Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: May 25, 2021
A fabric cutting machine can make a big difference to your sewing, quilting, and crafts projects. Being able to quickly, easily, and precisely cut fabrics is a huge benefit to any sewing enthusiast, but there are a lot of different machines out there, and choosing the best fabric cutting machine can be a challenge. With the right machine by your side, sewing and quilting projects can become a lot simpler, and these machines can be used for all sorts of other arts and crafts projects too.
In order to identify the very best models, we spent a lot of time seeking out specifications, user reviews, and details on a range of different options to suit all budgets and needs. We considered various factors like whether the machine was manual or electric, what kind of display it has, its size and weight, and any other interesting features or functionality it can offer. Taking all of this into consideration, we found the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine to be the best cutting machine on the market.
Below, you can find a comparison table summing up our findings, listing the top rated fabric cutting machine models we found, complete with our ratings and nominations for each one. Further down the page, you’ll see in-depth reviews of each model, with pros and cons lists, as well as specifications to help you get a better idea of what each machine can do. Finally, there’s a fabric cutting machine buying guide and FAQ section.
Top 6 Fabric Cutting Machines Review 2021
Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine – Editor’s Choice
Display: 5” LCD touchscreen
Cutting mat area: 12 x 12 inches
Dimensions: 12.25 x 25 x 12 inches
Extra features: includes 682 built-in designs, 100 quilt patterns, 9 letter fonts; cuts materials up to 3mm thick; Auto Blade detects thickness of material without any manual adjustments; wireless connectivity to PC or mobile
Taking the top spot on our list of the best fabric cutting machine models is the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine. If you’re looking for the best cutting machine for fabric, you really don’t need to look any further than this model. The first thing that jumps out about the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine is its screen. This cutting machine comes with a 5-inch touchscreen on the top, letting you change settings and choose designs with ease.
As well as its screen, the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine stands out for the enormous amount of built-in designs and patterns it offers. This cutting machine comes with no less 682 designs built-in, with a total of 100 different quilt patterns to choose from. It’s by far one of the most flexible cutting machines available today, with so many different designs and options letting you perform almost any sewing or quilting task imaginable.
The only real downside we could when reading reviews and analyzing the overall quality of the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine was its price. It’s one of the most expensive cutting machines, but you do get a lot of value for money with this one. It’s a terrific machine, well-constructed and smartly designed, offering impeccable functionality, easy connections with your devices like phones and PCs, simple design edits right on the screen, and the power to cut through materials up to 3mm thick.
What do we love it for?
Huge number of built-in designs and quilt patterns
5 inch touchscreen
Easy to connect to devices
Simple design edits
3mm cutting thickness
What were we disappointed with?
Cricut Maker – Most Versatile
Display: none (connects to other devices)
Cutting mat area: 12 x 12 inches
Dimensions: 22.6 x 7.1 x 6.2 inches
Extra features: comes with 2 12”x12” cutting mats; features 50 preloaded projects and 25 sewing patterns
Next, we move on to the Cricut Maker. A highly trusted and popular model, the Cricut Maker is one of the best-selling fabric cutting machines out there. It features a compact design that can fit neatly away in spaces around the home, so it doesn’t take up too much room or cause any inconvenience, and it comes with a lot of features and functionality, including a Knife Blade which can cut through all kinds of fabrics and even tougher materials like balsa wood and matboard.
On the downside, the Knife Blade is sold separately, so you’ll have to pay a little extra for that, and you’ll also have to pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to all the software, apps, and tools for the Cricut Maker, which can be a bit of an inconvenience to those who just want to make a one-off payment and not have to worry about anything else. When you do get access to the Cricut tech, however, a world of opportunities opens up to you, with countless designs, patterns, and features just waiting to be used to enhance your projects.
The Cricut Maker is a fabric cutting machine that can really give you a lot, but it all depends what you’re willing to put into it. The more time you spend getting to know the machine, exploring the seemingly endless software options, and taking advantages of all these different features, the more satisfied you’ll be. It comes equipped with two cutting mats and is super easy to hook up to your phone or other device too.
What are its best features?
Comes with two cutting mats
50 preloaded projects and 25 patterns
Easy connectivity with phones and tablets
Super strong Knife Blade can cut through balsa wood
What could be improved?
