Silhouette Cameo 4 Review

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Silhouette Cameo 4 Review
4.8

VCM Verdict

The Cameo 4 is a huge improvement on the Cameo 3 and offers a professional level cutting experience for a truly excellent price.

It’s not a perfect machine — the dual tool carriage is a little inefficient and it’s a bit clunky looking.

Regardless, the Cameo 4 is definitely a winner and a worthy competitor to the Cricut Maker

Pros

  • Professional grade cuts
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Good software (at least compared to Cricut Design Space
  • Very powerful
  • Able to cut fabric without backing as well as thicker materials with the new tools
  • Lots of color and size options
  • Good price

Cons

  • A little industrial looking for our tastes
  • The dual tool carriage isn’t as efficient as it could be
  • Not quite as versatile as the Cricut Maker

The Silhouette Cameo 4 (available now from Amazon or Swing Design) is Silhouette’s latest and most professional craft cutting machine, released during Fall 2019.

This Cameo 4 review delves into the pros, cons and features of the machine, as well as how it compares to its main competitor — the Cricut Maker.

Is it worth the money? Let’s find out…

Silhouette Cameo 4 Review

Overview

Packed with technological improvements, the Cameo 4 marks a significant leap forwards from the Cameo 3 and previous machines.

Features
  • Up to 5kg of downward Force
  • 3x the speed of the Cameo 3
  • Can cut fabric without stabilizer backing
  • Automatic tool detection
  • Single tap auto blade
  • Touch Panel
  • Built-in pull-out roll feeder
  • Built-in vinyl trimmer
  • Built-in cross cutter
  • Weeding tool (it’ll mark where exactly you should weed the material)
  • Dual motor system (hello, maximum power!)

The Deep Dive

The Positives
It's a Professional Level Machine

You’ll forgive us being blunt, but we always felt that the Silhouette Cameo 3 was a little on the amateur side when it came to cutting.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great machine that has a very wide appeal to beginners and those of us more experienced in the industry, but there were always glitches and issues that never made it a particularly smooth experience.

The Cameo 4 is a world apart from this.

cameo 4

Silhouette have really pulled their socks up since the Cameo 3 and have produced what is essentially a professional level cutting machine — for an amateur price, no less.

Cutting is quick, accurate and efficient thanks to the following new features:

  • 5kg of downward force — that’s over 20 time the force of the Cameo 3
  • 3 times the speed of the Cameo 3
  • Single Tap AutoBlade that automatically adjusts its depth and other settings according to the material you’re using
  • Automatic tool detection in the dual carriage
  • Built in cross-cutter that trims left-over vinyl at the end of the cut
  • Built in roll-feeder that can hold rolls of vinyl up to a whopping 150 feet long

All in all, it’s a significantly better machine than the Cameo 3 and will be a no-brainer purchase for many of you — particularly those of you running small craft businesses that need a professional level cutter for their products.

It's Super Versatile

The brand new gear-driven dual carriage on the Cameo 4 is Silhouette’s nod to the versatility of the Cricut Maker, which can handle plenty of new tools as well as older Cricut tools as well.

The Cameo 4 comes with 4 blade adapters, as well as the Single Tap AutoBlade, which will allow the machine to work with the older Silhouette tools and blades as well as some 3rd party ones as well.

Silhouette also have some awesome tools in the offing, including the Kraft Blade for thicker materials, Rotary Blade for fabrics and the Punch Tool — we assume for punch holes.

Lots of Color and Size Options

Straight off the bat, the Cameo 4 is available in three colors: white, black and a blush-pink.  We’re sure that Silhouette will release more colors and special editions later as they’ve done with the Cameo 3.

Even more excitingly than the color selection, however, are the two additional Cameo 4 sizes: the Plus (15″ of cutting width) and the Pro (20″ of cutting width).

One of the major restrictions of working with the Cameo (and the Cricut cutters) is that you’re hamstrung by the 12″ standard cutting width. And when it really comes down to the nitty gritty, the maximum cutting width on these machines really equals out somewhere around the 11.5″ mark.

This is unlikely to be a problem for many crafters who are easily able to stick within these parameters, but for those of us who like working on larger projects or who offer larger custom work for clients, it’ll be super useful to have the option of working with larger cutting widths.

new silhouette cameo

Silhouette Studio Has Really Improved

We remember writing our review of the Cameo 3 and having a few cross words to say about the Silhouette Studio software that comes with the machine.

