When it comes to vinyl cutters there are only 2 major brands to choose from: Cricut and Silhouette.
Both brands have a variety of different models, each with their own pros and cons. The newest models from both brands are the Cricut Maker (released in 2017) and the more recent Silhouette Cameo 4 (released in 2019).
Both of them are great vinyl cutters, but each of them comes with its own features and benefits.
In this article I’ll compare Cricut Maker and Silhouette Cameo 4, such that you can decide which model suits you best.
Silhouette Cameo 4 Review
Silhouette has always been a reliable brand of vinyl cutters. Especially their Cameo machines are popular amongst people in the art and craft community.
The newest model, the Cameo 4, is quite an improvement over the old model. So let’s take a look at how it compares with the Cricut Maker.
Note: if you are interested in learning more about the other Silhouette models, you can read our post comparing Silhouette machines.
If you want to be able to work with lots of different materials, it’s important to have a machine that has enough cutting force.
The main drawback of the old Cameo 3 was that it only had a cutting force of 210 grams, and couldn’t use many of the thicker materials.
That’s why it was surprising to see that the new Cameo 4 has a cutting force of 5000 grams. That is a whopping 20x increase compared to the Cameo 3 and 1000 grams more than the Cricut Maker.
This allows the Cameo 4 to not only work with vinyl, but also tough materials such as fabric, felt, soft woods, some metals, etc.
But keep in mind that the maximum media thickness that the Cameo 4 can handle is 3 mm, which is slightly more than the Cricut Maker.
Currently, the Cameo 4 is compatible with 4 different tools: auto blade, rotary blade, kraft blade, and the punch tool. If you want to know what each one does, you can read our post on the new Cameo 4 blades and tools.
This is enough for most projects. But it doesn’t provide as much flexibility as the Cricut Maker, which comes with more cutting tools. However, it’s likely that Silhouette will slowly release more tools for the Cameo 4 over the upcoming years.
One major difference between Silhouette machines and Cricut machines is the software that it comes with. This software can not only be used to tell the machine what and how to cut, but also to make designs from scratch.
Since neither the Silhouette nor the Cricut software are dedicated drawing programs, most professionals will use different software to make the design. However, most beginners don’t want to or don’t have one of these dedicated art programs, and are stuck with whatever comes with their vinyl cutter.
The Silhouette software offers more features and is better for making a design from scratch. However, the Cricut software is easier to learn and more intuitive.
So it’s difficult to say one is better than the other. It’s more a matter of personal preference.
Considering the Cameo 4 was released almost 2 years after the Cricut Maker, you might expect it to be more expensive. However, if you check on Amazon right now, you can see that the Cameo 4 is actually a bit cheaper than the Cricut Maker.
Upon release, the Cameo 4 was priced at $299, which makes it the best vinyl cutter under $300. If this is your first time buying a vinyl cutter, you might want to go with the Cameo 4 starter kit which comes with 38 vinyl sheets, transfer paper, sketch pens, transfer paper, etc.
You can find the up-to-date price on Amazon by clicking on this link.
Cricut Maker Review
When it comes to working with thick and sturdy materials, the Cricut Maker used to reign supreme.
Indeed, it has made quite a name for itself over the 2 years since its release.
But let’s see how it performs compared to the new Cameo 4.
Note: if you are interested in the other Cricut machines, you can read our article on which Cricut machine to buy.
The Cricut Maker has a cutting force of 4000 grams, which is enough to work with materials such as vinyl, fabric or balsawood. But it’s still 1000 grams less than the Cameo 4.
If you are planning to work with only vinyl and similar materials, you won’t even notice this difference. The blades will finish cutting your design in no time.
However, if you are working with some thicker materials, that 1000 gram difference might become quite noticeable.
Also the maximum media thickness for the Cricut Maker is a little smaller (2.4 mm) than the Cameo 4.
When it comes to tools and blades, the Cricut Maker certainly doesn’t disappoint. There are way more tools to choose from which allows for much more flexibility and versatility
Some popular tools include:
- Knife Blade
- Rotary Blade
- Single and Double Scoring Wheel
- Perforation Blade
- Wavy Blade
- Debossing Tip
- Engraving Tip
Of course, it’s possible that Cameo will release their own version of these tools for the Cameo 4 in the future as well. That would mean that the Cricut Maker would lose one of its main benefits.
However, since these last four tools for the Cricut Maker were introduced pretty recently, Cricut might also keep introducing new tools to stay ahead of the game.
As mentioned before, the software that comes with Cricut machines is very user-friendly and intuitive. If you are a little tech-savvy, you probably will be able to understand how everything works within a few minutes.
However, in order to achieve such an easy-to-use software program they have left out some of the more advanced features. So the Cricut software is not quite as powerful as the Silhouette software.
It also deserved to be mentioned that the Cricut software can be used offline since the end of 2019. This was a big problem for some users before that didn’t have a stable internet connection.
The Cricut Maker used to be sold around $400, which was quite a hefty investment. But since the release of the Cameo 4, the price of the Cricut Maker has steadily decreased such that they roughly cost the same.
You can find the most recent price on Amazon by clicking on this link.
Differences between Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker
Let’s be clear. Both machines are great to work with and have many things in common such as their cutting width, a Bluetooth option, max media thickness, their price, etc.
However, when deciding which one to buy, the differences are of course more important to look at. In my opinion, the main differences between the Cricut Maker and Silhouette Cameo 4 are:
- Cutting force
- Available cutting tools
- Maximum cutting length (note that the width is similar for both models)
Which is better: Cameo 4 or Cricut Maker?
The best choice depends on what you are looking for.
The Cameo is more affordable, has more cutting force and comes with more powerful software. So for most newcomers, I think the Silhouette Cameo 4 is the best option.
However, the Cricut Maker is easier to learn and work with and the extra cutting tools it comes with makes it the preferred option for some.
Moreover, if you are already an experienced user and own an older model from either of these brands, it might be a good idea to buy your new machine from the same brand.
|Silhouette Cameo 4||Cricut Maker|
|Cutting Size||12 inches by 10 feet||12 inches by 24 inches|
|Cutting Force||5000 grams||4000 grams|
|Max Media Thickness||3 mm||2.4 mm|
|Tools||Auto blade, Rotary blade, Kraft blade, Punch tool||Knife blade, Rotary blade, Single & double scoring wheel, Perforation blade, Wavy blade, Debossing tip, Engraving tip|
|Mobile Docking Station||No||Yes|
|Software||Silhouette Studio Designer||Cricut Design Space|
|Amazon Price||Check Price||Check Price|