying add-ons means spending extra money.
Last but not least, the blades of this machine don’t last as long as the blades of the Cricut Maker. Also, if you’re looking for a quiet machine, look elsewhere.
Cricut Maker works better than the Cameo 3/4. In other words, it cuts better. In my opinion, this has to do with the manner that the blade spins in the unit.
Because of this, I use my Maker for all of my paper cuts. Also, the Maker has a CBO9 style blade. It lasts more than the Silhouette blade. It’s also loaded with a rotary blade.
This blade is perfect for cutting fabric without any hard prep process. What I like most about this model are the adaptive tool system and the ability to work wirelessly.
Also, the cutting force of the Maker is 4kg which overcomes the Silhouette’s 210 grams of cutting force. This helps handle denser and thicker materials better.
The maker also has dual cartridges. And the software is easier to use unlike the software of the Cameo 3/4. The brand teamed up with multiple sewing pattern companies in Design Space.
However, what I don’t like about this software is the fact that it requires an internet connection to work. This means that if you have a bad internet connection, this machine isn’t for you.
Also, this software has been known to lag, freeze, and crash. This means that if the company has issues with their website, you will have problems with Design Space which sucks.
The fact that this software is simplified can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. If you want to cut pre-designed images, it’s perfect for you.
However, if you want to make a personal image or express your creativity, look elsewhere. This software is limited. Another disadvantage is weight.
The Cricut Maker is heavier than the Cameo 3/4. However, they have the same size.
Cricut vs Silhouette: Which One is Better?
If you want to cut vinyl and make custom designs, buy the Silhouette Cameo 3/4. If you want a software in which you’re not limited with editing options, choose the Cameo 3/4.
Also, if you live in a place where the internet connection is weak, the Cameo 3/4 is a better option for you because the Maker’s software requires an internet connection to work.
Additionally, if you plan to use your machine for embroidery related projects, the Cameo 3/4 is the perfect cutting machine for you.
However, if you want to cut paper, no one can do it better than the Cricut Maker. Also, if you plan to use denser and heavier materials, choose the Cricut Maker.
If you want to cut predesigned projects instead of making custom designs, buy the Maker. If you want to use your unit for fabric or sewing crafts, the Maker is the perfect machine for you.
As you can notice, both machines are very similar. However, the Cameo 3/4 is louder and the Cricut Maker is heavier. They’re also intended for different purposes.
Can You Use Cricut Vinyl With a Silhouette?
Any adhesive-backed medial can be utilized with cutting machines like the Silhouette, Cricut Expression, Cricut, Cameo, Craft ROBO or Wishblade.
Overall, both brands are similar and produce impressive machines. The biggest difference is in the ease of use and design. At least for the machines I have.
The bottom line for me is I love both brands. However, I enjoy my Maker more because I find it easier to use. Also, the software is straightforward and user-friendly.
I also love my Silhouette machines. And I love to make custom designs thanks to the advanced software. Silhouette Studio offers more design options.
However, my Silhouette is much louder than my Cricut which is a bummer. As I already mentioned, both machines are very similar but serve a different purpose.
Choose the one that responds to your crafting needs. Hopefully, my Cricut vs Silhouette article can help you make a smart decision. Share your thoughts in the comments.