In those earlier days, it seemed like glitches were plentiful and there was a steep learning curve as we waited for the much needed updated version of Silhouette Studio 4.0.

These days, the software is some of the best cutting software on the market which works well for both beginners who are brand new to the cutting world, as well as us old hands who want to really get the most out of the machine’s capabilities.

It’s not perfect, but we think it’s a solid offering from Silhouette, and arguably better than its competitor, Cricut Design Space.

Excellent Price

With a suggested MSRP of $299, we can honestly say that you’re getting a great deal on the Cameo 4.

Most of our readers buy from Amazon for convenience, but don’t take it having the lowest price for granted. Always compare the current price on Amazon to the price on Swing Design. We often see the best deals for the standalone machine on Swing Design, although Amazon has some great bundle deals admittedly.

Either way, this is practically a professional level cutting machine that’s available for a bargain basement price considering its capabilities.

It’s significantly cheaper than the comparable Cricut Maker and although more expensive than the Cameo 3, we think it’s a fair increase considering how much better the machine is.

If you’re looking for some cracking deals and even good gift ideas, check out our guide to the best Cameo 4 bundles.

The Negatives
Dual Tool Carriage is a Little Inefficient

Generally speaking, the Cameo 4 is one of the more efficient craft cutters on the market but the one way that the machine doesn’t compare quite as well as the Cameo 3 is in the fact that you may need to keep swapping tools in and out of the tool carriage.

Essentially, it’s is served by two different motors for the left and right carriages and some tools/blades will only work in the left and some will only work in the right.

This means that you can’t do things like sketch and cut at the same time — which you used to be able to do in the Cameo 3 — because both the AutoBlade and the sketching pens are only to be used in the left carriage.

As such, you’ll have to do one pass with the AutoBlade in the left carriage and then another one with the pen in the left carriage.

So while the Cameo 4 is generally much faster than the Cameo 3, there may be instances like this where it seems a little inefficient.

cameo 3 vs cameo 4

It's Not Quite as Good as the Cricut Maker -- Yet

We want to caveat this negative by saying that we’ve been using the Maker for much longer than the Cameo 4 just by virtue of its earlier release date. It’s a more established machine with more tools available right now, although we understand that Silhouette has a lot in the pipeline for the Cameo 4.

Will we still think the Maker is better than the Cameo 4 in a year? Possibly not. We’ll check in again then and update you! 😜

It’s definitely a tight run thing, but right now the Maker just squeezes ahead in terms of versatility and efficiency.

And, call us shallow, we slightly prefer the sleek aesthetics of the Maker…

Read our Full Comparison of Cricut Maker vs Cameo 4
It Looks a Little Clunky

OK, we’re definitely being a little petty now, but we don’t love the aesthetics of the Cameo 4. It just looks… big.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but it looks a little more like the original Cameo rather than being an improvement on the very good looking Cameo 3.

And we’re afraid that this’ll be even more the case when the bigger Plus and Pro options are released next year.

This is definitely not a deal breaker and certainly more of a personal preference than anything else, of course. We’re just picking at straws, really!

cameo 4 vs cricut maker

Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cameo 4

Read our full comparison here: Silhouette Cameo 3 vs 4

One of the questions we’re asked a lot is how the Cameo 4 compares to the Cameo 3.

We think it’s fair to say that the new machine is a huge improvement over the Cameo 3 — which was already a great and well-respected vinyl cutter.

But let’s be real here, here’s what the Cameo 4 has going for it over its predecessor:

  • It can cut more materials — thanks to that huge 5kg of downward force, this is a truly powerful machine
  • And create more projects — new tools like the Rotary and Kraft blades suggest that there’ll be a whole new world of crafting opened up to you
  • It can cut faster — three times faster according to Silhouette!
  • It’s easier to use — thanks to the single tap auto blade and automatic tool detection, you’ll have to spend less time faffing about in the settings of Silhouette Studio
  • It’s more accessible — the touch panel allows for greater visibility and the pull-out roll feeder means that it can even be used with just one hand

silhouette cameo 4

There is one way in that the Cameo 3 might be preferred over the Cameo 4, however.

