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The Sizzix Big Shot Express (available now on Amazon) is a brand new version of the original bestselling Big Shot, but it has one big improvement: the machine now boasts electric cutting!
If you have used a Sizzix machine in the past, you will already be aware that these cutters are deceptively powerful.
The Big Shot can cut dozens of materials, emboss beautifully, and all for a price that ticks the box ‘Budget Friendly’.
In this Big Shot Express review, we’ll look at some of the best features of the latest cutter from Sizzix — as well as some of the drawbacks to keep in mind before buying.
Let’s get started!
Introducing the Sizzix 660540 Big Shot Express
Fans of the original Big Shot will notice an immediate difference in the Express model, seen below:
Yep, it’s missing a crank.
Previously, if you wanted to cut or emboss your materials, you’d have to turn the handle and feed it through manually.
This doesn’t sound like a problem for a one-off cut.
But when handling repetitive tasks, or simply using it often, the crank became somewhat of a chore.
That changes with the Big Shot Express where the crank has been replaced with a simple button. It’s an upgrade that allows Sizzix to join the electric cutter party.
Now that the process of cutting or embossing has been entirely motorized, you can save on space that would have been spent cranking.
The machine remains quiet and simple to use, but without the extensive wrist workout.
Of course, there’s more to the Big Shot than a mere motor and cable.
This series has proven tremendously popular with the small crafts community, and here are some of the reasons why:
It works with a variety of materials
The Big Shot is capable of cutting most materials that we would typically work with, including:
- Card stock
- Various fabrics
- Various types of papers
Stampin Up has a detailed list of the types of materials that will work with the Big Shot Express.
The best advice, which matches what we’ve found so far, is to simply ask: “Could I cut through this material with a pair of paper craft scissors?”
If the answer is yes, the Big Shot Express should be able to handle it.
If not… it probably can’t.
Sleek modern design
The Big Shot Express looks just as sleek, shiny and modern as the standard Big Shot — except it’s missing the side crank.
The machine weighs in at 7.5 lbs and is nice and portable.
We’ve worked with many vinyl cutters that seem to demand half of the office by the time we’ve set aside enough space to feed in the materials and store our supplies.
Space is not a problem with the Big Shot Express.
It measures just 14″ by 10″ by 6″ inches.
Even better, the machine takes up less space to operate now that it relies on an electrical motor rather than a manual turn handle.
Cuts materials up to 6 inches wide.
It’s fair to say that the Big Shot is at the lower end of the market when it comes to cutting size.
It can slice and emboss materials up to six inches wide.
If you’re a fan of the original Big Shot, this will hardly be news to you. But if you’re used to the versatility of other bestselling electronic cutters, you’ll definitely want to keep those limitations in mind.
Who is the Big Shot Express for?
The Big Shot Express is targeted at the same market that lapped up the original Big Shot — with the extra appeal that it is now easier to operate and involves less manual work.
As the Sizzix website says:
“The Big Shot Express helps you create one-of-a-kind cards, invitations, scrapbook pages, home decor, fashion, altered art, quilting and much more.”
It is seen as a hobbyist machine rather than a professional cutter, although it can certainly hold its own if you are working with smaller motifs and decals.
Support and Setup
Here are a couple of great ‘unboxing’ videos that show the process of getting started with your Big Shot Express.
Credit: Sizzix YouTube channel.
Credit: Aunt Becs Creations
The product comes with a one year warranty and a relatively straightforward setup process.
All Sizzix products are well supported by a community of ardent fans and followers. You can scour YouTube for hours watching videos of fun and inventive crafters at work on the Big Shot.
If you need support, you can get in touch with Sizzix 24/7 by email using their contact form.
Alternatively, they have phone support.
- Toll-free in the United States: 877-355-4766
- Outside the US: 949-598-8821
The phone support is open from 6:30am to 4pm PST from Monday through Friday.
From our experience, there aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with a user-submitted YouTube video.
But the company is generally pretty responsive if you need to reach them.
Is the Big Shot Express a good deal? Is it worth an upgrade over the previous Sizzix machines?
