A rotary cutter may be cheap and convenient, but if you are a serious crafter you will remember the day you caved in and bought a fabric cutting machine. They greatly reduce the amount of time you spend cutting and frees up your mind for more adventurous designs and ideas.
We absolutely love these machines, but which machine is the best? There are quite a few models to choose from so it really will depend on your needs. We’ve rounded up some of the top models on the market in 2021 to help you find the right one for you.
Quilters and crafters all know the how much easier life is when you own the best fabric cutting machine.
The best fabric cutters will save you a ton of time and money.
1. AccuQuilt Ready. Set. GO! Fabric Cutting System (Best Overall)
The AccuQuilt Ready. Set. GO! is truly the ultimate cutting system, and it’s designed especially for quilters. If you’re new to die cutting, this package may be a great option for you. It includes everything you need to get started with fabric cutting, including:
- Qube 8″ Mix & Match Block
- The fabric cutting machine
- Strip Cutter 2-1/2″
- Two cutting mats: 10″ x 24″ and 6″ x 6″
- Die pick
- Qube book written by Eleanor burns
- More than 70 free patterns
AccuQuilt’s die cutting machine is 90% faster than scissors or rotary cutters, and it’s safer, too. With this machine, you can accurately cut up to 6 layers of fabric. Having the ability to cut multiple layers of fabric at once will save you a lot of time when working on new projects.
I like that this system offers virtually unlimited design options using the GO! Qube Mix & Match block dies. Here’s what the Mix & Match set includes:
- Square: 2-1/2″
- Square: 4-1/2″
- Quarter square triangle: 4″
- Half square triangle: 2″
- Half square triangle: 4″
- Parallelogram 45 degrees: 2-3/4″ x 3-1/2″
- Square on point: 3-1/4″
- Rectangle: 2-1/2″x 4-1/2″
On top of everything else, AccuQuilt includes a free book and more than 70 patterns. There’s even a self-contained storage system to keep everything in place.
The AccuQuilt Ready. Set. GO! truly does give you everything you need to start cutting fabric right out of the box. And all of those free patterns will keep you working on new projects for months (or years) to come.
- Includes everything you need to start cutting fabric
- Virtually unlimited design options
- Free patterns included
- Can cut up to six layers of fabric at a time
- Easy to use
- May not be ideal for experienced users
If you already have a set of dies, you may find that you have no need for such a big die cutting kit.
For most quilters, this is the ultimate package for getting started with die cutting and is worth every penny. If you can afford it, this is the best fabric cutting machine on the market today.
2. AccuQuilt Go! Fabric Die Cutter
If you’re looking for a fabric cutter that can cut large pieces of fabric, the AccuQuilt Go may be the right choice for you. The Go is the Go Baby’s big brother.
Like the Go Baby, this cutter is easily portable, and allows you to make cuts 90% faster than scissors or with a rotary tool. Take this cutter with you to quilting retreats, quilting bees, guild meetings, classes, or wherever else you please.
With the AccuQuilt Go, you can cut up to six layers of fabric at one time, and the unique design of this machine minimizes arm strain.
The Go comes with the Value Die, 6” x 12” cutting mat, a 20-page pattern booklet, and a die pick.
- Makes precision cuts every time
- Can cut up to six layers of fabric at once
- Lightweight (15 pounds)
- Easy to use
- Comes with the Go Value Die
- Easily portable
- Not enough dies included
The only real drawback with this machine is that it only comes with the Go Value Die, which means you have to purchase other dies separately.
With that said, the accuracy, portability, versatility and easy use this machine offers makes it one of the top fabric cutting machines for quilting. You can read our full Accuquilt Go review here.
3. Sizzix Big Shot Pro Fabric Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
The Big Shot Pro from Sizzix is the big brother to the original model. The Big Shot Pro is compatible with every Ellison and Sizzix design, and its heavy-duty construction makes this model a great option for professionals.
Made with industrial materials, this cutter features a 13” opening for materials, and can work with a variety of materials, including cardstock, paper, foam, fabric and more.
This model comes with a cutting pad, crease pad, an adapter pad, and 0.10mm mylar shims to get you started.
The Big Shot Pro is the ideal choice for serious quilters. The larger bed allows you to work with larger fabrics. This cutting machine can cut many different materials. You can cut virtually anything with this machine (it’s highly versatile).