 The new machine has an MSRP of $299, which is significantly more than the MSRP of the Cameo 3 at around $199. 

We would argue that it is clearly the superior machine and has a very good price in comparison to its main competitor (see below), but if you’re price sensitive you may want to choose the older machine instead.

 Cameo 3
silhouette cameo 3 vs 4
Cameo 4
silhouette cameo 4
Downward Force221 grams5,000 grams
Speed3 x faster
Max Cut Size12" x 10'12" x 10'
15" x 10' (Cameo Plus)
20" x 10' (Cameo Pro)
Bluetooth?YesYes
AutoBlade?AutoBladeSingle Tap AutoBlade
Automatic Tool Detection?NoYes
Weeding Tool?NoYes
Touch Panel?NoYes
New Tool Compatibility?NoYes
Motor SystemSingleDual
Best PriceAmazonSwing Design

Silhouette Cameo 4 vs Cricut Maker

Read our full comparison here: Cameo 4 vs Cricut Maker

Another obvious comparison to make in regards to the Cameo 4 is with the Cricut Maker, which is definitely its main competitor.

Here’s how they compare side by side:

 Silhouette Cameo 4
silhouette cameo 4
Cricut Maker
cricut maker vs cameo 4
Downward Force5kg4kg
Max. Cutting Size12" x 10'
15" x 10' (Plus)
20" x 10' (Pro)
12" x 24"
ToolsRotary Blade, Kraft Blade, Single Tap Auto Blade, Punch ToolRotary Blade, Knife Blade, Scoring Wheel (Single & Double), Fine Point Blade, Deep Point Blade, Wavy Blade, Perforation Blade, Debossing Tip, Engraving Tip
SoftwareSilhouette StudioCricut Design Space
Stand-Out FeaturePower and SpeedSewing Pattern Library
Our Ratingvinyl cuttingvinyl cutting
Check Best PriceCheck Price on Swing DesignCheck Price on Cricut

As you can see, both machines have a lot going for them.

The Cameo 4 is more powerful, can cut larger sizes and is cheaper, while the Cricut Maker has lots of tools and more versatility.

Cameo 4 Tools

Much like the Cricut Maker, the Cameo 4 comes with a suite of new tools to fit the machine’s brand new, bigger, gear-driven drive housing.

The new tools and housing will be designed for the huge increase in power of the Cameo 4 and will not fit into any previous Silhouette models.

Some of the first tools to be announced include the following:

  • Silhouette Rotary Blade — For cutting specialty materials like fabrics, leather, felt and wool without a stabilizer backing
  • Silhouette Kraft Blade — For cutting thicker craft materials like acetate, craft foam, burlap, felt, balsa wood and leather

The machine is also blessed with automatic tool detection to allow it to automatically adjust to whatever tool you happen to load in the carriage — blade, pen, whatever — without you needing to fiddle around with settings in Silhouette Studio.

cameo 4 review

Cameo 4: The Look

We touched upon it in our review, but truthfully we’re a little surprised at the look that the Silhouette designers have settled on.

It’s definitely still in keeping with the familiar Silhouette aesthetic, but looks a lot bigger and tougher than the Cameo 3 — we imagine this is due to the increased force and sturdiness of the machine. There’s definitely an industrial look to it.

It’ll be available in the following colors:

  • White
  • Black
  • Pink

Which one will you go for?!

Ken from Ken’s Kreations captured this view of the prototypes on display at the Summit before the machine’s release:

Silhouette Cameo Plus and Pro

The cutting width of the standard Cameo 4 is 12 inches — but they’ve also introduced 2 larger sizes to the line-up.

That’s right — the Silhouette Cameo Plus (15″ cutting width) and the Silhouette Cameo Pro (20″ cutting width).

The Plus and Pro have all the same features of the Cameo 4, but they’re able to accomplish larger cuts.

Like their names suggest, these larger editions will probably be most attractive to people running vinyl cutting businesses or those who simply work on larger projects.

Price wise, the Plus and Pro are naturally more expensive than the standard Cameo 4.

The Silhouette Cameo Plus will be $399 while the Silhouette Cameo Pro will be $499. We can expect some nice bundles with these new machines if you’re hunting for a deal.

Update: The Silhouette Cameo 4 Plus is now shipping!

