I’ve been deep in research this past week over the Silhouette Cameo 4 and the Cricut Maker. Since I am an avid crafter and DIYer, this was a big decision. I can tell you this, whichever machine you choose, I know you will love it.
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For a little background, the Cricut Maker has been on the market since the summer of 2017. It has been the most versatile and popular choice for crafters during that time. The Silhouette Cameo 4 was just released this fall and some of the accessories are just now becoming available.
Before we jump into the details, this is not an official review of both products. There are already a few detailed, side by side comparisons out there, with helpful information about both of these machines. I made the decision to purchase the Silhouette Cameo 4 and I want to highlight the information that led to that decision.
WHAT IS NEW ON THE SILHOUETTE CAMEO 4
- Built-In roll feeder: For vinyl with a cross cutter on the back of the machine to cut and remove vinyl projects
- Dual carriage: Allows for tool type detection
- Dual motor system: Carriage One – Fast accurate cuts & sketching. Carriage Two – Power, with cutting force up to 5,000 grams, great for cutting thicker materials (uses kraft blade, rotary blade and punch tool)
- Autoblade (included with purchase) Has single tap reset – adjusts blade settings faster. Choose your material in the software and the machine automatically sets the blade.
- Rotary Blade (sold separately) For Carriage Two. Cuts fabric & felt
- Kraft Blade (sold separately) Cuts materials up to 3 mm thick (leather, mat-board, balsa-wood etc.)
- Punch Tool (Sold Separately): Creates weeding points for your vinyl and HTV projects
SIZE OF MATERIAL
One of the reasons I chose the Silhouette Cameo 4 over the Cricut Maker is the ability to cut material 12″ wide and up to 10 feet long. I frequently create signs and home decor, so the ability for me to cut long material was important. Currently, the Cricut Maker can only cut up to 12″ wide and 23.5″ long.
Silhouette will also be releasing wider cutting machines very soon. The new models will be able to cut a width of 15″ and 20″. I love this feature because it will help with large sign making or big projects, like my latest coffee sign.
SILHOUETTE HAS MORE POWER
The Cricut Maker has 4,000 grams of cut force, while the new Silhouette Cameo 4 has 5,000 grams force. This will be important if you are cutting thicker materials.
I love to create home decor, upcycle items, make signs and crafts. Having the ability to cut thicker items will open up many possibilities for me. I look forward to working with felt in my sewing projects and cutting chipboard for signs, ornaments and decor. Having the option to customize and create wood projects, metals, mat-board and leather will also be helpful and fun.
If you primarily use your machine to cut vinyl and paper, you may want to save some money and purchase the Cameo 3.
SILHOUETTE STUDIO SOFTWARE
You should know that the Silhouette Studio Software is downloaded onto your computer. Whereas the Cricut Maker requires an internet connection to use the software.
This was the most influential part of my decision making process, as my Internet frequently has problems. I could only imagine the frustration this would cause me in the middle of a design or cut.
The Silhouette Studio Software is one of the most powerful design softwares for any cutting system on the market. It is also compatible with Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator with a plug-in.
I have been using this software many years and love it. If you are not familiar with it or struggle to learn new programs, it will take some time to learn. But for me, I like the versatility it provides.
At the time I am writing this, the Silhouette 4 is about $100 dollars cheaper than the Cricut Maker. But, if you want the ability to import and save SVG files in the Silhouette Software you will need to pay for an upgrade. In my opinion, this leaves the price of both units very close.
You can cut materials without a mat on the new Cameo 4. This feature does not help me personally, but if you are a teacher, you will love this. The drawback is that it leaves the little punch out tabs on your project. Teachers that need to cut punch outs for their classroom, will probably get the most use from this feature.
CRICUT MAKER FEATURES YOU MAY PREFER
More tools. Currently the Cricut Maker has a knife blade, single and double scoring wheel, perforation blade, wavy blade, embossing tip and an engraving tip.
I’ve also read that the software is more user friendly and easier to learn.
Another thing to consider is the Cricut Maker has been on the market for a while. This means there is good customer support available and any glitches have already been worked out.
TOP FIVE REASONS WHY I PURCHASED THE NEW SILHOUETTE CAMEO 4
In the end it was a hard decision, but I had to look at what the needs were for my business. Here are the most influential reasons I chose the Cameo 4.
#1 – The Silhouette Cameo 4 can cut long projects (up to 10 feet).
#2 – I don’t need an Internet connection to run the software.
#3 – I can cut thicker materials (up to 3 mm) with more power (5,000 grams of force.
#4 – As a designer, I appreciate that the Silhouette Design Software is more powerful, offering greater design capabilities.
#5 – If you don’t need to import or save your projects as SVG files (need software upgrade for this), the Silhouette Cameo 4 is a better price.
If having a greater tool selection and an easier software platform are important to you, you may want to consider the Cricut Maker.
If you are not interested in cutting thicker materials and mostly cut card-stock and vinyl, you may want to consider purchasing the Cameo 3.
CRAFT WITH ME
I am so excited about the new Silhouette Cameo 4 and can’t wait to start creating projects, cut files and tutorials to share!
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I hope you are as excited about the new Silhouette Cameo 4 as I am!