- Makes precision, sharp cuts
- Highly durable, yet portable
- Larger bed is ideal for fabric cutting
- Compatible with every design from Sizzix and Ellison
- Easy to use
The Big Shot Pro is heavier than the original model, but it’s heavy-duty construction also makes it more durable than its predecessor.
The heavier weight is a small price to pay for this professional-grade machine that can work with virtually every material you can think imagine.
4. Sizzix Big Shot Fabric Cutting Machine
Many quilters call the Sizzix Big Shot the best fabric cutting machine, and it’s easy to see why. This machine does more than just cut fabric – you can use it for a variety of projects.
Lightweight and portable, the Big Shot is both a shape cutter and an embosser, and can work with a range of materials – including paper (and fabric, of course).
On top of cutting quilt pieces, you can use this machine to create invitations, cards, home décor, scrapbook pages, art and so much more.
This fabric cutting machine comes with a large multipurpose platform and two standard cutting pads.
The Big Shot is compatible with the entire Sizzix product library (except for Pro).
- Cuts with precision accuracy
- Easy to use
- Portable and lightweight
- Doesn’t require electricity to run
- Compatible with all products in the Sizzix library (except for Pro)
- Works with a variety of materials, from fabric to paper
- Requires a learning curve
Have some practice material on hand to learn how to use the Big Shot. While not incredibly difficult to use, there is a slight learning curve when cutting with this machine.
Otherwise, you’ll love the lightweight design and extreme versatility this model offers.
5. Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
It’s hard to resist a machine named Cuttlebug. This die cutting and embossing machine is made by one of the best-known names in the industry. The Cuttlebug may not be as heavy-duty as some other die cutting machines, but it will get the job done for most projects.
And you can work with a variety of materials, including acetate ribbon, foil, tissue paper and leather. If you’re into paper crafting, this is a great machine to have on hand.
The Cuttlebug comes with a few accessories, including an A2 embossing folder, two metal dies, two 6×8 B plates, one 6×8 A plate and a 6×8 rubber embossing mat.
I like that this machine is compatible with leading cutting dies and embossing folders. This compatibility makes this machine very versatile.
Like the Sizzix Sidekick, this machine is lightweight and compact for easy use on-the-go. It also has a convenient collapsible handle as well as a fold-and-store profile.
Suction cups on the bottom of the machine keep it securely in place when using it on a smooth surface. There’s no need to worry about the Cuttlebug sliding around when you’re trying to use it.
- Compact and portable
- Comes with a bonus A2 embossing folder
- Can work with a variety of materials
- Compatible with leading embossing folders and cutting dies
- Easy to use
- May not work with all fabrics
Cricut says this machine works with thin leather, which means it may not work with all fabrics. If you plan to work with thicker fabrics or you want to cut several layers of fabric at once, you may want to try a more heavy-duty machine.
6. Sizzix Sidekick Starter Kit
The Sizzix Sidekick Starter Kit is a great alternative to the Big Shot, and it comes with a lot of accessories to help you get started.
Sizzix includes two aqua cutting plates, which allow you to use any chemically etched wafer-thin dies from the company (up to 2-1/2″ wide). This includes Thinlits, Framelits and Triplits.
You can also use Sizzlits Decorative Strips, and Small and Medium Sizzlits with this machine. But you’ll need to purchase the clear cutting pads separately.
The kit also includes 2 Thinlits dies, 6 Framelits dies, 7 Stamps and 2 Textured Impressions Embossing Folders.
The great thing about the Sidekick Starter is that it’s lightweight and easily portable. The machine weighs just two pounds and it’s only 4-3/4″ tall.
Along with its compact size, this die cutter has a special vacuum seal that keeps it firmly in place when working on smooth surfaces.
- Lightweight and easily portable
- Includes cutting plates that make the machine compatible with most Sizzix dies
- Backed by a 3-year warranty
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Easy to use
The Sidekick’s small size can be a pro or a con, depending on your needs. You might find that the small size of the plates won’t work with your quilting style.
Otherwise, the Sidekick Starter Kit is a great option those who are just getting started or want a more compact machine.
