Silhouette vs Cricut: Which One should I Go For?
For making T-shirts and other kinds of clothes, greeting cards, party decorations, craft books, art craft, applique for quilts or table runners, metal and paper, you’re definitely going to need the help of a cutting machine.
It is also known as a die cutting machine, most of these machines come with different attachments and tools that can be used for cutting your materials into various shapes and sizes.
When it comes to cutting machines, two names rise above all others: Cricut and Silhouette. These are the two brands that make the best cutting machines used by professionals, businesses and amateurs.
Both Cricut and Silhouette have a number of models to choose from, each with their unique features and specialties.
Differences Between Silhouette and Cricut
However, when it comes to deciding between a Silhouette cutting machine and a Cricut cutting machine, you have to consider a number of factors.
All cutting machines require a software that you can use to control the machine, since all those complicated designs cannot be achieved without the use of a computer.
Both Cricut and Silhouette machines come with their very own softwares that you can buy online or get free with the machine: the Silhouette Studio for Silhouette and the Design Space for Cricut.
Design Space, the software needed for Cricut, is both web-based and offline-based, and can also be used via an iOS program, the Cricut Design Space for iOS.
You can use this software to download content, designing as well as cutting without connecting to the Internet. Design Space can also be used to import .jpg images and convert them into .svg images, which is the format recognized by Cricut cutting machines.
This means that you can directly download and use images from the Internet in your designs, create your own designs in Design Space, create or edit designs in any other editing software and import them to Design Space, or download free designs from the private database of Cricut.
SIlhouette, on the other hand, has the Silhouette Studio. This is a free software that you can download to use with your Silhouette cutting machine, or get for free with the purchase of the machine. It doesn’t require a very strong Internet connection to use this software.
The Silhouette Studio comes with a larger design database than the Design Space, and has more features that you can use to create your own designs from scratch.
This software is more suitable for someone who is experienced and knows the way around designing software rather than a beginner. With the Silhouette Studio, you have to pay a subscription fee that allows you to download files and premade images from their private database.
Comparison: The Cricut Design Space is easier for a beginner and has all the basic tools and features that you need to make your own simple design.
You can use it to download free images which you have to pay a subscription fee for with the Silhouette Studio. The Silhouette Studio is more suited for users who know their way around an editing studio.
Exterior Design and Size
The exterior design of the cutting machine matters, to some extent. At least, the size and shape of the machine matters. Fortunately, all models from Cricut and Silhouette are almost similar in shape and size.
If too large, you might have trouble fitting these designs inside your shelves and desks; too small, and you won’t be able to cut very big materials with it.
Comparison: Almost all Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines are relatively the same in terms of design and size. The one you should decide on should depend on the space you have on your desk or craft table, as there aren’t any other similar criteria to base them on.
A cutting machine that comes with its own tool storage can be quite helpful. Some of the models from both Cricut and Silhouette come with their own storage options where you can keep your pens and markers, cutting mats, scissors and blades, etc.
The older Silhouette machines didn’t have any tool storage, but the newer and more expensive ones do; on the other hand, you can get adequate storage in almost all Cricut machines.
Comparison: All Cricut machines have tool storage if that’s an important feature for you. At the same time, you can get storage options in the newest Silhouette machines, but not the older ones.
If you have a separate drawer for all your tools, you won’t need to bother with the tool storage provided by the machines themselves.
Both Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines can cut through a long list of materials: paper, fabric, vinyl and heat transfer vinyl, craft foam, EVA foam, faux leather, moleskin, cereal boxes, vellum, window cling, thin and thick leather, silk, cardstock, hardboard, and many other materials.
The list of materials are almost the same with almost all Silhouette and Cricut machines, but it is the Cricut Maker, the latest model from this brand, that has the sharpest blade at the moment.
The Cricut Maker has 10 times the force of the other previous models, and can cut through the most number and type of materials, including extra heavy-weight fabric, freezer paper, 40 gauge thin copper, Kraft paper, poster board, velvet and suede. This model from Cricut also comes with extra sharp and deep blades to cut through these materials and more.
Comparison: If you intend to work with a lot of different materials and products, the Cricut machines, particularly the Cricut Maker, should be the most practical choice for you, as you can use it to work on a large number of material types.
On the other hand, if you choice of materials are the usual ones like paper, vinyl and fabric, you can use use any machine from either Cricut or Silhouette.
With both Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines, you can adjust, change and replace the blades you use to cut your materials with. With some brands, you can even adjust the strength and depth of the blade to cut through thick and hard materials like fabric, faux leather and cardboard.
With Cricut cutting machines, for example, you get a total of three crafting tools and seven blades, namely:
- Deep Point Blade
- Fine Point Blade
- Bonded Fabric Blade
- Knife Blade
- Rotary Blade
- Quick Swap Perforation Blade
- Quick Swap Engraving Blade
- Quick Swap Debossing Tip
- Quick Swap Wavy Blade
- Quick Swap Scoring Wheel Tips
You can change between these blades in your Cricut machine for different materials and designs. All of these blades and tools have a different purpose that you might need for your projects.
With Silhouette cutting machines, you can change between five different kinds of blades, i.e.:
- The AutoBlade
- Fabric Blade
- Premium Blade
- Ratchet Blade and
- Deep-cut Blade
Comparison: It may look as if you have fewer blade options with Silhouette cutting machines, these blades can do everything Cricut blades can do, and more.
However, with the versatile blade and tools that are compatible with Cricut machines, you can use them on more types of materials.
Although almost similar, Silhouette machines are slightly more expensive than Cricut machines. The Cricut Maker, which is the latest model from Cricut is the most expensive one of the lot, as it comes with a special rotary blade that can be used to cut almost anything.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 happens to be the most expensive model from Silhouette, but it is still less expensive than the Cricut Maker.
Comparison: If budget is not a problem, then Cricut machines should be preferred model for you. Slightly lower in price, Silhouette machines should be the choice if you have a limited budget.
Ease of Use
From previous user experience, it is evident that Cricut cutting machines are easier to set up, connect to your computer and use. The instruction manual that comes with the Cricut machines are supposed to be easier to understand and follow, as opposed to the one that comes with Silhouette machines.
Comparison: If you are a beginner, it is better to rely on the instructions that come with Cricut cutting machines because they are easier to understand.
Both Cricut and Silhouettes are excellent brands when it comes to cutting machines. They each have their own features and specialities that make them indispensable to users.
However, when you are a beginner or using a cutting machine for the first time, it is better to get a Cricut, particularly, the Cricut Maker. This particular model is easy to set up, use and connect to your computer; Design Space, the software that comes with the machine, is also easy to use by a newbie.
You can download any designs with this software, use it when offline and can even create your own designs as the software is easy to operate. Cricut machines also come with more tools and blades for you to use.
Although Cricut cutting machines are slightly more expensive, they are worth the extra cost for the performance that these machines can give you.