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The question on every crafters’ lips right now — Cricut Maker vs Silhouette Cameo 4: which is the best cutting machine?
These two big shots are the primary cutting machines on the market right now, with the Maker (available to buy on Amazon or the Cricut Store) released back in 2017 and the Cameo 4 (available on Swing Design and Amazon) new to your craft rooms since Fall 2019.
They’re powerful, fast and more versatile than you could ever imagine from a desktop machine.
But which one is best? Which one deserves your hard earned cash?
Here’s a sneak peek at how the two compare:
| ||Cricut Maker ||Silhouette Cameo 4 |
|Downward Force ||4kg ||5kg |
|Max Cut Size ||12″ x 24″ ||12″ x 10′; 15″ x 10′ (Plus); 20″ x 10′ (Pro) |
|Software ||Cricut Design Space ||Silhouette Studio |
|Stand-Out Feature ||Sewing Pattern Library ||Power and Speed |
|Price ||$$$ ||$$ |
Let’s find out more…
One of the easiest ways to compare the Cameo 4 against the Cricut Maker is by how powerful both machines are.
Let’s be upfront about it: both machines are incredibly powerful — much more so than your average desktop cutter — and it’s highly unlikely you’d even notice a great deal of difference, unless you were cutting very high volumes of thick materials that require such power.
But, nevertheless, the Cameo 4 does inch ahead of the Maker with a whopping 1,000 extra grams of downward force than its rival. The Cameo 4 has 5kg of downward force while the Maker has 4kg.
In this round, the point undoubtedly goes to the Cameo 4, but it’s worth considering how important this actually is given how powerful both machines are.
Similarly, both machines are very fast cutters — especially for standard materials like paper, cardstock and vinyl.
The Cameo 4 is advertized as being 3 times as fast as its predecessor, the Cameo 3, while the Cricut Maker benefits from ‘Fast Mode’ that works at double Cricut’s speed for standard materials.
We’d estimate them being about neck and neck for these materials — there’s certainly not enough of a difference to choose one over the other.
When it comes to more complex and thicker materials like fabric and chipboard, for instance, we’ll be conducting speed tests between the two once Silhouette have released the necessary tools.
At the moment, however, we’d award the speed category as a draw between the two machines.
We know that we’re not the only crafters to value versatility as one of the most important features of any cutting machine that we’re likely to buy.
So, what contributes to versatility? We look out for features like the following:
- Ability to work with multiple tools
- Ability to work with multiple materials
- A dual carriage that allows for two tasks to be carried out at once (like sketching and cutting, for example)
- Huge library of images, projects and designs
Both machines boast all of these features and can definitely both be described as versatile.
But the Cricut Maker just inches out ahead of the Cameo 4 here.
Probably because it’s already been on the market for a couple of years, it’s got access to a lot more tools. Not only game changers like the Rotary Blade and Knife Blade, but more specialist stuff like the engraving and debossing tips, wavy and perforation blades, scoring wheel and more.
The Cameo 4, in contrast, has just been released with the AutoBlade and is awaiting the release of its new tools — hopefully to come early in 2020.
Aside from the tools, the Maker also benefits from the absolutely massive sewing pattern library that makes it a must-buy for crafters passionate about sewing. 49 Things To Make With The Cricut Maker
Both Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space thankfully have huge image, font and project libraries for you to find practically any design you can think of. Plus, of course, you can create your own designs within both programs.
Point to the Maker — the score currently stands at 2-2.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing between the Cameo 4 and the Cricut Maker is how much you like working within the design software they provide.
We know that more experienced designers choose to use their own, more sophisticated programs — like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, for instance — but the truth is that most people find it easier to stick with the included software.
For the Cameo 4 that’s Silhouette Studio.
Silhouette Studio has really improved in the past year or so, thanks to some much-needed updates, so it’s now intuitive to use and has plenty of opportunities to really grow your design skills. It can still be buggy, however, which definitely causes some frustration.
Cricut Design Space is probably slightly better set up for beginners and doesn’t seem to suffer from the same number of bugs as Silhouette Studio but can be a little limiting for more experienced designers.
