What works better than Cricut?

What works better than Cricut?

If you’re looking for the best Cricut alternatives then the choice is even more varied than it was this time last year. While Brother and Silhouette of America offer similar approaches, new brands xTools and Glowforge have brought laser cutters into the mix.

These alternatives to the best Cricut machines, along with those of Cricut, can cut paper, card, vinyl, fabric and do much more. But for every Cricut machine there’s a good alternative. While rival Silhouette aims to go head-to-head with Cricut in terms of features and approach, Brother goes a step further and includes a built-in scanner with its machines, and the xTool M1 mixes blade and laser cutting in one machine – but these are more expensive than Cricut.

In this article, we’ll look at the best Cricut alternatives and how they do everything a Cricut can, and in some ways a little more. If you like the sound of the Silhouette brand, we have a full guide to the best Silhouette machines available now. We also pit Cricut versus Silhouette to really see how they match up. We also have a guide to the best best Brother ScanNCut machines.

But take a look below for the best Cricut alternatives, especially now that the excellent Silhouette machines are more widely available outside of America and Brother has expanded its ScanNCut machine supply in the UK to match the US.

The best Cricut alternatives: available now

01. xTool M1

The xTool M1 breaks the mould for digital craft machines by offering both a blade cutter and a laser cutter in one machine. The same housing holds both, so you can blade cut and laser engrave in one go, or blade cut and then laser cut smaller details even a blade won’t manage.

This neat box of tricks won a Red Dot Design Award in 2022 and it’s easy to see why; this is a smart and compact craft machine that works like no other on the market right now. The machine itself has few buttons and everything is controlled via xTools app for Android and Apple. It’s very similar to Cricut Design Space, and supports vector art software such as CorelDRAW.

The slight downside to the xTool M1 is the laser is a 10 watt diode laser which is less powerful than the 45 watt CO2 laser of the Glowforge Pro. This means the xTool M1 is ideal for thinner materials and all engraving, but for larger laser-cut projects you’ll likely need to upscale to the Glowforge.

Yet, at a fraction of the cost of a Glowforge but more expensive than a Cricut Maker 3, the xTool M1 is a nice mid-way craft machine that can deliver projects beyond Cricut. This is an excellent hybrid option and easily one of the best Cricut alternatives you can buy.

02. Brother ScanNCut SDX1200

The Brother ScanNCut SDX1200 is the part of the excellent ScanNCut series of craft machines from the brand mostly known for its sewing machines. The difference between this machine and its rivals at Cricut and Silhouette is the built-in 600dpi scanner and and onboard computer, accessed via the LCD touchscreen.

The difference with the ScanNCut SDX1200 and some other machines on this list is you can begin cutting out of the box; no need for laptop, tablet or extra software. There is over 1,000 pre-programmed projects to use or you can create your own using the touchscreen and included stylus to adjust the size of shapes and weld them into new patterns.

Then there’s the scanner. In our Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review, a Disney-themed edition, our writer found this revolutionary to use – you’re able to scan drawings, photos, material, or even pages of old sewing patterns into the machine and then cut from this data. You can scan and cut sections of material and the AI will even scan and cut leftover materials – it can judge how many shapes you can get from a piece of fabric, for example.

If you want to go further Brother has its own app, CanvasWorkspace, for anyone who wants to work on a larger screen. This is similar to Cricut’s Design Space, but here it’s an optional extra and not necessary for using the machine. If you’re new to craft cutting machines, and have the budget, the Brother ScanNCut SDX1200 is a great place to start, and our preferred Cricut alternative.

03. Silhouette Cameo 4

The best alternative to Cricut Maker is the Silhouette Cameo 4. There are plenty of similarities between to two machines. In terms of speed, it’s pretty on par with the Cricut Maker 3, with both being very fast, and like the Maker 3, the Cameo 4 has an integrated roller feeder. You’ll find lower Silhouette Cameo 4 prices, as it’s cheaper, and yet it’s actually the stronger of the two machines in terms of downward force, boasting 5kg, a full 1kg more than the Cricut Maker.

The roller can handle longer designs, and the cutter has new tools like the Kraft and Rotary and can handle balsa wood, leather and even chipboard. It can cut material up to 3mm (0.11in) thick using the knife blade, which beats the Maker 3 by 0.6mm. Another big difference is the software. Cricut’s is very intuitive and easy to use, if perhaps simplistic, while the Silhouette Studio has a steeper learning curve.

That said, we like the fact that Silhouette opted for standalone software that runs on your computer. This means there’s no monthly subscription fee like there is with Cricut Access, and there’s no need for an active internet connection. All in all, this is the best Cricut alternative for a wide range of professional and personal projects.

Note: there are three models of the Cameo 4, which includes this base model and the Cameo 4 Plus and the Cameo 4 Pro, each goes up in size.

04. Glowforge Pro

The Glowforge Pro is a powerful and unique Cricut alternative that adapts Cricut’s clever approachability and design ideals into the laser cutter sector. The Glowforge Pro looks like a high-end printer, and has been nicknamed a laser printer, but inside is the tech that can cut, engrave and score over 100 hundred materials.

You can use everything from wood and plastic to metal and fabrics, and even marble, with the Glowforge Plus. What sets this aside from other laser cutters is the design – it’s elegant and simple. Like Cricut the Glowforge Pro is simple to use too, just drag and drop your design files into the Glowforge app, align the material in the machine, and press ‘Print’.

The Glowforge app also contains thousands of pre-made designs. Some of these can be used commercially as well as adjusted to make them unique to you. What can you make? Everything from board games and toys to jewellery and even furniture.

Glowforge Pro is expensive, and possibly too powerful for some, but the brand also makes two other models – the Glowforge Plus and Glowforge Basic. Read our guide to the best Glowforge machines for more on this exciting brand.

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