Today we’re comparing machines from the cult classic die cutting company, Sizzix.
If you’re curious about who wins in the battles of Sizzix Big Shot vs Big Shot Pro, Sizzix Big Shot vs BigKick and even the Sizzix Big Shot vs Cricut Cuttlebug, read on to discover more.
Sizzix is one of our favorite companies creating simple, low cost cutting machines — and we think they deserve a much wider user base than they already have.
Beginners and kids love their products, and we think you will too.
Some of the popular machines that we’ll be looking at in this guide include:
Let’s see what all the fuss is about…
Sizzix: The Company
US-based Sizzix have been in business since 1977 and they’ve stayed true to their mission statement ever since:
Sizzix puts creativity in your hands with the craftiest die-cutting and embossing possibilities.
They have a huge online store that sells everything from die cutting machines and accessories, to embossing folders, die cuts, stamping kits and much more.
Some of our crafting friends are diehard Sizzix fans that consider their store a one-stop shop for everything craft-related. We don’t have quite that level of loyalty, but definitely love their cheap, simple machines and accessories that are perfect for both kids and beginners.
And experienced crafters who just need a quick and easy fix!
It’s worth mentioning that these machines are very much for the light hobbyist — commercial they ain’t.
They work best for light use with minimal pressure. Cardmakers, for instance, can’t get enough of the Sizzix product line. Scrapbookers too.
People making large scale vinyl signage? Not so much. Head on over to our USCutter review instead!
But for die cutting and embossing, the Sizzix machines are perfect.
If you’re a total craft cutting newbie, you might be wondering what on earth ‘die cutting’ is — we know we were when we first started out!
What is Die Cutting?
In a nutshell, die cutting is the act of using a steel cutting die to cut shapes and patterns into a thin material.
You’ll need to buy dies in the shapes and patterns of your choosing, the material you want to cut, and a machine — like a Sizzix — to enable you to press the die into your paper.
Cardmakers and scrapbookers use a lot of die cutting in their crafts, as do jewelry makers and even fashion designers.
The material you choose to cut must be very thin and flat, but can range anywhere between tissue paper, chipboard and thin metal foils.
If you’re wondering where to catch up with Sizzix online, or where to find some die cutting inspiration, head over to their social accounts:
Sizzix: The Machines
Sizzix have got a large number of die cutting machines on their shelves, but we’re just going to focus on the most popular today.
- Big Shot
- Big Shot Express
- Big Shot Plus
- Big Shot Pro
Another one of their machines that’s super popular but stands apart from the rest of the ‘Big…’ line is the Sizzix Eclips 2. You can read our full review and rating of it here.
The Eclips2 is computerized and bears more of a resemblance to the desktop cutters from Cricut and Silhouette, as opposed to the other Cricut products.
Small, white and gray in color, and with a hand crank for you to manually feed the material and die through the machine, the Sizzix Big Shot look is a real classic.
Its maximum cutting width is 6 inches and maximum length up to the longest extended cutting pads you can buy (usually about 14 inches).
When you buy it from Amazon, it already comes equipped with a pair of standard cutting pads and an adjustable extended multipurpose platform. This ensures that it can be used with the majority of dies — even those from other brands!
Here’s what you need to know about the Sizzix Big Shot:
- Small and portable
- Low price
- 3 year limited warranty
- The machine for die cutting and embossing
- Can work with a large number of materials — even some fabrics!
- Can cut multiple layers of material
- Works with non-Sizzix branded die cuts and embossing folders
- Cuts accurately and evenly
- Embossing is well defined and never cuts through paper
- Doesn’t come with any die cuts/embossing folders
- Cutting plates do scratch up and have to be replaced occasionally
The Big Shot Express is much like the standard Big Shot except for one major difference — there’s no hand crank!
That’s right: you can rest your biceps with this die cutting machine as Sizzix have upgraded to motorized cutting.
Happily, the Big Shot Express is just as easy to use as the Big Shot, except there’s no extensive wrist workout involved. It cuts just as many materials, cuts and embosses just as well, and is equally portable as it’s predecessor.
Again, it can cut up to 6 inches wide and as long as your extended cutting pads can reach for.
Here’s what you need to know about the Sizzix Big Shot Express in a nutshell. If you want to find out more, read our full review.
- Even smaller than the Big Shot now there’s no crank
- Great for beginners, kids and those with weak wrists
- Excellent quality die cutting and embossing on a small scale
- Works with a large variety of die cuts and embossing folders, even from different companies
- Can cut multiple layers of thin material
- Works with a wide variety of materials
- No need to manually crank through your creations
- Considerably more expensive than the Big Shot
- Only comes with standard size cutting plates — you’ll need to buy the extended plates to create larger size designs
As you might be able to tell from the name, the Sizzix Big Shot Plus is yet another upgrade on the original Big Shot.
It’s still got that classic hand crank, but this time it’s bigger.
That’s right, you can now use materials measuring up to 8.5 x 11 inches and use dies up to 9 inches wide. Scrapbookers, rejoice!