7. AccuQuilt Go! Baby Fabric Project Maker
Weighing just eight pounds, the AccuQuilt Go Baby is the on-the-go fabric cutter every quilter needs. Unlike the Sizzix models, AccuQuilt cutters are designed specifically for quilting and sewing.
The Go Baby can cut multiple layers of fabric 90% faster than a manual rotary cutter or scissors – and with razor-sharp precision.
Like other fabric cutters, this model uses a crank handle to cut, so there’s no need for batteries or electricity. And the comfortable handle grip keeps hands out of the way when cutting.
This model is compatible with 60% of Go dies.
The Go Me features an easy-to-lift carrying handle, so you can bring it with you to retreats, classes, quilting bees and wherever else you want to quilt.
Backed by a one-year warranty, you can be sure that your purchase is protected.
- Easy to use
- Precision cuts
- Designed for use with fabrics
- Compatible with most Go dies
- Cutting multiple layers can be tricky
The Go Me has a little trouble cutting more than three layers of fabric at one time. For most quilters, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and thinner fabrics seem to be easier to work with in layers.
The lightweight, high portability of this model makes it a great choice for quilters of all levels. You can see our full review of the Go Baby here.
8. Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine, Scanner
Brother’s SDX125E cutting machine includes some advanced features that crafters will love, including an on-screen editor.
Blade sensor technology allows this machine to automatically detect the thickness of the material to save you time. There’s no need to make blade or material adjustments manually and with each project.
The SDX125E can cut up to 3mm thickness, so you can work with a wide range of materials, including foam and felt.
The auto blade sensor technology allows you to make precise cuts with both custom and built-in patterns. In fact, this machine has 682 built-in designs to choose from as well as 100 quilt patterns and 9 letter fonts. Plus, you can connect this machine to the Internet for even more design options. The scanner function also allows you to transform your scanned images into unique cut designs and patterns.
The 5” LCD touchscreen display allows you to view and edit your designs right on the machine itself. You can even add seam allowances in 1/4″ increments for more professional sewing and quilting projects.
But for us quilters, the most important feature of all is the option to cut fabric using the optional thin fabric auto blade. This machine allows you to make precise cuts for your quilting projects, saving you so much time in the process.
There’s just one caveat here: The Thin Fabric Auto Blade is sold separately as an accessory.
- Touchscreen display with editing function
- Hundreds of built-in designs
- Auto blade adjustment
- Scanning function
- Internet connectivity
- Easy to use
- Fabric blade is sold separately
The only real drawback with this machine is the fact that the fabric blade is sold separately. Otherwise, this fabric cutting machine is a workhorse that will help you create a wide variety of crafts and projects.
9. Cricut Maker, Champagne Fabric Cutting Machine
Cricut is one of the most well-known names in the cutting machine industry, and their Cricut Maker is one of the most versatile models for quilters. Available in a stunning Champagne color, this machine can cut more than 300 materials, including delicate fabrics, paper, leather and matboard.
The rotary blade allows you to cut virtually any type of fabric without a backer. You can also purchase the knife blade (sold separately) to cut through thicker, denser fabric.
Along with cutting, this machine can engrave, score, deboss and perform other decorative effects with additional specialty tips.
Circut makes it easy to plan out your projects using their design app on your computer or mobile device. There are no built-in designs with this machine, although you can pay to have access to more than 500 sewing patterns through the brand. Of course, you can always use your own designs.
- Can cut more than 300 materials, including delicate fabrics and leather
- Rotary blade cuts without backing
- Project planning through the free app
- Docking slot for tablets and smartphones
- USB port to charge devices
- Easy to use
- No built-in designs
- Knife blade sold separately
The Cricut Maker can create a huge variety of projects on its own, but if you have thick or dense materials that you want to work with, you’ll need to buy the extra Knife Blade. You’ll also need to use your own sewing patterns with this fabric cutting machine, as there are no built-in designs.
Aside from these minor issues, the Champagne Cricut Maker is an excellent cutting machine for your quilting projects.
10. Spellbinders PE-100 Platinum 6.0 Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
The Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 is a manual die cutting and embossing machine, but it delivers a surprising level of power and cutting pressure. With this one machine, you can cut more than 40 different materials up to 6” wide and up to 6 layers thick.
From cotton to paper and even balsa wood, this machine can handle it all.
And if you’re also into other crafts, you can use this machine to cut detailed thin dies and even use embossing folders and texture plates from other brands.