It’s hard to award one program over the other as it really will come down to personal preference — beginners and lower-level users tend to prefer Cricut Design Space whereas Silhouette Studio has more to offer the more advanced.
Looks like it’s another draw…
Another feature that’s super important to a small section of users is just how much space you have to cut your designs on both machines.
While most crafters are perfectly happy to work within the confines of the 12″ x 24″ cutting space that the Cricut Maker sports, others will be looking for something a little less restrictive.
Particularly if you’re running a craft cutting business or tend to work mostly on larger projects.
The Cameo 4 is the answer if that sounds like something you need.
The standard size cuts 12″ wide (like the Maker) but can deal with designs up to a whopping 10 feet long.
And that’s not all — 2020 saw the release of the Plus and Pro versions of the machines, which will be able to cut 15″ and 20″ wide respectively.
That’s definitely a point to the Cameo 4. It’s now 3-2!
Of course, aesthetics is lower down the list of priorities when it comes to choosing the best cutting machine for you, but we thought it may still be worth considering for many of you.
Our preference is for the Cricut Maker — it’s sleek, shiny and well contained, and available in a number of interesting colors including:
We also like that the Maker has a mobile/iPad docking station within the machine lid. This is a really underrated feature and particularly useful if you’re not working with a lot of space.
The Cameo 4 looks a little clunky and industrial in comparison — but maybe that’s just us.
It’s currently available in three colors: white, black or blush pink. Our preference is for the white or black but, of course, your preferences are likely to differ!
That’s taken the score to 3-3 — looks like it’s a draw!
Read Our Cricut Maker Review
- A truly excellent cutter that can be relied on for accuracy
- Very easy to use after mastering the small learning curve
- Loads of tools that ensure this machine is super versatile
- Fast and powerful
- A machine for life thanks to the adaptive tool system that ensures it’ll stay compatible with all past and future tools
- Wireless cutting capability
- Access to a huge sewing pattern library — a must buy for sewists!
- Beautiful aesthetics
- Cuts through fabric like butter thanks to the Rotary Blade (which is included)
- Can cut materials up to 2.4mm thick with the Knife Blade (you’ll need to buy this separately)
- Cricut Access membership gives you access to a huge number of ready-to-make projects, fonts and other designs
- Cutting space is restricted, at just 12″ x 24″
- Not everyone will love Cricut Design Space
- More expensive than the Cameo 4
- Less powerful than the Cameo 4
Read Our Cameo 4 Review
- An excellent cutter that’s both fast and accurate
- Very powerful — with 1,000 grams of additional downward force over the Maker
- Easy and intuitive to use thanks to features like the Single Tap AutoBlade, Smart Tool System, and the built-in roll feeder
- Much bigger cutting size than the Cricut Maker — and even more so when the Plus and Pro versions are released next year
- Cheaper than the Cricut Maker
- Promises to be very versatile once the new tools are released
- Allows for matless cutting with some materials
- Comes with access to plenty of designs if you buy from Swing Design
- Bluetooth connectivity for wireless cutting
- Not as good-looking as the Maker
- Not everyone will love Silhouette Studio software
- Dual carriage can be a little inefficient
- We’re still waiting on lots of tools so it’s hard to judge how well they all stack up (stay tuned!)
Cameo 4 vs Cricut Maker: Overall Verdict
It’s really hard to choose a winner between the Cameo 4 and the Cricut Maker as truthfully they’re both fantastic machines that are really at the top of the market.
We’re leaning slightly towards the Cricut Maker at the moment although we reserve the right to change our minds once we’ve seen the full spectrum of the Cameo 4’s capabilities.
As the Maker has been out for around two years at this point, we’ve had a long time to play with it and take advantage of all the Cricut tools that have been released so far. The Cameo 4, on the other hand, is brand new and still awaiting the release of lots of exciting tools and the larger versions of the machines.
There are some clear ways to judge that the Cameo 4 is the better machine. however.
In comparison to the Maker, it’s:
- More powerful
- Allows more space for cutting
The Maker is more versatile at the moment.
Let’s see how they compare in a few months time… Check Price on Cameo 4 Check Price on Cricut Maker
Cameo 4 vs Cricut Maker: which do you think is the best?
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.