In all other ways, it’s basically the same as the Big Shot. We told you Sizzix like to keep it simple. That means it can work with the same number of materials, same thickness materials, and use the same variety of die cuts and embossing folders from Sizzix and other cutting brands.
Thankfully, it cuts and embosses just as well as it’s always done.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Sizzix Big Shot Plus.
- Can cut up to 8.5 x 11″
- Compatible with most dies and embossing folders, even from other companies
- 3 year limited warranty
- Can cut multiple layers of material
- Can cut a wide variety of materials
- Quality cutting and embossing on a small scale
- Comfort grip handle means hand cranking is easier than ever
- Still lightweight and portable
- Still reasonably cheap
- Sizzix have only widened the platform, not lengthened it
- Still need to hand crank through your designs
So, the Big Shot Pro is exactly what the name suggests: a pro version of the Big Shot.
What does that actually mean though?
Well, for one thing, it’s much bigger than all the other Big Shot machines. It can use die cuts and embossing folders up to 12 inches wide and 14 inches long — that’s some serious surface area in comparison to the smaller models.
And while it’s still got that legendary Sizzix hand crank, it allows for a smoother and stronger feed than ever before.
Whereas the Big Shot is made of plastic, the Big Shot Pro is made of sterner stuff. Steel, rubber, aluminium and metal alloy stuff, actually.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Sizzix Big Shot Pro.
- Can cut and emboss up to 12″ x 14″
- 13″ opening for all your materials
- Can cut multiple layers
- Can cut a wide variety of materials
- High quality of cuts and embossing
- Sturdy and durable construction
- 3 year limited warranty
- Hand crank is easy to use and ensures a smooth feed
- Also available in a beautiful periwinkle color
- It’s very heavy, with a shipping weight of over 40 lbs
- Although ‘pro’ in comparison to earlier models, it’s still not suitable for professional work
Ah, the Sizzix BIGKick…
Let’s start by saying that we like the Sizzix BIGKick. It’s got a great look and the Vintaj edition even allows you to create some awesome jewelry with it.
But truth be told, we have no idea how it differs from the Big Shot in anything but appearance.
It can cut the same dies, emboss the same folders, and even create the same jewelry (you just need to buy the specialist jewelry dies from Vintaj and use them in your Big Shot).
You can read our full review of the Sizzix BIGKick and BIGKick Vintaj here.
Here’s everything you need to know about it in the meantime:
- Quality cuts and embossing
- Can work with a wide range of materials
- Can cut multiple layers at once
- Great, colorful look
- Compatible with most die cuts and embossing folders, even from other brands
- Comes with standard cutting pads and extended multipurpose platform
- Handle for easy portability
- Small and lightweight
- We’re not sure how it’s any different from the Sizzix Big Shot
- Doesn’t come with extended cutting plates — you have to buy them separately
Sizzix Machines Compared
So now we’re better acquainted with all of these individual machines, let’s compare some of them against each other.
We’ll do a quick summary, then outline the differences in a table.
Remember to ask any follow-up questions you may have in the comments!
Sizzix Big Shot vs Big Shot Pro
This is the question we probably get asked the most: which machine wins in the battle of Sizzix Big Shot vs Big Shot Pro?
Basically, it all boils down to what you want from the machine.
Want something small and portable, that’s cheap and gets the job done? The Big Shot will suffice.
Want something bigger, stronger, more durable but a little more expensive? Take a look at the Big Shot Pro instead.
Light users, beginner crafters and kids should go for the Big Shot.
Those of us who are likely to use their die cutter on a more regular basis, for more important work, should opt for the Pro.
Here’s a table outlining their major differences:
|Maximum Cut Size||6" x 14" (with extended cutting pads)||12" x 14"|
|Weight||7.5 lbs||44 lbs|
|Works with every Sizzix die cut?||All except Bigz Plus and Bigz Pro dies||Works with all|
Sizzix Big Shot vs BIGKick
Another question we get asked a lot are the differences between the Sizzix Big Shot vs BIGKick.
Annoyingly, we’ve never been able to find a good answer for this. Why did you make two different products so similar, Sizzix?!
Anyway, here’s a table comparing their major features:
|Maximum Cut Width||6"||6"|
|Color Scheme||White & Gray||Periwinkle|
|Any Special Editions?||No|
|Weight||7.5 lbs||7.5 lbs|
|Works with all Sizzix dies?||All except Bigz Plus & Bigz Pro dies||All except Bigz Plus & Bigz Pro dies|
Big Shot vs Big Shot Express
Some crafters often get hung up on whether they should opt for the Big Shot Express over the original Big Shot.
Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but how much is an actual motor worth over your manual labor? Something to think about.
While some people love the hand crank and are likely to stick with the Big Shot, others — those with weak wrists, kids and those using the machine regularly — will probably prefer the convenience of the Big Shot Express.
Let’s take a look at the differences between Big Shot vs Big Shot Express:
|Hand Crank or Motorized?||Hand Crank||Motorized|
|Max Cutting Width||6"||6"|
|Weight||7.5 lbs||9.62 lbs|
|Works with all Sizzix dies?||All except for Bigz Plus & Bigz Pro dies||All except for Bigz Plus & Bigz Pro dies|
Big Shot vs Big Shot Plus
Another comparison worth making is that between the Sizzix Big Shot and the Sizzix Big Shot Plus.