Conclusion

Overall, we highly recommend the Silhouette Cameo 4.

This is a professional level machine at a truly bargain price that will appeal to a huge number of people — whether you’re an occasional cutting hobbyist or a fully established business owner.

The included software is excellent, and the machine incredibly strong and with plenty of promise. The fact that it’s available in larger sizes (the Pro and Plus) is really exciting as well as the multitude of new tools.

There are a couple of non-dealbreaker issues that knock the Cameo 4 down from a perfect score — namely the machine’s aesthetics and the occasionally inefficient tool carriage — but these are unlikely to be an issue to many of Silhouette’s audience.

Check Price on Swing Design Website Check Price on Amazon

Are you excited for the release of the Silhouette Cameo 4?

Still not sure what the best vinyl cutter for your needs is? Be sure to check out our Reviews section for detailed analysis of ALL the top-selling die cutters.


About Author

Stephanie Osborn

I’m a life long crafter with a passion for vinyl cutting — it’s been both a hobby and a career for me over the past 5 years. Everyday I love testing new machines, materials and techniques and passing my tips and reviews along to my crafting friends and readers. I don’t like to play favorites, but it’s hard to deny that the Silhouette Cameo and Cricut cutters hold a special place in my heart! When I’m not in my craft room (and sometimes when I’m in it), you’ll find me playing with my baby daughter and my two furball puppies.

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    The cutting size is less than the Cricut according to the info above, unless that was an error. If they really want it tested, they should send me one and I’ll test it against a Silver Bullet 🙂 I used to have a Cameo, the main reason I changed was their attitude to saving as SVG. Now, I have the Business edition so I can use Studio if I want to but generally use SCAL. It would be interesting to see how much they have improved.

    • Editor

      Hi Sandra,

      The information above is correct — the cutting size will be larger than the Cricut (12 inches wide and 10 feet long vs the Cricut’s 12 inches wide by 24 inches long).

      We’re also excited to see how well Silhouette Studio works with the new machine!

  2. Avatar
    Rachel A Hyde on

    I am new to cutting machines and am about to buy my first. I almost got the Cameo 3 but the Cricut Maker sounds more suitable for me as I am so into making clothes and accessories. Will the Cameo 4 have any downloadable patterns as I hear the Maker has? A shame it has such a small cutting size. I haven’t bought a Maker as so many people seem to think it has a lot of features but does not work that well and has dreadful customer support.

  3. Avatar

    I look forward to see what the new version does especially with thicker materials. Will there be software that actually works to scan and cut? I have been rarely successful with pixscan.

  4. Avatar

    I wonder what the Single Tap Auto Blade can cut (since it doesn’t use a Deep Cut Blade). Could it cut thicker chipboard, for example?

  5. Avatar

    I’m anxious to see your reviews. Can you post a video of the cameo 4 cutting an intricate design out of paper?
    I have the original cameo, which is not working well at all. I’m a little perplexed over the machine. I have read a reviews and the double motors work seperately not together, the roll feeder looks less than sturdy, and even though it has 2 cartridges you can only use 1 at a time.
    I need a new machine I have yet to see on video this machine cut paper!!!! I want the cameo 4 to work but I am hesitant on a purchase.
    Thanks for any info

  6. Avatar

    i REALLY am interested in the 4 15 or 20″ But am mostly looking for something to cut felt for felt flowers without putting a backing on it. I need to know if you HAVE to use heat and bond lite for felt as I don’t want the shiny side on my flowers. I also need to know if it can cut acrylic felt as apposed to wool blend felt. there is a huge difference. I want it to cut both!

  7. Avatar
    Benjamin Scott-Pye on

    I’m basically wanting a digital cutter as a cheaper alternative to a laser cutter. I would mostly be using it to cut card (potentially quite thick card) but also maybe foam board or balsa wood sheets. I know that the Cricut Maker is pretty good at cutting some thicker/tougher materials as I’ve seen people demonstrate it on Youtube, but I can’t find a review anywhere where anybody talks about this with the Silhouette Cameo 4. It says that it has more force than the maker (5kg vs 4kg) but I don’t know if this translates well to actual cutting ability.

    Everyone mostly just seems to talk about it’s ability to cut vinyl which isn’t very useful to me. Have you tried cutting anything tougher?

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