One of the nice things about the Platinum 6.0 is that it’s portable. The platform is smaller than 6,” which makes this machine a great option for crafting on the go. Plus, this machine has a collapsible handle and fold-up sides to allow for more compact storage.
Along with the cutting machine itself, you get two cutting plates, one embossing mat, one embossing plate and a standard platform.
- Can cut a wide variety of materials (more than 40)
- Travel-friendly design
- Can cut multiple layers at once and in one passing
- Powerful and high level of cutting pressure
- Plates may wear out quickly
The Platinum 6.0 offers many great features and a user-friendly design, but some people find that the plates wear out quickly or become warped and scratched.
Aside from this minor complaint, this cutting machine does exactly what it’s supposed to do and offers the power to allow you to cut through multiple layers of fabric with ease.
11. Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is one of the most popular and best-selling Cricut machines. And there’s a good reason for that: It can cut through more than 100 materials, including faux leather and vinyl.
Of course, you can also use this machine to cut the fabrics for your quilts. It’s not as versatile or capable as the Cricut Maker, but it will cut through most fabrics with ease.
With the Explore Air 2, you can upload your own images for free, and you can also work through Cricut’s huge library of pre-made designs and projects. And like with other Cricut machines, you can use their simple design software which allows you to create and design from anywhere.
- Can cut through more than 100 materials
- Upload your own images for free
- Design anywhere, anytime with the Design Space app
- Doesn’t come with a rotary blade
- Can’t cut through some fabrics
The Explore Air 2 is a robust machine with a variety of features, but it can’t cut through all fabrics. It also does not come with a rotary blade like the Cricut Maker.
Still, this model is an affordable option and offers the cutting power you need to get started with your projects faster.
What are the Types of Fabric Cutting Machines?
When choosing a fabric cutting machine, you have two options: manual and digital. Understanding the differences between the two will help you decide which one is the right choice for you.
As you may have guessed, a manual cutting machine requires manual operation. Typically, fabric is placed between the die and a mat, and you turn the handle to run the entire thing through the cutting machine.
The die is what creates the shape of the fabric pieces.
Most people agree that even a manual machine offers more precise and accurate cuts than a rotary blade. It’s a safer way to cut, too, as you’re not physically handling the blade.
Manual machines have many advantages. For starters, they don’t have many moving parts, so they tend to last longer than their electronic counterparts. They don’t require a power source, so they can be used anywhere.
Manual cutting machines also have the advantage of being highly portable. Many have collapsible designs that make it easy to pack up the machine and take it on the go.
Digital cutting machines work in a very different way. There are no dies involved. The machine cuts each curve and line as the fabric moves through the machine.
Dies are replaced with digital designs, and the machine takes the information from the design to cut the shape into the fabric. This, of course, offers many advantages because you have unlimited design options. There are no dies to store, and with many machines, you can upload your own designs for free.
Many quilters assume that digital machines are faster than manual machines, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Depending on the complexity of the project, it may take longer for the digital machine to trace out the shape and design in the fabric when compared to a manual machine.
Still, digital machines are ultimately the simplest way to cut through fabric, particularly if you have arthritis or difficulty using manual machines.
What Options Should I Consider in a Fabric Cutting Machine?
When choosing a fabric cutting machine, there are many things that you need to consider, including:
There are two types of cutting machines: manual and electronic cutting machines. The right one for you will ultimately depend on your personal preference and your budget.
Manual machines are also known as die cutting machines. They use an easy-turn lever and steel dies to cut through fabric and other materials. As the material and die move through the machine, uniform pressure is applied and the die cuts the fabric into the shape of the die.
Electronic cutting machines are also called digital fabric cutting machines. As you may have guessed, these machines are powered by electricity and controlled by software or cartridges. Unlike their manual counterparts, digital machines do not need steel dies. The blade inside of the machine cuts the material based on the design chosen in the software or cartridge.
Both types of machines can achieve the same results. Electronic fabric cutting machines are higher priced, but they do offer more versatility in terms of design and material options. Manual machines may be limited in this department, but they’re portable and can be used anywhere.
Size of the Machine
Size is important when it comes to fabric cutting machines. Anytime you bring a new tool into your crafting room, you have to consider your space and how much of it you can spare.
