Manual Die-cutting Machine Reviews 2018
There are now so many different manual die-cutting machines to choose from! How do you know which one to choose? In this post we go through the 3 most popular machines on the market and let you know their vital statitstics, plus what you really think of these must have machines for cardmakers, scrapbookers and papercrafters.
We wanted to know which your favourite manual die-cutting machine is, and so many of you got in touch to tell us which die-cutting machine is best and why.
After you have read the results below why not add your opinion to this die-cutting machine review facebook post.
Types of Die Cutting Machines
There are three types of die cutting machines.
Manual Die Cutting Machines
Electronic Die Cutting Machines
Digital Die Cutting Machines
In this post we’re focusing on the range of manual die-cutting machines, we’ll cover the electronic and digital machines on this blog soon, so stay tuned for updates via our newsletter.
Manual Die Cutting machines
Manual die-cutting machines need no plugging in and also offer the ability for you to use them to emboss your card and paper. The machines are used with metal dies and embossing folders which you will buy separately. There are 1000’s of dies and embossing folders available from many companies and designers. At CraftStash we have our own in-house designers of dies and stamps, so if there is ever a design you can’t find, be sure to suggest it to us!
To die-cut a piece of card or paper, you simply affix the die with a little tape and then sandwich between plates. This sandwich is then passed through the machine using a handle which pulls it through. The pressure of the paper on the sharp edges of the die creates a perfect cut – so much quicker and easier than cutting intricate shapes with scalpels or scissors.
When embossing you use the same process but with an embossing folder, the paper or card is placed in between the two sides of the folder and then the sandwich is created again with the thick plastic plates which come with the machine.
The results of our die-cutting machine survey!
So what order did the big 3 come in!
First Place! The number 1 manual die-cutting machine
Did you guess it? In clear first place in our CraftStash survey with an overwhelming response is the famous Sizzix Big Shot.
Compatible with the entire Sizzix range of dies (excluding Big Shot Pro dies) as well as the majority of dies on the market. This machine is terrific value for money.
69 of the 142 comments we received mentioned the Big Shot from Sizzix, they were either using it all the time, along with other machines or saying it was the one they wanted. Here are a few of the top reviews. I’m pretty sure Sizzix will be very pleased with this feedback. There weren’t many negatives at all, a few suggested size was an issue but many of you had even upgraded to the more expensive Big Shot Plus.
I like the Big Shot as it`s sturdy & reliable & the customer service is fantastic
– Sue Beasley
I’ve had pretty much every machine on the market and what I haven’t owned, I’ve used at some point. For me, you can’t beat a big shot. So simple to use, and a good hard wearing piece.
– Danielle Bigland
I started off with a big shot 8 years ago, still works fine but put away as progressed to a big shot plus which I love and recently treated myself to a big shot foldaway for when I’m crafting on a smaller table…..all fabulous machines, well made, reliable and the plates not only last a long time but are reasonable to replace.
– Pam Nettleship
You can find out more about this die-cutting machine here – Sizzix Big Shot die-cutting machine
Second Place – The Cuttlebug
The Cuttlebug came in second, but only just – we think it scores extra points for all the people who said it was easy to store and really portable. This iconic little machine can die-cut and emboss a variety of materials, creating precise, clean die-cuts and even, consistent embossing on everything from thin paper to heavy cardstock. The opening is 6 inches, so you won’t be able to cut dies or emboss folders andy bigger than this – not a problem for most crafters, especially beginners.
It’s such a stylish looking design for a die-cutting machine, it could easily be mistaken for a 1950’s radio!
In our initial survey 32 of you mentioned this little powerhouse machine in your reviews and the majority were complimentary about how easy it is to use, carry and store.
My Cuttlebug has always been my go to machine. It is nice & compact & always cuts well.
– Fiona J Hayes
I have an original cuttlebug and an cricut….use my cuttlebug all the time and can pack it anywhere…only down side is I can’t use big dies
– Barbara Ann Barter
I love my cuttlebug. It’s small and tough yet most dies and embossing folders fit.
– Tiffany Macey
You can find more about the popular little Cuttlebug here – Cricut Cuttlebug
Third Place – Spellbinders Grand Calibur
In third place (only just a tiny way behind the Cuttlebug) is this lovely teal die-cutting machine, it’s got an 8.5″-wide cutting platform so you can die-cut to your heart’s content, whatever the size of your project. This die-cutting machine is perfect for using with paper or card.
There were 32 mentions in our request for reviews, most of those were very positive and teamed it with a smaller machine or with a digital machine. At the right price this machine would still be a great investment judging by your reviews. However a few said that the handle had broken, newer models may have fixed this issue, but only time will tell.
I have the Spellbinders grand caliber so can’t comment on the others I have had this for about 7 years and never had a problem
– Marlene Whitehead
I had a big shot and I found it very hard to turn so I bought a Grand Calibur and I love it, I have a Gemini [electronic] as well now but still love Grand Calibur
– Mary Doherty
I opted for a Grand Calibur, as it doesn’t take up a lot of space. It’s very simple to use and very reliable. If I’d had more space I would have gone for the Sizzix Big Shot probably.
– Brenda Heath
You can find out more about this machine here – Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine
So those are the top 3 – what do you think, do you agree? Adda comment on this post –