First, let’s take a look at its key advantages:
Sizzix Big Shot Express Pros
The motorized cutting beats cranking
Let’s start with the biggest sell of the Big Shot Express over its previous incarnation.
The new motorized cutting is a big improvement over manual cranking.
You might not think that something as simple as replacing a crank with a button would change the experience of using a cutting machine, but it does.
If you are cutting through a lot of materials, on a regular basis, the electric cutting of the Big Shot Express will make life a lot easier for you. It is particularly recommended for anybody suffering from dexterity or wrist issues. A no brainer, really.
The only question is whether you can justify the significant increase in cost for electronic cutting instead of the manual cranking.
Many craft fans say they cannot, which is fair enough. But as a tangible improvement to the Hot Shot, we’d be sad if we had to lose this new-found luxury.
All the best of the Big Shot’s excellent cutting and embossing
The Big Shot is something akin to a cult hero in the craft community.
It looks quaint and tiny, but disguised under those soft white and grey tones is a pretty awesome DIY cutter that works great with any kind of embossing.
If you are interested in scrapbooking, making cards, small signs, decals and other vinyl crafts, the Sizzix Big Shot is an excellent little machine that punches above its weight.
It’s family friendly
The previous crank version of the Big Shot was perhaps the ultimate example of a family friendly cutting machine:
- Easy for the kids to use
- Difficult to break
- Great for working with your hands
The new electric version is just as family-friendly, except we’re now pushing a button instead of grinding our wrists to pulp.
Kids are pretty good at pushing buttons these days, so that shouldn’t be a problem!
Sizzix Big Shot Express Cons
What are the key disadvantages to choosing the Big Shot Express?
Upgrading to electric cutting raises the cost considerably
The prices of the Sizzix machines change often, but the price difference between the regular Big Shot and the Big Shot Express remains considerable.
It’s around 50% more for the electric cutter.
By charging a premium to go electric, it’s likely that some craft fans will opt instead for a heavier duty vinyl cutter that provides more bang for that additional buck.
The Big Shot Express is only marginally cheaper than previous generation Silhouette Cameo and Cricut Explore Air machines.
There’s a valid argument that if you are prepared to pay more for motorised cutting, you might well be able to stretch a little bit further for a machine that provides a radical jump up in cutting capabilities — like a Cameo or an Explore Air or, to keep the Sizzix love strong, The Big Shot Pro.
If size matters, the Big Shot is not a good idea
This applies to both the ordinary Big Shot and the Big Shot Express.
Both machines are limited to a maximum cutting/embossing width of 6 inches.
This may be fine for scrapbookers and small decals, but it’s hardly going to be the catalyst for a successful vinyl signage business.
Think carefully about what you hope to achieve with the machine. Is it to satisfy a hobby, or do you have a commercial agenda?
For commercial purposes, the lack of flexibility in terms of cutting size and materials may be a constraint.
Best Price for the Big Shot Express
All in all, the Big Shot Express is a beautifully compact craft cutter that has all the best parts of the original Big Shot whilst being even simpler to operate.
Our wrists are happier for its arrival.
So, what is the best price for a Big Shot Express?
At the time of writing (September 2016), the machine was available through the official Sizzix website for $229 — with a pair of Standard Cutting Pads and the Extended Platform and Extended Thin Die Adapter.
Going through the Sizzix store is not always the cheapest place to buy a Big Shot.
While we can’t guarantee that it will be listed cheaper on Amazon, it’s always worth checking — and you can find out the current latest price below:
What do you think of the Big Shot Express? Are you a fan of the crank-free cutting?
Looking for some excellent alternatives? Check out this Best Vinyl Cutters guide for a comparison of the best machines. Also, don’t forget to visit our Reviews portal for other excellent machines from Sizzix (and all the top craft brands!).
Big Shot Express Review
The Big Shot Express delivers everything we loved about the Big Shot at the push of a button. Literally. However, the electronic cutting comes at an extra cost. Those who don’t mind cranking may prefer to stick to the original Big Shot, which is considerably cheaper.