Fabric cutting machines come in a variety of sizes, but some are larger or more compact than others. The right size for you will depend on your needs and how much space you have.
Generally, manual machines are smaller and more portable. Many are about the size of a toaster. You can store them anywhere, and you can use them anywhere. If you’re short on space or interested in portability, then a manual machine may be a good option for you.
Electronic cutting machines are typically much longer than their manual counterparts, although they typically have a slim profile. Their design is very similar to a computer printer. Because they require electricity and tend to be larger in size, digital models aren’t as portable as their manual counterparts.
How Good is it at Cutting Fabric?
It may sound like an obvious thing to consider, but many quilters forget to consider how well the machine cuts fabric. With the exception of a few brands and models, most fabric cutting machines are designed for cutting paper and other similar materials. Fabric just happens to be one of the many materials these machines can cut.
But many models can’t cut all types of fabrics, or you may be limited to how many layers you can cut at one time. Even the best fabric cutting machine will have some limitations.
Consider your own needs. What types of fabric do you usually cut? How often will you need to use the machine? How many layers do you need to cut at one time?
Read through the product description and features to see how well the machine can cut fabric and which types it can cut. Customer reviews may also give you some insight into the model’s fabric-cutting capabilities.
Most fabric cutting machines come with accessories that will help you get started. When comparing machines, keep these accessories in mind.
Manual machines will typically come with starter mats and dies. Electric cutting machines may come with mats and built-in designs that you can start using right away. Some machines will also come with pattern books.
Depending on your needs, you may choose one model over another simply because it offers more included accessories. Just make sure that the machine at least includes everything you need to get started. If you already have a collection of dies, you may want to make sure that they will be compatible with your new machine.
Naturally, cost will be a consideration when choosing a cutting machine. In fact, price will probably be a deciding factor for most people.
Before you even start looking at and comparing machines, take the time to figure out your budget. How much can you comfortably spend? Once you have a budget, you can start looking at machines in your price range.
It may be tempting to buy the cheapest machine you can find, but it’s worth spending more for a quality, durable machine.
How Versatile is It?
Versatility may not be the first thing that comes to mind when comparing cutting machines. Right now, you’re focused on how well the machine can cut fabric and the types of fabric it can cut.
But what else can the machine do? Can it be used for other crafts?
Typically, these machines – both manual and digital – can be used to make paper crafts, stickers and a variety of other crafts. Electronic machines generally offer more versatility because you can use different attachments for different functions.
You may not be interested in creating other crafts right now, but you may change your mind in the future. And once you have a machine that gives you the option to create other crafts, you may start exploring those options and finding new, fun ways to create.
How Easy Is It to Use?
How easy is the machine to use? This is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a cutting machine. If it’s too complicated to use, you’ll probably never use it.
Read through the product description and reviews to see how complicated it is to use the machine. Electronic machines are generally more complex, but some have more user-friendly designs than others.
Manual machines are generally the easiest to use because they don’t have any electronic functions. Simply stack the die, fabric and mat properly, and then run it through the machine.
The goal is to choose a machine that’s appropriate for your experience and comfort level.
Who are Fabric Cutting Machines Made For?
Who can benefit most from using a fabric cutting machine?
Fabric cutting machines are ideal for crafters because they can do more than just cut fabric – they can also cut paper, felt, card, foam, thin plastic and even cake icing.
When you have the ability to cut virtually anything, you can create a wide variety of crafts, including:
- Greeting cards
- Home décor
A cutting machine is the ultimate tool for crafters who want the freedom to create without having to spend a fortune on different machines and tools.
People Who Quilt
Fabric cutting machines are an obvious tool for quilters. They save time, and they allow for more accurate cuts.
Yes, rotary cutters are great, but a fabric cutting machine will simplify the process and save your hands from potential injury.
In a single pass, a manual fabric die cutting machine can cut multiple layers of fabric. This saves a lot of time on the cutting process. And you can be sure that your cuts are accurate and precise.
Professional artists can also use fabric cutting machines for their projects. With electronic models, you can upload your own designs and bring your ideas to life. You can use the fabric cutter for montage art, card creation, laser cutter projects and more.
I hope this list of the best fabric cutting machines helped you find the fabric cutter that suits your needs. Happy quilting!