Can be a bit tricky to understand at first
Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine – Best for Quilting
Display: 4.85″ touchscreen
Cutting mat area: 12 x 12 inches
Dimensions: 10.1 x 22.8 x 10.6 inches
Extra features: 631 preloaded designs, incl. 100 quilt designs and 7 fonts; cuts materials up to 2mm thick
Next up, we have the Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine. Brother is one of the best brands in the business, and the CM350E shows off the best of what this company is capable of. The best selling point of this cutting machine is its ScanNCut technology, which basically lets you scan in your own designs and then have the machine cut them out. It’s a really interesting feature and it opens up so many different possibilities for sewing, quilting, and crafts.
The Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine comes with its own touchscreen for easy editing of your designs, letting you make adjustments and change the settings of the machine on the fly. It comes with over 600 designs built-in too, and is really flexible in terms of the designs you can scan in and the different edits and adjustments you can make. It’s not the lightest or smallest machine out there, and it will take up quite a bit of room on your craft table when you use it, but it offers a lot of useful functionality.
Easily up near the top of the pile of the best electric fabric cutting machine models, the Brother CM350E is a one-off purchase, so you don’t need to pay any extra annual fees or monthly subscriptions to access the software. Some users have complained a little that the software is sometimes slow or difficult to understand, but this is a subjective issue and many users report that it’s simply a matter of getting used to how the various tools and features work over time.
What makes it stand out?
Easy to use touchscreen
Enormous number of designs
Easy to make your own designs with built-in scanner
Can upgrade to a bigger mat
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Quite heavy and large
Mat quickly loses stickiness
Some users complain about software
Cricut Explore Air 2 – Best Value
Display: none (connects to other devices)
Cutting mat area: not specified
Dimensions: 24 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
Extra features: available in a range of designs; includes pre-made designs and projects; compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac
We’re back with Cricut for another excellent fabric cutting machine you might like to consider if you’re on the lookout for one of these devices. Available in a range of different color options and designs to suit any space, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a big winner in many departments, starting off with its aesthetics and moving through to its compatibility. It works with all of the big operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, so you can hook it up to almost any phone, tablet, or PC.
On the downside, as with the Cricut Maker mentioned above, the Cricut Explore Air 2 does come with added fees in the form of a subscription to Cricut Design Space. There is a free version of this service, but it’s very limited, so you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to get full access to lots of designs and really make the most of your device, which can be a drawback for some people. It’s also worth pointing out that there is no offline functionality with the Cricut Explore Air 2, so you need to be connected to the internet at all times to use it.
These minor issues aside, there’s a lot to love about this fabric cutting machine. It’s one of the fastest and most efficient machines out there, able to cut through fabric in a flash, so it’s a really good option for people who go through lots and lots of sewing and quilting projects on a very regular basis, or those who wish to start up their own crafting businesses.
What do we love it for?
Great value for money
Cuts over 100 materials
Speedy and efficient
What were we disappointed with?
Have to pay subscription for advanced features and designs
Extra features: comes with 2 metal dies and other accessories; 1-year warranty
If you’ve been looking for the best die cutting machine for fabric but don’t want to spend too much money, it’s definitely worth considering the Gemini GEMJR-M-USA Twin-Function Cutter & Embosser, which is our Budget Pick for this list. Of course, as a budget model, the Gemini GEMJR-M-USA won’t have the same features and functionality as some of the other models further up our list, but it still provides respectable performance.
This machine is particularly effective for die cutting and embossing, being designed with detailed and intricate designs in mind. It’s very strong at cutting those super detailed, precise designs you might like to use while quilting or taking on different arts and crafts projects. It also comes with everything you need to get going, including plates and shims.
The Gemini GEMJR-M-USA Twin-Function Cutter & Embosser is one of the most affordable fabric cutting machines around. It’s a compact and lightweight model, highly portable and simple to use. Even though it doesn’t come with hundreds of different built-designs and pattern options, it’s still a very flexible device and can work perfectly with many different materials too, including vinyl, foil, and leather, as well as multi-layered fabric. Overall, for those looking for a fabric cutting machine on a budget, the Gemini GEMJR-M-USA Twin-Function Cutter & Embosser is a solid option.
Why are we impressed?
Comes with all you need to get started
Good for detailed designs
Works with plenty of different materials
Great for die cutting and embossing
What negatives must you be aware of?