Just like all the machines in the Big Shot range, they’re very similar machines, but there are some subtle differences. The most notable being that the Plus is able to cut a slightly larger width than the original Big Shot (although not as wide as the Pro).
Let’s take a look at the differences between Big Shot vs Big Shot Plus:
|Max Cutting Width||6"||8.5"|
|Weight||7.5 lbs||17.5 lbs|
|Works with all Sizzix dies?||All but Bigz Plus and Bigz Pro dies||All but Bigz Pro dies|
Sizzix Big Shot vs Cricut Cuttlebug
Of course, it’s not all about Sizzix. You’re probably wondering how the Big Shot measures up against one of its rivals: the Cricut Cuttlebug.
We’ve reviewed the Cricut Cuttlebug in depth here.
The truth is, there aren’t a whole world of differences in the battle of Sizzix vs Cuttlebug. The Cuttlebug is marginally cheaper and smaller, but both machines have the same functionality.
Let’s take a look in more detail:
|Max Cutting Width||6"||5.85-6"|
|Works with all brand dies?||Yes||Yes|
|Comes with a starter die cut/embossing folder?||No||Yes - die cut and emboss folder|
|Can be folded up for portability?||No||Yes|
Now you should be totally clued up on all the machines Sizzix have to offer, and should be able to pick the winners in the following contests:
- Sizzix Big Shot vs Big Shot Pro
- Sizzix Big Shot vs BIGKick
- Big Shot vs Big Shot Express
- Big Shot vs Big Shot Plus
- Sizzix Big Shot vs Cricut Cuttlebug
Which is your favorite Sizzix machine?
Still can’t decide which cutter is right for you? Be sure to check out the rest of our detailed machine comparisons, as well as our complete guide to the best vinyl cutters.
10 thoughts on “Compared: The Best Sizzix Die Cutters”
Thanks for the comparison information. It’s been so hard to find the difference between all the machines. Is the opening for the Bigkick the same as the Big Shot?
Yes, both are six inches cutting platform.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Absolutely the BEST, most informative, detailed information I’ve ever seen. I own the Big Shot Pro (great but too heavy to move around), the Big Kick (cutting platform too small) and the Spellbinders but had no idea what the size difference between the Big Kick and the Big Shot and Big Shot Plus is. Thanks to you information I will make an educated decision when buying my next machine. Thank again!!!
Thanks for a quick and clear comparison of the Sizzix machines! Great article!
This was just what I was looking for! I do wonder what the thickest gauge of metal the pro (or any of the others) can emboss/cut.
Will the 14″ extender plates work in the Big Shot Plus?
What about the Big Shot that is able to be folded up and is more portable?
Is it as good and durable as the Big Shot?
wow– you really cleared up a lot of confusion for me. thanks so much. I see now that I need only the Big Shot for the small amount of work that I do. Many many thanks to you.
I had the Bigkick Vintaj (gave it to my granddaughter) and I have the Big Shot ( I bought it when I was staying fin Australia for a good few months, it was an amazing price at Spotlight, too good to pass up) and the Big Shot Pro
The Vintaj Bigkick came with a diifferent platform to the Big Shot. It came with the solid base and a mylar top which could be removed or attached depending on what you were doing.
The Big Shot came with the multipurpose platform in a book form which can be cumbersome if you don’t have a lot of work space. It has two tops to add thickness depending on what your working with.
The handle is different on the Bigkick. I prefer the Bigshot handle to the Bigkick. It just feels more solid to me and I like the shape better.
I have churned out a lot of die cutting between the two models.
The pro I bought to use for quilting. I haven’t had a chance to work on that yet though and have used it for making cardboard purses as Christmas Gift containers. I have purchased numerous accuquilt dies and the mylar sheet to run them through the pro. It has a much bigger opening than the accuquilt machines so to use their dies the platform needs to be increased in size.
When I researched die cutting machines I chose Sizzix over all the rest because of the versatility in being able to use all the other manufacturers dies out there whereas other manufacturers would not necessarily take sizzix dies.
I do not need the Plus but the Pro will run the plus dies if I need to run a 9inch steel rule die, of course it also takes the bigkick and big shot dies and platforms as well. It has a much stronger force when cutting.
The reason I stumbled upon this site was I was looking for a tote to put my Pro into because I want to take it with me to another place, so far no luck…
Maybe you can answer my questions. I’ve been considering buying a Big Shot Pro. I’ve been embossing large sheets of paper and Kraft-tex by hand for journal covers, using dry embossing stencils. I see your data on the largest size the machine will do. My questions are:
Are there large embossing folders or stencils out there? How large? I don’t think I’ve seen them advertised.
If I use smaller ones, is there a way I can avoid getting the impression of the edges of the embossing folder or stencil?
Since I’m going to have to use the same die or stencil many times to go all over the material, I’ll have to put the material through the press multiple times.
I’m thinking it may actually be more practical to purchase a smaller machine, then emboss the fabric and stitch it onto a background fabric, although that won’t really give me the result I want.