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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.
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.
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.
Sizzix on Social Media
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 Big Shot is probably Sizzix’s most popular machine, and certainly the product that most crafters associate with the brand.
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?