Silhouette Cameo 4 Review
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
- 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
- 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
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
Packed with technological improvements, the Cameo 4 marks a significant leap forwards from the Cameo 3 and previous machines.
The Deep Dive
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.
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. Unfortunately, none of these 3 are yet available to purchase but we’ll update you once they’re here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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
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||Cameo 4|
|Downward Force||221 grams||5,000 grams|
|Speed||3 x faster|
|Max Cut Size||12" x 10'||12" x 10'|
15" x 10' (Cameo Plus)
20" x 10' (Cameo Pro)
|AutoBlade?||AutoBlade||Single Tap AutoBlade|
|Automatic Tool Detection?||No||Yes|
|New Tool Compatibility?||No||Yes|
|Buy on Amazon||Check Price||Check Price|
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||Cricut Maker|
|Max. Cutting Size||12" x 10'|
15" x 10' (Plus)
20" x 10' (Pro)
|12" x 24"|
|Tools||Rotary Blade, Kraft Blade, Single Tap Auto Blade, Punch Tool||Rotary Blade, Knife Blade, Scoring Wheel (Single & Double), Fine Point Blade, Deep Point Blade, Wavy Blade, Perforation Blade, Debossing Tip, Engraving Tip|
|Software||Silhouette Studio||Cricut Design Space|
|Stand-Out Feature||Power and Speed||Sewing Pattern Library|
|Buy on Amazon||Check Price||Check Price|
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.
The first tools to be announced are 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: 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:
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.
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.
Are you excited for the release of the Silhouette Cameo 4?