Lacks some features and functionality
AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter – Best for Beginners
Cutting mat area: 6 x 12 inches
Dimensions: 17.8 x 7.8 x 17 inches
Extra features: portable design; comes with a die
All of the other entries on our list have been electronic, but the AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter is the best manual fabric cutting machine you might like to try. This is great model with a surprisingly impressive amount of functionality and some very positive user reviews, so it’s certainly worth considering, especially if you don’t mind the fact that it has manual, rather than electric operation.
The AccuQuilt GO! is absolutely perfect for beginners. In fact, it can even be used by children. It’s a very safe and efficient cutting machine, perfect for introducing little ones to the wonders of sewing and crafting, and it’s so easy to use, with a simple handle on the side that can be turned around to help the machine cut through your fabrics and materials. So if you don’t have much experience and want a machine that is very intuitive and straightforward, this could be the perfect one.
Naturally, as a cheaper model, the AccuQuilt GO! has a couple of flaws. It only comes with a more limited cutting area, so it’s best-suited for smaller designs and patterns, and it doesn’t have a fancy touchscreen or any other features like Bluetooth connectivity one would expect from an electronic alternative. It does, however, offer amazing value for money. It comes with a cutting mat and die, as well as useful directions to get you going, and it’s very precise and effective too. Overall, a highly impressive machine.
Why is it special?
Best manual fabric cutting machine
A great kit
Very easy to use
Fast, precise, and safe
What are the flaws?
Small cutting area
Things to Consider
Having looked in-depth at our best fabric cutting machine selections, it’s time to take a look at the reasons why you might like to buy a fabric cutting machine and which factors and features you might want to look out for. When shopping for a cutting machine, it’s important to think about what exactly you’ll be using it for, how often you’ll be relying on it, what kind of budget you have, and which kinds of sewing, quilting, or crafting projects you’d like it to help you with. Find out more below.
Benefits of having a fabric cutting machine
There are a lot of different benefits you can enjoy from having a fabric cutting machine in your own home, and many sewing and quilting enthusiasts choose to invest in one of these machines for the following reasons:
Time-Saving – Arguably the biggest benefit of having a fabric cutting machine and one of the main reasons why people choose to buy one is the sheer amount of time it can help you save. With a cutting machine, the act of cutting fabrics precisely and cleanly is so much faster and easier than ever before. For quilters, in particular, but for all sewing and crafting enthusiasts too, these machines can be mega time-savers.
Simple – Another key aspect of a fabric cutting machine is its simplicity. These machines are designed to be very easy to use, letting you quickly, simple, and conveniently cut detailed designs in a matter of seconds. Even those without much technical experience can find these machines very easy to use, and their simplicity can make a huge difference to your life.
Flexible – The flexibility and versatility of fabric cutting machines is another essential element to consider if you like to do more than just sewing and quilting. These machines can be used for all kinds of art projects. Whenever you need to cut out precise shapes or intricate patterns, like for card making or similar projects, a fabric cutting machine like the Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine can offer the functionality you need.
Features to consider when choosing a fabric cutting machine
When shopping for your next fabric cutting machine, there are plenty of different features to think about, and it’s important to consider which of these features really matter the most to you. Some might not be so important, but others will be essential. See below to learn a little more about the various aspects of fabric cutting machines you need to consider when choosing your model.
Type of machine
Fabric cutting machines can be divided into main categories: electronic and manual. Electronic fabric cutting machines like the Cricut Explore Air 2 are the better option, but tend to be more expensive in general. They can usually offer more features and functionality, and the best electronic fabric cutting machine can cut all kinds of different materials and make use of custom blades for precision and accuracy. Manual fabric cutting machines like the AccuQuilt GO! can sometimes offer very similar levels of functionality to their electronic siblings, but they’re typically a little more limited.
Cutting area size and max. cutting thickness
These aspects basically determine how versatile your fabric cutting machine will be. Some machines have quite small cutting area sizes and are only able to cut through thin materials.
If you’re hoping to do lots of different projects with your machine, it’s vital to invest in one that can offer a large cutting space and is capable of handling thicker fabrics.
The simple rule to follow is that machines with larger cutting areas and cutting thickness are always going to be more versatile overall than the rest. However, these machines will also often tend to be more expensive and larger too, so you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each side to decide which one is right for you.
Many modern fabric cutting machines will feature displays or touchscreens, similar in style to printers or scanners, that let you control the settings and functionality of the device. The Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine is a great example of this. Having a clear screen that is easy to read and intuitive to use can make your fabric cutting machine much more straightforward, so it’s a nice option for those who favor simplicity. There are some fabric cutting machines that don’t have displays at all, like the Cricut Maker, but they’re still very functional and easy to use due to their smart designs and long lists of features.
Wireless connectivity and operating system compatibility
When buying a fabric cutting machine, you need to think about how you’re actually going to use it, i.e. you need to consider connectivity and compatibility. Some machines like the Cricut Explore Air 2 offer full wireless connections through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, able to connect easily to your PC, laptop, tablet, or even your phone, letting you change and upload new designs with ease. It’s also worth considering which systems your machine is compatible with. Some might only work with Windows devices, for example, while others are universal compatibility with Windows, Mac, Android, and more.
In-built designs and patterns
If you want to really make the most of your fabric cutting machine and get lots of different styles out of it to indulge your creativity and bring lots of different sewing and quilting projects to life, choosing a machine with plenty of built-in designs and patterns can make a big difference. Some machines, like the Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine, will come with huge numbers of designs and patterns already programmed in, while others will even let you edit and alter these designs to suit your needs, as well as being able to add new custom designs of your own creation.
What other materials can it cut?
This factor might not matter too much to you if you only plan on doing simple sewing and quilting projects, but it might be a big thing to think about if you want to go even further and really get into some deeper arts and crafts experiences. The Cricut Maker, for example, can actually cut through balsa wood, opening up whole new opportunities for projects and crafts. In short, the more materials your machine can handle, the more versatile it will be.
Dimensions and weight
The size and weight of a fabric cutting machine might not matter too much if you’ve got a large table and plenty of space to do your sewing and quilting projects, but if you’re limited in terms of space or don’t want to have to carry a very heavy and bulky machine around all the time, this is an important factor to think about. Some machines are quite heavy and large, but others, like the Gemini GEMJR-M-USA Twin-Function Cutter & Embosser are nice and lightweight, with compact designs that can fit snugly away when not in use and won’t take up too much space when you do use them.
These machines tend to be a little on the bulky side, so you’ll need a sizeable table or desk area to use them, usually. There are some exceptions to this rule, and it’s possible to find relatively small fabric cutting machines. However, as well as the machine itself, you need space to place your fabrics and other items, so you’ll typically want to assign a whole table or desk space to this machine when you’re doing some kind of quilting or sewing project.
Yes. Many fabric cutting machines come with standard mats of their own, but if you want to upgrade, that’s usually not a problem. The AccuQuiltGO! and the Cricut Maker, for example, both allow you to upgrade the mat. The Cricut Maker offers the potential to upgrade to a 12 x 24 inch mat, which is available for purchase separately.
This depends on which model you choose, but in general, modern fabric cutting machines are designed with simplicity in mind. A good machine will come with clear instructions and maybe even video tutorials you can look up online to really understand exactly how everything works. If you’re lacking in technical experience and expertise, it’s so important to choose a fabric cutting machine that is simple to use and easy to understand.
Again, this will depend on the model you purchase, and it will also depend on the kind of project you’re doing and what exactly you’re cutting. Naturally, larger and more detailed designs will take a little longer. In general, on the best fabric cutting machines like the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine, fabrics can be cut very quickly. Within just a couple of minutes, detailed designs can be cut by these machines.
Overall, it was the Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine that stood out as our favorite cutting machine of all. It might have a high price tag, but it offers so much versatility, able to cut through materials of 3mm thickness and coming equipped with close to 700 built-in designs, plus that super useful touchscreen.
Next up on our list of the best fabric cutting machine models was the Cricut Maker. Offering exceptional levels of versatility, this cutting machine can be used for almost any project imaginable, even able to cut through wood and coming with a full online suite of apps and software to enhance its functionality.
Last but not least, our third favorite fabric cutting machine was the Brother CM350E Electronic Cutting Machine. Offering a huge number of built-in designs and impressive ScanNCut technology, this is a super versatile cutting machine that can really appeal to people who like to get very creative and make their own unique designs and patterns.